Goleen is a little village, westwards from Schull, that one travels through on the way to The Mizen. It is where I will settle for part of the year, when I am fortunate enough to win the lotto, write a best seller or maybe come into an unexpected legacy, from a hitherto unknown relative in America. Whatever, it is in this small unpretentious village, that I’ll buy a small unpretentious house and glide seamlessly into my golden years.
Goleen was built in the nineteenth century at a crossroads, where there was a cattle fair. And every house along both sides of the street began life as shops. For many years, I visited the village regularly, a month in the summer, some weekends here and there, and at other school holiday times throughout the year. Whenever I could, I headed for Goleen.
Glorious hedgerows on the walks around Goleen
There are wonderful walks around Goleen, none of which is very far from the sight and sound of the sea. On one, you climb up the narrow road, hedgerows lush with exuberant, orange montbretia and the fuchsia everywhere one looks, until cresting the rise, quite unexpectedly, the sea appears in your line of vision and you are breathless, not because of the climb, but at the sheer beauty of the vast expanse of blue – inviting and sparkling in front of you.
Once, I walked with a friend near midnight, the muffled, lazy sound of the waves just beyond the roadside fields and the flicker of the lights of the far away Fastnet lighthouse casting a long ladder of light over the countryside. A strange, almost hypnotic calm enveloped the sleepy road into the village, seeping indolently into our very bones, wrapping itself around us, until there existed only that moment in that place – there was no past, no future, only the present, the silence and my friend and I.
There was no traffic and the soft whinnying of two horses, heads thrust over the five bar, rusting gate in one of the small fields adjoining the road, was like an explosion in the stillness. The moon shone so brightly that it was possible to see the carpet of wild garlic growing on the hedgerows and their scent filled our nostrils, so that the silence and the faint swishing of the waves, the gently weaving trees and the odour of the garlic, so seduced my senses that I felt almost giddy, heady with the perfection of that moment and that place.
The exuberant montbretia, fuchsia and lush hedgerows around Goleen
In the winter, in howling winds and heavy rain, the sea is no less beautiful, wild and savage, untameable and untamed. The force of the wind and the growls of the sea fill me and power and energy course through my body, and there are no limitations to what I can do.
The Fastnet Bar, The Lobster Pot, the Post Office in the corner of the coffee shop, Sheehan’s Grocery and Heron’s Cove on the harbour. And the house, known then as Mary Kate’s, where we created unforgettable memories. And the wind blowing in from the sea, always the sea.
And the house I’ll buy there one day, when I’ll meet my golden years.
Strolling through the village