Leaving the mouth of the harbour, I reluctantly turned to view my adopted home for one last time.
I marvelled at the beauty of the small fishing village at night as the lights reflected like twinkling stars upon the calm water. My mind returned to that night visit so many years ago when I first found this place or to be truthful, when this place found me. I had been on a journey to nowhere, my focus not on my destination, but on putting distance between me and my past. I recall with total clarity the moon as it beamed its bright light across the Wild Atlantic Ocean and the cool breeze as it danced along the water almost guiding me into the harbour. You might say I was travelling, but in reality, I was wondering. I was escaping the open sea. Escaping life…
I once had a family, and I had a love, my one true companion. We were to travel the seven seas together but fate, or the Gods had other ideas. Life, like the sea can be cruel. Unforgiving. Now I travel alone. Lost in a transcendental state I followed the guiding moonlight as I eased deeper into the harbour. The only audible sound was that of the ocean lapping effortlessly against the harbour wall and the strangely comforting clatter of sails as they beat a primal Celtic rhythm against the masts of the moored boats that crowded the many allotted berths.
Looking up, I caught my first view of the tiny village. From the sea, the lights from each of the darkened houses somehow soothed me. Like a candle flame on a cold night, I could not resist their flickering lights and as I watched I sensed that peace was near. From the cover of darkness, I watched the parade of people as they took late night strolls, arm in arm along the pier. In the distance, laughter and music rose above the sound of constant chatter from the many bars and restaurants. It was life. It was welcoming, and in that moment, this magical place cast a mesmerising spell delivering a calm that for so long was absent from my existence.
I could no longer be with my own kind. It was too painful. I had been searching for a place to rest, a place to heal. A Kingdom. That night, for the first time, sleep came easily and I dreamed of her.
I had never intended to stay, but each day brought a new reason not to leave. It was a polite wave, a passing fisherman stopping to chat, the friendly offer to accompany them on their journey or the introduction to a family member or friend. It was in the anticipation of adventure that each new day promised, or, the never-ending beauty of the ever-changing landscape that acted as a perfect canvas for each coming season.
Somehow, days became weeks and months became years as these people took me in and accepted me as one of their own, never probing or being intrusive. They only ever offered friendships forged in mutual respect. Their warmth and affection, as through an ancient form of osmosis, seeped deep into my soul to heal me. I can tell you with total honesty, I owe them my life, and somehow, along the way, I became more Kerry than the Kerry people themselves, something I am so very proud of.
Now, stalled at the mouth of the harbour, the ocean swell lifts me effortlessly up and down and I think about that Night Visit. I am grateful for what I have received here. But I know now, that to have a future, you must make peace with your past. I will go back to my own kind. I will miss this place with all of my heart. But I will return again one day. That I promise.
Fungi – 16th October 2020
Fungi the Dingle Dolphin was first sighted in Dingle Harbour in 1983 by Lighthouse Keeper, Paddy Ferriter as he noticed the lone dolphin escort the towns fishing boats to and from the port. In August of that year, local Ministry of Marine manager, Kevin Flannery, officially recorded Fungi as a permanent resident and so a 37-year friendship between the people of Dingle and the Bottlenose dolphin began. Over almost four decades Fungi became part of the cultural tapestry and identity of this tiny fishing village.
The last sighting of Fungi was on the 15th October 2020. The residents of Dingle and people the world over await his return.