Shrine To St. Ciarán At Trácht Beach, County Galway

Clarinbridge to Kinvara is a decent cycle and not too arduous, especially if one stops in one of Kinvara’s many eateries before turning back. They’ve resurfaced the road recently to include a stretch of fully-separated cycle lane which disappear as soon as it appears. The weather was still on my side so I pedaled the extra four miles to Trácht, one of Ireland’s many Blue Flag beaches and was glad to get off the main road. I had the beach to myself so I moulded the pebbles to seat myself, closed my eyes and did a Deep Listening meditation, surveying the expansive, varied stereoscape of the waves meeting the shore. After a spell I was utterly rapt, marvelling at how my hearing was becoming superhuman – I could hear every detail of each microflurry, subwhirls within tiny whirlpools….I felt closer to the sea, as if I was right beside it!

Well, I was. My eyes were opened by a cold lap on the leg and a salty shoeful. The tide was coming in fast. This could read like one of those sudden satori anecdotes of old but I was mostly just amused by myself.

I must have awakened to some degree because I noticed this odd shrine by the beach which I’d whizzed past earlier. I saw no inscription, no context; just this rough-hewn shrine in a hedged hollow in a regular old field. There’s a bungalow in the adjacent field but I didn’t see anyone to ask about the statue’s origins. The rocks might indicate a Christianized fairy fort but a hollow would have been the natural place to have dumped large rocks whenever the field was first cleared. Perhaps it’s a commemoration of a secret mass spot from the penal laws era. It’s an out-of-the-way spot with a clear view for whoever was keeping nix. If anyone has any information, I’d like to hear about it.