Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Dingle Wow Factor

This is the view from Gorman's Clifftop House back west of Dingle. Thanks for the photo, Síle.

The lilies are arums, natives of South Africa and practically weeds in western Australia. They're tall, ivory-coloured flowers with golden stamens. Their petals are like vellum powdered with shining pollen. The leaves curl round the stems like deep-green medieval scrolls.

Each year they flourish here on the western edge of the Atlantic. Not troubled by wind or spray or the thousands of miles of turquoise ocean between this last Celtic corner of Europe and the next parish, in America.

They're happy incomers, like myself.

I'm writing this on the Dingle peninsula. Sunshine. Showers. Mist. And sunshine again. It's the longest day of summer. The earth and stone walls by the roadsides have disappeared under miles of scarlet fuchsia and bee orchids, and bright orange montbretia with neon-green leaves. Fuchsia and montbretia are exotic outsiders too. They've escaped from formal gardens to flourish here in freedom.

Among them grow native plants, briars and ferns, cow parsley and valerian, the tiny purple orchids, and powder-blue cornflowers. I can see them now through my window, foreigners and locals, happily sharing the sunshine.

When you come here it's hard to leave. Like me, some visitors just stay put.

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