I am finally coming to terms with the fact that going to the beach in Ireland in the height of Summer is very different from say my beach experience in Cape May, New Jersey (United States) a few weeks ago. Getting ready to spend the day lounging on the beach in Cape May was a simple matter of lathering up with sunscreen, sticking a beach towel and chair under my arm, and sauntering over to the beach in my bikini and flip-flops.
The preparations for my beach trips to Curracloe in County Wexford this week required a little more luggage shall we say. I knew it would be brisk, so I exchanged the bikini for a skirt and t-shirt, along with a sweater and umbrella (not for the sun, but for the likelihood of rain!).
On our way to the coast I decided to pick up something for lunch. I was not organised enough to pack a picnic, but knew the moment we laid our towels on the sand my kids would say they were hungry. Somehow, the combination of sitting on a beach and watching the waves, awakens our appetites in a ravenous way. My only luck at finding a grocery shop ended at a little hole-in-the-wall store, which only grabbed my attention because of the over abundant display of plastic beach paraphernalia dangling from a multitude of hooks and teetering outside of the entrance.
It so happened to be the perfect place for all of my beach needs. We picked up a couple of buckets and spades, 3 fresh crusty rolls, stuffed with roasted chicken, strong cheese, and greens, a bunch of red grapes, and a little bottle of screw-cap french wine, which I couldn’t believe a little rural shop would even think to stock. We were set!
I learned a few things while watching my kids play very happily on the blustery beach: I remembered how when I was their age doing exactly the same thing, not bothered that the sun shone intermittently in-between billowy clouds, and that the water was cold, but not cold enough to keep me out of it, at how eating a sandwich after digging up the sand for an hour tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten, and at how watching the rush of the waves turning little pebbles over in its wake was mesmerizing, and finally, the best part of it all was watching my children, mimicking my own childhood.
So, the deal is, the beach doesn’t have to be tropical (or even warm for that matter) to be enjoyable. The truth is I was probably more comfortable reading my book all bundled up than I would have been melting on some sweltering beach with no relief for the glaring hot sun. I will most certainly be back to the little shop for sandwiches and wine on my way to our spot by the grassy dunes in Curracloe.