Driving from Portrush in the upper north east corner of Ireland, along the winding roads of the Antrim coastline to Ballycastle is a delightful experience. The coastline is marked by nine glens. They’re full of natural wonders, rivers, waterfalls and forests. They’re also full of myths, legends, and folklore. The nine glens comprise of Glenarm, Glencloy, Glencorp, Glendun, Glenballyeamon, Glenaan, Glenshek, Glentaisie and Glenariff.
Ballycastle has a small heritage trail taking in churches, monuments and the ruins of a Franciscan friary. It’s also a busy market town. Ferries leave often enough for the 40 minute crossing over to Rathlin Island. The island is scattered with ancient ruins and a cave where Robert the Bruce is said to have seen the struggling spider that prompted him to “try again” return to win Scottish independence from the English.
On Ballycastle beach a black Labrador’s furious swimming caught my attention. The water was cold. His owner kept throwing his stick towards the freezing ocean. I felt sorry for the tired dog. A slave to the task. I asked the owner to stop throwing the stick. He laughed at and said, “he loves it.” It was true. The dog had endless energy to retrieve the stick. The dog owner and I enjoyed a chat as you do in Ireland. Every encounter an opportunity for banter.
After that I took the Glenshesk scenic route to a steep road descending to Torr Head. I wondered if I’d get up the hill again, in the dark. I’m driving a stick shift and the location is remote. The views over the North Channel to the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland made the drive worth it. Torr means a tall rock. The headland to the side of my head in the picture above is Torr Head and the closest point in Ireland to Scotland. The ruined buildings below Torr Head used to be customs houses and a lookout station that recorded the passage of transatlantic ships.
So I took the low road to the tall rock. Some spontaneity can invite the prophetic and interesting discovery points.
“He will call to me: You are my Father, my God and the ROCK of my salvation.”