30. Watch the sunrise

I have concluded that ‘Watch the sunrise’ doesn’t quite capture my intent for this challenge. I think my meaning was more ‘Watch the day break’ or ‘Watch the process of night turning into day’… whichever description fits, I watched it.

The decision to go was based on the forecast for the following morning (via BBC weather and yr.no) being for clear sunny skies. The question of ‘Who’s coming with me?’ met with responses from veiled enthusiasm, through pained indecision, to complete horror… In the end Evelyn and my two kids decided to come. And so it came to pass that alarms were set for 4.40 on a Bank Holiday Monday morning.

At the appointed ungodly hour, hastily dressed and shivering – probably from the shock of being wrenched from warm beds rather than from excitement – we piled into the hire car complete with duvet (kids), sat nav, and breakfast picnic. The latter would prove to be an inspired decision!   We headed east from Cobh, having identified Garryvoe beach as a promising vantage point, with (according to google maps satellite) readily available car parking. 40 minutes, according to Madame SatNav.

Along the N25 dual carriageway, and onto the R632 heading directly south to the coast. The moon was visible in crescent form with its full outline in shadow, and as for stars, we spotted constellation after constellation clearly visible in the black sky… much to Owen’s delight. Whilst it was undoubtedly still dark, I was aware of the appearance of an increasing glow of light from my left… “It’s starting! We’re going to miss it!” I wailed… hence my opening remarks of this post. I wanted to watch the entire performance and was beginning to panic that I would miss the overture. I needn’t have worried, as we made it to Garryvoe within the next 10 minutes, arriving with something of a swerve at the designated car park.

Hmmm. There was a beach. And some boulders we could sit on. But our eastward view was “obscured” by the small matter of a field of static caravans. Sunrise over caravans? No thanks, I was thinking more over land or sea. So, after a slight relocation, which merely involved driving to the other side of the caravan park and parking at the top of the path down to the beach, and with the time showing a little after 5.40 a.m., we decamped to sit on the rocks and watch. Two kids wrapped in duvet, two adults wishing they had rather more substantial clothing…. Who knew that watching an August sunrise could be so chilly?!

I’m not really sure I have adequate words to describe the ensuing hour and a quarter. To see the moon and stars in the sky overhead whilst watching the light from the sun creep over the horizon until the light made the stars invisible, was amazing. The changing colours were awe-inspiring, and no sooner had we remarked on a certain colour or pattern, than it changed – sometimes subtly, sometimes radically. We took pictures (which don’t do reality any justice) of the changing stages of the day break. Nature kept us guessing as to the exact where and when, until finally at 6.47 a.m., the fiery circle of the sun appeared. I felt confident in declaring that the sun had risen.

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Our on-the-spot reward for our efforts was a picnic continental breakfast of Irish soda bread, ham, cheese, jam and fruit. It really hit the spot. Coffee with it would have been even better, but you can’t have it all! We stayed until about 7.30, before heading off in search of said coffee, which we finally got to slurp back in Cobh at about 8.30. Delicious. Then it was back to our holiday home, and back to bed for an hour or so in order to muster up the energy / strength / resolve to make it through the rest of the day!

Which should signal the end of the story and and the ticking off of #30.

But there is an added extra to this challenge, which makes it all the more special.

SunsetoverGarryvoeIn the course of the day, our discussions turned to what to do for our evening meal, with the idea of a beach barbecue mooted. And so it was, that knowing *just the place* for a beach barbecue with lovely views, we ended up back at Garryvoe beach that evening. Barbecued sausages, in salad and onion filled wraps; a dip in the sea for two adventurous boys; and finally a rocky seat facing the opposite direction from that morning, to watch the sun set from the same location as we had watched it rise that morning. My ‘Watch the sunrise’ challenge had turned in to ‘Watch the day break and end’ from the same beach. Perfect.

And as we sat and chatted, noticing again the changing colours and shapes in the dusky evening sky, we came up with a ‘next time’ challenge. So, I’m just putting it out there, that the next time I watch the sunrise / set, it will be on a beautiful sandy beach of an island nestled in the ocean, whilst lying naked in the arms of my new lover. You heard it here first…. 😉


[30 down, 20 to go… I’ve got this]



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