100 things I love: 11 – gannets

When I say I love gannets, I mean I love a memory of standing on a cliff top in the west of Ireland – West Cork, probably – looking out to sea. We could see a flurry of gannets, way out, and we could hear them – the boom of them hitting the water. There were dozens of them, rising and diving. I’m not sure I’ve seen them anywhere else. For me, they are a quintessential part of the west of Ireland.

I haven’t seen them up close, except in pictures. I love the shape they make – so streamlined – an arrow, a bomb, a bullet, a rocket. Aerodynamic, and designed to pierce. And then their bodies are so white, and their eyes are a mad ice blue, with their black eyeliner and their black wing tips and that 80s blusher thing. There is nothing sleeker or sharper. Nothing pierces that water quite like them.

We took a boat trip to the Skelligs years ago – pre children. We were staying in a little cottage on the Kerry border. The farmer who owned the cottage came over one evening and sat in near-silence, just to be polite. We bought crab claws and broke them with rocks because there wasn’t any other way of getting into the meat. Anyway, we took a boat trip to the Skelligs, and were told we’d get a refund if we didn’t land. We landed (just – looking back it was pretty dangerous, but we were young and foolish) – and were almost immediately called back. Claudi wasn’t having any of it. He had the most terrifying eyebrows. We got a refund. Anyhow, the Skelligs were covered in guano and gannets – a cloud of gannets, like a cartoon of birds flying round the head of somebody who’s been knocked out.

I love gannets because they are sculpted – carved from marble, not feathers. They are wild and fierce and unknowable. I love them because they are beautiful.

About sarahsouthwest

I'm now in my early 50s. I started writing again as a way of exploring the world, and feel that over the last 2 years I have really grown as a writer. By day I work with children and young people with mental health difficulties. I juggle my own two children, my work, my writing practice, generally managing to keep all the balls up in the air.
This entry was posted in 100 things I love. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 100 things I love: 11 – gannets

  1. You’ve really brought them to life here, Sarah 💘

  2. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s