Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Humility and Magic

We spent the other afternoon at Lough Boora, less than an hour's drive from home. I would always be a bit cynical about any place that advertises itself as "where art and nature meet", but, as the saying goes, Lough Boora (Say: Lock Boor-a) is something else. First there's the intrinsic beauty of the place; turf, trees, water, shifting shades of browns, greens, purples, under a huge wide-open sky. You could walk for miles here, the silence broken only by your footsteps, the breeze in the trees, the cries of unseen birds.

Then there's the sculpture which, paradoxically, is at once part of the landscape, yet utterly alien to it. Except for one large construction which reminded us of a feeding trough for cattle (nothing wrong with that, mind you, but unlike all the others, this 'trough' did not transcend its literal state) , we were both struck by the imagination behind the pieces and the different responses they evoked. My wife was particularly taken by the little grey room, while I couldn't believe that three triangles could be so eloquent. We were both knocked out by the train. Go there and you'll see what I mean.

Sitting on a trunk of bog oak on this most glorious of summer days, I found my mind straying into the dark... All the wonderful sculptures, the magic conjured by the minds and hands of gifted men and women, would, one day, just like everything else that humankind has dreamed up, crumble into dust.... disappear into the bog which, for now, they appear to dominate. In the grip of such clichés, I thought of how ephemeral we are and, not for the first time, I felt humbled by the benign tyranny of nature.

Enough of this second-hand philosophy. Boora is the ideal place for a lovely, memorable day out. You don't have to have any interest in art at all: the bog itself will stir something deep inside you. If your travels ever bring you near the town of Tullamore in central Ireland; go the extra miles. You won't regret it, but please, to coin another cliché, take nothing but your memories, leave nothing but your footprints.

1 Comments:

Blogger A_N_Nanda said...

Is it really so good?

Nice description of the place. In my view, it depends what you look for from your travels. If quietude is your motto, then visit more such places of langour.

Thanks for your post.

Sincerely
Nanda
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4:13 pm  

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