(Part of Grey Abbey)
After the Physic Garden we wandered around Grey Abbey. It’s in ruins now with only a few walls still standing, but there are helpful drawings dotted around to show us what it looked like when it was fully functioning. There is also an interpretative centre to explain how things might have been in the community and in Ireland at that time. It was a very peaceful place with only the four of us… along with the trees, a carpet of grass, birdsong, the headstones…. and possibly some spirits! We wandered from headstone to headstone and from building to building getting a feeling for what was here before us.
(Some light refreshment to keep our energy up)
We went to Portaferry for our lunch. Again a very descriptive name… it’s the ferry port. The ferry is a car ferry across the narrowest point of Strangford Lough, where it meets the sea. Strangford Lough isn’t really a lough or lake – it’s open at one end, (it’s more like an estuary) – it’s a sea lough and it’s huge. Freshwater and salt water, from flowing rivers and tidal currents meet here at Portaferry.
(The St. Brendan, our boat for the afternoon, with the car ferry in the background)
After our picnic in the sun we went on a boat trip up the lough (it took two hours to go half-way up – that’s how big the lough is) and as our boat passed the point where the freshwater met the tidal water we could see strange water currents surrounding flat calm water pools.
(The swirling sea currents in the lough, with the calm water in the foreground)
I thought of where we stood in Grey Abbey, where previously monks walked and worked. Now, they are historic characters and we are here. In the future, we will be the historic characters. Someone will walk where we walked… but today we are here. And like these water currents sometimes we experience calm and sometimes we experience swirling and that’s what keeps happening while we’re here…
Tomorrow, the old fishing village, Mairead.