Premium Exclusives

WOMAN ON THE VERGE: Tripping the light fantastic at my local beach

September 19th, 2023 3:30 PM

By Emma Connolly

Spectacular images of bioluminescence at night. The phenomenon brought huge numbers of people to Emma’s local beach at the weekend. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Share this article

Humidity nearly tipped me over the edge as the September swelter continued earlier this week, and not to mention an influx of spiders into my house. But a magical display of bioluminescence brought me right back!

NOW you’re possibly thinking that I won’t talk about the weather for the third week in a row. Just watch me. With the thermostats in our house hovering around 26 degrees most days, it’s consuming me. This is the sort of heat I remember from the sun holidays of my 20s, except this time around I couldn’t laze around all day under a brolly drinking dodgy green cocktails. I’m a grown-up – I had to make beds, make dinners, make phone calls, conversations, decisions, make some sort of a half-hearted effort to get that weird Saharan dust off the car and windows … and it was making me really mad! 

At one point I begged my husband to ring our builder to see if there was any way we could take out some of the insulation from the walls; or I wondered if somehow our heating could have been accidentally turned on without us realising it (the concrete floors were actually hot). So, forgive me for banging the same old drum again this week, but there’s been little else on my mind (as I’ve nearly lost my little mind).

It was the lack of sleep that was really getting to me. What’s that Shakespeare said, ‘to sleep perchance to dream’? God no: how about, ‘to sleep, perchance to actually sleep’. Sleep and an ability to do it anywhere, at any time, has always been my super power and this past week I’ve got a glimpse into how insomniacs must really suffer. It’s taken me right back to the newborn baby days when you’d be convinced that no one on this planet could possibly be as wrecked as yourself. 

Duvets were naturally surplus to requirements and there was a strict exclusion zone around me in the bed that my husband dared not cross or it would have been time to call the divorce lawyers (to be fair, I doubt he was remotely tempted what with me looking like Monica from Friends with the humidity-induced frizz). I tried all the hacks such as putting a hot water bottle in the freezer during the day, and bringing it to bed with me, and it did help. For all of five minutes. 

And of course the craziest thing about not sleeping is that you’re guaranteed to sink into a deep and peaceful slumber 10 minutes before the alarm goes off. And then the one time you do close your eyes for a few minutes will be when your husband wakes up, so he won’t believe your sob story the next day. Let’s say that I’ve needed all the coffee. And a good bit of the wine too.

My mum lives next door in a house built in the 1970s. It’s where I grew up, it’s home, so naturally I love the place and everything about it, but I had assumed a certain superiority, when comparing my house to hers. No more, let me tell you. I spent the first half of the week restoring myself in her blissfully cool kitchen, and the other half trying to convince her to do a house swap with us until temperatures drop. I sold it as best as I could: short travel time (we’re literally over the hedge), early check-in, good broadband, meals delivered daily and I’d even let her use the good towels. But she has seen our poor dog huffing and puffing, and she wasn’t falling for it. She did offer us good Airbnb rates in her place, though!

I did feel genuinely sorry for people in packed classrooms and offices all day who didn’t have air-con (all that body heat! I’m hoping that Lynx Africa isn’t still a thing for teenage boys, and pity the teachers if it is) and I’ve never been so grateful to live near a beach. 

After a few minutes in the sea, all that heat-induced crankiness literally leaves your body and you’re new and improved in an instant. Things took an unexpected turn for the better one of the days when I met someone who told me that it’s going to be a really cold winter. Exactly how cold, I asked him? Any idea of exact temperatures, I demanded, trying not to sound too unhinged. Snow and lots of it, he reliably told me, as he backed out of the little cove I had him cornered in. I nearly dropped to my knees in thanks, except I was afraid I’d get tangled up in my DryRobe. I’m still not taking any chances, though. I’ve ordered a ceiling fan for the bedroom, I’m researching a sun control film for the windows (that was the subject of a conversation on the beach another day … proof that I’m not the only one going a bit mad), I’m planting trees to provide shade (that will take time I know) and am saving up for an awning. I’m also holding off on ordering the logs for the stove until I hear what the ‘Donegal postman’ has to say.

Anyway, spider season has well and truly arrived, hasn’t it? They’re everywhere. They happen to be the one insect I can tolerate. The saying ‘if you want to live and thrive let the spider run alive’ always sticks with me so I pretty much let them have a free run of the gaff, and word seems to have gotten around among the spider community that I’m a willing host.

Emma’s spidey senses are on high alert at the minute. (Photo: Shutterstock)


I do have an ulterior motive, though, as I hope they might gobble up all the other smaller insects that seem to like my gaff too. Fingers crossed. And for those who really do suffer from a genuine fear of spiders (I know it can be really debilitating for lots of people), lavender spritzed around the windows seems to help, as does a spray of WD-40, even if it’s a bit messier. Or just send them ‘round mine altogether.

Finally, Christmas came early to my local beach this week as we were treated to incredible scenes of bioluminescence lighting up the water. Word went round that this phenomenon, commonly found in Lough Hyne, was taking place and we all legged it there and gosh, was it worth it. It really had to be seen to be believed. I’d describe it as like having hundreds of green fairy lights light up the sea as the waves crashed on the beach – equal parts magical, equal parts bonkers. I’m obviously not a scientist but if you want to understand the reason behind it, just Google it. 

Speaking of Google, the search engine is celebrating its 25th birthday this month. That’s just mad altogether Ted, especially if, like me, you’re old enough to remember Ask Jeeves. I’m afraid to even ask … what’s the forecast for this week?

Tags used in this article

Share this article

Related content