Distance cycled: 57km
Number of touring cyclists I passed: 9
Number of scones eaten: 3
Number of old women who congratulated me: 7
Highlight: Cuddling a sheepdog puppy
Lowlight: Realising I have a scone addiction
After two nights in Clonbur it was time to move towards Westport for the Grainne Mhaol musical. On the way I stopped at Kinny to see Joe Joyce's Sheepdog demonstrations on the tranquil shores of Lough Na Fooey. I learnt enough to know I never want to be a hill sheep farmer but I was blown away by how the dogs were able to make the wild sheep behave like pet lambs, just through eye contact. I seem to get into little themes of thinking when I'm cycling and today I was all about the eyes.
Meeting new people each day is part of the journey I'm on but a quick look into their eyes always reveals a lot about their character. Take for example, Roisin, owner of the Old Rectory Retreat in Westport. She welcomed me with kind, open eyes and instantly I sensed she was a wonderful woman who lived life to the full and was brimming with hope for the future. (Plus, she got brownie points for serving me hot scones straight out of the oven!)
I got freshened up and made my way to Hotel Westport and met two of the O'Reilly brothers. This is their third year putting on a musical that brings to life tales of Ireland's wild west and one of its most famous chieftains, Grainne Mhaol - Ireland's Pirate Queen. Plus some brilliant Sean Nos dancing from Atlantic Steps. The lead actress, Roisin Timoney, didn't speak a word during the show but her body language conveyed Grainne Mhaol's strength of character and her eyes showed a sadness and vulnerability that explored a different side of her character. I met up with Roisin after the show and was surprised to be greeted by a bubbly young woman without a hint of the complex and troubled persona she had just played.
It reminded me that while our eyes might be a window to our soul, we still get to choose what's hanging in the window. There's an old Irish saying, "An rud a líonas an tsúil líonann sé an croí", which means "What fills the eye, fills the heart." If someone looked into your eyes right now, what would it tell them about your heart?