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To Great Blasket Island

Monday morning , late June, 2003—

I was staying in the Grapevine hostel in Dingle, Ireland, on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry. I was planning to go out to the Great Blasket Island for the day.

I'd met Kim, a young Dutch woman, the day before. When we talked over the breakfast table on Monday, it was clear we liked each other. I asked her if she wanted to come with me.

We remember this differently; Kim thinks she asked me if she could come along, but I know that I asked her. I was ready to offer to pay her boat fare, if that had been her excuse.

I knew she was young, but that didn't matter.

We bought bread and cheese, and went to the pier where the fast boat moors. (There's a ferry, also, that departs from the tip of Dingle peninsula, at Dunquin. It's cheaper, but you also have to get there.)

We missed the 11:00 boat. There'd be another one at 1:00. We went to sit on a bench overlooking Dingle Bay. Kim was 17, she'd be 18 the following Sunday. She lived in Nijmegen. Her father is blind, her mother moderately schizophrenic; Kim was mostly raised in foster homes. She lived alone, then, in student housing. She studies creative therapy.

She had a boyfriend, who lived in another town. They'd only been together a short time. She said our time together would have to be "just for now," and I agreed, of course; what could I say?

Boat came, skips over waves. High cliffs Irish coastline, farmhouses and livestock on grassy slopes atop rocky cliffs.

At the island rubber boat ferries passengers the few yards to a natural rocky incline (descendants of former residents of the island have prevailed upon government commissions to prevent any docking structure.) The natural limestone incline is quite dock-like, or ramp-like, and fairly easy to negotiate, though it's a challenge for older people.

It was a beautiful, sunny, calm day on Great Blasket island--a rarity, even in the Summer, according to reputation.

Stone houses dilapidated (how many 12-15)

One very small house was fitted with windows, a door, and a fine-looking roof. It was cluttered inside, though, and clearly uninhabited. Kim said "we could fix it up."

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Steve Edwards