Cormac MacConnell: It’s an ill wind that blows no good...

The Gael Warning I accurately issued last week can be downgraded somewhat by now, thank heavens.

Cormac MacConnell: It’s an ill wind that blows no good...

The Gael Warning I accurately issued last week can be downgraded somewhat by now, thank heavens.

I am grateful for the appreciation emailed to me by many of you in the aftermath.

A significant number thanked me for warning them that the Wild Atlantic Way would be so stormy and dangerous during their hard-earned break that they would need to exercise extreme caution altogether when on the road, especially in the far north.

The better news now is that the worst is over, the rooks and crows around Killaloe are building new and stronger nests in the treetops of my home horizon by the Shannon, and we can all relax a bit more safely until the middle of April or thereabouts.

There, now, is a welcome particle of the truth, once more.

Us MacConnells clustered as a clan for a major family party and birthday celebration at the peak of the Gael Warning.

This gives me the chance to bring more good tidings across the path of any amongst you who have never been fortunate enough to visit the North Clare town of Ennistymon yet.

I’ve a family history there for decades, and can honestly say here and now that a stopover, especially and ironically, after a spate of wet weather, will charm and delight you totally.

It’s an old saying that it is an ill wind that blows no good, and the impact of the heavy rainfall before the bank holiday converted the town’s world famous waterfall into a breathtaking spectacle.

Dull would he or she be of soul who could pass by a sight so striking in its majesty, as the poet put it.

The town’s major hotel, named after the Falls of course, crowns a hill overlooking the foaming masterpiece of nature at its best.

During the heatwave last year, the Inagh river which feeds the waterfall almost totally dried up.

One could see the naked river bed and the Falls were barely trickling down.

An ugly enough spectacle.

However, the heavy rains which we have all been complaining about recently have totally restored God’s masterpiece, and the tourists are flocking into the town, which has been dramatically regenerated, especially in the past decade.

Ironically, there was a resident famous poet in Ennistymon years ago, when the talented Dylan Thomas, another Welsh import like Saint Patrick himself, resided in the old hotel with his wife Caitlin MacNamara back in the day.

There are photographs on the hotel walls showing they relished their time in what was then a market town on the edge of the magical Burren up the road.

There’s another true fragment of folklore for you.

Now, in some magical enough fashion, from once being in the economic doldrums, the regeneration of Ennistymon, not because of the work of Dylan Thomas, or the fabled waterfalls alone, has happened in a fashion which few would have expected.

There is much justified concern across this island at the moment about the impact of urban drift upon traditional market towns like Ennistymon and many others along the remote stretches of the Wild Atlantic Way.

But the town has become the fashionable habitat of a highly creative and varied artistic community, operating their trades and services out of premises that once were the public houses, now closed because of lack of trade.

Ennistymon has become an artistic haven, buzzing with new life and energy and excitements daily.

This was clearly demonstrated in the annual festival parade and the celebrations afterwards.

Many of those creating the new renaissance across all the arts and crafts are newcomers attracted to the town once known regionally only for its waterfall and the annual gathering of spailpíns waiting to be hired for the summertime farming work.

The town has become the place to be for visitors from all over the globe.

I suppose it could be termed social engineering by accident rather than design.

I was told that many who came to town in recent years, just for a holiday break near the Burren, were so captivated by the atmosphere near the Inagh River that they could never leave and so became residents.

They are filling the spaces created by the urban drift we all hear so much about on a daily basis. Be warned, accordingly, that if you visit the town intending just to view the Falls and then depart, you too could become trapped by the magic of the place. Ye have been warned.

I still strongly counsel you to take a chance of a lifetime in a new world.

In this day and age, however, it is necessary for me to state that I take no responsibility whatever for the consequences of this advice.

Terms and conditions do apply.

We’ll leave it there for now.

I must go back to Ennistymon for a bit of craic tonight...

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