Excitement is building here for the Rose of Tralee festival which is almost upon us and for me that always signals the end of the summer. The holiday houses will soon close up and families will return home to their regular routines of work, school and college. This time of the year is bittersweet for me now. I will enjoy the quiet beaches and playgrounds once the crowds have gone. I like September it always feels full of possibility and fills me with the thrill of expectation. As a child I loved school and always looked forward to returning after the summer holidays. I used to get so excited about my new school books and uniform! It was an exciting and busy time when I worked in television but I do feel a sense of relief that I’m not there anymore. How I mourn the passing of summer though…
The summer here is wild and chaotic. The weather swings between Atlantic summer storms and glorious hazy sunshine. The beaches are dotted with happy screeching children, crazy dogs, dedicated swimmers and sun worshippers. Any coastal town or village all across the world buzzes with activity as soon as summer comes around. And I suppose they all enjoy the benefits and suffer the disadvantages in equal measure. Holiday makers can bring noise and litter, they can be careless in places that are not home. There were some frustrating stories in the news recently about dumping in beauty spots in Sneem and on the Conor Pass. But tourists can also bring money, activity, vibrancy and a lifeline to many small seaside places. There are businesses here that will shut up shop once August ends. It is only the steady stream of tourists that the summer months supply that keep them open.
‘Little P’ will miss all the extra children, the boats, the fishermen and the festivals. But September will bring a whole new set of adventures. There’ll be blackberry picking, jam making, collecting conkers and jumping into piles of crunchy brown leaves. I want to squeeze all the enjoyment out of these Autumns with her because I know how quickly time is passing and soon Septembers will mean school.
I’m learning how the seasons change life here. I’m also finding out what each season has to offer and I find myself anticipating each one with delight. For the seasons are about nature and weather and there is no better place to experience both. The Wild Atlantic Way has something to offer all year round and I can see that others appreciate that too. If we all do our bit to preserve our landscape and our government invest wisely in it then maybe those small business won’t have to close their doors in Autumn after all.