When I hear the words ‘a place that is important to me’, there is really only one place in the world I can think of. My home, the place where I took my first steps, learned to talk, where I helped my father build my brand new bed when I was making that brave transition from baby in a cot to a big girl with her own big bed…no it’s not. In fact, the place that is important to me, is somewhere I can call my second home, far far away in the north of this country.
The house is a mild honey colour splotch on a hill that is 40 shades of green. But it’s not just the house; it’s everything around it. The house, where my family has made a home away from home has only been in our lives for 7 short years. The place in question that I love is the area, it’s the several different beaches around the small village of Kilcar, and it’s the strange bumpy hills that I ran up and down during my childhood with my younger brother and our second cousins. It’s a place where for one brief moment during the year, the extended family comes together to share memories and tell stories. It’s the place where I witnessed my 101-year-old great great uncle play a bit of GAA with his 97-year-old brother on a football pitch that hadn’t existed when they grew up beside the local post office.
A place that is important doesn’t have to be a place you grew up in, it doesn’t have to have an extremely important role in your life but rather a place that holds special memories whether it be a holiday that you experienced once in your life or a place you visited again and again as a young child like my own important place.
For me, there is nothing like sitting on top of the moderately large mountain overlooking the beautifully modern house that completed a life long dream for my father. I can stare out onto a mountain that has become known as ‘Lawlor Mountain’ amongst the cousins, and down into a village where I can name the shops and all of the four pubs that are in business. I can close my eyes and imagine my 13 year old self fight with my father to allow me to start drinking the energy drink ‘Red Bull’ in O’Garas. I never even liked the stuff but I was at the age where I needed to win every battle. I can remember the week once a year when camping became our new thing, and my dad would tuck myself and my brother into our sleeping bags and we would fall asleep to the sound of the rain pattering down onto the top of the tent, and being snug in the knowledge of our comfort because Dad was beside us and we knew nothing could harm us.
I don’t think I will ever find a place that means as much to me as the little village at the side of Donegal. I know that when the time comes I shall bring my children and share with them the magical moments that filled my own childhood. I shall continue to travel the four hours with my family and the dog up to our second home, and when finally I get my full driving license I will start making the journey myself with those special enough that I will share it with them.
For it is home away from home and nothing can ever harm me there.