The clock in my grandmother’s house runs one hour slowly. Always has. Always will. The books on the shelves are in the exact same place, and bookmarks never progress. In the hallway, a painting of Jesus stares at you as you pass. Sometimes her house feels more like a museum than a home. The remnants of old Ireland are exhibited throughout. Different from Ireland I experience living in the capital city.
My grandmother’s house is on a small island, a twenty-minute boat ride away from mainland Ireland. One shop, three pubs, and not much of anything else. Unlike the mainland where people speak English, here on the island people speak Irish, a language I could never speak as a child and wish I spoke more of as an adult. Only 300 people live here.
In the Winter it is battered by huge waves from the Atlantic Ocean. In the summer it is busy with Irish youth who travel there to learn the language and culture – a traditional rite of passage. If Ireland were a postcard, one to be sold in a cheesy tourist trap shop, my grandmother’s island would be the pretty picture on the front.
My childhood summers were spent swimming in the cold water and exploring the little beaches and mountains. But as a teenager, I hated visiting the place. I thought it was boring in comparison to the modern, busy life of my home city. For years I did not see it. During the Covid lockdown, I finally went back. I spent three months on the island and it felt like the real world, the Covid-riddled one was a long way away.
Now as an adult it is a place that I go back to when I want to escape life for a little while. Sometimes I bring friends and show off the island like a proud mother. Sometimes I go with family and relive our childhood memories there. I like that it is unchanging.
Most recently I went there after spending one year traveling and working in different countries. A lot of things had changed in my life and I felt a bit unmoored. I liked being somewhere familiar, somewhere boring. It is comforting knowing that no matter how much time passes, and how much things change, the island will always be the same clock that will always be one hour slow.
It is the place where I go and find myself and always will be one of the places where time goes back and where all the memories that I have come back and are revived with me.
Time passes but it important is to appreciate what we passed and how our life was and remember the best moments that we have and see where we were and where we are going and don’t forget the path that we were walking during our life.