These are the coordinates to my favourite place on earth. Yesterday I got to visit there again after three long years.
It’s been quite a while since our last tattoo origins story. I guess that’s because I find them quite draining. I love tattoos. And I love my tattoos. But the gravity I think comes with inking something permanently onto yourself means all my tattoos have very personal and emotional reasons for being there. They’re not secret, obviously, since I’m telling you about them. But sometimes they’re hard to write because I want to articulate their importance perfectly and that almost never happens. So it’s been a while. But yesterday made me realise this was the next journey for us to conquer together. So, onwards.
If you’ve read any blog post by me ever, or even just had a conversation with me, then you’ll know my family are the single most important thing in my life, bar nothing. Their journey is my journey. And my journey is theirs. We’re so wonderfully intertwined. I love them. Put in the simplest terms possible. Diving deeper, they are the reason I breathe. The reason I get out of bed. Fight Live another day. Hearing their voices, reading their sarcasm, feeling close to them is all I need to sustain myself.
You’ll probably also know that I love Ireland. The country just holds a special place in my heart. It’s my family’s home, so it’s my home. Aside from Liverpool, it’s where I feel most safe.
So how do these two facts collide to create this tattoo? And where is this place I’ve drawn on myself forever?
My favourite place in the world is a small slice of the Burren that stretches out alongside the Wild Atlantic Way. Driving from Doolin towards Fanore, just as the road turns to give you a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean, there is a small gravelled area to park a car. Park there. Cross the road, carefully. Climb down onto the world’s largest limestone pavement and breathe. Feel the harsh breeze from the water hit your face, close your eyes. Breathe deeply. You have arrived. You are alive.
My family and I have been travelling to the west coast of Ireland since the eighties, my brother’s first time being when he was still in our mother’s tummy. County Clare is our favourite. The Burren is possibly the world’s biggest playground and as kids we were mesmerised. I don’t recall the first time we ever found this little spot. But I’m thankful every day that we did. Every visit we’d park the car, wrap up in hats and scarves and coats, and just go. Whilst my sisters would hang back with our mum, casually exploring (they were older and more relaxed), my brother and I would run until we felt the sweat dripping down our backs beneath the winter layers. Under the watchful eye of our dad, it is a clifftop, we’d play the Burren game: no stepping on anything other than rock. You touch grass and you lose. Working our way to the cliff’s edge we’d all eventually pause. Blown away by the crashing waves below and the endless vastness that lay out in front of us.
It’s standing in that exact spot, looking at the ocean, that I’ve continued to come back to over the years. It calls to me. There’s nowhere in the world that I feel vibrates with such possibility. I could stare at the water forever. Yesterday was one of the windiest times I’ve ever been there. The powerful, white waves crashed so hard into the jagged black rocks next to me that I was periodically sprayed with fresh salty water. Feeling it hit my cold skin I felt alive. Peaceful. But secure. And loved. I don’t know how a place can make you feel that way. I think it must be magic. But all I know is I am one with that nameless piece of land. It is me. It has a way of emptying my mind and making me see clearly. About what I want. About what’s important. About what my life should look like. It guides me. Just as my mother guides me. It makes me feel safe. This spot is mine.
I’ll be attached to that place forever. It is my past, my present and my future. I just hope I don’t wait so long next time for the craving pull to ignite action inside me.
All I Am – Jess Glynne