This is the Kilmurry Beat on the River Blackwater near Fermoy. Chris and I came here 10 years ago for a day’s fishing with guide (and World Champion Fly-Caster) Glenda Powell. We’d been to the Cape Clear Island Storytelling Festival and were coming to the end of a wonderful camping trip round Ireland. I treated her to the day as a late birthday present.
Today I came back to spend an afternoon fishing with Glenda and to put some of Chris’s ashes in the river. In the course of four hours we covered a half-mile of river and, with Glenda’s expert guidance, I caught three beautiful small brown trout. I remember that Chris had caught a baby salmon on her second or third cast and crowed about it for weeks.
There were kingfishers on the river this afternoon; salmon breaking the surface mid-stream; an egret fishing in the margins; and mink scurrying around on the bank. Ted had the run of the place and was in and out of the water all afternoon. I don’t believe in heaven but if I did, it would be like this: sunlight sparkling on a salmon run; trout lurking in the shallows; happy dog trotting nearby.
Glenda remembered Chris and we talked all afternoon about life, love, and loss as we fly-fished our way slowly downstream. At about 6.00pm, we waded out into a fast running stretch of water and emptied a small container of Chris’s ashes into the river. Glenda said a prayer and I thanked Chris for all the wonderful adventures we had together, and for being my playmate as well as my soulmate.
Afterwards, we toasted her memory with a dram of Irish Whisky, and Glenda invited me to stay and camp by the river for the night instead of driving to a campsite. So, I’m writing this by the light of a coal fire in the wooden Fisherman’s Hut by the riverbank.
I called Hedda and we talked about the day and about coming to Ireland together. Then I cooked some steak on the barbecue and had it for supper with a bottle of Guinness. Ted had a fresh marrowbone, also from the butcher in Fermoy, and we settled down by the fire to digest our meals like a couple of replete hunter-gatherers.
It’s 10.00pm now and dark outside. Soon Ted and I will hunker down for the night in Rosie the Campervan. I plan to wake early, get in a couple of hours fishing before breakfast, and head to Rosslare for our final 24 hours before the ferry home on Friday evening.
The Irish leg of my peregrination with Chris’s ashes is almost over.
It’s been a great trip.
Here’s an unashamed plug for the best fishing guide on the Blackwater