Mayo – My Paradise!
Forty years after leaving my home county of Fermanagh I have finally found roots. Forced out of my home county at the age of 18 I never believed I would ever feel at home again... till now I haven't. Germany, New York and Florida didn’t do it for me nor Roscommon when I returned with high hopes of finding the peace I had lost as a teenager, only to be dashed by the shooting of my brother and the further denial of my traumatic past.
I first came to Mayo with my husband and children in the nineties, every chance we got we were in Old Head in my friends mobile home. When we decided to buy a holiday home, Mayo was my choice. First day out to look we went to the sea but it didn’t feel right, on the way home we found an old cottage in the shadow of the Ox Mountains and the magic of the place screamed... this is your home!! I listened, we bought, the marriage ended and I asked for and received the cottage in the settlement.
11 years passed as I visited the cottage every chance I got until my youngest child became of age. With all my possessions in the back of my VW Golf I moved to the cottage with a dream, that is after spending a decade dealing with PTSD, writing a book about it, a book written in 14 days and published the following year.
I dreamt that I could help others that were traumatised, help them to ground themselves in this beautiful place I had found, allowing the natural beauty and energy of this wonderful place to engulf them as they opened up to heal. It took five years for me to realise that the only person I could help was myself! This I continued to do, gaining the courage to return to the North three years ago, looking for the home I was forced out, only to find that I no longer belonged there.
Each time I returned home across the mountain from Aclare I didn’t want to go back, and the day Britian decided to exit Europe I returned across that same mountain knowing I was home, I had no need or desire to be anywhere else. The roots had taken hold.
My dream of giving shelter to the traumatised changed to giving shelter to the many Irish and foreigners who find their way to my door through Airbnb and word of mouth. Whether they stay for a night, a week or a month I consider and treat them as family, who enter my home as strangers and leave as friends.
This new business for want of a better word has given me the time and the income to get back to what I love most, writing, drawing and walking the mountains and coastline of this beautiful, wild, rugged part of the world.
Nearly forty years in the wilderness I have found my home!
By Mary Lynch