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Rainbow over Enniscrone

The weather forecaster said changeable in the west with scattered showers and sunshine. Along the Enniscrone promenade and coastal walk, it was blowing a rain-laced gale.

In a brief break from the squalls, the greyness cleared with a burst of sunlight in a blue sky. A magnificent rainbow appeared – a perfect multicoloured circular arc over the coastal path, its curve arching through the broken cloud from the rocky seashore to my destination at Carrowhubbuck.

It’s easy to see why ancient people saw rainbows as a bridge between sky and earth, a celestial bridge spanning into the world of the gods.

The ancient Celts saw rainbows as signifying promise – the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But it’s merely sunlight reflecting on water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky.

The colours of the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, most easily remembered by the line: Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (ROYGBIV).

Within moments another of nature’s magical displays had faded again with only the rainbow’s end lingering briefly. More rain and greyness blowing in from the south.

It was onwards to Carrowhubbuck on one of those steely February mornings when the walk back to the car is a case of head down into the south-westerlies.

Poet, Viv Wigley, gives a beautiful and evocative description of seeing a rainbow.


It struts peacock-like when the rains have gone,
but visible from only the one side,
to folk who from behind sun shines upon,
those facing its bright rays will be denied.
Get closer, as the superstitious do,
and hopes arise with each step they draw near,
in vain seeking treasure, although they knew
the closer they get, it would disappear…

By Anthony Hickey

Follow writer and photographer, Anthony Hickey, as he travels around his native Co. Mayo, Ireland.