On Inismore Island, off the west coast of Ireland there is a place called 'Poll na bPeist' or the Wormhole. It is an amazing natural rock formation in the wide rocky terrace below the cliffs on the southern side of the island. Seen from above it is a perfectly rectangular pool about 36 yards long by 13 across. The pool is connected by an underwater tunnel to the open sea, and swells up and down with the waves.
The pool was formed when the roof of the submerged cave below finally collapsed, the rock terrace broke along the natural rectilinear fault lines which are characteristic of the islands topography.
Seeing it for the first time, it is hard to believe that the pool is not man made. It's strange form and the swelling water give Poll na bPeist such an eerie impression and probably led to it's association in legend with a reptilian sea monster (an Peist) which lay in its depths. At high tide the waves crash over the terrace and wash into the pool.
After experiencing Poll na bPeist it became so engrained in my subconcious mind that I found myself unwittingly making several paintings about it. At first I thought it was down to my architectural training that I just couldn't stop drawing boxes, until I realised it was the Wormhole I had been painting over and over. Perhaps it had become an association with fear of the unknown, death, otherworlds? Its' mysterious depths appeared again in 'Paddy's Dark Secret' - a portal to the afterlife.
During a trip to the Island in the summer of 2010 my son and I had a spontaneous swim there.
It had to be done, to get over my fear of the Peist.
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