Arrived at 12:20 at Sligo Airport. A few minutes delayed, but not a problem. Bus arrived at half past, and the journey to Heapstown took another forty minutes. It was a short walk from there to the lake itself, and the cabin I am to stay in. I had some interesting conversations on the bus which fired my imagination, as so I will reproduce them as faithfully as possible here.
Many of my fellow passengers were Irish, heading back to their hometown or to visit relatives in the winter season. I spoke to the natives - natives is the wrong word. I don’t mean to portray them as superstitious savages, come to warn Harker to stay away from Castle Dracula for fear that some unspeakable horror will follow him home. For one thing, we both spoke the same language. Most of the Irish speak English; less than half can actually speak Gaelic. It’s a little sad.
We chatted about our destinations. Some were heading to Geevagh, some to Riverstown, each one the other side of the lake to the other. Some were heading out to the lake itself for a paddle, or to see the legendary waters from the ancient fairy tales. The night well underway, we talked of darker Irish legends. The Sluagh, the mythical fairy host made up of dead souls who fly around stealing living spirits for their flock. The Kelpie, a shapeshifting horse-monster who encourages passers-by to ride it around - right up until it drowns them in icy water and eats them. A German traveler chimed in with a creature from his country, the Alp, a shapeshifting dwarf-vampire thought to be the cause of sleep paralysis and night terrors - like in Heinrich Fussli’s famous painting. He added that most of these little monsters were stillborn children come to cause their parents further anguish from beyond the grave. At this point, I was made uncomfortable to the point I had to ask him to stop. Thankfully he was an understanding man. Some tragedies are too fresh in the mind to be entertaining.
All in all, it was a far better ride than I had expected. Forty minutes passed in a flash.
The cabin itself is just as rustic as I’d imagined - thatched roof, that ‘little cottage in the big forest’ feel despite not being in the woods just a short distance away from it. It sits on the edge of the land. Sitting inside, there is a window which lets me look out over the lake, facing west with forest on one side and a smattering of grass on the other. I moved the desk to the window as soon as I got there. As I sit and write, the view shall inspire me.