The peninsula is depopulating rapidly. Maureen had said as she brought me to Dursey the day before yesterday. Young people are moving to the towns, houses are standing empty, businesses are closing or only open for the summer season. Only the old people are staying. Also the crisis has driven people to find work outside Ireland. Its getting a bit better now, and they are slowly coming back.
It starts to rain heavily as I walk into the little museum café in the small town of Allinihies. Straight after me, but already wet, three Irish women enter. We saw you all the way, you were walking a bit ahead of us, they say. They have, just like me, also started to walk the E8. Had not dared the ‘returns only’ message though. A small group of French is sitting in the café as well, I recognize them from yesterday when Maureen brought me to Dursey, and they hadn’t wanted to make way in their camper van. Maureen was forced to drive backwards quite a bit. She was quite annoyed, in Dutch we would say she was really pissed off. Today there was a nice German waiting to pass me until there was sufficient room. There is also a group of Eastern Europeans, judging by their language. They leave before I am able to find out. The man behind the counter is Dutch, I can hear it from his accent. He acknowledges it almost grudgingly. He came some 30 years ago to this area and stayed on, he says. Made a living, found a wife. he tried to resettle in Rotterdam 20 years ago. But it wasn’t his town anymore. To put it diplomatically, he said, I think Rotterdam has started to look like North Africa. And look around you he says, as he points to the sweeping view of the Atlantic Ocean outside, I would never be able to afford this in the Netherlands.
So many Europeans in such a small town.