Dara Haskins was my friend. He died, on the 18th Aug 2005 aged just 30, while I was walking the Camino in 2005. It was due to him that I found out about the Camino. He used to go on about this bloody walk in northern Spain. To me it did not sound like fun, but hell. The idea of walking every day for weeks, no room to myself, sharing in hostels with many others – not a way I thought to spend a precious summer. Eventually he convinced me. I had many misgivings about the whole idea, but I set off to start from St Jean in southern France. My life has changed as the result of this and, I suppose therefore, because of Dara. It does sound strong to say life changing, but for a cynic like me it has been.
This page is dedicated to Dara. I have found, in general, that people do not like to talk, (or listen), about people that have just died. We are all going in that direction, but Dara was only thirty, a bit too soon. I am lucky perhaps, when I think of him now, it is of him taking the piss, laughing and doing his best to enjoy life. He is missed, hopefully we all will be.
If you want to add anything here please mail me. Thanks.
I sat on the rock eating my lunch,
And thought “Good time to check phone.”
Urgent messages from Neive and Seamus,
I knew it was you, why would they call.
I listened to the news and hung up the phone,
I walked and walked forty km or more,
Stopping in Granon, you knew it well.
I sat apart from the others, too hard to join in.
The priest from Peru played his sad songs,
I went to the church and cried all afternoon,
While outside a Spanish fiesta went on.
Angry and sad I didn’t know what to do.
Go back to Ireland, or stay here with you.
You showed me the way, and told me to finish,
Two nights before you spoke of Galicia,
Telling me it was good for my “soul”.
I didn’t know pain was included in that…
You drove me nuts, I was angry at you.
I wanted to talk just once more,
Not even good bye,
Just the surprise. Why?
I started to talk about you, there was no other way.
I stopped asking why, and remember what you liked.
You wanted to be a hermit, but loved being with people.
I beat you up a hill and that drove you mad,
Never again you said, beaten by an old man!
Heart of Darkness and bloody Earl Gray,
(Earl Gay as Dermot said)
I reached Santiago, and told you I was there,
I finished as you ordered, and felt a little despair.
I lay on the bed and cried again,
Anna wrapped her arms around me
And I cried like a child, sad once again.
During the way, I saw you in my head.
Never unhappy… but smiling.
I thought that was strange.
Then you laughed at me again, and again.
Taking the piss at my seriousness of life.
I break the rules, and talk about you still.
What you like and what you said.
I will not be silenced by others discomfort,
When I had doubts, you helped me out.
Just do it you said, and pushed me on.
You laughed at my fears and made me move,
I fought too much, and you not enough.
You slowed that down, but started yourself.
I feel cheated, by the way you left.
We had planned on Rome,
And a long life ahead.
Heaven is a problem as we didn’t believe.
Energy of the world was easier to conceive.
I don’t need to say goodbye now,
You are in my head, your image is part of me.
You are dead Dara, but still alive…
I will keep on talking, and cry now and again.
I can not finish, there is no easy way,
I will not say good bye.
Maybe on a different day,
For now, take care, and see you again?
I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.