Irish Artist Neil Shawcross – weekly dip – Strangford Lough

Swimmingly Shawcross-web use 1

Neil Shawcross

A weekly sojourn              To catch his bliss

Determination                   In a clenched fist

Strides in with purpose     And submits to the Sea

Tense for one moment     Then exquisitely free

Maureen McCoy                 July 2011




Lockdown Blues

After two months at home, thank the Stars and the Moon

We’re easing the lock-down and can move about soon.

Oh, I’ve missed my swimming in the Sea and the Lake

and my hands are all calloused from wielding a rake!

For years the garden had a perfunctory skiff;

A quick dash with the mower to tidy a bit,

A few Veggies planted then fend for themselves

But now, like so many, I’ve had time to delve.

My ramshackle greenhouse near bursts at the seams

With cavalcades of Courgette and Micro Greens.

The Tomatoes are stretching their limbs to the sky

While Carrots and Parsnips drain the water-butt dry.

And I’m learning the birds in the Garden that feed;

Chaffinch and Goldfinch, I keep them in seed.

I’ve now decorated the rooms in my home

Refresh and declutter – too long alone!

Lockdown Blues Image3MCC


And with all the exercise, I’ve realised I Like,

Walking and Yoga and going out on the Bike.

But I STILL miss my Swimming, so, while sipping Sloe Gin,

I came up with an idea, to bring the Outside… IN…

With too much time, and left-over paint I fear –

I happened to come up with this SPLENDID IDEA!

Bored with my Bathroom and no plumber to help

I decided to do a makeover, myself!

“What a Great Idea!” It seemed in my head,

“I can’t go to the Lake – it can come to ME instead!”

So, here is the consequence of binge-watching shows

On home décor and Art; “We’re ALL artists you know…”


I blame GRAYSON PERRY, so please heed my warning

Lest you should wake up to THIS every morning;

Lockdown Blues Image4MCC


My bathroom now has, at least for a while,

This Waterside visitor, who DOES make me smile;

He may not be Perfect, he may not be Grand,

But he was My piece of Lakeside, whilst Swimming was banned!



Words and photos by

Maureen McCoy 19th May 2020




Triple image web use 1d

Under The Waterfall

Sunlight dances on the surface, golden leaves circle, caught in soft currents, drawn ever closer to the edge. They spin faster and faster finally to be swept over the rocks as the water gushes to the next pool.

I watch all this, my feet dangling. The leaves have moved on from their dance around my toes but I shall remain. I slip into the pool, my skin warmed by the sun, quivers as the cold touches it. A sharp intake of breath and I stretch forward, gliding to the centre. The deep water is soft on my skin. I turn onto my back and look at the blue sky, sun glints on the surface and sparkles on wet rocks. The fall, behind me, silver and white, I swim into its waves, my skin tingles as the water spins and rises. The fall now pounds down on my shoulders and head, numbing, a cold shower forcing every inch of my being awake and alive. I move behind the curtain, the rush in-front and here is a hidden place, cool and separate from the world. Will I break out, through that curtain to rejoin the sunlight?

Instead I slip quietly under, deeper, below the force of the fall, chaos diffuses and all is silent. Shafts of sunlight streaming down, golden on my skin, this muted world is mine alone. I swim close to the floor, beneath, on to the middle of the pool where finally, reluctantly, I have to surface. I glide up and up, looking at the sky through a clear window in the golden haze, and then suddenly break into the air. I take a breath and roll onto my back to gaze at the sky once again.

Maureen McCoy                 May 2011


Ballymartin 1a

Simple Pleasures

What simple pleasure I gained from the Sea

A weightless, more supple, version of me

She weaves through the sea-weed, exploring the rocks

Beneath the waves where time seems to stop

Pulled by the currents, the tide makes her sway

Caressed by the water, she’d like to stay.

But soon she must rise and return to the land

Then I walk from the sea – contented and calm.

Maureen McCoy                 August 2010


Wild Art 1 - 04aFeet

I promise to kick off my shoes at every opportunity, run barefoot in wet grass,

Paddle at the shore and squidge my toes in the soft sand.

I will pull socks on over sandy feet and feel the tingle all the way home-

To leave sand on the bathroom floor –

(Maureen McCoy – excerpt from Feet June 2011)


Wild Art 1 - 10a

Water Of Life

From dark tannin ores carving the rock

Travels down hillside

Filling the Lough

Reflecting the heavens in the dark and the deep

Who can tell

The secrets you keep

I venture to trespass in this other world

I float and am carried

My senses are stirred

In softness and strength, a power pure

At ease in the water

Graceful and sure.

Colours now changing, caught in the sun

From copper to silver

The journey begun

Whispering, chuckling, now hidden from sight

To spring forth again

A childish delight

Gather momentum, now rush under trees

Watch the water of life

On it’s way to the sea.

Maureen McCoy                 Nov 2009


Wild Art 1 - 17a


New World

I let the water slip over my head and beneath

I find a new world

Where the colours are changed

More muted when the sun is bright,

Yet, when the sky is dull and cloud covered,

More vibrant

They take on new dimensions and smile at me

Daring me to explore, whispering,

Search, I have secrets to tell.

Shall I tell you what I find?

Through forests of kelp I meet others,

Jellyfish, their slow and rhythmic pulse

As they glide silently by.

Industrious crabs scuttle across the sandy floor

And fish swim alongside.

We do not speak or wave or shake hands

We are simply, Here.

Maureen McCoy                 Sep 2012



Wild Art - Paul McCambridge

Moonlight Swim

There is something magic in a moonlight swim, with that disc gleaming pearly white.
The call of a bird across the beach, I can’t see her in this muted light
As I take off my shoes and press bare feet into the cool, damp sands,
I remember a time many moons ago, when I held my brothers hands.
Our first night swim, a Donegal beach, we begged our parents consent.
And scrambled our way down a steep sand-dune, there stood with nervous intent.
I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight but I remember that night so clear.
Adventure, excitement, the cold and damp, all tinged with an escence of fear.
Now forty years on and again I stand, as wavelets caress the shore
Silver threads dance that are soon to be lost, as the waves retreat once more.
As I cast my clothes in a heap on the sand, my skin glows a milky white
And I step into the water, a silver-tipped grey, under pearlescent moonlight.