Toni McDermott People of the Wild Atlantic Way

This “People of the Wild Atlantic Way” photo stopped me in my tracks

I’ve discovered, somewhat by accident, that I love walking in a wide loop, without a destination in mind. On one long ramble in July 2017 I passed through the small village of Leap (pronounced Lep) in west Cork, and stopped to view the portraits positioned in towns and villages all over the west as part of the “People of the Wild Atlantic Way” project.

This portrait stopped me in my tracks.

The photo frame was adorned with black ribbons and a single, simple quote.

“Get up and do your thing.”

I never met Toni McDermott. I don’t know who she was, where she lived, what she did. I know no-one who knows Toni McDermott.

But that doesn’t really matter.

I love the expression in her face – so full of life, a promise of laughter, of fun, of deep and intelligent conversation.

Toni died on June 29th, less than three weeks before I passed this way and stopped before her “People of the Wild Atlantic Way” portrait.

I made a promise to Toni that day to get up and do my thing. I haven’t kept that promise every day, but I think about it often, and I try.

Rest in peace, Toni. And rest assured that through this beautiful portrait and these concise, beautiful words, your message lives and lasts.

Credit to Shay Hunston, the man behind the “People of the Wild Atlantic Way” project. Find out more about Shay and the project here.

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