He remembers the real horses of Achill. He remembers the blacksmith of Keel. The stone cabin of his forge, close to the main road, still remains untouched, now surrounded by a green patch of grass. A faded, blue painted door opens in on the darkened single room left behind by the blacksmith, where the anvil still stands.
And the horses are still real. Large and real and terrifying as ever in memory. Free from all laws, they once roamed along the shoreline of Keel, in a place called the sandy banks. Of course they all had owners, but they reverted to the state of a wild herd along the flat dunes of Achill. It was their free zone, where they lived ungoverned and ran wild, where the summer caravans are parked now and where they play golf and where the surfing lessons take place.
He remembers them coming up the road, the horses of Achill. They took it into their heads from time to time to leave the sandy banks and range around the island, coming in a herd, galloping and scattering all in front of them along the road. The children were all told to run inside. Keep indoors, was the shout that went all around. The sound of their hooves were heard getting louder. And the horses, maybe a dozen, maybe more, maybe fifty or even a hundred in the mind of a boy, with wild human eyes, came running. Horses terrified of their own presence, terrified of the force of their own hooves, terrified by the power of their own herd, charging the main road through the quiet seaside, holiday village of Keel.
The forge has now moved. It is no longer the blacksmith who bangs and grinds the pieces of metal there but the sculptor Ronan Halpin. About a half a kilometre further up from Keel, out along the road to Dooagh, you find his forge, where he creates the more abstract result of his own memory. He is the smith now. And the horses are coming back, untamed figures shaped out of Corten metal and poured concrete and white marble, charging through with no reins to keep them, rearing up and shaking their manes and grinding their steel teeth.