Sounds that are DEEPLY Ingrained in Ireland

 Sounds of Ireland

Sounds of Ireland

People in Ireland  spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the weather. I sometimes wonder if that goes back to the days when farming was so dominant here.

But it’s the way the weather is talked about that really fascinates me.

I’ve been doing a survey on the move since the heatwave began a few weeks ago and I’m amazed at the extent to which God pervades passing exchanges, especially with  people aged over about 25.

This is just so typical:

Me Greeting Acquaintance/Stranger: Great Day!

Response: Wonderful, thank God!

I’m not a ‘God’ person but somehow I think I’d miss this turn of phrase if it suddenly stopped.

And while I’m on the subject of  things religious, I can’t seem to make up my mind how I’d feel if the ringing of the Angelus Bell at noon everyday on the National Airwaves was dropped. It certainly lets me know what time it is;  that I’m here in Ireland; and it’s been doing that since I was born!

I wonder if it’s the heat that’s making me write about such things?

P.S. I’m totally against the calls to stop the jingle of the ice-cream van as it goes around town in Summer. That would really be the end of an era!  (Yes, I know about noise pollution and obesity and kiddies demanding ice-cream …..)

Where do YOU stand on any/all of these BIG issues?





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Here’s My Beloved Tramore ~ Native Heath and Oasis of Peace

Tramore, Co. Waterford in the sunny south-east of Ireland is the place where I was born and the place that has been home now for the last twenty-five years.

Tramore Beach and Backstrand from the Doneraile Walk

Tramore Beach and Backstrand from the Doneraile Walk

Yesterday morning I was woken by puppy, Stan, who lured me out for a walk at dawn.  It was one of those golden mornings and I felt absolutely blessed as we strolled along a route which is beyond familiar to me but which is ever-changing.

Rather than heading to the three mile long beach, from which Tramore takes its name, we stayed at the top of the town. This took us passed the two churches, which merge in my mind as the child of a mixed marriage.

The Victorian Doneraile Walk, which has such wonderful vistas of  Tramore Bay, called us. It is the place where my mother walked every evening when she was pregnant with me and I just love the views it provides of Tramore Bay. From there, we went to the Pier where the boats were tugging and waiting for the tide to rise. One man, though, was up bright and early paddling in his kayak.

The Cliff Road is the place that I associate with my own pregnancy almost  twenty years ago now. I walked it daily for the nine months and got to know every nook and cranny along the way.

And our final destination was Newtown Wood which has the little bridge that I consider to be my very own social bridge.

I hope you enjoy this short slideshow of the photographs which I took on Sunday. I know that Tramore will never, ever look exactly the same because its beauty is ever-changing with the time, tide, light, weather, season and, I suppose, the mood and interests of the beholder.

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Things for which I am grateful #233 – 274 – Art.


This is a magnificent post and one that should appeal to all art lovers.

Originally posted on Thereisnocavalry:

As you’ve probably gathered, the arts are a huge part of my life. And this is my mantra:

Without the arts,

We have no culture.

Without culture,

We have no society.

Without society,

We have no civilisation.

And without civilisation,

We have anarchy.

Which, in itself, is paradoxical, because so many artists are viewed as rebels to society. To me, artists aren’t rebels, they are pioneers. They show us new ways of interpreting the world.

Art galleries are my cathedrals. They are the places I go to escape from reality and immerse myself in the presence of their genius.

Here are a few of my favourite artists. (I haven’t included ones that I’ve already written individual posts about, such as Modigliani, Chang or Lautrec.)

As you can see, I’m quite traditional in a lot of respects. What I love about much of the impressionistic work is the space, light, colour, composition…

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Blogger’s Block ~ 12 Quick Remedies

Slippery Slope

I keep coming across people who say that they have ‘hit the wall’  with blogging and find it next to impossible to motivate themselves to write any kind of a post.

Here are my thoughts on how to beat ‘bloggers block;’

  1. Bear in mind that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ post;
  2. Keep a note of possible post topics (ideally in the Drafts Folder with a Working Title) that hit you at the oddest times;
  3. Aim to post frequently ~ even short, short posts ~ as blogging is rather like fitness and the more you train the easier it is;
  4. Remember that what might seem absolutely mundane to you could be quite extraordinary and fascinating to your readers;
  5. Get out and about for inspiration rather than trying to draw it from the Internet;
  6. Write about things that YOU feel passionate about rather than setting out to ‘please’ your readers;
  7. Look at the Search Terms that have brought people to your Blog and identify a question that you would like to address/answer;
  8. Take a pile of photographs and write about an aspect of one of them that appeals to you;
  9. Write a post and ask your readers what they would like you to write about;
  10. Invite other bloggers to contribute to your blog;
  11. Write a post about blogs you really enjoy;
  12. If all else fails, write a post telling the world about your blogger’s block. You’d be amazed how much support, practical advice and inspiration you’d get!

I’d love to hear YOUR tips for dealing with ‘Blogger’s Block.’ 

Fresh Angles

Fresh Angles


Posted in Blogging, Connections | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Mount Congreve: A Garden beyond Words

There is no doubt that places one knows and loves deeply have their own special way of conversing. Mount Congreve Gardens certainly fall into that category for me and I can best describe the feeling through this short poem:


I don’t take your words
Merely as words.
Far from it.
I listen
To what makes you talk -
Whatever that is -
And me listen.
Shinkichi Takahashi
(Translated from the Japanese by Lucien Stryk and Takahashi Ikemoto) 


At present, Mount Congreve is full of colour and the Astilibes, especially, are blooming in glory:


However, what spoke loudest to me when I was there were hearts of all descriptions. I think seeing a painting ( I don’t know by whom yet!) of  the late Ambrose Congreve in the delightful little coffee shop set the tone for me.

Here was the man who had devoted so much love into developing Mount Congreve into the gardens that we enjoy today:

Ambrose Congreve

Ambrose Congreve

So, it was a walk defined by thoughts of heart, hearts, and heartfulness and one during which it seemed that Mount Congreve was speaking and listening by turn.


Posted in Co. Waterford, Connections, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Come Walk with Me from Annestown to Dunhill Castle

Annestown town to Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford

Annestown town to Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford

Sunday was special like so many of the Sundays of my childhood. We used to go for walks on country roads, just like the road from Annestown to Dunhill Castle, here in Co. Waterford.

Childhood walks were always fun, but now that I look back on them, I can see that our parents, more subconsciously than anything else, brought us to places that would be educational in all sorts of ways.

Mother had a passion for nature, especially trees and wild wildflowers and Father was very keen on history as well as landscape photography.

I didn’t really mean to go for a walk on Sunday but found myself in the little village of Annestown with swimming on my mind. My eyes were drawn, as always to Dunhill Castle, which is about two miles up the Anne Valley from Annestown.  The castle has a long, long history, which is well summarised here. In short, the site stretches back to pre-historic times but the first castle was built by the hugely influential la Poer (Power) family in the 1200s.

The ruin that stands guard over the Anne Valley today is very imposing and it is intriguing to think that the castle and the remains of an old church and graveyard were once centre pieces of a whole village. It is also quite amazing to think that the sea used to flow right up to the Castle whereas now there is but a narrow river.

My walk on Sunday had me thinking of the battles that raged between the Powers of Dunhill and the City of Waterford in the 14th century, but it also brought me back to Summer Sundays when Mother would delight in lifting us up to smell honeysuckle, pick juicy blackberries, play with buttercups and daisies, climb gates, run through bracken, listen to grasshoppers, watch fish jump in the river, blow dandelions, pick long grasses and gently press the seeds to sail in the breeze …..

That road from Annestown to Dunhill has hardly changed since I was a kid and here’s how it was as I walked from the beach at Annestown up to the Castle and the ruins of the old church and back again…..

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Irish Thatch ~ Examples from Co. Waterford

Thatched houses are one of the most beautiful features of Ireland and we are very fortunate  here in Co. Waterford to have many fine examples.  I suspect that this is in large part due to the fact that we have a Master Thatcher, Hugh O’Neill, living in the area.

Here are some of the thatched houses in Co. Waterford that I find most appealing:

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Thatched pubs tend to be very picturesque and evocative. I am always saddened when I pass one particular thatched pub that I used to frequent which has now fallen into disrepair. It clings to its former glory and shows the extent to which thatched buildings need to be maintained:


Here are some of the thriving thatched pubs in Co. Waterford that have special meaning for me:


Posted in Co. Waterford Ireland, Connections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments