Transfers

February 6th has a strong echo in my life as it was the day in 1967 that our family moved from Castleblayney in Co. Monaghan to Drogheda in Co. Louth. I was nine then and that was one of five moves that we made from when I was 3 to 18 years old. ( I also moved away from home when I was seventeen to go to College but that’s a different kind of moving.)

These moves were all within Ireland and were part of father’s job in the bank. Both he and mother had been in the bank from the early 1940s and had moved numerous times in their single days ~ their paths crossing when they were both based in Kilkenny City for a while.

As a kid, I found moving from place to place rather exciting and remember being full of excitement as I bade everyone in Castleblayney goodbye and watched all our belongings, which were packed in tea chests, being loaded into a huge big removal van.

Bank House, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan
Bank House, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan

There’s no doubt that all the moves brought us very close together as a family ~ we only had each other until we made new friends. Going to new schools was daunting, especially landing there in the middle of term and having to get to grips with new teachers, new sets of rules and and, of course, all the existing pupils who tended to be curious about any newcomer.

Apart from family, tennis was the other anchor that made moving manageable. Tennis courts are the same size no matter where you go and the rules of the game are the same. It was always such a relief to get sorted in a tennis club and be able to feel at home hitting forehands and backhands like always!

We never knew how long we’d be staying in any one place ~ it ranged from 10 months to 8 years ~ but it was pretty certain that a transfer was never too far off. This never stopped me from putting down roots and getting incredibly attached to places but there was always that feeling of being a little bit on the sidelines.

St. Patrick’s Day always made me feel this ‘outsidedness’ more than any other. I can vividly remember watching St. Patrick’s Days Parades from our Bank House window in the middle of Drogheda and feeling that I simply didn’t belong in the town. To this day, I’ve never be a part of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Perhaps, this year I’ll get stuck into our local one here in Tramore, which is the place I was born and the place to which I eventually returned full-time in 1991.

More than anything, all the moving as a child, brought it home to me how every single place has lots and lots to offer; new people, new landscape, a depth of local history. Much of this can be taken for granted by people who have always lived in the same place but through new eyes it can be a whole new adventure.

The Viaduct, Drogheda, Co. Louth.
The Viaduct, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

It certainly doesn’t surprise me, after all this, that it is very often people who are ‘blow ins’ who blog or write about the wonders of places.

Are you a person who moved around as a child or did you spend your childhood in the one place? 

 

 

Is Your Blog Wrapped in Social Media?

The more blogs I visit and the more WP themes I explore, it seems that bloggers are tending to be more and more engaged with a host of social media platforms from Facebook to Twitter to … goodness knows what.

I’ve taken quite a step back from all social media platforms over the last year or so. I’m still on Twitter and I’ve set my posts to go up there but as I don’t engage with Twitter for anymore than about 5 minutes per week, I’m not fully at ease with having my posts going up there.

All this has made me wonder to what extent people see blogging as a stand alone activity or as something that is almost inextricably linked to a range of social media platforms.

I see blogging as being qualitatively different to other social media platforms and I like the intimacy of it ~ or the sense of intimacy.

Somehow, other social media platforms make me feel headachy with all the traffic racing by. I want peace and quiet and not to feel like I’m standing in the middle of a big city at rush hour.

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Where are you about putting your blog out there on FB, Twitter and the like? 

Old Red Iron

“Old Red Iron” is an abandoned railway bridge in Waterford City. It was built in 1906 and was part of the route that once linked Cork and Kerry to Rosslare via Waterford.

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Old Red Iron, Waterford City, Ireland

The bridge, at 1,205ft,  which was once one of the longest in Ireland and is just down river from what is now the longest bridge, River Suir Bridge, which was opened in 2009.

River Suir Bridge from Old Red Iron
River Suir Bridge from Old Red Iron

Old Red Iron oozes character and is just down the road from Waterford’s Dog Pound. Climbing up onto the bridge, one can hear the barking and whining of the dogs and that in itself tugs hard at the heartstrings.

Old Red Iron looking towards Waterford City
Old Red Iron looking towards Waterford City

The bridge has nine spans and the central part could open for shipping.

Old Red Iron
Old Red Iron

The central part has now been removed and can be seen leaning against the river side a little way downstream.

The  railway line was originally used as a faster route for mail between the transatlantic port of Cobh and London via Rosslare however it closed in 1967 only to reopen again 1970 to service the mineral processing plant near Dungarvan. The Waterford to Dungarvan line was used until 1987 when it was closed to the public. It was abandoned in 1995 and by 2003, the central section and the track was removed.

Old Red Iron has a melancholy feel it it but somehow its rusty glow has great allure.

Old Red Iron ~ Abandoned
Old Red Iron ~ Abandoned

 

 

 

Men and Women – Irish Style

I’m just perusing a book of Irish Wit and Wisdom and wondering about these contentions:

There are three kinds of men: the worker, the hunter, and the boaster.

And

There are three kinds of women: stubborn as a pig, unruly as a hen, and gentle as a lamb.

Is there a grain of truth in here?

Your Unruly Hen!

Hope Springs Eternal

I just tossed everything aside today and went out to greet Spring or should I say that she came to greet me?

First stop was what I’ve christened the ‘Primrose Road’ where the view of the fields was greener than green:

Green Green Grass of Home
Green Green Grass of Home

and there they were:

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Sweet Scented Primroses

Out by Fenor Bog, one word on a magnificent woodcarving in the graveyard of Fenor Church caught my eye:

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Hope is something we all need in life and I guess that each and every one of us has a duty to spread as much hope, in even the tiniest ways, to try and ease the way for those who are caught in a quagmire of hopelessness. That quagmire can seize any of us in the blink of an eye.

Nature was certainly playing her part in singing hope for me today. Is any sight more uplifting than clusters of snowdrops …

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and what about the loving scent of hyacinths:

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Being a Good Loser

The importance of being a good loser was something that was drilled into me as a child ~ whether it was playing tiddly winks, tennis or … and my parents were undoubtedly prouder of me if they saw me losing with a smile than winning with arrogance.

Early Learning Photo: Frank Tubridy
Early Learning
Photo: Frank Tubridy

It’s something that has stayed with me all the years and I tend to look for it in sportsmen, women and children all the time. This weekend, I saw it in both Serena Williams and Andy Murray at the Australian Open Tennis Championships.

When you think about it, though, being a good loser, is a bit more complicated than might at first appear ~ especially when broadened out from sport.

The term loser is a very derogatory one,  here in Ireland anyway, and tends to be applied to people who have fallen by the wayside. The stereotypical loser is a person who squandered opportunities and is now a homeless, friendless, drunken lout who shouts abuse at passers-by. Little attention is given to the stories behind the losing and generally speaking there are back stories that would break your heart.

Web of Life
Web of Life

At another level, there is the matter of viewing death as losing a battle against some illness or other. I squirm when I think of this because there was a time in the years after the death of my boyfriend from cancer in 1981 that I came to view people who had survived cancer as people I admired most and I remember thinking of the wonderful Bob Champion and Jonjo O’Neill from the world of horse-racing in this context. I can see clearly now that my boyfriend wasn’t a loser (good or bad) because he died.

It seems to me to be time that we moved away from talking about disease in war terms. Interestingly, we don’t hear about people fighting Alzheimer’s Disease or losing the battle with it. I guess that’s because we don’t see this as something that anyone can overcome. That in itself puts such diseases into a category where those who have them can be written off as hopeless cases, when, in fact, they are very much unique human beings who deserve our love and every effort at maintaining connection by whatever means ~ touch, music …..

Layers of Humanity
Layers of Humanity

I’m not sure what being a good loser in the world of work and business means. Imagine going to an interview and stating that being a good loser is among one’s positive attributes? Should we be measuring people by success all the time ~ even if that success comes at the expense of walking over others? I don’t think so.

And, finally, I have to examine my conscience about writing of ‘Losing’ Elderly Parents on this very blog. As I look at that whole issue now after the deaths of my parents in 2009 and 2010 respectively, I’m not sure that losing is the best word. It felt like that from the other side ~ when they were frail and dying ~ but now I realise how much they are still with me in my everyday life through memories and genes.

Presence
Presence

In grief terms, there are certainly  perceptions of being a good loser and oftentimes, these are about ‘moving on’ and sparing other people from one’s sadness and upset. Such perceptions can put huge pressure on people who are grieving and are most unhelpful.

So, I suppose I would conclude that those urgings to be a good loser are really urgings to be a person who is humane.

What do you reckon about all this? 

 

The Seahorse Tragedy and My Youngest Follower

Today marks the 200th anniversary of a terrible maritime tragedy in Tramore.

I was deeply impressed by the way in which my youngest follower, Julie Clancy, who is aged 12, wrote about this on her blog.

She is clearly a young woman with a great future in writing and I hope that you will take the time to read her story about that fateful event which has left its mark on the history of Tramore.

MW5
Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford