Evenings with Dad

Kilfarassy Beach, which is about four miles from Tramore, always evokes thoughts of Dad. He first came to love it in the early 1940s when he came to Waterford as a young bank official. Having grown up by the sea in rugged Co. Clare, he had an instinctual need to see tall cliffs and sunsets.

Sunset.jpg
Golden Light

It was the place where he brought us for swims and picnics when we were kids and it was the place where he and I used to go for our evening outings when he was nearing the end of his life. We’d go for a tiny walk, linking arms, and then sit in the car and watch the sunset. Sometimes, we would just sit in companionable silence; other times, we’d chat about his memories, our shared memories or about things that we wanted to discuss in absolute private.

Sunset2
Beach of Dreams

Kilfarassy’s cliffs light up magnificently at sunset but our eyes and talk was always about that spot down at the end of the beach by the jaggedy rocks which was ‘ours.’ That’s where we once sat as a family ~ buckets and spaces, deck chairs, togs, towels and the leaky thermos flask wrapped in an old tea towel.

Sunset3.jpg
The Eye of the Cliff

Both of us had a fascination with the eye of the cliff right out at the edge. We called it ‘the eye’ but there were times when we thought it was more like a big arm enfolding or maybe a heart.

Sunset1
Waves of Emotion

The chance to have all those shared hours with Dad, especially in his last years, is something I treasure beyond description. Sometimes, he would nod off to sleep in the car on the way home but never once did he nod off when we were watching the sunset and waiting to soak up the afterglow.

 

 

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

29 thoughts on “Evenings with Dad”

  1. Precious pictures and memories, Jean. It prompted me to take a look on Google Earth – as I am sure I have mentioned, the closest I have been to that area is Dunmore East … a long time ago, 1963 I think.

  2. I love the colours of your pictures, especially in the last one. It’s a good think that you have got to cherish those moments with someone dear. I do have a bunch of regrets of not spending enough time with my relatives.

    1. Dana, it’s not everyone that gets the chances I got. I was living a few hundred yards away so could be there in a twinkling to seize those moments of energy and wakefulness. Also being so close meant that there was the opportunity to build deep connections.

  3. Precious and valuable memories Jean – irreplaceable. Funny, the memory of the leaky thermos. It felt so peaceful just reading this and looking at the pictures. Beautiful cliffs and beaches Jean. In my mind there is no panorama more beautiful than that of an ocean and a beach, especially at sunrise and sunset.

  4. Hi Joni, yes ‘flooding back’ sums it up. It’s interesting how much we associate particular places with different people. The next beach up is definitely ‘Mother’s.’

    1. Hi Tom, I was absolutely blessed to have him and to have him until I was in my 50s. He was wise, funny, creative and utterly devoted to us all. What more could one ask for?

  5. What a great memory to have with your Dad. I can see how it wouldn’t be possible to fall asleep during sunset. It must make you feel so much closer to him just by being there. Beautiful photos of a special place.

    1. Great, indeed, George.,
      I just have to go out there and it’s like he’s with me.
      He was mad into photography and I have lots and lots of his photos of the beach too. There were times we thought he was lost amd he’d arrive back having had a wonderful time just waiting for the perfect shot with waves, clouds, sun, people, dogs, ….. aligned.
      I’m not so sure what he’d think of my efforts but anything I know about photography, I learned from him.
      When he reached a point of not being able to go out, he loved to have me bring photos back to him of the places he loved and he’d give me guidelines on composition and stuff as well as the best times of day to capture local places. It was an unexpected time of learning with him in the bed and all the photos scattered around him.

        1. He was certainly special to the people who loved him and he was very big into being a ‘father,’ something which he had gotten from his own father who was widowed with eight kids when Dad was twelve.

  6. This is so sweet. I have similar feelings and experiences with my own father. So lovely you have those memories to cherish and these photographs that you remind you of them. xx

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