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.
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.
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.
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.
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.