Coasting in Co. Waterford

I strayed a bit further from Tramore today. I am only inching my way around the county as I want to take savour every old haunt through new eyes. It was Christmas time when I was last out along the Copper Coast when the 5km restriction came in.

It was a gorgeous sunny day today and the sea and countryside looked magnificent. Really, I couldn’t ask for anything more than to live in this beautiful part of Ireland and the World.

This was the view from the cliffs on the Copper Coast looking back towards Tramore.

Sea Pinks on the Copper Coast

And looking south from more or less the same spot, this is the vista that opened up:

Deserted Beach along the Copper Coast

This is the former copper mining region of Co. Waterford and it is hard to believe that this area was once a hive of activity and that the now sparsely populated area was a busy, bustling community.

Today, it was difficult to believe that it had been out of my reach for almost four months.

Soaking in Nature

The last few days have been all about being with nature for me and I have spent hours just watching birds, waves, flowers, trees …

The Nesting Swans

I’m told by a watching farmer that the cygnets are due this coming Thursday so it’s all very exciting.

The experience of being out and about in lovely natural places made me think very much of the following poem:

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

-Wendell Berry-

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free

The Heron

Time in Co. Waterford

I’ve been making the very most of the lifting of our 5km travel restriction to travel within one’s county.

This morning I headed out to the Waterford Greenway which has been developed from an old railway line and to date it spans over 40 km.

The part I like most runs along the River Suir near Waterford City.

River Suir from the Greenway

Time has been, and continues to be, almost timeless with the pandemic but there is an added dimension to not being sure what era one is in when out on the Greenway. This is because there are so many remants of the old railway line and one can almost hear it echoing along on certain stretches.

The Old Stone Bridge

Today, I was very taken with the way old parts of track have become embedded in the ditch, real reminders of olden days:

The Ravages of Time

All the while, there were signs of Spring everywhere, compared to when I was last out in late December. The gorse with its coconut scent was divine:

Gorse

And, it was a day when it seemed like serious runners and cyclists were in full flow keeping a close eye on their times:

Running for Time

I guess love is pretty timeless too, and I was very pleased to see the knitted heart that clearly has a whole story attached to it still holding firm:

All Heart

Magic in Co. Waterford

Today was the big day in Ireland when the 5km restriction lifted to allow travel within our county.

I went to my old haunt, The Anne Valley, on the Copper Coast. It was divine and I spent a good deal of time watching the precious swans out there. The main pair have built their nest so all seems well with their world.

I had just read a little piece about magic that is on the trail:

Anne Valley

As I was standing very still admiring one of the swans, a woman pushing a child’s buggy passed by and told me that someone wanted to give me a present. An adorable little girl had a dandelion in her outstretched hand and I was quite overwhelmed at her generosity and lovely smile. I thanked her profusely and smiled at the mother before returning to the swan. The mother called out that someone else had a present for me and a tiny tot was behind me with another dandelion.

The wild flowers or weeds to some might as well have been big bouquets they were such a surprise.

Perfect Gift

I certainly plan on keeping a close eye on the swan family which has been such a part of my life for years now:

On Guard

Hopefully, I will get to meet my new found magical friends again who brought such unexpected human joy:

Wildflower Children

Red Doors

At the Nire Valley, Co. Waterford

Red doors have a way of luring me in like no others.

I always screech to a halt when I see one just to admire it and the more vibrant and out of the way the better.

This one is a bit like a door in my life as it is in a lovely mountainous area called the Nire Valley at the edge of Co. Waterford and reminds me of when we lived in Clonmel in Co. Tipperary back in the late 70s to mid-80s. The Nire was a go to place to bathe in a river and climb mountains leading to lovely lakes.

I still go there betimes especially when the gorse is in full bloom and am looking forward to heading there when the 5km restrictions lift on April 12. So many old haunts to catch up on in this county of mine!

Ireland and Covid

We’re still in Level 5 Lockdown in Ireland after the terrible surge of cases post Christmas.

The 5km restriction is still here and only essential shops are open. Visits to houses and gardens are banned

There are some green shoots, however.

Case numbers that were in the 6,000 a day range have dropped gradually to about 550 and hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths are also decreasing.

Some classes in schools have opened up again recently and education and health services are priorities.

Vaccination rollout is slow due mainly to distribution issues but it is happening.

It’s not an easy time for anyone but it is such a relief that the out of controlness post-Christmas seems to have been dealt with.

Caution is the name of the game as we saw what the pre-Christmas opening did and the price paid has been terrible.

It will be many months before there is much relaxation but hopefully it will be worth the wait.

Seeing our county figures drop to single figures some days this week has been wonderful after the horrific outbreak here in Tramore after Christmas when the town was ravaged with the virus leaving many still very unwell or bereft.

Dunhill Castle Awaits

On Holidays

There’s a humongous amount of talk swirling round about holidays here in Ireland at the moment and it seems to have become a national obsession about whether foreign holidays will be allowed or whether it will have to be holidays in Ireland due to Covid19.

The latest effort to go away on holidays that has been reported is Irish people booking in for dental work in sunny climes – essential travel in their eyes – but not showing up for their appointments.

Holidays are not important to me at all, at all. I used to enjoy them as a kid when we took family holidays in Ireland but since adulthood, I have never been too pushed about them and certainly don’t feel that 2 weeks in some sun spot or in some busy city is anything special.

Maybe, it’s because I live in a beautiful place which offers delights all around me and because it is on the coast has that ever-changingness about it.

I often wonder if holidays are a sort of expectation and will never forget my first day back in College after First Year when all the talk was about Summers in the US or Greece. I had spent a blissful Summer coaching tennis in Ireland and playing in a host of tennis tournaments mainly around Dublin. I didn’t feel deprived at all but was always a bit surprised that holidays or the lack of them were among criteria for defining poverty.

I know that there is the view that travel broadens the mind and refreshes one but is this blown out of all proportion and driven by social media, travel industry and so-called celebreties and influencers?

If I were to identify my dream holiday, it would be to some remote parts of coastal Ireland that I have never been to and that includes a few of our little islands. I don’t care if it rains or not as I see tremendous beauty in rain, raindrops and rainbows.

Copper Coast, Co. Waterford, Ireland