Petrified to Stanity

Hi Everyone,

I don’t think I will ever get over the wibble-wobbles that I  got yesterday when the big storm was on. I was a silly, silly, stupid puppy to say that I wanted to go when Jean said: Hey are you coming to see the waves?’

I didn’t recognise any of the beaches that we went to cos the waves were big as houses and, anyway, there were big blobs of white salty stuff blowing into my eyes so I couldn’t see properly.

I was all of a dither when I was asked the same question again this morning. I didn’t want  a repeat that awful feeling in my tum-tum just looking at the sea turning itself all upside down but I decided to give it a go mainly cos I’d heard the birds chirping out in the garden.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw that the sand had come back and the sea was kinda back to normal but I still didn’t trust it.

Here’s how it was when we went to the shore:

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Kilfarrasy Beach

That foamy stuff looked like whipped cream to me ~ and I love whipped cream ~ but I  strongly suspected that it would be salty and not sugary. I was right, for once!

The skyscraper waves were more like big dog kennel size and the sky was kinda smiling as well. It looked like paintings that Jean is always looking at by someone whose name I can’t remember.

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The Smiling Sky

 

So, I was able to relax and get stuck into chewing some chunks of seaweed. Very tasty they are just in case you ever want to give them a try.

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Happy in my ‘Comfort Zone, ‘ Thank You.

So all’s well again … and I hope it is for you too, if it was in a wobble.

Love,

Puppy Stan

 

P.S. The lesson from all this is: Stay well away from the mad seas when there’s a big storm and know that calm will come back even if that looks impossible.

Beach Personalities

Beaches are like people to me in the sense that they all have uniqueness and their own moodiness.

This always hits me when I go to Woodstown Beach which is in East Co. Waterford and at the mouth of the Estuary where there is a big meeting of rivers and open sea.

Woodstown has soft, floury sand that craves to be run through fingers, tiny and not so tiny.

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I love the delicate imprints in the photo above and suspect a bird passed through not long before me.

Woodstown doesn’t have the stones of the beaches on The Copper Coast but has a carpet of shells that crackle as you walk on them while wondering if it can ever be right to break such beauty with heavy soles.

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Of course, every beach has her own relationship with the sun. Woodstown, being in the east, is the place to catch the sunrise and there have been some magic moments there as the dawn breaks. However, I’d have to say that one of my favourite shots that I’ve taken in Woodstown over the years is this one, taken on Winter’s day, as it speaks of the tranquillity of the place to me and the gentle, gentle waves.

I’d love to hear about the personality of a beach that has special meaning for you.

 

 

 

Going With the Flow

I wrote about Mahon Falls up in the Comeragh Mountains here in Co. Waterford a little while back and the River Mahon has been on my mind ever since.

Here is the river gushing down at Mahon Falls;

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Mahon Falls, Co. Waterford

and in this next photograph you can see the river (on the left of the winding path) making its way down towards the sea.

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View from Mahon Falls

The River Mahon rises up in the mountains and eventually enters the sea at Bonmahon which is on the Copper Coast. I was drawn to Bonmahon today to capture the river as it enters the sea.

Just before it turns its last corner, it serves as a place where a few boats are usually moored ~ boats that always catch my eye with their colours and reflections:

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Reflections

Down by the point where the river meets the sea, a beer bottle in a crevice in the rocks was glinting merrily. I couldn’t imagine that it had been put there by human hand and wanted to think that there might be a message in it:

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And, here’s a glimpse of the how the ocean and the River Mahon greet each other in Bonmahon:

A Tale of Two Waterfordian Sunsets

Today’s sunset was a blaze of colour. I was out on the Coastal Path in Dunmore East and could hardly tear myself away.

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Dunmore East, Co. Waterford.

Yesterday’s was a much more subdued affair which I witnessed out on The Copper Coast which is further on down the coast.

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Bonmahon, Co. Waterford

What brought special magic to this sunset was that I had brought my own blackness to take over when daylight succumbed.

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Puppy Stan at the Ready

The softness of his coat and the starry glint in his brown eyes rendered the deep darkness warm, companionable and ours.

The Climb in Co. Waterford

There’s a bit of a back story to the waterfall post of yesterday or maybe I should say ‘back-breaking’ story.

It was another of those Mother and Son excursions that always end up being a lot further and more strenuous than I anticipate and I should have learned by now. But, after a day’s rest, I definitely think it was well worth it.

We went to Mahon Falls, which is Co. Waterford’s best known waterfall. It’s up in the Comeragh Mountains and is a very popular spot for walkers. Thing is I’ve never gone to the top of the waterfall before ~ some of the way but never to the top.

Here’s son, Harry, striding off with a great sense of purpose towards the waterfall:

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The Path to Mahon Falls, Co. Waterford

I couldn’t resist the odd little detour to take photos of the mountain sheep so kept getting left behind. (Little did I think, I was going to be up on the high curvy peak a while later when I was concentrating on the sheep!)

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Comeragh Sheep

Fast forward, or take a look back at the video of the waterfall from yesterday’s post.

I find myself persuaded to climb up and have a look at the waterfall from the top rather than just admiring it as it splashes down. It was tough going, I can tell you, but here’s how it looked from the top. I’m still a little dizzy as I look at this one:

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Mahon Falls Pouring Down

There’s a sense of being on top of the world ~ at least the world of Co. Waterford when you’re way up at the waterfall. Here’s a sense of the vista and it’s hard to believe that a path can become so narrow and the course of a river so defined:

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Wending

As always with Harry, we came down a different way to how we went up and it involved more climbing before the descent. The views were great as we looked down the valley towards the sea:

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The Wilds of Co. Waterford looking towards Dungarvan

 

Back on terra firma, the setting sun was drenching the side of the mountain with burnished red beams:

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Homeward Bound

No matter where Harry and I are climbing, we always find ourselves thinking of the song, The Climb, that we have both loved since 2009:

 

 

The Sparing

It would be hard for most people to understand but I’ve been nearly afraid to take the main road from Tramore to Waterford in recent months because a whole army of diggers, dumpers and bright yellow demolition machines have been at work very close to a ramshackled old cottage that’s precious to me, even if no one else loves it. It’s one of six abandoned cottages on that road and the ‘works’ were happening just beside one and were heading towards the next one which is a few hundred yards away. (Here’s a post I wrote about the six cottages back in 2014).

A lot of the time, I’ve been taking the back road so that I wouldn’t have to see a ‘gap’ where the cottage has lived for a lot longer than I have. And, I haven’t had the courage to ask any of the workmen what the plans are for the cottage.

Anyway, it looks like I can breathe again as the most endangered cottage is still standing in the clearing and looks like it is secure. I thought that St. Stephen’s Day would be a nice quiet day to take some photos. It was quieter than usual but there was still lots of traffic. One car even pulled over and the man driving it asked if my car was broken down. (That’s one of the things I love about Ireland ~ there are plenty of Good Samaritans around the place.)

Anyway, here’s a few shots of  ‘my cottage’ as it looked this morning:

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Approaching from Tramore
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New Gate!
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Front Door and Window

It’s when I get up very close to the cottage that I feel its history. Today I was thinking about all the Christmases this little house must have seen and I wondered about the openings and closings of the front door ~ family and visitors coming and going. Were there floral curtains on the window or net ones or shutters or blinds …. who looked out the window and what did they see?

I’ve been hoping that the little cottage will be spared but today when I was right up beside it, I suddenly remembered that ‘spéir’ in the Irish language (and pronounced the same as ‘spare’) means ‘sky.’ To be ‘amuigh faoin spéir’ means to be ‘out under the sky’ and this is exactly what my cottage is now. The thing is that  I’ve always thought of ‘amuigh faoin spéir’ in a really positive way ~ like being released from captivity.

And just in case you were wondering, here’s how the cottage just up the road was looking:

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Cottage on Tramore-Waterford Road

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Amuigh faoin spéir

 

Christmas Day Smile

It was dank, dark and misty for most of today here in Tramore but I got to see a magical smile as night was closing in.

I’d brought Puppy Stan to Kilfarrasy Beach for a run and we’d got caught in a downpour. It stopped raining just as we got back to the car and I decided to have one last look – with Dad very much in mind.

First a seal appeared all black against the rough seas and then it was as if nature smiled with all her heart.

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Christmas Day, 2016

And how not to love this shining stone that the high tide left as a present for us:

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Inky Gold for Inspiration

In-Betweening on the Copper Coast

There’s talk of a storm looming on the horizon so I thought I would dive into today’s calm and seize my chance to have a lovely dip at one of our beaches or coves along the Copper Coast.

So everything was abandoned and I took off into the blue. Just crossing the little bridge at Annestown, I was enraptured by the deep hue of the River Anne and the gleam of the white-washed cottage that I love so much:

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River Anne, Co. Waterford

There was a softness about the day that had me melting into the very heart of my  Co. Waterford.

One of the key parts of that Waterford is the sweep of the road in the village of Bonmahon and the way the shadows fall on the wall near the now  closed Kennedy’s shop:

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Kennedy’s Grocery and Drapery Shopfront, Bonmahon, Co. Waterford

Ballydwane Cove was where I thought I would swim with its tall cliffs and cosy shelter. But, a local man walking his dog greeted me with: ‘It’s rough; it’s rough today.’ The tide was high and the waves were big and fluffy. The thing about Ballydwane, though,  is that the high cliffs always make the waves look a lot smaller than they are so if it hadn’t been for the mind-reading ‘old salt,’ I would have thrown caution to the gentle breeze and run in:

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Ballydwane, Co. Waterford

It was time for a snack as lunch time had come and gone so I made for stunning Stradbally village with its beautiful brightly painted houses:

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Stradbally, Co. Waterford

The bar that epitomises Co. Waterford for me is the Cove Bar in Stradbally. The fact that it has a painting of one of Waterford’s greatest hurlers, Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh, who is a Stradbally man, painted on its front wall  makes it all the more precious:

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Cove Bar, Stradbally, Co. Waterford

Kilfarrasy was where I eventually decided to swim. It has been like a magnet of late, probably because it was the place where Dad and I used to go and sit in the car, watching the waves on that last December we shared in 2009:

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Textured Kilfarrasy Beach

Puppy Stan was waiting impatiently for me when I got home all energised from the sea. We decided to go and watch the sunset together ~ a little journey that has become one of our bonds in life:

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Paw-Printing Garrarus

At day’s end, the horizon was pencilled out and the dying sun placed her own little punctuation mark to identify this special in-between day.

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Garrarus at Sunset

Relief Rain

It was dark, dank and rainy here today but my heart was light as I got a letter this morning telling me that my two-yearly routine mammogram with BreastCheck which I only had on Monday afternoon was clear. Nothing can ever, ever be taken for granted, especially health, so that, on top of a good report  from my eye specialist yesterday, had me in a heightened sense of appreciation.

I have to admit that I was kinda glad to see plenty of rain over the last day or so because I was a bit concerned about my self-raising flour exploits up at the old graveyard beside Dunhill Castle in recent times. (In case you didn’t read about them and want to they are detailed here.)  I was back a few days ago and was slightly worried that there was still some evidence of the flour but the guy on YouTube had said that rain was required to clear the flour.

Anyway, I thought I’d have a walk along the Anne Valley and make my way up to the graveyard just to see if the rain had done the job.

In case you’re interested, the second grave that I read the other day had this inscription on it:

Erected by Peter Phelan in memory

of his Father John Phelan who died

Jan 6th 1792 aged 75 years also his 

son Mark who died Dec 12th 1779

aged 27 years

It was interesting to find that this grave, like the first one, bore the name Phelan. I am assuming that there is probably a family connection between the two and suspect that at least some of the other sixteen graves will be Phelan graves as well. It’s not clear from the inscription if the son, Mark, was Peter or John’s son but I originally saw him as being John’s son. Twenty-seven is a very young age to die and I suspect there was great sadness for those who were left behind.

The good news is that the rain has removed the flour ~ almost every bit of it ~ but I think that from now on, I will only use it when the days are very dry and I will bring a soft brush (like Mr YouTube) to dust any excess away.

The whole scene today was very different from my last expedition on November 27th. It seemed like the rain had beaten down much of the undergrowth so it was easier to see the whole shape of the ruined church and to pick out the tombstones.

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Old Church and Graveyard, Dunhill, Co. Waterford

This is the entrance to the ruined church. I love the solid stonework:

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Entrance to Old Dunhill Church

I counted a total of eighteen tombstones today and I think that’s all there are:

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Four Unexplored Tombstones

The swan family were very much in evidence down on the Anne River. The cygnets have got very grown up and the walk was punctuated with them as they made their way through the very still waters. To me, the cygnets symbolise new life and the cycle of life, especially after time spent up in the old graveyard.

Those who are buried in the graveyard were once young people, a fact which is almost hard to take in given how much time has passed since the 1700s. But, the cycle of life continues …..

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New Life