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!
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.
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.
December 21st is a major day on my calendar because it marks the end of the dark, dark days of the year. Today in Ireland, sunrise was at 8.32am and sunset at 4.20pm. Last light is at 5.01 – that’s just in 12 minutes time, as I write.
It’s like nature knew today was Winter Solstice. The sun didn’t bother to come out and the clouds were almost touching the ground. But, my precious sea was showing white with lovely fluffy waves and the bulbs that I planted in hope back a few months ago seemed to spring up overnight as it knowing that their time is fast arriving.
I usually make a pilgrimage to one of out local dolmens on December 21 to celebrate the day but my sprained ankle is still restricting me in terms of walking on anything but the most even of even ground.
However, I am at the local dolmens in spirit and remembering times when we lived near Newgrange in Co. Meath, which is such a special place for Winter Solstice people.
It’s been a dark year with the pandemic hanging over us all and we still have a good deal to Winter out but there IS light ahead if we remain patient and treasure every little glimmer along the way.
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. (Og Mandino)
Next Monday is the day that we are due to be allowed travel 20km from home which is an increase from the current 5km restriction here in Ireland.
I’m like a child about it – thinking of all my favourite places that have been just out of reach. High on the list is a road along the Copper Coast which is festooned with Sea Pinks in May, early June. I am hoping to catch them while they are still in their glory.
But, there will also be all the beaches that are so close to my heart:
and going out to see the swan family in the Anne Valley…
Magnolias seem to come and go in a flurry of petals. They always have me wondering where to look – upwards as they reach for the sky with their big blooms or downwards where they leave a gentle carpet of velvety pink and white.
I hope you like this selection from precious Mount Congreve Gardens which are just a few miles out the road in Tramore.