It’s been our second non-parade St. Patrick’s Day here in Ireland but there have been lots of good things happening in smallish ways. For example, I saw three balloons representing the colours of the Irish flag tied to a gate when I was out for my constitutional this morning and lots of people wearing items of green clothing. Believe it or not, I didn’t see one sprig of shamrock yet and it’s 18:17 here.
The highlight of the day was undoubtedly all the attention that was being lavished across the world’s TV and radio stations on a group of young men who definitely seem to be a whole new generation of Irish dancers who will push on from the Riverdance era.
They are called Cairde (which means friends in English) and here is a clip of them in action. They really brought a great feeling of hope to me and a sense that there is incredible talent and creativity being unleashed in spite of the restrictions associated with the pandemic.
I especially like the fact that the backdrop to their dance today was The Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare which had such meaning for my father who was a passionate Clareman. Here’s one of his photos of The Cliffs, as they are called by Clare people.
This was the delight that greeted me when I arrived back home to Tramore this morning after a very early and rather grumpy trip into Waterford City.
Today was a perfect day here in Co. Waterford ~ a day to soak up sun, swim in the sea and draw energy from the vibrant colour that lasted from sunrise to sunset.
Colour in a picture is like enthusiasm in life (Vincent Van Gogh)
Ireland is punctuated by the unexpected and Dromana Gate, near Villierstown in West Waterford, is one of those gems that retains the ability to shock the Irish senses , no matter how often you see it.
It is a Hindu-Gothic Gate Lodge which dates back to around 1830 and is the only one of its kind in the country. It was originally built of wood or papier mache to greet the owner of Dromana Estate, Henry Villiers-Stuart and his wife Theresia Pauline Ott of Vienna, on returning from their honeymoon in 1826. The couple were so enchanted by it that they had it reconstructed in more durable materials.
I am reblogging this Slideshow of Trinity College, in my Gatherings from Ireland series, because today April 4th marks the day on which one of Trinity’s famous graduates, Oliver Goldsmith, died.
Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) was a novelist, playwright and poet whose great works include the novel ‘The Vicar of Wakefield ‘ and poem ‘The Deserted Village.’
A statue of Goldsmith stands at the entrance to Trinity College and has been part of the beauty, history and inspiration for the hundreds of thousands of students, including myself, who have been fortunate enough to follow in Oliver Goldsmith’s footsteps and study at this wonderful university which is such an oasis in the centre of Dublin.
Tramore Beach is my haven and I feel really lucky to be able to go walking and swimming there everyday. At night, it is so soothing to hear the sound of the sea lulling me to sleep.
Here’s a few photographs of this magical place in Co. Waterford that means so much to me ~ and to many, many others!
Co. Waterford ABC is a feature here on Social Bridge where I am identifying my highlights of this diverse county in Ireland where I was born and which has been ‘home’ for the last 26 years. There will be just 26 posts ~ one for each letter of the alphabet and I hope you will join me in discussing your views about the places, people, events, things that I select. Would you have chosen differently? In a county with such natural beauty and diversity in terms of history and heritage, one could quite easily identify 26+ highlights for each letter! ( See All Posts in this Series https://socialbridge.wordpress.com/?s=Co.+Waterford+ABC )
The Copper Coast is a stretch of stunning coastline in Co. Waterford that runs for some 25 kilometres between Fenor and Kilfarrasy in the east to Stradbally in the west. It is an area steeped in geological features, history and heritage and takes its name from the 19th century copper mines that lie at its heart. The history of mining on the Copper Coast is very well documented by Des Cowman (2006) in his fascinating book: The Making and Breaking of a Mining Community: The Copper Coast, County Waterford 1825-1875+
The Copper Coast was awarded European Geopark Designation in 2001 and became a Global Geopark under the auspices of UNESCO in 2004. The Copper Coast Geopark Centre in the recently restored church in Bunmahon is a wonderful stopping point where one can learn about the many features of the Copper Coast and enjoy a snack and a chat in a hauntingly beautiful setting. http://www.coppercoastgeopark.com/GeoparkCentre.htm
Going for drives along the Copper Coast has been a fundamental part of my life since I was born and it is the stretch of coastline in the whole world that brings me the greatest sense of peace.
I love its rugged, unspoilt nature and the fact that it offers such a variety of beaches, coves, dramatic views of the sea and the Comeragh mountains, quaint villages, the working harbour at Boatstrand and a year round display of seasonal flowers and foliage. Major highlights are the daffodils which line the road between Fenor and Annestown in Spring; the sea pinks that flourish in Summer, especially beween Kilmurrin and Bunmahon; and the magnificent Autumn tints that are found in Stradbally Cove. Of course, all year round, we have the gleaming yellow of wild gorse.
There is a whole world to be explored in the Copper Coast area. Not surprisingly, it is a place that inspires creativity. The Wood Craft Shop at Boatstrand, which closed a few years back, was very special for me and I’m so glad to have lamps and clocks from there to keep the memories alive.
In more recent years, I’ve been captivated by Stradbally Jewellery Design and the beautiful pieces that they make. Handmade Silver Jewellery – Stradbally Jewellery Design. Other exciting new developments along the Copper Coast, for creative types, are The Art Hand, an art school which runs a wide range of courses in various forms of art and creativity the art hand . art school . waterford . ireland | painting . photography … and The Wool Shop, an online venture , run by Bernadette and Niall McCann, who are also closely involved in developing knitting in the local community. The Wool Shop – The Wool Shop, Ireland For Yarn / Wool And …
There are just so many pleasures along the Copper Coast ~ undoubtedly one of Ireland’s jewels.
Autumn is generally seen as a time when both the days and year are closing in. If we view life in seasonal terms, the Autumn of life is a time when the innocence of childhood and the colourful exuberance of young adulthood are behind us but we have both energy and a wealth of experience with which to enjoy life. There is a danger, though, that the mind can run ahead towards winter and the inevitable ending of our time.
One of the wonders of Autumn, for me, can be found in woodlands as night is falling. Last evening, I was walking in Newtown Wood, which is just outside Tramore in Co. Waterford. It was getting dark and I was mesmerised by the way in which the shedding trees were allowing the last moments of daylight to pour down on the carpetted woodland floor.
Looking upwards, the undressing trees where revealing their magnificent shapes with wondrous and powerful clarity. The patterns that were presented to me in this natural movie were infinitely intricate and totally convinced me that Autumn is a time which has endless possibilities and openings that we may never have even contemplated before.
The following lines from The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde, which I first learned in the early Summer of my life, came flooding back like the stream that was gushing through Newtown Wood to meet the sea:
I never saw a man who looked
With such a wistful eye
Upon that little tent of blue
Which prisoners call the sky