How Tramore Bade Farewell to August

It was as if word had reached the environs of Tramore that September was upon us. Just as the sun was setting the colours over Tramore Bay were surreal.

Let us hope that September will be kind to Tramore and far beyond this place that I love to be able to call home.

November Colour on the Copper Coast

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)
 

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Dromana Gate, West Waterford~ Gatherings from Ireland # 120

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.

Dromana Gate, Co. Waterford
Dromana Gate, Co. Waterford

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.

SOCIAL BRIDGE ~ Jean Tubridy connecting with you from Ireland

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My Beloved Tramore Beach

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!

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Co. Waterford ABC ~ C is for The Copper Coast

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, Co. Waterford
(Highlighted in Red. Click to Zoom)

 

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+

Copper Mining Heritage Site at Tankardstown, Co. Waterford

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

Sea View from Tankardstown, Co. Waterford

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.

‘Pride and Joy’ at Boatstrand Harbour, Co. Waterford

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.

Stradbally Cove, Co.Waterford

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.

Sculpture by Collette O’Brien near Boatstrand, Co. Waterford

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.

The Copper Coast looking towards Helvick at Sunset

Tapestries of Autumn ~ Perspectives from Newtown Wood, Co. Waterford

Newtown Wood towards Tramore Bay at Dusk

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

Woodstown Beach, Co. Waterford on National Poetry Day in Ireland, 2012

National Poetry Day, October 4th, dawned to perfection here in Co. Waterford. High tide was at 8.30am and Woodstown Beach sent out its whispering call. I arrived there shortly after 9.00 with my swimming gear and was greeted by the the most welcoming sea imaginable.

Tropical blue with sweet little waves embroidering the shell-strewn sand. While I had been thinking of John Masefield’s Sea Fever, on my way there, the moment I ran onto the beach John Keats’ On the Sea immediately took over:

On the Sea

by

John Keats

It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
Often ’tis in such gentle temper found,
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be moved for days from where it sometime fell.
When last the winds of Heaven were unbound.
Oh, ye! who have your eyeballs vexed and tired,
Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar rude,
Or fed too much with cloying melody—
Sit ye near some old Cavern’s Mouth and brood,
Until ye start, as if the sea nymphs quired!

As I floated in the sea, it was as if I could see poetry being written by nature. The moon had decided to stay up for the occasion and was gleaming across the water at the rising sun.

A woman, who was walking her dogs, called out to me, with a smile: You’re crazy.

As I smiled back, saying,  Oh, it’s bliss, lines from Brendan Kennelly’s poem Hope came flashing into my happy and connected mind:

Our skies are brightening up today.
I love your company, dear friend,
and always will, come what may.

I dream of being the living song
everyone would love to sing.
Impossible? No. That’s me. Let’s keep walking

until both our hearts are singing.

Ireland Calling! Slideshow September 2012 from Mount Congreve Garden, Co. Waterford

September is always a very busy month in Ireland and is one which sees the transition from Summer to Autumn.  September marks the  real beginning of the school year and all that entails ~ uniforms, timetables, homework, chatter with school pals, training in playing fields overhung by autumn tints…..

September in Ireland is also very much associated with harvesting, harvest festivals, the All-Ireland Finals in both football and hurling, the National Ploughing Championships.  This year September has also seen the Paralympic Games in which Ireland achieved so highly and the Ryder Cup which is followed by our many, many golfing enthusiasts.

September seems to be a month when people are dashing around, making plans for the remainder of the year. It is also a time when nature is busy and when we see bright summery colours, the dramatic blends of autumn and signs that preparations are already in place for spring.

In this month’s Ireland Calling! Slideshow, my focus is on the world famous Mount Congreve Garden which is about 4 miles up river from Waterford City.

Mount Congreve Garden was established by the late Ambrose Congreve, who died in 2011, at the great age of 104. The Garden is open to the public each Thursday from April to September and this year I was fortunate enough to be able to visit each week in September to savour its beauty.  Mount Congreve is a garden that was developed with passion and it is a place that invites us to reflect on what has gone before, what is present, and what is to come.

I invite you to stay awhile and reflect on your September in the gardens that Ambrose Congreve bequeathed to us.

Light and shade by turn but love always”

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