This was Yesterday!

Yesterday was some kind of a strange day here in Ireland and Jean was all over the place in every kind of way. She was up verrrrrrrrrrrrrry early, even before I was awake, and said we had to go out and get a sense of Ireland.

I was all for it but was a bit taken aback when she whizzed down Main Street and jumped out of the car and made for the pub that she always calls her very favourite in Tramore:

Croke’s , Market Street, Tramore

For a terrible minute, I thought she was going to head in there and leave me in the car for the day and maybe all night. But, thankfully, it wasn’t open ~ I don’t think anywhere was open at this stage.

Well, the beach was open and it felt great to be able to play ball and have the whole place to ourselves:

Ah Yes!

Instead of going home, we went on out the coast road and she juddered to a stop again when she saw that the daffodils were all yellowy on the road to Annestown. Must say, I like them too:


Next, she’s out in Bonmahon and pulling towels and stuff out of the back seat. I can’t believe my eyes when I see her taking off her clothes and dashing into the sea that looked like a big roll of tin foil. I was certain I’d never see her again and just stood in a tizzy blinded by the glare.

Where is She?

She’d written something on the sand before she went in but I couldn’t read it:

What on Earth is This?

I got her home eventually and she said that she’d have to take a photo of me trying to have  snooze after all that roller-coastering.

Don’t Look!

I don’t know if I was dreaming or not but it seemed like there was music and horns and stuff making an awful racket when I was sleeping in the sun under the kitchen table. I haven’t a clue what that was about. But when we went out again, I did notice a lot of people wearing HUGE green hats and it seemed like lots of them had grown plants on their jackets.

Yes, we went out again and this time my Dada was with us. He’s as terrified as cliffs as I am and the pair of us cuddled up when she disappeared all excited trying to ‘catch the sun’ out on the Copper Coast. This is what it looked like to me ~ a massive big ball rolling right at me:

Bloody Hell!

She came back after ages and ages and ages and this is what she showed us:

See that Cliff?

I needed to get all this off my chest ‘cos I’m afraid I might be going to have a few nightmares. I’m all sleepy now and hoping that tomorrow will be more like normal.

Here’s what I’m going to try and dream about:

My Heaven!

Happy Dreams,

Love Stanny.

Seeking Solace

January 4th into January 5th has caught me every single year since my boyfriend died from cancer in the early hours of January 5th, 1981.

He was fourteen years older than me ~ a big enough gap ~ but still you don’t expect a fit, outdoorish, non-smoking, non-drinking thirty-seven year old to be swished away in the space of a couple of months.

I needed nature to be kind to me today as I went in search of a swan as I totally associate J with swans and always feel the need to be around swans during these days that left such deep imprints on my heart.

Garrarus was soft and soothing this morning:

Soothing Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford
Soothing Garrarus Beach, Co. Waterford

I sensed that there would be at least one swan waiting for me out along the coast at Annestown. The River Anne is in flood and the reflections were enchantingly deep:

River Anne, Annestown, Co. Waterford
River Anne, Annestown, Co. Waterford

And a lone swan was gliding across the waters reaching down to touch the sadness that still lingers all these years on.


True love never dies



Annestown, Co. Waterford
Annestown, Co. Waterford

Walls, and especially fragments of old walls, always draw me in. High up on the cliffs over Annestown Beach this sliver of wall  blends perfectly into its surroundings. It’s like nature is trying to make it its own but the human hand and heart still linger there and will until the last stone is gone.

There are no clues now about the builder or maybe more than one person was involved. Did they have the time or inclination to bask in the scenery of the Copper Coast? How far back was the wall from the now crumbling cliff? How far did the wall stretch? Was it a boundary wall to prevent animals from falling into the deep sea below? I always think of John B. Keane’s, The Field, when I’m there.

Over the years, did people sit on this wall chatting in the summer sunshine. Maybe it was a place were lovers sat, arms entwined, planning their futures. Was it a place where men and women leaned, taking a last glimpse of a place they loved before emigrating to foreign lands?

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)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Colour of Grief

Annestown, Co. Waterford

Yesterday was my father’s 4th anniversary and it seemed only right to head off on what was a gorgeous day and just ‘be’ with him.

The notion that ‘time heals’ isn’t one that I buy into. I think that a huge amount depends on what one does with the time and also the very idea of ‘healing’ doesn’t quite fit with the way I feel about loved ones who have died.

Ballysaggart, Co. Waterford
Ballysaggart, Co. Waterford

As I have said here before, I feel very strongly that those, like my father, with whom I was very close, remain very much in our everyday lives because of the extent of shared histories and experiences.

Father loved nothing better than to spend a September day off taking photographs and he would lose all sense of time in the process.

Yesterday was very like that. It was a day that was full of colour and nature seemed to be in celebratory mood.

The Vee, Co. Waterford
The Vee, Co. Waterford

Four years may have passed but Father’s presence is as strong as ever.



Come Walk with Me from Annestown to Dunhill Castle

Annestown town to Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford
Annestown town to Dunhill Castle, Co. Waterford

Sunday was special like so many of the Sundays of my childhood. We used to go for walks on country roads, just like the road from Annestown to Dunhill Castle, here in Co. Waterford.

Childhood walks were always fun, but now that I look back on them, I can see that our parents, more subconsciously than anything else, brought us to places that would be educational in all sorts of ways.

Mother had a passion for nature, especially trees and wild wildflowers and Father was very keen on history as well as landscape photography.

I didn’t really mean to go for a walk on Sunday but found myself in the little village of Annestown with swimming on my mind. My eyes were drawn, as always to Dunhill Castle, which is about two miles up the Anne Valley from Annestown.  The castle has a long, long history, which is well summarised here. In short, the site stretches back to pre-historic times but the first castle was built by the hugely influential la Poer (Power) family in the 1200s.

The ruin that stands guard over the Anne Valley today is very imposing and it is intriguing to think that the castle and the remains of an old church and graveyard were once centre pieces of a whole village. It is also quite amazing to think that the sea used to flow right up to the Castle whereas now there is but a narrow river.

My walk on Sunday had me thinking of the battles that raged between the Powers of Dunhill and the City of Waterford in the 14th century, but it also brought me back to Summer Sundays when Mother would delight in lifting us up to smell honeysuckle, pick juicy blackberries, play with buttercups and daisies, climb gates, run through bracken, listen to grasshoppers, watch fish jump in the river, blow dandelions, pick long grasses and gently press the seeds to sail in the breeze …..

That road from Annestown to Dunhill has hardly changed since I was a kid and here’s how it was as I walked from the beach at Annestown up to the Castle and the ruins of the old church and back again…..

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make your own free slideshow

Celebration of 300 ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 300

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

This marks the 300th post in the Gatherings from Ireland series and I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all those who have been so supportive and interactive on what is proving to be a fascinating journey that began last December.

I would like to mark the occasion by bringing you two photographs from Co. Waterford which were submitted by Catherine Drea to my November Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection. 

I had long been an admirer of Catherine’s wonderfully evocative work on and love how she makes the point there that: Creativity feeds the soul and helps to illuminate the way.’

I was stunned and delighted to find that Catherine had decided to send photographs of Annestown here in Co. Waterford which is a place I love and one which I associate with precious holidays with my late parents when I was in my twenties.

Annestown, Co. Waterford
Annestown, Co. Waterford

This is what Catherine wrote about the photographs:

Thought I would share pics of these colourful houses in Annestown. Maybe we forget how important our own human contribution is to colour in our environment? Isn’t it gorgeous how people paint their front doors and plant roses on their walls just to make this a more beautiful world?

Thatched Cottage, Annestown, Co. Waterford
Thatched Cottage, Annestown, Co. Waterford

I would be delighted to receive YOUR submissions to this  Festival of Colour, Creativity and C0nnection which is aimed at bringing warmth and light to November. I look forward to receiving your prose, poetry, photographs, artwork, songs ….. anything that spells Colour, Creativity and Connection to you. My email is

Okay, Here Goes … ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 222

Annestown, Co. Waterford
Annestown, Co. Waterford

I’ve had the term ‘Irish Blogger’ sitting on a list of  Topics to Explore  here on WordPress for ages now and yesterday I idly clicked it again only to be told:

Don’t see any posts under the topic you searched for? That’s because there are no posts with that topic yet; maybe you should write the first one.

I’ve always known that I’m not ‘alone and palely loitering’ (Keats) as a waifish Irish Blogger, as writing blood pumps through Irish veins just as the waves pound the shores of this lovely island of ours.  Just in case you don’t believe me, I think it’s worth thinking about this passage from the Introduction to the Penguin Book of Irish Poetry (2012) edited by Patrick Crotty.

The international visibility of Irish writing in the modern period is a remarkable and continuing phenomenon, all the more so given that the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland share a smaller land mass than South Carolina, with a combined population only slightly larger. The global significance of writing from the island is nothing new…

The Irish Blog Awards is a hugely popular event here in Ireland and last night the list of nominated blogs for 2013 was announced. There were 3,500 nominations across a range of categories and this provides us with a wonderful opportunity to showcase  the vibrancy, diversity and enthusiasm of  Irish Blogs to the world.

So here is the link to the Long List and I have no doubt that you will find some absolute gems to suit your interests, humours and curiosities amongst these.

As an Irish Blogger, I feel intensely proud today. Yes, Social Bridge is there among the nominations but really what makes me burst with pride is the fact that Irish Blogging, like Irish writing generally, matches the beauty, diversity and sheer deliciousness of this great country of mine.

Nire Bridge, Co. Waterford
Nire Bridge, Co. Waterford

Co. Waterford ABC ~ A is for Annestown

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!  

Co. Waterford is situated in the south-east of Ireland and has a coastline of approximately 106 miles (170 kilometres).

Map of Ireland

Annestown is a charming little village on what is called the Copper Coast. It is 14 miles from Waterford City and 6 miles from my hometown, Tramore.

Map of Co. Waterford with Annestown highlighted in Red
(Click on Map to Zoom)

Annestown village is rather unusual in the Irish context as it has has neither a pub nor a shop. The village, which is built on a steep hill, consists of a row of  brightly painted, flower-bedecked houses and an elegant Church of Ireland.

Annestown Village

Annestown’s picturesque, sandy beach has an air of total tranquillity. It is snuggled between cliffs at either end and is a swimmer’s paradise.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity of holidaying in Annestown on four different occasions down the years and one of the greatest pleasures was to run down the hill, very early in the morning, towards the little gap that gives access to the beach at the village end.

Path to Annestown Beach

Just there, below Annestown House, there is a small woodland which is home to crows whose wild activity and loud cawing are an essential part of the natural welcome to the beach.

Horse-riding on Annestown Beach

No matter where one’s eyes are drawn in Annestown there is beauty to meet them. The River Anne meanders down along the Anne Valley from Dunhill and enters the sea at Annestown Beach. Standing on the bridge in Annestown beside the pink house which is right on the river bank, there is a marvellous view  up the valley to the towering, ivy-clad Dunhill Castle which itself has a long and colourful history.

Annestown to Dunhill Castle along Anne Valley

Annestown is one of those places which is on the road to wonders on all sides but, for me, it is a place  to stop and absorb a unique calm and nurturing of body and soul.

Sunset at Annestown Beach

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Ireland’s Social Bridge Slideshow

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Another free slideshow design by Smilebox