Mount Congreve: A Garden beyond Words

There is no doubt that places one knows and loves deeply have their own special way of conversing. Mount Congreve Gardens certainly fall into that category for me and I can best describe the feeling through this short poem:


I don’t take your words
Merely as words.
Far from it.
I listen
To what makes you talk –
Whatever that is –
And me listen.
Shinkichi Takahashi
(Translated from the Japanese by Lucien Stryk and Takahashi Ikemoto) 


At present, Mount Congreve is full of colour and the Astilibes, especially, are blooming in glory:


However, what spoke loudest to me when I was there were hearts of all descriptions. I think seeing a painting ( I don’t know by whom yet!) of  the late Ambrose Congreve in the delightful little coffee shop set the tone for me.

Here was the man who had devoted so much love into developing Mount Congreve into the gardens that we enjoy today:

Ambrose Congreve
Ambrose Congreve

So, it was a walk defined by thoughts of heart, hearts, and heartfulness and one during which it seemed that Mount Congreve was speaking and listening by turn.


Crazy Mixed-Up Kid

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter.

(Pablo Neruda  July 12, 1904-September 23, 1973)


I’m in one of those ‘all over the place’ moods and I make no apology for it!

It’s been a good week so far BUT it was all a bit strange because my camera was banjaxed for most of it and I came to realise how much I think Oh, I just have to take a pic of that!  Mercifully, I had it sorted in time to catch this one of the Astilibes in Mount Congreve yesterday:

Mount Congreve Garden, Co, Waterford
Mount Congreve Garden, Co, Waterford

I’m the youngest ‘child’ of the three in our family and Tuesday brought the opportunity to spend the day with ‘big bro’ who has been pretty much everything to me ~ hero; giver of my fringe when I was still in my cot; practice and mixed doubles partner in tennis since I was three and he six; chaperone;  advisor on men ~ beware the intentions of all men from age 14 to 114; grammatical/spelling corrector ~ he’s an English teacher and writer and not so long ago noted that it would be a help if I knew how to spell grammar correctly ~ I was absolutely certain there was an towards the end; the person who has always known how to make to laugh ’til I get a pain in my cheeks; reminder of Mother and Dad ….. as we parted at the South End of the Quay in Waterford I watched him walk away with Mother’s knowing look and Father’s words: It’s a mile from one end of the Quay in Waterford to the other ….. 

'Big Bro' and Me
‘Big Bro’ and Me             Photo: Frank Tubridy

Yesterday, I met a friend and she talked of all the rowing that had occurred between her and her sibs when they were young. I only ever had one row with ‘big bro’ and that was when he (accidently) broke one of my precious records ~ I can’t remember now which one it was ~ but it was the era of Quick Joey Small which was HIS and which was No. I in the Irish Charts in January 1969.

The reason I remember this row so well was because my screaming and roaring were so loud that Father, who was with a customer downstairs,  came thundering up the stairs of the bank house where we were living to find out if the place was on fire or something. By that time, I had got my revenge by cutting  tiny snips in ‘big bro’s’ favourite ties.

I don’t know about you, but I think that one’s place in the family order matters hugely. I don’t think I’ll ever see myself as anything other than the youngest. Nor do I think I’ll ever be completely at home being  a grown-up when my sibs are around.

The Three of Us
The Three of Us           Photo: Frank Tubridy