Mount Congreve ~ Garden of Eden

Yesterday I got to go back to Mount Congreve, which is my Garden of Eden. It’s just a few miles from Tramore and has opened again for this season.

Mt C

Mount Congreve is beyond special to me and it has probably inspired more posts on this blog than anywhere else. It’s a place that stretches back to my childhood as we used to visit when I was a kid and then in recent years I’ve been going at least once a week during the season which lasts from now until we get to soak in the Autumn tints.

I die a little each year when Mount Congreve closes for the Winter and from late January onward I can feel a growing sense of anticipation as I look forward to making my grand return.

The weather was perfect yesterday ~ blue skies, warm sun and the peace, calm and tranquility that Mount Congreve always rains down on me. I can honestly say that if I was told I had only a day or two to live that Mount Congreve would be the top inland place that would call me.

Mt C2

It was so reassuring to reach the lovely wrought iron gate at the end of the woodland garden that has the heart which always warms mine.


The splendour of Mount Congreve is almost overwhelming, especially with the blaze of colour it always presents.

Magnolia Magic

As yet another season begins, I simply have to say a loving ‘Thank You’ to Mr. Ambrose Congreve (1907-2011) for leaving this wonderful Garden to the people of Ireland. What an inheritance!

Inscription on the Temple

And here’s how the Temple looked yesterday as it gazed  down on the River Suir making its way towards Waterford City.

Mt C4

Where is YOUR ‘Garden of Eden?’ 




There’s a beauty as well as a poignancy  in decay as I saw with my own eyes in Portlaw Village here in Co. Waterford the other day.

It was a church tower in the distance that caught my eye and drawing up close I was very taken by the red door:

The Red Door

The tarnished plaque above the door brings us back to the time of the Great Famine in Ireland in the 1840s:


Looking upward, there were signs that the church is in a state of decay and that the red door that once opened to a congregation is now a door into the past:

Haunting Beauty

The sight of this church window peering out from behind its coat of ivy confirmed that this was a place from the past ~ a place from which only the echoes of church music can be heard. But what of the births, marriages and deaths that were marked here and the weekly services where people would meet as community?

Window of History

Standing on the lovely stone bridge, the full picture of decay emerged. I left saddened and wondering but also touched by the peace of the place.

Bridging Time



The Natural Look


Having read recently that 70% of women visit a beauty salon before going on holidays and even just perusing magazines with all sorts of lipsticks, eye-shadows and goodness knows what, I suspect that I belong to a tiny minority who never, ever wear make-up of any description.

Maybe, I’ll get cracking on it one of these days and shock the living daylights and nightlights out of all who know me!

For now, though, it’s the ‘natural look’ for me in keeping with the seashore which has an amazing capacity to throw up colourful surprises everyday.

So, tell me how you are about make-up?  Are you someone who feels undressed without it or over-dressed with it? Needless to say, I’d love men’s opinions on this subject too!

Holy Thursday ~ Gatherings from Ireland #107

There is one Holy Thursday that stands so far out in my mind that I just have to write about it.

I was nine and we were living in Drogdeda, Co. Louth at the time. They were days, like now, when walks on the beach were everyday affairs. But that Holy Thursday the walk on the beach had so much more to it. Father was a workaholic, by any definition of that term, and the idea of him ‘knocking off early’ was unheard of. However,  that Holy Thursday, at about 4 o’clock, we heard him racing up the stairs of the Bank House ~ it felt like three at a time ~ and he proposed that we all drop everything and  go for a walk on Bettystown Beach and bring  Beauty.

Beauty was the first dog we ever had. She was a Dalmation, given to us by Mother’s brother, who was a farmer who seemed to collect dogs. He said that Beauty ‘ just wants to be loved,’  and he was right.


Bettystown seemed to be as excited as I was. The sun was shining and casting the most delicious evening light on the rushes on the sand hills. Deep blue sea and the Mourne Mountains were keeping their distance which told me that there was no possibility of rain.

Beauty and I raced along the dunes; Mother and Father were chatting as they walked along the beach. There was a delightful combination of security and freedom. It was a feeling that  I knew, as I ran with the soft breeze in my face and sand in my shoes, that I would remember forever.