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.
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.
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.
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!
And here’s how the Temple looked yesterday as it gazed down on the River Suir making its way towards Waterford City.
Snow is very rare here in Co. Waterford which is in what is known as The Sunny South-East of Ireland. So, you have to bear with my childish delight when I saw that the Comeragh Mountains were white the other morning as I made my way to the beach.
There was clarity everywhere and the sea itself was rolling in like a carpet of snow.
Onwards towards the mountains and yet more contrasting colours:
The road up by Mahon Falls was a wonderland of colours that we so seldom see in combinations like this …
or this …
And way below, the Copper Coast was shimmering and calling me back down:
It’s on treasured mornings like this that my spirit flies freely over the ocean to snowy countries where many of my precious readers live.
Tramore Beach here in Co. Waterford in the south-east of Ireland is my natural habitat and I know it has a special place in the hearts of people from Tramore as well as the many, many visitors who come here year after year. I hope that the slideshow at the end of this post touches the hearts of those who know the beach as well, if not better than I do, and that it allows people from all across the globe to come walk with me in this glorious, inspirational place which appeals to every sense. The beach is over three miles long and one of the greatest pleasures I know is to head off early in the morning and soak up its natural beauty. There are some delicious choices when walking Tramore Beach: walk up and down the beach itself, even paddling some of the way; take a circular route and absorb the absolute peace of the Back Strand; or have a bit of everything ~ go along the Back Strand for a while, then take a peep at the expanse of the Bay when one reaches ‘the black rocks.’ So many choices, so many landmarks, both personal and collective. Undoubtedly, the main landmarks associated with Tramore Bay are the Metal Man and Brownstown Head. However, can one even think of Tramore Beach without reference to the Prom, the Life Guards Hut, the ‘Baldy Man’ – a towering sandhill, the channel at the end of the beach which looks across at Saleens? All the while, one cannot but be aware of Tramore town which is built above the beach and the further down one goes the more the shape of the town comes into focus. The lovely green space of the Doneraile Walk almost hanging over the cliff with the Coastguard Station at the far end; the two church steeples; the Grand Hotel, the Race Course, the Pier, Newtown Cove …. Tramore Beach has long associations with swimming and surfing, bird life, flowers, and for being a chidren’s paradise – buckets and spades, sandcastles; teams train here; lover’s love, people fish….. The sound of the sea is special too. How magical to fall asleep to the whisper of the sea being carried on the wind, especially on moonlit nights, looking forward to an early morning walk that will show the beach in all her magnificent nakedness. Tramore Beach is ever-changing, with time and tide, but it has a continuity that defines it.