The Stone Heart

One of my many eccentricities is a penchant for collecting heart -shaped stones on the various beaches I am fortunate enough to have nearby.

The other day I saw the most beautiful Turneresque stone – all oranges, reds and yellows – shaped like a heart on Tramore Beach. I felt myself stooping to pick it up but something in the very depths of my being refused.

It felt like it was wrong to move this beauty from its natural habitat. I left it there in all its magnificence and codded myself that I could maybe collect it on the way back. As if one stone among thousands and thousands would be findable, especially as the tide was coming in and my line of walking would be changed.

I also wondered if someone else would have picked it up in the meanwhile and put it in a special place where heart stones can settle lovingly.

I still don’t know what stopped me from collecting this particular stone as I have never known such a feeling before.

I wonder where it is now and if it will by any chance turn up again. I don’t think I could ever pick it up at this stage as it feels like it was meant to be free to remain by and in the soulful sea.

So Typical!

People collect all sorts of things and my late father was no exception. He was a sucker for cartoons which he cut out of papers, magazines, basically anywhere if they made him laugh.

Mostly, they lived in small bundles in little brown envelopes and he would always take an envelope or two with him if he was going on a train journey or to  places, like tennis clubs to pick us up, where he was likely to have time on his hands.

I was leafing through one of his art books this morning and this particular cutting floated onto the floor.

It made me laugh and think of how he loved to rile us women in the house by making outrageous statements about ‘a woman’s place.’ He would put on his most innocent look and remind us of his West Clare upbringing at a time when dowries and the like were still part of the agenda.

The gas thing about it all is that he was the first one to give conformity a good shake when he wanted and to highlight the abilities, potential and achievements of women in all sorts of different fields.


Thanks for the chuckles and the backhanded humourous encouragement, Dad!

A Passion for Buoys

The Metal Man from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.
The Metal Man from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by buoys and have a vast collection of a whole array of vibrant colours.

They make me think of an artist’s palette as well as the human hands that have touched them. In so many ways, they are like messages in bottles and one day, I hope to find one that has a real live message on it so that I can write back to the sender, wherever he or she may be.

Yesterday, I saw my precious Tramore Bay very much through the eyes of a buoy! I often wonder how it is that they never clash with their surroundings.

Brownstown Head from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.
Brownstown Head from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.


Carved in Stone ~ Gatherings from Ireland #16

I an a gatherer of stones from  beaches and coves ~ just one stone that presents itself. This morning I was out at Annestown Beach here in Co. Waterford and the stone that begged to be brought home was this one:


So many thoughts spring to mind when I look at it: lines waiting to be filled; the road of life and Uncle Harry.

Uncle Harry was a great uncle in every sense of the word. Each Christmas he sent us kids gift tokens for a guinea for Switzers  in Grafton Street, Dublin.  A guinea was serious money back in the 1960s and every year I spent that guinea on about a hundred and one things in my imaginings. Those gift tokens gave days, and sometimes weeks, of anticipation of the trip to Dublin and being let loose in Switzers’ colourful, warm toy department.

There were six great nieces and nephews who received this gift and all Uncle Harry wanted in return was a ‘thank you letter.’ I was the youngest of the gang and, in spite of endless hours practising on those red covered lined copybooks that used to exist especially for learner writers, I had terrible trouble writing in a straight line. The lines in the ‘Dear Uncle Harry letters’ would get more and more slanted the more news I brought him and I always ended up writing about ten drafts before my letter was finally passed by my mother as being fit to send.

I never really thanked Uncle Harry properly for the gift tokens as I just couldn’t express what joy they brought. He died many years before my son was born and I think he would be very pleased to know that I just had to call him Harry.

I’d love to hear what thoughts or memories the stone evokes in you!