There’s something about stolen long evenings in Co. Waterford that wraps me up in sweet tranquillity.
Last Saturday, I felt the need to feast my eyes after too much screenery and found myself chasing the last of the light out along the Copper Coast. It was a dullish evening but I knew that there would be beauty if I let it find me.
Bonmahon Beach was deserted save for one young man making his way into the sea for one last swim:
The Yeatsian sky ~ ‘Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths…’ mirrored on the sand like a painting laid out to dry:
Bonmahon, like so many other cities, towns and villages across Europe, was engrossed in the EURO 2016 quarter final game between Italy and Germany and I met just one walker when I stopped to savour the setting sun. We said our ‘hellos’ and and agreed that it was a great evening to be out:
The bleating of sheep rang through the salt air and I thought of those days in Spring when I was out searching for the first lambs of the year:
It was very heaven to see the curtains of the day closing over the Comeragh Mountains:
Back home the screen was flickering and tensions were high as the penalty shoot-out saw the Italian dream fade and German joy rise.
No one noticed that I’d not been there for the whole match and that’s how I wanted it to be!
A met a stranger recently who on hearing my name asked me if the Frank Tubridy who took photographs was any relation of mine.
I responded, with a smile, that he was my father and she said that she had always loved his work and then asked me if he was still alive. I told her that he had died in 2010 and she said that she was sorry to learn that.
I know that people can be feel very uneasy about mentioning someone who may have died, in case they upset the person they are asking or somehow remind them of the the fact that they have died ~ as if it would be something they might have forgotten about!
I am always chuffed when people talk to me about my late parents and say things like: I always think about your mother when I see the snowdrops blooming; or I have a photograph that your father took hanging in my sitting-room and every time I look at it, I remember how he loved a good joke.
It’s so good to know that people who mattered to us are remembered fondly, especially as the years pass since their deaths.
So, I give thanks to the stranger (now friendly acquaintance) who clearly knew that speaking kindly of those who have died can be extremely comforting. I guess she had learned this from personal experience.
I expect that there may be divided opinion on this topic but I also suspect that more people than we realise are warmed by hearing their loved ones being remembered with fondness.
Christmas Eve always makes me think of the Christmas Truce in World War 1 in 1914. Every year, it seems more and more striking that soldiers from the opposing sides on the Western Front took the courageous step of laying down their arms for three days and came together to sing, talk, eat, drink and play.
The Christmas Truce makes me think about the futility of war and, indeed, the yearning that lies within us for peace.
My hope for the every single human being today is that they somehow find peace in their lives and that peace can ring out right across the world.
This is the place of peace that comes to me this evening. It’s high up in the Comeragh Mountains here in Co. Waterford and my father and I used to climb up there for years around Christmas time.
The sight of this little boy walking ahead of me up the Comeragh Mountains here in Co. Waterford made me wonder how childhood Sundays could vary so dramatically across the globe.
This little guy was with his parents and baby sister. He had fallen in love with a rock and wanted to bring it home to keep forever and ever. His parents tried to persuade him to leave it with all the other rocks or even to hide it so that he could see it the next time they visited. But he was determined to carry it all the way back to the car.
He was an energetic, bubbly kid and the family seemed really happy as they made their way back to their car with a now empty picnic basket.
What a contrast to the thousands of children walking ~ fleeing ~ war torn places like Syria on this September Sunday.
If only, if only, all the children of the world could have the safety, security and innocence of this little boy up on the mountains.
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.
I’m a mad sports fanatic so Ireland’s dramatic win of the Six Nation’s Rugby Championship yesterday has sent me into orbit. Yes, I know it’s only a game but sporting endeavors that are characterised by courage, passion and commitment can lift the spirit of this nation, like almost nothing else. And, for me, one of the great things about Irish rugby is that the team is an all-island one, encompassing both the Republic and Northern Ireland.
Today has been a day of elation ~ a day on which the countryside itself had an added gleam. The sea was bluer than ever as I dove in for my early swim in Garrarus; and later there was this wonderful vista high up in the Comeragh Mountains with Co. Waterford stretching out beneath in what seemed like wild celebration on this heady day.