Captain David O’Flaherty ~ Lovingly Remembered in Friendship

“Go Mairidís beo”, (That Others May Live)

Dear Mr Congreve …

White Seat,
Mount Congreve Garden,
Co. Waterford,
 9th May, 2014

Dear Mr Congreve,

It seems only natural to write to you as I sit here in your garden basking in beauty, birdsong, blazing azaleas, a flowing view down to the blue Suir and even bluer hills beyond.

There’s a soft breeze swaying through the fresh leaves of the tall trees that are providing me with perfect shelter in the sunshine.

It’s all so calm and inspirational – a hare has just run passed, ears tall, eyes fixed on the path ahead.

I was just looking at the Quercus Caslaneifolia ‘Green Spire’ which the Royal Horticultural Society presented to you on April 4, 2007, in houour of your 100th birthday.

You are someone who knows the meaning of ‘long life’ and the nearest person to me who lived to be 104.

Your legacy to Ireland and the world is truly magnificent. Mount Congreve Garden brings endless pleasure to everyone who visits.

I come here every week and see it as my Garden of Eden. The weekly changes never cease to amaze me and you’ll probably laugh at this but the ONE thing I photograph every single time I’m here is the heart on the iron gate at the very far end of the Garden.

It’s like my anchor here and always makes me think of the love you poured into making this a place for all seasons; full of colour, nooks, crannies, steps, tiny paths, sweeping avenues, vistas of water and plants.

I hope you’ll smile, too, when I tell you that I’d love to be Mount Congreve’s Writer in Residence. To tell the truth, I half see myself as that already! Yes, Mount Congreve is like home to me and fills me with a sense of  absolute peace and gratitude every time  I come here.

Your spirit pervades the Garden and today it rings out most of all through the delicious carpets of bluebells.

Thanks for giving me this haven and for your comforting presence.

With love and a gentle kiss through the scented air,




Saturday Sense ~ Warm Hands

Mother and Me
Mother and Me

One of the most precious feelings I know is the warmth of a ‘wrinkled old hand’  in mine.  The reassuring squeeze that makes everything okay; that is the embodiment of empathy and true love.

When I was about five, I remember cuddling up to my mother in bed and holding her hand.

I love your wrinkles, I said, meaning it with all my heart.

Mother was only in her early forties then. She had lovely soft, warm skin and hardly a wrinkle then, or indeed ever in her long life.

I see now why she was rather taken aback by my remark. I think it made her feel very old but it’s her hands that I think of today, especially after reading this gem of a poem:

 The Little Boy and the Old Man

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.
(Shel Silverstein)

CONnECTIOn, coNnectiOn, CoNnecTiON …..

When you pick a word like ‘Connection’ as a theme around which to write for a year, you find your head, heart, imagination foraging  and embroiled in the most amazing places. For example, this morning I’m thinking about railways and train journeys!

Railway Lines Photo: Frank Tubridy
Railway Lines
Photo: Frank Tubridy

Right now, I’m sitting here in Tramore, Co. Waterford, Ireland on a stormy Sunday morning at 7.37 a.m. and I’m wondering what Connection conjures up for all you fellow bloggers around the world.

Would you be sweet and kind enough to tell me what flies into your head, heart, imagination when you see that common, yet complex, word:











Come Lean into Me ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 304

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

Connection is a complex word but this evening I glimpsed one of its loveliest faces:

Connection 2

Let’s follow the sun,

my Love, and breathe in her soul.

Come lean into me.

Colour, Creativity and Connection ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 291

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

As we prepare to greet November, I would like to invite you to join me in the Inaugural Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection which I am planning for the month of November here on Social Bridge.

The aim of the Festival is to bring warmth and colour (in all senses) to the darkest month of the year.  I associate November very much with both Remembrance and Thanksgiving, broadly defined, even though we don’t celebrate these days here in Ireland.

If  you would like to share a photograph, drawing, painting, poem, piece of prose or any combination of these which you feel represents Colour, Creativity and Connection, please leave a comment or email me at

Let’s build a few bridges over the next four weeks!

Bridge on the Green Road, near Waterford City