Copper Mining was a major industry in Co. Waterford here in Ireland in the 19th century. It was based in the very scenic area around Bonmahon which is at the heart of what is now called the Copper Coast.
Every time I pass the main evidence of the mining works, which are located overlooking the sea at Tankardstown, my mind crosses the ocean to Butte, Montana. We know that many of the miners emigrated to Butte when the mines closed in Bonmahon. I often wonder how it was for those who settled in Butte and if many of their descendants have any real sense of the incredible beauty of the landscape in the area around Bonmahon.
Maybe, just maybe, someone from Butte whose ancestors came from Bonmahon will read this post and let me know how life turned out for their family thousands of miles from their home here in Co. Waterford.
Gorse is one of those wild shrubs that colours my life. It grows profusely here in Ireland and thrives along the coast of Co. Waterford. I was brought up with the saying: When the gorse is out of bloom, kissing’s out of season. Gorse is always in bloom and nurtures the senses, especially in Winter when it gleams and wafts its fragrance of promise, hope and sweet romance.
Co. Waterford ABC is a feature here on Social Bridge where I am identifying my highlights of this diverse county in Ireland where I was born and which has been ‘home’ for the last 26 years. There will be just 26 posts ~ one for each letter of the alphabet and I hope you will join me in discussing your views about the places, people, events, things that I select. Would you have chosen differently? In a county with such natural beauty and diversity in terms of history and heritage, one could quite easily identify 26+ highlights for each letter! ( See All Posts in this Series https://socialbridge.wordpress.com/?s=Co.+Waterford+ABC )
TheCopper Coastis a stretch of stunning coastline in Co. Waterford that runs for some 25 kilometres between Fenor and Kilfarrasy in the east to Stradbally in the west. It is an area steeped in geological features, history and heritage and takes its name from the 19th century copper mines that lie at its heart. The history of mining on the Copper Coast is very well documented by Des Cowman (2006) in his fascinating book: The Making and Breaking of a Mining Community: The Copper Coast, County Waterford 1825-1875+
The Copper Coast was awarded European Geopark Designation in 2001 and became a Global Geopark under the auspices of UNESCO in 2004. The Copper Coast Geopark Centre in the recently restored church in Bunmahon is a wonderful stopping point where one can learn about the many features of the Copper Coast and enjoy a snack and a chat in a hauntingly beautiful setting. http://www.coppercoastgeopark.com/GeoparkCentre.htm
Going for drives along the Copper Coast has been a fundamental part of my life since I was born and it is thestretch of coastline in the whole world that brings me the greatest sense of peace.
I love its rugged, unspoilt nature and the fact that it offers such a variety of beaches, coves, dramatic views of the sea and the Comeragh mountains, quaint villages, the working harbour at Boatstrand and a year round display of seasonal flowers and foliage. Major highlights are the daffodils which line the road between Fenor and Annestown in Spring; the sea pinks that flourish in Summer, especially beween Kilmurrin and Bunmahon; and the magnificent Autumn tints that are found in Stradbally Cove. Of course, all year round, we have the gleaming yellow of wild gorse.
There is a whole world to be explored in the Copper Coast area. Not surprisingly, it is a place that inspires creativity. The Wood Craft Shop at Boatstrand, which closed a few years back, was very special for me and I’m so glad to have lamps and clocks from there to keep the memories alive.
Co. Waterford ABC is a feature here on Social Bridge where I am identifying my highlights of this diverse county in Ireland where I was born and which has been ‘home’ for the last 26 years. There will be just 26 posts ~ one for each letter of the alphabet and I hope you will join me in discussing your views about the places, people, events, things that I select. Would you have chosen differently? In a county with such natural beauty and diversity in terms of history and heritage, one could quite easily identify 26+ highlights for each letter!
Co. Waterford is situated in the south-east of Ireland and has a coastline of approximately 106 miles (170 kilometres).
Annestownis a charming little village on what is called the Copper Coast. It is 14 miles from Waterford City and 6 miles from my hometown, Tramore.
Annestown village is rather unusual in the Irish context as it has has neither a pub nor a shop. The village, which is built on a steep hill, consists of a row of brightly painted, flower-bedecked houses and an elegant Church of Ireland.
Annestown’s picturesque, sandy beach has an air of total tranquillity. It is snuggled between cliffs at either end and is a swimmer’s paradise. I was fortunate to have the opportunity of holidaying in Annestown on four different occasions down the years and one of the greatest pleasures was to run down the hill, very early in the morning, towards the little gap that gives access to the beach at the village end.
Just there, below Annestown House, there is a small woodland which is home to crows whose wild activity and loud cawing are an essential part of the natural welcome to the beach.
No matter where one’s eyes are drawn in Annestown there is beauty to meet them. The River Anne meanders down along the Anne Valley from Dunhill and enters the sea at Annestown Beach. Standing on the bridge in Annestown beside the pink house which is right on the river bank, there is a marvellous view up the valley to the towering, ivy-clad Dunhill Castle which itself has a long and colourful history.
Annestown is one of those places which is on the road to wonders on all sides but, for me, it is a place to stop and absorb a unique calm and nurturing of body and soul.