Yesterday I was fortunate enough to go for a walk along the spectacular Cliff Walk from Dunmore East to Portally Cove here in Co. Waterford.
There is a seat overlooking Portally Cove which has an inscription drawing on the famous lines from W.H. Davies:
As I sat there, I headed into the complex territory of ‘the meaning of life’ and got to thinking about what are THE most important things in life.
It seems to be fairly straightforward for people who are at the end of their lives and are looking back at what was important but for those of us who feel we probably still have a bit to go, it can become a bit of a tangled web as minor stuff can take on far more significance than it probably should. I was thinking, for example, that when I’m on my death-bed, I’ll hardly be too concerned about the fact that my laptop is banjaxed and that I’ve mislaid a library book.
I came to the overall conclusion that what matters most is doing our best for humanity. Some people may be in a position to literally change the world while others may have to operate at less ‘public’ levels.
Thatched houses are one of the most beautiful features of Ireland and we are very fortunate here in Co. Waterford to have many fine examples. I suspect that this is in large part due to the fact that we have a Master Thatcher, Hugh O’Neill, living in the area.
Here are some of the thatched houses in Co. Waterford that I find most appealing:
Thatched pubs tend to be very picturesque and evocative. I am always saddened when I pass one particular thatched pub that I used to frequent which has now fallen into disrepair. It clings to its former glory and shows the extent to which thatched buildings need to be maintained:
Here are some of the thriving thatched pubs in Co. Waterford that have special meaning for me:
The Sweep Bar, Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford.
Hayes’ Bar, Killea, Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
Florrie’s Off-License and The Ritz Bar, Tramore, Co. Waterford.
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!
The Bay Cafe in Dunmore East is a place that I ‘discovered’ very soon after it opened about twelve years ago. I was captivated from the very beginning as The Bay Cafe is like a little oasis that nurtures all the senses. It is owned and run by David and Barbara Harris and they bring together, with apparent ease, delicious home-cooked food, warmth, creativity and a feeling of sheer love of life and community.
The Bay Cafe certainly has a superb view overlooking the harbour in Dunmore East and right across to the Hook Penninsula in Co. Wexford. Sitting in the Cafe, which describes itself as providing ‘ food with a view,’ I’m always very conscious of the beauty that is all around me: the Cliff Walk, Dunmore Woods, the thatched cottages, the Park, Fisherman’s Hall, St. Andrew’s Church …..
But the atmosphere in The Bay Cafe itself tends to take one over. There always seems to be a buzz of activity, with a mixture of locals, regulars and visitors. I invariably sit inside rather than on the benches outside. I had never really thought of this until the other day when I called in for some of the Cafe’s tasty seafood chowder.
I realised that what kept me inside was wanting to look at the paintings and photographs that are exhibited on the walls; to hear the banter that permeates the place like the aroma of freshly ground coffee and home-baking. I also like to rummage around on the little table that serves as an information centre of all that’s happening in and around Dunmore. But, most of all, I just love being in a place where I feel at home, have happy memories and thoughts of times spent sitting at those pine tables with people who loved/love it as much as I do.
I know, too, that I stay inside because The Bay Cafe is, indeed, a place where people smile with true smiles from the heart.
Waterford’s Tall Ships Festival 2011 will be in full swing from June 30th-July 3rd. With this very much in mind, I write about the diverse range of boats and boating activity which are central to our lives here in Co. Waterford. The article is in Section Six of Feature Writing.