September is always a very busy month in Ireland and is one which sees the transition from Summer to Autumn. September marks the real beginning of the school year and all that entails ~ uniforms, timetables, homework, chatter with school pals, training in playing fields overhung by autumn tints…..
September in Ireland is also very much associated with harvesting, harvest festivals, the All-Ireland Finals in both football and hurling, the National Ploughing Championships. This year September has also seen the Paralympic Games in which Ireland achieved so highly and the Ryder Cup which is followed by our many, many golfing enthusiasts.
September seems to be a month when people are dashing around, making plans for the remainder of the year. It is also a time when nature is busy and when we see bright summery colours, the dramatic blends of autumn and signs that preparations are already in place for spring.
In this month’s Ireland Calling! Slideshow, my focus is on the world famous Mount Congreve Garden which is about 4 miles up river from Waterford City.
Mount Congreve Garden was established by the late Ambrose Congreve, who died in 2011, at the great age of 104. The Garden is open to the public each Thursday from April to September and this year I was fortunate enough to be able to visit each week in September to savour its beauty. Mount Congreve is a garden that was developed with passion and it is a place that invites us to reflect on what has gone before, what is present, and what is to come.
I invite you to stay awhile and reflect on your September in the gardens that Ambrose Congreve bequeathed to us.
“Light and shade by turn but love always”
Tramore Beach here in Co. Waterford in the south-east of Ireland is my natural habitat and I know it has a special place in the hearts of people from Tramore as well as the many, many visitors who come here year after year. I hope that the slideshow at the end of this post touches the hearts of those who know the beach as well, if not better than I do, and that it allows people from all across the globe to come walk with me in this glorious, inspirational place which appeals to every sense. The beach is over three miles long and one of the greatest pleasures I know is to head off early in the morning and soak up its natural beauty. There are some delicious choices when walking Tramore Beach: walk up and down the beach itself, even paddling some of the way; take a circular route and absorb the absolute peace of the Back Strand; or have a bit of everything ~ go along the Back Strand for a while, then take a peep at the expanse of the Bay when one reaches ‘the black rocks.’ So many choices, so many landmarks, both personal and collective. Undoubtedly, the main landmarks associated with Tramore Bay are the Metal Man and Brownstown Head. However, can one even think of Tramore Beach without reference to the Prom, the Life Guards Hut, the ‘Baldy Man’ – a towering sandhill, the channel at the end of the beach which looks across at Saleens? All the while, one cannot but be aware of Tramore town which is built above the beach and the further down one goes the more the shape of the town comes into focus. The lovely green space of the Doneraile Walk almost hanging over the cliff with the Coastguard Station at the far end; the two church steeples; the Grand Hotel, the Race Course, the Pier, Newtown Cove …. Tramore Beach has long associations with swimming and surfing, bird life, flowers, and for being a chidren’s paradise – buckets and spades, sandcastles; teams train here; lover’s love, people fish….. The sound of the sea is special too. How magical to fall asleep to the whisper of the sea being carried on the wind, especially on moonlit nights, looking forward to an early morning walk that will show the beach in all her magnificent nakedness. Tramore Beach is ever-changing, with time and tide, but it has a continuity that defines it.