St. Stephen’s Day has been quiet here but the emails that have been flying between us three sibs have been fun.
While I was swimming here in Tramore yesterday, it transpires that Big Bro was caught on camera taking a dip at Dublin’s well known Forty Foot. Here’s how he directed me to the clip in the Irish Times:
Look at today’s Irish Times website, news section, photos of 40 ft. Red togs, back to camera……
I write this post in response to a recent article in the Irish Timesby Kathy Sheridan which had the title THE UNSUNNY SOUTHEAST.
Essentially, it is an article about the decline of Waterford City; its high unemployment rate; loss of jobs; lack of university status; ‘distress and decimation;’and a little after -thought about shoots of hope.
Waterford City may not be thriving but it seems to me that an appreciation of what we have is being eroded by a sense of doom and gloom, self-pity and, dare I say it, loss of pride in our place.
Waterford City is stunningly beautiful, built along the River Suir, and with a long, long history that is the envy of towns and cities around the entire world.
Yes, Waterford has had periods when it was thriving ~ such as when Waterford Glass was in its glory days. Those days have passed, just as the waters of the Suir have flowed on. In many ways, the lure of Waterford Glass tended to divert attention from the extent to which Waterford City is a gateway to a magical county.
It is time for everyone associated with Waterford City and County to recognise what we have; to support local in every possible way. There are hundreds of businesses and organisations throughout the City and County which are doing excellent work and providing services second to none. They need to be nurtured and encouraged and given more and more reasons for hope and expansion.
This is the time when the people of Co. Waterford as a whole must do more than stand together. We must take steps to showcase this precious jewel that is our place.
The old saying ‘success breeds success’is one that must be carved on every single Waterford heart and let’s watch together as the sun radiates hope and prosperity across a city and county that has such incredible potential to blossom.
I suspect that I was but one of thousands who cried today as the report of the funeral service of Maeve Binchy was broadcast across Ireland on RTE Radio’s News at One. I had just left the Book Centre in Waterford, where I have bought so many of Maeve’s books over the years, when the report began and it was one of those times when I understood what W.H. Auden meant when he wrote: Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone …
A flood of thoughts flashed into my mind about this remarkable woman who was such a fundamental part of all that is good about Ireland. Like many, many others, I was introduced to Maeve Binchy’s inspiration by my late mother who was an avid reader of her columns in the Irish Times and later of her international best-selling novels. Memories of Mother deeply engrossed in books like Light a Penny Candle , The Lilac Bus, and Echoes are still very much with me. It always seemed fitting that she would read Maeve’s books first and then pass them on to me. They were books we both devoured and somehow Maeve had an ability to appeal right across generations.
I just loved listening to her talk – with that genuine smiley tone and honesty. She certainly never lost the run of herself even with all her fame and was prepared to address the most human of human issues – like how she couldn’t resist eavesdropping as it gave her great ideas for stories.
I treasure days that I lay out on Killiney Beach, not far from Maeve’s home in Dalkey, Co. Dublin, reading her novels which were so perceptive of people and their foibles. Those were days when I was supposed to be studying Sociology but, now that I think about it, Maeve’s books were in themselves significant commentaries on Irish society and it was just lovely to escape into them with the sun on my back warming up on the shaley sand of Killiney after a stolen swim.
As I listened to the report about Maeve’s funeral service today, I was glad that I had written to her seven or eight years ago to tell her how much Mother and I enjoyed her books and to tell her what an inspiration she was to both of us in our writing endeavours. The lovely colourful card that she sent back is one of my all-time treasures. It was written as if I was the only person who had ever read her books or contacted her. It was full of encouragement, warmth and absolute human kindness.
Maeve, I want to say ‘goodbye’ and thank you for all the happiness you brought and most of all for your generosity of spirit.