Processing through Blogging

Even since I was a teenager I’ve felt the need to ‘process’ experiences and that’s one of the reasons I’ve always kept a journal.  ‘Processing,’ for me, means reflecting on what’s happened and drawing the key lessons, wonders, magic, sweetness, mysteries ….. and carrying them forward so that they don’t get lost in the morass of racing around.

I remember mentioning this need ‘to process’ to a friend many years ago and she looked at me as if I was cracked.  Cracked or not, it’s still something I need to do and, in many ways, blogging has become part of that.

For example, lots has happened over the last few days and because I haven’t written, it all feels like a mumbo-jumbo of ‘stuff’ that risks being lost in a mega tangle that will just have to be dumped.

I would love to know what YOUR view on processing experiences is. Is it fundamentally important to you or do you just move on to the next moment without a thought?

What was SO important over the weekend, you may reasonably ask. Well, here’s a very brief synopsis!

1. I got to see my legendary hurling hero, Ken McGrath, at the brilliant, evocative,  All Star Challenge Match I was so looking forward to last week.

Ken McGrath and Me Photo: Harry Fox
Ken McGrath and Me
Photo: Harry Fox

2. Mount Congreve Garden was beyond beautiful on Saturday morning:

Mount Congreve Garden,
The Bell Gate, Mount Congreve Garden, Co. Waterford

3. Sunday 29th brought happy, happy memories of my Great Aunt Anna who has to have been the most romantic, fun-loving, generous  person I’ve ever known. She married for the first time, aged 72, and she and her husband personified the word ‘sweethearts.’  She died very peacefully, aged 90, at dawn on June 29, 1991,  as she and I held hands for the very last time.

4. It was a weekend of having fun in my new role as marketing manager for The Carpet Shop in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Carpet is all about texture, colour, sense of place … so here’s a sample of where it took me as the sun shone!

Make Hay While the Sun Shines!
Make Hay While the Sun Shines!

And, of course, to the beach:

Summer Carpet
Summer Carpet







Ken McGrath ~ My Hurling Hero

Ken McGrath is best known as one of the greatest hurlers who has ever played for Co. Waterford. He is undeniably one of the absolute greats and has been an inspiration to a whole generation of kids, including my son, who grew up with the height of admiration for a Waterford Team who served up some of the most inspired and magical sporting moments we will ever know.

Ken McGrath Celebrating Victory in the 2004 Munster Hurling Championship Source: INPHO
Ken McGrath Celebrating Victory in the 2002 Munster Hurling Final Victory
Source: INPHO

Ken was a true leader, battler, fighter and talent alongside Co. Waterford greats including, Paul Flynn, John Mullane, Tony Browne ….. the list goes on and on.

BUT, for me, Ken McGrath will always be associated with altruism, pure heart and two astonishing meetings associated with my late mother.

I wasn’t able to attend my mother’s cremation in June 2009 and decided to go swimming instead at one of the off-the-beaten coves along the Co. Waterford Coast with my fourteen year-old son. I was still half dressed in funeral attire when I bumped into Ken McGrath who had just been for a swim in preparation for a big Inter-County Match a few days later.

We were passing acquaintances but he seemed to recognise that I wasn’t quite myself and stopped and asked how I was. I told him that Mother had died and was being cremated as we spoke. His sympathy was overwhelming and he stayed talking for some time, noting how all that had been on his mind was his ‘knees.’

By amazing coincidence, I met him in the exact same spot the following year on Mother’s anniversary and he remembered everything about the previous meeting. Again, we stopped and talked and his supreme kindness and obvious concern for others was palpable.

Over Christmas, Ken was struck down by a very serious illness that has led to open heart surgery and the prospect of very lengthy rehabilitation.  My heart goes out to him ~ as one of Ireland’s greatest sportsmen of our time. It comes as absolutely no surprise whatever that the hurling world has united to support this man of supreme talent and heart and tomorrow evening Walshe Park in Waterford City will host a fundraising game between the legends of  Munster and Leinster hurling in his honour.

Ken McGrath: All Star Challenge Ticket
Ken McGrath: All Star Challenge Ticket

I have my ticket safely tucked away and I can’t even begin to imagine the depths of emotion that that will be unleashed as the greatest hurlers that I have ever known take to the field to honour a man who has been such a servant to Co. Waterford.

More than anything, I want to wish Ken well and thank him for being such  comfort on days when I needed comforting. Now, the roles are reversed and, yes, I’ll be there cheering my heart out for a man who is an absolute hero.