But Love Always

I guess everyone deals with anniversaries of death in different ways and I suspect that for most people the number of anniversaries that truly penetrate the heart is very limited.

My father’s anniversary is one of those which has huge significance for me. He died on September 10th, 2010 and yesterday all I wanted to do was to feel as close as I possibly could to him.  I’d done all in my power to keep the day as clear as I could but I had no specific plans for what I’d do.

It proved to be one of the most beautiful days of the year here in Co. Waterford with the gentlest light you could possibly imagine. It’s always been important to me to be somewhere that he and I loved at 10.57 a.m. the time he died (and also my birth date, something that he would have pounced on with his fascination for numbers.)

I just sat into the car and let instinct drive. At 10.57, I was walking Kilfarrassy Beach ~ a beach where we spent so much time as kids and where Dad and I whiled away many hours chatting and watching the waves in the final years of his long life.

Kilfarrassy Beach, Co. Waterford
Kilfarrassy Beach, Co. Waterford

It never occurred to me on September 10, 2010 that the natural world, which Dad loved so much, could possibly be bursting with colour, vibrancy and continuity. Nor did I envisage that a time could ever come when I would stand in the presence of nature on his anniversary and feel a true sense of celebration ~ celebration of a life well spent, a father/daughter relationship filled with trust, empathy, fun, shared interests and unconditional love.

Instinct drove me out along the Copper Coast, into the picturesque village of Kill with its aptly named, Happy Days, shop where I bought a picnic lunch that had to include a Waterford ‘blaa’ (type of bread roll) and a little  Cadbury’s snack bar like the ones Dad always seemed to have hidden away, just in case!

Onwards to Mount Congreve Garden which was like The Garden of Eden.

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Yes, ‘Light and shade by turn but love always.’

And how better to round off the day than with a swim at sundown at Garrarus Beach with son, Harry, who seems to have inherited many of Dad’s traits, especially his passion for nature, sport and his hearty laugh.

Garrarus Beach at Sundown
Garrarus Beach at Sundown


Meeting Montana in Co.Waterford ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 96

Yesterday this blog literally came alive. A few months back,  I posted a piece about the stunning Copper Coast in Co. Waterford from where many miners emigrated in the 19th Century to Butte, Montana in America when the Copper mines in Bonmahon closed down.


I sent it to the Montana Standard and received a number of emails from people with a passionate interest in the whole subject as they are descendants of Bonmahon miners.

Well, yesterday, I had the amazing experience of  meeting with a 70-year-old man, his daughter and two of his grandchildren and escorting them along the Copper Coast. We drove in convoy but the 70-year-old man whose great grandfather had worked in the mines was sitting beside me in my car. We chatted away and then there was a haunting silence as the mine works at Tankardstown came into view. Mining was nothing new to this man as he had worked in the mining industry in Butte but Ireland, Co. Waterford and the Copper Coast were totally new to him.  I wondered what was running through his heart and soul in those quiet minutes. Maybe one day he will tell me or maybe it will remain indescribable.

We drove to the little village of Kill, which was central to his great-grandfather’s story and as we waited for a delicious meal at Kirwan’s pub, he slipped out to soak in the sense of the place where his great-grandfather had been baptised and probably lived. I bade them farewell back in Bonmahon at the heart of where the miners had lived and a few hours later I went to a sreening of  a series of  splendid short films,   The Copper Coast Miners, made by Art Hand Productions.  Sitting in the Copper Coast Geopark at the showing, I realised that I had come thousands of miles yesterday in terms of gaining insight into the significance of the mining community of Bonmahon and how it has touched so many people in a host of different ways.

Moments before screening of 'The Copper Coast Miners'
Moments before screening of ‘The Copper Coast Miners’