SPRING IN ROMANTIC TRAMORE
This evening I realised that winter is over and that spring has finally sprung. I felt that tingle of excitement at the prospect of new beginnings when I caught a glimpse of springtime down the Prom shortly before 6pm. The beach had its spring glow – that special sheen that one only seems to catch at this time of year.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one who felt the change in the air. Out in Garrarus, a man was happily looking for treasures in among the rockpools; families were enjoying the mild air and dogs were bounding along the beach. All the while, there was the sound of birds chirping and the fields around Tramore will soon present us with that most wonderful sight, newborn lambs under their mothers’ watchful eyes.
With the arrival of spring, I can’t but think of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s line: ‘In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.’ It is hard to think of a place that holds more for the romantic, than Tramore itself. I challenge anyone to find a ‘A Lover’s Walk’, which is as beautiful and historic as Lover’s Walk out by Newtown Wood. It’s hardly a coincidence that there is an abundance of wild gorse, which shows yellow all year, growing along ‘Lover’s Walk.’ Whenever I pass it, I think of how my late mother would always say: ‘When the gorse is out of bloom, kissing’s out of season.’
Or what about Tramore’s , ‘Love Lane’, with its special proximity to the sea and to that den of romance, Tramore Tennis Club. And, come to think of it, Tramore has its very own historic Gallwey’s heart-shaped chocolates.
While there is a lovely predictability about spring, trees in bud, snowdrops, primroses in the hedgerows, daffodils, lengthening days, the comings and goings of St Patrick’s Day, it can be full of surprises and new beginnings.
Without doubt one of the most unexpected things to happen me in springtime was eleven years ago, when I brought my then five-year-old son down to Tramore GAA Club to see if hurling might appeal to him. I had no background whatever in hurling, having spent my formative years, immersed in tennis, in non-hurling counties like Westmeath, Monaghan and Louth. Little did I realise that day, back in spring 2001, that I would be entering a whole new world.
Tramore GAA Club welcomed us with open arms and there I discovered what can only be described as a dynamic hub of sport, camaraderie and community. Hurling certainly did take the young man’s fancy, and ten years on, I am still stunned by the extent to which hurling and Tramore’s, Michael Mac Craith Club, which has a history stretching way back to 1885, became so fundamental to our lives.
The stretch in the evenings will soon bring the sight of hard-fought matches down in the grounds at Riverstown, the echo of hurls clashing, team mates calling, coaches encouraging, half-time drinks, supporters cheering, that piercing sound of the referee’s whistle, the clatter of the metal studs as the spent teams – ours in the blue and white of Tramore, make their way to the dressing-rooms to either celebrate or console, but never losing sight of the bonds of friendship that are tightened with every match between both team mates and ‘opponents.’
A tough winter is behind us now. Tramore is already dressing up for spring and presenting us with so much to savour. I’m just wondering what surprises are in store, what new beginnings are ahead in this special town of ours that has such an abundance of human energy and natural beauty.