Nature’s Balm

Woods and woodland gardens near the sea played a huge part in the long lives of both my parents and I suppose it’s only natural that they feel like a natural habitat to me.

When I was out in my beloved Mount Congreve last Sunday morning, a host of happy memories came flooding back through the sheer abundance of colour, texture, growth, fadings, promises …..


Fleeting images of Mother with that serene look she always had when wandering in woods and among flowers that brought her back  to the farm of her youth in Co. Meath. How often she would quote these lines from George Byron:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, 
There is a rapture on the lonely shore, 
There is society, where none intrudes, 
By the deep sea, and music in its roar: 

Dad’s deep appreciation of  colour and how he introduced me to art from a very early age with visits to the National Gallery of Ireland. Over the subsequent years, we always found reason to meet in the National Gallery, even when it made no logistical sense. His happy tears when I gave him a book about Impressionism on his 90th birthday ~ just ten days after Mother had died on May 31st 2009.

And that pink-lilac skirt that I wore so endlessly when I was twelve or thirteen. It made me feel so grown-up with all its tresses. It was the skirt that I sported when we went to visit my brother in boarding school in the Summer term. I had such hopes of making a lasting impression on all his friends as I flounced out of the back of the Vauxhall Viva …..

And Mount Congreve waits ….. I am so looking forward to seeing the clematis flowing majestically from the tallest trees imaginable; and soaking up even more of the carpet of bluebells that grow even more beautiful with each passing Spring …..




Mount Congreve Garden was bathed in dew when I arrived early last Saturday. It was overcast and I wanted to soak in the colour of the place that is such an essential part of my week.  In all the years, Mount Congreve has never, ever disappointed me. As I was driving out there, I was thinking of the wondrous way in which each visit involves having one’s gaze lured to new corners, nooks and crannies as nature’s spotlights guide the way.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people who have a depth, range and allure than makes them people for all seasons, just as Mount Congreve is a garden for all seasons. Here’s a hint of the splendour that awaited me:

Here’s the link to Mount Congreve’s Website, should you wish to visit over the Easter Weekend or beyond.




Come to my Garden of Eden …..

Summertime started here in Ireland yesterday. It seemed like the world was still sleeping as I wandered around stunning Mount Congreve Garden, here in Co. Waterford, very early on what was a calm and balmy morning.

Here’s a hint of how the Garden looked as it moves into April:






Ireland Calling! Slideshow September 2012 from Mount Congreve Garden, Co. Waterford

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”

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Co. Waterford ABC

I am setting myself a tough challenge but one that I relish. My aim is to feature my highlights of Co. Waterford, Ireland working with one choice for each letter of the alphabet.  I hope this will generate lots of interest and friendly deabte as I know there is so, so much from which to chose!

As this is warm-up day. I want to post an Autumnal photograph that I took in Mount Congreve Garden last week.

Hope you like it!

Mount Congreve Garden, Co. Waterford