The Party

I am not a party animal and that’s putting it mildly. I went to a couple of birthday parties as a child and couldn’t seem to deal with them at all. I think it was the party pieces that got to me, but I’m not even sure if that was it.

There was, however, one party in my life that was heaven. It was when I was thirteen and we had it in the basement of our house – a big bank house – on New Year’s Eve.

The preparations that went into that event were unbelievable and the bits I remember most were my brother and I painting some light bulbs red. How we didn’t set the place on fire with them is still a mystery. There was also the putting up of posters around the old stone walls. Jimi Hendrix is the one stands out in my mind.

The music blasted out from our record player and maybe someone had a speaker -though I can’t recall speakers being much of a thing for home music back then. The main thing was the music played all night and we danced and danced. All my ‘wallflower’ fears seemed to leave me that evening, probably because I knew all the ‘guests.’

Neil Diamond, The Beatles and, of course, I’ve Been to the Desert on a Horse with No Name’ played as the red lights glowed and I felt all grown up in my bell-bottomed trouser suit. I can still see Big Bro with tinsel around his neck. I thought he was cooler than cool as he bopped towards midnight.

We counted down to the New Year, sang Auld Lang Syne and then a boy who I really fancied gave me a New Year’s kiss that has remained stored in my heart all these years. I wonder whatever became of him!

Mother and Father were upstairs throughout all this and Mother provided us all with food and soft drinks without seeming to have any presence in the crowded room.

No party could ever surpass that one – I knew it that night and I still believe it was beyond special. As we approach New Year tonight, sweet memories from that year will come flooding back along with lots of others.

Wishing Stone Time

New Year’s Eve is coming close and hence it’s time for me to get ready for our Wishing Stone ritual.

For those who are new to this bridge of mine, The Wishing Stone Ritual began at least ten years ago when son and I went to Newtown Cove out the road and cast stones into the waves with wishes for the year ahead and thoughts of precious people of the year just ending. That first year the moon was full and the sea was all aglisten.

Newtown Cove, Tramore, Co. Waterford

It has become our annual event and not even Covid restrictions can stop it.

It you would like us to cast a Wishing Stone for you, let me know in the comments or via my email: jeantubridy@aol.com.

I know that there are lots of wishes just waiting to be made and we have zillions of lovely stones to choose from.

So, please join us in this magical event.

Bookends of the Year

While I’m not out on the razzle-dazzle, New Year’s Eve is a pretty big deal for me for a whole host of reasons. Lots of key things seem to have happened on New Year’s Eves over the years so it’s kind of etched in my heart.

I see New Year’s Eve as being like a book-end holding in all the moments from a particular year. I took a look at how I started 2016 here on Social Bridge and found that it was an urging to self to Smile more. I’ve tried and it does work reasonably well but forced smiles are no good! Here’s the post, just in case you want to have a read.

I made it my business to try and see the sunrise and the sunset of today and, of course, there was the Wishing Stone Ritual.

Here’s how the day looked when it greeted me down the beach:

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Sunrise over Tramore Bay 

There was a softness in the air that made it feel more like a Summer’s morning than the depths of Winter. I was surrounded by seagulls and I rather like this photo (that Dad would certainly have condemned to the ‘Dud’ category.) There’s something surreal about it New Year’s Eve can feel surreal:

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‘Old time he is a flying…’

Now to the Wishing Stones. I’m delighted to report that we are just back from the casting. I had gone out to Newtown Cove earlier in the day to collect the stones for everyone who had requested that I cast one for them. It was really nice to have the time to ‘browse’ on the shore and select the stones which I felt matched the people that I was picking them for. I placed them all in a little nook in the rocks as I collected them. You’d be amazed how particular stones pushed themselves forward as being suitable for the individuals I have come to know through ‘blogland.’ Here is a photo of the stash:

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The Wishing Stones

It was like the day got into a sulk at sunset time and it just clouded over and we had no dramatic sunset at all.

Tonight, son, Harry,  and I went out to Newtown Cove and cast our own stones as well as those of people from all over the globe who had requested that I cast one for them. It was beyond magical. There was a poignant moment as I cast one in memory of our beloved Paul Curran, who died earlier in the year but who touched the hearts of so many of us here on WordPress. He adored the ocean and it felt so right to give his stone a little kiss of remembrance from us all.

So, the midnight hour is approaching here in Tramore and I would like to wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2017. Also, I would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive in 2016 in all sorts of different ways.

Finally, may I say, that I still think that we need to Smile, Smile, Smile as much as we can but always be true to ourselves and to others in those smiles. A sincere smile can light up a person’s day …

Here’s smiling at you as I raise my glass to 2017!

 

 

 

 

Horizons, History, Bells and Years

It all started as a walk on the beach at sunset with Puppy Stan. The horizon was pencilled out and had me looking foward:

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Horizon

Puppy Stan was in pensive mood and was basking in the here and now:

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Puppy Stan

We couldn’t resist driving out along the Copper Coast just to see how it looked in the gloaming.

Driving along, I was very conscious of the word ‘year’ and how the Irish language seems to capture ‘last year’ and ‘next year’ so much more deeply than English does.

‘Last year’ is ‘An bhliain seo caite,’ literally,’the/this year spent/used up,’ and ‘Next year’ is ‘An bhliain seo chugainn,’ literally, ‘the/this year toward us.’ I love the way the Irish is so much more dynamic and, indeed questioning, than English.

Pondering on all this, I nearly missed the fact that the door of the Catholic Churchv in Bonmahon was ajar. I couldn’t resist stopping and seizing the opportunity to go in and see how it was looking.

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Bonmahon Church, Co. Waterford

The building that is now the church has served a host of different functions as a little notice on the gate post outlines.

It was originally built as a Temperance Hall as drunkenness had been a major problem for the mining company that was operating in the 1800s. A locally based temperance movement led by priests managed to wipe out drinking in 1839 through exhortation by the usecof “Temperance Police.” From 1840, the miners could come tobthe Hall, join the Temperance Band and drink non-intoxicating beverages.

The building was used as a famine-relief centre in 1846-7 and then became a fever hospital before being converted into a church.

The church was empty when I was there and I could feel its past enveloping me. My instinct was to light candles in memory of those who had spent time there in so many different capacities:

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Interior of Bonmahon Church

Another part of me longed to ring the big bell outside the church to summon all the members of the local community for a celebration of the very last Friday of 2016.

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Let the Bell Ring!

But I didn’t have the guts. Maybe when I am older and grayer and decked out in purple, I will!

For now, it’s time for bed as The Wishing Stones  Ritual for New Year’s Eve is almost upon us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing Stone Ritual on New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is looming so the casting of wishing stones is very much on my mind. Many of you will have read about this ritual that son, Harry, and I started a good few years ago now out at Newtown Cove here in Tramore.

We wanted to say goodbye to the old year but let the sea, which is so precious to us, know of our wishes for the coming year. It was a magical occasion, picking our stones by torchlight; they had to be stones that were the right shape, colour/s and texture for us; and than throwing them with all our might into the waves. We didn’t share our wishes ~ these were between us and the ocean.

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Newtown Cove, Tramore, Co. Waterford

Over the years, it’s become part of our New Year’s Eve and we like to share it with people who would like us to cast a wishing stone of their behalf.

It’s our pleasure to know that other people are with us as we make this special journey to one of the loveliest little coves in the whole world and one which has a magnificent and ever-changing selection of stones.

So, please let us know if you would like us to include you. You can use the comment section here on Social Bridge or email me at jeantubridy@aol.com. 

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Wishing Stones

Wishing Stones on New Year’s Eve ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 360

It’s quite a few years ago now that our  New Year’s Eve Wishing Stone Ritual  was born. My son and I make our way to Newtown Cove, just outside Tramore, here in Co. Waterford in Ireland.   We each select the most perfect stones we can find and cast them into the sea. Newtown Cove is a magical place ~ high cliffs on either side and the hauntingly beautiful Newtown Wood just behind.

wishing-stones

Such a simple ceremony, but one in which memories of the year just gone and hopes for the next are added to the whispering, or sometimes, roaring, waves.

If you would like me to cast a  Wishing Stone for you, wherever you are in the world, just let me know, either in the comments here or by email: jeantubridy@aol.com You’ll know what that stone carries and the sea will certainly understand.

If this post feels familiar, it is one that I wrote too close to New Year’s Eve last year so I wanted to give a little more notice this time round!

Wishing Stones on New Year’s Eve ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 21

It’s quite a few years ago now that our  New Year’s Eve Wishing Stone Ritual  was born.  My son and I make our way to Newtown Cove, just outside Tramore, here in Co. Waterford in Ireland.   We each select the most perfect stones we can find and cast them into the sea. Newtown Cove is a magical place ~ high cliffs on either side and the hauntingly beautiful Newtown Wood just behind.

wishing-stones

Such a simple ceremony, but one in which memories of the year just gone and hopes for the next are added to the whispering, or sometimes, roaring, waves.

If you would like me to cast a  Wishing Stone for you, wherever you are in the world, just let me know.  You’ll know what that stone carries and the sea will certainly understand.

Have a Happy New Year and may all your wishes come true!