Dad, This is THE One

Dear Dad,

Between your birthday on Tuesday and Father’s Day tomorrow, you’ve been very much on my mind.

I’ve been taking hundreds of photographs and I kept thinking of how you used to tell me to bring down the one that I liked the best so we could discuss its merits or otherwise. I hope you know how much I treasured your opinion, even when we disagreed!

Well, I’ve gone through them all a few times and this is tonight’s offering. It was the lines that got me hooked and the sense of Summer. What do you reckon?


Lots of love,



When Instinct Drove Me ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 362

Yesterday was one of those days when I let instinct drive me. It brought me to Garrarus where I got drenched by a big fluffy wave before I’d even taken off my shoes. December 28, 2013 was insisting that it wasn’t going to be written off as a day for either looking back or looking forward.

It splashed  and coloured its way right into the centre of my stage as a day to be lived for its own uniqueness and beauty. Here are the scenes that unfolded along the coast from Garrarus to Tankardstown ~ that little stretch of the world here in Co. Waterford which is so incredibly precious …..

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What’s YOUR Most Memorable Blog Post of 2013? ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 361

Blog posts are memorable for all sorts of reasons. For me, anyway there’s always there’s the rationale for writing; ease of writing, circumstances of writing, level of interest shown by readers, comments and where they lead ….. and a whole mixum-gatherum of other things.

Chatting by the Currachs Photo: Frank Tubridy
Chatting by the Currachs
Photo: Frank Tubridy

I was flicking through my archives for 2013 and was surprised at the one that hit me in the solar plexus. It reminded me of  wonderfully articulate man I interviewed as part of the research for my PhD thesis on the experiences of people with physical disabilities in Ireland back in the 1980s. He described a particular day as the day not-yachting and the post that is definitely my most memorable was written on the day not-going to New York. 

I was feeling very sorry for myself as I had been soooooooooooooo looking forward to going to the America to do a writing course but it all became impossible for a host of reasons.

I’ve built up a whole menu of things over the years that I do when the ‘poor me’ train starts to gather speed ~ swimming in the sea, walking, gardening, reading poetry, diving into books of  wit and humour, taking photographs and, of course, writing.

The weather that day wasn’t great or, at least, I was seeing dark skies; I was alone in the house and was generally mooching around. I can vividly remember pulling out boxes and boxes of my late father’s photographs  ( the thought of it alone makes me smile now!) and finding all sorts of  gems than transported me by currach out of my little Mount Misery. (There is such a place in Waterford City!).

So here’s the link to the post, A Journey of a Different Kind,  that certainly wasn’t the most popular one I wrote this year but which drew some lovely responses for which I shall be forever grateful.

So what’s the blog post that YOU wrote in 2013 which is most memorable for you? And, of course, I’d love to know why it’s so memorable!

Christmas Love ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 355

As Ireland moves towards St. Stephen’s Day, I would like to share a couple of photographs from today ~ a day on which nature here in Co. Waterford sparkled:

Listening to the Church Bells in Tramore
Garrarus Beach
Garrarus Beach
Newtown Wood
Newtown Wood
Tramore Bay
Tramore Bay

A Swim at Sunset~ Gatherings from Ireland # 330

There’s a magic about swimming at sunset and the beauty of  my beloved Garrarus around four o’clock today is indescribable.

Here is a hint of how it all was ~ on an evening I hope I will remember always:

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Calendar Time ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 321

Everything about calendars matters to me and especially the calendar that comes to live in my study for a whole year.

Generally speaking,  I’ve tended to opt for the National Gallery of Ireland’s Calendar or one that’s linked in some way to Impressionist Painting as I crave artistic brilliance and colour.

This year, I broke with tradition and went for the M.I.L.K  Love Calendar. It was the November picture that grabbed me when I flicked through it in the shop and I confess I still haven’t turned to December!

Here’s that winning pic:

True LOVE never grows old Photo: M.I.L.K. LOVE Calendar 2013
True LOVE never grows old
Photo: M.I.L.K. LOVE Calendar 2013

What do you look for in a calendar ~ dates, legibility, a  timely experience or something else I should know about?

The Final Curtain ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 318

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

It is hard to believe that November is drawing to a close and I would like to thank everyone who participated in The Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection here on Social Bridge.  Your contributions transformed my view of  November as being dark, dank and dreary and it has been really exciting to be able to share all the colour and creativity that so many people sent on to me.

So, as the curtain closes on the Festival for this year, let me bring you a blast of colour from Val Robus, who blogs brilliantly at

Photo by: Val Robus
Photo by: Val Robus

Heart and Soul ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 311

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

As the Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection here on Social Bridge enters its final week, I am becoming more and more amazed by the way in which blogging has the capacity to create bonds right across the world.

Thanks to Anne-Marie, who is an American woman with Irish ancestry, I have been introduced to the work of her  highly talented photographer friend, Rod Figaro, and brought to bridges in Central Park, New York ~ a place I would dearly love to visit.

Central Park, New York.
Photo: Rod Figaro

I particularly like the way Anne-Marie talks about photography and her words resonate very deeply, especially when I think of  my late father’s vast collection:

As we know, it is the heart and soul of the photographer that shines through in the photographs that move us and connect us.

Cental Park, New York.
Photo: Rod Figaro 

Should you wish to participate in this Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection, please send me prose, poetry, artwork … anything that brings warmth and colour to your November life wherever you are. Please email me at I look forward to hearing from you!


Toys with Connection ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 306

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

I had an absolute passion for kaleidoscopes as a child and it’s only now that I’ve learned that they were invented in 1817 in Scotland by Sir David Brewster.

I spent hours and hours just marvelling at the different shapes and colours that would appear with the mere turn of the dial at the top of the many kaleidoscopes that passed through my young hands. I wish I had one here now!

I got thinking about kaleidoscopes the other day as I was twirling around taking photographs of  trees and foliage as they played in the November light.

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When I got into these thoughts of toys with connection and colour, I began to think about spinning tops and, of course, my red scooter that still lives in the garden shed! What toys have special meaning for you and connect you to your childhood?

Should you wish to join in my Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection which I’m hosting here for the month of November, please email me at It’s all about adding warmth and colour to what can be the darkness of this wintery month!

Safe Harbour ~ Gatherings from Ireland #305

Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection
Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection

Dummore East, here in Co. Waterford, is a place that has huge significance in my life ~ so significant, in fact, that I chose to have my wedding reception there.

So, I was thrilled when Sinead Boyle submitted a photograph of  Dunmore East Harbour for my Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection. Sinead is a photographer from Tramore and it means the world to me that her decision to enter the world of photography was inspired by seeing exhibitions which my late father held when she was a youngster.

Dunmore East, Co. Waterford Photo: Sinead Boyle
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
Photo: Sinead Boyle

As a result, this particular photograph is all about connections as well as colour to me. For Sinead, though, the image conjures up thoughts about creativity which I find very interesting:

Dunmore’s  reflections lend colour to this image.  The water transforms into a natural canvas  to create its own landscape. Nature is by far the best creator; here it is definitely a case of:  to create a picture,  just add water. 

To see more of Sinead’s work, be sure to follow her via Tramore Art Craft and Design

As we move into the second half of November, may I invite you to join the Festival of Colour, Creativity and Connection by sharing prose, poetry, photographs, songs, artwork ….. anything that even whispers Colour, Creativity or Connection to you. Just email me at: I look forward to hearing from you!