On the Back Road

There’s all sorts of ways of getting from Tramore to Waterford – it’s just about 8 miles.

I love all the roads for different reasons and each has its own landmarks. Some are very personal to me and others are much more widely recognised.

The farm buildings on the ‘Back Road’ that you see in the photo below really stand out with the white-washed walls and high up green grain doors.

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Shadows on the Wall

I make a point of taking the Back Road on sunny days just to see the shadows of the trees playing on the old well kept wall.

It’s always  lovely knowing that Tramore and the sea are waiting not far over the little hill in the distance and that you might  well catch a glimpse of a horse looking out over a stable door in the evocative farm yard.

The Slip ~ Tramore, Co. Waterford

There’s few places that feel more like home to me than The Slip down at Tramore Beach. It’s a place that’s all abuzz in Summer when there’s a bit of sun. You see relaxation personified and lots and lots of colour ~ deckchairs, windbreakers, lifeguards, ice-creams, tanning bodies; and there are the scents of coconut sun cream, fish and chips, seaweed; sounds of kiddies’ excitement and freedom, waves splashing, chatter of old-timers …..

At this time of year, The Slip tends to be quiet apart from a few tourists, regular walkers, joggers and sea-lovers.

I love the solitude you find there in Autumn as the sun is rising. There is the company of the seagulls and the familiarity of it all as this is the place where I spent hours and hours as a babe in arms, with a babe in arms, readying myself for a swim, or just whiling away the hours watching the ebb and flow of the sea.

All this was on my mind as I stood their very early last Saturday morning, having been woken at all hours by the dogs barking at I know not what.

The thing about The Slip is that you can generalise about it all you like but it is never, ever the same as it was even a moment before or after. This is how it was while I was there on Saturday for that stolen hour or so half in my pyjamas, half in in winter woollies:

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Lighting Up Time
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Day is Dawning
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The Golden Slip
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The Incoming Tide
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Early Morning Paddle
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Daily Constitutional
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A New Day

 

Hasta La Vista

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My Garden of Eden, Mount Congreve, is closing on Sunday for the Winter. As regulars here on Social Bridge will know, the world famous garden, which is just a few miles out the road from Tramore, is a precious haven of mine.

I’m very fortunate to have been able to visit Mount Congreve every week throughout the season and savour its ever-changing colour and light.

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Today was bliss but tinged with a sense of melancholy as I wandered through the walled garden and then the glorious woodlands. Much has happened in the period since the Gardens opened back in March and I’ve done a lot of contemplating, celebrating and pure ‘being’ in this place that never, ever fails to bring colour, calm and awe to my mind and heart.

Here’s a glimpse of what drew my eyes out there this morning on one of those ‘pet’ days that you always hope for as September draws to a close in Ireland:

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Tramore Tonight

I sped out of the house around eight o’clock as the sun had just set and found myself down at the Prom looking out over Tramore Bay.

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Tramore Bay, Co. Waterford

It was one of those balmy September nights when locals and visitors were trying to eke out the very last of the Summer. The ‘Merries’ have closed down, on weekday nights anyway, but there was a big queue at Dooly’s Fish and Chip Shop which is a landmark place by the Ladies’ Slip here in Tramore. Even when you’ve had supper, it’s hard to resist at least a ‘small chip’ wrapped in steaming paper with that distinctive salt and vinegar smell that blends so well with the salty sea air and the splashing of the waves.

Tonight, the Prom seemed to be all about lines. The horizon was sharp, in stark contrast to the dense fog that hung over it early this morning; the waves were like dark pencil lines as they crested; the three pillars out at the Metal Man rose up to lend their shape to the scene; and most of all the Prom railings marked out Tramore as the place that has held me since I was a babe-in-arms.

Just to run my fingers along those railings anchors me like nowhere else. I’ve leaned against them in all-weathers for over half a century now and they always make me think of the millions of hands that have held them as Tramore has won the hearts of people who could be just about anywhere as I write.

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Railings of Love

 

Water Flowing Under the Bridge

The River Suir is one of the longest rivers in Ireland. It has been a part of my life in various different parts of the country.

Here’s how it was as I stood on Fiddown Bridge one evening recently.

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Back towards Clonmel, Co.Tipperary

Clonmel was ‘home’ in my student years and the place where I met up with hubby.

The Suir enters the sea a few miles from Waterford city. I see it almost every day and feel it is part of my stream of consciouness as Co. Waterford is my birthplace and home now for over 25 years.

I love the bends in this wonderful body of water. They say so much about the unexpected; and the hidden beauty that lies in wait.

But that evening on Fiddown Bridge, I wasn’t thinking about past or future. It was more a deep appreciation of the flow of life and being able to take in the fullness of the river at high tide as it brought a calmness with that gentle glow of pink as night fell.

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The Suir heading towards Waterford City and onwards to the sea.

Is there a river that wends through your life?

 

 

 

A Tramore Landmark

The feature of Tramore that you see long before you reach the town from pretty much any direction is the steeple of the Roman Catholic Church ~ The Church of the Holy Cross.

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Holy Cross Church on Tramore Skyline at Sunset

I was Baptized in this church back in 1957 ~ and even though I’m no longer a believer, I love the building as it is such a part of the town that I proudly call ‘home.’  Speaking of ‘home,’ the church is very close to where we live and I have a full view of the steeple just standing in the kitchen.

The foundation stone for the Holy Cross Church, which was designed by Mr. J.J. McCarthy,  was laid in 1856 and the tower and spire were completed in 1871. Before that time, a thatched chapel close to the existing church served the people of Tramore.

The Holy Cross Church reminds me somewhat of the sea as its appearance changes very much depending on the light and I find myself drawn to it in all weathers and at different times of the day and year.

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The Holy Cross in Early Morning Light

The Church has a Rose Window which was supplied by Messrs. Meyer of Munich and it is quite stunning from both inside and out:

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The Rose Window at Sunset

Here’s how it looks from the inside:

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The Stained Glass Rose Window 

The colour of the brick work is ever changing and I love its warmth in the evening sun

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as well as its shapeliness when viewed from the side against a blue sky:

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Tramore has a population of around 10,500 people and it is a source of constant fascination to me that it should have a church that it so imposing.

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Soaring Spire

What sort of church building is part of ‘your’ home place? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Cottages

There’s a joy about driving down little lane ways in Ireland because one often comes across beautiful cottages that are clearly loved by their owners.

Recently, I came across two beauties near a little inlet here in Co. Waterford. I’ve come to think of them as The Blue Door

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The Blue Door

and  Little Red

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Little Red

At the bottom of the lane was the tranquil sea:

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Tranquillity

Seeing these cottages made me think of a woman I met in a shop in Washington DC, who, on hearing my Irish accent, asked me if Ireland really has white-washed cottages, beside the sea which are bedecked in roses in Summertime.

I smiled that day as she described her vision of Ireland.  Yes, it is somewhat stereotypical but it’s a stereotype that makes me love this little corner of the world.

Sight and Sound

It’s very often the little things that are the BIG things in my life.

Yes, I went back out to watch the lambs with their mothers and here’s a little clip from the time I spent there.

It was only when I started for home that I realised how much time had passed and that night was closing in.

I was also captivated by the beauty of the country road ~ with the glimpse of the ocean at the end of it. It made me think of all the people who live in the middle of big cities, like I did for many years, and who don’t have the opportunity to see night falling without the roar of traffic and the hustle and bustle of people rushing around.

The Road for Home in Co. Waterford.
The Road for Home in Co. Waterford.

How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you – you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences – little rags and shreds of your very life.

(Katherine Mansfield)