Inspired by D.H. Lawrence

I was perusing a poetry book that I used to read to son Harry when he was young and this short poem by D.H. Lawrence sparked my imaginings yet again.

Things Men Have Made

Things men have made with wakened hands, and put soft life into
are awake through years with transferred touch, and go on glowing
for long years.
And for this reason, some old things are lovely
warm still with the life of forgotten men who made them.

(D.H. Lawrence in 100 Great Poems: Favourite Poems and their Poets, Selected by Victoria Parker, 2000, Miles Kelly Publishing: Essex).

The little note about D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) highlights the fact that he grew up in an English mining village, experiencing the poverty and harshness of life after the Industrial Revolution.

The poem was playing on my mind all day and last night I just had to make my way to the site of the old copper mines at Tankardstown here in Co. Waterford.

Old Copper Mining Works at Tankardstown, Co. Waterford.
Old Copper Mining Works at Tankardstown, Co. Waterford.

It was as if the the skies were aligned with my thoughts as they cast their softness right over the starkness of the works.

What old things would this poem bring to your mind? 

November Colour on the Copper Coast

Today was a perfect day here in Co. Waterford ~ a day to soak up sun, swim in the sea and draw energy from the vibrant colour that lasted from sunrise to sunset.

Colour in a picture is like enthusiasm in life
(Vincent Van Gogh)

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The Copper Coast at Sunset

The Copper Coast here in Co. Waterford is beyond special to me. It brings incredible peace but there are also haunting echoes of times past when there was a vast mining community based there.

Here’s how it looked yesterday evening as the sun was setting ~ I think of it as the glow and the after-glow.


Flashes of Ireland in Summer

I was out and about yesterday here in Co. Waterford and these are a few of the sights that compelled me to pause and and ponder …..


I often wonder what catches other people’s eyes as they travel along either these roads or the ones near their home places, wherever in the world they may be.

Midsummer Sundown in Co. Waterford

Tankardstown, Co. Waterford

Instinct brought me out to the Copper Coast to see the very last of  this year’s Midsummer sun and, of course, it was impossible to resist the temptation of a swim at Garrarus Beach on the way home. Grand light for swimming at 10:45pm among campers, fishermen and other sun worshipers.

So, as midnight approaches here  in Ireland, I bid farewell to what has been a stunning Midsummer’s Day 2014.

The Comeragh Mountains from Tanksardstown, Co. Waterford.
The Comeragh Mountains from Tanksardstown, Co. Waterford.

Pride of Place ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 203

So, last night I set out for the Graduation for the Postgraduate Certificate in Heritage Tourism: A Sense of Place about which I wrote with wild anticipation yesterday.

As I drove out along the road from Tramore towards the Copper Coast European Geopark where the ceremony was being held, it was as if  every conceivable aspect of  ‘sense of place’ came alive. Even though I was in my finery, I just had to capture the magnificence of the Copper Coastline as it opened up in front of me. 

This is a part of Ireland that means the world to me, and I say that with absolute pride and passion. It felt  more than fitting that the tide was high as this place holds so many memories for both me, at personal and professional levels, and for those, both local and tourist, whose lives are inextricably interwoven with it across time.

I think, here too, of the thousands of miners who worked the copper mines near Bonmahon in the 1800s and whose ancestors are scattered around the world, with many concentrated in Butte, Montana.

I hope you enjoy these photographs which are very different to what I had anticipated as those depicting the great Graduation evening that we all enjoyed so much and which will live long in our memories as a group of fellow students or travellers.

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Copper Coast, Co. Waterford connections to Butte, Montana ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 40

Copper Mining was a major industry in Co. Waterford here in Ireland in the 19th century. It was based in the very scenic area around Bonmahon which is at the heart of what is now called the Copper Coast.

Every time I pass the main evidence of the mining works, which are located overlooking the sea at Tankardstown, my mind crosses the ocean to Butte, Montana. We know that many of the miners emigrated to Butte when the mines closed in Bonmahon. I often wonder how it was for those who settled in Butte and if many of their descendants have any real sense of the incredible beauty of the landscape in the area around Bonmahon.

Restored Copper Mines at Tankardstown, Co. Waterford
Restored Copper Mines at Tankardstown, Co. Waterford

Maybe, just maybe,  someone from Butte  whose ancestors came from Bonmahon will read this post and let me know how life turned out for their family thousands of miles from their home here in Co. Waterford.

Co. Waterford ABC ~ C is for The Copper Coast

Co. Waterford ABC is a feature here on Social Bridge where I am identifying my highlights of  this diverse county in Ireland where I was born and which has been ‘home’ for the last 26 years. There will be just 26 posts ~ one for each letter of the alphabet and I hope you will join me in discussing your views about the places, people,  events, things that I select. Would you have chosen differently? In a county with such natural beauty and diversity in terms of history and heritage, one could quite easily identify 26+  highlights for each letter!  (  See All Posts in this Series  )

The Copper Coast, Co. Waterford
(Highlighted in Red. Click to Zoom)


The Copper Coast is a stretch of stunning coastline in Co. Waterford that runs for some 25 kilometres between Fenor and Kilfarrasy in the east to  Stradbally in the west.  It is an area steeped in geological features, history and heritage and takes its name from the 19th century copper mines that lie at its heart.  The history of mining on the Copper Coast is very well documented by Des Cowman (2006) in his fascinating book: The Making and Breaking of a Mining Community: The Copper Coast, County Waterford 1825-1875+

Copper Mining Heritage Site at Tankardstown, Co. Waterford

The Copper Coast was awarded European Geopark Designation in 2001 and became a Global Geopark under the auspices of UNESCO in 2004.  The Copper Coast  Geopark Centre in the recently restored church in Bunmahon is a wonderful stopping point where one can learn about the many features of the Copper Coast and enjoy a snack and a chat in a hauntingly beautiful setting.

Sea View from Tankardstown, Co. Waterford

Going for drives along the Copper Coast has been a fundamental part of my life since I was born and it is the stretch of coastline in the whole world that brings me the greatest sense of peace.

‘Pride and Joy’ at Boatstrand Harbour, Co. Waterford

I love its rugged, unspoilt nature and the fact that it offers such a variety of beaches, coves, dramatic views of  the sea and the Comeragh mountains, quaint villages, the working harbour at Boatstrand  and a year round display of seasonal flowers and foliage.  Major highlights are the daffodils which line the road between Fenor and Annestown in Spring; the sea pinks that flourish in Summer, especially beween Kilmurrin and Bunmahon; and the magnificent Autumn tints that are found in Stradbally Cove. Of course, all year round, we have the gleaming yellow of wild gorse.

Stradbally Cove, Co.Waterford

There is a whole world to be explored in the Copper Coast area. Not surprisingly, it is a place that inspires creativity. The Wood Craft Shop at Boatstrand, which closed a few years back, was very special for me and I’m so glad to have lamps and clocks from there to keep the memories alive.

Sculpture by Collette O’Brien near Boatstrand, Co. Waterford

In more recent years, I’ve been captivated by Stradbally Jewellery Design and the beautiful pieces that they make. Handmade Silver Jewellery – Stradbally Jewellery Design.  Other exciting new developments along the Copper Coast, for creative types, are The Art Hand, an art school which runs a wide range of courses in various forms of art and creativity  the art hand . art school . waterford . ireland | painting . photography  and The Wool Shop, an online venture , run by Bernadette and Niall McCann, who are also closely involved in developing knitting in the local community.  The Wool Shop – The Wool Shop, Ireland For Yarn / Wool And 

There are just so many pleasures along the Copper Coast ~ undoubtedly one of Ireland’s jewels.

The Copper Coast looking towards Helvick at Sunset