Another Ireland

There are times when I love to look through my late father’s collection of photographs which span the years from the mid 1940s to around 2005.

It is a very mixed collection and I suppose that’s what makes it such a treasure. I never know what will turn up, especially when I go to boxes that he had marked as ‘duds.’

Today, I came across an unusual looking pouch in one of the tin boxes in which he stored the photos. It’s black leather or fake leather but is clearly intended for photographs. It’s the only one I’ve come across so far and I was intrigued to see what he had put into it.

It turned out to be a set of photographs that go to the heart of the Ireland that Dad really loved. I’m not sure of the exact location but we are certainly talking about the West of Ireland. Dad was from West Co. Clare and, even though he moved around the country a lot, he never, ever lost his sense of being from the West and from West Clare, in particular.

Cottages and outhouses always caught his eye so this photograph of an old thatched cottage is exactly what I’d expect. What took me by surprise, though, is the way in which the thatch is so different to that which I am familiar with in present day Co. Waterford. I just love the simplicity of this cottage and the character it exudes.

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Photo: Frank Tubridy

We get some sense of the context within which the cottage is located from other photos in the pouch. Dad was always drawn to places where sea and mountains came together and this photograph  brought me back to many of the beaches in the West that we holidayed near when we were kids. (I’m as sure as I possibly can be that the child in this shot is not one of us. He liked to take photos that included people who were part of particular places.)

dads2
Photo: Frank Tubridy

Dad was an out and out perfectionist about lots of things and knew exactly where all his stuff was. It’s quite paradoxical that for one so perfectionistic that he didn’t throw away photographs that he actually labelled as ‘duds.’  I feel so fortunate that he didn’t as the ‘duds’ give us such a glimpse of an Ireland that belonged to other eyes and another time.

 

 

Amid the Noise and Haste

 

Ireland is in a whirl of activity at the moment as we prepare for a host of high key national events over the next couple of months:

The General Election ~ February 26th

St. Patrick’s Day ~ March 17th

Centenary of The Easter Rising 1916 ~ March 27th especially

Census of Population ~ April 24th

The fact that there is so much going on all around the same time has the effect of diluting each specific event under what feels like huge blanket of Irishness of various shades and emphases.

And, all the while, each person living in Ireland has his/her own personal events going on.

It’s hard to take it all in at times and while I am intensely interested in things social and political, one has to step back from it all from time to time and draw breath.

My everyday Ireland of this week has been bursting with beauty. Here’s a little glimpse of how it’s been here in Co. Waterford:

 

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Irish Thatch ~ Examples from Co. Waterford

Thatched houses are one of the most beautiful features of Ireland and we are very fortunate  here in Co. Waterford to have many fine examples.  I suspect that this is in large part due to the fact that we have a Master Thatcher, Hugh O’Neill, living in the area.

Here are some of the thatched houses in Co. Waterford that I find most appealing:

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Thatched pubs tend to be very picturesque and evocative. I am always saddened when I pass one particular thatched pub that I used to frequent which has now fallen into disrepair. It clings to its former glory and shows the extent to which thatched buildings need to be maintained:

T5

Here are some of the thriving thatched pubs in Co. Waterford that have special meaning for me: