I don’t think I have ever felt as deeply in love with my home town, Tramore, as I did this evening as the sun was setting. The intensity of the feeling is very difficult to describe but it was undoubtedly fuelled by the fact I knew that my best friend from Tramore was on her way home from far away to attend her father’s funeral.
We had messaged each other a few times during the day and she wrote at one point that she was doing okay but she wasn’t so sure how she would be when she got to Tramore. It seemed as if this lovely seaside town was doing everything it possibly could to ease her homecoming and soften the sadness of death.
By October each year, Tramore is pretty much back to itself after the hectic tourist season which swells the population, especially in July and August. The town is small enough that most people are at least nodding acquaintances with each other and there is a very strong sense of community, especially at times of sadness and joy.
As I was standing on the historic Promenade, with the waves splashing through the distinctive railings, I realised that this is the place in the world where I feel totally at home.
The arms of Tramore Bay have a special embrace and the sound of the sea is the sweetest I know, especially when it whispers beneath the full moon, just like it’s doing now with midnight approaching under the fullest of full moons.
It would probably be best if you didn’t read this post as it’s basically me writing for therapy and I certainly don’t want any insights into what may lie in store!
I think I may have written here before about my fear and trembling of all things to do with toothy issues and dentists. I had my fair share of horrors in that department when my wisdom teeth appeared and then caused absolute havoc, especially when they steadfastly refused to come out.
I’ve been beyond diligent about minding my teeth since then and it’s paid off ~ at least until yesterday morning. I got a very odd sensation when eating an almond ~ it felt like a few teeth had snapped in two. Nothing to Declare, they smiled when I took courage and looked in the mirror. But, they were lying or, at least one of them was. I could feel a wibbly wobble in the general vicinity of the snapping and, yes, there’s a tooth moving ever so slightly. To me, it seems like it’s a huge rocking chair swinging out of control.
I hoofed it down to the dentist’s surgery and have an appointment for 9.45 tomorrow morning. I’m not sure whether I’m sorrier for me or the poor unfortunate dentist who has to deal with me.
He knows my form and knew both my late parents as well. Mother certainly wasn’t a fan of going to the dentist but she wasn’t next or near my league. Father, on the other hand, just loved going and thought it was ‘ridiculous nonsense’ that I should be so scared.
The crazy thing about all this is that one of Father’s photographs hangs on the wall of the dentist’s waiting-room. It’s a lovely one of the Metal Man and the cliffs here in Tramore. (The Metal Man area is the far headland on my header photo ~ and the Metal Man stands on one of the white pillars.)
All weekend, Father has been on my mind. It’s partly due to THE tooth but mainly because our lilac tree is in full bloom and looking better than ever. It’s certainly ageing well and not getting ‘long in the tooth!’
Father introduced me to the wonderful voice of Richard Tauber and our favourite song was We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring.
Oh bliss to listen to this again. I think I’ll try humming it as I lie in the dentist’s chair in the morning and when he tells me that I have to have at least two extractions and a few root canal fillings as well as dentures …, I’ll visualise the lilac tree in all its beauty.
Were you ever so full of inspiration that you felt you could barely write? Well, that’s how I am today. It’s all because I’ve been soaking myself in what I consider to be my Tramore ~ and I haven’t even been for my daily swim yet!
Tramore has lots of different faces and many of these have been beautifully captured at two exhibitions that are running in town. My first port of call was the Church of Ireland Hall where I viewed the annual exhibition of a group of extremely talented artists.
It’s well over 30 years since the Art Group started exhibiting and the paintings seem to get better and better every year. The stand-out painting for me at this year’s exhibition was called One Misty Morning by Jimmy O’Brien-Moran that captured the historic and atmospheric Promenade here in Tramore.
I went straight from the Art Exhibition to a solo Photographic Exhibition by Sinead Boyle. It is being held at Tramore Coastguard Cultural Centre ~ which has a long history of its own, having once been the local Garda Station among other things.
I first met Sinead Boyle back in the ‘big snow’ of 2010 at sunset on the Victorian Doneraile Walk which overlooks Tramore Bay. We were later to be co-students on a Postgraduate Certificate course on Heritage/Tourism: Sense of Place run by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (2012-2013).
I was completely captivated by Sinead’s exhibition which is called A Photographic Journey through the Lens: Sense of Place. She had told me soon after meeting that she had taken up photography as a teenager and was totally inspired by seeing a number of exhibitions that my father held in the 1980s.
I had quite a sense of deja vu looking at the moodiness of Sinead’s photographs today. I just love the way she has included images of Tramore Bay in every conceivable light, at different times of the year and also both in its nakedness and fully clothed to host the thousands of visitors we receive each year.
I had lots of favourites, including Winter Solstice that portrays an elderly man walking on the beach as the sun was setting on December 21st. In so many ways, the image reminded me of Cicero’s book On a Life Well Spent that sustained me greatly through the last sixteen months of Father’s long life. Another was one called Indian Summer which portrays the Life Guards’ Hut when it was painted a striking and most vibrant orange.
Interestingly, though, I think my very favourite is a black and white photograph of the Promenade at night in Winter. To me, it epitomised Tramore in very much the same way that Jimmy O’Brien Moran’s painting had just an hour or so before.
Sinead Boyle’s exhibition runs for another week until August 17th. Don’t miss it!
Tramore, Co. Waterford is probably the best-known seaside town in Ireland and the translation of its Irish name Tra Mhor is ‘big strand.’ I feel extremely privileged to reside in the town and to live just a few minutes away from the beach which has such natural appeal and beauty.
Yesterday evening, a tweet from someone looking for solutions to writer’s block caught my eye and my response was: ‘ go to where there is water, ideally the sea, and let the ripples gently re-ignite your creativity. See it as cleansing! The person tweeted back early this morning to saying: ‘love this idea, and will be running my bathroom taps asap! too wet outside to go out!!! thank you x.’
This little exchange was on my mind this morning as I headed down to the beach in Tramore. The sun was blazing, and the tide was out. It seemed to me that the three miles of golden sand were like nature’s page presenting infinite angles and ideas and touching every sense imaginable.
I knew that the tide would be perfect for a swim at around tea-time and also that a whole new vista would present itself when I reached the Prom. The comforting arms of the Bay, as I always think of them, Brownstown Head and the Metal Man, seemed to be much closer than earlier; there were more people around ; and the miles of sand were now covered with the full tide.
While I was thinking of how the waves were turning the page of the sands of morning, the sky drew my eyes toward an intense rainbow over the Bay revealing a full range of colour which was almost too much to absorb.
Swimming in this bliss, I wondered if the bath had sorted out my Twitter friend’s writer’s block or if she should get on a plane or train and come to Tramore Beach tomorrow where I know that more and more wonders and inspirational beauty will unfold.