Layers of History in Waterford City

Waterford City is the oldest city in Ireland and there are times when I love to just soak back into the past when I go in there from my home in Tramore ~ just 8 miles away.

This morning was one of those occasions and I strolled around with echoes from hundreds of years ago sounding everywhere.

Jordans5

This plaque is on the wall of Jordan’s Bar on the Quay.

Jordan's Bar, The Quay, Waterford
Jordan’s Bar, The Quay, Waterford

Jordan’s itself is over 300 years old and has been in the hands of the Jordan family now for 70 years. It served as a boarding house, The Parade Hotel, as well as a bar for many years.

Andy Jordan
Andy Jordan

Andy Jordan is a man with a passion for history and the interior of the bar has wonderful worn wood that goes back into the mists of time.

Jordan’s is known as an American Bar and this is not because it is trying to emulate any US establishment. Rather, it is because it was once a place where people could buy tickets for the boat to America. They would first get a boat from Waterford to Southhampton in England and from there board a ship to America. For most, this was a one way journey.

Lots of things in Jordan’s caught my eye including this print of Waterford in the days before cars:

Jordans1

Andy Jordan pointed out two very interesting aspects relating to this print. It is derived from the well-known A.H. Poole Collection of Photography which operated from Waterford between 1884 and 1954. The building in the foreground is Reginald’s Tower (built in 1003) and the A.H. Poole business operated out of the building next to that. The bridge at the end of the Quay was a wooden bridge, known as Timbertoes, and, according to Andy Jordan, it is said that the pieces of wood from the bridge were used in a number of different premises around the City when it was dismantled in 1910, having spanned the River Suir since 1794.

Waterford City was buzzing with both locals and tourists today and there was also an air of excitement about the fact that the Waterford Hurling team were taking on the might of Co. Kilkenny (which begins for us just across the River Suir) in the Semi-Final of the All-Ireland Hurling Championship.

The game, which was a heart-stopping affair, ended in a draw so we’re drawing breath again until next Saturday evening!

Jordan's Window of Time on Waterford!
Jordan’s Window of Time on Waterford!

 

 

 

Sunday Sense

There are certain scenes that spell ‘home’ for me and one of them is crossing Rice Bridge in Waterford City and looking along the full length of the Quay. I especially like it when the River Suir is at high tide, as it was very early  this morning.

Waterford City
Waterford City

Where are your I’m home places?

My Viennese Christmas~Gatherings from Ireland # 341

I’m not long back from a show at the lovely Theatre Royal in Waterford called Vladimir’s Viennese Christmas which was bliss with lots of Strauss, polkas and, most of all a sense of family.

Vienese

Vladimir is the third son in a family of musicians. He emigrated to Ireland from Slovakia about five years ago with a view to moving away from music but ended up busking on Grafton Street in Dublin and then becoming deeply involved in musical performance again.

What adds so much to this Christmas Performance  is the fact that it brings together his mother, father, sister and three brothers. Music seems to run in this family as thickly as blood and it is like listening to instinct as they play with a bondedness that one associates with identical twins.

Walking from the Theatre Royal back along the Quay with the River Suir shimmering beneath all the Christmas lights, I couldn’t but think of Waterford’s great poet, Sean Dunne (1956-1995) and this particular poem of his:

Matching the Note

A piano tinkles as a cradle rocks,

a lullaby tapped in tuned morse

when a blackbird stops at a window.

adding to the song its own sound.

It pecks at berries and then

as if to match the ivory note,

resumes its music on the sill

in a world where wishes seem granted.

(from Collected Sean Dunne, 2005, edited by Peter Fallon, Gallery Press).

Waterford Tall Ships Festival 2011 ~ Social Bridges

Mingling among the crowds at Waterford’s Tall Ships Festival 2011, I was struck  by the range of social bridges which emerged from the experience. I write about the personal memories evoked by the Festival:  the connections with Waterford’s history; and the range of fascinating people with whom I was fortunate enough to meet. This post can is in Section Seven of  my writings on Social Bridges.