Bookends of the Year

While I’m not out on the razzle-dazzle, New Year’s Eve is a pretty big deal for me for a whole host of reasons. Lots of key things seem to have happened on New Year’s Eves over the years so it’s kind of etched in my heart.

I see New Year’s Eve as being like a book-end holding in all the moments from a particular year. I took a look at how I started 2016 here on Social Bridge and found that it was an urging to self to Smile more. I’ve tried and it does work reasonably well but forced smiles are no good! Here’s the post, just in case you want to have a read.

I made it my business to try and see the sunrise and the sunset of today and, of course, there was the Wishing Stone Ritual.

Here’s how the day looked when it greeted me down the beach:

Sunrise over Tramore Bay 

There was a softness in the air that made it feel more like a Summer’s morning than the depths of Winter. I was surrounded by seagulls and I rather like this photo (that Dad would certainly have condemned to the ‘Dud’ category.) There’s something surreal about it New Year’s Eve can feel surreal:

‘Old time he is a flying…’

Now to the Wishing Stones. I’m delighted to report that we are just back from the casting. I had gone out to Newtown Cove earlier in the day to collect the stones for everyone who had requested that I cast one for them. It was really nice to have the time to ‘browse’ on the shore and select the stones which I felt matched the people that I was picking them for. I placed them all in a little nook in the rocks as I collected them. You’d be amazed how particular stones pushed themselves forward as being suitable for the individuals I have come to know through ‘blogland.’ Here is a photo of the stash:

The Wishing Stones

It was like the day got into a sulk at sunset time and it just clouded over and we had no dramatic sunset at all.

Tonight, son, Harry,  and I went out to Newtown Cove and cast our own stones as well as those of people from all over the globe who had requested that I cast one for them. It was beyond magical. There was a poignant moment as I cast one in memory of our beloved Paul Curran, who died earlier in the year but who touched the hearts of so many of us here on WordPress. He adored the ocean and it felt so right to give his stone a little kiss of remembrance from us all.

So, the midnight hour is approaching here in Tramore and I would like to wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2017. Also, I would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive in 2016 in all sorts of different ways.

Finally, may I say, that I still think that we need to Smile, Smile, Smile as much as we can but always be true to ourselves and to others in those smiles. A sincere smile can light up a person’s day …

Here’s smiling at you as I raise my glass to 2017!





Hearts CAN Break and Hearts CAN Mend

Five years ago today, I saw my mother’s heart shattering into little pieces less than an hour after she was told that my father was dying.  They had been married for 60 years and literally lived for each other.

Mother never recovered from the shocking disclosure and died five days later. As it transpired, Father didn’t die from that episode but lived on for a further 16 months without her.

That hour in which it seemed that both our parents were going to die was about as nightmarish as it gets. Somehow, you don’t expect these things to happen at eleven o’clock on a bright May morning.

This morning, the world felt very shaky ~ as if the after shocks were rocking it all over the place. I knew that neither Mother nor Dad would want me sitting around replaying the awfulness and that they’d much prefer to see me out in the Tramore air, ideally with a dog running by my side.

So it was that Stan and I headed off and all I can say is that Tramore Beach and nature combined, like magic, to ease my angst and steady the scales.

I always think I’ve seen every single mood and shade of Tramore Beach but today she was different to ever before. The tide seemed to be miles out; there were unique cloud formations and the carpet of Sea Pinks was more vibrant than ever.

Here is hint of  the balm that soothed and carried me along:

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A Passion for Buoys

The Metal Man from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.
The Metal Man from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by buoys and have a vast collection of a whole array of vibrant colours.

They make me think of an artist’s palette as well as the human hands that have touched them. In so many ways, they are like messages in bottles and one day, I hope to find one that has a real live message on it so that I can write back to the sender, wherever he or she may be.

Yesterday, I saw my precious Tramore Bay very much through the eyes of a buoy! I often wonder how it is that they never clash with their surroundings.

Brownstown Head from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.
Brownstown Head from Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford.


I Love being Me!

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

The weather here in Tramore wasn’t the greatest this morning but I just had to go for my daily swim in the sea.  The sea had a grey look about it and a cold wind was swirling round the Ladies’ Slip but I had my usual mad urge to race into the waves.

Just as I was about to whip off my clothes two women came walking up the slip. They looked like a mother and daughter. They were linking arms and the younger woman stopped and said: ‘ I’d love to be you.’  She turned to her ‘mother’ and said: ‘This lady is going for a swim.’  The older woman nodded approvingly and every single  instinct told me that this pair had shared many years swimming in the sea in or around Tramore.

We didn’t dally and I ran into the welcoming waves with such a sense of happiness. Yes, it was cold but the waves were all playful and didn’t give me a minute to feel anything but exuberance.

When I got back to  the car, all glowing and invigorated, the two women beamed at me from theirs  which was parked with a perfect view of the Bay.

They knew exactly how I was feeling and I think it’s called ‘Freedom.’  Remember the Fortunes and Freedom Come Freedom Go?

Tramore Beach, Co Waterford ~ Sea, Sand and Sanctuary

Tramore Beach here in Co. Waterford in the south-east of Ireland is my natural habitat and I know it has a special place in the hearts of  people from Tramore as well as the many, many visitors who come here year after year. I hope that the slideshow at the end of this post touches the hearts of those who know the beach as well, if not better than I do, and that it allows people from all across the globe to come walk with me in this glorious, inspirational place which appeals to every sense. The beach is over three miles long and one of the greatest pleasures I know is to head off early in the morning and soak up its natural beauty.   There are some delicious choices when walking Tramore Beach: walk up and down the beach itself, even paddling some of the way; take a circular route and absorb the absolute peace of the Back Strand; or have a bit of everything ~ go along the Back Strand for a while, then take a peep at the expanse of the Bay when one reaches ‘the black rocks.’  So many choices, so many landmarks, both personal and collective. Undoubtedly, the main landmarks associated with Tramore Bay are the Metal Man and Brownstown Head. However, can one even think of  Tramore Beach without  reference to the Prom, the Life Guards Hut, the ‘Baldy Man’ – a towering sandhill, the channel at the end of the beach which looks across at Saleens? All the while, one cannot but be aware of  Tramore town which is built above the beach and the further down one goes the more the shape of the town comes into focus. The lovely green space of the Doneraile Walk almost hanging over the cliff with the Coastguard Station at the far end; the two church steeples; the Grand Hotel, the Race Course, the Pier, Newtown Cove …. Tramore Beach has long associations with swimming and surfing, bird life, flowers, and for being a chidren’s paradise – buckets and spades, sandcastles; teams train here; lover’s love, people fish….. The sound of the sea is special too. How magical to fall asleep to the whisper of the sea being carried on the wind, especially on moonlit nights, looking forward to an early morning walk that will show the beach in all her magnificent nakedness. Tramore Beach is ever-changing, with time and tide, but it has a continuity that defines it.

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Tramore Beach ~ Ebb and Flow

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.

Tramore Bay towards the Metal Man

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.

Expanse of Tramore Beach

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.

Enjoying the Surf

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.

Rainbow over Tramore Bay

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.

Ireland Calling! Slideshow for March 2012

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Ireland Calling! February Slideshow produced with my American AARP Group

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