Colouring Tramore

Whenever I see a rainbow over Tramore Bay, I just drop everything and whizz down to the seafront. I glimpsed a big, bright one out of the corner of my eye as I was in the throes of getting supper ready yesterday and took off to chase my dreams.

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford
Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

What more could anyone want than the sheer beauty of rainbowed sea and sand, especially here in Tramore?

Contrasts, in all walks life, can be stunning and the sight that met me as I turned when the rainbow had finally faded was one that will linger in my mind for a long time. There was Tramore in silhouette, as if highlighting the magic of black and white.

Tramore from The Promenade.
Tramore from The Promenade.

16th Anniversary of Helicopter Tragedy in Tramore

Monument to Helicopter Crew of Rescue 111 on Tramore Promenade
Monument to Helicopter Crew of Rescue 111 on Tramore Promenade

Today marks the 16th anniversary of the tragic crash of the Irish Air Corps Rescue Helicopter 111 in the sand dunes of  Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford in 1999.

As I walked down the Promenade here in Tramore early this morning, my thoughts were with the families, friends and colleagues of the four crew members who were killed on that dark, dark day in Irish aviation history.

The four brave men who died on their way home from a rescue mission in dense fog were:

Sgt.  Patrick Mooney, Stamullen, Co. Meath ~ aged 34 

Capt. Dave O’ Flaherty, Tullamore, Co. Offaly ~ aged 30 

Capt. Michael Baker, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford ~ aged 28 

Cpl. Niall Byrne, Killiney, Co. Dublin ~ aged 25 

These men will never, ever be forgotten by the people of  Tramore and there is intense goodwill and love for the Rescue Helicopter  and its crews, based at Waterford Airport,  which serve us all with such heart, altruism and skill.

But, today, let us remember, and give thanks to, those four young men who paid the ultimate price in the service of others.

Rest in Peace
Rest in Peace

Down Town Tramore

One of the many wonderful features of blogging is that posts can reach near and far in almost every sense. I was thinking about this early yesterday morning as I headed down town to get a few groceries.

I realised that even though I feel I know many of my readers well, I have no real insight into what their going ‘down town’ is like, especially if they live in far flung places at the other side of the globe.

While I never, ever take Tramore’s beauty for granted, I often assume that you all know exactly what it’s like just as you probably assume I know how your place looks when you’re ‘running errands.’

Tramore is built on a steep hill and we live at the top of the town so going down town sums up the situation very well.

As one stands at the top of Main Street, there is a clear view of the sea below and I tend to find it extremely difficult to resist the temptation to just let off the brakes and take a look at the waves.

So it was yesterday morning and here’s how it unfolded:

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 I’d love to hear about and see your ‘Down Town’, ‘Up Town’ or ‘everyday place.’ 




Stepping out with Open Eyes

I’m a sucker for public writing of all kinds. I’m the person who reads the names carved in the sand; graffiti on toilet doors; notices on supermarket notice-boards; carvings on trees; paw-prints on now-set cement ….

You get the picture!

Well, the other day I was taking Puppy Stan for his constitutional down to the beach here in Tramore and nearly fell out of my standing when I saw this mural on the wall of an alley that’s within spitting distance of the beach.

Mural in Tramore, Co. Waterford.
Mural in Tramore, Co. Waterford.

It set my mind off in a million and one directions but most of all that word ‘hunger’ in relation to the sea resonated so, so much.

I can’t understand how I hadn’t seen it before ~ I think it’s probably because my eyes were always fixed on the horizon and the colour and mood of the sea.

I’d love to know about the signs, murals, graffiti , carvings that draw you in. 

A New Dawn

Puppy Stan woke me this morning in what seemed like the dead of night and he and I headed out into the darkness to meet the softest misty rain and a gentle breeze. As he tugged me to the corner of our road, I caught sight of the barest first glimmerings of today.

The blinds of dawn were being eased up by the gentlest of hands as if giving us time to run home, grab car and camera and answer the call of the waves.

The drama that unfolded was magical ~ never to be seen in quite the same form again, never ever as each jewelled today comes but once.

Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford
Tramore Beach, Co. Waterford

Out along the Cliff Road, a gull soared in celebration:

Soaring Gull
Soaring Gull

Newtown Cove, from where Harry and I will cast the Wishing Stones on New Year’s Eve was bathed in golden light:

Newown Cove, Tramore, Co. Waterford
Newown Cove, Tramore, Co. Waterford

 Not knowing when the dawn will

come  I open every door.

(Emily Dickinson)

Blogging Down the Years

Thoughts of  the unfolding of years are among the Decemebery things that come round every year for me like berried holly and fresh mistletoe.

As I was out walking yesterday, I was thinking of how so much of own’s life can be encapsulated by thinking of the defining events, images, memories associated with particular years in each decade.

This brought me to:

1964 ~ I was seven and we had just moved to Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan. That was a whole new adventure and it was the last year in which all five of us (Mother, Dad and us three kids) were together as a family as my sister headed off to boarding school in 1965.  Being insulated by a warm, warm family is what stands out most as well as the arrival of our very first television in time for Christmas.

Running Free Photo: Frank Tubridy
Running Free
Photo: Frank Tubridy

1974: I did my Leaving Certificate in 1974 by which time we were living in Drogheda, Co. Louth.  It was a year of turmoil in quite a lot of ways and the Troubles in Northern Ireland were a huge worry.

I had placed all my hopes on pursuing a career in tennis but a serious wrist injury put all that on hold.  I had deferred taking up a university place in the hope that summer surgery would rectify the problem but by the December it was clear that a career in tennis was out of the question. That was the year I began learning to drive and it was also the year that my sister and I were re-united as she came back ‘home’ to teach in the school that I had just left.  It was all a bit of a social whirl with big sis as ‘chaperone!’

The song I played over and over in 1974 was this one:

1984: This was a year in which I was still reeling from the death from cancer of my long-time boyfriend from cancer in 1981.

I was ensconced in Trinity College, where I had embarked on a PhD on the experiences of people with physical disabilities in Ireland and I was also very busy working as a researcher on an exciting EU project in the Midlands about the  integration of people with disabilities into society.

Tennis was back on the agenda and I simply adored being able to compete again after all the missed years.

Weather-Beaten Photo: Frank Tubridy
Photo: Frank Tubridy

1994: Undoubtedly the highlight of 1994 was pregnancy and anticipation of motherhood.

That was a year in which I was working in two areas I love: teaching and research and was able to work from home base here in Tramore.

Tramore Bay
Tramore Bay

 2004: This marked the last year that my parents were in good health but they loved spending time with our son, Harry, who was very close to both of them from the moment he was born.

This was a time of major juggling between work and ferrying 9-year old Harry to all sorts of sporting activities.

A major highlight of 2004 was Waterford’s victory in what is considered to be the greatest Munster Hurling Final of all time:

It’s a year I very much associate with my father’s photography and being down in my parents house hearing about their outings to places here in Co. Waterford which they adored.

Curraghmore, Co. Waterford Photo: Frank Tubridy
Curraghmore, Co. Waterford
Photo: Frank Tubridy

 2014 ….. Right now, it’s hard to focus on highlights of 2014 but I certainly associate it with an ever-increasing love of Co. Waterford, nature, the ocean, blogging, poetry and a whole new adventure into the world of carpets.

_Sinead_Boyle_Image_IMG_7202_ (1)

And, of course, the new love affair with Stan!





The Houses that Call Me Every Day

Cove Road, Tramore, Co. Waterford
Cove Road, Tramore, Co. Waterford

If I had to pick the houses that evoke sense of place for me more than any others in the whole world, it is this row of four that are at the top of the road that runs down to The Pier in Tramore.

They are on a slip road that is to my left as I drive out to Newtown Wood with Stan every day.

I don’t know who lives in the houses but it is the buildings themselves that never fail to glint over at me and cause me to pause and admire their charm and brightly painted faces.

These houses epitomise Tramore for me ~ solid, colourful, on the road to the sea; houses that have been there since I was a child drawn down to The Pier look at the boats; listen to the birds in full cry in the tall trees half way down the road, and, of course, flit with a little terror passed the ‘haunted well’ that’s down there too.

No doubt YOU have a house or houses that smile at you each day?


The Preciousness of Tramore

Tramore towards The Metal Man, Co. Waterford
Tramore towards The Metal Man, Co. Waterford

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.

Tramore towards Brownstowns Town Head, Co. Waterford
Tramore towards Brownstowns Town Head, Co. Waterford

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.





Ireland ~ The Land of Horses

Summer GrazingHorses are a fundamental part of Ireland and Irishness. We stand tall on the world stage when it comes to horse-breeding, horse-racing, show-jumping and so many great names and places comes to mind when horses are mentioned in the Irish context.  How about Arkle, Redrum, Dawn Run, Moscow Flyer, Nijinsky, Shergar, Australia,  Vincent O’ Brien,  Tom Dreaper, Aidan O’ Brien, Jim Bolger, Capt. Michael Tubridy, Eddie Macken, Paul Darragh,  Coolmore Stud, The Curragh, Punchestown, Fairyhouse, Pat Taaffe,  Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty,  The Royal Dublin Horse Show,  Laytown Races …  just for starters?

Horses have always been part of my landscape. I loved hearing my father telling me about his younger brother, Michael, who was a world class show jumper and nothing soothed me more at bedtime than Mother telling me about her happy childhood days on a farm with her beloved pony, Jock.  I must have read every single book that was ever written about young girls and their ponies and was fortunate to be brought to places like the Dublin Horse Show and race meetings all round the country.

I have what I consider to be my very own ‘horse show’ here in Tramore every day when I bring the dogs out along Cliff Road to Newtown Wood. There is a field, with a spectacular view of  Tramore Bay, which is the grazing place of the friendliest horses I know. These are horses that trot gently over to the gate to be patted.  I could spend hours there running my fingers through their manes and gazing into their big brown eyes.

I guess most Irish people have a special field such as this in which noble, nuzzling friends reside and ones that evoke thoughts of echoing hooves and contented whinnying.