On the Back Road

There’s all sorts of ways of getting from Tramore to Waterford – it’s just about 8 miles.

I love all the roads for different reasons and each has its own landmarks. Some are very personal to me and others are much more widely recognised.

The farm buildings on the ‘Back Road’ that you see in the photo below really stand out with the white-washed walls and high up green grain doors.

Shed
Shadows on the Wall

I make a point of taking the Back Road on sunny days just to see the shadows of the trees playing on the old well kept wall.

It’s always  lovely knowing that Tramore and the sea are waiting not far over the little hill in the distance and that you might  well catch a glimpse of a horse looking out over a stable door in the evocative farm yard.

From Rambling Roses to Circles of the Mind

Cottage

I pass by this old cottage on the Tramore-Waterford Road every day and in the last little while it has been lit up by the splash of deep pink rambling roses.

I’d love to know who planted them and if he/she ever thought that they would continue to add to the beauty of the house long after it had been abandoned.

Perennials make me think of the cyclical nature of life and, indeed, of circles. I’ve decided I’m much more of a circles person than a linear one. All kinds of circles appeal to me ~ wheels, clocks, the full moon, walks that are circular like the walk around Tramore Beach and Backstrand, oranges, tennis balls, spinning tops, globes, camera lenses, circles of friends, circus tents …..

Are you  a circle or a linear type? 

A Poetic Road

Tramore-Waterford Road
Tramore-Waterford Road

I was driving home to Tramore from Waterford City (8 miles) this morning along a road that is beyond familiar to me and one that is steeped in memories, presentness, and probable tomorrows.

All the years, six abandoned cottages have caught my eye but I  jumped to attention in the last few days as there seems to be a lot of ‘clearing’ going on which makes me fear that there will be gaps where once there were places that made me ponder and wonder.

So, I took the time today to stop and take photographs of these reminders of times past.

The fact that it is National Poetry Day was another thought that was very much on my mind and I found myself re-visiting Michael Coady’s poem, Letting Go, which I wrote about a while back.

Here it is again:

Letting Go

I love the abandon
of abandoned things
 
the harmonium surrendering
in a churchyard in Aherlow,
the hearse resigned to nettles
behind a pub in Carna,
the tin dancehall possessed
by convolvulus in Kerry,
the living room that hosts
a tree in south Kilkenny.
 
I sense a rapture 
in deserted things
 
washed-out circus posters
derelict on gables,
lush forgotten sidings
of country railway stations,
bat droppings profilgate
on pew and font and lectern,
the wedding dress a dog 
has nosed from a dustbin.
 
I love the openness
of things no longer viable, 
I sense their shameless
slow unbuttoning;
the implicit nakedness
there for the taking,
the surrender to the dance
of breaking and creating.
 
(Michael Coady: from 20th Century Irish Poems selected by Michael Longley, 2002, Faber and Faber)
 

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Tawdy ~ Farewell

I simply can’t let this week go by without honouring the passing of a man, Tawdy Morrissey, who pretty much defies description.

Tawdy Morrissey (Photos: Munster Express)
Tawdy Morrissey
(Photos: Munster Express)

He was a free spirit, a colourful institution who sat from dawn ’til dusk at the side of the Tramore -Waterford Road. Tawdy will go down in local history as one of the great characters of this area. He was a sports fanatic who never failed to adorn his place with flags to highlight major sporting occasions.

Tawdy touched the hearts of people in all sorts of different ways. He carved his name on my heart on the sunny June evening in 2009 when we were bringing my mother’s remains home to Tramore from Waterford City.  Here’s an extract from my journal that I wrote shortly afterwards:

Nature saluted as we brought you home from the shivering mortuary to Tramore. The rushes waved gently as you passed; grazing horses raised their heads and stared down from the sun-baked hillocks.  Tawdy, The Man of the Road, who has his place near Katie Reilly’s pub, took off his cap and held it to his heart when he saw your laden hearse. The moon, your old friend, even came out early to flank you home with the tiring sun.

I never, ever forgot Tawdy’s lovely gesture and a few months later I stopped to tell him how much it had meant to me. He was extraordinarily kind and empathetic and we chatted for ages. From then, we came to have quite regular chats about sport, life, nature, how it was to live ‘rough.’  Tawdy’s insights always made me see what was fundamentally important in life and how much time is wasted worrying about ‘small stuff.’

I’m not a funeral person but I felt I had to say my goodbyes to Tawdy on Friday morning. All I can say is that the funeral service was arguably the most loving, beautiful and heartfelt that I have ever attended.

It was a huge relief to hear a call in the eulogy for everyone who cared about Tawdy to continue to honk their car horns when passing his place. It’s a spot I pass at least twice a day (and sometimes seven or eight) and the big wave from Tawdy was always such a highlight.

I drove by an hour or so ago and his seat was adorned with flowers, flags, mementos, letters, hurleys, sports books ….. Yes, I hooted the horn, felt a wrench of emptiness but all the while I could see Tawdy’s happy, weather-beaten, smiling face.

Tawdy, thanks for being you and for adding so much to my life. You’ll never, ever be forgotten by the thousands of people whose hearts you warmed.