Sense of Place ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 221

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.

The Coastguard Cultural Centre, Tramore, Co. Waterford
The Coastguard Cultural Centre, Tramore, Co. Waterford

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.

The Metal Man, Tramore, Co. Waterford. Photo: Frank Tubridy c.1986
The Metal Man, Tramore, Co. Waterford.
Photo: Frank Tubridy c.1986

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!

Sinead Poster

Graduations ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 202

I’m writing this post today because I’m not sure how I’ll be fixed for writing anything tomorrow!

Tonight is a BIG Graduation Night for a group of us from Ireland who completed a brilliant online course from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.  The course was a Postgraduate Certificate in Sense of Place: Heritage Tourism and pushed us all not only to the pins of our collars but frayed the collars in the process.

I was never much of a person for graduations in my ‘youth’ and when I look back I wonder how I could have skipped my BSc Graduation from Trinity College, Dublin in 1979.  I thought it was crazy getting all dressed up in a gown and sitting around for hours on a lovely sunny summer’s day when I could be at the beach.

Fast forward to 1991, and I did the full biz for my PhD which I had worked on part-time for what seemed like a 100 years. I think it was the sense of the 100 years and the whole history of  the thing that lured me to that conferring.

My mother came to stay with me in my ‘bedsit’ for a few days and the preparations were real mother-daughter time with the pair of us acting like kids and tripping over each other in the tiny room that had seen me grind out the ‘tome’ on an old typewriter!

Father, being a complete home bird, just flew in for the day on the train from Waterford and had to rush off to catch the train back a few minutes after the ceremony ended. I knew, though, by his witty remarks about my ‘get up’ that he was intensely proud and vastly relieved that the piece of paper had f i n a l l y been collected!  I can vividly remember him saying just before he left: Oh, once a student, always a student. You’ll never stop after this.

Graduation Photo, 1991 Photo by: Frank Tubridy
Graduation Photo, 1991
Photo by: Frank Tubridy

So, maybe it’s age but I’m really looking forward to this ‘Graduation’ that we’re having tonight at the Copper Coast Geopark Centre in Bonmahon. How glorious to have that lovely drive along the Copper Coast to get there and home. I’ve been grinning to myself all morning wondering how we’ll all look in our Harry Potterish gowns.

Most of all, this course is living proof that one can make amazing friends through online courses. We have been hauling each other through the various hoops during the year and always intended to have a right bash if we ever came out the other end.

What Sense of Place means most today is the realisation that the fruits of labour become even sweeter the further one travels along the highways, byways and laneways of life.

What’s your perspective on Graduations of whatever description?