Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lunch on the Beach - Ardmore and the Round Tower

Last week Wednesday was the first of the many lovely spring days we've had in the past week - and I just had to mark it with some of these great photos taken in Ardmore in West Waterford. One of the delights of my job as a Public Health Nurse is that I feel so lucky to be working out and about in the community doing house visits, driving through magnificent coastal countryside from place to place.

I was working in that area cross-covering for my colleague and had to make some calls there, so when it came to lunchtime I decided to take advantage of the beautifully sunny and mild day and spend it playing tourist in a place that was already starting to waken up to the caravanners who were in residence for the Easter holidays.

A number of kids were actually swimming in the sea - without wetsuits! Which really bemused me as the water must have been freezing cold - "One Swallow doesn't make a summer" came to mind, as well as the old saying "Don't cast a clout till May is out"! I sat on the sea wall near the playground with my scone and read the Irish Times, and then went for a bracing walk along the beach with a few other walkers - though they were power-walking, whereas I was just strolling along listening to The News at One on RTÉ Radio One on my phone.

The wonders of modern communications technology are nearly rendering my iPod obsolete as I find myself listening to the radio on the go as much as to podcasts. My new phone (since Christmas) is not an iPhone (much as I covet one, I wasn't prepared to wait for Vodafone to get the contract for providing it, which they've just done last month, and I had to get a replacement for my ancient Samsung clamshell which needed charging every few hours. Now I am the proud owner of a Samsung Tocco Lite which is more than enough for my needs - should I wish I could go online and browse Facebook or my blog or gmail.

After my beach stroll I drove up to the Round Tower which is Ardmore's most famous landmark, and is in the grounds of a beautiful church ruin and graveyard, dedicated to the local patron saint St. Declan. The views from the Tower area are spectacular as it is high up a hill and overlooks the bay and the cliff. The Towers were fairly ubiquitous in Ireland from the monastic era or Saints and Scholars as they were used by monks as a safe haven from the marauding Viking raiders where they went in the door high up in the tower and pulled up the ladder leaving the raiders helpless below. They could presumably continue to repel them through the slit windows, arrows or whatever weapons were handy.

After taking in the views and photographing the tower, I drove up the hill in Dysert and continued down the Cliff Road, passing the Michelin-starred Cliff House Hotel, which has got accolades far and wide for its tasteful renovation and spectacular location on the cliffside overlooking the bay. The hotel is barely visible on the photo above, as it is built almost organically following the contour of the cliffside. It is a 5-star hotel, with presumably 5-star prices too, but will be worth a lunchtime visit one of these days when I feel flush!

Enjoy the views, and maybe click on the links to read about the places that interest you - I won't lecture too much in the post as it's just meant for aesthetic pleasure! Also I am not on the payroll of Fáilte Ireland so I don't need to do any more to promote such a beautiful place as it manages to do that pretty well by its very presence. As a local character said about Lismore when Mary Robinson was President and visited the town for a Famine Commemoration, when asked in the pub that night what the President had said about the town in her speech -"she said Lismore would be a grand place if it was somewhere else"! (Apparently Mary Robinson had said that anywhere else in the world a place as special and beautiful as Lismore would be inundated with tourists probably to its detriment and how had it managed to stay a hidden jewel in the crown was a mystery - so that's how Chinese whispers can lead to things getting lost in translation in a local pub!


Ann said...

Loved that, -"she said Lismore would be a grand place if it was somewhere else"! Typical misquote. Enjoyed the photos Catherine. Won't be long before I will be walking that beach myself. Can hardly contain myself.

Stephanie V said...

Oh, it's a beautiful place, Catherine. I'm looking forward to seeing it one day. Regrets for a too short vacation last year!
Your ability to be out and about on the job made me smile. My former daycare work involved transporting out-of-school 5 year-olds to playtime spots. We were frequently at the beach - in all weathers - when others were grinding away in their offices.
I'm glad your spring has been so lovely...we've also been having a few pretty days.

Mimi said...

Hello Catherine, I've come her via Ciara at Milkmoon. Love your pictures of Ardmore- even though I've heard loads about it (including a special offer radio ad today!) I've never been. I think my only foray into Waterford was Ring, and that was good!

Catherine said...

Thanks for the comments -
ANN - that is true - love hiberno-english for that reason - great for misquoting! Someone compiled the best answers in Two FMs Just a minute quiz (not to be confused with the BBC just a minute quiz!) - Larry Gogan hosts this with a quickfire round of questions in a minute to a caller - some of the funniest (if not quite PC!)Q:What star to travellers follow?
A: eh, Joe Dolan? (think about it!)
Q: What was Hitler's first name?
A: Heil
And this from a real councillor - "The idea is well and good in theory but tell me this, who is going to feed them?" One councillor objecting to putting gondolas on Blessington Lake in a bid to boost tourism.
It spawned the hit TV panel show in the 90s - Don't feed the Gondolas with Seán Moncrieff - I loved it!
These deserve a post of their own... now there's an idea for one!
All the best, Catherine

Catherine said...

STEPHANIE V - yes it is worth a visit and the bonus of my job is days out like this - and to think I get paid too! Anyway, they make up for all the fog-bound days in winter when I don't know where I am! So far spring is lovely - not sure if that's good or bad as it seems to be preventing this Icelandic ash cloud from dissipating, though we had no overcast days here - yet. Ireland is really cut off from the rest of the planet with being an island nation with not enough ferries.
All the best, Catherine.

Catherine said...

MIMI - thanks for visiting and following - much appreciated! I will call by your blog and leave a note often. Yes, this was one of those carpe diem days that call out to be grabbed and enjoyed! Well if you got to Ring that was nice too, I work there and all round it so I should know, Helvick is particularly lovely and I have lots of photos of that whole area in all weathers. Take care, all the best, Catherine

Unknown said...

Wow look at that, sunshine in Ardmore!? I remember being brought there on many wet and dreary "summer" days when I was small! Lovely blog you have here! I must be sure to stop by often! Thanks for your comment on my page!

Catherine said...

MAEVE - already answered over at my tea post on your comment there. Thanks for following! Glad you liked Ardmore post - of course it's usually raining there so I took advantage of the sunny day to go mad with the camera. You mustn't live too far from there if you went there for days out as a kid!The Perks Amusements are long gone now though - I remember bringing my older boys there when we were on home leave from Africa.
Happy days!Catherine
All the best, Catherine