When I was at school, one of my favourite poems was “Per Iter Tenebricosum” by Oliver St. John Gogarty (Along The Dark Way) (see the first photo below). It talks about the inevitability of death and it being “a fate that leads the natural way”. I always thought it odd that even the most practical, organised people went through life acting as if death would never happen to them. A couple of years later when I started working in an accountancy firm, I saw at first hand the upset and trauma
One of my favourite songs is by the late Sandy Denny, “Who Knows Where The Time Goes”. I find that I’m asking myself that very question a lot lately ……. a real sign that “I’m shoving on”. But I was really thinking of this song a lot leading up to last month’s Greenhill Class of ’83 40th Reunion.
Written when the singer was just 19, just a couple of years older than most of us leaving Greenhill, this plaintive song has been covered extensively down through the years. But I love the version here released in 1973. It really pulls at the heartstrings and some regard it as “one of the saddest songs ever written”.
For us leaving school in 1983 it was indeed a sad time on the jobs front. John F. Kennedy on his presidential visit to Ireland in June 1963 twenty years earlier had remarked ‘Most countries send
12 Things To See & Do in Co. Waterford
So, from my Facebook page you will see that I’ve spent the last two week’s catching up with family and friends in my hometown of Carrick-on-Suir in South Tipperary. It was a great opportunity to explore the neighbouring county, Co. Waterford – the home county of both my parents, my parents’ parents and even THEIR parents’ parents. So, you see why I have a real affinity for County Waterford!
County Waterford (Irish: Contae Phort Láirge) is in the province of Munster. The population of the county at large, including the city of Waterford, was 127,085 according to the 2022 census. The county is based on the historic Gaelic territory of the Déise, hence my blog title. 😊
Over the two weeks visiting Co. Waterford, I’ve seen some great places and met some great people. This week’s blog is therefore on “My Déise Dozen - 12 Things to See & Do in Co. Waterford”. There are a few places I visited which I have omitted from this post that I actually think are “Must Sees” in my opinion e.g., the Waterford Greenway, the Nire Valley, Melleray Abbey and Mount Congreve. But I reckon that they are so popular that you may have heard of or seen them already. So, my Déise Dozen are the less well-known sights. Enjoy! (And apologies to those who’ve seen my Facebook posts over the last two weeks! 😊)
Books 73 to 80
So, in my Bucket List quest to read at least 80 books, this is my 10th (and final) list of 8 books that I've held onto. As explained in my blogs previously, my lists are an eclectic mix of book types. Hopefully you'll see something that you might read on your summer holidays. (See Blog 16 , Blog 22, Blog 32, Blog 38, Blog 48, Blog 65, Blog 76, Blog 86 and Blog 96 for my previous book-related blogs). Enjoy! ❤️
One of my mam Peggy’s favourite songs was “Danny Boy”. I remember it was one of her party pieces and can still hear her soft voice singing it. I think that it reminded her of her time as an emigrant in Leeds and Cardiff in the late 1940s. It also reminded her of her younger brother, Danny, who worked laying gas-pipes in the UK. I too love “Danny Boy”. Nowadays. But there was a time in the 1980s when I dreaded it.
You see, I got a Stylophone as a gift one Christmas. For those too young to remember, the iconic gadget Stylophone was a pocket-sized battery-operated synthesiser used by everyone from David Bowie to The White Stripes. You played it by tapping and sliding the connected stylus along the touch-sensitive metal surface. Each segment on the surface played a different note, the same as different keys on a piano. But unlike the piano, it was so simple to play that anyone could have a go - perfect for beginners! Like me!
Now, I’m no David Bowie, but to please Peggy, one of the first tunes I learned on it was “Danny Boy”. To my teenage mortification, she insisted I play it for any visitors to the house. With lots of requests for “one more time”!! I even remember the late Paddy Farrell being obliged to listen as he was delivering our weekly box of messages (groceries) one Saturday morning.
Anyway, in this week’s blog, I delve into the origins of “Danny Boy”. I also have a link to the late Eva Cassidy’s beautiful rendition of it. I think Peggy would be delighted. If there are harps in heaven, I’ve no doubt she has some poor angel pestered to play “Danny Boy” … one more time! Enjoy!
I came across my 4th class school photo recently from the Presentation Convent, the late Mrs. Connolly's class, and the memories of getting it taken flooded back. I’m balancing, aged 10 ¼, on top of a wooden school desk trying to avoid the ink well scraping my knee. Dressed in my navy-blue uniform gymslip and white blouse. My poem about trees is hanging on the classroom wall over my left shoulder. I’ve taken my long hair down from its usual ribboned pony tail and I’ve discarded my recently acquired glasses. I really hated those glasses back in the day!
NYC - April 7 to 11, 2006
I was looking with envy at all of the great photos shared on Facebook recently of the Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society’s run of The Phantom of the Opera. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it down to experience it in person. Knowing the amazing musical talent that exists in my little hometown, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear the rave reviews and that there were standing ovations every night. I would expect nothing less knowing the wonderful people involved. “Phantom” is one of my favourite shows ever. I was lucky enough to see the Broadway production in April 2006 at the Majestic Theatre on West 44th Street in New York. It was truly spectacular. That whole trip with Charlie, being his first time in New York and my second, was so memorable. In this week’s blog post I share a little of what we did and saw. Enjoy!
Miami Beach is one of those places I always wanted to visit ever since I got hooked on watching Crockett and Tubbs on TV 40 years ago. So, in 2019, at the end of a Caribbean cruise, we added on an extra 4 nights in Miami. It happened to be in the middle of Spring Break, that time when college kids in the US go crazy. I thought I’d seen it all, having worked in Temple Bar for 18 years; the stag/ hen (bachelor/ bachelorette) party capital of Ireland. Not a week went by but I’d hear the partying going on outside my office window with the singing, dancing and frolicking starting in the early afternoons. But Miami at Spring Break was a whole other level of crazy!
Our 2019 Western Caribbean Cruise
In April 2019 we cruised the Western Caribbean onboard Harmony of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale. We had a lovely few days staying near Fort Lauderdale beforehand where we had enjoyed exploring the Everglades and were looking forward to taking things very easy on-board. Over the week we docked in Labadee (Haiti), Falmouth (Jamaica) and Cozumel (Mexico) as well as having three “At-Sea” days. It was bliss. This week’s blog tells how we got on. Enjoy!
I hope you all enjoyed a great St. Patrick’s weekend. It was lovely here in Dublin…as my mother used to say “March many weathers”. It was great to see so many visitors to the city for the festivities and the Big Parade. This week’s blog is about a different Parade that I saw in Chicago, Illinois on 13 March 2004 (in Chicago the Parade is held on the Saturday before March 17th).
Portimao with Peggy June 2005
I have mentioned before in this blog that one of my Mam Peggy’s favourite songs was Faraway Places. The song tells of longing to see places "with strange sounding names faraway over the seas". It was a bit of a joke between Peggy and me that I would one day bring her to Faro-way Portugal!! We had briefly visited Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city, on our very first cruise in 1999. We loved it so much that we said we’d definitely come back.
So, in 2005, I booked a week’s holiday for the two of us with Stein Travel for Portimão, Portugal in June of that year. And we did indeed fly into Faro! We were blessed with amazing sunny weather for the whole week. We had such a lazy week strolling around the Portimão Marina, basking in the sun, popping in for morning coffee and cake and dipping our toes in the water at the Praia da Rocha beach. Mostly I remember the great chats we had as we sat with a glass of wine at the hotel’s riverside restaurant eating delicious meals looking at the boats sailing back up the Arade river each evening.
So this week’s blog post tells about that break away and how we got on. Enjoy!
So last weekend I got to spend some time in The K Club with my Valentine! This blog is about St. Valentine and gives a flavour of what it’s like in our favourite Kildare hotel! Enjoy!
21 years ago, Peggy and I took a cruise with My Travel/ Airtours/ Sun Cruises on the M.S. Sunbird. It was our 4th cruise together and our 2nd on the Sunbird. Although that 7-day trip wasn’t on the biggest or fanciest ship we ever sailed on, to this day it remains one of the most enjoyable. It had just over 700 cabins with about 1,600 onboard and we thought it was huge!! The staff onboard were just great and genuinely couldn’t do enough for us to make our holiday memorable. We spent a week out of Palma (Majorca, Spain) visiting Naples (Italy), Messina and Taormina (Sicily), Bugibba and Marsaxlokk (Malta), La Goulette and Carthage (Tunisia) before sailing back to Palma in Majorca. This is how we got on. Enjoy!
Books 65 to 72
So, in my Bucket List quest to read at least 80 books, this is my 9th list of 8 books that I've held onto. As explained in my blogs previously, my lists are an eclectic mix of book types. Hopefully you'll see something that you might read on a winter’s day. (See Blog 16, Blog 22, Blog 32, Blog 38, Blog 48, Blog 65, Blog 76 and Blog 86 for my previous book-related blogs).
My hometown of Carrick-on-Suir is renowned for its musical and theatrical heritage. My earliest memories are of going to see my neighbour Madge when the (then) Carrick-on-Suir Amateur Operatic Society were performing “Cinderella” in the Ormonde Hall. It was my first time seeing a musical live and, in the flesh, and I remember being mesmerised by the live orchestra, the singing
My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!