A Tale of Two Boats

Summer comes to our house with the stink of boiling calf s foot glue closely followed by the antiseptic odour of hot tar. “Won’t last much longer. She’s had her day.” Dad says, “I think this summer at the island will be her last one.” The following Saturday Dad and I take the boat –

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Catching Brickeens

When I think of a favourite patch of water my mind immediately takes me back to the spot where I spent many hours trying to catch brickeens during my childhood over 50 years ago. Some of my cousins called these little ifsh pinkeens or minnows depending on where they lived. The stream lfowed along the

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Dippy

My dad was a plumbing contractor and we lived in a council house in Limerick City. His greatest love was fishing. Looking back, I think there were times he loved fishing more than his family. He had a little rowing boat which he kept at various moorings up and down the majestic river Shannon. During

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John Paul Jones and the Lanterns

Everybody knows about John Paul Jones, the great naval hero of the American War of Independence (1775– ‘83). Not everybody knows about the most daring escape of his career in the Tarbert estuary of the River Shannon, which I heard from a local historian many years ago. The future ‘Founder of the American Navy’ was

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Small River Big Story

I count myself fortunate to live beside a river. But should I call it a river? It is still, cartographically speaking, anonymous just known locally as “The River”. Along its northbound route innumerable little streamlets have joined and barely two miles from where it made its ‘sudden sally’ from the earth a bridge is needed.

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Ruminations on a River

Ours was a house with a view: the Abbey River, deep, brooding, like the Danes that were alleged to have formed it: Inis Oibtain, King’s Island, The Parish, There is an Isle. Like a bold child, it broke away from its mother – the Shannon – at Corbally, before being reigned in below the Curraghower

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Shannon Fields

It is Sunday and our family are going on a picnic. Preparations begin on Saturday when tarts or buns are baked. My older sisters help my mother make sandwiches with a variety of fillings. Our house is on the Dublin Road in Limerick City and we cross it to reach the by-road that leads to

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The Hut

The summer of 1945 signalled the end of the terrible conflict that was World War II, with millions of displaced persons wandering helplessly through war- ravaged Europe in search of a home and missing relatives. In contrast, a whole new world was opening up to us with the purchase by my father Joe of a

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The Sandmen of the Sandmall

The Abbey River, a tributary of the Shannon, runs close by our old house in Limerick. That river played a major part in our lives. We played and fished on the sandy banks and there was an old sand-cot beached there that disintegrated a little with each ebb tide until it disappeared altogether. There were

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Walking on Water

I sit at the icy waters’ edge, toes, feet, legs, slow descend into the murky cold blackness. Suddenly shivering, receptors on high alert, white caps move towards me to envelop my initial endeavour, almost forcing retreat. I submerge entirely and move forward, eyes closed trusting my instinct. Hands joined as in prayer, moving my body

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A Sea Of Memories

My mother would recall how the sea breeze was her only comfort through a long difficult labour in St Geards Nursing Home in Kilkee on a hot July in 1958. My father was not present to greet his first born child as men were not birthing partners and the slogan “ Wild Atlantic Way “

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