Diamonds on the Water

In memory of my Dad James J. Galvin
For me, it all began back in 1942 when I was 4 years old. My Dad would say to me “right hop
up on the crossbar of the bike”. He would take me down to the Grand Canal and we would
feed the swans, ducks and seagulls. That was my first taste of nature. I used to love this. We
would continue on our journey all the way down to Sandymount Strand. I used to be
fascinated at the way the sun would shine on the water and create ‘Diamonds’. Ever since
when I see ‘diamonds’ on the water I think of my Dad. As I am now 82 that was a long time
Other times he would take me fishing for pinkeens up to the river Poddle. I loved the river and
the sound of running water. I joined the Crumlin Community Clean-up Group in 2019 and one
of our tasks was the clean-up of the river Poddle. It brought back happy memories. I always
thought that it was very uncaring of people to pollute the river like this. The clean-up group
were really lovely people. I am so glad to have them in my life.
“Our Gang” on Kells Road loved going for rambles up to Lady Shaw’s Woods. It is also known
as Bushy Park. It is a well-kept beautiful park with its lovely lake packed with wildlife. One of
my old-time favourite sights is to see “diamonds” on the lake and a swan family preening
themselves. My love of the beauty of nature is being carried on by my family and grandchildren.
I would tell them all about my childhood adventures and the fear we had of Lady
Shaw who lived in the big haunted house behind the magic house. The haunted house was
now gone. Many are the films I compiled of this beautiful lake so well-maintained with its
abundance of wildlife. We would then go fishing for pinkeens on the river Dodder. I used to
swim here a lot as a young lad.
My wife had the same love of nature as I. We used to love going to the Pine Forest and walking
by the mountain stream down through Glendoo Valley and down to Johnnie Fox’s Pub where
we had our lunch. We loved the area so much that in 1995 we bought our grave up in Mount
Venus Cemetery. My wife Rita passed away in 2013. So many memories come to my mind
when I pay her a visit. One time my son John and family took Rita and I for a spin up to the
Pine Forest. We had our picnic by a mountain stream. I just love the sound of running water.
We cooked sausages on the open fire. They were as black as cinders when cooked but we still
ate them. We all survived that. I swear I can still get the smell of burnt sausages when I am in
the area.
As a young lad I went for a ramble with my pals and eldest brother Seamus. We went to what
had been a quarry up on Whitewall Road, just past the Submarine Pub. It was being
landscaped and the quarry lake was being stocked with fish (the lake has since been filled in
and is now a football field called the Eleven Acres). My brother Seamus had gotten a new
fishing rod. I asked could I have a go and he said no. I made up my own fishing rod. I got a
piece of stick, my shoe lace and a bit of wire. Well, surprise, surprise, I was the only one to
catch a fish. I was so proud. I kept that fish at home in the bath. When anyone wanted to have
a bath, they had to take out the fish and put it in a basin. I had made a net for this purpose
from one of my mother’s nylon stockings. I had Jonah the fish for 6 months before he died. I
was heartbroken. Nemo was not a patch on him.