I have always lived in the sunny southeast, in this beautiful corner of Ireland. In different parts of it yes, but always in Wexford.
We moved twice when I was a child, once that I have no recollection of and the second time when I was 11, a preteen, so the bulk of my childhood memories centre mainly around my Nana’s house in town. She lived in a quaint little cottage on the river Slaney, with the railway line running right at the back of the house. We knew the train times, we knew when it was safe to climb over the wall and go ‘up the Point’ with Grandad or Uncle Tom if he was home from Wales. We could safely go across the road for 10 penny sweets and cigarettes for whoever requested them, because it was perfectly normal for children to buy cigarettes in the 80’s. Walking to town past the Boat Club and the old Cattle Mart which is now a housing estate, through the carpark (or running along the small wall that surrounded it!) at Redmond Square where Dunnes now stands.Walking out towards Ferrycarrig and around by the old hospital picking sloes along the way. Always outdoors in those memories, sun always shining; well except for the year it snowed so heavily walking the couple of miles probably wasn’t such a good idea but Mam and her brother (who lived further away from Nana than we did!) decided sure, ‘it’ll be grand’. We were nearly frozen solid by the time we reached home, my brother and I knee deep in snow. I’m sure my uncle must have resembled a Yeti by the time he got home!
When we moved, it was a huge change, going from just outside town to the depths of the country side. Home to our other Nana. Moving was quite hard for me, I felt sick for two weeks, it was a huge change. It didn’t take long to adjust though and we were home again. Throughout those fraught teenage years I had the most fantastic allies in my Nana & my Auntie; anything troubling me I knew I could wander in to my Nana’s kitchen and comfort was there. It can be awkward during those years to confide in parents and I hope when my children need a confidante and they can’t quite find the words for me that they can turn to older family members. Country life was very different to what I had grown up with to this point. We were surrounded by fields and when we couldn’t be driven, our feet got us to where we wanted to go; which is no bad thing. We walked for miles, sunbathed in empty fields, played pool at ‘the cross’ ( not a religious reference but a poolroom in the back room of the pub on a crossroads), picked strawberries to earn money – for a day- I was better at babysitting!! Then there were the annual events; the Garden Fete, the Field Day and not forgetting the annual Duck Race (I kid you not, this still happens on a Wednesday evening in July now!!)
On the 9th of September 1997, I loaded my suitcase into the boot of the car. I was moving again. This time however, it was just me. My Mam was so upset. It’s for all the world like she knew, although I’d be back for weekends when work allowed; really I was moving, away from the countryside and I wouldn’t ever be back to live in my family home again.
I was still staying in the same county, but Wexford is a big place. In 1997 it was nearly as quick to drive to Waterford as it was Rosslare Harbour. Yes folks, I was coming home. Of course back then I didn’t know where I was going to be a year from then however at a time when I was seriously considering moving on again, fate stepped in. You know the story; you meet the man, the man becomes your one for life and almost 20 years on we have moved, 10 minutes up the road; we built our nest, our nest is home.
I do love where I live. It was never our plan to live here but we rented a house on this road for a while and then a site came up for sale on it. We’d made some very happy memories in that house, we were happy living here so we jumped at the opportunity to make our home here.
It’s a beautiful place, rural but yet close enough to everything we need. Right in the middle of some of the most beautiful parts of Wexford. No matter which way we go we are close to outstanding beaches. As I wander down the road on which I live for my walk I am greeted by the most fabulous view of the sea, of Wexford town, of Rosslare Strand. On a clear day we look out our windows and we can see the windmills in Carne on one side, Forth Mountain on the other.
As our family have grown we have really come to appreciate what’s on our doorstep, to actually live here. All too often we can take our surroundings for granted, now we appreciate them. There is never any shortage of things to do. Depending on the season it can be coffee & hot chocolate or ice cream on the beach in Rosslare Strand. Rambling down to the Burrow taking in the sights of Wexford across the way. The children love being on the bank in Rosslare Harbour, watching the boats come and go; I share a smile with Mr. Simply Homemade as we recall a time where evenings on the bank meant drinks in the hotel as opposed to ice creams with our children – how times have changed. When the boats aren’t in there are always fairy doors just waiting for you to knock in The Secret Garden.
When we were a family of five, every day Mr. Simply Homemade was off and the children were in school we would park the car in St Helens and off we’d go, through the coves, over rocks, across the cliff tops until we reached the road again and once back on the road we’d look back out to Carne in the distance, Tuskar Rock Lighthouse in front, watching over the Irish Sea. Now we’re a family of seven, parking the car in St. Helen’s means we’re off to explore the coves and the rock pools. Skimming stones, watching out for crabs, squelching in sea weed, becoming a stranded pirate on a lone rock, anything is possible here, years of adventures just waiting to be had.
For calmer days with lots of running we venture to Ballytrent. Wellies are adorned to keep feet dry as the children splash through the waves. The sound of little feet sloshing usually means wellies are soaked; the wide grins on happy faces mean that’s okay and we make a mental note for the next visit. The mental note usually gets lost.
Then there’s home, our own little haven. When we stop, take stock, look at what we’ve achieved; no it’s not perfect and it never will be, but we don’t strive for perfection we strive for happiness. And happiness is homemade in our perfectly imperfect space. I found my one in Rosslare Harbour, it will always have a special little place in my heart, however my heart is firmly planted in my home and my home is here in my little homemade house at the top of the hill.
This post is inspired by Live Where You Live; a beautiful post from Sadhbh at Where Wishes Come From, celebrating her home town. When you have enjoyed Sadhbh’s post you will find links to many others at the bottom of her post.