Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

GBMD: The Meeting of the Waters

There is not in this wide world a valley so sweet 
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet!
Oh the last rays of feeling and life must depart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart

Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852)

Ireland is famed for its literature. The likes of Wilde, Joyce and Heaney are all celebrated world-wide, but the poet who has captured the heart of the Irish - in the way Robert Burns did for the Scottish - is 'the bard of Ireland', Thomas Moore.

We know him as the poet who penned The Minstrel Boy. In County Wicklow his more lauded work is The Meeting of the Waters, the place where the Avonmore and Avonbeg rivers come together to form the Avoca River.

I'd wanted to see this spot, but missed it the first time we went past as it's obscured by a large touristy pub and gift shop. But stepping beyond these trappings lies the above view and my first ever sighting of a Dipper.

NAH and I sat right at the end of a concrete platform above the river's boulders and filled our eyes with this view. The sun was warm on our backs and the tumbling waters stilled us. We watched the fish jumping (NAH saw many more than me as I had the knack of looking away at the last moment) and both of us saw the electric blue of a kingfisher flying downstream. A magical moment.

At first we sat in silence, but then started to talk our first real long talk of our holiday. It shows when you look beyond man's impact on a place, it's true heart can help restore your own.

This place held one final surprise. In the interpretation boards around the surrounding Thomas Moore memorial park, I found out he's buried here in Wiltshire; in Bromham. It was an unexpected link with home when our selves and thoughts were abroad.


  1. That's good line about 'its true heart restoring your own'. And dippers - comical little birds I always think. Saddly too rare.

  2. Hi Mark - thank you :) Yes, the dipper is a very comical bird, but a welcome sight all the same. One of our lecturers on my masters course is an expert on them, so I've been trying to see one ever since. It's only taken 20 years!

  3. Lovely. Glad you had such a restorative time. Lucky you seeing a dipper and a kingfisher. Kingfishers are really magical birds I think. Such a sensational colour. I've only ever seen two or three, but each time they take my breath away.

    1. Hi CJ - thank you, it was indeed restorative :) We both shouted 'kingfisher' in unison when we saw it. Very few birds get a response like that. My most magical viewing was when I was doing a fish survey in the middle of a river in south Wales. A kingfisher flew around the bend in the river and didn't have time to adjust its flight to avoid us - so it flew between myself and the other person next to me in the river! We could feel the beat of its wings as it flew past :)

  4. I hope your talk leads to good things. I have that knack of looking away with shooting stars.

    1. NAH has that knack too Esther ;)


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