For this instalment of the Memory Lanes Series, we will be once more heading to the part of Ireland known as the “Sunny South East”.
We will once again be traversing a part of the county of Waterford, a county synonymous with both Vikings and Norman’s. In fact, the counties name in Irish is Port Lairge, meaning ‘Larag’s Port’ in English, named after a Viking who had settled in the area.
We previously visited the county of Waterford
in a Memory Lanes episode on Waterford City, but as the warm weather begins its return, we decided to hit the R675 and visit a town with the aptly named “Priests Road – Tramore.
When the sun is out and the clouds have parted, there are few more stunning sights on the Island of Ireland, than the beach that straddles the Strand in Tramore. In the 1600’s, there are records of a small fishing village, which formed part of the large landholding held by the fabulously Doneraile Family, in the area that is now the coastal town of Tramore.
This family once resided in a Castle which was later replaced by a grand House known as “Doneraile Court”, located just north of Mallow. This house is located just over 120KM from Tramore and gives you a snapshot as to just how vast their lands where. The head of the family also inherited the Noble Title of Viscount.
Upon alighting the 360 bus from Waterford City, one is greeted by the sight of two prominent signs of a place being a Seaside town, a hotel – in this case The Majestic Hotel - and B&B’s. Turning around, you arrive upon the vista of a lovely park with a lake in the middle, and in the summer months it will likely be teeming with various forms of wildlife too.
The History of Tramore
Like many other areas across Ireland, what was once a village was to become a town thanks to the arrival, in 1853, of a revolutionary new form of transport – the train. In Victorian times, the idea that embracing the outdoors really improved ones’ health began to take hold. However, this was not the case in the cities as the fumes from belching smoke was anything but good for the inhabitants who lived there. Thus those of wealth would make many trips to the cleaner air one could find in many coastal areas, while doctors of the time also heavily promoted the benefits of sea swimming.
In the late 90’s, Waterford County Council oversaw a major refurbishment of the seafront and visitors can now enjoy a stroll, along a very well designed promenade pathway that runs adjacent to the beach. When you reach the end of the promenade, if you continue straight on and walk up Lower Strand Street, past O’ Shea’s Hotel and then turned left up Gallwey’s Hill, it will bring you to the start of the beautiful 2KM long Doneraile Walk. The Hill is named after a family who were at one stage well known Whiskey Bonders in the area. The Doneraile Walk – named after the previously mentioned Doneraile family - is a truly stunning stretch of Coastline, and sitting on a bench looking out at the sea, is truly heaven.
Running alongside the walk further up Gallwey’s Hill and onto Church Road you will pass Christ Church, Church of Ireland Church which has stood at that site since 1851. The small graveyard in the grounds contains a fascinating insight as to the town’s past, among the inscriptions on the various Headstones, that are contained within.
Things to see and do in Tramore
No visit to this quaint corner of County Waterford would be complete without taking a wander round the splendid Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens. These gardens are truly an oasis of calm and tranquillity, as stunning floral displays intermingle with magnificent water fountains and other such features. If you ever wanted to truly disengage from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, this is the place to do it. The gardens are named after one Lafcadio Hearn a Greek born, Dublin raised writer of some renown. This gentleman is most famously known as the individual who travelled around Japan, collecting folk tales and songs and recorded them for future generations to savour.
This man is barely known on these shores, but in Japan he is a huge icon and many site him as an individual who ensured a vital bridge back to the past was saved, that might otherwise have been lost. If you ever take a holiday to Japan and people ask where you are from; If the answer you give is Ireland, don’t be surprised to get an excited reply of “Ah, Lafcadio Hearn!”.
So as you wander around one of the 11 areas in the gardens which align with Hearn’s Life Story, you might be wondering if a burger in The Ranch Restaurant or a roast dinner in The Copper Room Restaurant in O’ Shea’s Hotel would be your next stop?
With great public transport connections from all over Ireland to Waterford City, which has buses going to Tramore every 30 minutes – Why not take a stroll on the strand with a tasty 99’ in hand, or try your hand at Crazy Golf?
You can find the easiest way to get to and around Waterford and the best places to eat and see with our free, award-winning app GeoFindIT
If you enjoyed this blog, you may enjoy our memory lane series through Westport or Bray.
Posted: 17/05/2022 14:52:27