This will be my last Thursday Doors post from the seaside village of Blackrock in County Louth, for the present. When the weather improves I’ll take a tour through the rest of the countryside in Ireland’s smallest county and share some of the historical sites with you.
When I was a child visiting my grandparents the largest of these properties belonged to the three Miss Flynns, as everyone called them. The three spinster sisters ran a guesthouse and if I saw them on the street I would dash across the road to avoid having my head patted and my cheeks pinched, affectionately, of course. I think they had a bench outside their door for guests to sit on and admire the view, but it wasn’t quite as colourful as the one in place there now.
One day, my maternal grandmother gave me half a crown (2 shillings and 6 pence) instructing me to run up to the bookie’s office and place a bet on a horse in the Grand National (a major annual racing event in Ireland). I wasn’t paying attention to my surroundings, being too preoccupied trying to remember the name of my grandmother’s horse, and I got waylaid by the Miss Flynns. By the time I had extricated myself from their grasp and reached the betting office, it was too late to place the bet.
When I arrived back at my grandmother’s she was so excited because her horse had won. Unfortunately, she was none the richer and I sheepishly handed over the money muttering something about the Miss Flynns. My grandmother tutted and shook her head and made me sing Danny Boy as a punishment. The previous summer, she had been horrified that I had reached the ripe old age of nine and didn’t know the words to one of her favourite songs. She made me promise to learn it before my next visit. Once I had finished the last of what seemed like a hundred verses, a sixpence was placed in my palm and I was told to go out and buy myself an ice-cream. It was well worth the humiliation and embarrassment. I ran up the street to my other grandparents’ shop and got a free ice-cream, while pocketing the sixpence for another day.
This plaque is one of a few placed at intervals along the promenade. The translation from Irish to English on this one is roughly; She is the dry east wind. It’s a line from an Irish poem Na Gaoithe (The Wind). The spring flowers were well in bloom nearby, totally unaffected by the east wind.
It was a pleasure to show you around my native village these past few weeks, I hope you enjoyed the tour. There are some fabulous Thursday Doors over on Norm’s blog, with a link to many more at the end of his post.