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Sunset on River Slaney, Wexford

At the River’s Edge

Sunset on River Slaney, Wexford
Sunset on River Slaney, Wexford: A solitary mute swan, leaving a shimmering wake as it sails into the night. © Dave Walsh 2022.

At the river’s edge. After a May afternoon of tempestuous squalls, the sun sets, leaving a blaze behind the forest. The wind was gone, and a lone river cot swung idly on its mooring line, surrounded by the reflected fire. There’s a peculiar form of silence that envelopes the river after sunset. Most birds have gone quiet, except for mallards laughing raucously in the distance. 

When the wind blows on the river, the surface of the water stretches thin. Now, with the wind gone, it turns viscous and languid. Nervous water striders zig-zag across the water’s tight skin, mindful of the trout that every twenty or thirty seconds, leap from the water into the air, in search of supper. 

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Jim Walsh, 1942-2017. The Da - my father, photographed on 3rd June 2011.

The River Flows

Photograph: Jim Walsh, 1942-2017. The Da – my father, photographed on 3rd June 2011.

I said goodbye to my father last week. My sister, brother and I all spoke at his funeral. Here’s something I wrote, based on what I said:

Fourteen years ago, I phoned him to tell him that I’d been offered to sail on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, on a trip in the Tasman Sea off New Zealand. “That’s a great opportunity, Dave, you should consider it”. “Too late, Dad, I’ve already said yes”. He paused. “How did you get into all this stuff anyway?”Read More »The River Flows

Supermoon rising over Parc Collserola

What my son taught me about the moon

I remember being small boy, standing with my father in the field outside our house. Shivers ran down my spine, not because I was cold, but because I was craning my neck to contemplate the universe above me and because I realised its vastness and my own insignificant part in it.

My dad pointed out constellations and the Milky Way. Maybe that same night we were out spotting shooting stars, or watching the moon cross the river and drop behind the forest. Maybe that was many nights, all memorised into one night.

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The Slaney River and the World

For all the travelling I’ve done, it’s always good to come home. I am writing these words 50m away from the River Slaney, in the south east of Ireland, with a a copy of Crossabeg: The Parish and its People (Vol 2) waiting for me. And I’m honoured to be featured in the book. When my neighbour here, Alice Devine, one of the team who put the book together asked me to write something about my travels, I thought the best way was to show how my upbringing in Crossabeg provided the foundation for everything that followed – including my trips to the Arctic and the Antarctic. For those of you not able to get your hands on the book, here’s what I wrote:

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