From a young age we were inculcated with a deep respect for our surroundings. Beauty was something that didn’t go unobserved and we delighted in pointing out our ‘new’ discoveries to each other. We noted the seasons and knew where to find wild strawberries, hazel nuts and ‘robbing orchards’ was a pastime not a criminal offense.
We swam in the rivers and walked the roads freely, we knew our neighbours by name, including their pets, and more importantly, our neighbours knew us.
In my own house there was always a ‘little bird’ ready to bring home tales of any mischief I might have been thinking about, never mind what I actually got up to.
My name is Fiona and I think I’ll be doing most of the writing!
Joe, on the other hand, is the talker. He’d talk for Ireland, as the saying goes, and he can strike up a conversation with almost anyone, anytime, anyplace, anywhere. From last weeks football results to fairy forts and ghost stories … the chances are Joe can hold a conversation about it. His local knowledge is second to none and I am always impressed that he can name a townsland or parish area and what bit of history is connected to it. Joe has traveled extensively around Ireland and his love of the Island comes out in that ‘old style scratching the head’ masculine way “Sure why would you go anywhere else?” would be the usual response when he’s told someone has been overseas on holidays, and he always manages to look genuinely baffled.
He’s meticulous with whatever he puts his mind to, so it’s no accident that his photography is exceptional.
Both of us grew up at the foothills of Slievenamon in County Tipperary. As with most mountains in Ireland we have our folklore too, perhaps some day we’ll do a write up on the events that have taken place both historical and mythical, but for now I’ll try and stay focused on introducing us so that you’ll get the gist of who we are, where we are and why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Our mutual love of nature is what introduced us. A group of people who met up one day and that group of people are still in touch and still trying to maintain an awareness of the importance of nature in amongst our own friends. They are a passionate bunch without the nutty part that goes with it. They live their lives conscious of the carbon footprint we all leave trails of, it’s part of them, but you wouldn’t know it unless you spoke with them. They are just like the hundreds of thousands of so many other Irish people who have that inbuilt awareness and respect of the land and how nature works.
We all have political opinions and neither Joe or myself are any different, we are, as most other people are at the moment, baffled as to the decisions that our ‘leaders’ have made and taken on ‘our’ behalf … as we chat away with a lot of the readers of The Irish Way facebook page and Joe’s photography page we both realised that the disillusionment with political structures is a world wide response to the financial crisis that faces too many people today.
And it’s this financial crisis that left both Joe and myself and hundreds of thousands of other people, out of work. Joe is a tradesman, and of course his work is meticulous (I’ve seen it).
I come from a background in psychology.
Two very different people, two very different lives and yet we find ourselves connected through our deep love of this island.
So it’s from here that we go forth, we both turned corners and found ourselves on a road going in the same direction so we’ve fallen into step and these steps are taking us on a whole new exploration of Ireland. We’ve started the ‘tours’ via the facebook page and found that there just wasn’t enough room … and even though we both guffawed at the idea of writing more than a few sentences for a post, here we are, just a few short months later strolling around, meeting people, writing bits and learning new stuff along the way.
We hope you’ll join us as we explore the familiar and unfamiliar, meeting people and sharing in a bit of banter. Neither of us knows where this road is going to lead but it’s the journey that matters and both of us are both humbled and delighted that we get to share this journey with so many of you.
So … that’s it … that’s us in a nutshell.
But before we sign off, we’d both like to say ‘Thank you’ to the thousands of you who have already shown us such encouragement, it’s because of you’re support that we are taking on this whole new adventure and wandering around the roads again.
Thank you for your company along The Irish Way.