Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


The Summer Holidays

Wednesday evening was spent making the card for Aunty Claire. Under Ruby’s instruction Fred made a lovely card with lots of glitter. Lots and lots of glitter. So much glitter all over the kitchen table that it took all his mother had not to lose her rag. There was glitter all over Fred, all over the floor, all over the mother, all over Ruby. Every time one of us turned into the light that evening the glitter would sparkle. Eventually I heard an “I fucking hate glitter, that’s the last time it’s coming into this house.” Fred looked at me with a surprised look on his face, as if he hadn’t been expecting it...

Fred woke up on Thursday morning and declared “Today we’re going to Waterford.” There was no disappointment, no disagreeing, no getting it wrong. Thursday was the day he’d been counting down to and the only problem was at what time we were going. All morning he was asking if we’re going now or is it time to go now? But soon enough the car was packed with every toy imaginable and plenty of changes of clothes. By noon we were out the door and our holiday had begun.

Earlier Rudi had called and asked us to collect Paul in Dungarven on our way down. Lisa made the mistake of telling this to Fred. We weren’t a mile out of Tralee when Fred was making room for Paul in the back, asking where was Dungarven, is this a shortcut and the classic “are we there yet?” Back to the drawing board with explaining time and distance to the little man and by Killarney he’d figured we wouldn’t be collecting his beloved Paulie for a while yet.

We stopped off in Cork for a few things, Ruby was getting some make-up for her birthday and I took the chance to do a browse of the Old English Market. I picked up lunch and coffees and despite a few missed texts we managed to all meet up again. Fred demolished his chicken sandwich while we drove and more importantly he knew that Dungarven was the next stop. Through the real Taoiseach Tunnel we drove, Fred loves the sensation of going under the river, and on we went towards Dungarven. Every town we went through on the way from then on was hit by a “is this Dungarven? Is this Dungarven?”

Fred  moved over next to his Mum, making room for Paulie for when we did make it to Dungarven.

At Dungarven we were early for the bus. Fred’s excitement was reaching fever pitch and he was looking out the window everywhere for Paul. Eventually the bus drove up and a very bewildered looking, hungover cousin Paulie got out. Those couple of days at the Galway Races had taken their toll. In true Paul style though he rose to the occasion and gave Fred the best of attention including praising the new hairstyle...

Fred loved it.

Within in a few minutes we were at Aunty Claire’s with hugs and kisses all round. Aunty Claire hadn’t yet come home from work but Fred was delighted with the company of the twins. They sat inside while we got ready for dinner and caught up with Rudi. Aunty Claire arrived  and she was soon followed by Granddad Jimmy. The adults sat down for dinner. Fred was in and out with his cousins but I think he was just happy to be there, getting time off from his parents fussing and knowing he was surrounded by family. Paul had gone to play a football match so Fred didn’t have him to follow around which allowed time to get to know Tess and Louis.

Around nine o’clock Lisa took Fred off to bed. For the first night in ages Fred didn’t sleep with me, by the time I’d gone to check on him the two were in a deep sleep. I was relegated to sleeping on my own and I had a terrible night’s sleep. Something to do no doubt with missing my man.

On Friday morning Lisa, Freddie and I had to go to Dublin. An appointment for an EEG had come through and so we were back up to Temple Street. The EEG is the one whereby they stick 20 or so electrodes to Fred’s head, do a lot of things like flash strobe lights in his face and read the outcome. Presumably this was a final test to go with all the other work done lately. We headed off about nine in the morning and were in Temple Street bang on 11am, just in time. I went off to park the car and get the coffees. By the time I arrived at the Neurology Dept the two had gone in. So as to not disturb the process I stayed outside and read my magazine. By noon Fred was finished, all had gone smoothly and we were free to go.

Fred’s hair was full of gel from the tests and was sticking up at all angles. Lisa fixed it for him before we set off for Conor and Cathy’s. Another treat in this week of treats. As usual we were welcomed with open arms and sat down to a lovely lunch. Fred being the centre of attention was allowed eat what he wanted and had the extra treat of Conor sitting with him while they watched some Scooby Doo. As we hadn’t been expecting to be back up in Dublin for a while this was a lovely timefor us all; it gave us a chance of yet more chat and laughter.

We set off back to Waterford about 3pm. This really was a big week for our Fred. Not only did he spend time with his cousins but he had a trip to Dublin followed by another trip back to the cousins. In the car down he had a big sleep but not before asking:

“Dad? Are we not going home?”

“No, my boy.”

“Are we staying in Waterford for a long time?”

“Yes, my boy.”

The next time I looked around he was snuggled up to his mother, sending up zeds and soon after his mother was doing the same. What a beautiful sight the two made in the rear-view mirror, fast asleep cuddled up...

That night I was exhausted, the driving eventually caught up with me. Fred said he’d sleep with me so after dinner and a glass of wine I was well ready to hit the hay. Just as we were drifting off to sleep Fred asked...

“Dad, are we not going home tomorrow?”

“No, Fred,” I answered, before asking, “How long do you want to stay?”

“Forever,” was the sleepy answer I got.

Saturday was spent doing the same. Playing with cousins in the morning but at lunchtime Paul came home. All afternoon Fred spent outside with Paulie, doing jobs and following him around. Fred was in heaven and Paul was so very patient with him. After another dinner with Granddad Jimmy, Fred and I retired to the bed. We were both tired, in fact the whole house was tired and the two men were asleep by ten pm.

Sunday was a day of goodbyes but it was also Ruby’s birthday. When I got up Fred, Tess and Louis were busy making birthday cards. More glitter but all was forgotten when our girl rose and wished the warmest of happy birthdays. Fifteen years of Ruby, fifteen wonderful years of the most wonderful girl and all her cousins marked the day with style.

Ruby was staying on for few days so it was a tearful threesome who said their goodbyes around lunchtime. Those goodbyes are very hard to do and Fred looked very sad in the back of the car as we drove off. Driving was difficult for me through the teary eyes. Fred and Paulie had special big hug, if allowed he would have stayed, no doubting that.

Within a few hours we were all home again, back to Tralee and our normal lives.

Our summer holidays for this year are over but we’ve had some fun. At the beginning of the year we would never have believed that we’d get to spend all this time down in Waterford.

It has been great and here’s to many more of the same.





Posted by John Verling

Filed under: News Leave a comment
Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

No trackbacks yet.