01 January 2020

In Kilcoole and Bray for
a last walk on the beach
as a New Year arrives

A last walk on the beach for 2019 … on the seashore at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, on New Year’s Eve (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

I marked New Year’s Eve yesterday [31 December 2019] by going for my last walk on a beach in the year at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, followed by a late lunch – or an early dinner – at Carpe Diem in Bray.

I had been in Laytown and Bettystown in Co Wicklow the day before. But if it had been almost a year and a half since I had been in either Laytown or Bettystown, it was more than three years since I had last been in Kilcoole, picking blackberries in the lanes before Michaelmas in late September 2016.

I first spent a childhood summer in Kilcoole 60 years ago in 1960 – I remember year because it was the year of the Rome Olympics – and I have always thought of Kilcoole as a quiet, rural or tranquil sort of place, between Greystones and Wicklow Town.

The railway line still evokes happy memories of the journey between Dublin and Wexford town in those years when Wexford was home for me.

Saying goodbye to 2019 as 2020 rolls in at Kilcoole, Co Wicklow (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

But Kilcoole is on the way to becoming part of the suburban conurbation that spreads out from Bray through Greystones and Delgany. There is evidence of this in the ramp up to the railway platform, the bicycle rack for commuters, and the new shiny train timetables highlighting the early morning trains that bring workers into financial services centre in Dublin.

More visible evidence of these changes could be seen in the number of families and young couples walking with their children and their dogs along the railway line. And yet there is still an air of rural tranquillity here that attracts photographers and bird-watchers as well as those seeking some quiet in days after Christmas.

After a brisk walk along the shore and by the railway line, two of drove back into Bray for a late lunch or early dinner in Carpe Diem to mark the close of the year. The sun had set, night was enveloping the north Wicklow coast, and we never ventured down onto the shore for another, last beach walk of the year.

We returned to Knocklyon to wait for 2019 to turn to 2020.

Happy New Year.

Toasting the old year, toasting the new year, in Carpe Diem, Bray (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

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