A Hundred Gourds 4:4 September 2015

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Amanda Bell - Ireland

Sound Wall

The Dargle rises on Djouce Mountain, and makes a thunderous 400-foot descent at Ireland’s highest waterfall, six kilometres from the main Powerscourt estate. In 1821, for the visit of King George IV, Richard Wingfield, 5th Viscount Powerscourt, dammed the waterfall so as to release a torrent while he and the king watched from a bridge below. Fortuitously, the king was unable to leave a banquet at Powerscourt House; when the water was released it washed the bridge clean away.

splintered matchwood —

In the early 1960s the Slazenger family took over the estate from the Wingfields. They brought with them their farm manager, my grandfather. By the time I was born he had retired, but because of his long association with the estate, on Sunday visits we were given a dispensation from buying tickets to visit the waterfall. There were few visitors in those days, and we were often alone in the wooded parkland.

forest stillness —
the creak of green antlers
against tree trunks

My grandfather had lost an arm in a farming accident. He wore the empty sleeve of his jacket pinned up neatly, and a good tweed coat draped over his shoulders. While he and my father watched on, my brother and I would edge as close to the river as we dared, engulfed in the cloud of mist rising from the rocks where the tumbling water broke its fall.

at the foot of
a silver curtain —

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