Some of my best and often surprising experiences have resulted by taking a detour. Waterford, Ireland wasn’t top of the list to visit. Johnny joked I shouldn’t be anywhere near a crystal factory with my history of breaking things. Our travels tend to revolve around nature. Which is why we booked Killarney – Ring of Kerry for a week and Doolin – Cliffs of Moher / Aran Islands for another week. Doolin is also known for music. My childhood was filled with Irish Ballads and I still have fun doing my version of the jig.
We ended up in Waterford because of a bus change. There was no connection at a decent hour from Waterford to Cork our original destination. We try to avoid really short stays preferring a minimum of three nights so we switched plans, booked a last minute Waterford hotel and settled in ready to explore.
The Tower hotel where we stayed looks out over the River Suir, Reginald’s Tower and is at the tip of the Viking Triangle established in 914. I’m the last person to give a history lesson, so I’ll let wikipedia cover that. I do know the area got its Triangle name because of how the water ways (now roads) land locked it into that shape.
I posed for this photo not because of the historical statue but because I loved the flower bed in the shape of a heart. Later that day we booked a walking tour and the man on the horse took on the significance he deserves. Many of you have recommended walking tours and I couldn’t agree more. The knowledge gained from the guides brings the area to life.
Meet Thomas Francis Meagher (pronounced Marr with an Irish accent). He is the long dead man from Waterford who captured my attention. Meagher went from leading the Young Irelanders in the Rebellion of 1848 to being sentenced to death for sedition, but instead was shipped off to Tasmania, escaping there, making his way to New York attaining a law degree while working as a journalist before he became a Union brigadier general in the American Civil War leading the Irish Brigaide, then ended up as a territorial governor of Montana for President Andrew Johnson. All this in his short lived life of 44 years. What you won’t find in his wikipedia profile is some of the theories on how he came to fall off the steamboat into the Missouri river and drown. It was our tour guides belief his drowning was caused by the Klu Klux Clan.
Imagine Meagher’s burning passion to take up not one but many important causes. Nothing short of awe inspiring. If only time travel existed and I could ask him my burning questions. Not about what he did but the why’s. What was the spark that ignited him? Two quotes contributed to him, give us only a faint glimpse.
“I have done what I felt to be my duty.” and “Great interests demand great safeguards.”
Thomas Francis Meagher