When it comes to the subject and ships and shipbuilding in Waterford, two of the most knowledgeable experts are Bill Irish and Andrew Kelly. The Waterford authors have published a number of excellent books that are both academic, informative and entertaining and they have now come up with a new offering to coincide with the arrival of The Tall Ships.

‘Two Centuries of Tall Ships in Waterford – a photographic voyage’ is a superb production and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Written and assembled by Bill and Andrew, it is published by The Rectory Press, Portlaw, in association with the Waterford Civic Trust. It is a quality publication crammed with over 100 wonderful photographs of beautiful vessels and Waterford that most people will not have seen before. Every home in Waterford city and county should have one of these beautiful books to pass on to future generations and I would guess that any Waterford person living abroad would be nothing less than ecstatic to receive a copy as a gift. This is truly a book to be treasured. Available at The Book Centre for €20.

A Guide to the Waterford Coast

Another wonderful book published just in time for the Tall Ships is ‘A Guide to the Waterford Coast’ by Declan McGrath. It is lavishly illustrated with many fine photographs of the impressive Waterford coastline and what can be seen there. Printed locally by Intacta Print, the book is very informative and colourful. There are chapters on Geology and Climate, Flora and Fauna, Archaeology and all the Maritime Facilities to be found dotted along the coast. Changes to the Waterford coast and the importance and future of the coast are described in some detail. There is a comprehensive section on all the beaches, coves and coastal walks of the county and a chapter of useful information will be of benefit to anyone visiting our glorious coastline.

Also, most of the coastal placenames are included, in English and in Irish, and their meaning and location where known. Also available at The Book Centre for €20.

Cars that vanish in the night!

News last week that banks and finance houses are now repossessing cars from outside people’s homes in the middle of the night. The matter came to light when a motorist reported his car stolen to the gardai only to find out that it had been repossessed. He said he had paid off all but €4,000 on a €30,000 loan and had missed just one payment.

A garda spokesperson confirmed that that they were notified prior to repossessions and that vehicles were regularly taken in such a manner.

Unclaimed Lotto win

Someone, somewhere, is sitting on a quarter of a million euro that they obviously don’t know about. A Lotto prize of €250,000, won by a ticket purchased in Jim Short’s Convenience Store in Coolgreany, County Wexford, on Easter Saturday last, is still unclaimed. Easter Saturday fell on April 23rd this year so time is running out for the holder of the winning ticket.

Local people point out that an Under-10 Camogie Blitz was held in the Sports Field that day so the winner could well have been a visitor to the village.

So, did you take or accompany an Under-10 camogie team to Wexford on Easter Saturday and did you buy a Lotto ticket in the local store? Good luck.

A master mariner’s secret to success

Once upon a time there was a famous sea captain. This captain was very successful at what he did and, for many years, he guided Tall Ships all over the world.

Never did stormy seas or pirates get the best of him. He was admired by his crew and fellow captains. However, there was one thing different about this captain. Every morning he went through a strange ritual. He would lock himself in his captain’s quarters and open a small safe. In the safe was an envelope with a piece of paper inside. He would stare at the paper for a minute before locking it up again. Then he would go about his daily duties.

For years this went on and his crew became very curious. Was it a treasure map? Was it a letter from a long lost love? Everyone speculated about the contents of the strange envelope.

One day the captain died at sea. After laying the captain’s body to rest, the first officer led the entire crew into the captain’s quarters. He opened the safe, got the envelope, opened it and turned pale before he showed the paper to the others. On the paper was the following instruction. ‘Don’t forget, Port is on your left and Starboard is on your right.’

A Prayer for boat owners

May there always be water under your boat,

May she always be seaworthy, ever afloat

May the bilge pump be certain to work night and day

May the compass and charts always show the safe way

May you find gentle harbour as every day ends

May you lower your anchor amidst peace and good friends

May your outboard be saved after hitting that rock

May your bow be rebuilt after ramming that dock

May you never be injured or anyway hurt

May you someday owe less than the damn boat is worth