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Dunmore East is a small fishing village on
the south-east coast of Ireland, 16kms from
the city of Waterford.
It sits on the western side of the Waterford
Harbour Estuary, 4.8kms from Hook Head in
Dunmore East, Co. Waterford,
I have often looked at the quaint country villages that you see on the holiday programmes
on TV and wished I was there. Some are scattered throughout the English countryside, and
usually feature old houses from yesteryear, and a river that snakes its way through green
fields which always seem to contain an abundance of tall trees heavy with summer foliage.
The houses and cottages probably date back to Tudor or Victorian times, and for the most
part are inhabited by the latest generations of the same families, who are quite content to
leave well enough alone except for the overall upkeep of their traditional dwellings. The
pace of life appears slow, people stop and converse about the weather and local gossip,
and across the old stone arch bridge fly-fishermen cast their lures from the banks of
farmer's fields into the winding stream.
Every now and then a river barge passes, put-putting to the lock gates to continue its
journey into the warm summer's day. Food at the village Inn usually features breakfast
which includes bacon, eggs and sausages; the lunch menu displays an array of meat pies
and pasties, and for dinner, salmon, trout, duck, beef and chicken can be enjoyed as well as
pheasant or quail which make a regular appearance. Of course the food is prepared
nowadays by a chef of noted distinction whose array of gravies and sauces adds to the
everyday ordinary, and transforms it into the extraordinary, the results of which tease the
palettes of locals and tourists alike.
Why do people come to such places, you may ask? What is it about this simplistic
scattering of houses and humans that attracts people from all walks of life when sun-
drenched holidays are readily available all but two hours away on Spanish or Greek
islands? The answer is simple, people are tired of the hustle and bustle of today's
existences, and swapping one type of confusion for another, although it may be sun-baked,
does little to relax the spirit for those precious few days a year that we know as holidays.
The golden goose of these village excursions can often manifest itself in affording the
traveler a chance to revisit a time that has stood still, and yet has managed to embrace all
the trappings of modernism including speculation and an ever denser and richer population.
The English planning authorities have managed to preserve such treasures, although that's
not to say that areas have not also been ruined by holiday developments in England, Wales,
and Scotland , but a few jewels still remain protected under a particular legal precedent, not
available to Irish planners, known as Crown Land. This particular piece of legislation allows
the British version of our Planning Board to defend and make absolute final decisions free
of expensive legal actions by developers who feel they have been hard done by a local
planning authority, or Government authority, with regard to proposed developments.
But what of Dunmore and other seaside towns and villages in Ireland whose masters have
nothing under the constitution to defend their decisions. Dunmore has always had its share
of tourists who were prepared to also leave well enough alone in the knowledge that the
simplistic natural beauty of the place was the golden egg that enticed them back year after
year. Then someone must have said, ‘wouldn't it be nice to build a summer home here',
then another, and then another. There was no shortage of enticement for such lunacy as
section 25 tax relief was available to those who earned enough to even consider tax relief,
and hence the cuckoo began to lay its eggs in the nest of the golden goose. Along with the
cuckoo laying eggs, the very essence of local planning was also compromised, the onus on
decision makers to foster and nurture the existing historical population, and allow them to
continue to build homes for their families suffered and became extinct because no one
could really afford the asking prices for building sites which were unrealistic to the ordinary
working person. Of course it was not just the tourist who began to strangle the goose. There
were plenty locals who couldn't wait for the chance to sell their land, or develop it into
another eyesore for tidy sums of money. Money can come, and money can go, but
Dunmore and other such places should have been protected from such ignorance. Today I
read that the beaches are so polluted that bacteria are making Doctor appointments
because they feel sick.
The cuckoo eggs hatched and out went those of the golden goose. The goose herself was
finally hung by a rope of new found fortune, and an inability to realize the obvious.
Sometimes if you overdress the lady she begins to look like a gaudy tramp, is this not the
case with regard to Dunmore .
From the short story writings of Mick D
Who has killed the Golden Goose
The Short Story Writings of Mick D.