D a n 's F i n a l J o u r n e y

The Vale of Avoca

 

As many of you may know, Betty, Kelly, Megan, Charlie Sheridan (brother), Maura McDaniel (niece), Bob Capasso (brother-in-law), John Miller and Brian Kaiser, 2 of Dan's many friends, traveled to Ireland to mark a completion of the cycle of Dan's physical life here on earth. Dan had requested that a portion of his ashes be scattered in a magical place called the Meeting of the Waters in Avoca, County Wicklow, just south of Dublin. Betty and he had chosen the date of June 21st, 2001, the 21st anniversary of their wedding day.

In 1994, Dan, Charlie, our Mom and I visited Ireland for a memorable 10 days. Unfortunately, our sister Peg could not join us but was with us in spirit every step of the way. We visited our parents' birthplaces, met relatives we had only heard stories about and had a whirlwind tour of the landmarks of Ireland. Our Mom had a quotation, a poem, a song or a story about practically every aspect of the wonders we encountered on our travels. She was a marvelous reciter, having memorized most of the words as a child, learned either at a grandparent's or mother's knee or from the nuns at the local schoolhouse or the priest at the local church.

 

One of the highlights of our trip was the Vale of Avoca. When we got into County Wicklow, we stopped at Powerscourt Gardens and had lunch beside a huge natural waterfall. It was late afternoon before we got on the road again, and Mom was insistent that we see the Vale. She told us about Thomas Moore, the famous Irish poet, who memorialized the confluence of the Avonbeg and Avonmore Rivers in a piece entitled "The Meeting of the Waters." Mom enunciated the verses she could recall in her familiar Irish lilt. The last verse was so heartfelt, she almost had us in tears. We got to the Vale around twilight that evening. As I recall, there was not another person in sight. We had this corner of Ireland to ourselves and soaked in its beauty with quiet reverence. It obviously made a huge impression on Dan. In January, he spoke about resting there. In February, I brought a copy of the poem when visiting. Charlie recited it in its entirety at Dan's bedside. Charlie also found a copy of it set to music and obtained the cd which he played for Dan a number of times.

 

 

It was too painful for me to make this trip with Dan a second time. I do anticipate visiting the site again in the coming years and will always hold such sweet memories of that day in my heart, along with hundreds of other sweet thoughts of Dan.

We have been blessed by the gift of Dan's friendship. I wish you all the opportunity to experience the peace and beauty of the Vale of Avoca at some point in your lifetimes. Dan will be waiting for you!

 

Love from Mary Sheridan Newman

 

The Meeting of the Waters

by

Thomas Moore

There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet
Oh the last rays of feeling and life must depart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart

Yet it was not that nature had shed o'er the scene
Her purest of crystal and brightest of green
'Twas not her soft magic of streamlet or hill
Oh No 'twas something more exquisite still
Oh No 'twas something more exquisite still

'Twas that friends, the belov'd of my bosom were near
Who made every scene of enchantment more dear
And who felt how the best charms of nature improve
When we see them reflected from looks that we love
When we see them reflected from looks that we love

Sweet vale of Avoca! How calm could I rest
In thy bosom of shade, with the friends I love best
Where the storms that we feel in this cold world should cease
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace
And our hearts, like thy waters, be mingled in peace

 

CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR IMAGES OF AVOCA - http://wicklow.local.ie/content/21425.shtml/meetingofthewaters

 


Photographs Courtesy www.wicklowtoday.com