I used to go to Bray to see in­ter­est­ing peo­ple

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE - @john­meagher­muso

Ruth Fitz­mau­rice moved to Grey­stones in the early 2000s. Orig­i­nally from Ardee, Co Louth, she jokes that she will al­ways be known as a ‘blow-in’ but she has done her bit, too, to make Grey­stones an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion.

Her mem­oir, I Found My Tribe, was pub­lished by Pen­guin to great ac­claim ear­lier this sum­mer. It doc­u­ments the huge chal­lenges this mother-of-five faced af­ter her Simon, her hus­band, was di­ag­nosed with mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease, but it’s also some­thing of a love let­ter to Grey­stones and, specif­i­cally, Ladies Cove — the bathing spot close to the town where she and sev­eral hardy, like-minded souls en­joy open-water swim­ming vir­tu­ally every day.

“It’s some­where I love to go,” she says. “On a dull day, you mightn’t be over­whelmed by it — and it’s not the most ob­vi­ous bathing place, be­ing tucked away — but it feels like it’s your own as long as you’re there. It’s your spe­cial place and it changes with the sea­sons too, so there’s al­ways some­thing that bit dif­fer­ent about it.”

Ruth ad­mits that it took her a while to truly warm to Grey­stones. “When I first moved here, I found it so mid­dle class,” she says. “I used to go to Bray to see in­ter­est­ing peo­ple! And my dad calls it ‘Pleas­antville’ be­cause it re­ally does have that sense of safety about it.

“But there’s been a lot of change in the last 10 years or so. It’s get­ting to be a foodie Mecca and the pop­u­la­tion has gone way up — hous­ing es­tate af­ter hous­ing es­tate are spring­ing up.

“Grey­stones prob­a­bly changed a lot when the Dart ser­vice was ex­tended to here [it opened in 2000] and you’d hear of old-school Greysto­ni­ans com­plain­ing that all the day trip­pers would bring the tone down.

“And, it has to be said that the new ma­rina has lots of crit­ics. It could do with artists go­ing in there and adding some colour to it — much of it is very drab and grey.”

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