So we decided to ward off Christmas cabin fever by getting out for a couple of hours earlier.
My brothers Declan and Pádaí, our friend Anthony and I headed for the nearby Cullenstown Strand.
It was a beautiful, clear day, with the clouds and inevitable rain only closing in just as we left.
The lads mostly played hurling and I mostly took photographs during the preceding two hours or so.
Anthony, for an Aussie who has never played hurling before, proved a natural.
The exercise and sea air primed use well for a delicious Christmas dinner back in the Cullen household.
It is known locally as the “Shell Cottage” and it is a charming, thatched cottage. What really sets it apart though is that it is covered entirely in sea shells – as are all the out buildings beside it.
The wide variety of shells, comprising all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes, were collected, carefully arranged and placed on the cottage by the late Kevin Ffrench, who is commemorated on a plaque on his former home (pictured below).
This is a fantastic piece of design work and must have required extraordinary imagination, skill and patience. It is not only beautiful, but entirely in keeping with the surroundings.
The intricate designs and patterns on the walls of the buildings include the well-known Wexford landmark Tuskar Lighthouse and the “Mexico”, a Schooner which was the subject of an ill-fated rescue attempt that saw nine members of Fethard Lifeboat die in 1914.