Page 3. " The seabirds mewled and swooped, unnerved, it seemed, by the spectacle of that vast bowl of water "
Sooty Shearwater
Creative Commons AttributionSooty Shearwater - Credit: Mike Baird

Stephen Newton writes in the Irish Times (Wings on the Water), that the "secluded sectors of our coasts and islands are carpeted with gulls, gannets, petrels and puffins in breeding season, and skuas and shearwaters stream past us in migration periods".

He explains that, for bird lovers, a trip to Ireland in early summer is rewarded by "close encounters with puffins and gannets".  The southern Wexford coast is one of the best places in Ireland to see seabirds. 



Page 3. " They looked unnaturally white, that day, those birds. "
Black headed gull (Larus Ridibundus)
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumBlack headed gull (Larus Ridibundus) - Credit: Ronan McLaughlin

Not really a black-headed bird, more chocolate-brown - in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head. It is most definitely not a 'seagull' and is found commonly almost anywhere inland. Black-headed gulls are sociable, quarrelsome, noisy birds, usually seen in small groups or flocks, often gathering into larger parties where there is plenty of food, or when they are roosting.




Pomarine Skua
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumPomarine Skua - Credit: Ronan McLaughlin

The pomarine skua is a large seabird, nearly as big as a herring gull. It has long spoon-shaped tail streamers. There are two colour forms: dark - birds are all dark brown with small white flashes on the wings; light - birds have a pale breast and a dark cap on their heads. It does not breed in Ireland, but is a passage migrant in both spring and autumn. It winters off the coast of West Africa.


from Ronan McLaughlin's descriptions of Irish Seabirds

Page 12. " I am walking down Station Road. "

Station Road features more than a dozen times in The Sea.  The summer chalet that Max and his family rented during the summers was most likely off Station Road. 

Station Road ends at the Rosslare Strand Road which runs parallel to the sea.

Google Map
Page 12. " with a picture of a bearded sailor inside a lifebuoy, or a ring of rope "
Navy Cut
Creative Commons AttributionNavy Cut - Credit: Leo Reynolds


The name "Navy Cut" refers, according to the Canadian Archives & Collections Society, to the way Royal Navy sailors 'would wind twine around rolls of tobacco leaves allowing them to mature under compression, and then slice off the end'.



Page 23. " are there coincidences in Pluto's realm, amidst the trackless wastes of which I wander lost, a lyreless Orpheus? "

Orpheus and Eurydice
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeOrpheus and Eurydice - Credit: Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot
Pluto/Hades, in classical mythology, was lord of the underworld and God of the dead. Orpheus was a celebrated musician and poet, and master of the lyre. It was said he could move stones and trees by his songs, and cast spells over wild beasts. 

When his wife Eurydice died of a snake bite, he descended to the underworld to bring her back.  His lyre playing so moved Hades that he permitted Eurydice to return to the living, on condition Orpheus walked ahead of her without looking back - a condition he tragically failed to meet.

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePluto - Credit: Rufus46
Listen on Spotify:

Symphonic Poem 4 "Orpheus" by Franz Liszt

Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach