Halloween special: Ghosts from the 1970’s

Portlaw Tannery makes a good setting for a ghost story, but there have not been reported any supernatural appearances. Yet. As you already know from my previous Halloween post, another building in the premises isn’t exactly ghost-free. I could go there again and perhaps get some material for another story, but… my instincts tell me to stay away from the Mayfield House and explore the factory buildings instead. As there are no known ghosts, I have to make up a ghost story myself.

Early in the morning I walked around the factory looking for inspiration.

Many things seemed suspicious there, including a tailless pheasant. Even the horse found him strange. Was he a pheasant at all? I started getting nervous.

I entered the ground floor and found a burned car. It made more sense than the tailless pheasant. Portlaw Tannery is a favorite place for drifting.

I kept walking. This derelict building reminded me of something long forgotten…

When I walked out of the building on the other side, I saw THIS, and everything clicked – a whole building, its empty windows, repetitive architectural elements, holes, shadows and reflections – everything reminded me of Atari Breakout in black & white: the ghosts of Space Invaders have stolen all the colors!

I decided to walk to the top floor. May be I can find more evidence there.

The top floor on my side of the factory has no roof anymore, and it looks like a forest. The other side still has a roof which makes it more dangerous as the roof can collapse at any moment.

The floors are covered with the THINGS that fell down from the ceilings and walls. The weeds are creeping in from outside.

Found some evidence of the stolen red and orange color…

… and some yellow too!

Found an evil face. This could be a ghost that escaped from Pac Man

I could use an elevator, but the shaft is empty all the way down.

These used to be the elevator cabin doors.

I press the shutter and hurry away. This picture looks somewhat disturbing… like a Bosch painting rather than computer game…

The walls are tagged by artistically inclined Zombies.

THINGS keep falling from the ceiling and the above floors. Dripping water is making sad ghostly sounds.

Because of that, I am afraid to walk across the open space, and prefer to stay near the wall. I can see some photographs on the green board on the other side, but no way I would walk across.

All of a sudden, a piece of styrofoam insulation fell down from the ceiling, but remained in the air…

Another hanging piece of armature began rotating…

I hurried down the stairs only to face a black Pac Man ghost and many other strange faces staring at me from the walls.

Another floor. Is it a Star Raiders ship up there, collided with the wall?

Finally I am on the ground floor, but on the wrong side.

I am trying to get out, but all the exits are overgrown with weeds. I think I have found an abandoned Death Race car there…

I finally see the light.

Have to get out before the Space Invaders regroup and attack me in this real life game field.

Found a black angel feather… Well, may be not…

The drifting is on. Sometimes the tires blow up, and the ‘feather’ is probably just a part of the tire. Nothing to worry about.

In the cloud of smoke, a passenger is taking selfies on the go. No one has noticed the drama unfolding in the factory building.

Galaxian ship has been taken down…

A veteran PC didn’t have a chance…

And what about the cunning Space Invaders? They changed identity and went underground. Literally.

Thank you for visiting scary places and reading my 70’s video games inspired story 🙂

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Waterford Walls 2019

I was out of town during the Waterford Walls festival this August, and only recently took some photographs, probably covering only a half of the walls. Here is a link to the previous Waterford Walls blog posts if you need it for a reference. Please visit the artists websites. All the links in this blog open on separate pages and your reading won’t be interrupted.

Yasja’s Northern lights-inspired work wasn’t included in the festival map, but I knew it was a recent work. I would have noticed if it has been there before. Yasja is a brilliant artist from Amsterdam and I choose her work for my opening picture.

I walk wall to wall, and it takes me about two hours to see all these wonderful murals.

Niamh Curry  grew up in Clonmel, Ireland. She is a self-taught artist, and her works are recognizable for their bright colors and painting technique. Niamh got to paint in Georges Court, right next to the Waterford Walls headquarters. I love her foxes.

Kevin Bohan, a professional artist and illustrator from Dublin, is a regular guest of the festival. I am a huge fan of his work. Kevin takes part in community projects and generously shares his talent. Here is his Instagram link.

Next to Kevin’s wall there is a Curtis Hylton’s work Ned The Dog. As their website states, Ned is the head of security for Waterford Walls.

I walk uphill to the place where the Birdo’s wall used to be. I am surprised to see Joe Castlin’s work repainted, but I love the fishies by Michael Beerens, an artist from France.

On the other side of the hill I admire a mural by Taquen, a young artist from Madrid.

To learn what the work by Garreth Joyce is about, click on this link .

I walk uphill again (Waterford is not a flat city), to take a picture of another two foxes, this time by Nina Valkhoff, an illustrator and muralist from the Netherlands. Here is a link to Nina’s website. 

I guess it was not easy to paint between all these doors and windows. I think about foxes whose habitats have been taken away by humans…

I walk to the social housing area. The streets and the buildings look dull and monotonous, but I have a map in my hand and know a secret: Waterford Walls festival has reached this colourless place and made a difference. This work by Shane Sutton, an artist in residence with the European Space Agency, might be monochrome, but it added so much color to the street! The artist also incorporated a transformer box into his work. It is transmitting old Disney classic now.

Dan Leo has gifted another beautiful animal to the city.

This is Curtis Hylton’s wall from 2018, but I never used the picture before. Please have a closer look at the fish. It is not a fish at all. What a heartbreaking image.

I wonder what this sad woman represents. The wall by Russ, France.

Another French artist, Kogaone. Here is another link.

A very impressive wall by Sper, an artist from Belgium.

A young artist, graphic designer and illustrator KREEMOS from Russia created this industrially looking puzzle. You will find that it says “Lost in a dream”. Two things caught my eye – a lapwing, one of my favorite birds, and a creative use of the colour palette masking the garbage bins.

Three female artists shared their works in Stephens street. Caoilfhionn Hanton is a self taught local artist who has been with Waterford Walls since the inception. I love the positive energy of her paintings.

Another female artist – FRIZ from the Northern Ireland.

Novice, a street artist from Dublin. She is not a novice in the street art anymore. The meaning of the name is – never stop learning.

Rounding up my walk I found a puffin.

This is a work by Mehsos, an artist from Belgium.

Patrick street in the puffin’s eye – I know that he is watching me as I walk down the street.

The real life sparrows are watching me too.

Thank you for visiting Waterford.  Here is a link to the excellent website by Resa McConaghy, a costume designer and author from Toronto who knows and shares street art  – https://graffitiluxandmurals.com/ Please visit and follow.

Have a wonderful week!

Kilfane Church

The day out with Pat the Fox Man continues.

After leaving Jerpoint Abbey, Pat asked me if I ever been to Kilfane Church. I haven’t, so off we went.

Medieval parish church of Kilfane, now in ruins, is located on the other side of Thomastown, some 15 minutes drive from Jerpoint Abbey. The adjoining structure is a presbytery – a stone house where the parish priests resided in the upper floors.

The graveyard alone deserves a separate blog post.

Good timing! Inside the church we met a very knowledgeable man who makes a living doing what he loves – an archaeologist, author and photographer Chris Corlett. Chris kindly answered my questions, and as we walked around the church he pointed out many things I would have overlooked. I left the men to chat and went to take some pictures for this blog post.

The biggest (literally) attraction of the ruins is an eight feet tall effigy of a knight in full armor made from a slab of limestone. The knight wears a mail hood and body armor, a surcoat, and a sword on a sword belt. He also wears spurs which means he had fought on the horseback.

The coat of arms on the knight’s shield reveals his identity. It is the Cantwell family coat of arms: annulets and a canton ermine.

The Cantwells were a Norman family, originally from Suffolk. They came to Ireland in the end of the 12th century and were made Lords of Kilfane for their loyal service to Theobald Walter, the first Chief Butler of Ireland. It is believed that the effigy depicts Thomas Cantwell who died in the 1320-s.

Cantwell Fada – The Long Man – is the largest effigy of its kind in Britain and Ireland.

In contrast to the smiling knights and bishops of Jerpoint Abbey, Thomas Cantwell’s carved face looks gloomy and unhappy. The story goes that the reason of his unhappiness and death was his marriage to Beatrice Donati whom he met while on crusade. Beatrice soon bored of her life with Cantwell and befriended the ‘Kilkenny witch’ Alice Kyteler. Both were arrested. Beatrice was held in Kilkenny dungeon but escaped and hid for five month in a monastery. Her husband eventually captured her and killed her accomplice, but Beatrice managed to fatally stab him in the heart with a gold bodkin.

When the church was taken over by the Protestants, the effigy was buried, but later was dug up again. There are four copies of it made in 1852.

The hole in the wall is actually a door to the ground floor room of the presbytery – a sacristy, where the vestments and articles of sacred rituals were kept.

The sacristy.

The stairs go up to the priests’ residency. At the top of the stairs there is a trap door. A hall is on the right.

The trap door.

A toilet.

The floors are gone but you can see where they used to be.

I couldn’t resist climbing the narrow stairs.

One floor up.

Another floor.

I keep climbing.

Finally on the top!

I had to stick my camera out of the narrow window to take this picture.

Back on the ground again. There is so much to see – it is simply amazing.

The bell tower has its own staircase, but it is damaged and too narrow anyway.

Both walls feature original ogee headed doorways.

Ogee arches were introduced to European cities from the Middle East. They were a popular feature of English Gothic architecture in the 13th century when Kilfane church was built.

Stone seats for the priest and his assistants in the south wall – sedilia.

Sedilia still have some ancient red paint residue on the carvings.

Another amazing find is the fragments of the consecration crosses on the church walls.

A new constructed church had to be consecrated, or made into a sacred place of worship. The Bishop would bless the building and anoint it making the sign of the cross with his thumb dipped in consecrated oil. Typically, twelve such crosses were created on the inside walls, and twelve more outside on door frames and corners. Each of these crosses would have been incised and painted afterwards.

You can see two incised circles and a cross incised and painted within the inner circle.

In the end of the 17th century, the church was taken over by the Protestants and the consecration crosses were concealed by plastering over them. When a new church was built just across the road (c. 1825), the roof was taken off the old church.

The plaster is falling off, thus revealing the old consecration crosses. Chris Corlett is sure about another few places where the crosses would have been placed, but you can read about everything in his own publications.

One last look at the church and the Long Man.

I ate in The Long Man pub once … It is ‘closed for renovations’ these days. I just drove over there to take this picture.

Thank you for joining us on this day out, dear readers! County Kilkenny is full of history, and I hope to write more about it in the future.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Jerpoint Abbey tour

Pat The Fox Man and I set off on our historical tour. Pat has never been in Jerpoint Abbey before, and it was fantastic that he had got a tour guide to himself. I and my camera were trailing behind them.

In the pictures: Pat Gibbons and his tour guide Margaret Brophy. I was delighted that Pat had such a knowledgeable guide. Their conversation went beyond the history of the abbey to the history of the whole parish.

Originally a Benedictine monastery built in 1160, Jerpoint Abbey was affiliated to the Cistercian Order in 1180. Scholars believe that Domnall I, the king of Ossory who died in 1176, was possibly the founder of the monastery. This is supported by a charter of King John to Jerpoint Abbey confirming the lands granted by Domnall. The grant happened before Strongbow arrived in Leinster in 1170.

The restoration works are on in the abbey. Some areas are fenced and the north aisle is closed.

You can see the scaffolding in the north isle, behind the arcade of pointed arches supported by large piers. There are six arches, with different design on each pier. Margaret and Pat are walking to the Romanesque west nave – the lay brothers’ choir. It is the place where the lay brothers gathered to attend Mass. The nave originally had an arcaded aisle on both sides. There is a special room in the museum where all the broken pieces of masonry – particularly the parts of arches and piers –  are stored and can be viewed by the visitors.

The west nave window comprises of three round-headed lights.

The Monk’s choir is the east part of the nave.

This is what the windows look like in the morning light from the main road.

The crossing tower above the intersection of the chancel, nave and transept was added in the 15th century. Towers were not allowed by the Order’s authority at the time the monastery was built. The rib vaulting of the tower’s ceiling is well preserved. The pointed arches open to the nave, chancel and both transepts. Each transept has two chapels on the east side.

There are a tomb and funeral slabs in the crossing.

I went to the north transept to check out the chapels. And this is what I found.

Of course I stuck there for a long time watching the mama swallow and her “yellow-lipped” babies.

There is something else quite amazing in the chapels – beautifully carved tomb weepers decorating the mensa-tomb chests. In the picture below you see six weepers – the apostles who can be recognized by the attributes related to the manner of their martyrdom. From the left: St John with a chalice; St Thomas with a lance; St Simon with a saw; St Bartholomew with skin – it is believed he was flayed alive; St Paul holding a sword, and St Matthew an axe. The carvings were made by the sculptor Rory O’Tunney of Callan.

These weepers are St Catherine of Alexandria with a wheel, St Michael the Archangel in the centre, and St Margaret of Antioch wearing a ring broach and stomping on a dragon’s head.

I left the chapels and went to the presbytery to admire the ancient wall paintings.

In the image below, you see three tomb niches in the wall under the painted fragment. It is where two tomb effigies from the next picture were originally placed.

The tomb effigy in background represents Felix O’Dulany, the first Abbot of Jerpoint praised for his ‘zeal, charity and prudence’.  The other effigy (foreground) possibly represents Donal O’Fogarty, another bishop of the Diocese of Ossory.

Bishop O’Dulany died in 1202. They say ‘many miracles were wrought by him’. The face of the effigy is badly worn: it was believed that pilgrims touching the face would be cured of their illnesses.

This is a 15-16th century wall painting after the restoration works. You can see the fragments of two shields with the scallop shells and wild boars – four shells and possibly four boars. Scallop shells represent St James and are the symbol of pilgrimage. I am not sure about the boars. Usually they represent ferocity and power. I should have listened to Margaret’s explanation instead of looking for birds 🙂

The abbey is famous for its large number of stone carvings untypical for a Cistercian monastery. You will find amusing figures of animals and fantastic creatures, knights, damsels, monks and smiling bishops carved on the piers. There are so many carvings that when you come again you will find something new you haven’t seen before.

The west part of the cloister arcade is reconstructed. You will find many lay and religious carvings there, and learn about the armor and clothing worn at the times.

The famous ‘man with the stomach ache’.

View of the tower from the west side of the cloister arcade.

The south part of the cloister arcade also survive.

This part of the arcade would support the roof over the buildings like refectory (dining room) and calefactory (warming house) which are long gone.

As you see in the picture, there is an upper floor that can be reached from the south transept. It is where the monks’ dormitory was located. I want to return to the abbey next year, so I leave the upper floor for my future blog post.

Beautiful Gothic east window dates from the 14 century. You can see the outer halves of two old Romanesque windows – originally a triple window.

Clicking on this link you will find a detailed map of the abbey.

The graves around the abbey date from centuries ago to the present time.

We visited Jerpoint Abbey on a fine sunny day. I want to share a different mood – a poem written by Waterford-born journalist Samuel Carter Hall in 1823, and a series of photographs taken on a gray and foggy morning – all of this in the article written by an author and lecturer Robert O’Byrne.

You have visited one of the finest historical places in Co Kilkenny. Our day out isn’t over yet. It continues to the next blog post 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend!