Month: September 2016

‘Auf der Walz’ – The Journeymen


An exclusive reblog! The famous journeymen Simon and Benjamin found a job in Co Cork, and here is their story I got a permission to share, and many photographs of them and their work. I am so very happy! Please visit and follow the Roaring Water Journal for more stories from Ireland.

‘Auf der Walz’ – The Journeymen

I am always happy to find longstanding customs and traditions still going strong, especially when they are as relevant today as they have been over countless generations. This summer we chanced upo… Continue reading on Roaring Water Journal 

Source: ‘Auf der Walz’ – The Journeymen

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Irish ancestry


I was watching this video on a vintage TV set for the first time in my life. The Visitor Centre at the Kennedy Homestead was reopened in June 2013, fifty years after the President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in June 1963, and this TV set and the tea cups belong to the era. A cup of tea, salmon sandwiches, and a huge cake – it is what his cousin Mrs. Ryan, with the help of her neighbors, cooked for the occasion. President Kennedy was accompanied by his sisters Eunice and Jean, and they met fifteen of their Irish cousins! In the picture below you see Patrick Grennan, Mrs. Ryan’s grandson. He is a curator of the Kennedy Homestead, the birthplace of their ancestor Patrick Kennedy, a great-grandfather of the President.


It was the second day of his four day tour when the President traveled by helicopter to Mary Ryan’s farm in Dunganstown, Co Wexford. He had been there before. In 1947, he came to Ireland to visit his sister Kathleen who was staying at Lismore Castle. Kennedy and the other guests borrowed a station wagon and went looking for his relatives in Dunganstown. That is  how he met his third cousins for the first time. He said that his visit was ‘filled with magic’.


Patrick Kennedy emigrated in 1848 – being the third son, he had no chance of running the family farm. More than a century later, in his speech at the quay in New Ross from where his great grandfather left for America, JFK joked that if his great grandfather hadn’t emigrated, he himself might now be working for the Albatross fertilizer Company, or perhaps for John V. Kelly shop down the road.


The Kennedy Homestead museum has a unique collection of the Kennedy family’s artifacts including the rosary beads that was in the President John F. Kennedy’s pocket when he was assassinated in Dallas. Jacqueline Kennedy brought her children to visit and gave the rosary beads to Mary Ann, the late President’s cousin and Patrick Grennan’s aunt.

Exposition also includes documents, photographs, audio-visual display, and plenty of space to walk around and contemplate.



This dress is a replica of a simple linen dress Jacqueline Kennedy wore for her official White House portrait that was painted in 1970 by Aaron Shikler. The dress was made by the Irish designer Sybil Connolly.

The astronaut spacesuit is a replica of the spacesuit worn by John Glenn during project Mercury, the first US manned space program.


I was told that decorative rugs, like this one, were popular in the 1960s. The rug is a gift to the museum.


More artifacts and photographs.


‘I’ll be back in the springtime’  – these were the last words President Kennedy spoke before leaving. His ambition was to serve two terms as President and then appoint himself as Ambassador to Ireland. His sister Jean was to fulfill this ambition. She visited Kennedy Homestead as Ambassador on the 30th anniversary of his 1963 visit, in June 1993. Twenty years later, Caroline Kennedy, the President’s daughter, and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny opened this new Visitor Centre and Museum.

In 2004 I was in Kennedy Arboretum, and on the way back we stopped by the Homestead, but didn’t go in, so I just took some pictures from the road. The Arboretum is a unique place itself and some day I will go there again to write a blog post.


My personal connection with JFK? Definitely it is this picture with Patrick Grennan taken with assistance from two lovely ladies, Mary and Eimear…


… and my smooth landing at JFK airport a few days later 🙂


Just a word about another two famous Americans with Irish roots whose ancestors were not that lucky, and their names are fading away from the old gravestones in the littered and overgrown Clonmelsh graveyard, Ballyloo, Co Carlow.

Pierce Butler, one of the Founding Fathers, was born in Co Carlow, the 5th Baronet of Cloughgrenan, a younger son unable to inherit his family fortune. Butler joined the British Army and was sent to America, where eighteen years later he signed the American Constitution as a South Carolina’s representative to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

Many of his ancestors are lying here in Clonmelsh.

butler graves

Walt Disney’s ancestors left Ireland to travel to New York in 1834, and now the Disney Corporation is worth billions. Three of his ancestors are buried in Clonmelsh graveyard, and the Council is cleaning rubbish in this ‘all star’ graveyard every six month just to keep it in presentable state.




There are many election-related blog posts published these days, some of them very hateful. I do care about this election, because it is a big deal globally, but I don’t see how a blog post that is spitting hate can actually help. So, I just want to finish with a quote I copied from Facebook. I do respect this man who has never forgotten his roots, who loved the land of his ancestors and left a legacy of identity to his children, and a legacy of hope for his country. Don’t get me wrong though. I know that John Fitzgerald Kennedy was just a man, as imperfect as a man can be, but do you realise that there is no perfect man who would come and clean up our mess. So, why not to listen to the words of this redhead President that make so much sense? He had inherited Cuba, Vietnam, and Civil Rights problems, something one cannot resolve overnight, but he had started working on that, and there was progress, there was improvement, one step at a time, and it is how it works. One tiny step at a time. Those who promise a quick solution, lie. Only step by step, without trying to fix the past, but with aspiration to build the future.


Thank you for reading!

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Fenor Bog boardwalk

Fenor bog

This is my last post from abroad 🙂 I am going back home soon, so I am spending every minute with my family and apologize for delayed replies to your wonderful comments. Thank you so much for bearing with me.

Fenor bog lays right behind the church in Fenor village, Co Waterford, overlooked by Ballyscanlon Hill. They say that 225 species of plants, birds, insects and animals have been recorded there. 500m long boardwalk allows visitors to enjoy serenity and beauty of this unique piece of natural heritage.

When I go to Fenor, I circle the bog at least five times, full of expectations for some unusual bird or reptile seeings, but nothing ever happens. I guess the best time is a very late afternoon, just before the sunset. Last time I saw a lizard who showed itself for a split second and then disappeared under the boardwalk. Still, something to remember.

What does this sign mean, I don’t know. I have been looking up Druid signs, but couldn’t find anything similar. Looks like an eye to me, which makes sense: enter the site, look around, don’t miss the marvels and secrets of Nature.

Fenor bog

Little Robin is looking for something to eat. These birds  don’t mind being photographed. In the bog, I have also seen wrens, blackbirds, field sparrows, chaffinches, starlings, and some birds I couldn’t identify.


A pink touch of Ragged Robin.


Red Campion, a close relative of Ragged Robin.


Cuckooflower is sacred to the Fairies.

fenor bog

  Menyanthes, or Bogbean, is one of the prettiest wildflowers.


Marsh Cinquefoil’s red petals are not petals at all. They are sepals. The petals are dark and tiny. A cloud of tiny bumblebees are working the flowers. I change my settings to manual and patiently wait for the opportunities.


Sorry for posting three similar pictures – I like them all, and cannot decide which one I should post :). Bumblebees look so cute with the pollen baskets on their knees.



I make a full circle and start walking the bog again.

Fenor bog

This time I am lucky with Damselflies. I don’t recall ever seeing this one, with a red belly. It is a Large Red Damselfly.


Banded Demoiselle, male. Males and females differ in color and look like different species to those who don’t know.


Speckled Wood butterfly. Their caterpillars are bright green.


This flower confused me. It is some kind of Blackberry, and it is supposed to have five petals. How is it that it has eight?


At noon, the church bells start ringing. It seems that the bells are recorded and played over loudspeakers. After I finish my walk, I go to visit the former Sacred tree which is now transformed into The Angel of Fenor  by a local artist John Hayes. The monument is towering in the church graveyard, attracting tourists.

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I like this detail of the monument – the hands and the bird.


You can look up a controversial priest Fr. Michael Kennedy who used to minister in the Dunhill/Fenor parish, and had taken an administrative leave from his post in 2006 after the allegations of misconduct ( I don’t know where he is now, but they say he was a well-liked man).  He is a third cousin of JFK, and retains close connections with the Kennedy clan. So, my next post is about JFK.

Thank you for visiting Fenor with me.

inese_mj_photographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Marlfield village, Clonmel

Marlfield village on the outskirts of Clonmel might be just a small dot on the map, but at least three most visited – and loved – places are there, and it is where I am going to take you this time. In the first picture, you see the St Patrick’s Well site as it looks after the major remodeling and landscaping that took place in the 1960s. The works were funded by the generous donations from the Mayor of Los Angeles Sam Yorty whose mother was native of Clonmel, Mr Arman Hammer and the Irish Israeli society from South California.

This is how the place looked 100 years ago. A large ash tree was growing at the side of the well that could be accessed by walking on the stones through the marshy land ( click on the image to see the source). To be honest, I do like the original look…


Tear-shaped stone wall surrounds the well. The sight of ripples on the surface of the water both in the well and in the pool makes you look up and check if it is raining. The water is bubbling up from hundreds of tiny springs, and it is so clear that you can bring a cup with you and drink it right there.

St Patrick's Well

Spring water flows from the well through the hollowed stones. Similar medieval design is to be seen in St Brigid’s Well, Co Kildare.

St Patrick's Well

A simple sandstone cross is dated to the 5-8th century. The parish church was built in the 17th century, on the site of a much earlier monastic building –  some fragments of it are visible in the masonry of the walls.

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Inside the chapel there is an altar tomb of Nicholas White who died in 1622, and the White family Coat of Arms. The tomb was brought here in 1805, and there is no body inside it.

St Patricks Well

A flight of stone steps connects this mystical place with the rest of the world, and it is also great for taking photographs from different angles and vantage points.

2015-10 patr 041

More images and stories about St Patrick’s Well in my blog from last year. 

This is the road between the holy well and the village. We will walk this road all the way down to the banks of River Suir.

Marlfield road

This picture was taken from another favorite place – Sandybanks. Well, a former favorite place, because a couple of years ago Clonmel City Council announced their decision to withdraw the summer Lifeguard Service from this very popular bathing spot. It was a shock to the locals when they learned that their favorite traditional bathing area ‘was not suitable for swimming’. Somehow they suspected that the decision had more to do with cutting costs than with the quality of the water.

River Suir

No bathing, so we just take a picture and walk back.

Just a minute walk from the Sandybanks there is an old church that is friendly shared between both Roman Catholics and Church of Ireland. Beautiful avenue of Horse Chestnut trees and the red door always attract photographers.

marlf 089

Sometimes I walk around the graveyard and read gravestones, but the main reason is that I check on the old Yew tree.

marlf 097

There is that tree, in the back of the graveyard. It takes three people to put their arms around it. I am coming to check on it once a year. It is quite scary to walk there – the reason why I converted the pictures to B&W 😉

marlf 106

Marlfield church was built in 1818 on the site of the 12th century Cistercian Abbey. St Patrick’s Well and the church also belonged to the Abbey until it was dissolved in the 16th century. This beautiful window on the back wall of the Marlfield church is the only remnant of the original Abbey that was incorporated into the newer building.

Marlfield church

After the Siege of Clonmel in 1650 the lands of Marlfield, successfully farmed by Cistercian monks for centuries, were bought by the Bagwell family. Marlfield House was completed in 1785 by Colonell John Bagwell. The house was rebuilt after the fire in 1923. The central part of the house is used as an apartment complex, and there is also a conference hall that too can be rented.

Marlfield House

The magnificent conservatory was built by Richard Turner who designed the Botanic gardens in Belfast and Dublin.

Marlfield House

Last but not least favorite is Marlfield Lake. The lake covers six hectares in size, and the water is flowing into it from the St Patrick’s Well, where we began our tour.

Marlfield lake

Generations of local residents have been coming here and feeding generations of the waterfowl since the late 1700s when the lake was developed from a swamp by Stephen Moore.



Many species are breeding here, some ducks I have never seen before. There are many swans. The cygnets are shy, but the older birds often start a fight.

swan signets



When a visitor with some bread shows up, have your cameras ready.


There is a tiny picnic area, but you have to keep in mind that the road along the lake is just a regular road, and it can be quite busy.


These photographs were taken over the years, in different seasons.

Thank you for visiting Marlfield village! Hope you enjoyed the walk.

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Carey’s Castle: a hidden gem at the foot of the Comeraghs

carey castle

Just about a mile off the Clonmel to Dungarvan road, at the border between Tipperary and Waterford counties, stands the most loved and visited castle in the area.

The castle is located in the beautiful mixed woodlands close to the Glenary River, a tributary of the River Suir. Centuries ago the place was known as Glenabbey. It was a small monastic site that belonged to the Cistercian monastery in Innislounaght, Clonmel, but was abandoned in the 16th century as a result of the Dissolution of the Monasteries initiated by Henry VIII. The ruins of the old buildings and walls can still be seen.

After the monks moved out, the site was granted to Edward Gough, an alderman of Clonmel. There is no record that something remarkable had been happening in the site during the next 200 years, but in the beginning of the 19th century the Carey’s castle was built. At that time, the site was the property of the Carey family, the wealthy schoolmasters who loved history. It is believed that they were the ones who built the castle, because it is a mixture of architectural styles and eras. You see an ancient Irish Round Tower, medieval Norman hall, Romanesque arches and Gothic windows. There was also a walled garden facing the river.

The Careys sold the site in the 1840s when they emigrated to Australia. The next owner was Colonel Nuttall Greene, who soon became bankrupt, and his property was sold off in the Estates Court. The site was abandoned and became derelict.

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

I always thought this building was an ice house, but now I know it is a chapel :). I love to receive feedback and learn new things.

Carey Castle

This is the other side of the chapel and the path that approaches the site from the east.

Carey castle

This is the path you would walk on from the parking lot after you take a right turn down the hill. The main path continues straight through the woods. It is also beautiful and worth to explore.

Carey castle

This is what you see when you walk down that path. In summer, the view is obscured by the tree branches.

Carey castle

Here the path makes a loop and returns to the woods. A different view from this point. On the right, you see the walled garden.

Carey castle

All the parts of the path are mystically beautiful. You see many ancient ruins who knows how old.

Carey castle

Glenary River is a treasure itself. Quite deep in some places, she even hosts fish. Local teenagers come for a swim in the icy-cold pool, just five minutes walk to the east from the castle.

I walk along the Glenary River out of the woods to the main road. It is quite dark here, and suddenly there is an opening between the trees, and the sheep appear like pale ghosts out of nowhere, startling me.

I hurry up, and in a couple of minutes the sun is shining again, and there are no ghosts anymore. Thistles and Foxgloves are stretching tall to get out of the thick wall of nettles guarding an old farmstead.


I take some pictures of the gate and old roof, and walk to the parking lot.

Carey Castle is a unique place, open to everyone. How sad it is that people leave all their litter there after having picnics and walking their dogs. Once a year, a local Slovakian/Polish family hosts a Gulash Party in the castle grounds. A huge saucepan of stew is cooked, and families with children stay in the site all the day, and some even over night, sleeping in the tents. Everyone can come if they are well-behaved 🙂  Before the party begins, the hosts are combing the area and picking up all the rubbish left there during the rest of the year. After the party, the place is tidied up again.

There is another Carey’s Castle in the world, a cave-like dwelling in the end of a magnificent trail at the South-West corner of Joshua Tree National Park, USA. Both sites are not officially recognized as tourist destinations, and remain ‘hidden gems’.

Thank you for visiting my favorite place!

Just to let you know.  We have a wee addition to our family 🙂


inese_mj_photography Have a wonderful weekend!