Month: October 2016

Halloween special

halloween

It was one hour before sunset when I reached Hook Head. I wanted to take a few pictures of  Loftus Hall and Hook lighthouse for this blog. I mentioned Hook Lighthouse in my blog post about Dunmore East and the oyster farm, because it is visible from there, and also in my Saltee Island posts –  for the same reason. Great location for a lighthouse, isn’t it?

But you have never heard from me about Loftus Hall before.

HookHead

Loftus Hall is haunted. The origins of paranormal activity go back to 1350 when the prominent Redmond family built the Redmond Hall in this exact place. You can do a quick calculation, and yes, it was 666 years ago.

Centuries later, the unfortunate events took place. After Cromwellian confiscation, the Redmonds were evicted and the Loftus family moved into the house in 1666. The mansion was renamed Loftus Hall. Another century later, Charles Tottenham, whose first wife was Anne Loftus, resided in the house with his second wife and his daughter from his first marriage, also named Anne.

During a stormy night, a young man came to the house to seek shelter, and was offered hospitality. Young Anne was charmed and the relationship between the two progressed into something more prohibited.

One night they were playing cards and Anne dropped a card and bent to pick it up. It is when she saw that her lover had a cloven hoof. When his identity was discovered the young man went up through the roof leaving a hole that could never be repaired.

PS Similar story has been told about another haunted place, notorious Hellfire Club hunting lodge situated on Montpelier Hill near Dublin. Guess what?  The Loftus family also owned a hunting lodge on Montpelier Hill – Dolly Mount.

loftus hall

After discovering that Anne was pregnant, the family locked her away in the Tapestry Chamber, where she died in 1675, refusing to take neither food nor water. They say that skeletal remains of an infant were found hidden between the walls when the house was rebuilt. There were many seeings of Anne’s ghost and all kind of paranormal attacks on innocent people reported over the years, and several unsuccessful exorcisms were performed. The most successful was Father Thomas Broaders who, at least, ‘banished the Devil from Loftus Hall’.

loftus hall

Loftus Hall changed hands many times. In 1870-71, the old Loftus Hall was heavily rebuilt by the 4th Marquess of Ely, and the present mansion took its place. In 1917, it was bought by the Sisters of Providence and became a convent. I saw a photograph with a group of happy nuns at the front entrance. The Hall was sold after two nuns mysteriously died on the stairs. In 1983 the Deveraux family bought the place and reopened it as Loftus Hall Hotel that was closed in less than ten years. All the hotel interior, pretty vandalised and decayed, is still there. In 2011 the place was sold to its current owners, the Quigley family who are running the haunted house tours. As far as I understand, many rooms still remain unused.

loftus hall

The gate is locked unless it is a tour day.

loftus hall

No, I didn’t take the tour. My friend did, I think she paid €60, no photography allowed. Why would I need a tour without being able to take pictures! She had a crucifix pendant on her and didn’t feel anything paranormal :). Her then boyfriend did feel some paranormal presence. They had some sort of séance to communicate with spirits, and it was quite impressive. Overall, she was happy with the tour, just thought it wasn’t worth €60 for an hour or something. Well, it was her fault, she shouldn’t bring that backup crucifix if she wanted to get scared 🙂

I couldn’t come any closer, just took some pictures on my way to and from the Hook Head. I don’t know if it means something, but I have already seen exactly the same cloud formations over the Loftus Hall in the photographs I found in Google. Also, when you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see the drapes hanging from an opened window. Creepy 🙂

loftus hall

If you are brave, you can watch this Youtube video about Loftus Hall, but if you are not sure, then you better watch this short video taken in 2014. If you are still getting a message that you cannot watch the video in your country, try this one. If all of this fails, just put Loftus Hall in your search, but don’t miss the chance to see it all with your own eyes 🙂

There are many well-preserved ruins in the Hook Peninsula, and also many abandoned rural houses. I took pictures of some. This is a ruin of a church and a Roman tower in Templetown village. Henry II granted the church to the Catholic Military Order of Knights Templar in 1172. The Templars held a large chunk of land around the Waterford harbour until 1307 when they were suppressed and their property and land transferred to the Knights Hospitaller who themselves were suppressed in 1541. You can read an intriguing story about Irish Masonic history in this website.

hook head

William Marshal, a Knights Templar known as the Greatest Knight, built the lighthouse tower in the 13th century to guide the ships through the Waterford Harbour and to his port Ross. The monks looked after it until the dissolution of the monasteries. The lighthouse was already there since 1172, built by a Norman Raymond le Gros who used a mixture of mud and bullock’s blood to hold the limestone together. There is a legend that a Welsh monk St Dubhan built the first warning beacon in this site in the 5th century.

The tower was restored and repainted over the centuries. In the 17th century it came into the possession of the Loftus family, but in 1706 Henry Loftus leased the tower to the authorities. In 1860 three red bands were painted on the tower, but later changed to black and reduced to two. The cannon gun was fired during fog, later replaced by a hooter, then by rockets. In 1972 a foghorn was installed, but decommissioned in 2011.

In 1996 the lighthouse was automated and the light keepers left after almost 800 years of service.

hook lighthouse

The evening was very warm and still with no breeze whatsoever.  These two chairs wouldn’t be left here in stormy weather: the sea spray can reach as high as the balcony of the lighthouse in a bad storm.

hook head

After wandering around the lighthouse I was on my way to the parking lot and saw the chairs again.

hook head

Then I saw this baby with California license plate. How on earth? 🙂

I walked to my car, and took a picture because I think it looks quite cool too 😉

When I was already heading home, I took a wrong turn and came to the Slade harbour in the dark. Slade castle belonged to the Templars, Hospitallers and the Loftus family at the different stages of its existence. Now the ruin looks quite out of place in the changed landscape.

www.inesemjphotography.com

I took pictures of some abandoned creepy buildings with a hope to find a ghost in them. No such luck.

hook head

However, I have managed to take a picture of a ghost when it was the least expected 🙂


Happy Halloween! These dark tulips are hosting a tiny spider which makes them an appropriate gift for the occasion. At this special time of the year, please visit and follow sweet monster Dead Donovan and mystical and charming Poet Rose.


Eat candy, have fun, stay safe!

inesemjphotography Have an exciting weekend!

CIRCUMSTANCE OBSERVES NO PREFERENCE

Beautiful poetic response to the image and story of Lady Waterford by Mike Steeden.

- MIKE STEEDEN -

florence

Inspired by a true, sad story unearthed with only scant timeline facts left in historical record and subsequently the subject of a post by the wonderful photographer and lovely gal, Inese (https://inesemjphotography.com/ ) Her exquisite photo heads this ‘almost poem’. Plainly, I have availed myself of poetic licence in penning this. 

CIRCUMSTANCE OBSERVES NO PREFERENCE

Only within an enchanted island of gemstone green carpet

where a chivalrous white mist serves to guard from harm

the innocence of a new rainbow’s inviting curve

where if you listen hard enough you will hear forgotten

castle ruins whisper their darkest secrets

could the knife of Divine betrayal

cut so deep a wound

that the inevitable contagion that is grief

spreads far and wide

hunts down the blameless

loses track of the hideaway guilt

of purist happenstance

“No chance of a mother and child reunion, this side of eternity?”

the last utterance…

View original post 332 more words

Lady Florence and Clonegam church

church

After I posted this photograph in my blog  Abbeys and Churches, Mike Steeden, a fellow blogger, brilliant poet and a beautiful soul who is always advocating for the gals, looked up Lady Florence in Google and found a sad story of her short life. I also link this post to my favorite author Shehanne Moore’s blog because her heroines are not afraid to travel between the worlds in the name of love. Please visit and follow these amazing blogs.


Sometimes we find information where we least expect it.  I found mine in the Henry Poole & CO website in their very impressive customer list. This website is as classy as their exquisite bespoke tailoring. I checked out some genealogy websites, took a few pictures and here is another blog post about Lady Florence, Lord Waterford and Clonegam church. Clonegam church is a part of Curraghmore demesne. It has always been a family burial place for the De La Poer Beresford family, and Curraghmore has been their ancestral home since 1167.

Florence Grosvenor Rowley was born in Truro, Cornwall, in 1856 to Major George Rowley of the Bombay Cavalry and Emily Isabella Honner. She married Captain John Cranch Vivian in 1861 and had three daughters with him.

(The images are linked to the source)

by Camille Silvy, albumen print, 1860

Florence Grosvenor Rowley (by Camille Silvy, albumen print, 1860)

 

John Cranch Vivian

John Cranch Vivian

 

John Henry Beresford

John Henry Beresford 

John Henry Beresford was born in 1844 to John de la Poer Beresford and Christiana Leslie. In his youth, he was said to be ‘one of the handsomest officers that ever wore the uniform of the Household Brigade’. Lord John was also a fearless horseman. Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, a famous author of fourteen comic operas he wrote in collaboration with Sir Arthur Sullivan, refers to Lord John as ‘reckless and rollicky’ in Colonel Calverley’s song from Patience.

I don’t know how they met, but I am sure it was all over the papers at that time. In 1869 John Henry Beresford, 5th Marquess of Waterford, absconded to Paris with Florence Vivian, the wife of Captain John Vivian. Outraged husband pursued the couple to the Hotel Westminster, but his wife refused to return with him and attempted suicide by swallowing chloroform. Captain sued for divorce.

The Marquess and Florence married in 1872. They lived at 7 Upper Brook Street in London and at the Curraghmore house. In April 1873 Florence gave birth to a stillborn child, and died three days later at 27 Chesham Place, that was home of Marquess of Waterford at that time.

The 5th Marquess remarried in 1874 and had four children. His wife Lady Blanche Somerset, daughter of the 8th Duke of Beaufort later suffered from severe illness that left her paralyzed. She had a special carriage to carry her around the Curraghmore estate.

In 1883 the 5th Marquess of Waterford had suffered a spinal injury after being thrown from his horse on the way home from a dining party. He spent the rest of his life in the wheelchair, ‘silent and depressed’. On October 23, 1895 he was found dead in the library of Curraghmore house with a bullet in his head. He died by his own hand at the age of 51, 121 year ago tomorrow. His wife died two years later. Lord Waterford was succeeded in Marquessate by his only son Henry.

On Henry Poole & CO website, National Library of Australia website and also here  you can read about an impostor who wrote to Lord Waterford shortly before his death and claimed to be his legitimate son with Lady Florence, named George Tooth. He tormented the family for years and took the case to court in 1917 but didn’t succeed. There were witnesses who testified that the baby was dead and buried before his mother died, and the impostor is not ‘the missing Tooth’.

This is a look at the Clonegam church if you are coming from Portlaw.

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The back gate of the church yard. In the distance, you see the lake and arboretum, but Curraghmore house itself is hidden in the trees.

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This cross was erected in memory of Henry De La Poer 6th Marquis of Waterford and his family members.

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Peaceful view from the church yard. I took this picture two years ago.

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To take this picture I am standing on the other side of the wall. It is quite dark, and I have a feeling that I am pushing my luck again 🙂

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Sunset comes early around here because of the mountains on the west.

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The back gate is opened and I sneak to the graveyard. Looks like I am not the only one ‘trespassing’.

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I walk around the church taking pictures of the gravestones and sheep. Suddenly I hear a soft knocking sound, and it is quite unnerving. The sound continues. I start slowly backing out, my heart is pounding and I forget to breathe. I am already close to the back gate when the sheep start leaving the graveyard too, swiftly and soundlessly.

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I run through the gate and make a big circle to keep a distance from the church wall. Yet, I have to get to my car that is parked right next to this lovely house adorned with pale ghostly looking fuchsias…

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Mentally exhausted, I drive up the hill, and down the narrow road to Portlaw, praying that no tractor comes in the other direction.

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Thank you for reading about Marquesses of Waterford and running from ghosts with me 🙂 In my next post I will write about the most haunted place I know, because it is Halloween!

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Robin, little creatures and a Royal Fern in the woods

robin

There are so many Robin pictures in this post that I decided to link it to Robin’s blog Witlessdatingafterfifty 🙂 Please visit and follow!

So, I met this handsome little Robin, distracted him with a small talk and took out my camera. I kept talking and shooting, and he didn’t mind much and didn’t fly away because he was in his mid-moult at that time. It takes energy to build new feathers…

robin

… and it is itchy too.

robin

Robin changed his position and turned back to see if I still was there.

robin

I still was. He looked at me disapprovingly, and I quietly retired blowing him a kiss for a ‘thank you’.

robin

Here is another example of moulting – a grasshopper ‘skin’ we found in the backyard.

moulting

It is not a skin, of course, but his exoskeleton. To know more about grasshopper moulting,  watch this short video accompanied by romantic music. 🙂

I saw this colorful piece of land in my car window and made a note to visit it on my way back. It wasn’t easy to find it again but after the series of U-turns I finally parked on the opposite side of the road and took many photographs for a future use.

meadow

In this meadow, there are three weeds in bloom: Meadowsweet, Purple Loosestrife and unwelcome Ragwort.

This is Meadowsweet, a very popular herb of many uses I wrote about in my blog in 2014.

dropwort

The other plant is Purple Loosestrife. This is a closer look. Loosestrife is a very effective cure in case of chronic diarrhea and dysentery.

suir

From a distance, Loosestrife looks very similar to Rosebay, another great herb. If you struggle to put a name to a plant, here is a very good website Irish Plants by Color.

rosebay

The Ragwort seems like being good for nothing since it is toxic for the cattle and horses. Yet, Ragwort provides food and home for at least 77 species of insects, including Cinnabar moth.

cinnabar

Cinnabar moth’s larvae absorb toxic and bitter tasting alkaloids from Ragwort, and predators don’t eat them.

cinnabar

Another two little creatures I want to share – a funnel weaver spider…

spider

… and a hunting wasp Ammophila.

Ammophila

Both insects are great builders. Ammophila wasps even use small pebbles to hammer the earth when they make their nests. They hold the pebbles in their jaws.

Some creatures and plants are so amazing, that they get immortalized in mythology. Like Fern. Or, rather, Fern Flower. This magic flower from Finnish, Baltic and Slavic mythology can be found around the Summer Solstice. According to different myths, it can either give you an access to earthly riches and hidden treasures, or be a symbol of fertility and relationship, and searching for the fern flower in the dark of the shortest night of the year is a big part of celebration.

In fact, ferns are not flowering plants. However the clusters of sporangia of Royal Fern do resemble flowers. Especially in the dark 🙂

royal fern

Such fern grows in the Carey Castle woods, where I took this photograph. It wasn’t exactly the Summer Solstice night though 🙂


James Herriot, the most famous veterinary surgeon, was born 100 years ago, on October 3rd 1916. If you didn’t read his books yet, please do! I celebrated his birthday by rereading All Creatures Great And Small. 

James Herriot

Thank you for stopping by ! 🙂

inesemjphotography  Have a wonderful weekend!

Abbeys and Churches

Mount Melleray

Today I want to share photographs taken over the years in some of Co Waterford and Co Kilkenny Abbeys and Churches that you might put on your itinerary.

Mount Melleray Abbey near Cappoquin Co Waterford was established in 1829-1832. Sir Richard Keane of Cappoquin offered some land at the foot of the Knockmealdowns to Cistercian monk Dom Vincent, and the Abbey was built on this site. The foundation stone was laid in 1833 by Sir Richard, but only one hundred years later, in 1933, the present Abbey church was built using the limestone blocks of the burnt and demolished Mitchelstown Castle. The church was completed in 1940.

The Abbey is open for photographers, worshipers, and people who are looking for peace.

Mount Melleray

Mount Melleray

Mount Melleray

I cannot be sure, but I think the name tag on the Confessional is of Father Francis Carton who entered the Cistercian Order at Mount Melleray Abbey in 1951 and died in 2014.

Mount Melleray

Stained glass window reflecting cheerful Christmasy light.

Mount Melleray

This window has unusual look.

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The sacramental wine in the wonderfully elaborated chalices is ready for the mass.

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Mount Melleray

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If you want to learn more about the monks of Mount Melleray Abbey, please read this blog post . It belongs to Gerry Andrews, famous Irish photographer from Limerick.

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This beautiful path takes you to the graveyard.

Mount Melleray

This road takes you nowhere – it ends just behind the trees. You can travel to the Abbey from Newcastle or Clogheen crossing the Knockmealdown mountains (both very spectacular routes), or from N 72 and R 669 if driving from Waterford or Cork. There are two places you can stop by, just two kilometers from the Abbey – Melleray Grotto and The Cats Bar where you can have a meal.

Mount Melleray

Another famous Cistercian abbey lies  in ruins at the side of the Old Waterford road near Thomastown, Co Kilkenny.  It is Jerpoint Abbey, originally founded in 1180 on a nearly three acre old monastic site, and closed in 1540, after the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII.  Beautiful and majestic, it has been in protection of the Office of Public Works since 1880 when it was declared a National Monument. There is a new Visitor center and a paid parking lot – the only available parking lot. Outside the opening hours, you might have a problem to stop your car even for a simple snap through your car window.

Jerpoint Abbey is famous for its ancient stone carvings that deserve a separate blog post.

Jerpoint Abbey

Jerpoint Abbey

This building is also a National Monument, but it is not completely in ruins, and it is not an abbey. It was built on the site of the early Christian monastery in 1269 AD, just a century after Jerpoint Abbey, and functioned as a Collegiate Church, which meant that it was administered by a college of priests. In the 14th century a tower and expansion were added, but the church was left to decay after the Dissolution. Only in the 19th century, the part on the left from the tower was rebuilt, and since then half of the building is in use as a Church of Ireland parish church of St Mary’s. This absolutely beautiful and well preserved ruin stands surrounded by the manicured landscape in the Main Street of Gowran, Co Kilkenny.

Mary's Church

Gigantic walls, arches and naves, fine stonework and many interesting tombstones are truly fascinating and will keep you busy taking photographs for a good while.

Mary's Church

Clonegam church stands away from the busy roads and villages and has one of the most beautiful vistas in front of it – I will return there for more photographs some day. The church was built in 1741 and renovated every 50 years until 1893. Inside it resembles a family mausoleum rather than a regular church, and I was very hesitant to share the pictures of the church interior I have got.

church

I will only share two of my photographs, because I have seen similar photographs on the internet before, so I won’t be the first person to expose them to the public.

In this photograph, the first monument, the one in granite, as the epitaph says, is to the memory of ‘The Most Noble Henry de la Poer Beresford third Marquis of Waterford, who died in 1859 aged 47’.  The marble tomb is a monument to ‘The Rev. John de la Poer Beresford fourth Marquis of Waterford, who died in 1866’.

churc

The monument in this photograph is very special. It provides most of the light in the church as it is lit by a skylight in the roof. The monument is dedicated to the wife of the fifth Marquis of Waterford, Florence. She died in childbirth, and her grief stricken husband commissioned this monument made from Kilkenny marble.

church

Thank you for taking this historical walk with me. After admiring majestic architecture, fine masonry and sculptures, I think I will share photographs of some cute creatures in my next blog post 🙂

inesemjphotography  Have a wonderful weekend!