Month: March 2017

Waterford Greenway: River Suir

Walking downhill to the tunnel I heard familiar gentle, somewhat melancholic whistles. My heart skipped a beat  – Bullfinches! First time this year! I looked around and saw three birds, two males and a female, quite afar, and in the blinding sunlight. I took pictures, and stood there with a huge smile on my face. I so love these birds, their stocky bodies and unhurried manners. They don’t have the cheerful voice and funny curiosity of Robins, but their quiet presence is so soothing and comfortable 🙂

We meet again and resume our walk along the River Suir. This tunnel was built under the bypass to facilitate the railway. Notice the combination of a steep downhill gradient and a sharp curve.

Donovan tunnel

Dan Donovan supervised the laying of this railway track.

A look back at the River Suir Bridge.

Waterford Greenway

Beautiful views on the both sides of the track – lush green countryside and tranquil River Suir, charming at any season of the year.

Gorse bushes are in bloom and smell like honey.

This is one of the sharpest curves on the line.

Waterford Greenway

Here the cycling path deviates from the railway track. I walked both.

It was fun walking on the tracks between the river and the thick wild growth of brambles, thorny bushes and reed grass. I felt like I was cut off from the rest of the world.

Waterford Greenway

Dry yesteryear reed grass was making calming rustling sounds – actually there were no other sounds, and I didn’t see any birds.

The reed grass jungle looks more beautiful in winter than in summer, especially when it is bending in the wind and has that silvery silky look.

I took some double exposure photographs – one of dandelions…

… and one of a wild plum blossoms.

Looking at the new growth I thought about the wildlife in the area. These gentle weeds that are poking through the track bed will grow and obstruct the path. Will the maintenance team use herbicides? My thoughts went to the little Robin.

Another  look back. The buildings in the background belong to the new campus of Waterford IT. The campus is situated on the banks of the River Suir in Woodstown and Carriganore, or Stone of Gold in Irish. Woodstown is the site where numerous Viking era artifacts were found when the area was inspected before building the motorway. There were no indications that the Woodstown site could have any historical importance, but there has always been a myth  that Carriganore was the place where the merchants of Waterford buried their treasures hiding them from Cromwell. Finally, 39 test trenches were excavated in Carriganore in 2007 but nothing significant was found, only a few pieces of broken pottery ( 19th-20th century).

On the right side of the tracks there are old lime kilns. When putting up this blog I realised that I have never taken a single picture of them, because they just look boring, and they are also obstructed with some construction materials. You see many lime kilns when you travel around Ireland. The practice of burning lime was very common in the last century. The lime was used as fertiliser. The wood for fuel was brought from across the river by boat.

I have got a word that there is a Barn owl living in the kilns. I am not sure whether it is still living there with all these construction works, cyclists and dogs.

Waterford Greenway

This is where I parked my car. Next week we will resume our walk from here.

Waterford Greenway

Thank you for joining me for this walk.

Due to special circumstances, I am closing comments on this post and also on some of my future posts. I am very sorry and hope you will bear with me ❤

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Waterford Greenway: do it the green way

I absolutely believe that every child should have the experience of riding a train. I don’t remember my first train ride. I was only two weeks old then. The trains have changed a lot since, and most of the railways have been closed.

The first public railway in Ireland was opened in 1834 between Dublin and Kingstown ( now Dún Laoghaire ) despite local opposition. The railway line between Waterford and Dungarvan was built in the 1870’s to link up with the Lismore and Mallow railway. The stations along the route were Kilmeadan, Kilmacthomas and Durrow. It was a very expensive line to be built at the time, with a 418 feet long tunnel, three stone viaducts, two causeways, a number of bridges and three road crossings. The railway line was officially opened in August 1878 with the first train departing Waterford at 10.10.

The first pedal-driven bicycle arrived to Ireland in the 1860’s. It was heavy and uncomfortable, and didn’t impress most of the population. The things changed in the 1880’s with the introduction of the chain-driven bicycle and Dunlop’s pneumatic tyres. Cycling became a part of the everyday modern life, however the ladies wearing trousers caused quite a stir and often faced verbal abuse.

St Patrick's Parade

The Waterford-Dungarvan railway line was closed in the 1960’s as part of a major program of line closures. The last passenger train left Dungarvan for Roscrea in 1967. The tracks were removed in the 1990’s, but later Kilmeadan-Waterford section of the route was leased to the Suir Valley Railway group, and the tracks were restored. The Waterford & Suir Valley Heritage route was opened to the public in 2004. The route operates from April to September, and also during Christmas holidays, midterm etc. At the same time, a Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan section of the railway was developed as a walkway/cycle path.

Some facts and anecdotes from the Waterford railway history can be found in this link.

Railways are declining. Cyclists are thriving 🙂

St Patrick's Parade

In 2013, the Deise Greenway group handed over 7000 signatures of support to the Mayor of Waterford County and the Major of Waterford City for the Greenway bicycle route  to be developed in the place of the disused railway line from Waterford to Dungarvan. In 2014 the project was approved.

 

Complete route has been launched today, yet construction works are still in progress. I have walked the Greenway on many occasions, and decided to put up four blog posts with photographs from different sections, so that you know how many photo opportunities the route can offer 🙂 These are all early spring pictures.

We start the route from Gracedieu, Waterford.

waterford

Waterford Greenway

The most beautiful feature on this stretch of the road is the Red Iron Bridge.

Red Iron Bridge

The bridge was constructed in 1906 to link the port of Rosslare to Cork and Kerry as a route for ‘boat trains’ and faster transatlantic mail delivery. Local children used to walk across the bridge to get a can of coke from a shop on the other side. It was a beautiful nine span bridge with the central span opening  for shipping. It still has its control cabin from where powerful hydraulic mechanisms were operated to lift and lover the central span.

Red iron bridge

red iron bridge

Now the central span is removed and the bridge looks gap-toothed…

The bridge has always attracted the local youth. To get to the bridge you have to walk a muddy path. If you walk off the path you step on a wobbly surface that used to be a local kids favorite fun.  It is quite scary, but probably exciting for the kids to walk on the wobbling ground ( I did it). Teenagers used to come here and drink some beer. I don’t know if someone is still coming here, I have to go and check out. This photograph was taken in 2005.

On the opposite side of the river there is a group of derelict buildings and abandoned boats. It was a busy area in years gone by.

Newrath

waterford

Newrath

We keep walking along the Greenway path ( watch for the dog poop) and leave the Red Iron Bridge behind. I always hope to see birds, and lucky me – there is a Robin.

robin

The Robin is inspecting the cracks in the wooden sleepers.

robin

His body language is so cute 🙂

robin

robin

After a quiet conversation with a neighbor they both take off.

robin

Another landmark is The River Suir Bridge – a cable stayed bridge with a length of 475 m (1558 f)  that was opened in 2009. I drove over this bridge twice with no reason, just for fun. This bridge has the same purpose as the abandoned railway – to connect the port of Rosslare to Cork and Kerry.

Waterford Bridge

Waterford Bridge

On the opposite side there is a green field, tangled brambles, ferns and ivies. I imagine how beautiful this all looks in summer.

I love the silhouettes of dry plants still standing as if there was no winter.

This walk took one hour. There is a tunnel around the bend, and next week we will start from there.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Three years and counting

St Patrick's Parade

I will begin this blog post with one of the most anticipated public events that took place today. Here are some pictures from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Waterford. The day was quite gray, but all these beautiful people made it shine.

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

Another important event is my third blogoversary :). Thank you my dear blogger friends for inspiration, motivation and encouragement during these three years, and for everything I have learned from you.

I use this occasion to share my portraits created by my blogger friends. I know it sounds like I have a diva complex or something, but I do love the portraits, and I also want you to visit and follow these bloggers.

This one is from my beautiful friend Rose. I love to see myself on this paper airplane that also looks like a rocket. Future, here I come! 🙂 Thank you Rose!

This one is from Michael. Thank you for for loving the foxes! 🙂

I had dreamed about blogging, but didn’t have courage to go live. I used to have a silent photography page in 2004, but soon joined Panoramio and it took all my spare time. Three years ago this February I finally went live with ten blog posts related to baby and children photography that I deleted soon afterwards, because of the spam attack issue. Advice for the new bloggers #1: Akismet only stops spam, but cannot stop the spammers from linking to your blog. Check your Spam messages to identify what post or image the spammer has linked to – it is in the column “In response to”. If it is an image, delete it, upload the same image and post it again (URL will be different and the spammer will lose the link). If it is a post that is really heavy spammed ( especially from the certain websites), you can either delete it, or redo it in the same way as the photograph. If your blog is constantly targeted, close comments on your posts that are more than 3-6 month old. If you do all of this, your spam folder will be much lighter, and you will get rid of the most malignant spammers.

Another thing I had to figure out, was my Gravatar page. Advice #2 –  if you want your followers to pay their due visits to your blog, give them a chance, make sure that your Profile image is linked to your current blog page, and your Gravatar page is also linked to your current blog. I have a handful of followers who visit my page but I have never visited them in return because I am not able to. So sorry, but there is nothing I can do.

Now you probably started to wonder, why I am giving advice that nobody asked me for. It is because I have got an award with two questions attached to it:

1 Share an experience that got you started blogging

2 Share a word of advice for fellow bloggers

This is The Blogger Recognition Award from Dwight Roth of Roth Poetry blog.

blogger-recognition-award

I am really grateful for this recognition, and happy that there are people who like my blog. To tell the truth, it is all recognition I need.

You can check out Dwight’s  books on Amazon.


I have got another award from Nilla of Image Earth Travel . Thank you so much Nilla for Sunshine Blogger Award you find me worthy of 🙂 Nilla has been traveling the world for many years, and she doesn’t treat awards lightly 🙂 Here is a page of her photography awards. You can click on each link and see her award winning images.

sunshine blogger award

Here are the questions I am supposed to answer:

  1. Why did you start a blog ? – I wanted to share my memories of beautiful things and places. I did it on Panoramio but got really annoyed by those who used my photographs without permission.  My latest find  –  a website named POINTERST  is using my Panoramio photographs under Marsel Van Oosten’s name. What can I say? I am honored 😉
  2. What amazing countries have you seen? – Not many countries, but each was amazing.
  3. Why do you travel? – I travel to meet people I love and to see places I have read about.
  4. Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life and why? – My biggest inspiration has always been my Dad, and of course many famous people made a huge impact on my life, like Ray Bradbury, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Henri Cartier-Bresson.
  5. What’s the wildest thing you have ever experienced? –  I think the worst was in the 1970s when my best friend and I agreed to take a ride in a small airplane with a guy who had been showing off to impress us. He flew the airplane in a very dangerous manner, to say the least. We were so mad at him, that we left the airplane in silence and never spoke to him again.
  6. What would be your dream job? – I have quite a few such jobs in mind, but none of them would pay my bills 😉
  7. Your favorite read? – any well written book.
  8. The scariest moment in your life? –  The scariest moment is when your loved one’s life is in danger.  This story  might be the one.
  9. Your deepest regret? – I have a few, but it has no point to focus on the past when there is a better future ahead 🙂
  10. The most memorable experience in your life? – I presume, it is about a good experience. Here is one of the latest. We were traveling by train, and there was an accident. My daughter was the only medical professional at the scene, and she made me proud beyond measure by her actions and ability to control the situation. She was a star. I hope she won’t read this 🙂

There are three more awards – I didn’t do the awards for about a year or so.

Gillian from Talking Thailand blog nominated me for The Creative Blogger Award. Thank you so much, Gillian! My award is your friendship 🙂 Please check out Gillian’s book. She lives in Thailand and has every bit of information you might need for your travels.

creative blogger award


Mythology expert Aquileana nominated me for Treasure Trove Award. Aquileana is blogging many years, possibly ten 🙂 She is a very supportive person. Thank you dear Aquileana, there are many treasures found on your blog.

treasure-trove-award


The most recent nomination is from one of my favorite authors, Millie Thom. Millie had a number of awards to choose from, and I like her idea to give a choice to the nominees. I chose The Black Cat Blue Sea Award, because I love cats 🙂 Thank you so much, Millie!

the-black-cat-blue-sea-award-badge

Check out Millie’s books on Amazon.


These are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Nominate 10-15 bloggers (or as many as you can) for the award.

I will use Millie’s strategy. There is a list of my nominees. You can choose the award you like, because I don’t know which awards you already have 🙂 You can also choose more than one. Please answer questions about yourself as I did ( these are Nilla’s questions), and if you are Award Free blog, fair enough 🙂 Thank you and happy blogging!

http://www.almostunsalvageable.com/

https://mithaimumblezz.wordpress.com/

https://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com/

https://teagansbooks.com/

https://mythsofthemirror.com/

https://kevinhotter.com/

https://haddonmusings.com/

https://poetrummager.wordpress.com/

https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/

http://talkingthailand.co.uk/

https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/

https://knittingwithheart.wordpress.com/

http://zoale.com/blog/

Jean Lee

https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/

https://aquileana.wordpress.com/

https://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

https://caroleecroft.wordpress.com/blog/

https://moodphototeija.wordpress.com/

https://nananoyz5forme.com/

https://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com/

https://milliethom.wordpress.com/

https://arcillayfuego.wordpress.com/

There are many more great bloggers I would love to add to the list, but I know for sure that their blogs are award-free.


Now I officially announce Making Memories an award free blog.  I will figure out some other way to promote my favorite bloggers, but I really, really have no time for doing awards anymore. I hope you will understand. Thank you again for all the nominations, and for our friendship!

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Creatures great and small

Reptile Zoo

In this blog I only want to add some more pictures from The National Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

2016-12-28-2-003

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

 

Here are three monochrome images just to show the beautiful texture of reptile skin.

 

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

Unfortunately I won’t be online most of this week. Happy St Patrick’s Day next Friday! 😉

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Philip and the National Reptile Zoo

With St Patrick’s Day nearing, I though I would share a reptile-related post, just to be fair to the expelled snakes and to let you know that some of them have repatriated back to Ireland.

This is my beautiful green buddy Philip. He hatched out in the end of 2007, and this picture was taken in 2010. He is a Water Dragon.

Shortly after he was adopted, his parents went for holidays and left him with me. He was as big as a pencil. Every morning he would stand on his hind legs in his terrarium and look at me. He knew the ritual. I would pick him up, hold him to my face, and go to bed again for another ten minutes, talking to him and kissing his little head. Then he would go back to his terrarium until evening.

He was a different shade of green at that time.

I didn’t see him for another few years. Things happen, and in 2013 Philip’s parents separated. He was 6 year old, about 3 feet long, and lived in a 5 x 9 feet terrarium by then. There was no one ready to commit to having him. They had to make a heartbreaking decision to give Philip away. The only reasonable place for him to stay would be a zoo, but first he had to endure a 6 month long quarantine in the Reptile Village in Gowran, Co Kilkenny. Herpetologist and Director of the Reptile Village James Hennessy picked him up. He said that they already had a male Water Dragon, but the Dublin Zoo would be happy to take Philip.

When I came to visit him after a week, he looked scared. On the top of his terrarium there was another glass cage with a dying female of the same species. This was the place where people dumped their reptiles when they could not cope with them anymore.  A lesson for those who decide to buy a reptile just ‘ because. it is cute’. I left in tears.

To make a long story short, Philip is alive in the Dublin Zoo. At least he was when I talked with Mr. Hennessy over the phone in 2015.

I revisited the Reptile Village in December. Now it is called The National Reptile Zoo, it has expanded since 2013, and it is amazing.

These Green Iguanas, and some other reptiles live in a separate Tropical Walk-Through Dome outside the main building. The dome is 6 m in diameter and over 3 m high.

National Reptile Zoo

Isn’t it sweet that you can touch a lizard. I don’t know if they exactly enjoy this, but the visitors definitely love the experience 🙂

National Reptiie Zoo

Waking up after a nap 🙂

National Reptile Zoo

First things first 🙂

National Reptile Zoo

Sun basking is another favorite activity of Iguanas. It is hot and humid inside the dome, and the live plants make it look like jungle. The lizards and tortoises roam free and feel home.

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

Rhinoceros Iguana in the main building loves his veggies. Philip preferred crickets.

National Reptile Zoo

This is what lizards do most of the time.

Reptile Zoo

The most impressive part of the tour  are Animal Encounter Sessions that are carried out by trained reptile wranglers.

National Reptile Zoo

Christina begins this session by introducing a Burmese Python, and asks if we know where exactly his tail is.

Reptile Village

I wanted to take a picture of the tail, but it  came out blurred. In this picture, half of the tail is hidden behind Christina’s hand. The tail is only  5-6 inches long. The throat takes up one third of the body, and the rest is stomach.

Reptile Village

Everyone loves the Python.

Reptile Village

Reptile Village

Blue Steel, a huge albino Burmese Python I wanted to meet, was nowhere to be seen. Pearl, another albino, the biggest snake in Ireland, was not out of quarantine yet at that time – now she is on exhibit, so I have to go to the Zoo again. Female pythons are just a little bit longer than males, but much sturdier. I hope to take pictures of Pearl some time in summer.

This is Rosie, a gorgeous Chilean Rose tarantula. I don’t know if it would be a good business idea to open a Spider Zoo, but here Rosie is a star 🙂  I think I have also seen a scorpion somewhere in the Zoo, but it might be just a food item that simply escaped.

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

The National Reptile Zoo celebrates its 11th Anniversary in March. I think Rosie is the same age as the Zoo.

National Reptile Zoo

There are more than 150 animals of 50 species in the Reptile Zoo, and I will share more pictures next week. Stay tuned, and please don’t wear any St. Patrick’s day accessories when you are reading this blog 😉

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a wonderful weekend!