Kilkenny Castle

The opening picture was taken from Kilkenny Castle window this summer. Its extensive front lawn stretches for about half a mile and blends into the park. I have been there numerous times. Years ago you would see dozens of grey squirrels over there, but someone set traps and killed 75 squirrels just before my other pictures from this blog were taken. On that particular trip I only saw one squirrel munching on peanuts deeper in the park.

I took these pictures on two foggy days in January and November 2010. In January I went to see the Angels – Beacons of Hope exhibition created and coordinated by Dublin based artist Nollaig Fahy, and in November I went there frozen with grief after my friend’s funeral, all hope gone.

You probably won’t find much information about these two events in the internet any more, so I decided to write a few words about the Angels. We need hope in 2017 as we did in 2010.

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

More than fifty colorful, eight foot tall angels lined the castle courtyard to bring the message of hope before they continued their nationwide tour.

Kilkenny Castle

Angels - Beacons of hope

Angels - Beacons of hope

Made from a single mould they had been created to be a blank canvas. Invitations had been sent to a variety of artists, sport stars and other celebrities, some schools and prisons to paint an angel. For the general public the street angels were available so that people could leave a signature or a thumb imprint.

Angels - Beacons of hope

One of the angels in the picture below, the one with the Jedward brothers painted on it, was designed and painted by a freelance artist Sara Sheridan. She and her team painted some of the ‘big name’s’ angels.

Kilkenny Castle

One of my favorites, the Rose of Hope angel was designed and painted by Irish fashion designer Lisa Fitzpatrick.

Kilkenny Castle

Some other names that could be mentioned are Uma Thurman, The Edge, Irish novelist Neil Jordan, actors Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy, comedian Des Bishop, broadcaster Ryan Tubridy, designer Budd Holden, professional golfer Padraig Harrington, rugby player Brian O’Driscoll and his colleague from Australia Rocky Elsom.

Padraig Harrington’s angel.

Kilkenny Castle

This is a short video where Nollaig Fahy tells the story about the angel painted in a woman prison.



After they had toured around Ireland, the angels returned to Dublin for auction. I have read that The Hope Springs Eternal angel designed and painted by Irish impressionist Gerard Byrne was purchased by Chris de Burgh and went to Glencree Centre for Reconciliation in Co Wicklow. I don’t know if all the angels were sold, and where the other angels are now. They are somewhere in the world anyway.

Artist Nollaig Fahy says in his video:

I really would like to change the national conversation from one of doom and gloom to one of hope.

Kilkenny Castle

“Paint your angel”, make the world brighter. Hope v Gloom –  I put my bet on hope.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful week!


  1. You have broached two subjects in the post. While your pen has dwelt on Angels of Hope, you have left it to pictures to speak about your bereavement. Fog is a powerful medium in able hands.

    1. Thank you so much! Both visits were meaningful, and both times there was fog. Was it a message for me to make a connection, to remember that festival of Hope and feel the light on my dark day? I don’t know.

  2. Thank you for this – I’m having an Angel kind of Christmas this year. I love the idea behind this and so agree that we need to focus on what is good in the world instead of what is bad. More angels required everywhere.

    1. Thank you Barbara! I got two sets of beautiful angel Christmas decorations for my granddaughters. Very delighted. Doing angels’ work is easy – all the instructions are already written in our heart, we just have to listen 🙂

    1. P.S. I don’t get all the squirrel hate. just remove their food source and they high-tail it out of town to somewhere with better resources. It ain’t rocket science.

      1. This is a big park, but there are some private houses around. May be the squirrels were stealing fruit from their gardens? I don’t know who did it, but somehow the info leaked and got into the local paper, with the exact number of killed squirrels stated. Anyway, it was a horrible thing to do. They were a great joy to watch.

  3. WOW! I think there should be some angels who come to Canada, and our Street Artists would paint them. Then, they should be world wide. This is a rock star post! xxx

    1. Somebody should contact the guy, Nollaig Fahy. It would be so wonderful if the angels traveled around the world. They paint them, sell them for charity, and the person who bought one can donate it for their city, hospital or any other institution.

  4. These are stunning! The fog makes the photos even more spiritual. Some days it seems that hope has deserted us…glad you found hope in your visit. I love this kind of art. Take care!

  5. classical – amazing…

    “Hope is the thing with feathers
    That perches in the soul
    And sings the tune without the words
    And never stops at all.

  6. The angels are beautiful. Our state just celebrated its 150th anniversary and a public art project with hearts was done to celebrate. Like with the angels, the wide variety of interpretations artists took was amazing.

    1. Thank you so much. I wish I could go out and take some more relevant photographs. There is so much going on in the streets these days. Hope I am more or less fit by next weekend xxxxxxxxx

      1. Inese. I have been floored by a virus and my lungs are lousy anyways, so I know, I well know, how you think…next weekend, tomorrow, whatever. I am making a special wish for you xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

        1. Thank you <3. It was snowing today and I just couldn't stay home. The problem is that I cannot put my winter shoes on, and I cannot put on socks, it is why I have been under the house arrest these days 🙂 This morning I went out in flip flops just to take a couple of pictures of snow 🙂 I am very optimistic, but my dear life is testing me a lot 🙂 xxxxxxxxxxxx

        2. Yeah life likes to have its little game with us each and every one, But you got on the flip flops. A bring it on if ever I saw it so hopefully life will go test someone else for a bit xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. It’s like your last post. It has a bit of magic. It’s good I didn’t get to sign my signature on one of them. My handwriting is so bad. Happy Christmas, George

  8. The angels are beautiful Inese and I like the idea with them.

    I don’t understand, why anyone should need to kill so many squirrels, this I find very sad.

    Let us wish to get a much better 2018, I agree. Our world go in chaos now and we can just hope the best.

    1. Thank you Irene! I see some good tendencies in society. I only wish we were more united instead of drifting apart racially, politically and all this sort of things.
      I too was very upset about the squirrels. I noticed they were gone and thought it happened because of some epidemic or some bad nuts people fed them. Then I googled and learned that they were killed. Fur? Punishment for stealing fruit and veg from gardens? I don’t know what the reason was.

  9. Love the fog. We are experiencing the fog as well. So mysterious when you walk in it. Back east the fog can get so thick that you don’t see ten feet in front of you. Makes for white knuckle driving.
    The angel of hopes are wonderful. What a great and wonderful idea to let people express themselves including writers, actors etc. Hopefully they change an angel of hope to an angel of confidence. Wonderful post.

    1. Thank you Joseph. I like the idea about the angel of confidence 🙂
      The fog can be dangerous indeed. When I was very young I almost got myself killed in the fog. A crazy farmer driving a horse drawn cart was probably returning from the bar, long after the midnight, and appeared out of nowhere right in front of me. I had two passengers and we were four hours on the road, one hour from home. How did I manage to avoid the collision, I still don’t know. My guess is that my Dad who had died just a couple of months before the event, guided my hand on the steer wheel.

        1. I am grateful for the spirit world, for the guidance. We don’t know the mechanics of this guidance and protection, but it does exist, and we will know more some day.

  10. Who would have thought that such creativity could evolve from some many different takes on a single subject matter? Yet those various ‘takes’ are there to see in your wonderful photography, Inese. Art is such an important thing and it’s good to see it alive and well.

    1. Thank you so much Mike! Glad you like the angels. I haven’t taken, or even edited, any photographs lately, except for my family. I had no idea what I would post this weekend. Just waiting when this sad year goes away and hope for the better.
      How is your eye? I haven’t visited any blog these couple of weeks. Be good.

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