Month: March 2019

Midspring

At the spring equinox this year the sky was adorned by the full Moon – the Super Worm Moon. It was so bright that I wondered if the earth worms could actually see the light and wriggle to the surface to gaze up into the sky. This little Wren would love it πŸ˜‰

If a wren is building a nest it means that the spring is in a full swing. Indeed, according to the ancient Celtic tradition, spring starts at the beginning of February, and by now, spring is half over. Here I share some pictures of what I have been up to for the first weeks of spring.

I went to the Mount Congreve Gardens to take part in the Walk For Life event hosted by Waterford Sports Partnership. The walk was well organized, and we also had a cup of tea afterwards. I joined at the table a small group of quiet ladies. There were many young and old people with disabilities, so I immediately realized what that quietness was about. I sat down and kept smiling. There was little I could do.Β  All of a sudden one of the ladies reached for jam and butter, passed them to me without making any eye contact, and sat still again. My eyes brimmed with tears and my heart flooded with compassion. A skill to serve others lingers on even when many other skills have faded.

The walk was very exciting. The first thing we saw was a red squirrel. Walnut trees in the garden attract squirrels, and this one probably had a stash made last autumn.

The squirrel climbed magnolia tree, and jumped when I pressed the shutter.

Hundreds of magnolia trees were in bloom with gorgeous flowers of different colors, sizes and shapes.

This ‘rope’ is wisteria.

Many other trees began to flower, including rhododendrons.

Hundreds, or may be thousands of different camellias with their evergreen dark and glossy leaves were abundantly covered with the most exquisite flowers.

I went to the gardens once more, and walked there alone for five hours taking pictures of birds and flowers. Storm Gareth that came through a week later must have ruined all the beauty.

Another event I went to was the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. There was no Patrick though, which was confusing and somewhat disappointing.

The parade was led by Grand Marshalls Des and Mona Manahan riding in the back of a vintage car.

A few brass and pipe bands marched, and they did a great job as always.

Our Marines, as well as River Rescue volunteers and firefighters are the most loved and respected heroes.

I also looked forward to seeing the bikers roll through town again. That young girl riding the bike with her father every year is so grown up and beautiful. Time flies, yet the ginger beard and the hat have never changed πŸ™‚

They said that this particular parade would celebrate ‘color, culture and community’. Well, I didn’t notice any difference from the previous parades, except for the absence of St. Patrick, and presence of some characters that hardly belonged to this day at all πŸ™‚

As always, there were different schools, clubs, societies, commercial and community groups presented, and it was great to see familiar faces.

Ukrainian community is one of my favorites. I love the colors of their flag. There were many flags in the parade, including an Anarchist black&red…

Spraoi band didn’t come alone. They brought a bug with them πŸ™‚

John Hayes, the artist who has carved the Dragon Slayer sword, brought a beautiful carved dragon.

There are always vintage cars driving in the parade.

Now, things are getting a little tricky. There were several zombies in the parade, some very cute, but I had my doubts about posting their pictures, so I went through the pictures posted by the official photographer and found out that he also had his doubts πŸ˜‰ So, this is the only zombie I dare to expose πŸ™‚

Disney characters and Mary Poppins closed the parade. They are all charming, but I would rather prefer a Leprechaun…

Thank you for visiting Waterford with me!

www.inesemjphotography Have a beautiful spring!

Viking Heritage Day at Woodstown

This “fierce viking face” is here for reference only. No photographer was harmed in the making of this picture.

In fact, the day in Woodstown was very pleasant and fun.


Waterford city was established by Vikings in 914, but a separate party of Norsemen settled 9 km upstream and built a longphoirt – Irish word for a ship harbour –Β  in the middle of the 9th century. During the testing related to the construction of the N 25 bypass in 2003, two lead weights were discovered which was the beginning of archaeological excavations at Woodstown that uncovered an early Viking settlement on the bank of River Suir. The bypass was amended and re-routed following the discovery. Woodstown Viking settlement was declared a national monument.

You can admire the archaeological discoveries from the dig on display in the Reginald Tower in Waterford city.

Take these steps to the second floor that is dedicated to the Woodstown Viking settlement finds.

Among many other finds, over 200 weights were found in Woodstown, which indicates that it was a trade centre where merchants and craftsmen could trade for goods or slaves. They used coins too, but by their weight in silver rather than their denomination. There were many centres like this established by Vikings. Some of them made new cities – Dublin, York, Novgorod. Woodstown Viking settlement didn’t continue into a bigger city and lasted not more than 100 years.

When I arrived in Woodstown, I met James Eogan, Senior archaeologist at Transport Infrastructure Ireland, executive editor of the book Woodstown: A Viking Age Settlement in County Waterford. I joined his guided walk which was a great success.

Mr. Eogan took us to the site – or rather to the part of the Greenway where the site is situated behind the fencing. The site has only been partially excavated (5%), but digging will continue if funded. From archaeological evidence it is clear that Woodstown settlement was a Viking trading centre and a home to craftsmen and their families, but its location was not practical for Viking needs. We learned about the site map, defense trenches, discovery of the stand alone burial site, and many more interesting facts and theories about this unique place.

The site is not accessible to the public yet, but hopefully some information boards will be installed along the Greenway.

The Woodstown book has a fantastic free audio guide that can be found on this page or, hopefully, accessed through this embedded link:

Today I am sharing some Viking pictures of our own very talented Vikings from DΓ©ise Medieval and their friends from other countries. From my previous VikingΒ  post you already know about the Vikings and their legacy. Let’s see them in action πŸ™‚

I was fascinated with the work of this beautiful weaver. We used to make a very simplified form of bookmark in Primary, and I still remember the joy πŸ™‚

A charming Viking lady has a terracotta horseman that catches my eye.

A Byzantine physician (my guess) is offering potions and spices.

Another fascinating stand – Viking cutlery and all sorts of knives (The Catfire Forge)

Endless choice of pendants and a beautiful merchant – alone and deep in thoughts.

This lovely lady has a collection of Viking weaponry for sale.

She explains the great qualities of the battleaxe to her customer, and even shows where to aim πŸ™‚ The other Vikings are hanging around, just in case. Safety first.

Day to day life in a Viking camp looks relaxing and wholesome.

And this is no doubt my favorite picture πŸ™‚

Speaking about love. John of Wallingford, a Benedictine monk, complained about the Vikings and their ways to lure the local ladies from the straight and narrow. It came out that the invaders were a big hit with the local women because ‘they combed their hair every day, bathed every Saturday and had many frivolous devices about their person’.

Walking around the camp I take a few candid pictures of the Viking warriors. There is a battle between two Viking clans scheduled today.

Let’s the fight begin.

I am rooting for the redhead Viking lady.

No luck this time.

“Call upon the dead to rise! ”

And another fight begins. Then another.

The winners cannot hide their excitement.

Finally the war is over.

Thank you for reading about Irish history and camping with Vikings. Check your DNA – you might be surprised.

Have a wonderful weekend!