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!

118 comments

  1. Oh I’m certain your magic was so strong here, Inese, that I could smell those flowers. What colors! Wisconsin’s still in its muddy thaw, not yet warm enough to encourage any blooms. Sigh…
    The parade looks so much fun! It bums me out my sons can’t handle parades–it overloads their senses, and they freak out. Blondie, though…I could take Blondie to a lovely show like this. That bug was AMAZING! πŸ™‚
    Love and hugs to you, my friend! xxxxxxxxxxxxx

    1. Thank you so much for joining our parade, and walking through the Mount Congreve garden, Jean. Hope your Spring won’t make you wait too long. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Fabulous images. Many of the parades here have changed a lot and there are many groups from Central and South America taking place, and they wear very colourful clothing, for sure. Thanks for sharing, Irene. I loved the visit. β™₯

  3. Dear Inese. I do hope you are well. You certainly put together another wonderful post. I have to agree about the odd choices of characters for the parade… but it was still fun to visit it with you through your camera.
    Such glorious flowers. Spring truly is sprung! I was so preoccupied with my relocation that I barely noticed its arrival, or St Patrick’s Day. Be well, be happy. Hugs on the wing!

    1. Thank you! Yes it is πŸ™‚ I didn’t worry until the end as he sometimes closes the parade. I was still standing and waiting when the cars began to fill the street πŸ™‚

  4. So many beautiful photos and comments, it’s says so much about what you bring to all of us Inese, thank you. Mount Congreve is the jewel in the Waterford crown and Ambrose was an amazing visionary for what he achieved there.
    I play with the Barrack Street Concert Band and we led the parade this year and last. Sadly, my knees were not up for marching this year but I’ll be back. I have over 50 of them under my belt so far!! Bet you have a few photos of us somewhere!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Thomas! I have added a photograph of your band mates πŸ™‚ I do hope to see you next March leading the Parade. I might see you before that at SPRAOI. Wishing you all the best!
      Inese

  5. Last year, my St. Patrick’s Day Message Board Post was “This St. Patrick’s Day, the snakes and I are going to share a Guinness and plot their return to Ireland.” I agree that something distinctly Irish would be appropriate to end a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and a leprechaun with a bowl of gold candies would be excellent.

  6. Wonderful memories as always Inese. Your flower photos are awesome and the one of the squirrel jumping – well what a shot! Just brilliant! Love your posts so much.. I hope you are well and I hope you have a wonderful weekend xxxx

  7. Dear Inese, what a wonderful vibrant post that made me smile from beginning to end. I love wrens, although don’t see one in my garden that often except when the hypericum is seeding. They are such shy, sweet birds. Those dear, quiet ladies — I think my eyes would fill with tears at such a simple act of kindness. Such moments don’t happen often enough in life, but they’re magical and moving when they do. I’m sorry to hear that St Patrick was in hiding during this year’s celebrations. Perhaps he was on a spiritual retreat πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you so much for marching in our parade, Sarah. I love your idea about St Patrick’s whereabouts πŸ˜‰ Hope he returns next year enlightened and empowered, and claims his rightful place.
      Yes, it was some experience in that cafeteria. I wanted to hug them all and cry. What a sad and cruel disease, and so unfair.
      I love the little wrens. They have beautiful song, and yes, they are shy and it is difficult to get a close picture in the wild.
      Thank you again for your visit, Sarah. Have a happy Spring! πŸ™‚

  8. I love magnolia trees and you captured so well their beauty in your photos. I can feel the mid-spring just by looking at your wonderful photos of magnolias and camellias. Thank you, dear Inese, for sharing such beautiful images with us!

    1. Thank you so much Mihaela! They have so many kinds of magnolias and camellias in the garden that I would have to make a photo album to show them all. Glad you enjoyed our excursion πŸ™‚

  9. Ah, a fun St. Patrick’s, indeed! πŸ˜€ Inese, the pics of the flowers are breathtaking. Nothing near to that here, yet! We are colder than average this spring. Right now the temp is 0C. I’ve not even seen 1 tulip poking its way up through the earth.
    Well, I’d rather this than the unbearable heat we get in the summer, now, with climate change!
    Lovely post! Be well!

    1. Thank you Resa! I don’t feel that we are getting any change here. This is an ordinary spring. Last March was cold like hell, but now it is back to normal again. Perks of living in Ireland πŸ™‚
      Hope all is well xxxxxx

  10. What a lovely spring you have in Ireland! And so early too! πŸ˜„ We’re still waiting but a few flowers are sticking their heads out of the earth so it can’t be long now – even if it’s still cold.
    Just love both your squirrel shots, Inese! And the parade seems a lot of fun although I’d also miss the Irish elements like leprechauns. And the zombies are bizarre!! Who’d have thought they celebrate St Patrick’s? Or spring for that matter! 😁xxxxxxxxx

    1. Thank you Takami! ❀ The spring is a busy time for the birds πŸ™‚ I went for a walk yesterday, and saw a kingfisher fly across the river. Remembered the place to come back there again.

  11. Loved the flower images. I have a Magnolia Tree in my yard but it has just white blooms. I have never seen one with pink blossoms – beautiful! Looks like it was a fun day!

  12. A wonderful eclectic post, Inese, from the peace and tranquility of the gardens to the bustle of the parade! Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos of the flowering bushes and trees, magnolias never fail to amaze me and I always pause in awe! Phew … lucky you saw these before the horrendous storm but sad that the blooms will have gone already. The parade looks a lot of fun, lively, positive spirit and music is always a joy!

    Wishing you a lovely Sunday … hope the sun is shining for you as well! πŸ˜€πŸŒΊπŸŒΌ

    1. Thank you so much, Annika! The sun stays strong – hope the spring wins πŸ™‚
      I am in the middle of reading your ‘The storyteller speaks’. It is beautiful and sad, and I love it very much ❀

      1. Ahh… Inese, I’m so happy and excited you’re reading my book! Thank you for letting me know and over the moon you love it so – I’m beaming away! πŸ˜€β€οΈ

  13. What stunning photographs. You sure have the eye. It was nice to see the wren with moss in its beak going about her Spring business. The red squirrel was a hoot as we don’t have squirrels that look like that here. I live in the mountains where Spring is delayed from our cousins down below. The praying mantis one can glean such creativity that went into the making of this bug. The dragon always a favorite. Thanks for the tour and hope you are doing well.l<3

    1. Thank you Joseph! Hope the snow melts by April πŸ™‚ I imagine you have plenty of wildlife around, and your summer will be full with discoveries. Wishing you a nice and positive week ahead!

      1. Yes there is wildlife all around. Cougars and bears I have not seen since I have been here. Deer I have. They are so small. Birds and squirrels I have seen. Squirrels are tiny and the birds are not hugely big but are colorful. Summer should be interesting. Lots moving in my life internally and shedding some people that no longer can travel on my journey. Be well my friend

        1. Oh I don’t know what I would feel about the cougars and bears sneaking around πŸ™‚ My daughter’s cabin is in their territory too. It is great to have the birds and listen to their songs. Small birds are the best singers πŸ™‚

          You might meet new people, Joseph. New travelers who would need your light. I am saying a prayer for you. May you be guarded and loved.

          1. Yes, I agree with you with bird songs. Yes, I feel new travelers and new people will enter my life soon but I don’t a beacon of light. Thanks for the compliment. Wrapping you in a protective love cloak. Be well my friend.

  14. I have been conditioned by my childhood to associate the onset of Spring with the calls of koel (a genus of Asian cuckoo). Recently, I had a chance to visit the place and found they still ruled the morning. Cuckoos mostly haunt the old school trees like mangoes and mahua which are systematically being replaced by decorative flora such as palms and eucalyptus that don’t belong to this land and I fear there will be a time in not too distant a future when there will be no koel to announce the Spring, or a wren to hastily build a nest for the additions to her family. Time is surely a-flying and not everything is good in the aftermath.

    Those are breathtaking shots of the flowers, especially the close up and they are a foil to the images of the carnival that follow. You put me in the trees and then on the street with dancers for sure.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Uma! I would never ever replace a mango tree with anything, even with its golden replica, because I love mangoes πŸ™‚ It is my staple fruit.
      I haven’t heard a cuckoo for years, so my springs come unannounced. Isn’t it wonderful to hear a bird’s voice to learn that winter is over. The world is changing and forgetting all the announcements of the Nature. It is never good.
      There are trees from around the world in this garden, and they thrive. So does Indian community in Waterford πŸ™‚ I don’t have any photos this time, but I have posted a lot of them in the previous years.
      I hope your Spring is a happy one.

    1. Thank you, Diana! I too love bagpipe music πŸ™‚ I see the same bands march every year, and it is like seeing old friends again.
      Irish weather sucks, to be honest, but spring is the best season because it comes so early.

  15. Marvelous photos as always! Those red squirrels are intriguing, we only have gray ones in the southeastern US. Although in the northern areas I’ve read they have melanistic squirrels, I never saw any there. The parade was interesting but I agree with you that St. Patrick would have been a welcome addition.

    1. Thank you so much! Red squirrels live in the wild in the wooden areas. The grey ones are more tame and live in the parks here.

      I think that if they want to eliminate St. Patrick, the whole parade has to be renamed and scheduled for some other day πŸ™‚ I just hope that it was not intentional and the Saint will be back next year πŸ™‚

    1. The spring came early this year. Last year we were shoveling snow in the beginning of March.
      Agree about the St. Patrick’s parade. It had no personality, and was plain weird. Of course it was not a participant’s fault. They did a good job as always.

  16. Beautiful photos, Ines. I’m hoping the snow here will end someday soon so I can attempt some outside photography. Sure, snow is gorgeous, but I can’t handle being out there trying to take pictures with no gloves. Ugh.

    1. Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ We had a mild winter this year. There was some snow on the mountains, but I don’t go there in winter anyway. Hope you will be free of snow by the end of March.

    1. Thank you Rosaliene. I didn’t post too many pictures of communities, as I already did it last year and year before. It is a small city, and the same people dressed in the same costumes walk in the parade every year πŸ™‚

  17. I am sincerely in awe of your photography! I already loved nature but after seeing your work, I just fell in love with nature that much more.

    The day you had looks like it was one to remember in these photos. Thank you so much for sharing them!

    (As a side note, I had just read your donkey post and must admit that I adore donkeys and Ireland – both features of the story) I LOVED it! Wanting to move there today… πŸ˜‰

  18. I think (if I am not mistaking) that official Sprint just started here. I am surprised to learned that this is about mid way into Spring over Ireland. Time flies indeed. The sun just started to come out nicely last weekend and this (the skies were dark or cloudy with rain through out).

    Nice pictures of the flowers and the parade. It is strange there were people dressed up in Zombies. I am wondering why.

    1. Yes, our spring started in the beginning of February, and not only according to the calendar. By that time many plants were already in bloom, and I also found a group of frogs who were, well, dating πŸ˜‰

      Yes, zombies and Disney characters were out of place, but it is what some theatrical groups decided to share with us πŸ™‚ I would rather they made an effort to present something Irish instead.

      1. No. We don’t despite the fact that Dundee has this huge amount of folks descended from famine victims. In fact I gather at the time how the town was swamped by them and folks lived ten/twenty to a shed, a passageway in a building, it’s one of these things. So? Good to see xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

        1. I would never believe… So they left Ireland and burned the bridges… No Patrick… Thank you for this info, it is a food for thoughts actually… Well, you should come over to see the Dublin parade some year. It is grand xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

          1. They had to leave Ireland and they came to work in the jute mills here. The largest jute mill in the world had just been built. At the time I reckon the town must have been like these refugee camps you see today. It was utterly swamped with nowhere to put people. My Mr’s family are predominantly Catholic Irish and they built their churches here from what was called the pennies of the poor. A large bit of my mother’s forbears also came at that time from the opposite side of that fence. I think looking at all the records I have of them, people were too busy trying to survive. This was never a town of huge religious divide like Glasgow…the reckoning being that it was the women who were employed in these jute mills not the men and the women were way before women of their time, to quote one local poet, ‘ inheriting a freedom that was unknown elsewhere.’ The town was called She-Town. Of cosrue we have all kinds of things in pubs here on the 17th but that is about it.

            1. Dundee is a city with amazing history. It is still hard to believe that Irish immigrants built churches but never celebrated St Patrick’s day. Boston still celebrates the day with parades. You must be right – people were struggling to survive, and celebrations were the last thing on their mind – it is why the tradition just faded away. Besides, there has never been a day off.

  19. I’d say you’ve captured all aspects of spring be it nature or human that has brightened this dull, grey cloud burdened English day…at least our ancient Apricot tree (if indeed Apricot trees are known as Apricot trees!) is showing blossom for the first time in three years. Once more, a fine read, Inese

      1. We inherited the tree when we moved here. The apricots year one were many abd tasted wonderful…until the day a bunch of young kids entered the rear garden covertly and scoffed the lot!

          1. Here in this little corner of the land, it is strange to me that things grow that logic says they shouldn’t. Climate change in action? Possibly. Aubergines grow in the shade; wine makers grow red grapes and this old…thus perhaps contradicting my climate change question…apricot tree thrives. Likely our cold winters and hotter than the rest of this island summers are plant friendly. Maybe there is logic behind the claim that Kent really is β€˜The Garden of England’!

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