Author: inesephoto

A day trip to Kerry: The Gap of Dunloe

It is safe to say that every tourist visiting Ireland knows about Killarney and The Ring of Kerry, yet majority have no idea about how much you can see in a single day if you drive a rental. There are two types of tourists: the ones who can come again, and the ones who can’t. In the following 2-3 blog posts I will give a timeline and a few tips, and even spare 3 hours for a bonus deviation to the Ring of Beara to those who are planning a trip of a lifetime. You won’t see everything, but you will be able to say ‘have been there’ about many places. This day will start shortly after 6 AM – it is a summer day I am talking about 🙂 You will be able to have a proper meal in Waterville and return to your hotel after the sun goes down at about 10 PM. Sounds crazy, but doable. I added some extra time for the short walks and photography 🙂 Just bear with me.

Our Kerry trip will include The Gap of Dunloe, Killarney National Park, Kenmare, Glengarriff, Healy Pass, The Ring of Kerry, Killorglin and possibly the Ross Castle at the sunset 🙂 All in one day.


The Gap of Dunloe is unique. Every visit is unique. I was very surprised when I didn’t recognize the road we traveled in 2002, but that was early spring and the rain-swollen lakes and River Loe changed the landscape. This time the black rocks dominated the vistas.

The video below shows the same route, but starting from the Molls Gap. My plan is to start at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. Why? 1. Because it is the most spectacular end of the route, and if you don’t feel like driving after all, you can leave your car at the cottage, walk 1.5 hours and return. 2. Because it is the busiest end of the route and you want to be there as early as possible. The road is extremely narrow and can be quite busy ( you will see it in the pictures). Local people commute to work, tourists drive, walk, and take a jaunting car tour. It is quite a crowd. After 9-10 AM you are a nuisance to the other road users, and likewise they are a nuisance to you lessening your chances to stop for a picture. They say that after 6 PM the road is quiet again, but you might want to check the position of the sun.

This video was posted by Retro Ventures Ireland. I chose it because of the map they feature.

 

The route of 20 km will take you an hour, but if you find a spot to park ( away from the road) you can hike a little. Anyway, I am giving you three hours to enjoy the route and hike around. On some stage there is a left turn to the lake (tourist route). It is where the organised tourists take a boat across the Lakes. We won’t turn there unless you are already hungry and want to stop at Lord Brandon’s Cottage for a bowl of hot soup. We keep driving through the Black Valley until there is a road sign to Kenmare (left). This road will take us to R568, where you turn left again and drive to the Molls Gap. There we find a place to park and take a breath. We will resume our trip in two weeks 🙂

Driving tips: take it slowly, there are several 90-degree turns up and downhill; automatic transmission and a smaller car would be a bonus, but I have seen trucks and vans in this road too; don’t ever park in the passing places (pullouts), and if you stop there for just a photograph, watch the road and don’t cause problems to others; check the route in the Street View – there are several spots where you can actually park your car if the ground is dry – I parked in such spot for 4 hours, didn’t bother anyone; follow the common rules about driving up and down the hill, and don’t forget that if two vehicles meet on a narrow road, the person who advances first will be responsible for a damage to the other vehicle if something goes wrong.

Now I am sharing my pictures of the Gap of Dunloe 🙂

This time I parked at the trail head of the Circular Trail, less than a mile from the Kate Kearney’s. There was only one car at that time, but when I returned at about 13.00, there were 8 cars parked on both sides of the road.

Beautiful sunny morning disappeared as I was getting closer to the Gap.

The rest of the world still enjoyed good weather.

Approaching the Wishing Bridge ( make a wish while crossing the bridge; it will come true )

Look back – view of the Coosaun Lough from the Wishing Bridge. Very little water this year – I cannot even spot the River Loe connecting all five lakes.

Drizzle won’t stop us.

Jaunting cars joined the hikers shortly after 9 AM.

A few words about the jaunting cars. There are hundreds of them around Killarney, and it is a fun (but not necessarily comfortable) ride. It can be costly in summer, and I wouldn’t book it online. Local coachmen (jarveys) have been taking tourists around Killarney since Victorian times, and the companies offer a number of standard 1-2 hour routes. If you are able to drive ( or walk ) through The Gap of Dunloe, I would advise you to do so and leave the jaunting car ride for later, at the National Park (next blog post). If you still fancy to take a ride, approach any jarvey at Kate Kearney’s.

Unemployed horse.

I love this atmospheric place.

My first bird today, and it is a Robin 🙂

Rainbow sheep is a special breed 😉 You don’t have to paint sheep all over to brand them. The only purpose of this art is to attract tourists.

I was busy admiring birds and sheep; meanwhile the car heading to the Gap just 15 minutes ago was on its way back.

I won’t be as fast…

I stop to watch the young Pipit’s antics and to take a breath.

A look back. I feel like it has been a mile, but you can find these two rocks in my previous picture…

My favorite view.

I didn’t stop at the Iron Bridge but kept climbing. The road was getting busier. Jaunting cars are quite jumpy, and I hope the lady traveling with her grandchildren took some decent pictures.

Another bridge. A Broadband company van soon joined the queue, and two cars approached the bridge from the other side. A traffic jam, Dunloe style.

By the time I came closer to the bridge, the traffic had cleared. The weather improved and I took a few pictures of two bridges and a tiny ‘waterfall’ – a proof that River Loe hadn’t dried out after all.

This was my turning point. I ate my snack, watched birds in the trees and made a note to myself that I would leave my car here on my next trip.

Walking back was as fun.

At the Iron bridge the traffic was so busy that I sat on the rock and waited for them to clear off. On the other side of the bridge there is the place where two tourists were killed back in April. Pony got scared and bolted, and the couple were catapulted from the carriage into the rocky ravine.

The traffic started to thin out and I finally crossed the bridge. I wouldn’t drive at this time of the day – neither would I take a pony ride. Well, only to save my life, may be.

One last glance at my favorite view…

… and one more traffic jam.

This jarvey doesn’t waste his time while waiting in the passing place, and continues his lecture. Many jarveys are quite knowledgeable.

Winding road along the Augher Lake.

The rock is waiting…

And here are the rainbow sheep again.

It is not easy to focus if you have to give way to the traffic coming from both sides.

Another snap.

I discovered that this gnarled tree is a home to a Goldcrest family.

Enjoyed watching the cutest baby Goldcrest, and took a hundred pictures of him.

It wasn’t as easy to photograph his daddy who was fast like quicksilver and hid himself behind the leaves and branches. I am sure it is a daddy because he has a bright orange stripe on his yellow cap. After taking this picture I packed my camera and walked to my car as I had many other places to visit.

Thank you for walking through the Gap of Dunloe with me. See you in two weeks.

 Have a wonderful weekend!

Famous Beresford Ghost Story (with introduction)

Since my previous blog post was about Curraghmore, I thought I would share with you a very popular Beresford Ghost Story for upcoming Halloween. It came out, however, that I have no spooky ghastly photos of Curraghmore House.  I decided to write an illustrated introduction about another place just behind the wall from the Curraghmore estate – the Mayfield House, Portlaw, of which I have plenty of spooky looking pictures, and the most important, a spooky true story.

                                                                         Introduction

Since the ancient Rhododendron tree fell down during the hurricane Ophelia in autumn 2016, the only way to get to the Mayfield house is to crawl through under the tree trunk…

… which I did the following December ( when I was sure the trunk wouldn’t flatten me). Winter is the best time to see the house free of weeds and brambles.

Mayfield House was built in the 1840s by William Tinsley for the brilliant entrepreneurs and philanthropists Malcolmsons who absolutely deserve a separate blog post.

The house also has a basement, and the tower was added in 1857. The house served as offices for the Tannery that opened in 1935, but as the Malcolmsons’ factory failed in the 1870s, so did the Tannery that was closed in 1985. Since then the house has been stripped of anything of worth, and now is a dangerous ruin.

Mayfield House

It is still beautiful though.

Mayfield House

Mayfield House

I walked around the house to take pictures of the Tannery’s chimney.

Mayfield House

Suddenly I noticed a strange movement in the upper floor window.

I quickly realised that it was just an old curtain swinging in the wind. Still, I thought it was a time to pack and leave.

Unfortunately, I can’t just leave, even when warned.

I made my way around a big pile of gravel to take a look at the back yard and a shed.

The shed has no doors, just two big holes in the wall. This is what I saw through the first hole. I didn’t like the chair, but well, there was no one sitting in that chair, right?

I walked to the other hole, and this is what I saw there. Nothing amusing. I was considering stepping inside the shed to check out bats when all of a sudden I felt a strong blow to my chest that stopped my heart and my breath. A physical blow.

The next moment I felt choking pressure on my throat. If it were from behind, I wouldn’t have any doubt I was being attacked ( and I would have a heart attack because of the scare) but here I saw no one. There was no one. The sensation lasted for just a couple of seconds and went away as suddenly as it came. ‘OK, OK’ I breathed out as soon as I composed myself and moved away from the shed. ‘I got it, I got it’.

When it was time to crawl under the tree trunk again, the ivy vines started to look like something from a horror movie… at least in my imagination 😉

I have never disturbed the ghost again, but I still go to the Mayfield House when the gate is open ( when the drifting takes place). No paranormal activity has ever been reported in this area. A nomadic ghost? May be. But read the Ghost Story – may be there is a clue 🙂

 

                                                     The Beresford Ghost story

John Power and Nicola Sophia Hamilton were raised by the same guardians and formed a friendship that extended beyond the grave. While in the guardians care, the teenagers learned about different religions and started to have doubts about the afterlife. The two made a promise that whichever should die first, would try to return to the other and reveal the truth about the life after death.

When John was only seven, his father, Sir Richard, 1st Earl of Tyrone, engineered his formal marriage to the twelve years old heiress Catherine Fitzgerald who eloped when she was seventeen. Nicola married Sir Tristram Beresford, 3rd Baronet when she was 21. John never married again. He and the Beresfords continued their friendship. John’s father was imprisoned and died in the Tower of London on 14th October 1690. John inherited the title of 2nd Earl of Tyrone. Three years later, Lady Nicola woke up and discovered Lord Tyrone sitting by her bedside. In response to her confusion he asked : ‘Have you forgotten our promise? I died Tuesday at four o’clock.’ That Tuesday was October 14, the day of his father’s death.

They had quite a long conversation, and to prove that he was not a figment of her imagination, John drew a curtain with mere waving his hand and wrote a note in her calendar, but it seemed not enough for Nicola to believe her eyes. Reluctantly, he touched her wrist with his cold and heavy fingers, and in a moment the sinews shrunk up. He then told her to cover the wrist so that no mortal eye would ever see it.

The ghost of Lord Tyrone informed her that she was pregnant with a son. All of his prophecies came true: Sir Marcus Beresford was born on July 16 the following year; Nicola’s husband, Sir Tristram Beresford, died unexpectedly eight years later; she married again, but because of her young husband’s misconduct had to obtain a separation; her son Marcus married Catherine Power, the niece of Lord Tyron, the only daughter of his younger brother James (you can read about them in my The Stag and The Dragon blog posts). Lady Nicola thought she escaped the last prophecy about the year of her death, but alas, her birth record was wrong. When she invited her friends to celebrate her 48th birthday, it came out that this was actually her 47th! She died the same night, on 23rd February 1713, her 47th birthday, shortly after the birth of her daughter Dorothea (1712), future Lady Desart.

Hope you have a fun and eerie Halloween.


PS Here are three links for you to explore: Teagan Riordain Geneviene new book Atonement In Bloom. This is not a hair-raising paranormal suspense thriller, but rather a relaxing and charming sort of magic that makes you think of packing and moving to the town of Atonement for good.

Exquisite poetry blog Poet Rummager by amazingly talented Rose Perez who shares her fiercely intelligent, dark, bittersweet and heart piercing poetry.

If you are looking for pure horror, visit FlyTrapMan blog 🙂

 Happy haunting!

The last butler of Curraghmore house

Last weekend I went for a walk along the river Clodiagh in the Curraghmore estate to take pictures for this blog dedicated to the last butler of Curraghmore and his lovely wife who finally retired and left for Portugal this summer.

Who says you cannot change your career and your whole life at the age of 50+? “Born and raised” in Transvaal, South Africa”, Basil Croeser moved to Ireland in 1998 and got a job as butler to 8th Marquess of Waterford. Good old times when the notorious “work experience” was not required: there were no butlers in South Africa, not at that time anyway.

Curraghmore

Basil served as butler for 12 years. Some of his duties included “seeing to His Lordship’s general well being; preparing and serving light meals; maintaining stock and equipment; maintaining and winding 17 antique clocks”. When His Lordship’s health started to deteriorate, Basil retired from his butler’s duties, and a new, younger butler was hired. Basil was offered the role of a tour guide in the Curraghmore estate.

Old Lord Waterford passed away in 2015, and is remembered as a good and kindly neighbor. Current Lord Waterford doesn’t have a butler. That era is gone.

I have been in the House before, and I know the script, but that was a special day, and sadness was in the air as the last butler took us on his farewell tour.

Curraghmore

Basil’s tours and his unique knowledge will be missed.

The bags were already packed, as well as twenty years of memories. I wish them both a long and happy retirement!


These photographs I took for Basil and Colleen with a huge thank you for all they have done! 🙂 I came there early, less than an hour after the sunrise last Sunday, and parked outside the gate. The air was crisp and the sun just showed up from behind the forest.

Curraghmore

Suddenly the mist started to rise, first from the river, then from just about everything!

Curraghmore

In front of my eyes, the rippling steam rose from the grass. It was so thick that the sun rays couldn’t get through it.

The tree branches covered with moss started steaming too!

The sun rose higher and lit the tree tops.

What a magnificent morning!

Curraghmore

I crossed the bridge and walked along the river. A strange object caught my eye. It’s a tail! I quickly checked my settings.

squirrel

Red squirrel run too far and too high from me, but I noticed a big sweet chestnut in his mouth. I only know one such tree nearby, but it is on the other side of the river. What a brave little fella.

squirrel

Young pheasants are having a double date. There are hundreds of them in the woods.

pheasants

This one started to walk towards me – for a treat or for a fight?

pheasant

He stood just a few steps away, looking at me with one eye then the other before slowly walking away across the road.

pheasant

I walked across the bridge again to see the sweet chestnut tree ( and may be another squirrel) and visit the House. The other side of the river looked warm and welcoming.

Curraghmore

The pale yellow Ferns seem so fragile.

ferns

ferns

The sweet chestnut tree provided me with a lot of entertainment and some fifty pictures of its cute fruits. No squirrels though.

Sweet chestnut

sweet chestnut

The House is closed for public tours until the Easter 2019, but you can try to make an appointment.

Curraghmore

I turn to the road that would take me to the King John’s bridge. I still don’t give up hope to get a picture of Kingfisher, but apparently not today as a young couple with an off-leash dog turns into the same road. I let them pass, and dive into the dark side path that takes me in the opposite direction. A natural arrangement of sun-lit leaves in the puddle draws my attention. When I look at the picture, I am very pleased to see a hovering tiny bonus Syrphid fly and its shadow.

The path is quite dark, and I am not surprised that the only sunny spot is occupied. Young pheasant female doesn’t consider me a threat and makes herself cozy in the sun.

pheasant hen

No Kingfisher in sight, but a plump Dipper with a bright white bib looks over his shoulder at me with disapproval. Sorry, pal, my camera does make loud noises.

Dipper

The next stretch is a bamboo ‘forest’. After I finally emerge from the greenery, I step on my favorite ‘fairy path’ 🙂 It is all for today.

Curraghmore

Hope you all enjoyed the morning in Curraghmore as much as I did.

Here are more links to the Curraghmore stories : The Stag and the Dragon I ; The Stag and the Dragon II  ; The Tower  ;  Lady Florence ; Clonegam  There are many other related stories in this blog.

 Have a wonderful weekend!

Waterford Walls 2018

Waterford Walls

Once again the streets of Waterford became an art gallery as the Waterford Walls festival brought in another 48 works that transformed the look of the city. I had a few days to catch a glimpse of some artists, and enjoyed the completed work when I returned from my trip.

Youri Cansell, aka Mantra (France), is famous for his nature-themed works, but for this festival he painted an image of street artist. What a thoughtful gift! I hope it has a long life – it is already loved here. You see a gentleman in my picture enjoy mimicking the painted artist. The work is sponsored by Ambassador of France in Ireland.

Here are some links to my previous Waterford Walls posts : 2015, 2016, 2017. Ah, and some more 🙂 Now I will take you around our ‘art gallery’.

Kevin Bohan  is a full time artist and illustrator based in Dublin ( Kevin Bohan Arts). If you open my 2017 link, there is a picture of his mural, The Love Hearts.

This time, Kevin is painting a Rainbow Serpent, freehand. He says the wall will guide him.

Kevin advises me to come again Sunday and have my hand painted as part of the mural. He explains that the mural is a collaboration project that will include the artworks of two national school students.

I show up Sunday ( wouldn’t miss the chance) and lovely Sarah assists me with the hand painting.

The mural is sponsored by the Australian Embassy in Dublin ( Kevin used the aboriginal painting techniques in this work).

Finished work.

Several mural artists share Stephen street, it is why I like to come here. Toronto/Dubai based artist Fathima Mohiuddin, aka Fats Patrol, is working next to Kevin.

All geared up.

Fats is painting this bold and fearless owl for a reason. It represents female energy and connection between the nature and human spirit. Fats is currently pursuing a diploma in Art Therapy in Toronto.

The finished work.

Irish artist Lisa Murphy.

Shuk, graffiti artist from Ireland. Harsh midday shadows added the silhouette at the bottom of the painting 🙂

RASK (Ireland) and Bo Pedersen (Denmark) teamwork.

While I was hanging around taking pictures, Bo was working away and minding his own business.  A disputatious elderly man approached him and started to challenge his knowledge of art and purpose of graffiti. When (quite arrogantly) asked about his education, Bo replied that he actually has a degree in Arts. The man was stunned. “Then you are more educated than I” he exclaimed in disbelief, and left visibly deflated. Graffiti rocks 🙂

The finished wall.

Louise McKenna (Ireland).

Louis Masai is a painter, sculptor, illustrator and street artist based in London. He is best known for his vivid murals of patchwork animals.

The finished work.

Graciela Goncalves Da Silva, aka Animalitoland, Argentina. She is a self taught illustrator and graphic designer, second time painting at the Waterford Walls.

Garreth Joyce, Graphic artist based in Dublin.

Louis Boirdon and Edouard Egea, aka MonkeyBird (France), a street team sharing their self-created mythology (the monkey stands for realism, the bird for dreams). The Castle on the Cliff – a fascinating stencil creation is the duo’s gift to Waterford.

Wandering around the town I came across that guy who was painting over a still presentable mural, the work of the Mexican artist KINMX. He said the wall had been allocated for a new Joe Caslin’s work. I wondered if we were suddenly short of the old walls, but fair enough, the murals don’t live forever, and a quality work of a renowned artist is always a bonus. However, I started to worry about the Birdo’s work in the same location. And I was right to worry. Birdo’s work is no more. No comments.

Joe Caslin is using his murals for social change. I don’t know if you are familiar with his nearly identical mural I couldn’t say No

The Neon Waves mural by Dan Kitchener, aka DANK, is also painted over the last year’s work by DMC. It looks amazing. People still stop and stare at the neon beauty – rainy Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Another stunner is Eira and the White Tiger by Sonny, British-born artist from South Africa. We already have his Neon Tiger painted last year.

The Stop sign is real!

A few more works in my reach. Spaceship by Shane Sutton Art.

Waterford Walls

Mr Cenz, based in London. New at Waterford Walls.

Lost Optics (Romania).

Our tour ends at the Waterford Walls HQ where UK based artist Peachzz is trying to set up an Octopus Lair.

The following day.

The other end of the lair. Looks fascinating.

Waterford Walls

The HQ building and the wall by Curtis Hylton. Thank you for visiting Waterford Walls festival!

Well, it was a huge post, hope you were not too tired walking with me. If you still have energy left after our excursion, please visit and enjoy Resa McConaghy’s blog Graffiti Lux and Murals

 

 Have a wonderful weekend!

How I met Muriel

For a change, this post is about the American Southwest. I have written about this part of the world before: Bryce Canyon, Arches and Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and my childhood memories  and other posts. This post is also related to my childhood.

I have been a reader since the age of four, but my love for reading took off when I started Elementary and discovered our school library. There were no age limits – teenage book section was at my disposal. I judged the books by the cover – it is how I came across The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry, and Johnny became my role model 🙂 I loved the intelligent humor of these books, but some stories broke my little heart. One of these stories is Jimmy Hayes and Muriel. I have read this story countless times when I felt like crying, and it always worked. It is a short story, and if you haven’t read it yet, here it is:

Jimmy Hayes and Muriel

A short story by O. Henry

Supper was over, and there had fallen upon the camp the silence that accompanies the rolling of corn-husk cigarettes. The water hole shone from the dark earth like a patch of fallen sky. Coyotes yelped. Dull thumps indicated the rocking-horse movements of the hobbled ponies as they moved to fresh grass. A half-troop of the Frontier Battalion of Texas Rangers were distributed about the fire.

A well-known sound — the fluttering and scraping of chaparral against wooden stirrups — came from the thick brush above the camp. The rangers listened cautiously. They heard a loud and cheerful voice call out reassuringly:

“Brace up, Muriel, old girl, we’re ‘most there now! Been a long ride for ye, ain’t it, ye old antediluvian handful of animated carpet-tacks? Hey, now, quit a tryin’ to kiss me! Don’t hold on to my neck so tight — this here paint hoss ain’t any too shore-footed, let me tell ye. He’s liable to dump us both off if we don’t watch out.”

Two minutes of waiting brought a tired “paint” pony single-footing into camp. A gangling youth of twenty lolled in the saddle. Of the “Muriel” whom he had been addressing, nothing was to be seen. Read more

Jimmy’s fate didn’t concern me for some reason. I cried for his little loyal Muriel.

An encyclopedia found in the same school library gave me idea about Muriel’s looks and classification, but I have never met the creature in person, until last summer.

A part of a lovely weekend spent in our friends’ St. George house was a trip to desert. We took some dirt roads and short hikes to give our little explorers the feel of wilderness.

Utah

There were lizards and insects to admire. I am not sure, but I think it is a Locust and a Mormon cricket. They were huge.

Many wildflowers had passed their peak, but some were still in bloom: Globe mallow, Prickly poppy, Desert buckwheat and some cacti.

Utah

Utah

Utah

It was on our way back when I noticed something under a sage bush. I rolled the window down and my heart skipped a beat. I took a picture and zoomed to make sure it was not a mistake. It wasn’t. I finally met Muriel.

I cannot tell that it is exactly the horned lizard species from the story, but it is the closest I could get to meeting my Muriel. It has been some 50 years…

The lizard didn’t move. It was a very hot day, and I didn’t want to bother the creature and force a photo session on it. I was already happy enough.


Some pomegranate flowers spotted in St. George to brighten your day.

There are six bloggers whose blogs I really want you to visit. As this post was basically about the short story that has been stuck in my head for 50 something years, I want to share the books I have read recently ( or about to start reading ), and their authors. I have read every book of these authors and look forward to the new releases.

Science fiction and fantasy writer Craig Boyack  –  The Yak Guy Project was the first book I opened after several months of abstinence from reading. I truly enjoyed the protagonist’s journey towards maturity.

Science fiction writer Sarah Higbee   –  Book #3 Breathing Space of Sarah’s trilogy Sunblinded is a fantastic sequel and I hope for more books in the future.

Historical fiction writer Millie Thom  –  I am currently reading Millie’s Book #3 Wyvern of Wessex of the Sons of Kings trilogy. This is a completely engrossing read, from start to finish.

Fantasy writer Diana Wallace Peach  –   Legacy Of SoulsThe Shattered Sea Book #2 was recently released, and I cannot wait to open it. Soul swallowers are the most fascinating Diana’s creations so far (You read about them in Book #1)

Young adult fantasy writer’s Jean Lee’s blog is a magical place that is very difficult to leave. You just want to read one more article, then another… Recently, Jean nominated me for the Liebster Award, a great friend she is. Visit Jean’s Book page – read her new novel and short stories.

Artist and author Resa McConaghy  – Nine Black Lives, a detective novel, my latest read. Resa’s knowledge of the film industry makes the book stand out. It is a very intriguing piece with much potential for many sequels to come.

Hope you find new friends and amazing books.

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a happy weekend!