Author: inesephoto

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 –  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 Déise Medieval and their friends from other countries. From my previous Viking  post you already know about the Vikings and their legacy. Let’s see them in action 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂

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!

A day in the Irish National Heritage Park

The day is long gone – I visited the National Heritage Park in 2017. The park is still there, a few minutes drive from Wexford, and an hour drive from Waterford. If you travel with children this is the best place to have fun and learn about the past. If you have no children, you can do just the same thing. A very informative website and Facebook page  will answer all your questions. In a good weather you can spend there a whole day – I was there about five-six hours.

This magic entrance into The Past greets you with the scary sound effects. You are in the Middle Stone Age, 9000 years ago, surrounded with a swamp and woodland landscape. There are 16 sites altogether, taking you on a long and exciting journey through the Irish history.

This is a dwelling of a stone age hunter and gatherer. Please read the Event page. In the Park you can learn amazing skills, like basket weaving, foraging, wool felting, or building a Stone age house 🙂

These Stone Age thatched huts are a part of the exhibition. They look quite livable.

After another 3000 years the first farmers came to Ireland. They tilled the land, planted crops and kept cattle. They lived in bigger houses. About 70 Neolithic houses are known from Ireland.

The houses were divided into rooms.

This is a replica of a portal tomb.

To build such tomb, huge stones had to be moved to the site from a distance. Some of the stones can weigh many tonnes. This ‘stone’ weighs 2 tonnes. Everyone can have a go pushing it 🙂

There are also the replicas of a Stone circle and Ogham stone in the park.

This is an amazing reconstruction of a 5th century ringfort. More than 40,000 examples of ringforts were recorded in Ireland – both earthen and stone forts. Here is my favorite site for information on prehistoric Ireland.

It took some 400 oak trees to build the fort.

There are three houses in the ringfort, all thatched in different styles using reed or wheat straw.

The next site is a reconstruction of a Christian monastery.

There are more sites – Corn-drying Kiln, Horizontal Water Mill, Cooking Place (Fulacht Fiadh) –  you will have to visit them by yourself – I got a little distracted by birds 🙂

A Robin shows me the way to the crannog – a settlement that is built on top of an artificial island. Crannogs were used in Ireland from the Stone Age to the Middle Age.

On my way to the island I also saw a Dunnock …

… and a Chaffinch.

This is the crannog. The causeway was closed for some reason, and I started walking around the lake. Do you see a boat and a heron on the left from the houses? He is a part of the story I am going to tell.

So, here is that heron. I paid attention because I always pay attention to herons. All of a sudden he darted into the water and came out with something black in his beak.

He took off and headed straight to the crannog. I followed, by foot 😉

When I entered the crannog from the other side, there was no sight of the heron, but I immediately spotted something very strange and big on the ground. It looked like a snake. Slowly I moved closer. Poor creature tried to wriggle away, and looked me straight in the eye ( you can see the enlarged inset). It was a terrified eel, slimy, covered with gravel, the heron’s prey.

I only took one picture, put away my camera and tried to pick him up, but he was incredibly slimy and fell back to the ground. I felt so helpless. I did want to save his life. Somehow I managed to throw him over the palisade and was glad to hear that he hit the water. Hope he stays away from herons 🙂

Moorhen didn’t look interested 🙂

I left the crannog and walked through the tunnel to the next site – Viking Boatyard.

The barrels were used for curing fish with dry salt.

The Vikings came to Ireland 12 centuries ago. They eventually settled and built the first real towns. The first documented history of Dublin begins with the Viking raids, and Viking ports were also established at Waterford, Wexford, Cork and Limerick – which still remain the biggest cities in Ireland.

I sat in the viking long boat and watched the beautiful River Slaney flow towards the Irish Sea.

After resting my legs, I started climbing up the hill – and up the history lane.

When the Normans invited in by Dermot MacMurrough  arrived in 1169, they began building strong castles, often lime-whitened. This reconstructed castle was built beside a real site – a ringwork castle built by Robert Fitzstephen following the Norman capture of the town of Wexford. The original ditch marks the site, and two silver pennies found during the excavations are on display in the Visitor centre.

The tower you see in background is a replica of Irish round tower, built in 1857 as a monument to the Wexford men that lost their lives in the Crimea War.

The tower is overlooking Roche’s Norman Tower House and Ferrycarrig bridge. The view is beautiful, but the chain fence ruins all the photography efforts. Of course there are the ways to remove the obnoxious fence from the pictures. Read Digital Lady Syd’s fantastic blog and you will learn very useful skills.

There is a ‘time capsule’ beneath the foundations of the tower, placed in 1857. It contains coins and newspapers from that time, and the list of those who contributed to the tower’s construction.

Here ends our journey from prehistoric times into the 19th century. Time traveling isn’t that hard, right?  In my next blog post we will mingle with the local Vikings – shop and fight and have fun 🙂

Comments are closed for this post – I won’t be able to reply. Yet I will do my rounds visiting other blogs.

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

It has been five wonderful years

I don’t know where all these years have gone, but they have been wondrous. 233 posts, at least 2000 photographs… Happy Blogoversary to me! 🙂

2014

The beginning was shocking. I got the WAMP and wrote a bunch of articles related to the family photography since this blog was meant to be a portfolio. I launched the blog in February, but to my horror, it got a close attention from various adult websites, and I  had to delete all my articles and children photographs.

My Blogger Friends, I would quit right there if it wasn’t for your support.

I started from scratch in March.

Please, click on the photos and it will open the pages.

I wrote about myself, shared my memories and adventures. I also wrote about my friends. That year I started my annual Saltee Islands series.

 

I went to many street festivals, like the Durrow Scarecrow festival.

I also started Pat Gibbons and his Foxes series.

It was a great year, I blogged twice a week.

2015

I started getting more feedback. It was wonderful. People asked questions, commissioned photographs. That year I wrote about Clonmel photographer William Despard Hemphill, and what a rewarding surprise it was to get this email:

Just a quick Thank you for your excellent blog on Clonmel and William Hemphill. I am his great great grandson and my dad has all his books and helped produce the book about his pics. His mum lived in Oakville, Dr Hemphill’s house in Clonmel and I went there once before it was demolished and the supermarket car park built. When I left school (1976) I cycled round the area taking pictures also based on Dr Hemphills… 

…Thanks again for the blog. I’ll be showing it to my dad (93 on Tuesday) and he will be thrilled. Born in Carick-On-Suir he has incredible recall of the area, and your pics will bring them back again.

R… E…

That year I also wrote about my travels, and as always, about birds and animals.

I didn’t forget to visit Pat and his foxes.

I did some street photography. This is Cian Finn.

He sings about life, and I wholeheartedly agree with him.

I also started Waterford Walls series that summer. In October I went to Donegal to attend Elena Shumilova’s first international workshop, and the trip resulted in four blog posts.

2016

That year I started Anne Valley series and wrote three blog posts. Since then I regularly visit the trail.

I started Clonegam series.

I wrote about myself, and shared my opinions 🙂

 

I met two journeymen, and after a month, got a feedback from a fellow blogger on their further travels in Ireland.

2017

I started Comeragh and Knockmealdown, Greenway, Mount Congreve and Curraghmore House series.

The blog posts about Pat and his foxes were the most popular. Many websites around the world translated the story into different languages, and some of them actually asked permission. There were also some who removed my logo 🙂 It doesn’t matter to me, because the sole purpose of my blog was to spread a word. I was so delighted when my friend told me that Bored Panda website used my pictures along with the story from the Irish Examiner :). Anyway, I am happy that Pat and his foxes are getting so much attention.

I continued with the street festivals-related posts: Waterford Walls, Harvest Festival, St Patrick’s Parade, Spraoi.

2018

I didn’t blog much last year.

I started, and will continue Follow The Vikings series, and Kerry series. 

Puffins and foxes surely took all the limelight, as always 🙂 Amazing Poet Rummager Rose Perez wrote a charming haiku inspired by the tiny puffin

Wings

I have wings to fly

They never are really used

‘Til I see your smile

Another lovely feedback was received last year in response to my post The Last Butler of Curraghmore.

… I am Basil Croeser’s daughter, living in Montreal, Canada. My brother… sent the link to your blog post entitled The Last Butler of Curraghmore and I just wanted to thank you so much for your lovely words and photos.  
…They were really chuffed and surprised and I think it made their week!…
Thanks again and best regards,
K…

What you won’t find in my blog:
– ANY sort of radicalism and also lies, defamation, hate, envy
What I want to ask:
– Please, link your Gravatar picture to your current page so that every blogger could easily visit your blog ♥
– Use Calendar and Archives widgets so that your visitors could access your earlier blog posts. You deserve to be heard.

I don’t know how long I will blog, but I think that all my efforts throughout these five years were worth it 🙂

Thank you so much for all the inspiration and support! ♥

With love

www.inesemjphotography.com

An Coinigéar, part II

One more blog from my long walk. You can watch a video about the Cunnigar in my previous blog post

Centuries ago, An Coinigéar was owned by the Duke of Devonshire, and was the site of the first golf course in West Waterford where the Duke and his prominent buddies used to come and play. In the 1861, the strip of land was bought by John R Power. The tenants of the only dwelling house on An Coinigéar were the Walsh family. As it was so far off the road, the local postman was paid some extra cash for every time he delivered a letter.

It looks like there were trees growing on An Coinigéar in the past.

Michael Sheehan, Irish priest, educator and scholar of the Irish language, was a young boy when he first came to An Coinigéar to play croquet with his schoolmates. They somehow moved fencing out of its place, and the son of original Mr. Walsh came out of his house and gave them a piece of his mind. Young Michael in astonishment asked his friends what language was the man speaking. Irish, was the answer. Michael was so impressed that he dedicated the rest of his life to studying and promoting the language of his ancestors, and was the author of many books in Irish.

I am glad that there is no golf course on An Coinigéar these days. My favorite coastal plant Sea holly can grow undisturbed, and feed armies of different insects.

Male Common blue butterfly is added to my list of species discovered on An Coinigéar 🙂

This Sea holly is hosting a party – male and female Common blue, and an unidentified wasp.

Female Common blue.

I love the fragile beauty of these little pieces of sky.

Another form of unhurried life.

I noticed the recent presence of cows on the Cunnigar, but didn’t see them. They probably crossed from west to east  behind the dunes that are several metres high. Finally I saw a herd moving towards The Ring in the low water some two hundred meters from the shore. Two cows – a huge pregnant and a young one – were way behind the herd, but the incoming tide didn’t seem to bother them. This is a heavy zoomed picture. The cows looked like two dots to me.

The western part of the estuary began filling up too, forcing the birds to relocate.

The tide was well in when I reached the dunes.

I crossed to the eastern part and was pleasantly surprised to see this male Wheatear. You can see the hallmark tail pattern. Wheatear has one of the longest migration routes of any songbird. I have read that the birds breeding in north-eastern Canada fly almost non-stop across the northern Atlantic to North Africa. My main resource of information about birds is this page.

The dunes on An Coinigéar are beautiful. I wish people were mindful about these fragile ecosystems and didn’t walk off trail. I took some pictures of birds from a distance – Pipits and Linnets.

There were seven Herons standing on the other side of a marshy area, but when I tried to sneak up closer, five of them took off. I got a couple of good pictures of herons in flight, and already used one in my New Years post.

Finally I reached the Point! Dungarvan quay doesn’t look too close. At low tide, the distance is much closer, and it is possible to walk across.

Here is a link to the Dungarvan Hillwalking club website where you can learn more about the annual event of the Cunnigar Crossing, and possibly join it some day. Last year, 359 people took part and €1961 was raised for charity. If you think you might do the crossing, check out the Hillwalking Club homepage and join their Mailing list. The Crossing event will take place in July or August.

The photograph from the website is linked back to the page.

In bygone days, An Coinigéar served as a shortcut from the Ring peninsula to Dungarvan, and women went to market with their baskets on their heads, and some students crossed to attend school.

In the 1880s, it was proposed to build a bridge, but thankfully it never happened, and the automobile era put an end to the use of An Coinigéar as a shortcut.

In later years, a local family run a ferry service to take the picnic-goers over in two rowing boats. If you needed the ferry, you stood at the point and waved a white handkerchief.

On my return journey I watch the birds and enjoy being surrounded with water.

Summer is almost over, but I find some samples of coastal flora.

Near the car park I see the herd and immediately spot the brave mama.

Good bye, An Coinigéar. It was good to spend time with you 🙂

Thank you for joining me on this walk.

 Have a wonderful weekend!

An Coinigéar, Part I

An Coinigéar, or The Cunnigar, is a 2.5 km long spit of land that stretches out south to north across the Dungarvan Bay from An Rinn (The Ring) Peninsula, and ends not far from Dungarvan Quay. As it was specified in a 1537 document, its widest part measures “in bredthe one boweshot“, and the narrowest part is about 10m. Coinigéar means “rabbit warren”. I saw many rabbits when I turned to the car park. It was an early morning, and their ears looked transparent in the morning sun. During my walk, I only saw a few rabbit holes and droppings, but I had a feeling I was being watched 🙂

There are many stories told about An Coinigéar, and there is a ghost whom no one has seen so far. The ghost is guarding a hidden treasure, so if you find it some day, you will be possibly able to claim to have seen the ghost, I guess …

I am sharing a beautiful video by @fardinger   It will give you a better look.

Dungarvan Bay is dry as far out as I can see.

I start on the eastern side of The Cunnigar, but later move across. There is only one car parked, and I see a person with a dog in a distance. I have at least 6 hours to get to the end and back.

Thousands of local and migratory birds are feeding on tideline on both sides of The Cunnigar, but this time I just acknowledge their presence and keep walking. It is my first time here, and I only want to get a general idea of the place.

I see a couple of Ragwort plants and a Cinnabar moth caterpillar. To my surprise, there is not a single moth around at this time.

However I found another brightly colored day moth – a Six-spot burnet. There were thousands of them.

I also found many papery cocoons – full and abandoned.

Males and females of this moths look similar. Sometimes a male is sitting next to the cocoon patiently waiting for the virgin female to emerge.

The moth’s life cycle takes 12 months to be complete, and involves a single generation.

This one got stuck in the cobweb. I am not sure if it is safe for the spider to feast on it. The moth is bright-colored for a good reason: if attacked, it emits a liquid containing cyanide.

Two shots of the hovering Six-spot burnets.

I keep walking, crossing from one side to the other. It is Comeragh mountains in background. We have been there 🙂

In the distance I see a man. Looks like he is foraging in the salt marsh.

Being a curious person, I come up and ask what is that he is collecting. It is Glasswort, he says. It comes out I met Andrew Malcolm – forager, composer and wildlife photographer.

I am chewing a piece of Glasswort, as Andrew suggested I should, trying not to look at a cowcake resting nearby.

Andrew says there are at least nine butterfly species I might come across. I saw only five. This is Small tortoiseshell…

…and this is Meadow brown.

A Bright-line Brown-eye moth caterpillar was hurrying across the rocks with a remarkable speed. More creatures in my next blog post.

The water started to slowly fill up the bay. You can see the oyster farm, the rows of the oyster bags in the distance. The farm is about 1 km away, but I don’t have the slightest interest to inspect it. Lessons learned 🙂

I will share the rest of my walk in my next blog post. Hope you enjoyed An Coinigéar and our walk.

 Have a wonderful week ahead!