Author: inesephoto

Mysteries of Clonegam

Clonegam

This is one of the most peaceful views in the country. You are slowly driving uphill watching for pheasants and cars coming in the opposite direction, and when you finally reach the top of the hill you stop for a second to take in the view of the green fields dotted with ancient trees – a pastoral landscape rolling towards the Comeragh Mountains. Curraghmore Demesne, beautiful like a picture.

Clonegam

I parked my car at the Clonegam Church gate and used the stony steps to get on the other side of the wall. The whole herd of cows stopped grazing and stared at me. I crept along the wall and tried to blend with background. My target was too far away, and I didn’t want any cow companion to follow me. First I had to reach this group of trees encircled with stones.

Clonegam

If you enlarge this picture, you will see the object I was heading to in the distance.

I am getting closer.

Clonegam

Finally there. Good afternoon, Mother Brown!

Clonegam

No one really knows what Mother Brown is. She is not listed in the Archeology inventory, and majority think that she was made 300 years ago. Not me. I am sure that her presence right near the stone circle and the grove of beech trees, which make you think of druids, has a meaning. If you still believe that all of this – the Mother, the trees and the stones are a folly, you have never stood in the grove, and never looked in Mother Brown’s face.

Clonegam

Clonegam

Clonegam

Mother Brown looks down the valley at the Curraghmore House, the ancestral home of Lords Waterford. I will write about my visit to the house later in November.

Clonegam

Clonegam

I fight the temptation to touch Mother Brown. How can I be sure she won’t find it disrespectful. I also mumble my apologies when I am taking pictures of her. Wishing her well, I retire to the beech trees and step over the stone circle fighting my doubts that I might get it all wrong again. But suddenly I feel peace and know that I am not offending anyone by standing there. I pat the tree trunks and we have a small chat.

Clonegam

I take a few photographs from the grove.

Clonegam

There are many tree stumps at various stages of decay.

Clonegam

Clonegam

Some of them are quite recent.

Clonegam

I have a thing for beech trees. Not only are they majestic and beautiful, but they also feed an army of wild creatures. They are like an autonomic world, an entity that will function long after we are all gone.

Clonegam

In the picture below you see the Clonegam church I have already written about.

Clonegam

As I was walking between this point and the church, many things happened.

First of all, I came across two sheep corpses of which I took pictures but won’t display them in this blog. I am afraid that the sheep died due to the complicated labor, and wild foxes and other predators finished the job. Sad.

Then I investigated the wall trying to figure out what was that sound that scared me on my visit last year. I didn’t find any answers on this side of the wall and decided to go to the graveyard again since it was still light. I have never forgotten that knocking sound. I know that at the steps of the church there is a footprint from goat, and it is haunted. Was that the sound of goat’s hooves clicking on the stone path?

To my surprise, the back gate was closed, and there was a small horse trailer standing at the front porch. I thought that was very strange. I kept walking towards the hole in the wall to climb over to my car when just behind my shoulder, someone said “huh” twice.

I jumped in the air and turned around. There was no one.

Slightly shaken, I walked faster, and then there was another ‘huh’. This time I realised it was coming from above. I lifted up my face in horror, and saw a group of goats looking down at me.

Clonegam

Clonegam

I was never so happy to see a goat…

The goats came running to the front gate where I stood. I think they were left in the graveyard to clear it of weeds, and thought I brought them some snacks to add to their boring diet. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any goat snacks with me.

As the front gate was closed, I tried to stick out my lens between the rails, but it didn’t work well and my pictures came out ‘framed’. Still, it was a fun photo session.

Clonegam

Clonegam

Clonegam

This one was a true sweetheart. He was standing and looking at me after all the other goats left. He pressed his forehead to the rails, and I was scratching his head and patting his back, and he loved it.

Clonegam

One of the Clonegam mysteries was solved.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Autumn in Mount Congreve I

mount congreve gardens

As I am away, you can walk through the Mount Congreve gardens all by yourself. These pictures were taken in early September.

mount congreve gardens

mount congreve gardens

Ancient tree with an ancient Hoof fungus on it.

mount congreve gardens

It is what a Rhododendron leaf looks like after a year on the forest floor.

mount congreve gardens

These steps take you under the thick canopy where the sun doesn’t shine and some mysterious, alien-looking things are growing.

mount congreve gardens

Strikingly beautiful plant with scarlet leaves is literally glowing in the dark. It is a Bromelia with a beautiful name Fascicularia bicolor.

mount congreve gardens

The ‘thing’ in the middle is the flower itself, or rather, a flower head which consists of many small flowers.

mount congreve gardens

mount congreve gardens

mount congreve gardens

Another alien thing. You will love the name – White Elfin Saddle.

mount congreve gardens

Well, this is too much of scary :). I advise you to click on the picture to enlarge it. It looks like this Hoof mushroom have lips!

mount congreve gardens

I think you have to get out of this dark corner ASAP.

mount congreve gardens

Hope this walk was not boring. Next week you will walk through the rest of the garden.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Halloween special: Petticoat Loose

bay lough

Bay Lough is a beautiful lake sitting in the coum at the feet of the Knocknalougha (Knockaunabulloga) Hill in the Knockmealdown mountains.

To take these photographs you don’t have to leave your car. After you pass the hairpin bend of the Vee, there is an ample laybay overlooking the lake where you can stop. Make sure you come in May-June in the morning hours. If you know what is good for you, take your pictures and leave.

Bay Lough

This path runs downhill from the car park. Having been to the lake numerous times, very seldom I meet another walker. I also don’t have that ‘feeling of loneliness’ that, as some say, surrounds the area. In fact, I never feel alone there. If you know what I mean.

Bay Lough

If you don’t get my hints and still think about walking down to the lake, or may be even about taking a dip, then I will share with you this scary video I have found on YouTube. Make sure you mute the sound in the beginning as the music is too loud, but when the music stops, the silence makes things even scarier.

Few ever swim in this lake for fear of being pulled under and kept there forever; at least, I haven’t found any record of someone swimming across the middle.

( Here is a bit of editing, as I posted a link to a cool blog but added two extra letters to the blog name by mistake, so I just take this link out altogether).

It is not possible to walk around the lake.

Bay Lough

It is where the path ends. Looks like an end, doesn’t it?

As you have already guessed, I have a ghost story to share, but I just don’t know how to start. These pictures don’t really fit…

Bay Lough

I know! I need to add some drama! ( I didn’t put the sign. It was there for a Drama class…)

Now that the setup is right, I can share the story of the most famous ghost, the Petticoat Loose.

Petticoat Loose was a six foot tall farm girl born in the 1800’s whose real name was either Mary or Brigid, depending on the storyteller. She did the man’s work on the farm, drank like a man, and would also wrestle and fight the local men when they mocked her. They say she killed a bull with a single blow of her first. They also say she killed a farmhand with his own spade and threatened to kill everyone if they tell on her.

Her nickname stuck to her after an incident in the Quills pub in Dungarvan where she used to be a regular. Her petticoat got undone while she spun around in a drunken dance. Petticoat Loose was a great dancer, no man could match her.

It is how she met her future husband – on the dance floor. The marriage lasted a year.

There were rumors that Petticoat Loose had a lover, a local hedge-schoolmaster. One night when she and her servants were milking the cattle, a cry of agony came from the fields. A servant girl was about to run and find out what was the matter, but a milking stool flew through the air and hit her on the back of her head. Petticoat Loose then told her to stay put and mind her own business.

Poor husband was never seen again after that night.

Another year went by. One night Petticoat Loose was in the pub, drinking with the local workmen. She was challenged by them to prove her drinking skills and offered half a gallon of beer. She drank it down, and then suddenly collapsed. She died without a priest, and no priest was called for her burial.

Seven years later Petticoat Loose ghost returned to haunt belated travelers, and was also seen around the pubs and dance halls. She became the terror of one particular road, and was responsible for at least one death. For some reason, she would never harm anyone by the name of John.

She even challenged a local man to a dancing contest. I don’t know what would happen to him if he wasn’t clever enough to make a ring with Holy Water round himself and stay within it.

All this horror lasted another 80 years. The local people had had enough, and called for a priest.

The priest doused the ghost with Holy Water and asked her why she kept coming back, to which she replied that she was damned, and admitted that she had killed a number of people. The priest banished her to Bay Lough, but she told him that she would do evil wherever she was. ‘We will see’, the priest replied. ‘I will place you head downwards.’

At these words, Petticoat Loose vanished and was never seen afterwards, but the priest soon died. Some say he didn’t die though. He just disappeared because he wasn’t from this world.

Bottomless Bay Lough was a good choice. St Patrick once gathered up the monsters in Ireland and put them in Bay Lough. He told them to stay there and wait, and that he would be back tomorrow. So, they are still there, deep in the dark waters, waiting. Some say that Petticoat Loose ghost took a shape of a monster with the body of a horse and the head of a woman. Others say she still looks like her old self, a large woman with red hair that sometimes appears out of the water and asks the same question all over again: ‘When will the day of judgment come?’

I am not the only one who has a feeling that Petticoat Loose isn’t gone for good yet.

 

You can google Petticoat Loose and find more versions of the story.

inesemjphotography Happy Halloween! Stay safe!

Little Robin of Marlfield Lake

Robin

We let the zoos be for now. I hope they become a place of refuge and education, as they should. This is a post about Marlfield Lake inhabitants who are free to move around as they please. The low fence is protecting them from the visitors who can fall in the water and frighten the chicks. I have mentioned Marfield lake in one of my last year’s posts.

Robins live an average 2 years, but it all depends. If there are no predators, the weather is good and the food is plenty they might live a decade. This particular robin has been around for some 5-6 years. Of course I cannot tell for sure that it is exactly the same robin, but I think I recognize the behavior.

As it happened, during my latest visit the robin had been moulting.

Robin

He probably could not fly well, so he hid in the shrubs and came out only to pick up some crumbs.

Robin

A century-and-a-half long history of feeding the local waterfowl with bread has probably made them sort of domesticated.

Robin

After the lunch, robin comes from behind the fence to visit with me. When there are no dogs around, this robin can come quite close. He is a great poser.

Look at him! He is standing right next to my feet.

Robin

Robin

The robin is hopping around, picking something invisible from the cracks in the rocks.

Robin

I notice something else, and say bye-bye to him. I swear he knows the word.

Robin

‘Something else’ is a young blackbird that sits on the ground behind the fence with his wings spread wide. There is nothing wrong with him. He is just cooling himself.

Robin

I wonder why he doesn’t walk to the water and drink a few drops to cool off. May be he is afraid of the swan family? This is a daddy swan…

Marlfield Lake

… and this is his mate and their cute fluffy cygnets.

Marlfield Lake

I also spot four female ducks strategically perched on a fallen tree, minding each other’s back.

Marlfield Lake

Marlfield Lake

If you think that I have posted too many bird pictures in this blog, here are two butterflies and two very useful herbs for you.

Red Admiral – Vanessa atalanta, a very common butterfly around the Marlfield Lake.

Robin

Speckled Wood butterfly.

Fragrant Pineapple weed is good for your stomach. When you crush its feathery list between your fingers, you feel that sweet pineapple scent. If you taste a flower head, it has a light citrus flavor.

Hedge Woundwort smells like mouse urine – so they say; for me it is just a very unpleasant aroma. Woundwort is a very powerful antiseptic remedy, healing to the wounded tissues.

I will be away for a couple of weeks. For my next blog I have scheduled a Halloween ghost story, and after that you can walk around the Mount Congreve Gardens two weekends in a row 🙂

I link this blog post to the Robin’s blog – you can see why  🙂

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!