Author: inese

St. John’s River: Confluence

This and the following four posts are dedicated to the Friends of St. John’s River.


Waterford is situated along the beautiful River Suir – the river one cannot miss. Many visitors, however, might never realise that there is another river sneaking behind the Waterford Crystal House – St. John’s River, which, according to her Friends, represents the heart of the city. About a mile from the Rice bridge River Suir curves to the SE direction. Right before the curve is where two rivers meet.

Until the 18th century, St. John’s River didn’t have banks – there was a marshland and a pool of water that filled up at high tide and almost emptied at low tide. The pool was drained, the city expanded, and St. John’s River was contained within the banks reinforced with stone all the way to the River Suir. Here is some more history.

We know where the mouth of St. John’s River is, but where is the source? I don’t know it, but we will walk as far as we can and try to find it out.

Meanwhile, lets stay at the mouth of the river a little longer and enjoy the wildlife.

This heron at Marina hotel is wise enough to understand that photographers cannot fly over the fencing.

This gull is probably an adult non-breeding Herring gull.

These two look like young Great black-backed gulls. My knowledge of the juvenile gull classification is almost nonexistent.

One ‘teenager’ annoying the other 🙂

The cutest group of Black-headed gulls in their winter plumage. I have no idea what is that ‘stranger’ they have adopted.

The last look at the River Suir from the Scotch Quay before we are off to follow St. John’s River through the city.

We walk to the Georges Quay. The unnamed metal pedestrian bridge connects to the Adelphi Quay.

Gigantic red buoy in the Georges Quay is a lovely bright detail among the grey surroundings.

Pigeons are heading to the William Street Bridge. So are we.

We cross to the other side of St. John’s River. William Street bridge was built between 1780-1820. It is a single arch humpback bridge.

Pigeons are foraging on the walls.

We pass the car park and enter City Courthouse grounds. Courthouse was built to the design of Terence O’Reilly on the site of the ruins of St Catherine’s Abbey in 1841. Many of the dead from the 1604 outbreak of plague were buried in these grounds. Courthouse was recently refurbished and extended. In 2016, after the epic All-Ireland hurling semi-final, Kilkenny flag was put out at the top of the Courthouse .You might remember my blog post where I mentioned the long lasting rivalry between our two counties divided by River Suir.

I am mostly interested in starlings residing in the grounds.

Charming lattice work iron bridge over St. John’s River connect Courthouse grounds with People’s Park. The bridge was opened in 1857 by then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland William Frederick Howard, 7th Earl of Carlisle, and named Carlisle Bridge for him.

In the “waste and weary swamp covered with dank and fetid water“, People’s Park was laid out in 1857, after the marshland was drained and St. John’s River diverted and contained in the banks. The “Orb” in the picture is a sculpture incorporating water continuously flowing over it. The sculpture was created by Tina O’Connell, and installed in 2002 in the place of a beautiful Victorian fountain which was vandalized beyond repair.

Look back at the Courthouse ( I just love this bridge).

Blackheaded gulls on the Carlisle bridge.

One more look back.

This is the end of today’s walk. We leave People’s Park and walk into town again. Hardy’s Bridge below was built in 1841/1842, and commemorates the captain of Admiral Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy (1769-1839).

We resume our walk along the St. John’s River in two weeks. Thank you for joining the tour.

www.inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

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 😉

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.  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 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂

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 😉 So, this is the only zombie I dare to expose 🙂

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 –  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