Photography

Waterford Greenway: do it the green way

I absolutely believe that every child should have the experience of riding a train. I don’t remember my first train ride. I was only two weeks old then. The trains have changed a lot since, and most of the railways have been closed.

The first public railway in Ireland was opened in 1834 between Dublin and Kingstown ( now Dún Laoghaire ) despite local opposition. The railway line between Waterford and Dungarvan was built in the 1870’s to link up with the Lismore and Mallow railway. The stations along the route were Kilmeadan, Kilmacthomas and Durrow. It was a very expensive line to be built at the time, with a 418 feet long tunnel, three stone viaducts, two causeways, a number of bridges and three road crossings. The railway line was officially opened in August 1878 with the first train departing Waterford at 10.10.

The first pedal-driven bicycle arrived to Ireland in the 1860’s. It was heavy and uncomfortable, and didn’t impress most of the population. The things changed in the 1880’s with the introduction of the chain-driven bicycle and Dunlop’s pneumatic tyres. Cycling became a part of the everyday modern life, however the ladies wearing trousers caused quite a stir and often faced verbal abuse.

St Patrick's Parade

The Waterford-Dungarvan railway line was closed in the 1960’s as part of a major program of line closures. The last passenger train left Dungarvan for Roscrea in 1967. The tracks were removed in the 1990’s, but later Kilmeadan-Waterford section of the route was leased to the Suir Valley Railway group, and the tracks were restored. The Waterford & Suir Valley Heritage route was opened to the public in 2004. The route operates from April to September, and also during Christmas holidays, midterm etc. At the same time, a Kilmacthomas to Dungarvan section of the railway was developed as a walkway/cycle path.

Some facts and anecdotes from the Waterford railway history can be found in this link.

Railways are declining. Cyclists are thriving 🙂

St Patrick's Parade

In 2013, the Deise Greenway group handed over 7000 signatures of support to the Mayor of Waterford County and the Major of Waterford City for the Greenway bicycle route  to be developed in the place of the disused railway line from Waterford to Dungarvan. In 2014 the project was approved.

 

Complete route has been launched today, yet construction works are still in progress. I have walked the Greenway on many occasions, and decided to put up four blog posts with photographs from different sections, so that you know how many photo opportunities the route can offer 🙂 These are all early spring pictures.

We start the route from Gracedieu, Waterford.

waterford

Waterford Greenway

The most beautiful feature on this stretch of the road is the Red Iron Bridge.

Red Iron Bridge

The bridge was constructed in 1906 to link the port of Rosslare to Cork and Kerry as a route for ‘boat trains’ and faster transatlantic mail delivery. Local children used to walk across the bridge to get a can of coke from a shop on the other side. It was a beautiful nine span bridge with the central span opening  for shipping. It still has its control cabin from where powerful hydraulic mechanisms were operated to lift and lover the central span.

Red iron bridge

red iron bridge

Now the central span is removed and the bridge looks gap-toothed…

The bridge has always attracted the local youth. To get to the bridge you have to walk a muddy path. If you walk off the path you step on a wobbly surface that used to be a local kids favorite fun.  It is quite scary, but probably exciting for the kids to walk on the wobbling ground ( I did it). Teenagers used to come here and drink some beer. I don’t know if someone is still coming here, I have to go and check out. This photograph was taken in 2005.

On the opposite side of the river there is a group of derelict buildings and abandoned boats. It was a busy area in years gone by.

Newrath

waterford

Newrath

We keep walking along the Greenway path ( watch for the dog poop) and leave the Red Iron Bridge behind. I always hope to see birds, and lucky me – there is a Robin.

robin

The Robin is inspecting the cracks in the wooden sleepers.

robin

His body language is so cute 🙂

robin

robin

After a quiet conversation with a neighbor they both take off.

robin

Another landmark is The River Suir Bridge – a cable stayed bridge with a length of 475 m (1558 f)  that was opened in 2009. I drove over this bridge twice with no reason, just for fun. This bridge has the same purpose as the abandoned railway – to connect the port of Rosslare to Cork and Kerry.

Waterford Bridge

Waterford Bridge

On the opposite side there is a green field, tangled brambles, ferns and ivies. I imagine how beautiful this all looks in summer.

I love the silhouettes of dry plants still standing as if there was no winter.

This walk took one hour. There is a tunnel around the bend, and next week we will start from there.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Three years and counting

St Patrick's Parade

I will begin this blog post with one of the most anticipated public events that took place today. Here are some pictures from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Waterford. The day was quite gray, but all these beautiful people made it shine.

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

St Patrick's Parade

Another important event is my third blogoversary :). Thank you my dear blogger friends for inspiration, motivation and encouragement during these three years, and for everything I have learned from you.

I use this occasion to share my portraits created by my blogger friends. I know it sounds like I have a diva complex or something, but I do love the portraits, and I also want you to visit and follow these bloggers.

This one is from my beautiful friend Rose. I love to see myself on this paper airplane that also looks like a rocket. Future, here I come! 🙂 Thank you Rose!

This one is from Michael. Thank you for for loving the foxes! 🙂

I had dreamed about blogging, but didn’t have courage to go live. I used to have a silent photography page in 2004, but soon joined Panoramio and it took all my spare time. Three years ago this February I finally went live with ten blog posts related to baby and children photography that I deleted soon afterwards, because of the spam attack issue. Advice for the new bloggers #1: Akismet only stops spam, but cannot stop the spammers from linking to your blog. Check your Spam messages to identify what post or image the spammer has linked to – it is in the column “In response to”. If it is an image, delete it, upload the same image and post it again (URL will be different and the spammer will lose the link). If it is a post that is really heavy spammed ( especially from the certain websites), you can either delete it, or redo it in the same way as the photograph. If your blog is constantly targeted, close comments on your posts that are more than 3-6 month old. If you do all of this, your spam folder will be much lighter, and you will get rid of the most malignant spammers.

Another thing I had to figure out, was my Gravatar page. Advice #2 –  if you want your followers to pay their due visits to your blog, give them a chance, make sure that your Profile image is linked to your current blog page, and your Gravatar page is also linked to your current blog. I have a handful of followers who visit my page but I have never visited them in return because I am not able to. So sorry, but there is nothing I can do.

Now you probably started to wonder, why I am giving advice that nobody asked me for. It is because I have got an award with two questions attached to it:

1 Share an experience that got you started blogging

2 Share a word of advice for fellow bloggers

This is The Blogger Recognition Award from Dwight Roth of Roth Poetry blog.

blogger-recognition-award

I am really grateful for this recognition, and happy that there are people who like my blog. To tell the truth, it is all recognition I need.

You can check out Dwight’s  books on Amazon.


I have got another award from Nilla of Image Earth Travel . Thank you so much Nilla for Sunshine Blogger Award you find me worthy of 🙂 Nilla has been traveling the world for many years, and she doesn’t treat awards lightly 🙂 Here is a page of her photography awards. You can click on each link and see her award winning images.

sunshine blogger award

Here are the questions I am supposed to answer:

  1. Why did you start a blog ? – I wanted to share my memories of beautiful things and places. I did it on Panoramio but got really annoyed by those who used my photographs without permission.  My latest find  –  a website named POINTERST  is using my Panoramio photographs under Marsel Van Oosten’s name. What can I say? I am honored 😉
  2. What amazing countries have you seen? – Not many countries, but each was amazing.
  3. Why do you travel? – I travel to meet people I love and to see places I have read about.
  4. Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life and why? – My biggest inspiration has always been my Dad, and of course many famous people made a huge impact on my life, like Ray Bradbury, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Henri Cartier-Bresson.
  5. What’s the wildest thing you have ever experienced? –  I think the worst was in the 1970s when my best friend and I agreed to take a ride in a small airplane with a guy who had been showing off to impress us. He flew the airplane in a very dangerous manner, to say the least. We were so mad at him, that we left the airplane in silence and never spoke to him again.
  6. What would be your dream job? – I have quite a few such jobs in mind, but none of them would pay my bills 😉
  7. Your favorite read? – any well written book.
  8. The scariest moment in your life? –  The scariest moment is when your loved one’s life is in danger.  This story  might be the one.
  9. Your deepest regret? – I have a few, but it has no point to focus on the past when there is a better future ahead 🙂
  10. The most memorable experience in your life? – I presume, it is about a good experience. Here is one of the latest. We were traveling by train, and there was an accident. My daughter was the only medical professional at the scene, and she made me proud beyond measure by her actions and ability to control the situation. She was a star. I hope she won’t read this 🙂

There are three more awards – I didn’t do the awards for about a year or so.

Gillian from Talking Thailand blog nominated me for The Creative Blogger Award. Thank you so much, Gillian! My award is your friendship 🙂 Please check out Gillian’s book. She lives in Thailand and has every bit of information you might need for your travels.

creative blogger award


Mythology expert Aquileana nominated me for Treasure Trove Award. Aquileana is blogging many years, possibly ten 🙂 She is a very supportive person. Thank you dear Aquileana, there are many treasures found on your blog.

treasure-trove-award


The most recent nomination is from one of my favorite authors, Millie Thom. Millie had a number of awards to choose from, and I like her idea to give a choice to the nominees. I chose The Black Cat Blue Sea Award, because I love cats 🙂 Thank you so much, Millie!

the-black-cat-blue-sea-award-badge

Check out Millie’s books on Amazon.


These are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Nominate 10-15 bloggers (or as many as you can) for the award.

I will use Millie’s strategy. There is a list of my nominees. You can choose the award you like, because I don’t know which awards you already have 🙂 You can also choose more than one. Please answer questions about yourself as I did ( these are Nilla’s questions), and if you are Award Free blog, fair enough 🙂 Thank you and happy blogging!

http://www.almostunsalvageable.com/

https://mithaimumblezz.wordpress.com/

https://secretartexpedition.wordpress.com/

https://teagansbooks.com/

https://mythsofthemirror.com/

https://kevinhotter.com/

https://haddonmusings.com/

https://poetrummager.wordpress.com/

https://kyrosmagica.wordpress.com/

http://talkingthailand.co.uk/

https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/

https://knittingwithheart.wordpress.com/

http://zoale.com/blog/

Jean Lee

https://shehannemoore.wordpress.com/

https://aquileana.wordpress.com/

https://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

https://caroleecroft.wordpress.com/blog/

https://moodphototeija.wordpress.com/

https://nananoyz5forme.com/

https://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com/

https://milliethom.wordpress.com/

https://arcillayfuego.wordpress.com/

There are many more great bloggers I would love to add to the list, but I know for sure that their blogs are award-free.


Now I officially announce Making Memories an award free blog.  I will figure out some other way to promote my favorite bloggers, but I really, really have no time for doing awards anymore. I hope you will understand. Thank you again for all the nominations, and for our friendship!

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Creatures great and small

Reptile Zoo

In this blog I only want to add some more pictures from The National Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

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Reptile Zoo

Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

 

Here are three monochrome images just to show the beautiful texture of reptile skin.

 

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

Unfortunately I won’t be online most of this week. Happy St Patrick’s Day next Friday! 😉

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Philip and the National Reptile Zoo

With St Patrick’s Day nearing, I though I would share a reptile-related post, just to be fair to the expelled snakes and to let you know that some of them have repatriated back to Ireland.

This is my beautiful green buddy Philip. He hatched out in the end of 2007, and this picture was taken in 2010. He is a Water Dragon.

Shortly after he was adopted, his parents went for holidays and left him with me. He was as big as a pencil. Every morning he would stand on his hind legs in his terrarium and look at me. He knew the ritual. I would pick him up, hold him to my face, and go to bed again for another ten minutes, talking to him and kissing his little head. Then he would go back to his terrarium until evening.

He was a different shade of green at that time.

I didn’t see him for another few years. Things happen, and in 2013 Philip’s parents separated. He was 6 year old, about 3 feet long, and lived in a 5 x 9 feet terrarium by then. There was no one ready to commit to having him. They had to make a heartbreaking decision to give Philip away. The only reasonable place for him to stay would be a zoo, but first he had to endure a 6 month long quarantine in the Reptile Village in Gowran, Co Kilkenny. Herpetologist and Director of the Reptile Village James Hennessy picked him up. He said that they already had a male Water Dragon, but the Dublin Zoo would be happy to take Philip.

When I came to visit him after a week, he looked scared. On the top of his terrarium there was another glass cage with a dying female of the same species. This was the place where people dumped their reptiles when they could not cope with them anymore.  A lesson for those who decide to buy a reptile just ‘ because. it is cute’. I left in tears.

To make a long story short, Philip is alive in the Dublin Zoo. At least he was when I talked with Mr. Hennessy over the phone in 2015.

I revisited the Reptile Village in December. Now it is called The National Reptile Zoo, it has expanded since 2013, and it is amazing.

These Green Iguanas, and some other reptiles live in a separate Tropical Walk-Through Dome outside the main building. The dome is 6 m in diameter and over 3 m high.

National Reptile Zoo

Isn’t it sweet that you can touch a lizard. I don’t know if they exactly enjoy this, but the visitors definitely love the experience 🙂

National Reptiie Zoo

Waking up after a nap 🙂

National Reptile Zoo

First things first 🙂

National Reptile Zoo

Sun basking is another favorite activity of Iguanas. It is hot and humid inside the dome, and the live plants make it look like jungle. The lizards and tortoises roam free and feel home.

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

Rhinoceros Iguana in the main building loves his veggies. Philip preferred crickets.

National Reptile Zoo

This is what lizards do most of the time.

Reptile Zoo

The most impressive part of the tour  are Animal Encounter Sessions that are carried out by trained reptile wranglers.

National Reptile Zoo

Christina begins this session by introducing a Burmese Python, and asks if we know where exactly his tail is.

Reptile Village

I wanted to take a picture of the tail, but it  came out blurred. In this picture, half of the tail is hidden behind Christina’s hand. The tail is only  5-6 inches long. The throat takes up one third of the body, and the rest is stomach.

Reptile Village

Everyone loves the Python.

Reptile Village

Reptile Village

Blue Steel, a huge albino Burmese Python I wanted to meet, was nowhere to be seen. Pearl, another albino, the biggest snake in Ireland, was not out of quarantine yet at that time – now she is on exhibit, so I have to go to the Zoo again. Female pythons are just a little bit longer than males, but much sturdier. I hope to take pictures of Pearl some time in summer.

This is Rosie, a gorgeous Chilean Rose tarantula. I don’t know if it would be a good business idea to open a Spider Zoo, but here Rosie is a star 🙂  I think I have also seen a scorpion somewhere in the Zoo, but it might be just a food item that simply escaped.

National Reptile Zoo

National Reptile Zoo

The National Reptile Zoo celebrates its 11th Anniversary in March. I think Rosie is the same age as the Zoo.

National Reptile Zoo

There are more than 150 animals of 50 species in the Reptile Zoo, and I will share more pictures next week. Stay tuned, and please don’t wear any St. Patrick’s day accessories when you are reading this blog 😉

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a wonderful weekend!

Till we meet again

comeraghs

It is my last post of the series, but I will return to the mountains as I always do, and share more pictures in the future.

I will probably visit the mountains in May to walk through the Rhododendron Fairy Tunnel…

fairy tunnel

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…and revisit Glenary village.

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I am also curious if the tiny spruces and larches that are hidden in the tall grass haven’t grown up already since the picture was taken in 2013.

comeraghs

To add the last touches to my photo story about Comeragh Mountains I drive along the Eastern ridge which I hope to revisit when the weather gets more summery. Late afternoon sun paints the mountains in rich, warm colors.

I park at the side of the road and enjoy the beauty of Stookangarriff Ridge and Coumshingaun. At the bottom of the almost vertical cliff there hides Ireland’s most beautiful lake.

I continue driving along the mountain road, and it feels like flying a small airplane.

Comeraghs

More coums, big and small …

comeraghs

… and sheep, always sheep, with red, blue or yellow painted bottoms.

comeraghs

The mountains are their life. Rough life.

comeraghs

To complete a full circle around the Comeraghs, I drive along the Southern part of the mountains.

Once I stuck in this place for a couple of hours, because my car refused to start. It did, eventually, and I still have no idea what happened. Must be fairies. Anyway, as I managed to start the car and hurried home, I looked in the rear view mirror and noticed something unusual in the sky. I got out of the car and could not believe my eyes: a perfect heart-shaped cloud was hanging at the edge of the hill, and another cloud that looked like a pair of angel wings, was hovering over the heart. I had already packed my camera, but managed to take it out quickly and get a couple of shots before the clouds disappeared.

This Cloud Heart is here for all of you who took your time to read about my favorite mountains, and to be an active participant of our grand hike 🙂 Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments and friendship! When I take more photographs to put up another Comeragh mountain blog, we will meet again. Stay fit 😉

My next blog is about creatures 🙂

inesemjphotography  Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Cannon Hill

cannon hill

We are rounding up our calorie-burning Comeragh hike. Before we are done, I want to share this post about a small but very important part of Comeragh Mountains –  Cannon Hill,  one of beloved places  of Clonmel people  ( I have already written about Carey Castle, St. Patrick’s Well and some other local favorites).

We take the left turn up a narrow road just before the Carey Castle sign, and start our walk along the side of Cannon Hill. There are two roads, the upper one is wider, and there is a nice space for parking. A couple of years ago I came here to assess the old farmhouse ruins for a photo session. I had only one hour, but there was the man with his dogs, and he started a conversation that lasted 40 minutes 🙂 He introduced himself as Richard, and it came out he is a father-in-law of my former colleague, but the most important, he is Clonmel history enthusiast, it is why I forgot about time and listened to the stories about his ancestors and historical events I have never heard about before.  The funnies part is that recently I came across an article where another man mentioned his long conversation with Richard that took place in exactly the same spot 🙂 So, if you want to learn more about history of  Clonmel, hang around Cannon Hill.

The best part of Cannon Hill is the views we enjoy as we walk.

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Cannon Hill

This is Kilmacomma Hill. It looks like a huge green sleeping bear. In background you see Galtee mountains some 20 miles away.

The fertile land between Comeragh, Galtee and Knockmealdown Mountains is traditionally called Golden Vale.

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Knockmealdown mountains to the west of the Comeraghs.

Cannon Hill is a great place to walk a dog. Or two. This is us returning from that photo session.

Cannon Hill

The ruins of an old farmhouse are easy accessible in the winter time, but overgrown with the weeds in summer.

I already shared this photograph as a part of my project two years ago.

It takes about half an hour to get here from the car park, and even our dogs are tired.

This is another walk around the Cannon Hill, and another model 🙂

Local fauna can include Deer, but my only picture of a fawn sleeping in the grass is lost in a hard drive crash. I photographed this herd of cows, and discovered the fawn in background. All that is left from that shoot is this big lad with gorgeous albino eyelashes.

And of course, there are sheep. It is Ireland 🙂

It takes a couple of hours to explore all the paths.

Cannon Hill

These are two versions of the same song – different accent ;). Tom Healy and Brian Coll sing about all the places I have mentioned in my blog, so you can learn how to pronounce the Irish names 🙂

 

 

 

Thank you for taking this simple local walk. Treasures are often closer than we know.

www.inesemjphotography.com  Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Magic road to the Mahon Falls

mahon falls

It was a sunny day elsewhere, but Mahon Falls greeted me with a perfect rainbow towering over the mountains. This picture was not retouched – all the colors are natural. I parked at the bottom of the Magic Road and held my breath. I used a wide lens for this picture, but in fact the rainbow was so close that I could see the colors on the grass just a few meters away.

I drove under the rainbow and turned around the corner wondering what the Falls look like today, and sure there was a good reason for the rainbow to appear because the Coum Mahon was hosting a huge cloud. I found a spot, parked my car and fearlessly walked into the cloud.

mahon falls

I did it three times and had to return half way because the rain and the wind made it impossible to take any picture of the waterfall.

This was the worst moment. The lens got all wet and foggy, and I had to give up.

mahon falls

On the other side of the car park the weather was beautiful and even my windscreen was dry. I parked so that I could see the ocean and the rainbow.

mahon falls

I didn’t get to see the Falls that day, but other photo opportunities were literally running around 🙂

mahon falls

The cloud was still there but the rest of the world was dry and sunny.

mahon-falls1

The sheep decided to migrate, and it was fun to watch them

mahon falls

There was nothing else to see and I went home to return in two weeks.


This time the sky was blue with no clouds and rainbows. I approached the Magic Road, took this picture, drove a little bit further down the hill, and because there were no cars around, I did what everyone else does in this place: put my car in neutral, and rolled UPHILL with lively speed and style. This is a magic road after all 🙂

magic road

Some people say it is an optical illusion and there is no elevation. Look by yourself. This car was rolling backwards on neutral from where I stand. The family inside it were so excited that the driver forgot to use his steering wheel and almost drove the car in the ditch. There definitely is an elevation, and I actually started even further down the hill. You can watch a good few videos on Youtube about this road. Fairy magic, if you ask me.

magic road

These Hawthorn trees should give you a clue of where the magic comes from.

Comeraghs

Coum Mahon in all its glory. The path to the waterfall is about one mile long, and there is no climbing necessary. The path is wheelchair accessible almost all the way down to the Falls. Coum Mahon is V-shaped, unlike the other coums (hollows) in the Comeraghs that are U-shaped. By the way, the word Comeragh, or Cumarach  in Irish, means ‘full of hollows’. Many of the hollows nestle lakes.

mahon falls

Semi-wild sheep are perched on the edge of the cliff.  If you are lucky, you might see a herd of feral goats around the Coumshingaun ridge nearby.

mahon falls

Black slug is a common sighting. The slugs are quite big and alien-looking.

With very little rain this winter, the Falls don’t look too impressive, but nevertheless it is the most visited and loved place. It is advertised as a picnic area, with which I totally disagree. The wind is usually very strong here, and if everyone decided to bring a takeaway with them, the place would be littered in no time. If you come to visit Mahon Falls, please eat in your car with the doors closed.

Mahon Falls are a 80 m high series of cascading waterfalls. River Mahon begins her jorney from the high plateau of the Comeraghs, falls down the steep back wall and continues to the village of Bunmahon where she drains into the Celtic Sea.

It is possible to ascend the slope quite close to the waterfall. The most popular is the right hand side route, but I have also seen people climbing the left hand side of the Falls. In both cases you have to be very careful. In 2014, two people got trapped on a steep cliff at 45 m with no way down. Luckily, they were able to call rescue services, and were lifted off the cliff by a helicopter crew.

This is a closer view of the lower cascade. I was planning to climb to the upper cascade, but I saw a photographer set up his tripod in the middle of the falls,  and didn’t want to bother him. I climbed to the flat rock over which the water flows down, continued half way to the upper cascade, and returned to the valley.

mahon falls

Lower cascade.

mahonfalls

Upper cascade. I would love to climb along the gorge and take pictures of entire waterfall, but the surface was quite wet and slippy, and I didn’t even have hiking footwear, just a pair of Skechers boots.

mahon falls

A view from the top of the lower cascade.

mahon falls

River Mahon heading south 🙂 The blue stripe at the edge of the picture is the Celtic Sea.

mahon falls

A long walk back to the car park. The sky looks washed out because there is not a single cloud in the sky, and the valley is in the deep shadow.

My plan was to continue driving to take more pictures of the other parts of the Comeraghs, but when I reached the tiny upper car park, I was absolutely blinded by the sun and had to reverse and drive back to where I came from. The contrast between the bright sun and deep shadow was striking. In the picture below you see Majestic Knockaunapeebra lit by the bright sun.

mahon falls

So, that was my latest trip to the Mahon Falls. Here are some photographs of the Hawthorn trees. This one was taken on that stormy day when the rainbow was hanging over the mountains for all the duration of my visit.

mahon falls

This one was taken on my way home after the second trip.

And this is the most famous rag tree that is guarding the Magic Road.

rag tree

If you are interested in climbing the Comeraghs,  read the De La Salle Scout group website.

Thank you for enjoying the magic of Mahon Falls with me. What do you think about the Magic Road and Fairy Power? 🙂

Here are links to my previous Comeragh blogs -1- , -2-  and  -3-

inesemjphotography  Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

Nire Valley

In my second Comeragh post, I shared photographs of the road that crosses the mountains from Clonmel to Ballymacarbry. It is how we are going to drive ( or walk) to the Nire Valley.

I have never hiked in this area, but I know that there are several trails and loops, and beautiful lakes. An annual Nire Valley Walking Festival page might help you make your choice, and there is an information board at the car park from where I took most of pictures for this blog. Some of the trails start from the car park, but if you want to start with a hike to Coumfea and Coumalocha, and see a beautiful stream falling from the Coumfea Plateau,  you have to walk back to this gate and start from here.

nire valley

nire vlley

nire valley

In the picture below, car park is on your left, and several trails start here.  If you hike up the hill to the left, you will reach the south slope of beautiful Knockanaffrin ( the pyramid-shaped mountain in my previous post), and if you turn to the right, at least four spectacular glacial lakes – coums are waiting for you. These coums were formed during the Ice Age. I don’t know if I ever hike to see Nire lakes – the shortest trail will take 4-5 hours roundtrip, and I don’t know if I am ready for that, but you can visit Get Lost Mountaineering blog to have an idea. It features both ridges – Knockanaffrin and Coumfea.

nire valley

Curraghduff with Fauscoum in background. You don’t necessarily have to start your hike from the Nire Valley side to get here. There is a track that starts on the other side, over the Gap of the Knockanaffrin Ridge ( featured in my second Comeragh blog). All the trails vary from 5 to 25km. Some loops may require an overnight camping in the mountains. There are also cliffs and gullies for the experienced mountain climbers.

nire valley

Nire Valley photographs taken over the years.

nire valley

nire valley

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nire valley

Nire Valley

Ruins of the old farm and spectacular stone wall attract photographers.

I am glad that you visited this beautiful part of Comeragh mountains. I know that I failed to take you to the Nire Lakes, but I have visited some other mountain lakes, and hope to share them with you in my future posts. This time we didn’t hike, but please be fit for the next weekend’s  two mile long round trip, some climbing, and magic 🙂

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Pat and his foxes

Pat Gibbons

On my way back from an assignment I turned off the main road and drove under the canopy of old trees to the house of my favorite people. I wrote about Pat Gibbons and his family in these blog posts : in 2015  and 2014 It has been a while since I last visited, and I didn’t call in advance. I saw that the door was half open, and parked at the side of the road. Another car slowly approached, and parked across from me. I didn’t plan to take any pictures and knocked on the door just to say hello, but Pat was about to take the foxes outside for a minute anyway, so I went to pick up my camera. Meanwhile, a family got out of the other car and asked me if it was the Fox Man’s house. The word spreads 🙂

Pat is always happy when someone shows up to see his foxes. ‘It is why they are here’ he says. He told the visitors about where the foxes come from and about Gráinne’s career as a movie star. She is as beautiful as always, just with more silver in her fur.

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Minnie is soft and shy – nothing has changed here 🙂

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It is the time for hugging.

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Gráinne is tired.

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She does a bit of posing for pictures.

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Pat is asking Gráinne to perform her famous trick.

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We walk to the den to visit with Henry. He is not in the mood to go outside this time.

In a couple of hours they all will go to Pat’s house and enjoy their evening together cuddling and watching the TV.

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I know you all love this post and the foxes 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

inesemjphotography Have a beautiful weekend!

 

Back to Comeragh Mountains

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After a short break we resume our hill walking exercises.

When you look at the picture, you see a sharp-peaked feature on the silhouette of the slope of the mountains in background. Remember it, I will tell you what it is in the end of this post. The mountains you see in the picture belong to the Knockanaffrin Ridge, and we are walking across the Comeragh Plateau.

I feel sorry for the little lamb – the gusts of wind are throwing the hail at the car window, but he is standing there and staring at me.

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Another season, another storm. Heavy rain passed over Clonmel and the hills we visited in my previous post from the Comeraghs.

comeraghs

In my first Comeragh blog post you saw the other side of these distant Laghtnafrankee mountains – Glenary Valley. To get a closer look at the mountains, we will turn to the other road. There are two roads, both of them finally coming together and taking you across the Comeragh Plateau from Clonmel to Ballymacarbry. Right now we are walking along the Harney’s Cross Road, the upper one.

comeraghs

This is a closer view of Laghtnafrankee  from the lower road.   The real summit is right behind it. There is also  Laghtnafrankee SW Top on the left side. On the other side of Laghtnafrankee there is a natural amphitheater – so called Punchbowl. If you enlarge the image by clicking on it, you will see a tiny lone hiker on the slope, right where the shadow of the cloud begins. He gives you sense of the scale.  The Comeragh Plateau is nestled between the Lachtnafrankee and Knockanaffrin Ridge.

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This is the view from the lower road with the Knockmealdown Mountains in background.

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I took many photographs of these stunning crepuscular rays that winter afternoon.

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Another season, and the mountains look different again. Shauneenabrega Mountain is wrapped in thick fog.

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The horse ignores me. She hates snow. I think that this horse ‘works’ at the nearby turf cutting. I remember the bad experience I had  visiting the Woodstock Oyster farm and abandon the idea of walking across the bog to the turf cutting site. May be another day.

The same road in Spring with the Three Graces refusing to pose for me.

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More of the Knockanaffrin Ridge in this picture. The summits of these mountains offer beautiful vistas with Lough Mohra Coum nestled beneath the steep slopes. You can walk from one mountain to another along the crest. Most of the summits have cairns.

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comeraghs

I like the minimalist look of this picture 🙂

The top of the Long Hill ahead. We are returning to the main road between Clonmel and Rathgormack .

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Early June is my favorite season in the Comeraghs when Rhododendrons bloom.

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rsthgormack

Do you remember the first picture and mysterious sharp-peaked thing on the slope? It was the summit of the beautiful Knockanaffrin.

Knockanaffrin Ridge

You can walk from Knockanaffrin to Knocksheegowna along the crest.  There is a trig pillar near the highest point on the top of Knocksheegowna. If you hike over The Gap ( the trail starts just a few meters from here), there is a beautiful Nire Valley on the other side – it is where we are going to walk in my next blog.

Down the hill to new adventures! 🙂

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inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Comeragh Mountains

comeragh

Today we will do a bit of hill walking as most of us have consumed those extra calories between the Christmas and New Year day 😉 Comeragh Mountains is a good place to start since you have already seen them from the top of beautiful Slievenamon. Here she is, my favorite mountain, as seen from the ascent to the Long Hill of the Comeraghs. First of all we will find the source of peculiar clouds that look so nice in the photographs, so let’s walk towards Slievenamon and have a closer look.

slievenamon

Bulmers! Or Magners, as the product is called outside of Ireland. Famous Irish Cider brewery is situated right next to Slievenamon. It also produces clouds 😦 Just look at the next image.

bulmers

It is not always that bad though, but some days are worse than the others.

bulmers

Dramatic clouds enhance your photographs, but is this steam emission harmless? I don’t know.

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The Comeraghs are formed by twelve mountains and various hills. They are located between Clonmel, Ballymacarbry, Dungarvan and Rathgormack. The highest point is at 792m ( 2,598 ft). In the photograph below you see the foothills of the Comeraghs from Clonmel side of the mountains. The upper part of the hills is wrapped in a tick cloud.

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This picture was taken in March. The setting sun colored the tops of the bare trees and made them look like autumn foliage.

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You are standing on the top of Scrouthea Hill – Cnoc a Chomortais. To get there you walked from Clonmel town all the way up, catching your breath and feeling lightheaded. Well, you can also drive most of the way. If it is an August Bank Holiday, another thousand people are walking up the hill beside you, partaking in the annual tradition of The Holy Year Cross Walk. The Holy Year Cross was erected in 1950. The original timber cross was carried by fifteen strong men.

I hope you already recognised the mountain in background 🙂

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From here you will walk south.  The picture gives impression of a rather flat surface. In fact, the descent and the following ascent are quite steep. All the brown-colored area is infamous Comeragh bog.  It is wet all the year round.

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In summer, the bog turns purple with the blooming heather.

 

 

Before you continue uphill to the crest of the Long Hill, walk off the main path to visit the abandoned farmstead that used to be a home to the Ireland family.

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The Ireland family farmstead is the most tranquil place I have ever visited.  You will spend at least an hour around the farmstead reflecting and meditating, taking photographs and enjoying the beauty and serenity. Only a hiking club party might disturb your peace, but this seldom happens. A lone hiker will more likely wait until you leave, and come down later.

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comeragh

comeragh

After walking through the bog you will appreciate the flat, firm and dry land and silky grass of this oasis.  How sad it is that the family had to desert their home and fields as they had given up the struggle to work the land.

By the way, the Ireland children had to climb the hill to attend the school in Clonmel.

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Leaving the oasis you continue uphill through the bog to the summit of the Long Hill ( just for a spectacular view), keep walking south until you reach Lachtnafrankee mountain, and then a steep ascent takes you to Glenary river valley.

Across the river, there are remains of Glenary village. This was a street with the houses on the riverside and the fields on the hillside.

Glenary

The village mostly consisted of clochans – clusters of houses with a shared entrance and farmyard.

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It is difficult to believe that the last inhabitant left the village in the 1960s. His house had thatched roof and red door. It only took a few decades for the Nature to consume the buildings so that some of them literally disappeared.

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Glenary with Long Hill and Laghtnafrankee mountain in background.

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The view from the hillside over the valley. Carey Castle I recently wrote about is in the woods behind the cottage.

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To return to the Cross you climb a steep and muddy track – you will need your Wellies for that. A herd of cattle walk in the deep mud twice a day, which doesn’t improve the surface of the track. This is the view from the top. The Cross is on your left, but it is not visible from here.

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These photographs are 8-10 years old. I have no time to return to the Glenary Valley, but I visit Carey Castle every year.

It was a long walk but we only covered a tiny part of the mountains.

map

 

I am taking a break, and hope you will be in a good form to continue hiking in the Comeraghs in two weeks from now. Meanwhile, I will repost some of my old stuff from 2014.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful January!

Looking back – and forward

I always pay attention to what Chinese Lunar Calendar says in general: year of Rooster – check. Fire, gold and red – check. As to the details, they are sometimes contradicting each other, so they have to be approached critically. Like, in some sources I have read that the year of Rooster is always the worst of all the years of the Cycle, with which I totally disagree.

(I thought about roosters and cycles when walking the streets of Waterford during Winterval festival)

Lets go back and see what the years of Rooster were like. I will start from 1957, for a particular reason 😉

1957

The Treaty of Rome was signed by six countries establishing European Economic Community – the future EU.  Yay for that. Soviet Union sent a dog Laika into Space. Federal Troops were sent to Arkansas to enforce anti-segregation laws. Yearly Inflation Rate USA 3.34%; UK 3.3%

1969

Richard Nixon was inaugurated. Apollo 11 astronauts took first walk on the Moon. The US had the greatest number of troops in Vietnam. To compare with turbulent 1968,  1969 seems to be quieter, but the same problems remained.

1981

Ronald Reagan was inaugurated. First flight of Space Shuttle Columbia.  Yearly Inflation Rate USA 10.35%; UK 11.9%. Margaret Thatcher’s Government began privatisation of nationalised industries that revived economy ( I think it worked).

1993

Bill Clinton was inaugurated. Islamic Fundamentalists bombed World Trade Center. Earthquakes and floods happened all over the world. The US and Soviet Union signed Start II Treaty ( bilateral reduction of nuclear warheads). The World Wide Web was born.

2005

Hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes all over the world. London bombing, terrorist attacks in India and Egypt. Natural disasters and terrorist attacks are typical features of the past decade, not only of 2005.

So, in general, the years of Rooster most definitely were not the worst years ( not the best either…) For me personally, 1981 and 1993 were both tragic, but 2005 was all right, so I see a trend of improvement 🙂

I think that we sometimes have to get off the carousel, sit back and contemplate for a minute. It helps put things into perspective and illuminate priorities. We might even re-evaluate our ‘bad years’ after all.

This Christmas tree is a part of a charity project.  It was displayed during the Winterval festival in Waterford. Soft toys remind me of a furry friend whom we lost this December.

I took this picture in May. In July my daughter wrote me that Grishnak was dying, and all family members spent some time with him saying goodbye.  Yet, he miraculously recovered after a few days, and I saw him again in August. He lived to welcome another baby in the family, but after that his health started to deteriorate again, and on December 11 he was gone.

This picture was taken in September. Now the empty box symbolises the emptiness he left behind. I didn’t realise that it would be my last picture of him.


This year I lost a relative and several former schoolmates. It was a sad year of losses for all of us as we said goodbye to David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fisher (dang it, I had to edit this sentence twice before posting this blog! What a horrible year!)  and many others who were part of our life. The last, and the most painful loss that still hurts so much, is the death of beloved blogger friend, the finest Poet and amazing Human, Cynthia Jobin. Here is a link to her last poem she posted just a week before she left us. I keep coming to her blog, like an orphan – I just cannot move on.


Soon we will leave this sad year behind, and I look forward to the New Year’s arrival and the start of a new calendar. I don’t know what this year will bring, I just hope I will do my part and bring something good myself, regardless. The year of Red and Gold Fire Rooster – it will be spectacular if nothing else 🙂 But I do hope it is also kind and gentle on all of us – please, no rooster fights!

Happy New Year to all!

Thank you for your friendship, and for your wonderful blogs that made my 2016 a better year!

rooster

There are links from my previous Christmas – New Year posts:

https://inesemjphotography.com/category/happy-new-year/ https://inesemjphotography.com/2014/12/13/year-is-running-out/ https://inesemjphotography.com/2014/12/06/christmas-story/ https://inesemjphotography.com/category/christmas/

www.inesemjphotography.com

Merry Christmas!

merry christmas

 

I truly wish this week is filled with good feelings, all are content, honest with themselves and comfortable with others.

I truly wish your life is simple, and you always have time when you need it.

I truly wish no one is hungry, scared or hurt.

I truly wish there is someone for you to love.

 

 

Yet, it is not always like that. Not with all of you.

 

DMC

 

Some of you are trying to keep your balance relying only on yourself. 

 

 

Some of you put their trust in God.

 

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Yet, it is not always like that. Not with all of you.

Some of you have lost hope and have given up, both on God and on themselves. 

Please look out for those who might be having a hard time this Christmas – look out, even if you are one of them.


I traditionally share this Christmas video on my Facebook page. I think it is a treat to both believers and non-believers. Mike Masse performs acoustic covers at gigs in the US and internationally.

 

 

Joy and peace to the world.

 

www.inesemjphotography.comHope you are having a Wonderful Christmas!

 

Slievenamon

slievenamon

Before Christmas, I want to squeeze in a blog about the most beautiful mountain in Co. Tipperary – Sliabh na mBan, or Slievenamon. In the ancient times, when the slopes of the mountain were covered with forest of hazel, beech, oak and alder, young giant warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill went out hunting deer. It is when he met Sadhbh, the daughter of the magician Dearg,  in a form of a white doe. Sadhbh was turned into a deer by a druid Fear Doirich – Dark Man – whom she refused to marry.

The forest is long gone, but the magic remains. Slievenamon has a troubled history, and who knows, may be the Dark Man is to blame.

When driving from Clonmel to Waterford and back, Slievenamon is always in your sight. Seasons change, but Slievenamon doesn’t.

slievenamon

slievenamon

The only change is an occasional layer of snow on the top.

There are a few cute little villages at the foot of Slievenamon. Kilcash is the one from where Slievenamon can be climbed. Another place to visit in Kilcash is Medieval church and graveyard, and the ruins of the Butler Castle behind it.

kilcash church

kilcash graveyard

Standing in the graveyard, I look at the path I am going to take to reach the summit.

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For a fit local resident climbing Slievenamon is a piece of cake, and it takes less than 50 minutes ( elevation 2,365 ft, climb 1500 ft ). People walk there with their dogs.  I have been to the summit only once, when I was much younger. Since then I was only able to make it to the stone wall half way to the summit. The good news – you won’t get lost because there is a distinct track.

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slievenamon

slievenamon

slievenamon

Waterford bridge is 40 km away, but I can clearly see it.

Closer to the summit, it is cold and misty.

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The ‘false summit’ – rather flat, with a pile of rocks (cairn) in the middle ( I am standing on it). Some people pick up a rock at the foot of the mountain and take it to the cairn to add to the pile. I was barely able to take myself up there… The cairn marks an entrance to the underworld, they say. Who knows. A less distinct path takes me a few meters higher to the real summit. Unfortunately I have lost the photograph. There is a waist-high standing stone up there.

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On the other side of the valley there are beautiful Comeragh Mountains. I will write about them in January.

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Always nice to see  a friendly face. Walking down the mountain does not take that long.

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And here is a famous Irish song Slievenamon for you to enjoy.

I share a link to the blog Walking in Sonoma County…mostly , and also to La Audacia de Aquiles mythology blog. Please visit and follow 🙂 I will be back with more historical facts and myths about this beautiful mountain.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a wonderful weekend!

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache II

canyon road

This is my last post about our Uinta-Wasatch-Cache trip.

Some of Aspen, Gambel Oak and Maple trees started turning red and yellow early in September. Scenic canyon roads that run through Wasatch and Uinta mountains repeat the U-shape of the glacial-carved canyons characteristic for Wasatch range. There are seven such canyons. Little Cottonwood Canyon takes you to the Snowbird and Alta ski resorts, and Big Cottonwood Canyon – to Solitude Mountain resort and Brighton ski resort. If you want to visit famous Park City, home for the very successful 2002 Winter Olympic games, take the equally famous historical Lincoln Highway from Salt Lake City, and turn right at Kimball Junction. If you drive from the airport, it will take you about 40 minutes.

All the ‘bald’ spots on the mountain slopes in the picture below are the future skiing tracks, when they will be covered with the best snow in the world. The Park City Base Area was opened on November 18 ( some other areas on November 23), and it will be close for the summer  season on April 16 2017.

wasatch mountain state park

On our way to Uinta Forest we took the Mirror Lake scenic drive that parallels Provo River. If you don’t know it yet, Steven Shaw resides in the cabin high in the mountains. He is hunting and gathering wild berries, but he loves to have a sandwich now and again, and kind little children always bring with them a sandwich for Steven, and leave it on a rock.

provo river

Steven Shaw is very shy. He won’t show himself and you won’t notice him come and take your offering. We admired Provo river deep beneath our feet, and when we turned around, the sandwich was already gone. True story 😉

Provo River

After driving another few miles, we stopped at the Upper Provo River Falls. With seven rainless weeks, there was very little water flowing, but we could imagine how impressive  this three-cascade waterfall might look.

Upper Provo Falls

We drove to the campgrounds. I have no idea what is this mountain. All of a sudden the sky darkened and the colors became unusually saturated in the low sun. I rushed to take a picture.

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The storm was short living, and after a couple of minutes it was warm and sunny again.

The wildlife in Uinta is abundant with species like Moose, Mountain Lion, Bear, Lynx and even Wolverine, but we didn’t see any of it. In my previous blog I posted two pictures of Mule Deer, and here is another wild beast – a Chipmunk.

chipmunk

I won’t tell you how many pictures of this Chipmunk I brought home. For many of you it is a waste of time and disc space, but it was a stellar day for me. We don’t have chipmunks in Ireland.

Look what he was doing! I didn’t know they eat flower seeds.

chipmunk

chipmunk

chipmunk

chipmunk

chipmunk

We had a great time and answered many questions like Who has cut the rock??

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On they way back, most of us were sound asleep 🙂

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And here is my last picture. After taking off, our airplane made a turn, and we flew over Antelope Island  I wrote about last year. How cool is that 🙂

antelope island

Thank you for traveling Northern Utah with me. I am linking this post to the blogs that feature wildlife photography: NATURE IN THE FOREST OF DEAN AND BEYOND, Travel and Wildlife Adventures and Victor Rakmil Photography. Please visit and follow these blogs!

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!