Travel Ireland

From South to North and back – The end

EElena Shumilova workshop

This is the last blog post of the series about my Inishowen adventures (starting from October 23). I miss my favorite models, and hope to work with them some time next year.

map of ireland

After leaving Abbeyleix, I drove to Port Laois where I stuck for almost an hour, changed my route, and headed to Tullamore Co Offaly, the motherland of Tullamore Dew, the triple distilled Irish whiskey.There I took this picture of the Visitor Center with the neighborhood of happy consumers in background.


After that I crossed the  bridge over the Grand Canal and proceeded to Mullingar, Co Westmeath.


The sun started to show up but the fog didn’t clear away. My plan was to stop at the Belvedere House and Gardens on the shores of Lough Ennell to take a break from driving and eat something.


The house was built by Robert Rochfort in the 18 century. This man had big issues with his family. He had incarcerated his wife in their previous home at Gaulstown for an alleged affair with his brother Arthur, whom he later put in debtors’ prison in Dublin. He also built the Jealous Wall after falling out with his other brother George, to block off the view of his house on the adjacent estate.


The wall is built at a distance from the Belvedere House, and it is very high to ensure that the offensive sight is blocked off.

I walked through the gardens  down to the lake and back. I shared my sandwich with a friendly goat, took some photographs, and resumed my journey.


I didn’t stop in Mullingar, but took a photograph of the Cathedral of Christ The King.


I took R394 through Castlepollard because it is familiar to me and very beautiful. After the village of Finnea I entered Co Cavan. My luck was obviously pushed too far.

Driving around Cavan, I missed my turn to Cloverhill and wasted at least 30 minutes until I figured out where on earth I was. They say that the Celtic word for Cavan means both ‘hollow‘ and ‘small hill’… Do you remember hoodoos? There is another lovely word for you – drumlin, a clay hill of glacial origin. In between drumlins the valleys are poorly drained, with bogs and lakes.


(William) Percy French (1854 – 1920) once wrote:

The Garden of Eden has vanished, they say,
But I know the lie of it still.
Just turn to the left at the Bridge of Finnea,
And stop when halfway to Cootehill.

I read this poem with a map in my hands trying to figure out where was he coming from when he arrived to Finnea… I think I have to go to Cavan again to find out…

In Clones Co Monaghan I got lost again. I didn’t miss my turn or anything, I just didn’t know how to get to Omagh. Well, I knew the long way ( I used it on my way home), but there was a tiny road on the map  that I wanted to explore. I ate a 99 and walked around the square. Trust the 99, it is a cure for everything. I came across the guy who stood idling in the doorway, and he explained me how to find the road. He warned me of the dangers I might encounter, wild sheep etc. I was only happy to hear that 🙂 With his directions, off I went. My luck was back – not like in this video 🙂

A narrow country road took me to Fivemiletown Co Tyrone, and then up North to Fintona.

murley mountain

Halfway between Fintona and Fivemiletown lies Murley Mountain.

workshop 1 185ares

workshop 1 189ares

On the summit is the Lendrums Bridge wind farm, one of the largest in Ireland, with 20 turbines.  Another 8 turbines are located on Hunter’s Hill.

workshop 1 197aresiz

From Omagh I traveled through Strabane and Derry, which took me another 2-3 hours – 9 hours altogether with all the stops.

As you already know, I had a wonderful time in Inishowen.  The images below were taken from my hotel window early in the morning. There is no color processing, I only made a subtle change in the Levels  moving the black point slider to 4. It was exactly what  I saw with my own eyes.


This image is zoomed and taken from a slightly different angle some 20 minutes later.


Isn’t it a fairy tale?

My journey back home was quiet and filled with sadness. As it became a tradition, I got lost around Clones again ( I wasn’t supposed to be there at all; I took a different road…) , but a good old 99 cheered me up, and I got directions at the petrol station. I crossed Co Cavan without incidents, my little car wriggling between the drumlins; stopped for petrol in Mountmellick at the sunset; sneaked through Durrow and Ballyragget in the dark and took a motorway from Kilkenny to Waterford “when the stars went blue”.  Couldn’t fall asleep that night.

I am missing Inishowen, but it is the time to move on. Thank you again Elena Shumilova  and Brendan Diver, Sean Derry, children and their parents! Thank you fellow photographers Dirk Lecluse, Katrina Parry, Suzanne O’Connell, Steve Thomas-Jones, Renata Dapšytė, Gemma Burton, Karolina Zadwórna-Turczyńska and many others. Hope we meet again soon!

elena shumilova workshop


I am very honored to be nominated for the Lovely  Blog award by Patrick Jones from The Linden Chronicles. Please visit his blog and read his books. I love them!

Thank you Patrick, I hope to maintain the loveliness 🙂


Now I have to reveal 7 things about myself

  1. I have seen all Bond movies
  2. I am a lousy swimmer
  3. I think that spiritual and physical self-reliance is a sign of maturity
  4. I want to learn how to swim before I die
  5. I want to climb Kilimanjaro before I die
  6. I adore cats
  7. I love all other creatures

And here are the blogs I am nominating – a tiny fraction of the bloggers I like.

Here is the list of rules to participate:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to her/his blog.
  2. List 7 interesting facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate up to 15 other bloggers 
  4. List the rules and display the award.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!

Travel Ireland!

I love Ireland, and I have been in each county. The names of small villages and towns sound like  music to me. I am working on a tourism promoting project, and here are a few drafts. Take them seriously and come to Ireland!

travel ireland

travel ireland

travel ireland

travel ireland

travel ireland

travel ireland

travel ireland

Photography tip of the day: If you want to improve your skills, don’t just take random pictures but make a project like “My garden”, ” Our first year”, “Grandma’s Cooking “.

inesemj_photographyHave a great weekend! Happy Mothers Day!

When you travel Ireland, visit Freshford

This Good Friday i want to tell you about my favorite church. If you are traveling through or near Freshford, Co Kilkenny, stop for a minute to visit this ancient building.  The Saint Lachtain’s Church of Freshford is a place of worship for at least 14 centuries.


Very little is known about Saint Lachtain, the founder and first abbot of the monastery in Freshford who died on March 19, 622. This verse says a lot about him though:

Lachtain, the champion, loved
Humility, perfect and pure.
He stands, throughout all time.
In defense of the men of Munster.

He died on 19 March 622

In 836, the Vikings robbed the monastery, and burned everything, including the books. Yet there is a record that a church was built on the site in 909.

The monastery prospered. In early 12th century a beautiful porch was added to the existing church building. This porch is still there even that very weathered, especially its outer parts.


The porch is made of yellow-white sandstone. It is the only Romanesque monument with a complete inscription well preserved. However, the craftsman and patron named in the inscription have not been identified.


The porch has four arches and two double capitals, all richly ornamented with beautiful carvings, human heads, animal bodies, lion masks etc, all very much worn but recognizable.

In the next image you can see a horse and a rider on the left panel, and figures of men wearing robes on the right panel. Specialist say that these ornaments, as well as some others, do not appear to be in their original locations. (Click to enlarge)


There is a 1622 record about the church being in ruins, but by 1732 the roof was changed and since then the church seems to be looked after.

These windows show us the history of church building as it got expanded during the centuries.


Further alterations were carried out in 19-20th century. Electric lighting was installed in 1929.


The furnishing of the church was carried out mostly in 19the century


These doors look very old.


Something about the windows pictured below. (click to enlarge)


Two lancet windows depict Angels with Scrolls (1858)

The next windows depict the Transfiguration on the left and the Ascension on the right (1864)

Two lancet windows depict two shepherds. (after1876)

Outside the church there is the graveyard and a Garden of Remembrance. On the picture below you can see an image of a lamb from an old tombstone, which represents The Lamb of God. On the other tombstone there is a readable inscription In Exelsis Deo. Some tombstones have the inscriptions made on a cement layer instead of carving in the stone. Those are almost gone as you can see in the picture.


A few words about the Colclough family who are taking care of the church building for years. On the picture below you see Robert Colclough standing next to his ancestral tombstones dated from the 17th century.


Robert’s beloved wife Ruby and his parents are buried in the Garden of Remembrance.


Robert and his son Trevor are looking after the church building and make sure everything is ready for the Sunday worship meetings. Two beautiful vases with the inscriptions are donated to the Church in memory of Ruby Colclough, who was my dear friend.


Just a few more words. Easter is the Christian holiday celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. “He is not here: he is risen.” [See Matthew 28:6.] Because our Redeemer lives so shall we.

Genealogy tip of the day: Don’t use any cream, chalk, graphite, dirt, flour or other substances to read worn inscriptions. Instead shine light across the face of the stone; the inscription will just stand out. Use a mirror to reflect the light, or take a photo and then play around with the image using the editing software to make the inscriptions readable.

inesemj_photographyHave a wonderful Easter!