SPRAOI – 25 years in the streets

SPRAOI 2017

Two years ago I wrote about Musical Nun Ruth antics, last year I was impressed with The Morbid and Sons undertakers street theatre. This summer SPRAOI presented a whole constellation of street performers who demonstrated many talents and successfully had the audience in stitches.

Niamh McGrath and Keith Singleton, the Oh Dears, gave me a tea bag so that I could enjoy a cuppa after all that hard work taking pictures. They were asked for an autograph and no wonder – many people are familiar with the duo and their comedy Looking Deadly.

SPRAOI 2017

Mr. Culbuto, a human tumble toy, was rolling around O’Connel street waiting for someone to play with him. Two nuns (real nuns!) happened to walk by and one of them agreed to hold his hand.

SPRAOI

Naturally, Mr. Culbuto started falling face down.

SPRAOI

The nun was terrified. The audience were amused.

SPRAOI

Mr. Culbuto’s delivery man said it was OK 🙂

SPRAOI

“Ireland’s most lovable idiots”, brothers Seamus and Sean, are always amazing. I watched this show in Clonmel last year, but didn’t mind to watch it again.

Lords of Strut

Lords of Strut

The Lords of Strut Cormac Mohally and Cian Kinsella launched their first gig in 2008. Since then they have traveled around the worlds and even become Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists. They charmed the judges with all that lycra, neon and sparkles, no doubt on that, but also with their dazzling acrobatics and contortion.

As always, Sean gets stuck in contortion ring, but with the help of Seamus he will eventually squeeze his body through.

Lords of Strut

Stellar acrobatic performance on the ladder.

Lords of Strut

“Happy reunion” with the long lost “daddy” Sean found in the audience. It is my favorite part of the show 🙂 As you can see, some spectators laugh to tears.

Lords of Strut

Between the shows, SPRAOI visitors are having a great time this weekend with all the nice weather.

The performers are moving to a different location. Most of them have 2-3 shows every day.

SPRAOI

The Silent Brass Band from The Netherlands marching by.

SPRAOI 2017

True fans gathered around the Georges Court stage.

I see a familiar face. Morbid and Sons undertaker !

SPRAOI

Yet I am told that it is a new comedy show directed by Nicholas Kavanagh – The Foolhardy Three. Lots of music, dance and slapstick, as expected from a good old vaudeville.

SPRAOI

Gareth Jones & Matt Barnard are absolutely brilliant. The Variety Spectacular is a truly spectacular show, a comedy classic full of song, dance, and charm. I loved the use of volunteers – my favorite part of any act 🙂

SPRAOI 2017

And last but not least – Robotic Drum Show. Performer Ulrich Kahlert, Germany.

SPRAOI

SPRAOI

I will write about SPRAOI Grand Parade some other day.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a wonderful week!

SPRAOI – quarter of a century party

Scotch

August Bank holiday weekend in Waterford is better known as The SPRAOI weekend. In 1993, twelve events took place over three days of the festival; this time, 25 years later, the number of events is over 200. I have counted 28 performers, and I will tell about some of them in my next blog, but today I want to write about one of the favorites – a party folk band from Holland, the Scotch. During the three days, they gave eight performances in different venues in Waterford as a part of their Ireland tour that also includes Cork and Ardara, Donegal.

I went to see them in the Palace Square Friday, after dark. I can tell you – these guys know how to put on a show 🙂 Young and old, no one could stay still listening to the lively and infectious rhythms.

Scotch

Scotch

I have questions, and the drummer looks like the right person to start a chat 🙂

Scotch

After an hour the show is over. I enjoyed every minute of it – watching the audience was a bonus 🙂

Scotch

The guys are putting their instruments away, but it is not the end.

Scotch

Their fans want pictures. I take advantage 🙂

Scotch

I guess they will go to their car, eventually, and yes – here comes the drummer 🙂

Scotch

His name is Wouter and he is willing to answer my questions.

Scotch

Scotch is a party folk band, formed in 2003. At that time their shows were more theatrical.

Wouter:  We started out as a punk band with a lot of glam rock inspirations. Went to a more symphonic style wearing all kind of costumes and doing some heavy makeup. The folk style evolved during touring in Germany and Czech as busking became an important part of our travels.

Wouter is doing drums, percussion and vocals.

Sam is the lead vocalist of Scotch, and also the violinist who is responsible for all the dance craze tonight 🙂

Scotch

Wouter and Sam founded Scotch, and Nathan, the guitarist and vocalist, is with the band from the very beginning…

Scotch

… as is the bass guitarist and singer Sjoerd. A lifelong friendship.

Scotch

Jochem joined Scotch in 2007, and he is doing guitar, banjo, melodica and vocals.

Scotch

And Juno is taking videos 🙂

Scotch

The band is known and loved in their native city, Dordrecht which is as old as Waterford. Well, they are loved in Waterford too, and also in Scotland, and many other countries they have toured over the years. They performed at various national art festivals, the Calais refugee camp, and successfully auditioned for Holland’s got Talent.

I hope you can listen to their music here. Just scroll down:

Jean Luc is their third album.

What holds you together for so many years?

Wouter: Friendship is the most important thing in the band. We’ve been playing together for such a long time now. It would be super strange to split up. We enjoy traveling together and meeting people with the music as a kind of super glue.

Scotch

Do you make a living as a band?

Wouter: Nope…

Which is a shame, because they are wonderful and they make a difference. They bring a party to people.

Scotch

I watch all of their performances as it is close to where I live.

Scotch

Sometimes I spot them watching other performers, or taking selfies 🙂

Scotch

Their fans are waiting at the George’s Court stage.

It is a huge crowd here around the main stage of the festival decorated with Waterford colors.

Scotch

From where I stand I can only see a glimpse of Wouter 🙂

Scotch

The following day it is raining heavily, but it doesn’t scare their loyal fans.

Scotch

The ‘orange minions’, the members of the huge group of SPRAOI volunteers, are doing a great job creating a protective shield for the musicians.

Scotch

Scotch

Bring in the party!

Scotch

This is Scotch’s Facebook page   and you can book a party at booking@scotchtheband.com, or let your friends know about them.

Thank you for celebrating SPRAOI milestone! More in my next post.

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

Mount Congreve gardens – an unexpected run in…

Walled garden is greeting me with all shades of purple.

Mount Congreve Gardens

Mount Congreve Gardens

Numerous fruit trees will bear a bountiful harvest in a month or two.

I admire various espaliers clinging to the walls.

Mount Congreve Gardens

As I cross the walled garden I discover a fragrant rose walk in the middle of it.

Mount Congreve Gardens

Winged thorns are not the only unusual feature of Rosa sericea pteracantha : its flowers have only four petals instead of usual five.

Leaving the walled garden.

Walking around the pond.

Unhurried walk with occasional stops takes me back to the glass house.

Mount Congreve Gardens

More flowers, more colors.

Magnolia Daybreak was planted in memory of Ambrose Congreve by the staff of Mount Congreve. It has beautiful and extremely fragrant pink flowers. There are many magnolias in the garden that bear names of Congreve family members.

Mount Congreve Gardens

On my way to the field where I have parked my car I came across a lawn. I changed my lens to a wider one to take a picture of the tree. From this moment the events started developing rapidly.

I took the picture and next moment a huge, long-legged hare appeared out of the shrubs at the other side of the lawn and started lazily towards me. I stopped breathing for a moment and then began to reattach my 70-200 mm lens. When the lens was finally on I lifted my eyes and almost screamed as the hare was sitting right in front of me, and he was the size of a dog.

Mount Congreve Gardens

I guess he had lost all his senses because of his old age, it is why he almost bumped into me. Startled, he looked at me with crossed eyes.  I didn’t have time to focus and only got these two blurred pictures of him as he darted across the lawn.

I slowly walked to where he entered the shrubs, and there he was, recovering after the scare.

hare

I am glad that I can share this story with you.

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend

Mt Congreve gardens in July I

Mount Congreve is usually a tranquil place, but not today as hundreds of young treasure hunters and their families have gathered here for an action-packed event. I cannot resist a 99 cone with a flake, and after a short inner debate find myself at the end of a long line.

Mount Congreve

Even the Garda special forces are looking for something delicious.

The cone is gone in a flash, and I don’t feel like looking for any other treasures. I make my way up to The Temple to visit the resting place of Ambrose Congreve, the man who has created this amazing garden on the banks of River Suir.

I get caught in prickly shoots of unknown plant stretched across the path. The leaves look so neat. I wish I knew the name.

I also come across a blooming rhododendron. A late bloomer indeed.

A set of steps takes me to another level.

Blue Hydrangeas are gloving under the dark canopy.

Finally I see the sun again. Love the play of light on the Rhododendron trunks.

This is a cousin of our ordinary Linden ( Lime) tree.  Tilia henryana was named so after the Irish sinologist Augustine Henry who discovered the tree in 1888. Henry was born in Dundee into a family from Co Tyrone.

I am leaving the shady woodland garden to enjoy the bright colors of the walled garden.

I have a love-hate relationship with Dahlias 🙂 My mother used to grow a variety of Dahlias and we had a good few shelves filled with tubers in our cool room. I am absolutely fascinated with the flowers, but the smell of the stems makes me sick. Also, one of my chores was to take care of displays of cut flowers in our house, and I remember being so frustrated that dahlias made the vase water stink just in a couple of hours while the flower itself could last like forever. Still, Dahlia is one of my garden favorites.

Thank you for walking in the garden with me. This visit had a funny ending I will write about next time.

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Saltee Islands – All Things Beautiful

As I said in my previous post, to get to the Gannet place we have to first cross the Black-backed gull land. Great Black-backed gull is the largest of the gulls, and is described as a “merciless tyrant”. They can be fierce and aggressive at their nests, but I have no intention to bother them, and I know there are no chicks that early in the year. The gulls are perched on the rocks and become agitated as I get closer. Apparently they don’t understand the message I am sending them with my body language. One of them is trying to attack me. I keep walking and pretend I don’t hear, so he finally leaves me alone and returns to his rock. I turn around and take a picture 🙂 Then I hurry away.

Saltee Island Great

Just before the Cat Cliff comes into sight, I see another Black-backed gull with a tiny crab in its bill.

Black-backed gull

Finally I reach the Cat Cliff. This place always makes me emotional and fills me with reverence for the mystery of life. Beautiful big birds are so vulnerable here keeping the eggs warm, protecting the young.

Saltee Island Great

While climbing down the cliff, I have to pass by a clan of European Shags whose matriarch is an ill-tempered bird that starts hissing way before I come close. This year her young and very shy son finally has his own family. Now there are three nests altogether. I didn’t want to bother the hissing mama and the shy lad, and took a few pictures of the third Shag with two chicks and a Razorbill in background. Shag looks similar to Cormorant, but they are two different birds, easily distinguished from each other: Shag is smaller and has emerald green eyes and green sheen on the feathers. Also the European Shag’s tail has 12 feathers and the Great Cormorant’s 14 feathers. European Shag chicks hatch over a two day interval – it is why one chick looks much bigger than the other.

Saltee Island Great

These two Gannets are familiar to me. Their nests are perched at the very edge of the cliff so I always have to pass by them.

Saltee Island Great

I make myself comfortable on a big flat rock, and when the Gannets take off and land I feel like on Maho beach 😉

gannet

Saltee Island Great

This is not a fight, but an act of affection 🙂

Saltee Island Great

A perfect bird.

Saltee Island Great

Synchronized flight.

Saltee Island Great

Watching gannet landings, I forget about time.

gannet

gannet

gannet

I would sit on that rock and admire the gannets until dark, but it is time to start moving as the boat is back in an hour.

I safely pass the Black-backs territory and stop at the highest point to enjoy the beautiful view. You can see the Little Saltee in background.

Saltee Island Great

I walk through the carpets of blue and white.

And of course, Sea Pink.

Oystercatcher’s loud, panicked voice calls me back from my daydreams.

I take one last glance around. This is the Makestone, the largest islet at the southern side of the Great Saltee.

Makestone Islet

Little Saltee looks close when zoomed out. In fact, the channel between the islands is about a mile wide and 30 f deep.

At this time of the year, puffins spend most of their time at sea. I have only seen four puffins during this trip. They will return later, after we leave the island. I am glad they are safe here.

Saltee Island Great

Saltee Island Great

An Crosan – The Razorbill – will take us back to Kilmore Quay. Two seals bathing in shallow waters are not afraid of Cap’n Declan and his dinghy.

Saltee Island Great

Thank you for visiting, exploring and discovering all things beautiful. Hope you put Saltee Islands in your itinerary for next June.

Saltee Island Great

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

Saltee Islands – the colours of May

Kilmore Quay

This time I visited Great Saltee island in May, a month earlier than I usually do.  Kilmore Quay marina is busy as always, and Razorbill, the boat we will travel on, is moored at her usual place near the slipway.

I have a couple of minutes to take a few pictures. Love the name of this fishing boat 🙂 Once again I remember my good intention to purchase myself an inflatable float vest… Next time for sure!

Kilmore quay

The sea is smooth, and our 5 km trip lasts only 15 minutes.

“All people young and old, are welcome to come, see and enjoy the islands, and leave them as they found them for the unborn generations to come see and enjoy.”    Michael the First

Great Saltee

Michael the First, then farmer’s son Michael Neale, bought the islands in 1943.

“It was never my intention to make a profit from these islands.  Day visitors are welcome to come and enjoy at no cost.  Bird watchers will always remain welcome.”  Michael the First

From the bird’s view Obelisk is in the shape of the Maltese Cross. Each side of the Obelisk has inscriptions, and on the front, under the image of the Prince, it reads:

“Nothing is impossible to the man who can, will, then do. / This is the only law of success. This monument was erected by Prince Michael the First as a symbol to all children that be hard work, perseverance, their dreams and ambitions  may also be realised”.

Saltee Islands

The Chair, or the Throne, is dedicated to his mother.

” This chair is erected in memory of my mother to whom I made a vow when I was ten years old that one day I would own the Saltee Islands and become the First Prince of the Saltees. Henceforth, my heirs and successors can only proclaim themselves Prince of these Islands by sitting in this chair fully garbed in the robes and crown of the Islands and take the Oath of Succession”. Michael the First

Saltee Islands

The Islands have a long history and they used to be inhabited and farmed. There is a rumor that the Islands were accidentally made by the Devil himself while he was being chased by St Patrick. The evil creature took two handfuls of rocks from the Comeragh Mountains between Lemybrian and Kilmacthomas,  and then dropped them on the run in the Celtic Sea.  St Patrick built a causeway, just a mile from Kilmore Quay, to connect the islands to the mainland. It is dangerous to swim around the St Patrick’s causeway because of the very strong riptides. When the tide is in, the causeway is almost completely submerged. Don’t try to walk in the shallow water – the current is very strong and will sweep you off your feet.

But let’s get to the point. I am here to see the puffins 🙂

Saltee Islands

puffin

puffin

This trip was different, and I only saw four puffins. Every year they return to the same place.

I took off across the island to see the Gannets. The island looks beautiful in May. Bluebells and Sea Campions painted it in blue and white.

Saltee Islands

Saltee Islands

I saw two Eurasian Rock Pipit couples in exactly the same place as the year before.

Saltee Islands

Rock Pipit

I also saw unusually many Cinnabar butterflies, all over the place. On a closer inspection, they were all dead! This one was being consumed by a spider…

The path turned to the edge of the cliff. This is a young Lesser Black-backed gull.

Gracious Guillemots don’t mind posing for a picture.

Guillemot

Saltee Islands

I am approaching the highest point of the island. An almost vertical climb will take me to the land of Great Black-backed gulls. More pictures next week.

Thank you for your company! You are the best.

Saltee Islands

Here you can find some of my previous post about Saltee Islands.

2014, 2015, 2016

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

Anne Valley Walk

Anne Valley Trail is one of the overlooked treasures of Waterford county. I have written about the trail before. This is what I found on my last visit.

Rushes were swaying to and fro rustling in the wind, and I noticed a tiny ladybug feasting on something that looked like a caterpillar.

Yellow dung fly sat chilling on the young fern frond. Don’t be misled by the name – adult dung flies spend most of their time hunting small insects in vegetation.

Furled fronds of young ferns look like cute little animals.

This one looks like a furry snake 🙂

Larches sport the most beautiful shade of  green.

I check on every blackbird I see in case it is a Red billed chough. There is a couple of them living in the Anne Valley. I saw one last year, but it quickly disappeared in bushes before I grabbed my camera.

The blackbird is quietly following me as I walk.

Finally he shows himself for long enough to take a picture. Funny, curious bird.

Song Thrush young keep together.

This scared baby is a juvenile Robin. A clumsy dove landed on his tree and he moved closer to where I sit. I feel good 🙂

Warbler ignores me as if I don’t exist.

I took pictures of some simple but beautiful flowers.

This insect is trying to look like a wasp, but it has only one pair of wings and quite a wide waist which gives away its true identity : it is a Syrphid fly.

A group of swans, some of them last year’s cygnets, are floating near the island in the middle of the pond where they will spend the night.

Four ducks, survivors of the family of ten, didn’t want to be photographed.

The swans are finally getting ready for the night, and I am heading home.

One more picture of Foxglove before I drive away.

Thank you for joining me for this walk.

www.inesemjphotography.com  Have a wonderful week ahead!

Mount Congreve Gardens II

Rhododendron

The Gardens are the life work of Mr. Ambrose Congreve. His life was colourful in any sense of the word.

Young Ambrose was sent to school at Eton where he met his roommate and life-long friend Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond spy novels. They both collaborated in the school magazine The Wyvern.

During the World War II, both friends served as intelligence officers. Ambrose Congreve served in Air Intelligence for Plans and in Bomber Command, and later in the Ministry of Supply.

A brilliant businessman, Ambrose Congreve was working for Unilever in England and China, and ran Humphreys & Glasgow firm when he took over from his father-in-law Arthur G. Glasgow (from 1939 to 1983). During this time the workforce increased from less than 100 to more than 3000. Foreseeing the global economic crisis, he sold the company and his holding of stocks and shares in the 1980’s. Much of the proceeds went to charities and literary prizes, the rest was invested in the estate. Wholesale nursery added to the funds necessary to maintain the gardens and house.

Mount Congreve

Liveried servants, fine chefs de cuisine, gorgeous Rolls Royce Phantom V1, collection of the finest items of art… and one of the best gardens of the world that took almost a hundred years to plant.

He employed Albert Roux, the chef who later co-founded Le Gavroche restaurant in London; his Rolls Royce was driven by the Queen Mother’s former chauffeur; his London house in the courtyard of St James’s Palace was next door to Prince Charles; he was a friend of Lionel de Rothschild ( his mentor in gardening), Winston Churchill, and Aristotle Onassis.

His 70 employees gave him a special and thoughtful gift for his 100th birthday – a Wollemi Pine.  

wollemi_pine

In the beginning of April, there are only a few Camellias in bloom .

Camellia

Most of the flowers are laying on the ground at different stages of decay.

The variety and number of Azaleas are overwhelming.

Mount Congreve

Mount Congreve

There are 16 miles of paths in the gardens.

Mount Congreve

Snowy flowers and the bright flame of the new shoots  – Pieris fills up the gaps between the twisted Rhododendron trunks.

Mount Congreve

Mount Congreve

River Suir.

Mount Congreve

Bluebell path.

Mount Congreve

Magnolia walk. There are about 200 tree Magnolias planted by Ambrose Congreve and his long-time head gardener Herman Dool who came from Holland. It was their secret – to plant numerous trees instead of 1-2 to make the garden look so spectacular.

Michael White is the current curator of the Mount Congreve Gardens.

Mount Congreve

Another long-leaved Rhododendron.

Rhododendron

One more Azalea. I have shared just a tiny slice of the collection.

Azalea

Some birds.

Thank you for visiting Mount Congreve Gardens with me. It is sad that we won’t see the tall figure of Mr. Congreve. He and his wife are buried at the temple overlooking River Suir.

wwww.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

Mount Congreve Gardens I

Mount Congreve

There are the days when you feel no light at all; when you feel no joy in anything you do; when your hopes are challenged. On such days, you have to unplug from anything that drains you, and focus on anything that feels good. What a better place than a beautiful garden to forget your worries and bring you into balance. Especially if it is a garden where something is always flowering, most of the year.

Situated just minutes drive from Waterford city border, Mount Congreve gardens are one of my favorite places to visit in early spring when Azaleas and Rhododendrons are in bloom. They say that there are more than two thousand Rhododendrons in this collection, and also six hundred Camellias, six hundred conifers, three hundred Japanese cherry and Acer cultivars, and more than a thousand herbaceous plants, including rare fuchsias, begonias, orchids, and almost extinct varieties of cyclamen. Some of these plants are so rare that they have been an object of theft as the thieves take cuttings to grow and sell. The staff presented Ambrose Congreve on his hundredth birthday with a Wollemia, a rare tree that was only known through fossil records, and was discovered in 1994.

Ambrose Congreve died in 2011 at the age of 104. He was inspired to plant a garden when visiting the Rothschild Garden at Exbury in Hampshire, England in 1918. Mount Congreve Gardens won numerous awards, including 13 gold medals at Chelsea Flower Show. Ambrose Congreve died of a heart attack while attending this annual show.

The Congreves had their gardens open to public every Thursday, free of charge. Children under age 12 were not admitted. Currently the Gardens are open from Thursday to Sunday.

Acer

This video that I found in Youtube was filmed  in 2010.

 

 

Skilled and devoted horticultural staff maintain the gardens in perfect form, and also run a wholesale nursery – you can buy a potted plant here. They say that in Mr. Congreve time, music was played in the grounds to entertain the gardeners.

Mount Congreve

Victorian greenhouse produced tropical fruit for the table.

Mount Congreve

Mount Congreve

Mount Congreve

The 18th century Georgian Mansion was designed by the architect John Roberts who also designed both Cathedrals in Waterford and Moore Hall in Co. Mayo. The house is empty and closed to the public as its content, including the Mount Congreve Library collection assembled in the 18th century, were sold by public auctions  –  Christie’s in London and Mealy’s in Waterford in 2012. Ambrose Congreve left the estate in trust to the Irish State, and the ownership of the house will transfer to the State in 2059.

Mount Congreve

Mount Congreve

The gardens will come under State ownership in 2032.

I attached my car key to show the scale. This is Rhododendron falconeri.

Rhododendron sinogrande

Just cannot stop pressing the shutter 🙂

You can see these Magnolias from the Greenway tracks. I already used these two photographs in my previous posts.

magnolias

magnolias

Chinese Tea House.

Mount Congreve

Wisteria. There are at least fifty of them.

Mount Congreve

In my next blog post I will share more photographs of this early spring walk.

Thank you for bearing with me ❤

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a great week!

The Tower

Curraghmore Tower

This 65 ft round tower was “erected in the year 1785 by George, Earl of Tyrone, to his beloved son, his niece and friend”.

Marcus, the eldest son of 1st Marquess of Waterford was killed while jumping his horse over courtyard paling. He was only twelve. It is difficult to tell who was the niece, since George De La Poer Beresford was the eldest of fifteen children. The friend was Marcus’ French tutor Charles Polier de Bottens who died shortly after the tragic accident.

Over the years, there were people who came to this tower at their darkest moments. It is a mile long walk from the main road. Wish they had turned back.

I pass the entrance to the Curraghmore estate and drive up the hill. Gorgeous pheasant steps out of the grass and walks right in front of my car. I am trying to match the speed of the bird to take pictures.

Curraghmore Tower   Curraghmore Tower

I park and start walking through the conifer forest. The path is quite muddy – timber felling is in progress and the trucks have damaged the road. I turn around the corner. Here used to be Clonegam school, but it was burned down during the Civil War.

The Tower is inspired by the medieval Irish round tower. They say that the walls are about seven feet thick which I cannot confirm. I would rather say that the distance between the walls is about 10 feet.

Curraghmore Tower

Hanging around the tower I have a chat with a young man who used to climb to the roof and read books in solitude. Armed with some tips I start climbing the 92 step spiral stairway.

Curraghmore Tower

The door offers some light but further up there is a dark stretch until I reach the first window.

Curraghmore Tower

Curraghmore Tower  Curraghmore Tower

It is how I climb – from window to window.

Curraghmore Tower

Finally I see the sky. On the top there is a flat roof with a hole in the middle and a low parapet with some stones missing. I don’t dare to climb to the roof. The day is very windy so I just stay on the steps and look around.

Curraghmore Tower Curraghmore Tower

I have found a fantastic drone shot by Jamie Malone. It is what the roof looks like.

The view from the Tower is stunning. I see the Curraghmore House and River Suir.

Curraghmore Tower    Curraghmore Tower

This is Croughaun Hill and Comeragh Mountains.

Curraghmore Tower

It is the time to climb down when I realise that it is possible that someone is making their way up right now, oblivious to me being there. I don’t like the thought, but I cannot stay here forever. I start my descent and finally reach the door and quickly get out.

Curraghmore Tower   Curraghmore Tower

There is a loop walk, but I take the same road because I have spotted some photogenic timber. Next time I will visit Curraghmore House and a special historical object that I want to share with you.

Curraghmore Tower Curraghmore Tower Curraghmore Tower

Here are three links to my previous blogs about Clonegam and the De la Poer family that I wrote last year.

https://inesemjphotography.com/2016/10/09/abbeys-and-churches/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2016/10/22/lady-florence-and-clonegam-church/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2016/10/27/circumstance-observes-no-preference/

 

wwww.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Curraghmore House – another visit

Curraghmore House

On my second visit to the Curraghmore estate near Portlaw I found this tiny beautiful waterfall. Here are some more pictures from that day.

Horse riders at the entrance to the estate.

Curraghmore House

A road yet to be explored.

Curraghmore House

Amazing play of light in the tree branches.

Evergreen ivy.

Wild plums in bloom.

Ferns growing on the tree branches.

I saw many pheasants, but they didn’t let me come close. Except this one.

Young pheasant hen didn’t mind me either.

This is not a monster but a pheasant hen taking off.

Good for her. This one was not as careful – pheasants have many natural predators.

Curraghmore House, the residence of  Henry Nicholas de la Poer Beresford, 9th Marquess of Waterford.

Curraghmore House

Farm buildings.

Curraghmore

The Tower, or Steeple, in the distance. I visited this sad monument in March.

Steeple

I will share more pictures from my walk to The Tower next week.

wwww.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Last autumn I wrote about the Clonegam Church – resting place for the De la Poer Beresford family. Later in June I am going to visit their ancestral home – Curraghmore House – but meanwhile I will share the photographs I took in the beautiful park surrounding the house. The owners are so very kind allowing the visitors to walk there free of charge.

Clonegam Church is somewhere behind the trees.

The ancient oak tree in its winter beauty.

Single story gate lodge with round windows known as Ivy Cottage was built in 1880 and renovated in the 1930’s. It is currently unused.

Curraghmore House

St John’s Bridge that was built in 1205 spans over River Clodiagh. River Clodiagh rises in Lough Coumduala in the Comeragh Mountains.

Curraghmore House

The seat in the middle of the bridge is quite rough looking. They say that King John commissioned the bridge, which gives us an idea about being royalty in the beginning of the 13th century 🙂

Curraghmore House

St John’s Bridge through the tree branches.

Curraghmore House

River Clodiagh running through Curraghmore demesne.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Beautiful man-made waterfall.

Curraghmore House

Water strider – my first lesson on physics 🙂

Remnants of the Japanese Garden.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

The Giant Rhubarb in its baby stage –  the pictures were taken in March.

Fortified stone wall covered with moss has endured for a half millennia, or  longer.

Curraghmore House

I have another few photographs to share in the next two weeks. At the moment I am with my family, getting back to my life, and hope to start answering comments and visiting blogs. Thank you so much for your understanding, and your tweets and emails ❤

 Have a wonderful weekend!

It is my cup of tea: part II

Another reblog, until I get back in June ❤

Making memories

296hers

The origins of herbal medicine are the origins of civilization itself. Only imagine that all these herbs were known and used thousands year ago: for healing, food, drinks; to eliminate bad odors; for making soap and body scrub; to dye clothing and even hair. There is no plant, no part of a plant that could not be used one way or another. If you are interested in growing some herbs in your back yard, you can check out this link for the UK and this link for the USA. These two companies are selling seeds and gums of the wild herbs online. I just found them in Google. I used to buy seeds of wild plants back in the 80-s, and from that experience I know that you will get literally a few seeds in that paper bag, but don’t panic, it will be enough to start your herb…

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It is my cup of tea

Making memories

246hers

Walking by the river I took pictures of some plants traditionally used in herbal medicine and aroma therapy. For you to know: 80% of the world’s population still relies on natural remedies, and 20% of pharmaceutical products are made from plants.

Summer solstice is the best time for gathering most of herbs: around that time they have the highest level of active chemicals. In July you can still find some herbs to supply your needs for cold remedies during upcoming autumn, and make a mix to simply enjoy a cup of aromatic tea with honey. Make sure you do your herb picking away from the roads with heavy traffic and that your herbs are not covered with dust: you are not supposed to wash them.

320hers

yarrow

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium). Its Latin name means “thousand leaves”, and all these leaves have been used for healing since the world began. Yarrow has anti-inflammatory properties…

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Waterford Greenway: Ballyvoyle Tunnel

A quarter of a mile long Durrow ( Ballyvoyle) Tunnel is one of the most iconic features of the Greenway. It looks as perfect as the day it was built in 1878. I can only imagine how exciting it was to travel through the tunnel by train, at a slow speed, with the eerie sound echoing off the tunnel walls.

Once a habitat of bats, the tunnel is a busy place these days.

Bike hire

I love this tricycle. It looks very comfortable, especially if you want to stop and take a picture.

Someone has a sense of humor. Notice how far is the other end of the tunnel.

Waterford Greenway

It seems like the walls have openings, but in fact these are only wall niches with lights.

Waterford Greenway

The tunnel is lined with bricks.

Waterford Greenway

Not too successful photograph of some stalagmites growing in the niche.

Durrow tunnel

Just a few years ago this area was overgrown and flooded in some places.

An assortment of ferns and moss decorates the stone wall. Further down the path the wild plants are getting ready for spring ( photographs were taken in February)

double_exposure

double_exposure

We are approaching Ballyvoyle viaduct – the last one. There are three viaducts and eleven bridges on the railway. Ballyvoyle viaduct was constructed in 1878, blown up in 1922, and after a second thought rebuilt in 1924. In this blog you can find some bits of history of the viaduct.

The viaduct spans River Dalligan, and the barriers are almost non-existent, if you ask me 😉

Waterford Greenway

Plenty to see from here.

I stepped off the path to take a picture of a white bench that stands at a distance from the farm house. In the photograph below you see a lovely view from the bench.

Clonea Beach. I can see my favorite chipper out there, over a mile away.

In December 2015 a group of Syrian refugees were settled in the luxury Clonea Strand Hotel ( closed for the season). It was a very strange decision of the Government since there are no food stores around – the closest store is four miles away in Dungarvan. Actually, there is nothing else in winter but the sea and the beach. I don’t know what the story is, and where they are now. I haven’t been to Clonea for years.

clonea

It is getting dark. I turn around and walk back to the car park. I take my time walking through the tunnel again – want to spot a bat, but there are no bats.

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Thank you for your company – it is more fun to walk through a dark tunnel with a friend at your side.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!