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 ❤

inesemjphotography 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…

View original post 531 more words

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!

 

Durrow viaduct after the sunset

robin

I put up this blog post on March 27, almost two months later than the other Greenway posts. I knew that one beautiful stretch was left unexplored, and it was bugging me. That day I was feeling unwell and decided to do something silly – like leaving home shortly before the sunset and heading west. When I turned towards Stradbally, to my surprise the road was busy as never before. At the Greenway car park two uniformed men were trying to regulate the traffic. What could have happened on the quiet country road? Trucks, buses – why they were there? I checked the news and learned that a small airplane crashed 200m off the Cork road, and the traffic was diverted.

I parked and walked into the sunset. Cheerful little Robin, painted pink by the setting sun, greeted me with his song.

Waterford Greenway

Soon I reached the old Durrow/Stradbally station, now a home to a noisy family of Jackdaws, and probably, some ghosts.

Waterford greenway

There I also found a model of a tunnel we will visit next week.

Waterford Greenway

As I kept walking, the beautiful golden light painted the evening.

Waterford Greenway

It started getting darker. Telephone pole from my childhood emerged from the bushes.

Waterford Greenway

Finally I stood on the top of a little brother of the Kilmacthomas Viaduct – the seven arch Durrow Viaduct built in 1878.

Durrow Viaduct

It doesn’t look impressive – just another bridge.

Durrow Viaduct

As the sun went down I had to hurry back. I wanted to take a picture of the viaduct from the road beneath.

The sun set the sky on fire one more time.

I stop to take a picture of an old shed that looks quite spectacular. In the 1940’s- 1950’s the shed used to be a dance hall run by Willie Cronin, and later it was a carpenter’s workshop.

The hawthorn trees don’t look friendly in twilight.

Finally I drove to the viaduct, parked next to someone’s driveway, and walked towards the sound of gurgling stream. A special thing about this viaduct is that it spans a road, a river, and a bridge across the river.

durrow viaduct

River Tay, squeezed between the rivers Mahon and Dalligan, is rushing to the Celtic Sea and joins the big waters in Stradbally Cove. I got a word that raw sewage flows into the river in Stradbally. I still love the Cove and think that it is a great place to visit, but I never take my shoes off when walking in the sand.

Blue twilight and slow shutter speed add a bit of mystery.

river tay

I finished photographing the river and turned back. My initial plan was to walk to the other side and check out an abandoned house I spotted from the top of the viaduct, but after seeing the evil-looking tree peeking from behind the stone pillar, I thought I was fine and ready to run back to my car, asap.

Durrow Viaduct

My last blog post about the Waterford Greenway is out next weekend.

inesemjphotography Be well!

Waterford Greenway: Kilmacthomas Viaduct

Kilmacthomas

We skip 13 km of railway  between Kilmeadan station and Kilmacthomas  –  I hope to return there later when I am in a better form.

My car is parked in the Old Workhouse car park. The Workhouse buildings are very interesting and full of history. I probably have to write about this place again some day. Actually, you have already been there, visiting Marlfield Birds of Prey 🙂 You can also hire a bike there, and I think there is a restaurant too.

Leaving the car park, we approach the Kilmacthomas crossing. There was never a bridge before. The footbridge was put in place overnight in July 201 – a mighty and beautiful structure weighing 50 tonnes.

Waterford Greenway

Kilmacthomas Railway Station.

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Village of Kilmacthomas under our feet.

Waterford Greenway

One of the most spectacular structures of the Greenway is a curved eight-arch railway viaduct that was built in 1873 and spans the River Mahon at the height of almost 100 f.

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Lovely smiling couple gave me permission to take their picture.

Some views from the viaduct. I just love to stand there and look around.

Waterford Greenway

River Mahon has powered two mills since the late 1700’s. The Flahavan family are running a mill and an oat flaking facility. Flahavans Porridge and other products are the local favorites.

Kilmacthomas Viaduct

The path goes through the woodland.

Here and there you can see the remains of old railway infrastructure.

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Croughaun Hill on our right. The pictures were taken in early February, on a dull gray day. No decent view of the Comeraghs this time. The path goes to Durrow, our next destination.

Waterford Greenway

On the way back, I take a picture of a pigeon on the roof beneath the path.

After crossing the N25 again, we explore the Kilmeadan stretch of the former railway – before it gets too dark.

Old Semaphore Signal overtaken by Nature.

Waterford Greenway

Evening fog starts to settle down.

kilmacthomas

Very suspiciously looking Hawthorn trees must be full of lurking fairies. Time to walk back.

The Hawthorn trees are already stretching their branches towards me, but fortunately a lone cyclist scares them away.

I wonder what the Greenway looks like in complete darkness.

Waterford Greenway

Durrow Viaduct is our next destination. Thank you for walking along with me.


To the blogging community: Thank you for all your support. I will post another two scheduled Greenway blogs, and after that I will rewind a few of my old posts until I am back on track in June xx

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Waterford Greenway: Kilmeadan

Waterford Greenway

There might be some truth in that Carriganore myth about the hidden treasures because the end of the rainbow is right there by the river bank. We leave the rainbow behind and resume our walk to Kilmeadan station.

River Suir makes a sharp bend. The pink froth you see among the trees on the other side of the bend are Magnolias from the Mount Congreve gardens, in some 15 minutes walk from here.

Waterford Greenway

But first we walk through the Magic Wood where Fairies and Leprechauns live happily together 🙂

There is a whole city in the trees with lovely little houses, ladders and bridges. It is well hidden in the summer but now the fairies are in the open, and have to pretend that they are not real, otherwise the passers-by will annoy them with questions. I would advise you to make a wish as you pass by without disturbing the fairies. I made a mistake of entering the Woods for these pictures. When I climbed down to the road, I heard a sound of breaking plastic in my pocket. I was terrified, I thought it was my car key, but it was only a plastic barcode tag from the Applegreen petrol station. I have a spare one, but the fact is that I had it for years, and it broke exactly when I was exiting the Fairy Wood. Did I get a warning from the Fairies? Just don’t tell me it was a coincidence 😉

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Finally we reach the Mount Congreve garden wall. The gardens are massive – 70 acres of planted woodland and 4 acres of walled garden with impressive 16 km long net of paths.  They say it will be possible to enter the Gardens from the Greenway: for this purpose there is a long platform under construction. I don’t know why people would go to the Gardens from the Greenway if there is a main entrance, but may be someone will.

There are many different magnolia trees that you can see from the railway.

Some of them are very high.

Beautiful huge petals cover the path. I took a double exposure picture of one adorned with the dew.

Kilmeadan Castle stands by the River Suir junction with a tributary, on the site that was granted to the Power family (le Poers) in 1307 but was apparently destroyed during Cromwell invasion. I wrote about the Power family in my blog about Dunhill castle which they also owned.

This structure was built on the foundation of the old castle later in the 17th-18th century. The site looked different then, beautifully landscaped, surrounded with plantations of timber trees, canals and gardens.

Waterford Greenway

Bridge across the tributary, still in the process of reconstruction.

Waterford Greenway

A closer view. You can see the ruins of the Courtyard. The structure that looks like a tower is not actually a tower anymore – just two walls with a gap between them.

Waterford Greenway

The railway tracks take us further to our destination – Kilmeadan station.

Waterford Greenway

Two roads cross the railway over the old stone bridges.

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Finally we reached Kilmeadan. Here is some useful information if you want to take a ride.  The photographs in their website were taken before the construction of The Greenway, and there is a sad but necessary change of scenery since the jungle has been cleared to accomodate the cyclists. I don’t know if it makes me happy though. Too many species of birds lost their habitats and were scared away.

Kilmeadan station was closed to passengers in 1967 and beautifully restored by Suir Valley Railway  Heritage group 35 years later. A Simplex locomotive pulls two open carriages travelling at a grand speed of 15 km/ hour. Enough to enjoy the ride.

Railway carriage serves as a ticket office and shop. There are indoor tables and a picnic area. The railway tracks don’t go any further.

Waterford Greenway

This is where we finish our walk. Next time I will drive you to Kilmacthomas to visit a very exciting stretch of the Greenway. Thank you for walking with me. Stay fit! 😉


To the blogging community – thank you for your patience, I will catch up next week.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Waterford Greenway: River Suir

Walking downhill to the tunnel I heard familiar gentle, somewhat melancholic whistles. My heart skipped a beat  – Bullfinches! First time this year! I looked around and saw three birds, two males and a female, quite afar, and in the blinding sunlight. I took pictures, and stood there with a huge smile on my face. I so love these birds, their stocky bodies and unhurried manners. They don’t have the cheerful voice and funny curiosity of Robins, but their quiet presence is so soothing and comfortable 🙂

We meet again and resume our walk along the River Suir. This tunnel was built under the bypass to facilitate the railway. Notice the combination of a steep downhill gradient and a sharp curve.

Donovan tunnel

Dan Donovan supervised the laying of this railway track.

A look back at the River Suir Bridge.

Waterford Greenway

Beautiful views on the both sides of the track – lush green countryside and tranquil River Suir, charming at any season of the year.

Gorse bushes are in bloom and smell like honey.

This is one of the sharpest curves on the line.

Waterford Greenway

Here the cycling path deviates from the railway track. I walked both.

It was fun walking on the tracks between the river and the thick wild growth of brambles, thorny bushes and reed grass. I felt like I was cut off from the rest of the world.

Waterford Greenway

Dry yesteryear reed grass was making calming rustling sounds – actually there were no other sounds, and I didn’t see any birds.

The reed grass jungle looks more beautiful in winter than in summer, especially when it is bending in the wind and has that silvery silky look.

I took some double exposure photographs – one of dandelions…

… and one of a wild plum blossoms.

Looking at the new growth I thought about the wildlife in the area. These gentle weeds that are poking through the track bed will grow and obstruct the path. Will the maintenance team use herbicides? My thoughts went to the little Robin.

Another  look back. The buildings in the background belong to the new campus of Waterford IT. The campus is situated on the banks of the River Suir in Woodstown and Carriganore, or Stone of Gold in Irish. Woodstown is the site where numerous Viking era artifacts were found when the area was inspected before building the motorway. There were no indications that the Woodstown site could have any historical importance, but there has always been a myth  that Carriganore was the place where the merchants of Waterford buried their treasures hiding them from Cromwell. Finally, 39 test trenches were excavated in Carriganore in 2007 but nothing significant was found, only a few pieces of broken pottery ( 19th-20th century).

On the right side of the tracks there are old lime kilns. When putting up this blog I realised that I have never taken a single picture of them, because they just look boring, and they are also obstructed with some construction materials. You see many lime kilns when you travel around Ireland. The practice of burning lime was very common in the last century. The lime was used as fertiliser. The wood for fuel was brought from across the river by boat.

I have got a word that there is a Barn owl living in the kilns. I am not sure whether it is still living there with all these construction works, cyclists and dogs.

Waterford Greenway

This is where I parked my car. Next week we will resume our walk from here.

Waterford Greenway

Thank you for joining me for this walk.

Due to special circumstances, I am closing comments on this post and also on some of my future posts. I am very sorry and hope you will bear with me ❤

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

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

2016-12-28-2-003

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!