bluebells

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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā

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!

Mountain Grove

Ireland

One of my first WordPress posts was the one about Jenkinstown Woods. Now, after a year, I am visiting another bluebell forest, Mountain Grove Рa loop trail just outside Piltown, Co Kilkenny.

Mountain Grove is an old woodland part of Piltown forest that is located in South West Kilkenny, covering an area of 1,823 hectares. The forest stretches to the Tipperary border on the west and to the Waterford border on the south, along  the river Suir. The main tree species growing in the forest include Sitka spruce, larch, Douglas fir, beech, ash and oak, with the broadleaves dominating in Mountain Grove Рas you can see in the images.

Starting off from the tiny parking spot, I meet two dog walkers and from this moment I am there alone for a whole two hours.

Ireland

The quietness is almost surreal. The¬†birds are nesting and prefer not to expose themselves, and I don’t see any presence of the mammals either – dogs have scared them away from the grove.

Ireland

The bluebells are scarce but nevertheless their fragrance is intense, sweet and alluring. I walk off the trail and feel like I disappear from the world and become a part of the wild woodland.

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland

The early purple orchid was once a common plant, but now it is a rare guest in the woodlands. Many wild orchids are legally protected, but this fact does not stop people picking them… A friend went to the Mountain Grove just three days¬†later¬†and didn’t find a single flower¬†– all gone. People don’t realize that it takes years for the orchids to germinate.

The early purple orchid is the “long purple” of Ophelia’s garland, as referred to by Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

“Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples, that liberal shepherds give a grosser name”

Ireland

Different species of Ferns started unrolling their young fronds. In the image¬†below –¬†Hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium).

Ireland

And of course there is a beautiful yet nameless stream.

Ireland

Ireland

I will be back!

Ireland

Hope you enjoyed the woodlands.

inesemjphotographyHave a happy week!

Bluebell day in Jenkinstown woods

My Grand Canyon memory trip worked very well. In spite of the bad forecast I woke up early and boldly went off to Jenkinstown. To my surprise, the weather started getting better, and by the time I arrived, there was summer.

Jenkinstown Park is a gem. At any season. It is sad to see that so many trees are cut down, home for the owls, pine martens, stouts and squirrels…¬†I didn’t see any animals, but crossing a tiny path I felt a strong odor of a small carnivore. Might be a weasel…

Today I came to Jenkinstown Park for a special purpose. Early May is a season for bluebells, and this is the place!

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

A breathtaking carpet of¬† blue overtakes the forest floor and glorious smell fills the air. Photographers of all kinds make their annual pilgrimage. ¬†Like today. The sun is shining through the leaves ( the sun and the copper beech tree have special relationships); a little robin is singing his simple fluting song… I wish I had time to stay here all the day, walk all the trails, catch a glimpse of a badger, find a sleeping owl or watch baby foxes playing… I only have two hours: one hour for photography, the other hour for having a marvellous time while walking back to the car park…

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstownThis year the bluebell season started late. I could come here next week and get a brighter blue, but I think that this delicate hazy shade is lovely.

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstown

I met a good few photographers, and even took a picture of a couple  by request. Young and old, they came here because  people need beauty. It is so wonderful that there are places like this one where you can come and fill yourself with beauty and peace.

bluebells_jenkinstown

bluebells_jenkinstownHeraclitus said that no man ever steps in the same river twice. I got caught twice in the same rain today – does it count? First time it showered me after I left the woods, on the way to Freshford, and then it got me when I was leaving Clonmel. Fresh, aggressive, dedicated to wet you to the bone… My bluebell season is over for this year, but I will visit Jenkinstown later in summer again.

Photography tip of the day: When taking pictures of bluebells try to either get down low to the ground or position your camera as high as you can.

inesemj_photographyHave a great weekend!