Christmas

Coumshingaun in December 2020

We are visiting Crotty’s places, and Coumshingaun is next on the list. I will write more about the lake in January. Today I want to tell you about a man who had lived around there most of his life, 200 years after William Crotty.

The Hermit Lackendarra.

This picture is linked to the blog of a native of Kilmacthomas Tom O’Brien, novelist, playwright and poet living in Hastings UK. Tom wrote the hermit’s story in 2014, sharing his own memories as he grew up in the area. My plan was to write about Lackendarra in 2019, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his settling in the Comeraghs, but none of my plans have been working since… Yet, I didn’t give up on the idea. In November, I met a solo hiker who mentioned the hermit, and I knew it was the time to finally put up a blog post.

I had never been to the hermit’s cave, but I had a map from Barry Dalby of EastWest Mapping and spotted the rock from the main road. It took a while though, but on a fine and chilly December day I was finally standing there, as close as I could get to the place. The rock looked massive, its surface was glowing in the low winter light.

Before he became known by the name of Lackendarra, Jim Fitzgerald was a young lad raised by his grandparents in the townland of Castlereagh near Lackendarra on the other side of the Comeraghs. According to Census, he was born in 1891, and it also fits with the record of his death in 1959 at the age of 68.

Jim enlisted with the Royal Irish Regiment in 1914 and was sent to Mesopotamia with the 1st Bn Connaught Rangers in 1916. In 1918, he was discharged with diagnosis “melancholia” due to suffering a severe shell shock, a broken man, physically and mentally.

Unable to fit in and keep a job, he went to the mountains looking for a place to live away from society.

After days of search, he came across a cavern in the cliff behind Coumshingaun lake. It seems the cavern was the one where William Crotty used to hide his horses and stolen cattle.

“A few nights after his arrival, he had been awakened by the piercing wails of a woman and the agonizing groans of a man. The sounds were followed by the clip-clop of hoof beats and the echoes of clashing steel. After the some time the tumult had retreated along the tunnel – way to the north, and faded away…

The unearthly noises had continued every night without any variation, until his nerves eventually forced him to depart. “I thought Crotty’s ghost was after me and I could not suppress the fear that his gander resented my presence”.

Old Jim of the Comeraghs by John Scarry, The Wide World Magazine: Vol. 118, No. 700, November 1956

Jim left the cavern, but used a cave under the fallen rocks as his summer residence.

Before I continue with the story about my hike, I want you to watch this amazing video by Tom Fitzpatrick and learn more about The Hermit Lackendarra. It is a 17 minute video and some extras, not a single minute too long. I share this video to celebrate all the kind people who took care of a stranger, a broken man, expecting nothing in return.

Lackendarra from Tom Fitzpatrick on Vimeo.

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I parked at Kilclooney Wood car park and being a polite (and curious) person started a small talk with these two gentlemen getting ready for their hike. The weather was extremely windy and chilly. I couldn’t miss noticing their serious hiking gear which meant they were up for the 4 hour cliff hike around the lake. My Sketchers walking shoes were noticed too, and frowned upon ūüėČ I asked about the Hermit’s cave and got the directions.

Meet the rock climbers – educator and mountaineer Jack Bergin and director of Dunmore East Sea School Robert Marchant.

I was glad I didn’t wear my Earth Spirit sandals that day… I wear them all the year round – just add an extra pair of socks in winter. They are great on the rocks and rugged terrain – I can feel the earth beneath my feet and never slip. Another good thing about them – I don’t do any damage to the soil and vegetation. It is very important for me because I often walk off the trails to take photographs. Even the Sketchers look heavy to compare with my favorite sandals.

This is an old photograph, and it was the view I expected, but there was no pine tree anymore. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was an artificial pine tree, so it definitely wasn’t cut down for timber!

I looked around in confusion, and there it was, all broken into pieces.

Now I know what the tree was made from.

Instead of walking up the slope, I continue straight ahead until the path takes me to the stone wall. Then I just follow the wall. I wouldn’t walk here in summer because of the ferns and other thick vegetation.

I look back at the coum trying to spot the brave rock climbers. I don’t feel the wind here, but I have seen the forecast… Hope they are all right…

Finally I see the Lackendarra’s Rock. It is not as close as I expected, but I wouldn’t cross the fencing. I just stand there thinking about everything I know about the man.

I look back at the coum again. It is very tempting to walk to the lake from here. It is what Lackendarra would do. There is a sheep track, and I follow it.

The sheep track is winding between the ferns. The rocks grow bigger as I come closer, and smaller again when I look back.

At this point I decide to turn left to may be join the trail. The place feels like a wind tunnel and I worry about the lads.

Robins and rabbits distracted me. It was after 3PM when I finally got to the lake. There I met another hiker, Garreth, and we exchanged some bits of information about the area. When Garreth left, I had the whole coum to myself. It was quite dark, I took a few pictures of a shallow stream and walked towards the far end of the lake. It is a half of a mile long walk, and I wouldn’t go to the caves anyway, so I just took this picture from a distance. To get a sense of scale, look at the white dots – the sheep. The Crotty’s cavern is in the centre. On the right side of the cavern the rockfall created a series of caves where Lackendarra would stay in summer.

This is an older picture. The place doesn’t change much over the seasons.

I am delighted you learned another bit of Co Waterford history. More about the lake in my next blog. And yes, the brave rock climbers returned safe and sound at the time I was done with my photography.

I hope you had a happy Christmas. There are too many people in the world haunted by their memories, fears or pain. Sometimes they are too different for us to be comfortable with. They might feel the same about us. It is a fragile territory where only a pure compassion can operate. My New Year’s wish for you is that your life is full of love, joy and prosperity, and also compassion – the key to all good in this life.

Thank you for being friends.

  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Star Flyer lifts adrenaline lovers to the heights of 40 m (131 f). I can hear their screams from a distance ūüôā

Unhurried Christmas Train is fun in its own way. Winterval is in full swing in Waterford – there is fun for everyone.

When the moon goes up and the streets become silent, it is the time for memories.

My train of thoughts is slow like the Winterval Express, and it is off the rails sometimes.

I will start from Spring. I remember it was lovely.

Birds saved the summer.

I left autumn behind and found December.

It was my first walk in a while, and I suddenly felt like someone was watching me.

And sure it was ūüôā

A little symbol of Chinese New Year. A Rat!

Fear and curiosity fought, and curiosity won. I wish I knew what the little fella was thinking about me.

Then we were joined by a Robin who landed behind the rat and startled him.

Yet, he resumed his position and kept watching me. So did the Robin who didn’t want to miss anything. I took my pictures and wished them both well.

Hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and a happy new year of the Rat that starts in the end of January.

, with love ‚ô•!

December

Waterford

Something exceptional happened, worth to mention. We have got a snowfall in Waterford.

It didn’t last long though. When I finally got downstairs and limped out in the street, there was almost nothing to see. I had to use a slow shutter speed to make the falling snow visible in the pictures.

Waterford

Aoife and Strongbow endured the snowfall well, despite their old age. Their marriage took place in August 1170, the day after the capture of Waterford by the Norman forces sent by Henry II and led by Strongbow who at that time was called Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare.

Waterford

But the Vikings came here first. They arrived in the 9th century and created a town in 914. The history of their reign is very complicated and violent, but so where the times.


As we are speaking about the Vikings – here is a link to the blog run by hamsters¬†¬†¬†of amazing author who wrote one of my favorite books¬† – The Viking and the Courtesan. Shehanne Moore, thank you for your fantastic books! Please visit Shehanne’s blog!


A local artist John Hayes envisaged a giant Viking sword carved out of a whole tree.¬† John Hayes is a well known carver, and I have already posted photographs of some of his other work: Greenway train¬† and¬†¬†¬†The Angel of Fenor.¬†¬†¬† You can read about the¬† Viking Sword ¬†¬†¬†¬†and here is a video I found on YouTube. You can come to Waterford to marvel at the carvings as the work is completed and the sword has been placed on Bailey’s New Street, in so-called Viking Triangle. The street starts from the Reginald Tower where you can find the source of inspiration – a Viking sword made in the 9th century in Norway.

 

 

And this is the sword itself. It is 20 m long and carved out of a single Douglas fir. A viking house in background is the place of the virtual reality show King of the Vikings. Don’t miss it on your visit to Waterford. You will find yourself¬† barely escaping arrows and axes, fire and deep waters, right in¬†the middle of the Viking Invasion. Very fun ūüôā

Waterford

Hopefully, John’s sword will be recognised as a world record.

Waterford

By the way, John Hayes also built this giant post box for the letters to be delivered to Santa. The box stands under the mirror roof of the Apple Market.

Waterford

I am not sure what I think about this roof, but I do love the reflections in the mirrors.

Waterford

The days are very short in December. In early hours of the morning when the lucky people were supposed to watch the Geminids, I was driving through the slashing rain to pick up my prescription. As much of an optimist as I am, I took my camera with me. To my surprise, outside the city the sky was clear and the thin waning crescent¬† Moon was so pretty with Jupiter below and Mars on the right. I had to crop Mars out because it was quite far and didn’t add to the picture, but I included the Waterford bridge. It was at about 6.30 in the morning. I saw two shooting stars while driving, but nothing major, no balls of fire or anything like that. I wish I had more time so that I could stand there until the dawn.

Waterford

This picture was taken 12 hours later.

Waterford

Last night I ventured out again to see if I can get some more pictures for this blog. There was a charity event in the Holy Trinity church and the gates were open. I used the opportunity and took pictures of churchyard and tombs.

The horse ride must be fun. Except, I think the carriage full of people is too heavy for two horses. I remember there were four horses in the previous years.

I set up my camera to take pictures of the Waterford Eye. I am not sure if I should take a ride. I might, but may be another day ūüėČ I am playing with the shutter speed – don’t want to get just a monochrome blurred disc. This picture was taken at 10 seconds, as the wheel is quite slow. The light show gives me the opportunity to get very different patterns which is really fun. The passing cars leave a red line in the picture.

Last December I took pictures of the smaller Vintage Ferris wheel. I might try out a ride on that one ūüėČ

I walk to the other side of the wheel and take more pictures. Then I start experimenting with zooming the lens with a slow shutter speed after every three seconds ( shutter speed minimum 5 seconds; I didn’t want a completely blurred disc). I like the results ūüôā

But what about Christmas? I didn’t see a single item that could be attributed to Christmas… until I looked down… wait, what is it there, under the porch, way lower than the pavement? A Nativity set! Tiny figures hidden from the people’s eyes, with the background made of garbage bags. Merry and bright it was. Sort of.

Political correctness is frowning at the use of the C-word, but I have never cared of anything political. It is the holiday I celebrate. What do you celebrate? Awesome! I already love your holiday, and your recipes ūüėČ Let’s celebrate together, and let’s hope your holiday will never get into the Political Correctness Naughty List ūüėČ

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

Merry Christmas!

merry christmas

 

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

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

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

I truly wish there is someone for you to love.

 

 

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

 

DMC

 

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

 

 

Some of you put their trust in God.

 

2015-02-08 060r

 

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

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

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


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

 

 

Joy and peace to the world.

 

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

 

Christmas story

christmas

Christmas story is a special genre. I love a good Christmas story – warm, inspiring, sincere, with a touch of magic an a happy ending. Not exactly the story I want to share.

It was the end of 2000. We had got a¬†beautiful white Christmas and the snow kept falling. My daughter and I just left a meeting and headed home – ¬†a short¬†walk in a quiet street between a rich neighbourhood and old city cemetery. ¬†Walking arm in arm we didn’t hurry: no one was waiting for us at home. The evening was magic, and when I noticed two silhouettes in the end of the street moving towards us, I immediately knew they were a danger. My daughter felt the same way;¬†we grew silent¬†and kept walking¬†because there were nowhere else to go.

It all happened suddenly and lasted just a few seconds. They pushed us hard and we fell into the pile of snow, One of them grabbed my purse and they run. You probably know that some people get killed for just a handful of change. I felt humiliated and lucky at the same time. At that moment I knew that there were a pair of glasses in that purse, nothing else. When we came home I realised that there was also my ID. We had to call the Police. Beautiful, quiet evening turned into a nightmare.

Every day we had to come to the Police station to be asked more questions. In the notorious picture album we spotted our guy, and were told that our episode is #6, and some people got kicked and beaten. We were lucky indeed.

They got caught after 3-4 days. One of the victims run behind them and called the Police on the run.  I got my ID back.

Then we had to go to the court. One of the guys, the one who was beating the victims,  got a year in jail as a juvenile,  and a 6 months probation.

Some days later we met his mother in the market. ¬†We came over and told her that we were sorry she had to go through all of that. She cried. We became friends. Soon she joined the church; it gave her strength and helped to fight her loneliness. After a year her son came home, they¬†both visited us and he said he was sorry. He joined the Church following his mother’s example. After 6 months of probation, he was involved in a robbery and¬†was sentenced for¬†three years, this time in an adult jail.

To¬†be utterly honest, I don’t know if I would feel compassion towards him and his mother if he hurt my daughter. I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. I am not a saint.

I remember this story every Christmas Рthe only Christmas story  I have been a part of.

I would love to be more compassionate and forgiving. God gave us the best gift РHis beloved Son. This gift means that He loves us as imperfect as we are, and He will never give up on us. I guess, He expects us to never give up on our fellow beings too.

inesemjphotographyHave a happy weekend!