Co Tipperary

Knockmealdown mountains through the seasons II

Knockmealdowns

On a cold winter morning, shortly before the sunrise, we are traveling from Newcastle across the eastern part of the Knockmealdowns. The images below show the change of the light as the sun makes its way up in the sky.

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

More sheep.

This road will take you to the Mount Melleray Abbey .   You see it in the distance with the Knocknafallia mountain (666.5 m) in background.

Mount Melleray

In my previous post, I wrote about the other way to cross the Knockmealdowns. What links these two roads? Both of them can lead you to the famous Cats Bar where you can get a nice lunch and spend a good time in the evening. Photographs taken over the years.

cats bar

cat's bar cat's bar

Also, both of them can eventually take you to Lismore, but that’s another story for another time.

Lismore

Thank you for traveling across the Knockmealdown Mountains with me. If you are going to Ireland and travel from Tipperary to Waterford, try these two roads – R668 (R669) and ‘Unnamed’ road from Newcastle, Tipperary.

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

Knockmealdown mountains through the seasons I

Last winter I posted Comeragh series to introduce my favorite mountains. Today I am taking you just a couple of miles west to the Knockmealdown range. We will cross Knockmealdown mountains twice – from Clogheen and from Newcastle, in summer and in winter. Today I will also share a few ten years old photographs from my hike across the western part of the range. Good old days 🙂

But first we have to drive through the village of Ardfinnan, and the most famous feature of Ardfinnan is not its castle, but its gaggle of geese. My former colleague, who is originally from Ardfinnan, once told me that it was his great-grandmother who left her geese to the village in the beginning of the 20th century. I cannot tell you how many generations of geese passed since their common ancestors waddled on the banks of River Suir. In winter they fly to the Marlfield lake and return by the end of February. It is a very well organised group, and you can see them crossing the road and walking around as they please.

Young goslings look very cute.

We drive to Clogheen and turn onto the road that takes us to The Vee  (V), a sharp hairpin bend. It is a scenic drive through the forest and the rhododendron bushes, up the side of the Sugar Loaf Hill. The Vee road was built after the Great Famine of 1847.

The Vee

As we are approaching The Vee, suddenly a breathtaking view opens up.

The Vee

Galtee mountains stand at the other end of the Golden Vale.

Patches of farmland change color with the seasons.

I think it is a good time for a good song about Kitty from Knockmealdown 🙂

Even better view after the switchback.

The Vee

The road goes on the side of the Sugar Loaf Hill, a mountain peak with elevation of 663 m. From the road you can see (and easy reach to) a beehive-shaped stone monument, the last resting place of the eccentric Mr Samuel R. Grubb, appointed High Sheriff of Tipperary (1855-1921). Mr Grubb came from a former Quaker family who had been cast out of the Quaker Society for their great fondness for dances and similar amusements. In his will he requested that he be buried “in a beautiful and romantic spot on the side of Sugar Loaf hills“, and his coffin be placed upright.  Tenants and employees of Mr Grubb carried his coffin to the grave.

The sheep are everywhere, adding excitement to the drive.

We stop at the viewpoint above the famous Bay Lough. Knocknalougha (Knockaunabulloga) Hill  is covered with thick rhododendron growth and looks all pink in May. As beautiful as it looks, rhododendron is an alien species, and spreads like a weed.

Why is Bay Lough famous? I will tell you everything in my Halloween post 🙂

The rest of the road looks more or less the same. On some stage the road forks: you can drive straight and visit Cappoquin, or take the right turn to Lismore.

Knockmealdowns

Here are some photographs taken during the epic hike from the Bay Lough car park to Araglin. In the picture below you see the Bianconi hut and the Grotto. The hut served as shelter for Bianconi Coaches, horse-drawn carriages that provided transportation services around the south and south-west just for 1 penny a mile.

bianconi hut

This hike took place ten years ago in September 2007.

Knockmealdowns

The highest peak of the range is Knockmealdown (794m). They say that on a  clear day the highest Kerry mountains can be seen from the summit.

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Knockmealdowns

Through the green tunnel, down the hill we are heading to Lismore. I will write about Lismore some other day.

Knockmealdowns

We have crossed the Knockmealdowns through the Vee Gap that is well seen in my opening picture with the Sugar Loaf on the right and Knocknalougha on the left side. Next time we are going to take the other road, and you will see what the mountains look like in winter.

Thank you for your company!

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a wonderful weekend!

Carey’s Castle: a hidden gem at the foot of the Comeraghs

carey castle

Just about a mile off the Clonmel to Dungarvan road, at the border between Tipperary and Waterford counties, stands the most loved and visited castle in the area.

The castle is located in the beautiful mixed woodlands close to the Glenary River, a tributary of the River Suir. Centuries ago the place was known as Glenabbey. It was a small monastic site that belonged to the Cistercian monastery in Innislounaght, Clonmel, but was abandoned in the 16th century as a result of the Dissolution of the Monasteries initiated by Henry VIII. The ruins of the old buildings and walls can still be seen.

After the monks moved out, the site was granted to Edward Gough, an alderman of Clonmel. There is no record that something remarkable had been happening in the site during the next 200 years, but in the beginning of the 19th century the Carey’s castle was built. At that time, the site was the property of the Carey family, the wealthy schoolmasters who loved history. It is believed that they were the ones who built the castle, because it is a mixture of architectural styles and eras. You see an ancient Irish Round Tower, medieval Norman hall, Romanesque arches and Gothic windows. There was also a walled garden facing the river.

The Careys sold the site in the 1840s when they emigrated to Australia. The next owner was Colonel Nuttall Greene, who soon became bankrupt, and his property was sold off in the Estates Court. The site was abandoned and became derelict.

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

I always thought this building was an ice house, but now I know it is a chapel :). I love to receive feedback and learn new things.

Carey Castle

This is the other side of the chapel and the path that approaches the site from the east.

Carey castle

This is the path you would walk on from the parking lot after you take a right turn down the hill. The main path continues straight through the woods. It is also beautiful and worth to explore.

Carey castle

This is what you see when you walk down that path. In summer, the view is obscured by the tree branches.

Carey castle

Here the path makes a loop and returns to the woods. A different view from this point. On the right, you see the walled garden.

Carey castle

All the parts of the path are mystically beautiful. You see many ancient ruins who knows how old.

Carey castle

Glenary River is a treasure itself. Quite deep in some places, she even hosts fish. Local teenagers come for a swim in the icy-cold pool, just five minutes walk to the east from the castle.

I walk along the Glenary River out of the woods to the main road. It is quite dark here, and suddenly there is an opening between the trees, and the sheep appear like pale ghosts out of nowhere, startling me.

I hurry up, and in a couple of minutes the sun is shining again, and there are no ghosts anymore. Thistles and Foxgloves are stretching tall to get out of the thick wall of nettles guarding an old farmstead.

digitalis

I take some pictures of the gate and old roof, and walk to the parking lot.

Carey Castle is a unique place, open to everyone. How sad it is that people leave all their litter there after having picnics and walking their dogs. Once a year, a local Slovakian/Polish family hosts a Gulash Party in the castle grounds. A huge saucepan of stew is cooked, and families with children stay in the site all the day, and some even over night, sleeping in the tents. Everyone can come if they are well-behaved 🙂  Before the party begins, the hosts are combing the area and picking up all the rubbish left there during the rest of the year. After the party, the place is tidied up again.

There is another Carey’s Castle in the world, a cave-like dwelling in the end of a magnificent trail at the South-West corner of Joshua Tree National Park, USA. Both sites are not officially recognized as tourist destinations, and remain ‘hidden gems’.

Thank you for visiting my favorite place!


Just to let you know.  We have a wee addition to our family 🙂

 


inese_mj_photography Have a wonderful weekend!

Springish

sheep

Spring is the morning of the year…  The Golden Rod by Frank Dempster Sherman  is written about autumn, but I couldn’t find a better description for the season. All the forces of Nature awaken, the Sun is regaining his strength, a seed begins to sprout and a lamb is born. Life is young.

lamb

Morning in the mountains is quiet, hazy and cool. I get out of the car and all the sheep run away. Then they stop, and slowly come back. You think they look at me and pose for a photograph? Not at all. I left the car door open, and it is the music that fascinates the sheep. It is Camille Saint-Saëns, The Carnival of the Animals. I am not joking. The old sheep didn’t move until the music was over. The lamb were not overcome by art to that extent, and soon went around jumping and just being lamb.

sheep

The sun goes up and soon the rolling hills are lit and warmed. The weather in March is never the same too long.

comeragh

The fowl of the earth are celebrating spring too. No chicks yet, but I came across some moorhen chick photographs in Sarah Potter blog . They are so cute, have a look ! 🙂 I love these green legs! This moorhen is marching around the pond in Stephens Green Park in Dublin.

moorhen

A young gull with dramatic wings looks like a Fallen Angel. In fact, he is just trying to catch a slice of bread.

gull

I took this picture in The Burren, right beside the Poulnabrone Dolmen. These cheerful sprouts are Lamiaceae family members, but I am not sure what exactly they are.

This picture was taken in Clonmel, between Lady Blessingtons Bath and Raheen Road on St. Patrick’s day 2007. Sadly, this daffodil field doesn’t exist any more. It was leveled during the City Council reconstruction works.

daffodils

You wouldn’t believe, but the next three pictures are taken in March too. It was in 2009, we got a word that the famous Magnolia trees in Lismore Castle park were in bloom.

lismore

magnolia

Camellia, Lismore Castle garden.

camelia

An when you think that the winter is gone, there comes a hailstorm.

storm

The weather changes in a matter of minutes.

storm

reflection

On days like this, you want to sit in the beach and listen to the surf and the rustling sound of sand…

beach

…or build a castle.

castle

They say that Mark Twain once observed “one hundred and thirty six kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours”. That must have been in March. Capricious March! Sometimes it is difficult to be nice and balanced in the morning, even if it is the morning of the year 😉

inesemjphotography  Have a wonderful weekend!

Make it light

Photography is all about light, even the word itself means ‘writing with light’.

Morning light colors solemn calligraphy of bare trees.

201 04 sunrise 068ed

Rich, copper-colored evening light fills the air with lush thickness.

sunset

I took this photograph in May 2013. I was on my way home when the Moon started coming out of the peach-colored clouds just minutes after the sunset. Astonishingly big, it was slowly rolling behind the mountain ridge. I quickly took some pictures and drove up to the mountain top in hope for a better view.

moon

Unfortunately, the Moon sank in the thick clouds and left me in the dark. I had to drive down the road that was barely wider than my car. Still, there were a lot to admire, especially the lace of different silhouettes against the dying sunset, and Clonmel, Co Tipperary, at my feet. Photography never ceases! 🙂

night

The light can stream through the gaps in the clouds, or between the tree trunks in the forest, creating  crepuscular rays. The rays in this photograph look like they have circled a sample of ferns to be taken to the alien spaceship.

light

This is a photograph from my trip to Rome. I visited Vatican, and had a plan to climb up St. Peter’s Basilica Dome. This plan was a reckless affair since I am quite claustrophobic, and at that time I also needed a walking stick. If you have any questions, no, it wasn’t a pilgrimage, and I didn’t expect to come down jumping stairs two at a time, and leaving my walking stick behind. I might write a separate story about that Rome trip.

Anyway, before the epic climb I peeked inside the Basilica. At certain time of the day, you can see crepuscular rays streaming inside from the different windows. I was lucky to observe these beautiful phenomena.

The most interesting thing about light is that its opposite, darkness, doesn’t exist. Darkness is only the absence of light, and therefore we cannot do anything to change or remove darkness itself.  We can affect darkness only with light. However, darkness is a very important opposite – we know what is light only by darkness.

cashel

This is a photograph of my Dad, it was taken in 1937 when he was seventeen. He is my light.

My Dad left this Earth 31 years ago.  I have only a few photographs of him. After he died, Grandma turned to the worse, and one day she managed to put almost all the family photographs in the fireplace. When my mother asked her why, she said that she was afraid. Some day I will write about whom she was afraid from, and why.

My Dad had an extraordinary life. His integrity, tact, good disposition and genuine empathy towards any human being earned him respect from people of different backgrounds and cultures.

‘Learn’ – I heard this word every day. He knew the value of light.

In Jodi Picoult’s book ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ there is a scene where Sara recalls a fight with her sister Zanne about the light left on.  “You can make it dark, but I can’t make it light”,  says Sara. I want to rephrase this sentence – I can make it light. You can make it light. We all can make it light.

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful Sunday!