Co Tipperary

William Despard Hemphill, Clonmel, County Tipperary


Clonmel is one of my favorite towns in County Tipperary – a place rich of history, and surrounded by beautiful landscapes. If you travel Ireland and are interested in photography, it is a place to visit for many reasons.

In 1840 an instruction manual in the use of the daguerreotype was offered by the Dublin Mechanical Institute and the natural Philosophy Committee of the Royal Dublin Society purchased a camera for taking daguerreotypes in the same year. Photography started its journey in Ireland.

Photography was quickly taken up by Ireland’s professional and landowning classes and the residents of Ireland’s big country houses. One of Ireland’s pioneering photographers, William Despard Hemphill was a native of Clonmel

William Despard Hemphill (1816–1902) was born into a large professional middle class Church of Ireland Tipperary family in 1816. After graduating University of St Andrews, he returned to Clonmel and had a successful medical practice, being doctor to both the Lunatic Asylum and the Prison.


Dr Hemphill composed and played music, was an avid orchid grower, turned ivory ornaments and was interested in archaeology, geology, and Waterford glass. He experimented with the latest photographic techniques, won several prestigious awards, and left a vast historical photography record of the 19the century scenes and people. He won fourteen prizes in Dublin, London and Paris. His photographs were praised for excellence of composition and artistic taste.

William Despard Hemphill is best known for his book ‘Stereoscopic illustrations of Clonmel and surrounding country, including Abbeys, Castles and Scenery. With descriptive Letterpress’, which was printed in Dublin, in 1860.

Stereoscopic photography recreates the illusion of depth by utilizing the binocularity of human vision. Stereoscopic photographs, or stereographs, consist of two nearly identical photographs  – one for the left eye, one for the right. Viewing the side-by-side images through a special lens arrangement called a stereoscope helps our brain combine the two flat images and see the illusion of depth. Stereoscopic photographs became very popular after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert received the gift of a stereoscopic viewer at the Crystal Palace exhibition in 1851.

Dr Hemphill’s  “Stereoscopic Illustrations” book comprises two volumes – one is the stereoscopic photographs themselves, the other – the descriptive text. The work is extremely rare; it was never available to the general public, and possibly only distributed  by Hemphill to his aristocratic friends in South Tipperary. Each known copy is unique and differs from the others. The National Library lacks all the photographs. Clonmel County Museum has two full copies containing the photographs, however, they are not on display for the general public .

Clonmel Library has a copy of the volume containing the descriptions to the photographs (no illustrations). If you ask, they will give you the book and you can read it all – 102 pages. It is printed in red & black, with the decorative red border vignettes. A sonnet written by a well-known, or anonymous author, or by William Despard Hemphill himself, opens each chapter. The volume opens with two quotes written in Greek and Latin – by Lucian and John Dryden respectively.


I went around the town to recreate some of Dr Hemphill’s photographs. The bits of information about the scenes I took from that famous book.

In 1857 Dr Hemphill photographed St Mary’s, Clonmel, his parish church shortly before the reconstruction and alteration works. The Western Wing was not altered and looks the same today.



This image depicts a part of the Eastern Wing that was altered during the reconstruction works and no longer exists.


This image of the Quay is taken from a boat. Commercial barges like this one were used before the railway was built in 1854.  Some buildings along the Quay are still there, but the Manor Mills in the background have been demolished.

Quay, Thro’ The Arch Of The Bridge, Clonmel ( 1857-58)



Scot’s Church, Anglesea St, Clonmel (1857-58) with its pretty little Ionic portico

“Clonmel, the assize town and capital of the County of Tipperary, is situated on the River Suir, which here separates the Counties of Tipperary and Waterford, and is built principally on the north side, and partly on some islands in the river, which are connected with each other and the town by bridges of considerable antiquity.” (Descriptive text by William Hemphill)


In the street, you can see a car. It is a Bianconi long car. Bianconi was an Italian man who settled in Clonmel and became a Father of Public Transportation in Ireland. The headquarters of Bianconi’s Transport was in Parnell St nearby.

Otherwise the street hasn’t changed.



Another beautiful place that still exists is The Patrick’s Well and Church.


An old lady selling some religious souvenirs used to sit at the tree every day.

This is what the Patrick Well site looks these days. No one is selling souvenirs any more, but an old man, David, is there almost every day ready to answer your every question about the site and its history.




There are some changes inside the Church. The altar had to be removed because of the repeated acts of vandalism, and only the base of it remained intact. David showed me some carvings I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise: a figure of Jesus with the fields and buildings of Jerusalem in  background.



And here are a few more pictures of Clonmel taken over the years. Different seasons, different vantage points, different moods. Lovely town that has a tiny Tourist office in the Mary’s church premises, because there are very little tourists.  A gem that is not hidden, just overlooked.







So, back to Dr Hemphill again. His home was demolished and a shopping center was built where a beautiful garden used to be.


I went to the parking lot and asked random  people if they knew who William Despard Hemphill is. Two elderly gentlemen knew to tell me about the Hemphills’ estate. Not that he is completely forgotten – in 2013, Clonmel County Museum presented a stunning exhibition of the photographs of William Despard Hemphill – Silent Exposure. It was my first experience viewing stereoscopic photographs.

I went to his parish church graveyard and found his grave. There is a beautiful Celtic cross with the inscription that says: The memory of the just is blessed.


Thank you for walking the streets of Clonmel with me!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Light, Water and Firmament

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It is raining all the week: even the birds don’t want to sing any more.  Everything is soaked with water.  “Let’s there be light!”… There is no light, and the days a grey from morning to dusk.  Not that I complain. It is a good enough time for photography.



I stop my car and take some pictures. Suddenly the hail storm begins, and in a blink of an eye the hailstones cover the front seat and dashboard while I am frantically scrolling the car window up.  The hailstones are melting in my hands…  My “models” run away. Oh well..

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All the way across the pass, driving down to Clonmel, Tipperary, I had the voice of Lisa Gerrard in my head.  As far as I could see, there was not a single human around. Low, heavy clouds and distant blue mountain tops; ravines filled with fog … This place is right for me.

I chose this video for my post – Gregory Colbert‘s study of interactions between humans and animals, and a beautiful song The Host of Seraphim by Dead Can Dance.

Now we walk down to the sea.


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The sand trees are as fascinating as the frost flowers on the window glass.

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Is it a message? I have a sinking and sobering feeling that there are countless messages of a great importance that we either miss or cannot read.

Lisa Gerrard –  Seven Seas From  album ‘Twilight Kingdom’

inesemjphotography Have a peaceful weekend!


River Suir, Ireland


I have moved. I still live near river Suir, but there are no herons, no meadows and no wildflowers here. City life…

Right before I left the town our Camera Club had an exciting outing: a boat trip from Carrick on Suir marina to Mooncoin and back, courtesy of Carrick on Suir River Rescue.  

This noble organization has never received any funds from the Government and has been assisting in rescue and search operations all over Ireland since 1960s. At the moment they have sixteen volunteers who are on 24/7 call. If someone can make a donation, please read this page. They also have a charity shop in Carrick on Suir where you can donate unwanted goods.

Here are a few images from that boat trip.

river rescue



On the way back it is getting darker.



Good bye Carrick!


When you work some people are happy with what you are doing…


…and some not really…


…and it is OK 🙂

Last week I was nominated for two rewards. Wow.  Many thanks go to the inspiring bloggers who are just too kind and supportive.

First one was a One Lovely blog nomination. I was nominated by a wonderful lady who inspires her readers to change their life.


The rules for winning this award are simple. Here they are:

1. Thank the person who has nominated you. Provide a link to his/her blog.

2. List the rules and display the award image.

3. Include 7 facts about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated. This is a way to introduce others to bloggers that you love.

5. Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

So here are 7 facts about myself; they are pretty informative:

1. I have sense of humor.

2. I am a lousy swimmer.

3. I adore cats.

4. I have lived in Moscow 5 years and never visited Lenin Mausoleum.

5. I feel sorry for the elderly. I always did.

6. I love mathematical puzzles.

7. I feel perfectly comfortable going to the movies or theatre by myself if no one is available.

It was hard…

My favorite part. I nominate these 15 amazing bloggers.

Thank you again for the nomination!

Please check out these  blogs!

And here is the other nomination, A Very Inspiring blogger award. Thank you Nana Noyz! You are too kind! I always feel humbled because I know how many really inspiring blogs are around. Please check out this wonderful blog! 


Here are the rules:

Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
List the rules and display the award.
Share seven facts about yourself.
Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they’ve been nominated.
Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

I already shared seven facts about myself…   There are the bloggers I nominate:

Please click the links. You might find a new blogger friend.

Photography tip of the day: Look in your viewfinder and make a composition before you press the shutter button.  I know that it is a digital camera, but still you will spend less time deleting bad quality images.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a great week!

Irish summer

A newcomer to Ireland arrives on a rainy day. He gets up the next day and it is raining. It also rains the day after that, and the day after that.

He goes out to lunch and sees a young kid and asks out of despair, “Hey kid, does it ever stop raining around here?”
The kid says: How do I know? I’m only six!

This year we have got a proper summer, no jokes! 🙂 County Tipperary has been bathing in sun since June.

Irish summer

It was one of the hottest days when I went to Kilsheelan,  and I thought I would walk a little bit by the river.  The cows on the opposite bank enjoyed the shade of a giant Oak tree and drank from the river till they were full.

Irish summer

Then they laid down for a nap, black islands in the sea of grass.

Irish summer

What a pleasure to walk along a path lined with lush grasses and delicate wild flowers. My summer favorite is poppy flower.

Irish summer

Irish summer

Irish summer

Another favorite is crop field. I love to take pictures of them in any weather, morning or night, and at any stage of their growth and harvest.  What a fascinating sight they make, waving in the wind!

Irish summer

Abundance of sunlight this summer makes the greenery richer and  foliage ticker.

Irish summer

Sometimes it is nice to hide from the burning sun in the woods…

Irish summer

…or under the thick canopy of linden trees in the churchyard.


What the summer looks like where you live?

Photography tip of the day: When the sun is high  shoot your portraits in the open shade.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a great weekend!

Narrow roads and pink mountains

Last week I visited a friend in Burncourt, Co Tipperary. I chose a narrow country road for fun and delightful drive. Didn’t know it would be that narrow… When I startled a pheasant sleeping in the middle of the road and he lazily walked away, I thought I got lost… I didn’t take any pictures, but this one ( shared on Facebook) gives you an idea:)

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After the visit I thought I might better go up the mountains on my way home. My initial plan was to stop by the ruins of Shanbally castle barbarically demolished in 1960, but I changed this plan in favor of driving South towards my favorite Old Clonmel-Cork Road.

This area lies in the Galtee-Vee Valley (Golden Vale) with the Galtee Mountains to the north and the Knockmealdown Mountains to the south. I love the rolling hills and open pastures with the breathtaking hilltop views, and I love the gradual transition from the green sunlit Knockmealdowns to the dark and lonesome Comeraghs.

In Clogheen I turned to the Vee.

The Vee Pass in Knockmealdown mountains (refers to the V-shaped turn) is a beautiful place to visit all around the year because of its stunning panoramic views, but in June the wild rhododendrons bloom in the hills, and it is the view you will never forget.

the vee

In the picture above you can see the Galtees framing the valley from the North.

the vee

the vee

the vee

the vee

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The blossoms are of the color of frothy foam on the top of boiling raspberry jam. I imagine a gigantic cauldron in the hills above the Bay Lough, and the jam overflowing the cauldron and making its way down through the woods, dripping from the rocks and making puddles in the hollows. A waterfall of pink. I am overwhelmed by this breathtaking beauty.

The Bay Lough lake.

the vee

Biological function of a flower is reproduction. Mother Nature made it beautiful.

the vee

On my way down the mountain I took a few shots to make this crooked panorama:). Didn’t bother to set a tripod: I was afraid to shy away that young couple. Love is beautiful!


Photography tip of the day: to make a panorama take as many pictures as you need to have a 40-50% overlap. Use portrait format. And a tripod:)

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful weekend!