Co Waterford

The last butler of Curraghmore house

Last weekend I went for a walk along the river Clodiagh in the Curraghmore estate to take pictures for this blog dedicated to the last butler of Curraghmore and his lovely wife who finally retired and left for Portugal this summer.

Who says you cannot change your career and your whole life at the age of 50+? “Born and raised” in Transvaal, South Africa”, Basil Croeser moved to Ireland in 1998 and got a job as butler to 8th Marquess of Waterford. Good old times when the notorious “work experience” was not required: there were no butlers in South Africa, not at that time anyway.

Curraghmore

Basil served as butler for 12 years. Some of his duties included “seeing to His Lordship’s general well being; preparing and serving light meals; maintaining stock and equipment; maintaining and winding 17 antique clocks”. When His Lordship’s health started to deteriorate, Basil retired from his butler’s duties, and a new, younger butler was hired. Basil was offered the role of a tour guide in the Curraghmore estate.

Old Lord Waterford passed away in 2015, and is remembered as a good and kindly neighbor. Current Lord Waterford doesn’t have a butler. That era is gone.

I have been in the House before, and I know the script, but that was a special day, and sadness was in the air as the last butler took us on his farewell tour.

Curraghmore

Basil’s tours and his unique knowledge will be missed.

The bags were already packed, as well as twenty years of memories. I wish them both a long and happy retirement!


These photographs I took for Basil and Colleen with a huge thank you for all they have done! 🙂 I came there early, less than an hour after the sunrise last Sunday, and parked outside the gate. The air was crisp and the sun just showed up from behind the forest.

Curraghmore

Suddenly the mist started to rise, first from the river, then from just about everything!

Curraghmore

In front of my eyes, the rippling steam rose from the grass. It was so thick that the sun rays couldn’t get through it.

The tree branches covered with moss started steaming too!

The sun rose higher and lit the tree tops.

What a magnificent morning!

Curraghmore

I crossed the bridge and walked along the river. A strange object caught my eye. It’s a tail! I quickly checked my settings.

squirrel

Red squirrel run too far and too high from me, but I noticed a big sweet chestnut in his mouth. I only know one such tree nearby, but it is on the other side of the river. What a brave little fella.

squirrel

Young pheasants are having a double date. There are hundreds of them in the woods.

pheasants

This one started to walk towards me – for a treat or for a fight?

pheasant

He stood just a few steps away, looking at me with one eye then the other before slowly walking away across the road.

pheasant

I walked across the bridge again to see the sweet chestnut tree ( and may be another squirrel) and visit the House. The other side of the river looked warm and welcoming.

Curraghmore

The pale yellow Ferns seem so fragile.

ferns

ferns

The sweet chestnut tree provided me with a lot of entertainment and some fifty pictures of its cute fruits. No squirrels though.

Sweet chestnut

sweet chestnut

The House is closed for public tours until the Easter 2019, but you can try to make an appointment.

Curraghmore

I turn to the road that would take me to the King John’s bridge. I still don’t give up hope to get a picture of Kingfisher, but apparently not today as a young couple with an off-leash dog turns into the same road. I let them pass, and dive into the dark side path that takes me in the opposite direction. A natural arrangement of sun-lit leaves in the puddle draws my attention. When I look at the picture, I am very pleased to see a hovering tiny bonus Syrphid fly and its shadow.

The path is quite dark, and I am not surprised that the only sunny spot is occupied. Young pheasant female doesn’t consider me a threat and makes herself cozy in the sun.

pheasant hen

No Kingfisher in sight, but a plump Dipper with a bright white bib looks over his shoulder at me with disapproval. Sorry, pal, my camera does make loud noises.

Dipper

The next stretch is a bamboo ‘forest’. After I finally emerge from the greenery, I step on my favorite ‘fairy path’ 🙂 It is all for today.

Curraghmore

Hope you all enjoyed the morning in Curraghmore as much as I did.

Here are more links to the Curraghmore stories : The Stag and the Dragon I ; The Stag and the Dragon II  ; The Tower  ;  Lady Florence ; Clonegam  There are many other related stories in this blog.

 Have a wonderful weekend!

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

This is drifting and that is the Tannery. All in Portlaw, Co Waterford. Visit their Facebook page and save the date of their next drift day in your calendar.

Tannery Drifting

I will write more about the Tannery some other day.  This post is all about drifting.

A fan of Fast And FuriousI am happy that just a half an hour drive from Waterford there is a place where I feel so wonderful. I am truly grateful to those who run the local ‘drifting rink’ in the old parking lot of the derelict tannery. So many young lads stay out of trouble because they are busy doing something good. Something they enjoy doing.  This short amateur YouTube video gives you an idea about the atmosphere on the site. The drivers come to the Tannery from as far as Donegal.

To take these pictures I pan my camera along with the moving cars. I use a low shutter speed – not faster than 1/30 sec- and usually focus either on the driver or on the surface of the car that is close to the driver. You can guess that using this technique only a tiny fraction of the shots can be called a keeper, 10% may be, but I love giving the shot a feeling of motion rather than freezing the action. If the environment doesn’t add to the shot, it is better to leave it blurred. It would be a different story if I took pictures of a swimmer or surfer: the waves look gorgeous around a surfer 🙂

You can tell that car is moving if the wheels are spinning. The cars are not necessarily moving straight in these pictures even if they look so.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Some drivers like to impress the spectators with a cloud of smoke.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

I make myself comfortable on the concrete barrier. From here I can see everything quite close, and if I turn around I can see the cars on their way to the ‘drifting rink’ and back.

The last advice before the start?

Tannery Drifting

Age doesn’t matter, we all love drifting.

Tannery Drifting

I think I have picture of these people in the same place but in their winter clothes 🙂 The tires are gone though. Somebody put them on fire.

Tannery Drifting

Auto Chem, one of my favorite teams. I move my rug so that the weeds wouldn’t get into my next picture.

Tannery Drifting

All kinds of minor accidents happen during the drifting. Tire blowouts are the most common. I have seen a deflated tire hula-hoop, roll away, make a circle and return back to the car.

This car was doing just great, and then there was a loud boom.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

This car is loosing its rear bumper but the driver never bothers to stop. After a few seconds the bumper frees itself from the car and flies away.

Tannery Drifting

This car hit the tires during the drift and got its bumper damaged.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Old tires can be quite agile when pushed.

Tannery Drifting

“Sorry, give us a second!”

Tannery Drifting

Sometimes a car has to be pushed using manpower.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

After the drift.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Some lads make alterations to their cars. I am not an expert to understand the purpose of this one. Improved aerodynamics or an emergency exit? Looks cute anyway.

Tannery Drifting

I take a peek inside the car.

Tannery Drifting

The cars are so clean that it makes me ashamed of mine…

Tannery Drifting

They use a motorcycle engine in this car. Doesn’t it look like a heart?

Tannery Drifting

I hope you love cars as I do. Enjoy your January, and if you are drifting stay focused like the driver in the picture.

Tannery Drifting

www.inesemjphotography.com  Have a wonderful week!

Year of The Dog

Not exactly now, but soon in February the world will enter the Year of the Dog. Earlier this year I visited the Deise Animal Sanctuary in Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford to take some pictures for this blog post. Here is a link to their Facebook page.  The page is active, and a phone number is also available on the page for those who want to come over or donate.

This is Patricia Edwards. Pat. She and her partner Rob came to Ireland from the UK 20 years ago. Pat and Rob have a small holding in the Comeragh mountains where they established The Deise Animal Sanctuary about decade ago. Pat used to work as an Animal Health Trading Standards inspector in Wales, and she is familiar with the matters related to animal welfare. It is certainly very useful, but the greatest thing about Pat is her big heart and unconditional love towards all creatures.

Many kinds of abused, neglected and abandoned animals and birds found their way to this happy place. I am a cat person, so I asked about cats and learned that there were fifty cats at the moment, most of them sleeping in the barn till the evening meal. Some day I will come back and write a proper blog about all the residents, but this is just a short Dog Post from a Cat person who wishes some happiness in the Yang Earth Dog Year as anyone else does.

The dogs have plenty of space to run and play in the afternoon. When I came to the Sanctuary, most of the dogs were locked in their enclosure, and started barking as I approached. There were probably twenty or more dogs inside, and some more dogs followed me from the gate. Pat told me to open the enclosure and get in to take photographs. As I went in, all the dogs, big and small, came closer and instead of taking pictures I was patting their backs and rubbing their heads for another half and hour. I was in tears. I could see the signs of abuse and mistreat, and Pat also told me some horror stories about how some dogs were rescued and what they had been through, and it just broke my heart to see the trust and love to a stranger these dogs expressed. I felt so ashamed for my species.

After all the interested got their share of cuddling and ear and head rubbing, I walked around and took some pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of dogs were locked – quarantine?

And this young pup was also locked. I don’t know what he went through, but I didn’t see any trust in his eyes. He probably needs some time to forgive.

On my way home I was thinking about all these lucky survivors who ended up in the Dog Paradise here in Comeraghs, and about those unlucky ones who died of neglect and abuse, or were euthanized because they had injuries not compatible with life. The legislation related to the animal welfare in Ireland has to be revised as cruelty to animals is on the rise.

They say that a Year of The Dog is generally an eventful year of good changes in mentality and lifestyle. A step up for humanity. Let’s hope that 2018 won’t be any different and all the changes we face are positive and beneficial to us. Please, 2018, be a good dog! 😉

Happy New Year to all my fellow bloggers! ❤

PS For the next six months I am planning to blog every second week.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a great New Year party! 🙂

The Stag and the Dragon II

Curraghmore House

As I already said in my previous post, July is a special month to visit the Curraghmore House as it marks the union of the Stag and the Dragon – the marriage of Catherine de la Poer to Sir Marcus Beresford. Sir Marcus was 23 and Lady Catherine 15 at that time, 300 years ago. Despite of different religious upbringing, by the end of the 18th century they produced the most powerful political dynasty in Ireland, raised a large family and rebuilt this beautiful house and gardens. There is a very important lesson to learn from the story about the Stag and the Dragon: we are much better off when we realise that our differences make us strong only when we are united.

During the reign of Catherine and Marcus the best architects and craftsmen were summoned, among them John Roberts ( a very interesting person, worth to look up) who later went to build both the Catholic and the protestant Cathedrals in Waterford. The great courtyard was built, the medieval part of the house was redesigned and restyled. Creative and artistic, Lady Catherine carried out a splendid project. She designed and decorated the Shell House – a small quatrefoil building with curved walls all covered with seashells.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Exotic and rare shells from the distant beaches along with the local clams and cockles adorn the walls creating sophisticated patterns of color and texture. Lady Catherine personally visited the Waterford Harbour and commissioned the captains of ships to collect shells for her. This project took 261 day to complete.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

A fine marble statue of Lady Catherine, commissioned by her loving husband and sculpted by John van Nost, stands in the middle of the house. It shows Catherine holding a shell and a piece of parchment with the inscription: “In two hundred and sixty one day these shells were put up by the proper hands of Catherine Countess of Tyrone, 1754”. Lady Catherine was in her fifties at that time.

Curraghmore House

They died in 1763 and 1769 respectively. There is a large group portrait in the House, painted in 1760, depicting Sir Marcus and Lady Catherine surrounded by their nine adult children. The beautiful monument below was erected in the Clonegam church in their memory. A hundred years later, another beautiful monument was erected at the opposite wall – the one dedicated to Lady Florence.

Let’s take a walk around the gardens.

Curraghmore House

From here, the hunting parties would leave the courtyard.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

The tranquility of this place is surreal – you know that there are people somewhere not far from you, but the sounds feel muted and distant.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

A monstrous gall on the tree trunk has to be photographed 🙂

Curraghmore House

From the other side of the pond we look past the House. Somewhere there on the hill slope Mother Brown is looking back at us.

Curraghmore

Someone is looking at us right here too…  😉

Curraghmore House

I hope you like the story of the Stag and the Dragon. More about the Curraghmore House and the Beresford family some other time.

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

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!