Co Wexford

Kennedy Arboretum, Co Wexford

www.inesemjphotography.com

John Kennedy Arboretum in Co Wexford dedicated to the memory of the 35th president of the United States was opened in 1968 just a couple of miles from Kennedy ancestral home I recently wrote about in my blog Irish Ancestry.

For those who plan a visit – the map you will get with your ticket looks confusing in the beginning, but as soon as you figure out where you are, you won’t have any problems. To help with that, here is my edited version 🙂 Ignore the Visitor Centre drawing because it is in the wrong place.  Maple Walk takes you to the lake; the other path is for those who don’t mind walking a little longer. There are no boring walks, each of them is amazing in their own way. SHELTER on your map means a roof, and one of them has a toilet block. If you want to drive to the viewing point on Sliabh Coillte ( which I suppose has a free access) don’t take the right turn as my arrow points, but keep driving and take the first left turn, and drive until you reach the summit. I was very restricted in time and didn’t make it to the summit. I have been there before – you have beautiful countryside at your feet, and you can also see the bird’s view of the Arboretum and Kennedy Homestead.

The empty green areas are not empty at all – there are many single trees and other plants. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed being there.

Kennedy Arboretum with Sliabh Coillte in background.

www.inesemjphotography.com

You can also take a ride.

www.inesemjphotography.com

There are some 4500 species and cultivars of trees, shrubs and climbing plants in Arboretum, to compare with less than 30 native tree species. Since I wasn’t commissioned to illustrate the variety and range of this collection, I just enjoyed myself photographing everything I found amusing 🙂 Like those red Fly mushrooms in my opening photograph – Amanita muscaria. In the ancient times people would dry them and mix with milk to kill the flies. Fly mushrooms definitely attract insects, but I am not so sure about the killing part. I think that insects just drowned in milk 🙂

More fungi.

www.inesemjphotography.com

Maple Walk. We have a mild autumn this year, and the leaves haven’t turned yet except for some maple trees.

www.inesemjphotography.com

Maple walk takes you to the lake (I didn’t take any pictures of it).

www.inesemjphotography.com

www.inesemjphotography.com

www.inesemjphotography.com

Raining. I stood under a Beech tree for a minute.

www.inesemjphotography.com

Wild Fuchsia is beautiful throughout the year.

www.inesemjphotography.com

I am walking from one path to another in spite of the drizzle.

www.inesemjphotography.com

I spotted a Quince flower deep in the bush.

www.inesemjphotography.com

Quinces are decorative and have edible fruit.

www.inesemjphotography.com

Green Quince is too hard for birds to eat, but they snack on the seeds.

www.inesemjphotography.com

There is quite a variety of Quince cultivars in the Arboretum.

www.inesemjphotography.com

Hawthorn walk is one of my favorites. Some fruit are as big as a crab apple.

www.inesemjphotography.com

www.inesemjphotography.com

This old Hawthorn tree with the crooked branches could host a Wexford fairy –  I have recently written about another fairy that lives in County Waterford 🙂

fairy

I don’t know what these lifeless Cypress trees used to host. Their silver-white trunks glow in the dark, and strong conifer fragrance fills the air.

www.inesemjphotography.com

Western red cedar, or Thuja, might host a dragon 🙂

www.inesemjphotography.com

Beech tree hosts a squirrel.

www.inesemjphotography.com

It is getting dark. I don’t trust the map and walk out of the forest plot to check on the Sliabh Coillte hill. It is a very helpful landmark.

www.inesemjphotography.com

One more hour until the Arboretum will close. Many families and dog walkers are still there, but I have to leave.

I link this post to the lovely blogs I follow  – Derrick Knight  and The garden Impressionists, both sharing beautiful photographs of gorgeous gardens.

www.inesemjphotography.com

Twenty two countries each sent gifts of trees and shrubs that represent their country to the Arboretum. It is a delightful place to visit in any season.

Memorial fountain made of a single block of Wicklow granite, has the words of President Kennedy engraved on it:

‘Ask not what your country can do for you… ask what you can do for your country.’

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Saltee Island: meet the Gannets

gannet

Visiting the Gannet nesting site was so much fun. I didn’t get the picture I wanted, but I got something really cool, anyway.

Sometimes Gannets bring in nesting materials – sea weeds, grass, any rubbish they can pick up in the water. This one had got a great catch!

His lady wasn’t impressed though.

gannets gannets

Their body language was so expressive and funny that I couldn’t stop smiling. I know, I humanize them too much, and it could be that the gift was totally accepted and relationship established. As to me, I have got many funny pictures.

The Gannet dances is something to see. I have some pictures of the courtship dances in my previous blogs, but this time I caught a single young male Gannet dancing like no one is watching.

gannets

I hoped to get a good picture of a landing Gannet, but they all landed in an opposite direction or sideways. Gannet is a huge bird that takes a whole frame to fit in, even diagonally.

gannet

gannet

gannet

gannet

I have got many ‘portraits’ and played with them in Photoshop.

gannet

This photograph of a landing Gannet is here to show you what exactly I wanted to capture: the bird ‘stalling’ in the air, its legs positioned towards the rear of the body, and its webbed feet stretched forward.  Everything like in this picture, but from the front.

gannet

Another dance.

gannet gannet

On every ledge of rock there is a nest made of seaweeds, feathers and multicolored bits of rope and fishing net. This female has a very young chick, featherless, with the dark blue skin.

gannet

This chick is at least two weeks old ball of fluffy down.

gannet

Gannets could be very aggressive, both males and females. In this picture you see two gannets trying to kill the third one. Its neck is almost snapped in half, and I don’t know about the outcome because we were leaving the colony at that time.

gannets

It is what I saw from the cliff when I turned back to look at the Gannet nesting site one more time. The main colony looks much smaller than last year. May be the sub-colony on the left side is growing bigger? I hope so. I stood there in awe – you cannot get used to the sight like this one. The air was filled with the sound of the wind, breaking waves, and the distant harsh cries of the Gannets. See you next year, beautiful birds!

gannet rock

A Youtube video for you to enjoy 🙂

Thank you for joining me in my trip!

More to follow.

inese_mj_photographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Saltee Island: off to see the Puffins

Kilmore Quay

It is the time of the year when I go to see the Puffins. I have written four blogs about Saltee Islands, and I don’t want to repeat myself writing about the birds and their biology again. If you love sea birds, you might be interested in reading the following links to my previous posts:

https://inesemjphotography.com/2014/06/28/saltee-islands-a-place-where-birds-rule/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2014/06/30/golden-faces-silver-eyes-and-blue-eyelids/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2015/06/23/saltee-islands-treasure-bigger-than-money-part-1/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2015/06/27/saltee-islands-treasure-bigger-than-money-part-2/

In the opening picture, you see the Kilmore Quay port. The red boat is our trusted An Crosán, or Razorbill in Gaelic.

I have a half an hour before the boarding to walk around and take some pictures of the fishing gear.

fishing gear fishing gear

The weather is mild and the sea is smooth. With the back wind, we make the trip in 15 minutes.

Saltee trip

A group of photographers are waiting for the boat to pick them up – they came to the island before the sunrise. It is what I am going to do next year.

Great Saltee

We walk up the steps, pass the owners house, walk to the throne and turn left. It is where I always start my walk to the Gannet cliff and back. This time I decided to explore some other parts of the island too. Later I will share with you what came out of that idea.

Great Saltee

My first Puffins this year! These birds are too young to start a family, so they are hanging out with their neighbours.

puffin

When I see Puffins, there is no force in the whole Universe that could stop me from taking pictures! I don’t own a telephoto lens, so I have to get as close as I can to the birds. For that, I sit down and slowly slide to the cliff edge, inch by inch.

puffin

saltee 1 070 saltee 1 099_1

This face is one of the funniest and sweetest faces on Earth. A grey eye looks at me knowingly and intelligently. ‘A human with a camera, another one? Want me to stay still do you?

puffin

The water changes color as the sun pops out of the clouds, all the shades of cobalt blue, turquoise  and aquamarine twinkling like precious stones.

Great Saltee

We are slowly moving along the cliff edge in the direction of the Gannet nesting site, taking photographs on the way. I like this cove and always take a picture. The cliff drops down to the ocean almost vertically.

saltee islands

Another puffin, another picture. We keep to the path away from the cliff edge and begin our climb to the highest point of the island.

puffin

On the left from the path, all is green and looks like lush grass. It is not. Most of the island is covered with ferns that can grow up to the height of 4.5 f. Between the ferns, there grow briars and brambles of all sorts. I will tell you more about that part of the island later.

Great Saltee

From here, the path climbs through the ferns up the hill almost vertically. A tiny rabbit, not bigger than my fist, springs from under my feet.

The real view from the summit is much more beautiful than any photograph I have ever seen.

Great Saltee

We turn around and resume our hike to the Gannet Cliff. The sight of thousands of nesting birds and the sound of their voices is one of the Nature’s  most magnificent  spectacles. My heart is beating in anticipation as I walk closer to the cliff edge where we start our descent down to the Gannet colony.

More to follow. Thank you for loving the Puffins! 😉

inese_mj_photography Have a wonderful weekend!