History of ireland

William Despard Hemphill, Clonmel, County Tipperary

Clonmel

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.

Clonmel

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.

Hemphill

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.

Hemphill

Clonmel

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

Hemphill

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)

Hemphill

Clonmel

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)

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.

Clonmel

Clonmel

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

Hemphill

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.

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

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.

Hemphill

Clonmel

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.

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

Clonmel

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

Clonmel

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.

Clonmel

Thank you for walking the streets of Clonmel with me!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Meet the Past: Dolmens and Fairy Raths

fairy_rath

The past and the present in rural Ireland are balanced and closely tied up together. I want to share some photographs of ancient things taken in different years and seasons, and thank the thoughtful farmers who are the guardians and protectors of the balance.

There are about 190 dolmens in Ireland.  Dolmens have an entrance – the portal. Another name for dolmens is Portal tomb, because most of them are associated with graves.

The most visited dolmen is Poulnabrone portal dolmen  – a fine megalithic monument in the Burren, Co Clare .

dolmen

The site was excavated in 1980, and the bones of 21 people – 16 adults and 5 children –  were found. The bones were dated from 3800-3200 BC. There were also many other finds like stone tools, arrow heads, beads and even the head of a bone pin.

dolmen

The natural limestone formations in the Burren are called grykes and clints ( you see them in the image below) 

dolmen

The magnificent Proleek dolmen is also known as the Giant’s Load. It is situated in Co Louth near Dundalk, in the grounds of   Ballymascanlon Hotel.

dolmen

The dolmen  is about 3 m high and has a round capstone weighing approximately 35 tons. Legend says that a wish will be granted to anyone who can throw a pebble on its capstone so that it stays there.

dolmen

Another impressive megalithic structure is Knockeen  dolmen located near Tramore, Co Waterford.

dolmen

The dolmen is about 3 m high, and has two enormous capstones.

dolmen

Next to the dolmen is an old graveyard, quite overgrown. This is what it looks like in the end of December…

old_graveyard

A few minutes drive from Knockeen dolmen, there is another amazing megalith – Gaulstown dolmen. If you are interested, here is a Tramore area Dolmen map,  but you have to know that some of the dolmens cannot  be seen from the road.

dolmen

This is one of the dolmens that is accessible the whole year. Kilmogue dolmen, or Harristown dolmen, or Leac an Scail, is Ireland’s tallest dolmen at almost 5 meters or 15 feet from the ground to the tip of the capstone. It is situated near Templeorum, Co Kilkenny.

dolmen

dolmen

Another fascinating structure is a Fairy rath.

There are about 50.000 Fairy  raths, or Fairy forts in Ireland –  the remains of the Bronze Age – Iron Age circular dwellings. It is what the archeologists say. The ancient books say that the raths are the portals to the magical world of the Tuatha Dé Danann little people,  the fairies.

As you see, the trees grow only on the edges of the circular wall  and the central section. Why? No one knows.

fairy_rath

The ditch, or moat, is very deep, and there is no growth. Who can explain it?

fairy_rath

No one in their sound mind would cut a tree or even break a branch from a rath. Most of people believe that  if they do so, they would be followed by bad luck. Here you can read what happens if you don’t respect the fairies.   

fairy_rath

The Fairy raths were used as burial grounds for the  babies who died before they could be baptized, and had thus been denied  a burial in the Church grounds.  If the Catholic God would not accept the little ones, the ancient Gods would accept them. Babies buried in raths were thought to be protected by the fairies.

Thank you for taking a trip to the ancient places with me! Hope you enjoyed the reading.
IneseMjPhotographyHave a great week!

Great Height of Ardmore, Co Waterford

ardmore

Last week I visited with a friend in Ardmore – a little village in Co Waterford. We ate  ice cream, watched the tide, and talked to strangers. I took a few pictures, added a few more from my previous visits, and made up this post.

On my very first visit to Ardmore a good few years ago I was puzzled watching the crowd that surrounded a boulder resting on the seabed  after the tide went out.

ardmore

It didn’t look different from the other rocks , so I didn’t investigate any further and headed up to the cliff walk trail. On the way back the boulder was already covered in water, so I let it go at that.

Only years after I learned that there was a story.

In the 5th century  Declan of Ardmore, an early Irish saint of the Deisi Muman ( Vassals of Munster) and the founder of Ardmore Monastery travelled to Rome to be consecrated as Bishop. Declan received a gift from heaven while celebrating the Eucharist – a golden bell.  A monk Runanus travelling with Declan from Wales to Ireland forgot to take the sacred bell and Declan was very upset. Yet, his prayers for the bell’s safety were answered and a boulder carrying his bell miraculously floated upon the waves all the way from Wales and finally stopped on the shore where Declan founded his church and a monastery –  in the place called Aird Mhor – Great Height.

During the Declan Pattern, which is observed on the feast day of the saint (July 24), pilgrims crawl under the boulder (which is resting on two smaller stones) as a cure for arthritis.

St. Declan’s Way is a pilgrim route that begins in Ardmore and ends in Cashel in County Tipperary. It is 56 miles in length and crosses the Knockmealdown Mountains via a high 1,762 foot pass.

Great Height is a right name for the area. A beautiful cliff walk trail around Ram Head takes you high over the sea, and it begins from the ruins of St. Declan’s Church and Holy Well. The well served as a Baptistry to the early Christian missionaries, while the church served as St. Declan’s hermitage.

ardmore

The Well has two entrances. There used to be three crosses on the top of it: the cross on the left representing the unrepentant thief, the central cross representing Christ and the cross on the right representing the repentant thief. The cross from the left side is gone: either stolen by some unrepentant thief, or it had broken off and rolled down to the sea.

ardmore

ardmore

The first cross is the one from the church, the second – the middle one from the well. They are dated back to the 5th century.

There are many other interesting things and places along the trail.

ardmore

The Watchtower was built in 1800 as a part of the Napoleonic defenses built along the coast of Ireland.

ardmore

A wreck of a crane ship  – the Samson – that was blown ashore in 1978.

ardmore

Fr. O’Donnell’s Well  was built in 1928 and named after Fr O’Donnell who used to come there and read.

ardmore

St. Declan founded a monastery in Ardmore prior to the arrival of St. Patrick in Ireland, (between 350 and 450 A.D.) The original monastery does not exist anymore, but the ruins of the cathedral that was built over the monastery site are well preserved and located on the hill overlooking the sea. It has features dating from as early as the 9th Century.

ardmore

ardmore

The remnants of St. Declans Oratory and an old cemetery are also located here. St. Declan’s Oratory is the oldest building in the graveyard near the Cathedral. It is  believed  that the grave of St. Declan is located within the building.

ardmore

Some of the gravestones have been worn down and look like old teeth protruding from the ground.

ardmore

The round tower at Ardmore was built in the 12th Century and raises at the height of 97 feet. The entrance doorway is about 13 feet from the ground, making the tower a safe place for the monks.

ardmore

Some graves bear a more modern look.

ardmore

Ardmore is not only a monastic place. This building is a lot of fun – it is not real, the same as the donkey.

ardmore

The doors and the windows are painted on the wall.

ardmore

ardmore

There are many towns in the USA named Ardmore, but an American novelist Nora Roberts  has made Ardmore, Co Waterford  the location for her  ” Gallaghers of Ardmore” trilogy:  Jewels of the Sun, Tears of the Moon and Heart of the Sea.

Hope you like this tour around Ardmore.

 

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great week!

Cork City Gaol: inside prison walls

gaol

I had many plans for the Halloween blog edition, but none of them worked out because of the rainy weather.  So I figured that it would be  better if I moved under a roof  for my photo shoots,  and a prison roof would do just fine.

gaol

Cork City Gaol housed prisoners for almost a century and was closed in 1924. This is an image of a cell. Like to try? You may get inside and close the door to experience what life might have been like for a prisoner in the Gaol. An Irish writer Frank O’Connor was one of those who served time in the Gaol for their part in the Irish Civil War, and he later wrote that the cots and blankets were crawling with lice.

gaol

There is a cell with some original graffiti left by  prisoners who served time here in the 1920’s.  I took a picture of that wall and when I came home and started processing it, something extraordinary happened: the ghosts of the prisoners and staff revealed themselves in my images…

gaol

This is Mary Sullivan. She looks like a bloodthirsty murderer, but in fact she is a seamstress and in 1865 she received a seven year sentence following her eighth conviction for the theft of cloth.  She is just after being deloused according to prison regulations, and ready to see the Governor John Barry Murphy.

gaol

This is Thomas Raile. He was convicted of stealing some books. Serving his time in a solitary confinement, he got an opportunity to contemplate his wrongdoings and has turned to religion for guidance. Rev. Nelligan is counselling him, but it won’t help much: on release from prison Thomas won’t be able to get good references and his life will speedily go down the drain.

gaol

This young woman is Mary Ann Twohig, a 16 year old mother. She was heavily pregnant when she stole a cloth cap and some kitchen utensils with an intention to pawn them and get some money. Due to the pregnancy she was sentenced to only two months, without hard labor.

gaol

This is Dr. Beamish.  A warder is walking him to the cell where he is going to attend a sick prisoner. Overworked and underpaid, Dr. Beamish  has spent many years carrying his medical bag from cell to cell and fighting all sorts of infections and injuries.

gaol

Two off-duty warders are playing cards. In this room lives a warder and his whole family.

gaol

This is a model of the Gaol. The wings are currently in derelict condition and closed to public. You might be interested to know what is that small building at the back. Well, there were always prisoners and prisoners. The small building is the Debtor’s Gaol. Some well off people fail to pay their debts and are sent to prison, but not to the main Gaol. They settle with their own furniture and clothes in the Debtor’s Gaol, and even have their food delivered to them.

There is a lot more to see, but to be honest, the wax  figures give me the creeps…  And it doesn’t matter either they are of the prisoners of the Gaol, or any other person…

wax

wax

And here is an appropriate piece of music – Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues!


Happy  Halloween to all!

Cork City Gaol.

Photography tip of the day: Do a research before you buy a camera or any photography equipment, including the batteries you are going to use for your Speedlite. Everything.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great Halloween weekend!

Noble Knights and Spirit of Ancestors

mirko cuneoImage courtesy of  Mirko Cuneo

There is no doubt that people can live their dreams. It doesn’t usually happen overnight though. Every worthy dream comes true after hard work is involved, and also discipline, dedication and perseverance. If you want to become a knight, any of the above applies.

In the Middle ages knight training started at the age of 7, and those who made it through the difficult and expensive training program were knighted around the age of 21. The culture of honor, courage, battle and courtesy to Ladies associated with the medieval institution of knighthood continues to this day among the modern knights.

I am not a specialist on the knighthood. I only want to tell you about some aspects of their activities and share some photographs too.

There are some images courtesy of a modern Knight Mirko Cuneo, from Milan, Italy. He has a private Facebook page, so I can link only two images, but those of you who have Facebook account might be able to see more of his images and learn a thing or two about the knighthood in Italy. mirko cuneo

Mirko Cuneo

mirko cuneo

Mirko Cuneo

Mirko Cuneo

Viking training. Image courtesy of Mirko Cuneo Mirko Cuneo

Mirko Cuneo Two images ( above) courtesy of Mirko Cuneo . Film set Richard the Lion Heart: Rebellion, directed by Stefano Milla Mirko Cuneo Carnasciale Jousting:  Mirko Cuneo and His Lady Mirko CuneoCasei Medievale  –  Medieval festival Mirko organized

To those who are wondering about the outfits and accessories. There is an amazingly talented artist and photographer from the beautiful city of Arona, Marco Ferrari,  who has done splendid job for Celtica Festivals over the years. I think he makes a great William Wallace in these images. marco ferrari Image courtesy of Marco Ferrari marco ferrariImage courtesy of Marco Ferrari

Here is a link to the Facebook page of Lady Malina who is based in Poland.  All the information is in English. Her garments and accessories look quite authentic and charming.

Here is also a link to the page of Celtica Festival in Courmayeur Mont Blanc, Italy and a  link to the Frederick Celtic Festival in Maryland, USA. I would say that there are hundreds of such festivals and you can google for one closer to your hometown and book your tickets for 2015.

There is everything at these festivals to keep the Celtic Spirit alive: the bards telling legends of heroes and singing romantic ballads; Celtic dancing, sweet  harps, bodhráns, mandolins and bagpipes. It is much more than a musical event. Usually the festival’s program of activities includes lectures and talks, numerous workshops, ceremonies and rituals, falconry, acrobatic performances, re-enactments and many more fascinating activities. Your children can participate in almost everything and learn a lot about history.

Now I want to share with you my own photographs from Cahir Castle Medieval Festival, Ireland. Check out this page: these guys are amazing, and no wonder they are booked out for all the 2014. medieval festival Cahir Castle hosting the festival. medieval festival Black Knight arrived… medieval festival White Knight followed… medieval festival The mean and cunning Black Knight is trying to kill the White Knight’s pet rabbit with a poisoned carrot… medieval festival This is too much! The White Knight is getting ready for the battle… medieval festival The Black Knight is ready to fight too… medieval festival The Knights crossed lances… medieval festival The battle continues with the swords… medieval festival When all the weapons are broken, a watermelon does the job… medieval festival Everybody is laughing at the Black Knight… medieval festival He has to apologize for all his mischiefs… medieval festival The Narrator looks very focused… In fact he is as good a warrior as the others, but today he has to stay off the battle… medieval festival Yet he got a chance to talk with a lady… medieval festival

Wait, something isn’t right… Norman Invasion! Everyone get ready to defend the Castle!

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival The Monk and his young warriors are getting ready for their first battle! medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

 

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival Oh! medieval festival Ah! medieval festival Hope my warrior comes home unharmed… medieval festival The Narrator’s name is Michael Moylan. He loves and knows  Irish History, and makes weapons and other stuff of any era and culture. medieval festival The battle is over! medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival Cahir Castle is safe! medieval festival

Thank you for reading,  and hope someone clicks on the links and falls in love with the Celtic Spirit and the Knighthood. You can enlarge the images, I made them low resolution for your convenience:)

Photography tip of the day: If you are attending an event, take pictures of different objects too: they will come in handy when making a collage.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!