Ireland

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! 🙂

Halloween special: Petticoat Loose

bay lough

Bay Lough is a beautiful lake sitting in the coum at the feet of the Knocknalougha (Knockaunabulloga) Hill in the Knockmealdown mountains.

To take these photographs you don’t have to leave your car. After you pass the hairpin bend of the Vee, there is an ample laybay overlooking the lake where you can stop. Make sure you come in May-June in the morning hours. If you know what is good for you, take your pictures and leave.

Bay Lough

This path runs downhill from the car park. Having been to the lake numerous times, very seldom I meet another walker. I also don’t have that ‘feeling of loneliness’ that, as some say, surrounds the area. In fact, I never feel alone there. If you know what I mean.

Bay Lough

If you don’t get my hints and still think about walking down to the lake, or may be even about taking a dip, then I will share with you this scary video I have found on YouTube. Make sure you mute the sound in the beginning as the music is too loud, but when the music stops, the silence makes things even scarier.

Few ever swim in this lake for fear of being pulled under and kept there forever; at least, I haven’t found any record of someone swimming across the middle.

( Here is a bit of editing, as I posted a link to a cool blog but added two extra letters to the blog name by mistake, so I just take this link out altogether).

It is not possible to walk around the lake.

Bay Lough

It is where the path ends. Looks like an end, doesn’t it?

As you have already guessed, I have a ghost story to share, but I just don’t know how to start. These pictures don’t really fit…

Bay Lough

I know! I need to add some drama! ( I didn’t put the sign. It was there for a Drama class…)

Now that the setup is right, I can share the story of the most famous ghost, the Petticoat Loose.

Petticoat Loose was a six foot tall farm girl born in the 1800’s whose real name was either Mary or Brigid, depending on the storyteller. She did the man’s work on the farm, drank like a man, and would also wrestle and fight the local men when they mocked her. They say she killed a bull with a single blow of her first. They also say she killed a farmhand with his own spade and threatened to kill everyone if they tell on her.

Her nickname stuck to her after an incident in the Quills pub in Dungarvan where she used to be a regular. Her petticoat got undone while she spun around in a drunken dance. Petticoat Loose was a great dancer, no man could match her.

It is how she met her future husband – on the dance floor. The marriage lasted a year.

There were rumors that Petticoat Loose had a lover, a local hedge-schoolmaster. One night when she and her servants were milking the cattle, a cry of agony came from the fields. A servant girl was about to run and find out what was the matter, but a milking stool flew through the air and hit her on the back of her head. Petticoat Loose then told her to stay put and mind her own business.

Poor husband was never seen again after that night.

Another year went by. One night Petticoat Loose was in the pub, drinking with the local workmen. She was challenged by them to prove her drinking skills and offered half a gallon of beer. She drank it down, and then suddenly collapsed. She died without a priest, and no priest was called for her burial.

Seven years later Petticoat Loose ghost returned to haunt belated travelers, and was also seen around the pubs and dance halls. She became the terror of one particular road, and was responsible for at least one death. For some reason, she would never harm anyone by the name of John.

She even challenged a local man to a dancing contest. I don’t know what would happen to him if he wasn’t clever enough to make a ring with Holy Water round himself and stay within it.

All this horror lasted another 80 years. The local people had had enough, and called for a priest.

The priest doused the ghost with Holy Water and asked her why she kept coming back, to which she replied that she was damned, and admitted that she had killed a number of people. The priest banished her to Bay Lough, but she told him that she would do evil wherever she was. ‘We will see’, the priest replied. ‘I will place you head downwards.’

At these words, Petticoat Loose vanished and was never seen afterwards, but the priest soon died. Some say he didn’t die though. He just disappeared because he wasn’t from this world.

Bottomless Bay Lough was a good choice. St Patrick once gathered up the monsters in Ireland and put them in Bay Lough. He told them to stay there and wait, and that he would be back tomorrow. So, they are still there, deep in the dark waters, waiting. Some say that Petticoat Loose ghost took a shape of a monster with the body of a horse and the head of a woman. Others say she still looks like her old self, a large woman with red hair that sometimes appears out of the water and asks the same question all over again: ‘When will the day of judgment come?’

I am not the only one who has a feeling that Petticoat Loose isn’t gone for good yet.

 

You can google Petticoat Loose and find more versions of the story.

inesemjphotography Happy Halloween! Stay safe!

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!

Waterford Greenway: Ballyvoyle Tunnel

A quarter of a mile long Durrow ( Ballyvoyle) Tunnel is one of the most iconic features of the Greenway. It looks as perfect as the day it was built in 1878. I can only imagine how exciting it was to travel through the tunnel by train, at a slow speed, with the eerie sound echoing off the tunnel walls.

Once a habitat of bats, the tunnel is a busy place these days.

Bike hire

I love this tricycle. It looks very comfortable, especially if you want to stop and take a picture.

Someone has a sense of humor. Notice how far is the other end of the tunnel.

Waterford Greenway

It seems like the walls have openings, but in fact these are only wall niches with lights.

Waterford Greenway

The tunnel is lined with bricks.

Waterford Greenway

Not too successful photograph of some stalagmites growing in the niche.

Durrow tunnel

Just a few years ago this area was overgrown and flooded in some places.

An assortment of ferns and moss decorates the stone wall. Further down the path the wild plants are getting ready for spring ( photographs were taken in February)

double_exposure

double_exposure

We are approaching Ballyvoyle viaduct – the last one. There are three viaducts and eleven bridges on the railway. Ballyvoyle viaduct was constructed in 1878, blown up in 1922, and after a second thought rebuilt in 1924. In this blog you can find some bits of history of the viaduct.

The viaduct spans River Dalligan, and the barriers are almost non-existent, if you ask me 😉

Waterford Greenway

Plenty to see from here.

I stepped off the path to take a picture of a white bench that stands at a distance from the farm house. In the photograph below you see a lovely view from the bench.

Clonea Beach. I can see my favorite chipper out there, over a mile away.

In December 2015 a group of Syrian refugees were settled in the luxury Clonea Strand Hotel ( closed for the season). It was a very strange decision of the Government since there are no food stores around – the closest store is four miles away in Dungarvan. Actually, there is nothing else in winter but the sea and the beach. I don’t know what the story is, and where they are now. I haven’t been to Clonea for years.

clonea

It is getting dark. I turn around and walk back to the car park. I take my time walking through the tunnel again – want to spot a bat, but there are no bats.

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway

Thank you for your company – it is more fun to walk through a dark tunnel with a friend at your side.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!