Ireland

This blog is two years old

In February 2014, I installed WordPress offline using Wamp server, and started this blog. Only a couple of my first posts survived until this day. My initial idea was to create a portfolio-type blog, and I wrote ten posts and stuffed them with children pictures. When I went online on St Patrick’s Day, I got a few ‘likes’ and was very pleased that someone took interest in my creation.  My very first followers were https://lisalabelleblog.wordpress.com/https://poemsandpeople.wordpress.com/ and http://www.tonyeveling.com/blog/. They are not blogging anymore, I am afraid.

Then came a nightmare. Certain webpages linked to my posts tagged ‘children photography’, and certain sort of spam flooded my Spam folder. Akismet catches spam, but doesn’t protect from those who deliver it. I deleted my posts. Only after a year I dared to use this tag again. Nothing happened so far, but the same spammers linked to one of my Saltee Island posts, and I was getting hundreds of spam comments daily until I closed the comments altogether. WordPress  is not all white and fluffy.

These ten bloggers are among my first followers, still active and sparkling with talent. They have been my friends and supporters since early spring 2014.

Sheri de Grom,  Marcus Dilano Photography,  MoodphotoJasonFrancisCharlyMihranLeyla Harrie Nijland, Jet Eliot

There are more than a hundred bloggers in my community since 2014 – great friends and brilliant writers and photographers. I cannot name all of you here, but you know who you are. Thank you for blogging and reading my blog! Way to go to us all!

There is a potpourri of photographs from some of my older blog posts. They are not linked to the post or larger versions. Please scroll down – I hope you remember some of them. Thank you so much for your visits over these two years!

Green St Patrick’s Day illumination in Carrick on Suir, 2014

patrick_day

Spring in Ireland.

ireland_daffodils1

swans_in_the_haze2

winding_road

bluebells_jenkinstown

Clancy Brothers festival

clancy festival

257clan

Edinburgh

edinburgh

Knockmealdown Mountains, Co Tipperary

the vee

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Saltee Islands

Saltees

Saltees

gannet

gannet

Street photography

pose

sell

pride 2013

pride 2013

Birds of River Suir

stonechat

heron

Herbs

suir

suir

oregano

linden

Scarecrow Festival in Co Laois

scarecrow festival

scarecrow festival

Patsy Gibbons and his foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Carrick O Rede Rope Bridge

rope bridge

Giants Causeway

giant's causeway

Dark Hedges

dark hedges

dark hedges

dark hedges

Irish summer

Irish summer

Irish summer sunset

Sunsets

sunset

sunset

Water

reflections

Johnstown castle

Barcelona

fountain

gaudi

Barcelona

Faceless

faceless      faceless   faceless

Trees

book cover

sand tree

sand tree

Fairy tale

20

Another spring

Ireland

ireland

ireland

Ancient

dolmen

Mystery

creepy tree

 

 

 

Foxes

fox1 291gauss

pat_gibbons

Hoodoos

 

Bryce Canyon Bryce Canyon

More birds

Bryce Canyon

cian_finn

Streets

dublin

dublin

spraoi

beggar

Thank you again!

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Take it seriously

joy res

I walked through the Viking Triangle in Waterford City on the New Year’s morning  and came across a Christmas Tree graveyard where I took this photograph. Some thirty decorated Christmas trees were dumped there like no longer worshiped idols. The Holidays are over.

Holiday season in Ireland was darkened  by severe and extensive floods that hit the country in the end of December- beginning of January. Property and farmlands are damaged, people are devastated after losing their possessions and security of their homes.

I haven’t been to the flooded areas this year, but I have some pictures taken during the flood in 2009 and 2013.

At this stage, River Suir looks fierce and beautiful – Clonmel 2013.

flood

Carrick on Suir in February, at high tide the same year.

flood

This flood is already getting out of hand…

flood

flood

In summertime,  River Suir can be so shallow that in some places a heron can cross it without getting his bottom wet.  Now the river looks like a lake – you can watch  Cyril Helnwein‘s video and take a 6 km kayaking trip from Clonmel to Kilsheelan – not only down the river…

Unfortunately, there is no fun at all in getting flooded.

For many flood victims, this is not the first time they have been flooded in recent years and they face the current crisis without insurance coverage. Murky brown floodwater, sometimes more than a meter deep, causes permanent damage to almost everything.

Some  farmers have to evacuate their cattle to the neighboring farms. Feed and pastures are destroyed, and it will take months the land to drain and recover its capacity to grow crops. People blame the EU Conservation Program.

Floods have always been around, they are natural. Much of the flooding is  caused by bad planning, allowing  roads and houses to be built on natural flood plains. It seems that unpopular decisions are required, like relocation of  businesses  and people.

Now that the worst seems to be over, it is time to start thinking about the next flood, and take it seriously.

On a lighter note – we can also dream 🙂 This  sweet girl lives in the place where it is snowing in winter. What is she dreaming of?

snow

This lovely girl lives in Ireland. May be she is dreaming of a dry, white winter?

2016

Have a wonderful weekend!

Goats and monkeys!

goats

Flu hit me Monday. I almost have no memory of the first two days, just some strange dreams and random, chaotic thoughts. Thursday my head cleared up a bit so that I could think about my next blog post making notes on a piece of paper ( I was too weak to open my laptop). The misery of my condition couldn’t produce anything cheerful, and somehow I started thinking about all the innocent creatures of this world who’ve got to suffer for nothing.  Goats came to mind.

My first image was  taken on a bright summer morning during Waterford Hot Air Ballooning Championship . I got a few good shots at the take off in the grounds of Waterford Castle, and was on my road to Passage East where I expected to take a ferry and cross to Co Wexford.  I was almost there when the events took a rather surreal turn and the scene changed to somewhat apocalyptic in a matter of seconds. The goats. They started falling out of the thick bushes,  off the almost vertical cliff – all sizes, shapes, genders and breeds. The sun was blinding me, but true to myself I was pressing the shutter. Two cars in front of me navigated out of the scene when more goats jumped from above, not less than a hundred of them, and I was stuck. I missed the ferry, but took a great set of pictures.

Goat is one of the first domesticated animals. When and where he ruined his reputation, is not clear, but he is associated with the satyr Pan, notoriously mischievous god who had a long beard, goat legs and horns.  Read this article, it is very informative and amusing.

Pan was so ugly that even his mother run away from him horrified and disgusted.  It is where the word ‘panic’ came from. I don’t know what to say,  but look at these pictures and prove to me that this goat is not a saint among his people.

goat

goat

Some goats have a better fate. The picture below was taken ten years ago, in Killorglin, Co Kerry.  Every August people gather to celebrate Puck Fair in Killorglin, and a goat is crowned to become a king of the land for three days ( you can watch a video  on this link). The earliest known reference to Puck Fair is a charter by King  James I, dated 1613, granting a legal status to the existing fair.  The farm hands had a clause in their contract to be free of work for those three days.

The festival is a great event, and I hope to attend it some day. If you travel Ireland around 10 – 12 August, make a note.

king puck

These skinny goats were spotted in Bunratty Castle, Co Limerick.

Bunratty Folk Park

Co Kerry has a weakness for goats – in town of Dingle, Goat Street is an extension of the Main Street.

dingle

In the Shakespearean tragedy, Iago works Othello into such a state of jealousy, that the poor man imagines things that have never happened. He exits the scene with the exclamation ‘Goats and monkeys!’ using the name of innocent creatures to express his disgust.

Cassio shall have my place. And, sir, tonight
I do entreat that we may sup together.
You are welcome, sir, to Cyprus. Goats and monkeys!
 Using Desdemona’s words, I can tell that, concerning goats, “… I have spoken for you all my best “,  and now I should speak for monkeys too, which would be only fair. Look at the picture – this face speaks volumes. Don’t judge monkeys!

monkey

The Hot Air Balloon  Festival ended with amazing take off from Waterford Airport, but I will remember it because of the Passage East goats.

hot air

I do hope I have been a good advocate for the creatures not favored by some. What if we change the tradition and make “Goats and monkeys” a funny exclamation, not a symbol of immorality? It is the 21st century, after all.

Happy Christmas to you all, peace, love, inspiration and joy!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

From South to North and back – The end

EElena Shumilova workshop

This is the last blog post of the series about my Inishowen adventures (starting from October 23). I miss my favorite models, and hope to work with them some time next year.

map of ireland

After leaving Abbeyleix, I drove to Port Laois where I stuck for almost an hour, changed my route, and headed to Tullamore Co Offaly, the motherland of Tullamore Dew, the triple distilled Irish whiskey.There I took this picture of the Visitor Center with the neighborhood of happy consumers in background.

tullamore

After that I crossed the  bridge over the Grand Canal and proceeded to Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

tullamore

The sun started to show up but the fog didn’t clear away. My plan was to stop at the Belvedere House and Gardens on the shores of Lough Ennell to take a break from driving and eat something.

belvedere

The house was built by Robert Rochfort in the 18 century. This man had big issues with his family. He had incarcerated his wife in their previous home at Gaulstown for an alleged affair with his brother Arthur, whom he later put in debtors’ prison in Dublin. He also built the Jealous Wall after falling out with his other brother George, to block off the view of his house on the adjacent estate.

belvedere

The wall is built at a distance from the Belvedere House, and it is very high to ensure that the offensive sight is blocked off.

I walked through the gardens  down to the lake and back. I shared my sandwich with a friendly goat, took some photographs, and resumed my journey.

belvedere

I didn’t stop in Mullingar, but took a photograph of the Cathedral of Christ The King.

mullingar

I took R394 through Castlepollard because it is familiar to me and very beautiful. After the village of Finnea I entered Co Cavan. My luck was obviously pushed too far.

Driving around Cavan, I missed my turn to Cloverhill and wasted at least 30 minutes until I figured out where on earth I was. They say that the Celtic word for Cavan means both ‘hollow‘ and ‘small hill’… Do you remember hoodoos? There is another lovely word for you – drumlin, a clay hill of glacial origin. In between drumlins the valleys are poorly drained, with bogs and lakes.

bogs

(William) Percy French (1854 – 1920) once wrote:

The Garden of Eden has vanished, they say,
But I know the lie of it still.
Just turn to the left at the Bridge of Finnea,
And stop when halfway to Cootehill.

I read this poem with a map in my hands trying to figure out where was he coming from when he arrived to Finnea… I think I have to go to Cavan again to find out…

In Clones Co Monaghan I got lost again. I didn’t miss my turn or anything, I just didn’t know how to get to Omagh. Well, I knew the long way ( I used it on my way home), but there was a tiny road on the map  that I wanted to explore. I ate a 99 and walked around the square. Trust the 99, it is a cure for everything. I came across the guy who stood idling in the doorway, and he explained me how to find the road. He warned me of the dangers I might encounter, wild sheep etc. I was only happy to hear that 🙂 With his directions, off I went. My luck was back – not like in this video 🙂

A narrow country road took me to Fivemiletown Co Tyrone, and then up North to Fintona.

murley mountain

Halfway between Fintona and Fivemiletown lies Murley Mountain.

workshop 1 185ares

workshop 1 189ares

On the summit is the Lendrums Bridge wind farm, one of the largest in Ireland, with 20 turbines.  Another 8 turbines are located on Hunter’s Hill.

workshop 1 197aresiz

From Omagh I traveled through Strabane and Derry, which took me another 2-3 hours – 9 hours altogether with all the stops.

As you already know, I had a wonderful time in Inishowen.  The images below were taken from my hotel window early in the morning. There is no color processing, I only made a subtle change in the Levels  moving the black point slider to 4. It was exactly what  I saw with my own eyes.

inishowen

This image is zoomed and taken from a slightly different angle some 20 minutes later.

inishowen

Isn’t it a fairy tale?

My journey back home was quiet and filled with sadness. As it became a tradition, I got lost around Clones again ( I wasn’t supposed to be there at all; I took a different road…) , but a good old 99 cheered me up, and I got directions at the petrol station. I crossed Co Cavan without incidents, my little car wriggling between the drumlins; stopped for petrol in Mountmellick at the sunset; sneaked through Durrow and Ballyragget in the dark and took a motorway from Kilkenny to Waterford “when the stars went blue”.  Couldn’t fall asleep that night.

I am missing Inishowen, but it is the time to move on. Thank you again Elena Shumilova  and Brendan Diver, Sean Derry, children and their parents! Thank you fellow photographers Dirk Lecluse, Katrina Parry, Suzanne O’Connell, Steve Thomas-Jones, Renata Dapšytė, Gemma Burton, Karolina Zadwórna-Turczyńska and many others. Hope we meet again soon!

elena shumilova workshop

___________________________________________________________________________

I am very honored to be nominated for the Lovely  Blog award by Patrick Jones from The Linden Chronicles. Please visit his blog and read his books. I love them!

Thank you Patrick, I hope to maintain the loveliness 🙂

 

Now I have to reveal 7 things about myself

  1. I have seen all Bond movies
  2. I am a lousy swimmer
  3. I think that spiritual and physical self-reliance is a sign of maturity
  4. I want to learn how to swim before I die
  5. I want to climb Kilimanjaro before I die
  6. I adore cats
  7. I love all other creatures

And here are the blogs I am nominating – a tiny fraction of the bloggers I like.

https://knittingwithheart.wordpress.com/

https://waldfoto.wordpress.com/

http://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

https://halfeatenmind.wordpress.com/

https://zenocrat.wordpress.com/

http://sebdani.com/

https://poetrummager.wordpress.com/

Here is the list of rules to participate:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to her/his blog.
  2. List 7 interesting facts about yourself.
  3. Nominate up to 15 other bloggers 
  4. List the rules and display the award.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!

Ten Years Later

A note before the post:

My heart goes out to those affected by last night’s tragedy in Paris. Sending prayers of comfort and courage. I know the shock of learning that the people you know are held hostage. God help them all.

It is the time for the Governments to rethink and rewrite their policies, and for us people to remain human.

_________________________________________________________________________

Inishowen

This post is not a review of Alexandre Dumas  book. Last time I was in Inishowen in 2005, ten years ago. Just caught in the life, I guess.

In 2005, we drove up to the Malin Head, the most northerly point of Ireland, turning from Derry clock-wise around the coast. Somehow I have lost almost all my photographs from that trip, but there is one I want to talk about. I remember driving a very narrow road winding up the hill, and then, suddenly, this magnificent view opened like a window onto another world.

five fingers strand

It was quite windy, and the long, lush grass was moving in the wind, making the slope under our feet look like green fur of some giant animal. I was mesmerized by this mysterious beauty.

For years, I was dreaming of coming back, but I had no idea how to find the place. In Google Earth, I found the church and the graveyard, but couldn’t figure out where the road goes. With a tip from  Brendan Diver, I finally learned the name of the place – Knockamany  Bens. Early in the morning, before hitting the road back home, I drove north, my heart ricing with excitement.  I felt like I was heading to a reunion.

And finally, ten years later, I was standing there again, with the only difference that my camera was upgraded to a full frame model. The majestic view was the same.

cnockamany bends

From the viewpoint you can see a nameless hill (presumably Cranny Hill; check out http://www.diaryofadonegalgent.com/), Lagg village and chapel, Five Fingers Beach, and an inlet from the ocean, called Trawbreaga Bay. Across the water, there are the Doagh Famine Village, islands of Glashedy, Binnion, Dunaff and Fanad, and the highest point, Raghtin More Mountain.

Below, two more photographs taken from the viewpoint car park. Across the water you can see the beach where we had the Elena Shumilova Workshop photoshoot I wrote about.

knockmany

More of Trawbreaga Bay.

knockmany

Good bye Knockamany…  Hope to come back some day. My project for 2016 is ‘Mizen to Malin‘ cross-country photography trip.

One last photograph, October 2015.

inishowen

If I followed the road, I would eventually get to the Malin Head. As it commonly happens in our life, the journey is much more spectacular than the destination. This is Malin Head, July 2005.

malin head

We didn’t explore much at that time. The trip was a detour after traveling around Northern Ireland.  Another picture from Malin Head, and a bit of history.

malin head

The ‘EIRE’ sign, painted on stones below Banba’s Crown tower  at Malin Head, was a symbol of Irish neutrality during World War Two. The sign was a message to World War Two pilots that they had entered neutral territory. The Battle of the Atlantic began on September the 3rd 1939, 250 miles North West of Malin Head. German U-boats and submarines torpedoed both cargo and armed ships, and distress signals were received at Malin Head. Hundreds of lives were saved. The wreck of the RMS Transylvania sits almost intact 135m below the water’s surface. She was being towed  but sank before reaching the land.

Another remarkable place you can see East from Banba’s Crown hill, is Ballyhillin Beach.

malin head

This beach has its secrets. If you plan to go to Inishowen, don’t miss it.

To add to my memories from July 2005, I want to share these pictures from December, the same year. That  time we didn’t travel around Inishowen, but checked it out from the heights of The Stone Fort of Grianán of Aileach.

Grianán Ailigh

stone fort

stone fort

These are all the memories I have from 2005.

Driving down the hill, I took a few more photographs, including the one with the sheep I posted in my first blog.

inishowen

inishowen

horses

inishowen

The church in the images is a Roman Catholic chapel built in 1784. It has many amazing features that I hope to write about some other time. At the church I turned to the Five Fingers Beach to look at the sand dunes. They are not the largest dunes I have seen, but very beautiful. I didn’t dare to go to the beach because there was no one around, and I understand the word ‘quicksand’.

inishowen

I took this photo just to show how amazing is the grass that stabilizes the dune. I hope people understand that climbing can destroy protective coastal ecosystem that has been formed through the centuries.

inishowen

The Five Fingers Beach takes its name from the five sea stacks that are visible at low tide. The wreck of The Twilight, which sank in 1889 en route from Newfoundland to Derry, can also be seen when the water is low. The beach is sheltered by the cliffs and hills. This is The Soldiers Hill.

inishowen

My good-bye visit, as I already wrote, was to The Pollan Bay in Balliliffin, one minute drive from the Strand Hotel. I packed my car, checked out and hit the road. About my trip from Waterford to Inishowen and back I will write in a week or two.

Now it is the time to confess that I hoped to seriously impress my readers, but the odds were not in my favor. Alas. Brendan Diver  – Photos from Ireland – I will share his photograph instead .

1897869_592050870888185_183456060_n

Just a few words about Brendan.  He takes stunning photographs of the Northern Lights ( Aurora Borealis) – his images have been seen across the world on numerous TV News networks, such as RTE, BBC, ITV, Sky News, Good Morning America etc. He was an official photographer during the visit of President Michael D Higgins to Inishowen in 2014; he was invited to photograph Colonel Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut who himself took amazing photographs of Aurora from space. He organized Elena Shumilova Workshop, and an extra night photography class, at which we were expected to take photos of said Aurora Berealis! No luck with that, there was no display of the Northern Lights  in the area that weekend.

For those who might plan their visit to Ireland next year, there are two more workshops scheduled in July. I wouldn’t hope for Aurora though.

Thank you for reading! More to follow…

IneseMjPhotographyHave a peaceful weekend!