Kilkenny

Hope

Kilkenny Castle

The opening picture was taken from Kilkenny Castle window this summer. Its extensive front lawn stretches for about half a mile and blends into the park. I have been there numerous times. Years ago you would see dozens of grey squirrels over there, but someone set traps and killed 75 squirrels just before my other pictures from this blog were taken. On that particular trip I only saw one squirrel munching on peanuts deeper in the park.

I took these pictures on two foggy days in January and November 2010. In January I went to see the Angels – Beacons of Hope exhibition created and coordinated by Dublin based artist Nollaig Fahy, and in November I went there frozen with grief after my friend’s funeral, all hope gone.

You probably won’t find much information about these two events in the internet any more, so I decided to write a few words about the Angels. We need hope in 2017 as we did in 2010.

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

More than fifty colorful, eight foot tall angels lined the castle courtyard to bring the message of hope before they continued their nationwide tour.

Kilkenny Castle

Angels - Beacons of hope

Angels - Beacons of hope

Made from a single mould they had been created to be a blank canvas. Invitations had been sent to a variety of artists, sport stars and other celebrities, some schools and prisons to paint an angel. For the general public the street angels were available so that people could leave a signature or a thumb imprint.

Angels - Beacons of hope

One of the angels in the picture below, the one with the Jedward brothers painted on it, was designed and painted by a freelance artist Sara Sheridan. She and her team painted some of the ‘big name’s’ angels.

Kilkenny Castle

One of my favorites, the Rose of Hope angel was designed and painted by Irish fashion designer Lisa Fitzpatrick.

Kilkenny Castle

Some other names that could be mentioned are Uma Thurman, The Edge, Irish novelist Neil Jordan, actors Brendan Gleeson, Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy, comedian Des Bishop, broadcaster Ryan Tubridy, designer Budd Holden, professional golfer Padraig Harrington, rugby player Brian O’Driscoll and his colleague from Australia Rocky Elsom.

Padraig Harrington’s angel.

Kilkenny Castle

This is a short video where Nollaig Fahy tells the story about the angel painted in a woman prison.

 

 

After they had toured around Ireland, the angels returned to Dublin for auction. I have read that The Hope Springs Eternal angel designed and painted by Irish impressionist Gerard Byrne was purchased by Chris de Burgh and went to Glencree Centre for Reconciliation in Co Wicklow. I don’t know if all the angels were sold, and where the other angels are now. They are somewhere in the world anyway.

Artist Nollaig Fahy says in his video:

I really would like to change the national conversation from one of doom and gloom to one of hope.

Kilkenny Castle

“Paint your angel”, make the world brighter. Hope v Gloom –  I put my bet on hope.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful week!

Blaa

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
A blaa /blæ/ is a doughy, white bread bun (roll) speciality; particularly associated with Waterford, Ireland... 12,000 blaas are sold each day.  
There are four bakeries making blaas, two of them in Waterford city – Hickey’s Bakery, and M & D Bakery. The Waterford blaa has been around three hundred years, since the Huguenot settlers introduced this simple bread to the locals. Never cut a blaa with a knife! It has to be torn apart by hand and eaten with butter or any filling of your choice, like rashers or chicken filet.
A student who preferred to stay anonymous, kindly gave me permission to take a picture of his blaa and rashers.
blaa
Blaa has a very special place in the heart of  Waterford people.
The graffiti in my opening photograph is not a blaa advertisement though. The other side of the river Suir in Waterford – Ferrybank – mostly belongs to County Kilkenny, and traditionally, some Kilkenny people risking their lives leave teasing graffiti on The Flour Mills or on the high vertical cliff behind the railway station to annoy  Waterford folks.
The Flour Mills, as they look in my photograph from 2015, don’t exist anymore. This summer the grain silos were taken down first, and the derelict buildings followed.

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There are a few more photographs of the Mills taken in November 2015.

waterford mills

waterford mills

waterford mills

waterford mills

waterford mills

Tall Ship Festival 2005. Russian four-masted barque Kruzenshtern with the Flour Mills in background. Happy days.

kruzenshtern

The Mills were always there, ruining pictures 🙂

tall ships 2005

waterford

The nine storey building constructed in 1905 and listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage as ‘an imposing building of national importance’, has been preserved.

demolition

The rest of the mill will have to go.

demolition

There is another ghost on the other side of the river in Waterford City –  the Ferrybank Shopping Centre on Kilkenny/Waterford border, that was completed in 2008 and has never opened. Its cost is € 100M.

ferrybank

And one more ghost is hidden behind the Joe Caslin’s mental health artwork – abandoned Ard Rí hotel.

waterford walls

Ta-da! This picture was taken in 2005 with Ard Rí already abandoned five years prior.

tall ships 2005

But the ghosts are not easy to rid off. Especially in the internet. There still is a booking page for Ard Rí! 🙂

Hope this beautiful Sumac that grows in Ferrybank brightens the story of this less fortunate suburb of Waterford city.

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And here is my latest picture of Ferrybank on the other side of the river Suir – with the Supermoon shining through the clouds 🙂 I didn’t have enough enthusiasm to camp by the river and wait for the clouds to clear away.

supermoon

Thank you for walking around Ferrybank with me! I link this post to Milford Street , Equinoxio  and Geezer 94 – the blogs that are often showcasing history and old buildings. Please visit and follow.

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Sheela na gig

three castles

Shortly before my holidays I had some business to attend in Kilkenny, and used this as an opportunity for a detour through the countryside. I took the Freshford Road and turned right to Three Castles. This is a beautiful road with some very nice spots for photography. Because my friend used to live there, it is a ‘memory lane’ to me as well. The first picture was taken from Martin Campion pub doors.

According to the Lonely Planet, there is 0 things to do in Three Castles, Ireland. I object to that. There is a castle, church and graveyard, and some day I will put up a post about them. This time I only took one picture of the castle, from the road – I think it looks nice in b&w.

three castles

Also, there is a beautiful limestone bridge, dated 1790. I walked a little bit further and found a roadkill – a huge pine martin. I was very sad for the unfortunate animal. Wildlife in Ireland is scarce. I took a picture but didn’t feel like posting, because the carcass was badly damaged.

threecastles bridge

After driving through Three Castles, I turned to Ballyragget. The village of Ballyragget was named after le Raggeds who had lands here in the 13th century. This castle was built in 1495 and belonged to the Mountgarret Butlers who lived here until 1788. Richard Henry Piers Butler, 17th Viscount Mountgarret, died in 2004. He served in Irish Guards – well, some of the Mountgarrets were in opposition to the crown in the 17th century and distinguished themselves by defense of Ballyregget castle.

There is no access to the castle grounds, so I just took two pictures from the road.

ballyregget

ballyregget

Oh, how could I forget! I bought a .99 in Ballyragget! A .99 is the name for and Irish cone ice cream, the best in the world 😉 If you happen to drive through Ballyragget, buy one in the local store.

After enjoying my .99, I left Ballyragget and turned to Lisdowney, a tiny village on the border with Co Laois [ lee-sh]. I have fond memories about the place and the church where I once helped with the Christmas music rehearsal. Some day I will share more pictures and stories.

These pictures of the countryside don’t need much comments.

lisdowney

horses

lisdowney

Irish graveyards are special. If you are interested, you might check the link – a friend of mine takes part in the project Historic Graves. This is St Bridget’s, Aharney,  graveyard.

lisdowney

You probably wonder, why this title, and where is Sheela? Now we are getting there! 🙂 My plan was to drive to Cullahill and take a hike through the forest. When I approached the village, I took this picture of the Cullahill castle ruin. I zoomed it to see what kind of bird was sitting on the electrical wire, and then I noticed something interesting on the castle wall!

cullahill

A Sheela! There was a Sheela na gig on the castle wall! I didn’t have a longer lens – you can have a closer look if you open the link.

There are a few theories why people placed the sheelas on the churches and castles – I guess they had some benefits from doing that. It is amazing how this one survived the centuries and the destruction. They say there are 101 sheelas found in Ireland, but most of them in museums.

cullahill

I was so delighted about the sheela, and so proud that I got the picture.

This is the Northern wall of the castle, badly damaged by cannons of Cromwellian forces in the 17th century. The hill of Callahill in this picture, where I was heading, is hidden right behind the castle.

cullahill

Across the road from the castle there is a ruin of a chapel.

cullahill

My hike was over before it even started. I was driving that extremely narrow road to the hilltop, mortified with the thought that someone might drive downhill and knock me off the road to my death. When I reached a parking spot, I quickly turned around and drove back even more horrified, because this time the abyss was on my side of the road. There was one car parked, and fortunately no one else felt like hiking that afternoon. I even didn’t take any pictures of the hill.

On my way back  I took a picture of this property near Freshford. It is for sale. Thatched roof looks so cute.

freshford

The sky finally cleared and  I drove home.

lisdowney

Thank you for taking the trip with me!

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

From South to North and back – I

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First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all the thankful out there, wherever you may be! Have a wonderful and happy weekend!

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map of ireland

To those who haven’t read my blog before – it is the fifth post in the series about my trip to the North of Ireland to take part in Elena Shumilova Workshop.

I got this lovely map from  http://www.ireland-information.com/irelandmaps.htm, and drew my route with a green marker. My plan was to use smaller roads instead of motorways so that I could stop for a photograph. Most of the route was familiar to me, but I still got lost somewhere between Counties Cavan and Monaghan, twice – on my way to and from.

I left early in the morning from Waterford, drove through Kilkenny  and Durrow, and didn’t stop until I got to Abbeyleix. These photographs were taken in different years, but I think they are good enough for illustrating my journey.

kilkenny

These photographs are taken in Kilkenny Castle park, in early  November 2010. The day was chilly and foggy, and very quiet.

kilkenny

kilkenny

kilkenny

The National Monument to missing people was unveiled by President Mary Mc Aleese in the grounds of Kilkenny Castle in 2002. The sculpture is designed by Ann Mulrooney. Each hand was cast from the actual hand of a family member of a missing person. There is also a stone with inscription: “This sculpture and area of reflection is dedicated to all missing persons. May all relatives and friends who visit find continuing strength and hope”.

inese22 047resiz

Another old photograph – the River Nore in Kilkenny.

river Nore

After leaving Kilkenny I headed to Durrow, Co Laois. I think that it will help if I give you a link to a page where you can learn how to pronounce Irish names for places: http://www.logainm.ie/ga/

For today it is Laois [leash] and Abbeyleix [abbey- lees]

I already wrote about Durrow twice. Every year they are hosting a Scarecrow Festival, and it is a huge fun event. In my Scarecrow blog Part I I reflected on the life of Scarecrow of Oz and his predecessors; in the Part II I gave an account of the festival activities and attractions. I wont’s repeat myself and hope you visit these blog posts if you haven’t read them yet. There is also a video from which you will learn a thing or two about the nature of scarecrows 🙂

Today I am sharing two picture that I took after the festival in 2014. The day was fabulous, but then we noticed the darkest cloud menacingly approaching the town. We escaped, but all the merry gathering was drenched with rain in a matter of minutes. We drove up the rolling hills until this magnificent view opened to us. I had just a minute for a couple of snaps. The skies opened and the rain poured on us all the way home.

view

2014 durrow pano

Now back to my Grand cross-country trip.

As  I said, my first stop was in Abbeyleix.  Lonely Planet offers you six things to do in Abbeyleix, including a visit to the former Yvo de Vesci Carpet factory where a number of hand tufted carpets were made for Titanic’s staterooms. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to stay in Abbeyleix longer than 10 minutes, it is why I will just share with you this old picture from Cobh (former Queenstown), the final port of call for Titanic. I will write about Cobh another time. 

titanic

I think you already understand why I am getting lost while travel…

So, I didn’t have time to do six things in Abbeyleix, neither was it my plan, but there is something in this little town that  I love and want to share with you. I love their street lights.

It was early in the morning, and I stood  in the middle of N77 without  getting in trouble. The fog was thick, the colors and sounds muted, like in a dream.

abbeyleix

I took some more photographs,  one of them I used in my previous post – the iron gate and the rising sun. After saying good bye to this lovely little town I resumed my journey.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great Thanksgiving weekend!

All creatures

pat_gibbons

For those who are reading the fox story for the first time – here are two links to my previous posts – Kindness and Fox News.

This spring, I got a word that Minnie, the six-years old vixen,  was pregnant. The only “suspect” was a two-year old male fox Henry, badly mauled by dogs in his yearly days and restored to health in Patsy’s care. Being very busy at that time, I didn’t come over to greet the cub and take pictures. I feel sad about that – I don’t think I will have another chance.  Now the cub is gone. Pat has too much on his hands  to accommodate one more fox, and a lady from Kilkenny was happy to give the little foxy a family and a little pup for a sibling to  grow together. I only hope for an interview in near future.

I didn’t take pictures of Henry. He was in a bad mood, and we left him in his den. I only can tell that he looks very grown up, and his injured eye is not as teary as it was last year.

I have got a new “fox picture”, this time with Minnie.

fox

Grainne and Minnie are full of character, and are visually different.

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

fox1 170

fox1 189

Minnie is not angry in these photographs, or upset in any way.  She is just being herself, playing and watching if your attention is still on her 🙂  As you know from my previous post, Minnie doesn’t like walking and prefers being carried and cuddled, and talked to all the time. I think I performed all these tasks very well, and she expected me to carry on, but Patsy thought different and Minnie had to walk to the den on her own feet.

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

fox1 291gauss

After the photo session, we all went to the garden. The weather improved, a lovely change.  All the creatures of the house joined us, and I was amazed with their friendliness and good humor: even a huge rooster didn’t mind to be photographed. Cats, chickens, dog Blackie  –  all of them relaxed and at ease with the strangers.

chicken

rooster

chicken

grumpy_chicken

dog

pat_gibbons

And of course we talked about foxes, how important they are to the environment. Their diet consists mostly of rats and mice; if they steal a chicken it only means that the chickens were not locked properly. Wild fox killed his ducks yet Pat doesn’t blame the fox but the hole in the fencing. While opposing the fox hunting, Pat doesn’t encourage people to take a fox cub home if it has been found alone. The cub is not abandoned. Foxes belong to the wild and they will survive in the wild. Pat wishes people would just leave them alone.

We were invited for a cup of tea. Pat’s brother showed us a photograph of their parents. Calm, intelligent, beautiful faces. They have raised their eleven children well.

As I have learned, Pat is famous not only because of his foxes. While attending a hurling game, he was spotted and taken a picture of for Kilkenny People newspaper. What has drawn the photographer’s attention? A hat. Pat’s sister is knitting these hats for the match goers, in county colors. Amber and black – Kilkenny colors. I asked Pat if he had another hat for a photograph, and he brought me a Red and White, a Cork one… Didn’t feel comfortable in it… 😉  I should have replaced the colors in Photoshop… 😉

pat_gibbons

On our way back home we took a few pictures in Thomastown.

thomastown

thomastown

A French tourism-oriented website recently posted a story about Pat and his foxes, and asked if they could use my photographs. I am delighted that more people will learn about this wonderful man and his beloved pets. They are already known in England, Scotland, and New Zealand, thanks to Grainne who is kind of a movie star, since she has several film and tourism commercial credits.

I hope you enjoyed the day with Pat Gibbons, and will visit with him in person on your next trip to Ireland.

Have a great week!