Harvest festival in Waterford, 2017

As we crossed the Knockmealdowns and returned to County Waterford, why not to visit Waterford city again, especially on a Harvest festival weekend.

Harvest festival is a lot about eating and being merry. Parnell street is turned into an outdoor restaurant, live music is playing, some people are cooking and all the other people are eating.

Cuisine from around the world.

And cakes, cakes and more cakes! I got a bag of delicious homemade marshmallows – passion fruit flavor, yum.

Apple juice from the award winning Clashganny organic Farm. 

Banana bread from Dunmore East Amish Mennonite community bakery.

Organic vegetables from GIY Waterford, which stands for, of course, Grow It Yourself.

This is Síona from GROW.

She and her colleague are running the Grow Cook Eat stand, and I can see that it is popular and many people stop by to get a brochure. GIY is a not-for-profit enterprise dedicated to supporting, educating and inspiring people to grow some of their own food.

I am a huge fan and supporter of the GIY idea. It is not only about food. It is one of the aspects of carers mentality. Care for the Earth, resources, health, life.

GROW headquarters in Ardkeen offer a great variety of classes and workshops, including yoga and mindfulness meditation, chicken and bee-keeping, fermented drinks and beer brewing. Just everything.

I am moving from one location to another looking for some craft workshops, but cannot find any. Last year there were plenty – some of them were featured in my blog.

Honey harvest stand looks and smells beautifully.

This man is selling miniature Standing Stones. They look cute and I would love to talk about them with the artist himself, but I am afraid he doesn’t like photographers 😉 As far as I know the artist’s name is Peter Atkins, from Waterford. The replicas he makes are really cute 🙂

But this beautiful lady from Ballybeg Greens likes photographers. Good for her!

I spot a pair of donkey ears in the painting. Carol Murray’s works are here as a part of the outdoor exhibition Art on the Railings where young and established artists of different mediums can hang their artwork in the Viking Triangle.

And look who is here! My ‘friends’ from Dunmore East 🙂

Of course these two gentlemen had nothing to do with the incident at the oyster farm 🙂 They were nice and didn’t mind to be photographed.

These poor creatures deserve a word of mention. They had to wear heavy wigs and thick garb, and those creepy ride-on costumes with fake legs… No wonder they looked so sad. They didn’t even have a proper walking staff to keep their balance and had to use tree branches …

… while there were hundreds of beautiful Shillelaghs!

I just couldn’t take my eyes off all those cute animals.

I hope you enjoyed the festival. Next week we are going to Dublin.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Overcast sky from Dunmore East to Passage East

Dunmore East

This wasn’t the same day, even the same year when I took all these pictures, but the weather in Ireland hasn’t changed for years, so let’s presume we hop in the car and take a  short photo-drive from one village to the other, with one stop in the middle.

We start our trip from the Dunmore East Port  that is situated at the western end of Dunmore village.  As I walked on the pier to the lighthouse that was established in the end of 1825, the grey drizzling sky suddenly broke open and gave way to a wonderful silvery light. It lasted no longer than a minute, and the scenery quickly returned to its usual grey self.

Dunmore East

Construction works around the lighthouse obstructed the view and I turned back. Two young gulls on the rope made me smile – why did they have to stand there is such an awkward position? Maybe it was a dare? 🙂

Dunmore East port

Regardless of the weather the cliffs are always beautiful. This is an old coastguard station, the most photographed (and then over-dramatically enhanced) building in the area.  If you keep walking to the west, after half an hour you will reach the Portally Cove. It is a cliff walk, but not too close to the cliffs, actually.  This time I didn’t walk that far.

Old Coastguard

The silky grass is slippy. I like walking alone, but I believe in taking precautions.  Two years ago a cow fell from a cliff in the water, but was rescued.

Dunmore East

You can see the Hook Lighthouse on the other side.

Hook Head

This picture of Dunbrody was taken many years ago from the same cliffs.


To get this picture, you have to walk to the park, cross it and walk to the cliffs. The previous picture is taken from the same place – on the left, there is the port where we just came from.

Dunmore East

I leave the park and walk down to the village centre. During the winter storms, some giant waves reach the buildings.

Dunmore East

This is where we are heading, in the direction of Waterford Harbour and Passage East village, our final destination. Waterford Harbour is formed by the estuary of three great rivers: River Suir, River Nore and River Barrow.

Dunmore East

In the Google Earth image below, I have mapped the most significant strands on our way. Geneva strand is a great place for bird watching, but this time we will only stop to visit the oyster farm you see when you enlarge the picture. I don’t know how large is this particular farm (headquarters in Dunmore East), but some farms measure many hectares.

Google Earh

This is what Waterford Harbour and Woodstown beach look like at high tide. The photograph was taken after the sunrise from The Saratoga pub, “#1 of 1 Restaurant in Woodstown”, according to TripAdvisor. Fair enough.


This is the same beach at low tide.


The oyster farm workers are waiting for the other tractor to return.

oyster farming

Here it is, coming from the middle of the harbour.

oyester farming

The higher poles of the fishing weir measure about 3-4 m in height – something like two-human height. I recon the water can reach up to 2-2.5 m at high tide, or even higher. I have never seen it myself, but I have heard that the water in the harbour is leaving and coming very rapidly, as if someone is opening and closing a gate.

The oyster farm is so fascinating that I decide to come another day and check it out. To tell that I have no doubts about this adventure would be a lie. I am terrified, but my curiosity takes over, as usual.

It is a ten-minute walk in the soft, wet sand, between the pools of water. Sometimes my feet sink in the sand, and my heart sinks too. I keep closer to the poles, but have no idea how it would help if the sand swallows me. I just hope the poles are marking a safe path.

I have a longer lens, so I don’t have to come too close, and can take my pictures from a distance. The workers are doing something with the mesh bags full of oysters – inspect them, and flip them over. They don’t pay any attention, except for an older man, who looks in my direction a few times, and then speaks something. I wave to him and try to listen to what he is saying. I would love to interview him for this blog. Then I hear “… shove that camera in your face…” and quickly realise that my time has expired. With the broadest smile, I wave to him again, take a few more shots and walk back.

oyster farming

With no interview, I had to look up the oyster farming in the internet. Here is what I have learned.

In Ireland, they cultivate Irish native flat oyster, available from September, and Pacific Gigas, available all year. The Gigas was introduced in the 1980s, and from what I have seen, this particular farm cultivates exactly the Gigas species.

The tidal waters of Waterford Harbour are flushing the oysters twice a day, providing them with natural food. Bag-cultured oysters mature more quickly than those that are beach grown, it is why the bags have to be regularly thinned and flipped over, otherwise the oysters will develop a wrong shape.

The Gigas oysters take about three years to reach market size ( about six years for the native Edulis species). Oysters are cultivated to the size of spat first, to the point at which they attach themselves to a substrate. Then they are set out to mature.

There were many empty trestles that made an interesting picture.

oyster farming

These are the oyster bags. The holes are very small, but I could say that the oysters were the size of a half-palm.

oyster farming

oyster farming

On my way to the shore, I take some pictures. The distance is quite remarkable.

woodstown beach

I am trying not to step on the coiled castings of lugworms. Nearly there!


oyster farming

I found a broken oyster bag in the sand after a storm last year. I didn’t know how long it was there, and were the oysters still alive or already dead, so I let them be.

oyster farming

What made me sad, was the pattern of mesh on the shells.

oyster farming

We are leaving Woodstown, and drive another 5km. Passage East is a tiny village, but it is very important to the locals because of the ferry service between Co Waterford and Co Wexford.

Passage East

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Passage East

I have already mentioned Passage East village in my blog post Goats and Monkeys. A huge herd of goats is living in the hills, and sometimes they come down and cause a traffic jam. This billy goat is the leader of the herd. His diabolic looks are quite impressive.

Passage East goat

Here is the ferry, and some day we will cross the river and go to visit places around the Waterford Harbour.

Passage East

Thank you for taking a risky hike to the middle of Waterford Harbour with me 🙂 In my next blog post, we will travel up the River Barrow, and then up the River Suir.

inese_mj_photographyHave a wonderful weekend!