Waterford

Blaa

www.inesemjphotography.com

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.

www.inesemjphotography.com

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.

www.inesemjphotography.com

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!

Lady Florence and Clonegam church

church

After I posted this photograph in my blog  Abbeys and Churches, Mike Steeden, a fellow blogger, brilliant poet and a beautiful soul who is always advocating for the gals, looked up Lady Florence in Google and found a sad story of her short life. I also link this post to my favorite author Shehanne Moore’s blog because her heroines are not afraid to travel between the worlds in the name of love. Please visit and follow these amazing blogs.


Sometimes we find information where we least expect it.  I found mine in the Henry Poole & CO website in their very impressive customer list. This website is as classy as their exquisite bespoke tailoring. I checked out some genealogy websites, took a few pictures and here is another blog post about Lady Florence, Lord Waterford and Clonegam church. Clonegam church is a part of Curraghmore demesne. It has always been a family burial place for the De La Poer Beresford family, and Curraghmore has been their ancestral home since 1167.

Florence Grosvenor Rowley was born in Truro, Cornwall, in 1856 to Major George Rowley of the Bombay Cavalry and Emily Isabella Honner. She married Captain John Cranch Vivian in 1861 and had three daughters with him.

(The images are linked to the source)

by Camille Silvy, albumen print, 1860

Florence Grosvenor Rowley (by Camille Silvy, albumen print, 1860)

 

John Cranch Vivian

John Cranch Vivian

 

John Henry Beresford

John Henry Beresford 

John Henry Beresford was born in 1844 to John de la Poer Beresford and Christiana Leslie. In his youth, he was said to be ‘one of the handsomest officers that ever wore the uniform of the Household Brigade’. Lord John was also a fearless horseman. Sir William Schwenck Gilbert, a famous author of fourteen comic operas he wrote in collaboration with Sir Arthur Sullivan, refers to Lord John as ‘reckless and rollicky’ in Colonel Calverley’s song from Patience.

I don’t know how they met, but I am sure it was all over the papers at that time. In 1869 John Henry Beresford, 5th Marquess of Waterford, absconded to Paris with Florence Vivian, the wife of Captain John Vivian. Outraged husband pursued the couple to the Hotel Westminster, but his wife refused to return with him and attempted suicide by swallowing chloroform. Captain sued for divorce.

The Marquess and Florence married in 1872. They lived at 7 Upper Brook Street in London and at the Curraghmore house. In April 1873 Florence gave birth to a stillborn child, and died three days later at 27 Chesham Place, that was home of Marquess of Waterford at that time.

The 5th Marquess remarried in 1874 and had four children. His wife Lady Blanche Somerset, daughter of the 8th Duke of Beaufort later suffered from severe illness that left her paralyzed. She had a special carriage to carry her around the Curraghmore estate.

In 1883 the 5th Marquess of Waterford had suffered a spinal injury after being thrown from his horse on the way home from a dining party. He spent the rest of his life in the wheelchair, ‘silent and depressed’. On October 23, 1895 he was found dead in the library of Curraghmore house with a bullet in his head. He died by his own hand at the age of 51, 121 year ago tomorrow. His wife died two years later. Lord Waterford was succeeded in Marquessate by his only son Henry.

On Henry Poole & CO website, National Library of Australia website and also here  you can read about an impostor who wrote to Lord Waterford shortly before his death and claimed to be his legitimate son with Lady Florence, named George Tooth. He tormented the family for years and took the case to court in 1917 but didn’t succeed. There were witnesses who testified that the baby was dead and buried before his mother died, and the impostor is not ‘the missing Tooth’.

This is a look at the Clonegam church if you are coming from Portlaw.

portlaw-010

The back gate of the church yard. In the distance, you see the lake and arboretum, but Curraghmore house itself is hidden in the trees.

2015-03-14-111

This cross was erected in memory of Henry De La Poer 6th Marquis of Waterford and his family members.

2015-03-14-110

Peaceful view from the church yard. I took this picture two years ago.

2015-03-14-113

To take this picture I am standing on the other side of the wall. It is quite dark, and I have a feeling that I am pushing my luck again 🙂

portlaw-186

Sunset comes early around here because of the mountains on the west.

ch

The back gate is opened and I sneak to the graveyard. Looks like I am not the only one ‘trespassing’.

portlaw-105

I walk around the church taking pictures of the gravestones and sheep. Suddenly I hear a soft knocking sound, and it is quite unnerving. The sound continues. I start slowly backing out, my heart is pounding and I forget to breathe. I am already close to the back gate when the sheep start leaving the graveyard too, swiftly and soundlessly.

portlaw-164

I run through the gate and make a big circle to keep a distance from the church wall. Yet, I have to get to my car that is parked right next to this lovely house adorned with pale ghostly looking fuchsias…

portlaw-200

Mentally exhausted, I drive up the hill, and down the narrow road to Portlaw, praying that no tractor comes in the other direction.

portlaw-201

Thank you for reading about Marquesses of Waterford and running from ghosts with me 🙂 In my next post I will write about the most haunted place I know, because it is Halloween!

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Meanwhile in the streets

Gottfried Helnwein

Visiting Saltee Island was a pleasure, but it is the time to return and check out what we have missed while we were away. There are some street scenes and the events that took place in Clonmel and Waterford.

Clonmel Junction festival is the most eventful week in July, filled with live music, street performance, theatre and visual art. Installations of the works A Child for sale by a world renowned artist and Kilsheelan resident Gottfried Helnwein could be seen in various places in the streets of Clonmel.

In my blog post Cry for the Last Child, I wrote about Gottfried and his beautiful castle. His granddaughters Croí and Éala are regular models for his paintings.

Gottfried Helnwein

Lords of Strut  – very talented and very positive comedians from Cork gave a brilliant performance in Clonmel.

clonmel junction 052

clonmel junction 028

‘Over styled and under dressed’, silly but charming  characters Strut brothers Sean and Seamus,  won the hearts of young and old with their hilarious show, acrobatics, satire and dance.

clonmel junction 077

The streets of Waterford were not always as deserted as you might think after looking at this picture.

minimalist

Historical reenactment of 1916 Easter Rising gathered quite a crowd and took us a hundred years back.

reenactment

minimalist

reenactment

reenactment

There is a video of the Reenactment I found on Youtube – I even caught a glimpse of myself in it 🙂

 

All sorts of transportation in The Quay, side by side. I love this street, and I think that most of my Waterford pictures were taken there.

captain

Irish United Nations Veteran meeting was held in Cathedral Square, just a minute walk from The Quay. Thank you for your service!

meeting 025

meeting 054

meeting 075

Waterford Spraoi festival is one of a kind. Theatre, music, art, dance and much more is happening in the streets of Waterford on the first weekend of August. Here is my Spraoi 2015 post. I will share only a few pictures this time.

Spraoi orchestra string quartet.

Spraoi

Morbid&Sons, a brand new undertaker business. Way to go, guys!

Morbid&Sons

Tango for all! Dance until dark!

aspraoi tango 090

aspraoi tango f 137

The sun is setting down and it looks like we are having a rainy day tomorrow 🙂

Waterford

Melting gold of the setting sun flows behind the horizon. Darkness comes instead.

night

It is a perfect time to see the famous Spraoi monsters in the streets of Waterford City…

SPRAOI

… and listen to the monster style music 🙂

SPRAOI

Don’t be afraid of Spraoi monsters. They are a little bit crazy, but all they want is to have fun.  The only really scary and ugly thing in this world is hate.

Thank you for stopping by and for your interest in Ireland. In my next blog post, we will return to the Ocean and take a very unusual walk 🙂

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Dum spiro spero

memento mori

My first year in university was a tough one. The course of veterinary gross anatomy had us all running like a maniac between the lecture theater and dissection lab from early morning until dark. Lab humor, only understandable to those who have actually ‘been there’, helped me maintain a healthy perspective on life no matter what. The Latin language course was compulsory, but we were expected to memorize not only the names of all the organs, but also the names describing all the specific features on an individual bone. Our teachers were experts in Latin language, and from them we learned many phrases, both useful and useless. We even sang four verses of Gaudeamus igitur at the ceremony in the beginning and in the end of academic year. On the last verse, our professors would  stand up and respectfully nod to us all.

Vivat academia,
Vivant professores,
Vivat membrum quodlibet,
Vivat membra quaelibet;
Semper sint in flore!

Which in English is

Long live the university,
Long live the teachers,
Long live each male student,
Long live each female student;
May they always flourish!

I knew a good few Latin phrases before, from a handbook I found in my grandmother’s attic. One of my favorites was Memento mori – it sounded very mysterious and somewhat sad to a ten years old curious and life-loving girl. As an antidote to that one, there was Dum spiro spero – While I breathe, I hope.

tramore_boat_wreck

This winter was very stormy, and three shipwrecks have become exposed on Tramore beach, Co Waterford, uncovered from sand in February. It happens from time to time. When I finally went to see them ( time, tides and weather didn’t want to cooperate for me), the other two were almost gone, and this big one was half buried in sand once again. Another couple of months, and it will be immersed in the sand until the next bad storm.

I was alone in the whole strand. It was shortly after the midday (the lowest tide), and I quickly took photographs and went back to the car. The rain was getting stronger. I was sitting there, eating my sandwich, and it is when all these University memories came back flooding, must be because of the ribs of that old boat, sticking out of the sand like a skeleton of a long dead animal.

Imagine a very young girl with very little experience who finds a book in the attic of an old house, and learns that there is a strange, haunting language in the world, that no one else probably knows! It is what I thought 🙂

If you read the List of Latin phrases, you will realise that this language is still quite alive and widely used.

Since I have long ago grown out of the age when little girls pretend to be smarter and more sophisticated than they actually are, I don’t use Latin phrases without a very good reason, and don’t overuse any quotes altogether. While I breathe, I hope that my own intuition and common sense will help me out. Not that I totally avoid the internet when I look for advice. Some people’s quotes can be very valuable.

quote

I totally agree with this one 🙂 That Slievenamon climb during which I took the picture, was not easy for me.  On the summit, there is a huge pile of stones, a possible entrance to the Celtic underworld… Some people, in hope for a good luck, bring a rock and add to the pile. I hope for a good luck always, but if I want to breathe and stay alive while climbing Slievenamon, I have to forget about taking any rocks up there with me…

estuary

On my way home, the rain eased off and I went for a walk around the Tramore Back Strand estuary. At low tide, the place is all mud and myriads of lugworm castings. Cautious birds gather in the center of the mudflat, and I only saw two Little egrets, and these four geese. I also heard a lark, invisible in the clouds. I always think of my Grandmother’s home when I hear a lark.

I came across a family of Field horsetails – their spore bearing stems come out early, and I love their sturdy look. These plants have been around millions years before the dinosaurs came in the picture. My grandmother used the green stems as a brush to clean her saucepans, and she also said that all the parts of the plant are edible and good for skin and bones.

horsetail

My eyesight went down in the last two weeks. I am so sorry that I don’t visit your blogs as often these days. I will catch up when I get better, and I am working on that. The eyesight problems related to unstable blood sugar are nasty and difficult to fight. There is a natural remedy that my grandmother used – bilberry leaves, flowers, and of course berries. Look forward to Summer Solstice, the best time for gathering most of herbs. While I breathe I hope.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

St. Patrick’s Parade 2016 in Waterford

St. Patrick's Day

This picture is my personal favorite. I took it in a small town a couple of years ago. Proud mother and her beautiful baby daughter, surrounded with their family, are standing in the crowd of spectators during the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the first such Parade for the baby.

St. Patrick’s Day parade features everything Irish. It is a wonderful spectacle of marching bands and dancers, schools and community groups, and various floats, that include local businesses, artists, firefighters and many others.

This year, almost 60 parades and many more cultural events and festivals took place throughout the country. The main National Parade in Dublin city attracted more than 500,000 spectators

To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, some of the parades include the re-enactments of the events.

Waterford City was the first city to declare St Patrick’s Day a national holiday, and to entirely suspend business on the day. Before 1903 St Patrick’s Day was not a national holiday in Ireland.

The theme of this year’s parade in Waterford city was ‘Three Sisters 2020: Celebrating Waterford’s Cultural Diversity’. The Three Sister’s bid sees Waterford, Kilkenny and Wexford in a joint initiative to become European Capital of Culture 2020. The annual parade was accompanied by various street performances and other cultural activities throughout the day.

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

The county’s cultural diversity was presented with a number of international entries. For the first time, members of the Ukrainian community took part.

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

Members of the Filipino community, who won Best Community Float last year, returned with a new colourful creation.

St. Patrick's Day

Three African communities participated in the parade this year.

St. Patrick's Day

My favorites are the local theatrical groups, because the characters are interacting with the spectators during the march, and it is always fun.

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day

 

Marching to his own beat 🙂

St. Patrick's Day

Evolution themed SPRAOI float is leaving the parade, and the spectators are leaving too, but the celebration is not over.

In addition to the parade, a series of events are staged in the city centre, featuring entertainment from local bands, amusement rides and a treasure hunt.

This year, about 60 different communities were presented in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Waterford City. Thank you for taking part!

St. Patrick's Day

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful weekend!

Through the fog

fog

Recently I took some fog pictures and added a few more from my archives to put up a blog. The reason for this blog was a dream. I woke up after driving through the thick fog, struggling to recognize the familiar road. I knew that the road might be flooded and I could perish. From time to time I came across the cars with the blinking lights – the drivers gave up and pulled over to the side of the road, but I kept striving until I finally knew where I was. It felt like a victory.

This is  Dove Hill Castle,  or De La Poer Castle, a fortified tower house that was built in the 14th century. In my dream, I was driving this road 🙂

ireland

Kilsheelan Woods in the foggy morning.  It is just a test picture taken when I was looking for a background for my film sandwich project two years ago. I am not taking solo trips in the woods anymore. People are getting robbed and beaten in the countryside lately, and their cars stolen. I don’t want to reduce my life expectancy.

fog

Kilsheelan bridge. This place was completely under the water during the last flood.

fog

When I think of water, my thoughts immediately shift to mosquitoes and Zika virus, the subject that has been all over the news these days. It is one of the cases when I feel somewhat unhappy  that I fell out with one of my relatives years ago – she is a microbiologist, and would be able to answer my questions, I believe. I was trying to find answers myself,  in the internet, and came across this wonderful blog – The Hartley Hooligans.  Please, have a look. You might find answers to the questions you have never asked yourself before.

I had a chat with my daughter,  we talked about Zika and the babies with microcephaly. Perfect people, she said, and I knew what she meant. Perfect people who are here on Earth only to bless and teach others. It is how we should think of them instead of trying to come up with a politically correct word.

Reading news is bad for you, some people say. I don’t think so. It is like driving through the fog – if you are careful and don’t get distracted, you will be all right.

Waterford in the end of January, with the Christmas lights still on 🙂

2016 w fog 076res

The rising sun is rolling the mist from Johns Hill.

waterford

I took a picture of two Mormon missionaries in the narrow street still filled with mist. The media let them be until Mr. Romney decided to run for president. Since then, I have seen many hateful articles, and even read one. Got distracted in the fog, so to speak 🙂 Never read any messages of hate!

missionaries

I think that I can end this post with a Mormon quote.  Google has a good assortment of them, and I loved this one for it’s optimism, good humor, and confidence in the future. I am a huge believer in the future.

mormon quote

Have a wonderful weekend!

Merry Christmas and Happy New 2016!

christmas

Merry Christmas to you all, my dear blogger Friends! Joy to the World!

Joy to those who are celebrating with their families; joy to those who are with their friends; joy to the lonely. Blessings of peace and love to all.

I want to share some photographs I took in the last couple of days.

Waterford Winterval Festival is over,  and tonight the city center is unusually quiet. This Express Train had been riding around every night since the end of November.

christmas

christmas

Even the hurricane Eva couldn’t stop it.

christmas

Riding the carousel was another fun thing you could do in Waterford.

christmas

Spinning!

christmas

The full moon is hiding in the clouds – the last day of the festival.

christmas

Santa Sleigh – the last ride of the season.

christmas

I know that this festival wasn’t anything breathtaking – just a regular retail business with a bit of tinsel added for festiveness.  What I want to say is that Christmas time brings out the best in people, and this ‘best’ – sparkling eyes, smiles and happy laughter are a reflection of the joy within. It is what makes  Christmas festivals  special.

Let’s hope that this joy stays with us throughout the New Year and brightens ours days, softens our hearts and opens our minds for good things to enter.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a Happy Christmas!

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!

SPRAOI – thirteen years in the streets!

spraoi 2015

Thirteen years!  Well, not every day, but once a year, in August. In this blog I will cover just 1/100 of all the theatrical and musical events, just a small fragment of the festive fun so that you plan your next visit to Waterford on August Bank holiday weekend.

Spraoi [spree] is a Festival of international street Theater and Music which takes place  in the city of Waterford, Ireland, since 1992.  Spraoi means play in Gaelic.

In the opening image you see an evil monster hold a human. It happened on the last night of Spraoi this summer, but the beginning of the festival was quite innocent. Sort of.

nun ruth

This is Musical Nun Ruth, a no-nunsense Sister, and a favorite of all, children and grownups.  I followed her for an hour and took many photographs.

nun ruth

Sister Ruth wins hearts with her hilarious antics and charming personality.

nun ruth

nun ruth

nun ruth

These three ladies are not impressed..

spraoi

… but young children are excited  – she is very different from the nuns they know.

nun ruth

Tenth Avenue Band was another favorite.  They performed at Spraoi a couple of years ago, and it was delightful to see them again.

tenthavenue

I cannot tell you how I love the band!

tenth avenue

Open air tango with Tango Waterford… Another fascinating experience, tales of passion, jealousy and envy! Watching the spectators was fun.  They pretended that they didn’t really care, but the said envy was written all over their face.  I should have enrolled for a class ten years ago myself, when it wasn’t too late…

spraoi

Watching is not always fun. Look at these children waiting in the queue. The longest three minutes in their lives.

spraoi

Grandma and her Grandson, the owners of identical, gorgeous hair, also waiting for somebody. A brass band is playing on their right, but they look in different direction.

waterford

A man is reading old ads displayed in the butcher’s window while waiting for his wife.

waterfod

Unknown individual is reading today’s paper, waiting to clock out and go home, finally.

waterford

A dog is also waiting when it is time to go home. He has no idea that his owners are watching clowns. Or may be he knows?

dog

Young gypsy girl from  Romania, with a scarred face and tired eyes, wants to go home too, but her parents wouldn’t be happy if she left. It is a festival time after all.

beggar

I have many photographs from Spraoi Parade taken over the years, but this year it was my first parade when I took only three pictures. One of them you have already seen – A monster and a human. Theme for this year was Evolution, and the monster was supposed to be a product of evolution or something like that.  Two photographs below were taken before the parade turned to The Quay. Raining or not, the street was packed.

spraoi

spraoi

I hope you read the link about the history of Spraoi. It will help you to understand why all these people were standing in the heavy rain, and why the others, in amazing costumes that took a year to make were walking through the city center, some of them with very little clothes.  It is just love.

Thank you for catching a glimpse of Spraoi with me.  Tomorrow early in the morning I am off for a few days, and this trip will hopefully feed my blog until Christmas 🙂 I am not sure about the internet connection, and apologize if I won’t be able to return your visits to my blog. I promise to catch up when I am back with something interesting to share.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Irrelevant story

tramore2 339res

Having a real summer ( I use the term loosely) in July here in Ireland is something of fiction. Some people live here all their life still waiting for their first summer. This year they finally have got it, but in October.

Last Friday afternoon, a couple of hours before the sunset, I went for a walk around beautiful Tramore Bay & Backstrand, enjoying unusual weather, soft light, and tiny wildlife. I don’t have a real macro lens and have to manual-focus my trusted 70-200, but it is how I like it.

At home, I picked up some images, resized them, added them to the draft of my new post, and started thinking about a story to match.

tramore2 340res

tramore2 326res

tramore2 300res

tramore2 307res

tramore2 111res

tramore2 062res

tramore1 072ares

tramore2 166res

tramore1 046res

tramore1 019res

tramore2 180crres

I was almost ready to start writing, but got a “visit” to my blog and paid a “visit” back.  It is where I read a remarkable story that  brought back my own memories.  A story I want to share is not relevant to the pictures I have selected, but …  may be it is?

Sometimes we have dreams so vivid that they can be quite disturbing. When it happens, we either maniacally want to know the meaning of the dream, or to erase it from our memory. It is only a bad dream, it has no consequence, right?

In winter 1985, shortly after my father’s death, I had a terrifying dream that woke me up breathless. I saw a man with long arms that reached down below his knees. The man was dressed in some sort of rags, and stood at the edge of the forest. He did nothing, just stared at me – not blankly but as if considering something. This stare followed me for months.

The same year, in early autumn, I took my mother and my three years old daughter for a spin. The weather was sunny, chilly  and dry, and the air was filled with that bitter-sweet scent of fallen leaves and sadness.

We drove through an unfamiliar forest, but it looked friendly and we decided to stop and walk, and pick some berries. On our way through the forest we didn’t see any farmhouses, or any sign of human presence, so we felt quite safe and at ease. Our car was parked just behind the trees. I laid a blanked on the soft moss for my daughter to play on, and my mom and I walked around with our mugs in our hands picking lingonberries.

After half an hour our mugs were almost full, and I sent my mom and my daughter to the car to start packing so that we could leave soon, and I would stay another five minutes to fill up my mug. I didn’t see them, just heard their voices. The mug was finally full, I stood up and there he was. The man from my nightmare.

Our eyes met. He stood there exactly as I remembered him – dressed in some dirty, shapeless gown, and with his arms hung down way below his knees.  His hands were empty and it scared me the most: people are not walking that deep in the forest with their hands empty. He stared at me, and I could not read his stare.

I knew I was going to die, but there was my child, and I had to act quickly. All my instincts came to my rescue. I gave him a blank, uninterested look, slowly turned my back to him, and slowly started walking away. The only thought pulsing in my brain was ‘… don’t run… don’t scream…’ I called the first male name that came in my mind, and added ‘ I am coming!’ I kept walking; I expected being hit from behind at any moment. When I was at some distance, I finally looked back. He was no longer there. Gone. And then I ran.

My daughter was already in the car. I yelled to my mother to get in, fell in the car seat and locked all the doors. My heart was pounding with terror. With shaking hands I started the car and took off still expecting him to jump out of the bushes somewhere along the road. Yet, he was gone for good.

I have never been nowhere near that place again. What was that dream? Who was the man? How long had he been watching me? I will never know.

After the photo session with the spiders and caterpillars, I walked to the strand. The tide was out, but the sand was still wet and reflected the skyline.

tramore2a1resized

The sun was already low, but the cloudless sky wouldn’t make any dramatic sunset pictures.  I sat on the rocks staring at the distant water.

I love shooting into the sun. Dream and reality are somewhat mixed in this kind of pictures.

tramore2 259res

 

tramore2 247aasres

Thank you for listening to my story! Please share your ideas – I still feel like I need some explanation.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!

Big birds, little birds

birds of prey

I have already posted four bird-related stories from Saltee Islands, and a River Suir bird story, and here is another one. I love birds and never miss a chance to take a picture and listen to what they say. This conversation was overheard ( or may be just dreamed up? ) in Mayfield Birds of Prey falconry, Co Waterford, Ireland. I don’t know what it is about. Just some gossip, I guess. We are all guilty 😉 So, here they are: Sadie, Banin, Peanut, Muffin, Bailey, Izzy, Holly and Boo.

-Did you hear that?

birds of prey

-Uh oh…

birds of prey

-Aaaaaaah! Trouble!

birds of prey

-I heard nothing!

birds of prey

-Oh really?

birds of prey

-I always knew…

birds of prey

-“A little bird told me”, huh?

birds of prey

-I heard nothing!!!

owl

-Oh come on, it is OK.

birds of prey

-But …

birds of prey

-And what?

peanut owl 2 351ares

-You can’t be serious…

birds of prey

-Who cares?

birds of prey

-Yes, who?

birds of prey

-I. Heard. Nothing.

birds of prey

-Are you kidding me?

birds of prey

-I don’t want to know anything!

birds of prey

-Or do I already know something?…

birds of prey

-Everyone knows! 

birds of prey

-Well, at this point…

birds of prey

-Aaaaaah!

birds of prey

-I’d better be going…

birds of prey

birds of prey

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you click on the images to see these sweet faces better.

When you travel Ireland, visit Mayfield Birds of Prey. This experience is not to be missed. Willie and Bridget  will let you handle and fly these noble  birds, and tell you amazing stories about them. Pure love – it is all I can tell about their work . Please “like” their Facebook page, and book a visit for yourself and your family, or make it an educational birthday trip.

Two more photographs of my favorite, Peanut, the Asian wood owl. He is molting – his eyelids will be all feathered soon.

birds of prey

birds of prey

May all creatures  be loved and respected, and live long and happy.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

Waterford Walls

murals 199res

Waterford Walls is a visual Street Art project in Waterford City, Ireland. Irish and International street artists and talented school students transformed old spaces into extended art gallery. The first image is the work of Joe Caslin, a street artist and art teacher from Roscommon who is known for his project “Our Nation’s Sons” – large scale portraits of young men from disadvantaged social backgrounds.

In the image below, a man stopped to touch the surface of the portrait. I will tell you why.  Joe Caslin paintings are done on biodegradable paper,  and will come down within a few weeks.  We are lucky with the weather, and I hope the paintings will last another month.

murals

Another work of the same artist in Olaf Street. It is sad they won’t stay here too long.

murals

murals

I went around the city center to look for the other murals. First of all, I visited one of my favorite places in O’Connell Street and was pleased to find an interesting work.

murals

murals

After that I walked to Stephen Street. This is unused De La Salle Hall built in 1915. I love the new look of it’s facade. As it often happens in life, the facade is the only attractive part…

murals

murals

More murals in Stephen Street.

murals

murals

murals

murals

I like this mural  because the girl is holding a camera in her hands.

murals

It is where the rain started, and I rushed under the roof of a garage. From there I took a picture of a mural and a family with the matching umbrella.

murals

The rain didn’t last long and I walked to New Street to see the gardens and more murals.

murals

It was my last destination. There are about twenty murals, very colorful.

murals

This one is dedicated to Waterford Hospice.

murals

I stood there waiting for someone to come over and do something amazing, or at least something worth a picture, but there was no one in the gardens, so I just took a snap of the girl and her bees.

murals

Thank you for walking the streets with me. I know, it is not a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but think about the murals that won’t last longer that a couple of weeks. You have seen them!

This is sort of a similar exposition in 2008.

IneseMjPhotographyHave a wonderful weekend!

People in the streets

sell

What is street photography? Almost everything! Photographing street scenes, public events and human characters; landmarks and architecture, urban environment, transportation… Plus colors, patterns, shadows… Simply everything.

People walk in the streets, but they also do many other things.  They sell and buy stuff, sometimes quite amazing, like this green cat…

sell

… or this hand-made jewelry. Well, the sellers can be remarkable too.

sell

This young man is not texting. He is reading. Not good for the sales, but good for him. I took this picture because of the color arrangement: red parasol and hoodie –  blond hair and wooden kitchenware.

sell

More amazing stuff, and the artist himself is a character.

sell

Street vendors in NYC are not different from their colleagues in  the rest of the world. It is an old photograph – I wonder if anything has changed.

sell

People also perform in the streets.   I already posted about the street performers in Dublin. This guy was spotted in Belfast.

perform

That’s NYC again.

perform

Tall Ships festival in Waterford.

perform

Dublin Pride – this girl came all the way from Brasil. A spectator in his underpants could be from anywhere – could be a time travelling gone wrong…

perform

This band was actually brilliant, but the streets were empty: beach party in progress.

watch performance

This guy is a reggae musician Cian Finn. I had no idea when I spotted him in Cork and asked for a photograph. Things happen 🙂

cian_finn

People use electronic devices in the streets.

dublin

carusel

dublin

People sometimes cook in the streets.

cook

cook

People are generally friendly and happy. They pose if asked nicely.

pose

pose

biker

People chat with strangers.

chat

Unhappy people protest, usually peacefully…

waterford

… or use electronic devices…

sad

Some people stay in the streets most of their time.

cork 197

Some people own terrific cars and look darn cool, like this Italian policeman. In 2004, Lamborghini donated two Lamborghini Gallardo police cars to the Polizia di Stato on their 152nd anniversary. On the 31st November 2009 one of these 165,000-euro cars was badly damaged in a collision near the northern Italian town of Cremona where it was on display at a student jobs fair. It was repaired in January 2010. I took this photograph of the famous Lamborghinis in Tivoli in March 2010, and consider myself very lucky for being in the right place at the right time 🙂

work

Some people own bikes, like this shiny one. I was circling around it long enough to get arrested 🙂

bike

Some people just wait for their bus.

waterford

Most of people walk…

dublin

… and cast shadows if the day is sunny.

shadows

Most of the days are not sunny here, it is why  I am posting a sad song for you:  Johnny Cash – Streets of Laredo.

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!