A Raft of Apples

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


Once again for this week's ABC Wednesday I am showing a part of Ireland I visited and in particular the megalithic tombs of Knowth in County Meath which were constructed about 5000 years ago. This view is of  "The Great Mound" and two of the smaller mounds of which there are about 18 around the site.
This was our guide to the passage tombs both informative, knowledgeable and wonderfully lyrical she painted a picture of the past.  The large stones you can see are all around the outside and most have designs on them
Of the total number of examples of megalithic art in Western Europe the 200 decorated stones here make up a third.     
This is the entrance stone to the passages of which there is both a western and eastern one.  The Great Mound has lived an interesting life, being built in the Neolithic period and used as passage tomb then evenually abandoned although bronze and iron age settlements proliferated in the valley, eventually used as a hill fort in the 9th century and then later as a monastic grange. The original  passage alignment to the times of the year has been compromised
because in the medieval period soutrains (storage chambers for food) were built into the mound, for a few possible reasons, for use if the hill fort was under siege or to hide food from the Viking raiders or as a larder because the conditions in the tomb were cool and dry.
The white quartz stones that are spread around the tomb and gleamed in the sunlight came from the Wicklow Mountains 60 kilometers south of here. The dark granite cobbles came from the Mountains of Mourne 60k to the north, just one indications of the amount of organisation, knowledge and effort that went into the making of the tombs.
Here we are among the wild flowers on top of The Great Mound and taking in the views of the Boyne valley from which this area of megalithic wonders takes its name, Brú na Bóinne which means Palace of the Boyne and the area is designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Sometimes the area is called the Bend of the Boyne after the river which winds its way through the valley making a dramatic loop or bend at this point.  Wondering how they keep the the sides of the mounds so nicely smooth?
See the man on the top
he was busily mowing one of the satellite mounds while we were there.
There are also standing stones and other structures outside the tombs and
a reconstruction of a Timber Circle which was originally built about 2,500BC on the eastern side of the site.

A virtual tour and an aerial view of Knowth can be seen here

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, sojourning at the letter K here

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Japanese Garden

The Powerscourt Estate is one of Ireland's big tourist attractions being only 20 kilometers south of Dublin and its 47 acres and 300 years of garden design, which include Italian, Japanese and walled gardens, are one of things that attract the visitor.  Here I have arrived on the path that overlooks The Grotto a secluded space of mosses, ferns and falling water
which was created in 1740 and whose atmosphere flawlessly leads one into the Japanese Garden
with its twisting paths, running water and ponds.  The day was overcast and and a very cool for June but the
lovely candelabra primulas brightened the scene
as well as this woman in a yellow dress who seemed to fit in perfectly with the oriental theme, what a pity she was continually in motion while I was trying to trying to focus in from a distance.
I then went on to amble over bridges, admire the water lilies
palm trees, little shelters and lantern stands
No Japanese garden would be complete without a willow tree.  This Irish take on a Japanese Garden was created in 1908 and was one of the most popular parts of the Powerscourt Gardens the day I visited.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at J here


Tuesday, 22 August 2017


The Gleneolo River flows softly in Glendalough, a valley famous for its monastic city
which grew up in the 11th Century, its buildings and 30m tower a popular film location today. But we are heading from here up past waterfalls and through a wood to gain the high ground
from where can be seen the two lakes that give the valley its name, Glendalough, or the 'glen of the two lakes'.
Walking further up and along the ridge on the boardwalk which in this area of high rainfall helps one over the mire although as we were here in June, and in the middle of a heatwave, the ground was dry(ish).
Eventually reaching the head of the valley and crossing the stream that will become the Glenealo River which will flow down the valley to keep the lakes full but only the higher lake can be seen at this point, the lower lake hidden in the bend of the valley.   As we come down to the valley floor we come to the remains of an old mining village
which grew up in the 1800s when lead, zinc and silver were discovered here and thousands of miners worked in this remote location which they called Van Diemen's Land (after the distant colony in Australia) because it seemed so far from civilization.  Today
the area and its lakes is a popular leisure destination. This is the lower lake with its little beaches.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at G here

Tuesday, 15 August 2017


I'm continuing my nautical theme from last week but this time watching the fishing boats come home. Here the Fran Leon III is entering Wicklow Harbour on the south east coast of Ireland, the last of the fleet to come into port.
 The day was hot and hazy with the sea like glass, the only ripple on the water was from the ship's wake.
The other fishing boats had already tied up
and the catch had been sealed and stacked ready to be taken away.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week anchored at F here

Tuesday, 8 August 2017


I always love sailing into ports and harbours. The romance of arriving into a small island harbour or the bustle of a large port both have their charms for me.  Here I am camera clicking away on the Stena Adventurer ferry deck as we sailed into Dublin port in June. Container ship loading was in full swing as the ferry slowly entered the dock system.  This is the Elbfeeder, one of three ships, bought a couple of year's ago by the Irish Continental Group from the German shipping company Elbdeich Reederei.  Unfortunately I didn't get a photograph of the crane swinging a container into place
but just managed to capture this stevedore directing operations from the deck before he disappeared from view.  I wonder what are in all those containers and where their journey will eventually end?  The Elbfeeder can carry 974 containers and it and its sister ships, Elbcarrier and Elbtrader ply their trade between the ports of Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Rotterdam and Antwerp.  Here is a 51 second time lapse You Tube video of the ship leaving port -  'Farewell to Antwerp' complete with rowing boats sculling past at high speed. 

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week docked at E here

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Hall Dunnerdale

I parked by what must be the only patch of municipal land in Hall Dunnerdale because all the electric and telephone communications boxes have been set up here at the crossroads.  The phone box has no door and has done so for many years so one could say it is easy access, essential when the mobile signal around here is zilch. I wondered what the stone with the round  metal ring is for and why it is resting on a palet?  It will remain a mystery. With shortage of space the post office has been creative with the post box location because it is in the middle of Hall Dunnerdale Bridge in the background. 
once a county boundary between Westmorland and Lancashire before they moved the administrative borders in the 1970s but it is still a parish boundary.  Time to journey on
and follow the signpost.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at D here


Tuesday, 18 July 2017


Bray is a seaside town on the east coast of Ireland just about 12 miles (20k) south of Dublin in County Wicklow.
I visited in June so the summer season was yet to be in full swing with its bandstand concerts.

but the little striped huts selling ice cream and all the usual beach paraphernalia were open. The mound in the background is Bray Head from where can be seen the
full sweep of the bay
Someone rock pooling or bait digging is intent on a smaller universe here.  In the summer there are also outdoor movies on the beach every fortnight which is appropriate because
Bray is also the centre of the Irish film industry and we happened to catch one of the studios setting up the cameras here at The Bray Head Hotel as we walked past. The hotel is located on the path up to Bray Head at the end of the promenade.   Built in 1862 it has been used in a number of films in the past including The Commitments, a film which happens to be set in Dublin which is just a train ride away
on the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) seen here rounding Bray Head on the Dublin-Wicklow line which was designed by the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel although at the time it was called Brunel's Folly because of the high maintenance cost of running the line along cliff edges.
Time to relax and take a dip in the Irish Sea, the red and yellow flags are flying meaning its safe, the colour coordinated lifeguards are also in place so
 dive in.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at B here