Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Old Barn

I pass this old barn regularly, it lies a field, banking and stream  away from the main road and as the sun sets the light accentuates the red brickwork and the building take on another character with a glowing abstract pattern.  This effect could only be captured from the road which is busy with traffic and no parking - I have never plotted out my camera approach.  It is too late now.  The high winds of Ex hurricane Ophelia which recently made landfall from the Atlantic has done for it. As I drove past today the front
and side walls have collapsed and the roof is lying inside.
It looks as though the more sturdy slate at the back is still in place which may be why the majority of the Lake District barns are made from this local material and
have stood the test of time. This old cruck barn in the Lickle Valley lies beneath the wonderfully named Hovel Knott and has been here for hundreds of years and is still in use. 
Here is the interior curved cruck or crook frame supporting the roof with contrasting modern plastic containers. The old and new. 

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


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Meeting of the Waters

One of the places loved in Ireland is here at the Meeting of the Waters  where the Avonmore and Beag Rivers come together and become the Avoca River.  The day was boiling hot and people were picnicking and relaxing by the cooling waters but two families
decided to set out on a mini-adventure.
 and cross to the other side.
I don't know why they took their trainer off and opted to go barefooted over the rocky bottom, ouch, but some managed better than others in navigating both the discomfort and currents
and reached the other side, of course they then had to gingerly return the same way.

The fame of the Meeting of the Waters is because of a poem of friendship and love written by Thomas Moore in the summer of 1807, later put to music. Moore would find the place very different today then when he was inspired by a place of tranquility
Meeting of the Waters, Vale of Avoca, postcard from the Library of Congress
but this old postcard from the 1890s might give a flavour.  It quotes the beginning of the poem/song:
There is not in this wide world and valley so sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet!
Oh the last days of feeling and life must depart
Ere the bloom of that valley shall fade from my heart.
I must admit the only Moore poem and song I was familiar with was The Last Rose of Summer but this confluence of the waters with their memorial to Thomas Moore introduced me to another one -
Here sung by ANÚNA, Ireland's National Choir and arranged by the soloist Michael McGlynn accompanied by the RTE National Symphony orchestra and Finnish violinist Linda Lampenius 

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

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Irish Lighthouses

The Poolbeg Lighthouse, one of a trio of lighthouses leading into Dublin Harbour, is painted red to indicate starboard.   The lighthouse perches on the end of the 4K long Great South Wall and if one wanted to watch the ships go by from this vantage point I am told it is a 40 minute walk.
As you may be able to see there are few people having made the walk enjoying a beautiful day and taking in the view.
Travelling south Wicklow Lighthouse's portrait is one of a variety of scenes that brighten up the side of  a warehouse on the harbour's North Quay.
Here is the real thing, built in 1884, it sits at the entrance to Wicklow Harbour on the East Pier. The cargo ship (GEC Cosmo) despite appearances it actually reversing out of the harbour after unloading timber.  People who can reverse well always impress me so I enjoyed a sit in the sunshine and watched as it smoothly left the harbour and then turned in the open sea and went on its way. While I was up on the sea wall I discovered the lighthouse had an intriguing secret when I walked around the back
The romantic "Will you Marry Me?" M.  Wouldn't we all like to know the story behind this.  

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

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