Three Images from a Garden…..
The Rock of Cashel
The town of Cashel, in County Tipperary is home to one of Ireland best known and most visited locations, the Rock. It must be one of the most photographed locations in the country and has visitors all year around.
A Wikipedia page describes it as follows:
According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil’s Bit, a mountain 20 miles (30 km) north of Cashel when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock’s landing in Cashel. Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.
The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe, Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
I took the images in this post early one cold November morning last year.
On An Apple-Ripe September Morning
On an apple-ripe September morning
Through the mist-chill fields I went
With a pitch-fork on my shoulder
Less for use than for devilment.
The threshing mill was set-up, I knew,
In Cassidy’s haggard last night,
And we owed them a day at the threshing
Since last year. O it was delight
To be paying bills of laughter
And chaffy gossip in kind
With work thrown in to ballast
The fantasy-soaring mind.
As I crossed the wooden bridge I wondered
As I looked into the drain
If ever a summer morning should find me
Shovelling up eels again.
And I thought of the wasps’ nest in the bank
And how I got chased one day
Leaving the drag and the scraw-knife behind,
How I covered my face with hay.
The wet leaves of the cocksfoot
Polished my boots as I
Went round by the glistening bog-holes
Lost in unthinking joy.
I’ll be carrying bags to-day, I mused,
The best job at the mill
With plenty of time to talk of our loves
As we wait for the bags to fill.
Maybe Mary might call round…
And then I came to the haggard gate,
And I knew as I entered that I had come
Through fields that were part of no earthly estate.
The river Suir is one of Ireland most loved and visited rivers. It flows through counties Tipperary and Waterford before reaching the Atlantic at Hook -head lighthouse. I have taken a lot of photographs of this river over the years. one of my favourite subject are the old bridges that cross the river, most of them are some hundreds of years old and even though they were designed for horse and cart they still stand strong today and cope very well with modern demands
Sir Thomas’s Bridge is just on the edge of Clonmel in county Tipperary and has been used in many films and advertisements.
The photograph above was taken one early September morning a couple of years ago, the river Suir and the hills above were covered in early morning fog, this just added too the atmosphere. I decided to develop the image in black and white as I felt that this photograph was all about tones and not colour.
A Story told by: Deanne Quarrie
Boann, Deanne Quarrie
Boann is the Irish goddess of the river Boyne. Her name means “She of the white cattle.” She was the wife of Nechtain and the beloved of the Dagda, the Good God. It is possible she could be a later naming of Danu Herself. Aenghus mac Og, her son, was the product of the affair between Boann and Dagda. In order to keep the pregnancy secret, the Dagda halted the sun for the term of the goddess’s pregnancy, and so Aenghus was born out of time.
Boann is a Goddess of fertility and the stars. She connects the Way of the White Cow to the White Mound of the Boyne. She gives her name to the preeminent brugh in all of Ireland, Brugh na Boinne. She is honored mid-winter at Imbolc.
Many ancient peoples had stories of floods in which water was both honored as a life bringer and as a destroyer. Water was seen as something that “escaped” from the realms of the gods.
In many of the stories it seemed to be a female who was involved when water, would through some disaster, come to the land, bringing growth and abundance though turbulence.
Probably the most famous version of this myth in Celtic tradition is the Irish story of the Well of Segais.
Growing around this well were nine hazel trees of wisdom, whose nuts fell into the water and gave it the quality of divine illumination, much sought-after by those seeking this wisdom.
Boann was the wife of Nechtan, keeper of the sacred Well of Segais, which was a source of knowledge. Only Nechtan and his cupbearers were permitted to approach the well. The goddess Boann desired to drink from the well herself, to increase her power.
She attempted to challenge the Well of Segais, by going around the well chanting, circling widdershins (counterclockwise, or against the sun direction) . She circled the well three times, as she chanted “amrun.” The well rose against her incantations. Three waves rose up from the well which then flowed forth in five streams and drowned her. Because she was of the Sidhe, she did not die. She lost an arm, a leg and an eye in her battle with the well.
The five streams of wisdom that flowed from this well represent our five senses: taste, smell, feeling, sight and hearing. In her contest with the Well of Segais, Boann experienced “shamanic death” of drowning. In so doing, she gained the Wisdom of Segais as it swept her away.
Manannan said of this….
“I am Manannan, son of Ler, king of the Land of Promise; and to see the Land of Promise was the reason I brought [thee] hither. . . . The fountain which thou sawest, with the five streams out of it, is the Fountain of Knowledge, and the streams are the five senses through which knowledge is obtained. And no one will have knowledge who drinketh not a draught out of the fountain itself and out of the streams.”
From this, we learn that we must experience through all of who we are, through all of the five senses which must be open. This is our gift from Boann.
Boann can be a great ally for poetic composition and many other forms of artistic expression. Invoking or singing Boann’s name while sitting next to a river or stream can be a very powerful and inspiring experience. Clear the mind, open the soul, and listen to the music of Boann playing from the waters. You will always go away a new person.
Vigil at the Well
A rock ledge. A dark pool.
Pale dawn and cold rain.
And a woman alone
holding three coins.
She circles the well
three times in the rain.
She offers the coins
to a great ancient tree
then bends to the pool.
A glimmer of silver.
Dawn striking the pool?
A fish in its depths?
The pool stills again.
The sky blazes red.
The woman gets up.
Nothing seems changed.
But the next day a wind
blows warm from the sea.
Boann suite de reels
Dunmore east is one of my favourite places in Ireland to visit with a camera, its fishing harbour is the countries second busiest and on the day the fish is landed for the fish-market, it is full of life and colour with the boats all being in port.
The day I went down to capture these images I took my then new fuji-film X100 and took many images along the quays, the following gallery I hope captures a sense of this wonderful place to visit and take photographs.
Dunmore east, image Gallery
One sight I love to see in the summertime is the Peacock butterfly as I walk through the local county kilkenny woodlands, They add so much life and colour to the green of the hedgerows and paths.
Unlike some wildlife they are not hard to find or take pictures of, you do need to move very slowly in order not to disturbed them and you need a camera with a macro lens.
The butterfly conservation website has the following details.
Scientific name: Aglais io
Red wings with black markings and distinctive eyespots on tips of fore and hind wings.
The Peacock’s spectacular pattern of eyespots, evolved to startle or confuse predators, make it one of the most easily recognized and best known species. It is from these wing markings that the butterfly gained its common name. Undersides of the wings are very dark and look like dead leaves. A fairly large butterfly and a strong flyer.
Although a familiar visitor to garden buddleias in late summer, the Peacock’s strong flight and nomadic instincts lead it to range widely through the countryside, often finding its preferred habitats in the shelter of woodland clearings, rides, and edges.
The species is widespread and has continued to expand its range in northern parts of Britain and Ireland.
Size and Family
Family – Nymphalids
Wing Span Range (male to female) – 63-69mm
UK BAP status: Not listed
Butterfly Conservation priority: Low
European status: Not threatened
Common Nettle (Urtica dioica), although eggs and larvae are occasionally reported on Small Nettle (U. urens) and Hop (Humulus lupulus)
Countries – England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Throughout Britain and Ireland
Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = +17%
Common and found in a range of habitats.
Taken on the same day as the image of Milk hill, this image shows a view of Coumfea a corrie lake in the Nier valley, I have many other images of the lake that I will post in full.
A Corrie lake is formed as follows :
How Is a Corrie Formed?
A corrie is formed in different steps. First, the snow accumulates in a hillside hollow and turns to ice. Then, the hollow is deepened by abrasion and plucking and the ice in the corrie moves under the influence of gravity, deepening the hollow still further. Since the ice is at the foot of the hollow and moves more slowly, a rock lip forms. When the ice melts, a lake or tarn may be formed in the corrie. The steep back wall may be severely weathered by freeze€“thaw weathering, providing material for further abrasion.
Black and white photography remains one of by biggest photographic interests, I just love the tones that can be developed from some landscape images.
The day I took this image the weather was very mixed with showers and strong sunny intervals, this allowed for very mixed lighting on the fields below in the Nire Valley, Waterford. I processed this black and white image from the original colour photo sometime later, I just love the strong contrasts and tone produced.
Monday Morning – setting to sea
Monday morning and it is that time of the week when I am always looking somehow to get my mind and body moving.
Some little time back I stayed for a week down near Youghal, county Cork. Each Morning I would watch the boats heading out to sea, very early each day they would slowly disappear over the horizon.
Just to help me start my own day and the week ahead I found this Poem by Lucy Montgomery.
When the Fishing Boats Go Out
When the lucent skies of morning flush with dawning rose once more,
And waves of golden glory break adown the sunrise shore,
And o’er the arch of heaven pied films of vapor float.
There’s joyance and there’s freedom when the fishing boats go out.
The wind is blowing freshly up from far, uncharted caves,
And sending sparkling kisses o’er the brows of virgin waves,
While routed dawn-mists shiveroh, far and fast they flee,
Pierced by the shafts of sunrise athwart the merry sea!
Behind us, fair, light-smitten hills in dappled splendor lie,
Before us the wide ocean runs to meet the limpid sky
Our hearts are full of poignant life, and care has fled afar
As sweeps the white-winged fishing fleet across the harbor bar.
The sea is calling to us in a blithesome voice and free,
There’s keenest rapture on its breast and boundless liberty!
Each man is master of his craft, its gleaming sails out-blown,
And far behind him on the shore a home he calls his own.
Salt is the breath of ocean slopes and fresher blows the breeze,
And swifter still each bounding keel cuts through the combing seas,
Athwart our masts the shadows of the dipping sea-gulls float,
And all the water-world’s alive when the fishing boats go out.
All images taken at Ardmore, County Waterford
Irish Landscape photography : Nigel Borrington
Its the weekend so why not find a coastline to walk alone, look down at the views relax, and clear you mind…..
On Contemplating a Sheep’s Skull
Poem by John Kinsella
A sheep’s Skull aged so much in rain and heat,
broken jawbone and chipped teeth half-
gnaw soil; zippered fuse-mark tracks
back to front, runs through to base
of neck, widening faultline under
stress: final crack close at hand.
Skull I can’t bring myself to move.
White-out red soil unearthed
from hillside fox den and cat haven,
now hideaway for short-beaked echidna
toppling rocks and stones, disrupting
artfulness a spirit might impose,
frisson at seeing counterpoint.
Skull I can’t bring myself to move.
Sometimes avoid the spot to avoid
looking half-hearted into its sole
remaining eye socket; mentally to join
bones strewn downhill, come apart
or torn from mountings years before
arriving with good intentions.
Skull I can’t bring myself to move.
Not something you can ‘clean up’,
shape of skull is not a measure of all
it contained: weight of light and dark,
scales of sound, vast and varied taste
of all grass eaten from these hills;
slow and steady gnawing at soil.
Skull I can’t bring myself to move.
Neither herbivore nor carnivore,
earth and sky-eater, fire in its shout
or whisper, racing through to leave a bed
of ash on which the mind might rest,
drinking sun and light and smoke,
choked up with experience.
Skull I can’t bring myself to move.
Drawn to examine
despite aversion, consider
our head on its shoulders,
greeting loved ones
with arms outstretched.
John Kinsella is Founding editor of the journal Salt in Australia; he serves as international editor at the Kenyon Review. His most recent volume of poetry is Divine Comedy: Journeys through a Regional Geography (W. W. Norton) with a new volume, Disturbed Ground: Jam Tree Gully/Walden, due out with W.W. Norton in November 2011.
It was a January afternoon at Gowran Park , County Kilkenny. Thursday, January 24th and the meeting was the National Hunt “Goffs Thyestes H’cap Chase Grade A & John Mulhern Memorial Hdle Grade 2”
It was a cold afternoon but the going was good, it’s the fullest I had seen the race course for this event and the bookies must have been rubbing their hands, not from the cold.
I arrived with the aim of photographing as much of the events as possible. I wanted to capture not just the race itself, actually this was the least interesting to me. I wanted to capture events behind the races, the bookies and the show ring. I felt I wanted to get a sense of the day in full, to capture what a race meeting is all about.
I got lots of images of the events and present some of them here, from the show ring to the finishing line, I am only starting this project to be honest and plan to return many times.
The the 14:30 race, Gowran Park, a Gallery
Boora Parklands has many works of art and sculpture and this wooden Teepee is just one, I very much liked its design and the concept behind it from the moment I first came across it.
It is constructed from old oak wood, found in the peat of the bog, the wood is held together with metal ring’s inside. The entire structure feels naturally and locally aged and stands on top of a natural spring that flows with fresh water.
I very much loved the concept of placing a natural structure like this on top of a life giving spring. A standing stone inside the teepee marks the point were the spring water reaches the surface, it may have come from very deep in the ground. Other stones inside act as seat’s and you can go in and sit around the spring just to hear the water flow over stones and flags that have been used to great effect.
Personally, I feel this is a wonderful place, a modern temple to the old gods of the elements and a place to mark the history of man here. A history that goes back some eight thousand five hundred years and maybe beyond.
Lough Boora parklands, are one of the most interesting outdoor locations you could visit in Ireland. They cover up to 14 kilometres of scenic views and cycle routes, the parkland has many sculptures and art installations for you to view along with miles of walking routes. The location is also a nature reserve that is home to many rare birds such as lapwings. The first image in the below Gallery is of two Lapwing flying above the park.
Along with the great sculptures which I will cover in full in another post, some archaeology found at the site has completely changed the history of the country. The remains of a village that would have sat on the banks of one of the biggest lakes in Europe at the time. The findings date the people living in this area back some eight and a half thousand years, this is some two and a half thousand years older than previously thought.
It also pre dates the Christian history of Ireland by some seven thousand years.
The village itself was large and well established for its time, indicating that man must have lived here for sometime before reaching this level of culture. This would indicate that Man moved back into Ireland soon after the ending of the last Ice age some ten thousand years ago.
I have taken some images of the information boards on the site, you can find them below the following images.
This is one of my most memorable camera moments, captured while shopping on the Via Condotti, Rome. The heavens opened and almost everyone headed towards the shops, as fast as they could. So many in fact that queue’s formed outside each one.
I spent as much time as possible just taking images of this moment.
Just taking your time walking along the country lanes around County Clare, up near the Burren is a wonderful thing to do, I took this image last year on a visit.
Studio photography sample’s
I have just finished working at selecting some studio images for a new web site gallery and just wanted to share these three sample.
They are all produced using studio flash both above and below glass, mounted on light box I constructed out of some hardboard.
I have very happy with these and I will post some more as I go through selecting them.
I took these images of Mrs Hennessy, from West St,Callan Back in 2007 for a photography exhibition in the town.
She was a big friend of Joe my brother in law, who runs a local shop. We asked if she would let us take these pictures and I think she truly enjoyed them being taken.
The images played a big part in the exhibition and she came to the opening evening.
Sadly she passed away a little time ago, the local news paper published the following comments Callan Mourns . The family placed one of the photo’s on her coffin during the funeral service.
So here’s to you Mrs Hennessy, I hope your still busy making bread, at rest but most probably still busy !!!
Nineteen bear barrels for collection, 6am Monday morning and the weekend is clearly over!
Its the weekend so, may-be you should find a hideaway for two days …..
But most of all relax and clear your mind ……..
This morning’s sunrise was just as wonderful as the sunset yesterday, I took Molly our ten year old Golden Retriever out for a walk on the local green, the sight of the rising sun through the trees was a great start to the day.
Out walking last night the sunset was just amazing, it had been raining all day but just as the last light of the day was leaving the clouds broke and the suns rays appeared over the top of the ridge I was walking below.
Just a wonderful end to a very wet day ……
Street photography on a wet day in Chester
Lets get away from the Kerry mountains and lakes for a little time anyway, lets visit Chester in the North west of England. The junction of Watergate and Bridge street to be exact, the last time I visited this wonderful old Roman town was in August 2012 and it was just like I remembered it as a kid.
The old Tudor black and white four story buildings, the narrow side streets, small shop fronts, café’s and clothes shops. Street entertainers and most of all the rain. It rains a lot in the North west of England. The rain comes down from the mountains of the Peak-district and the Mountains of North Wales.
The Morning We arrived in the town it was very wet as you can see from these images, One of the greatest features of Chester however is the raised and covered walkways running above the street level shops. They run all the way up Watergate street and down Bridge street on both sides, as you can see from the photo on the left/above.
While I waited for the others to come back from different directions and shops, I took some of the images in this post from these walkways. It was a great view point to do some people watching, just snapping away and wondering what all these people had on their minds. Presents maybe or just gifting themselves to something new, things for kids birthdays, a new phone or just a chat and a coffee with a friend.
Just people watching and wondering and recording, isn’t that what street photography is all about ?
Image Gallery – Chester on the streets