One of the walks I always love doing with Molly our Golden retriever is through the woods at Glenpatrick, County Waterford and up into the mountains above. There are some great old mountain paths here that wind their way through the Comeragh Mountains and the landscape views are just wonderful.
One place I love to stop and rest and let Molly swim for a while is at an old bridge, the images posted here are takes from this bridge, its a great spot on a sunny morning but wild on a stormy winters day.
Images from the Bridge : Gallery
For almost all of my digital image processing I use a combination of Photoshop or Paintshop-pro and aftershots-pro software, these applications are perfect to getting the best possible quality from you images. However what about times when you want to be a little more creative with your images, processing them in a more artistic fashion and then sending them to your facebook or blog moments after you have taken them.
Last Saturday I visited the coastal town of Duncannon in county Wexford and took some beach images using both a Fujifilm x100 and a Nuxus 7 Andriod Tablet with and used an app that I downloaded sometime back called Snapspeed to process them . This app is well known and used but I had not used it while at a location before, so decided to give it a go !!!
The images here are all processed using some of the filters and packages available in Spanspeed and I was impressed with how they looked after processing.
I think if your a landscape painter who paints raw outside this little app could give you some great ideas as to how you may end up paint the scene in-front of you. I also love the final images, this application is both great fun and also I feel could well be used to produce some great design images.
Only the Country Lane Will Weep
I wander down the country lane
my old dog by my side
and I whistle merrily a tune
of how the view is wide
There are no hedgerows to crowd me in
or branches to block the sky
they’d have to use machinery
to bury me when I die
So don’t bother breaking your backs for me
I’d rather blow around with ease
just add what little goodness left
across the land upon the breeze
For this is where my heart is
this is my back yard
I’ve roamed it all my adult life
to leave it would be hard
No city house and airs for me
my graces rough and ready made
So lay me not in a neat little row
let my spirit fly and fade
I hitch my swag a little easier
and hunker to scratch his head
the billy boils as I wait with him
and then we both to bed
The stars sing lullaby’s to us
the wind sweeps us softly as we sleep
No debts no bills to leave behind
only the country lane will weep
I took these images as backdrops for a wedding album I worked on a little time back, the couples wedding reception was at the River court Hotel – located on the river Nore, Kilkenny city.
As the images were used as page backdrops, I overexposed the original captures so that they did not clash to much with the actual wedding images layered on top. However I like them as standalone black and white images with their views of the hotel and Kilkenny castle in the back ground.
I also felt that the River Nore also shows up very well in this set.
Duncannon beach , County Wexford
On Saturday I visited the beach at Duncannon, Wexford. The weather was just perfect and it felt very much like the calm after the storm, the weather for most of the week before had been eventful with heavy rain and thick Fog on Thursdays.
Most Irish beaches at this time of year are so peaceful , the summer crowds have all left and you get some great space to yourself. I took these images as I noticed just how low the sun is at this time of year in the late afternoon.
The Sunlight was just amazing on the sand as it created many long and deep shadows.
Images of Duncannon beach in the winter Sunlight
Days of rain
May 11, 2013
i long for the days of rain;
when the air is thick,
the ground is soft,
and my mind is clear.
the drops hitting my skin
are a therapy like no other.
they burn through my ropes,
and set me free.
i run from myself,
and fly with the wind.
too soon though,
with the puddles on the streets,
my wings vanish.
and i’m left longing
for the days of rain
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Gallery of a foggy morning in Callan, County Kilkenny
Over the years I have lived in Ireland, there are many places I have visited and stayed, many cottages in remote parts of the country.The one thing most have in common is that they are so remote that for most of the weeks stay it hard to get a mobile phone signal, even for just a simple call or text.
I recently found this great poem by JW Harvey, that I think reflects on the feelings that these problems create, that moment when you realize the world will not end if you cannot get Facebook or even text a friend. What follows for most is putting on your coat and get outside into the real world and your holiday begins.
This is the moment when you realize, its this disconnect you really came for !!!!
Sep 25, 2013
I sat by the lake
sipping coffee and feeding the ducks.
In between breadcrumbs,
I dialed his number.
“Your call could not go through.”
Could not, not would not.
Long since the city summers,
I finally found our stillwater space:
a sense of security that felt
as serene as my remote arcadia,
disturbed only by the footstrokes
of a hungry mallard passing by.
No breadcrumbs for him.
Call failed, not I failed,
and I picked apart the stale bagel
to dip in my coffee
and feed to the ducks.
A Faithful Old Barn
By : Laura Lynch
Apr 28, 2012
Erect and secure, yet weathered and worn
Faithfully it stood surviving the storms.
Cracking and peeling … its colors are muted
Stubbornly standing yet obviously wounded.
Absorbing abuse for those in her shelter
Unobtrusively stands against all ghostly specter.
The Following images are from a local vintage motor show, held in our local town of Callan each year as part of the towns summer festival.
Its amazing just how much pride is take in restoring these old tractors and Vintage cars, to take them out and show them off each year is clearly a pleasure to these local Farmers and car lovers.
I should name this post “BOYS and their TOYS !!!!!”
Kilkenny Vintage Motor show : Gallery
Monday morning at the beach
A Monday morning Sunrise at the Beach
the soft breath of the sea air,
tickles your nose.
You feel the cool morning air,
lightly brushing your cheek.
Soft Sun light
surrounds you in a welcoming hug.
The waves nip at your toes,
you can taste the ocean,
while the moon says goodbye.
Light bursts across the beach,
the sky brightens in a joyful smile.
The clouds disappear,
as the sun dances across the waves.
The Killamery high cross
The Killamery High cross is one of the most Iconic high crosses in Ireland, It is used as a model for many of the small high crosses sold across the world as an Irish symbol.
I am very lucky that it is situated in an old graveyard in Kilkenny at Killamery. The cross is one of the western Ossory group of crosses.
The cross stands at 3.65 metres high and the west face of the cross bears most of the figure sculpture. The east face pictured right, is decorated with three marigolds on the shaft and has a boss in the centre of the head surrounded by intertwining serpents with an open mouthed dragon above the boss. The cross is known as the Snake-Dragon cross. The cross has a gabled cap-stone and the narrow sides have double mouldings. At the end of the southern arm of the cross there is a panel depicting Noah in the Ark and the end of the northern arm features four scenes centered around John the Baptist. There is also a worn inscription on the base of the western side of the cross which is said to read as ‘OR DO MAELSECHNAILL’ a prayer for Maelsechnaill. Maelsechnaill was the High King of Ireland from 846 to 862.
The western face has a Sun Swastika at the center and has figure sculpture around the whorl, to the left is a hunting scene and to the right a chariot scene above the whorl is scene showing a figure holding a Baby with another figure to the right of them, below the sun disc is a crucifixion scene. The shaft of this face bears two ornate panels. The top one is a fret pattern and the lower panel is a key pattern.
The art of Glass making has always fascinated me, the skill needed to produce glass objects goes back hundreds of years and is a wonderful craft to see performed.
One area that the craft can be viewed at its best is in the making of Stain glass windows, the windows above are located in the modern chapel at west-court, Callan, County Kilkenny. the chapel is round in its structure and uses these colored windows as one of its main light sources during day light hours. I have many images of this great space but for this post just want to show the glass itself.
I very much like the handmade feel and look of this glass, containing many natural defects, these just add to the wonderful effect as the light passes through. The design and the colours used are just amazing to study and bring a great effect into the chapel building.
Glass windows like these are made my hand and by blowing the glass into a bubble then Breaking of the top and spinning the hot glass into a large flat sheet. This flat sheet is then cut into the needed shapes for the design of the window being constructed.
I want to walk with you to the highest peak
then watch your eyes,
gaze out into the night sky
wide with wonder,
as they see the very stars
they hope to one day conquer
I want you to go and see the sights
you never imagined you’d ever see
Walk along the canals, a swim in the lakes,
Walk down rivers so clear.
I want you to stand
and reach for the furthest cloud,
grab at the sunshine
and trace patterns in the cold winds from the north
Standing at the top of a hill in the knockmealdown mountains, county Waterford is this amazing standing stone, it rises about 2 meters from the ground. It must have been here for some four thousand years.
I took this images one morning just after sunrise while walking through these mountains that look down over the Waterford coastline.
I placed the rising Sun behind the stone as I wanted to capture the idea of the function of these stones, the tracking of the sun as it moved position on the horizon during the year.
This week is going to be very wet here in county Kilkenny, the forecast is for rain everyday, this is not the time however to put the camera away. These Autumn days in the Landscape can be just amazing for capturing wet and misty moments.
Yesterday While out walking our Dog Molly, the rain was falling in bucket loads (Very Heavily !!!), I stopped for a while under some trees that covered the path. These trees however stopped in just a few steps so I just waited to see if the rain slowed down a little before moving on. This was a great moment to capture so I took lots of images, trying to record just how wet it was with rain drops falling into puddles that had formed almost in no time at all.
It is so easy to say inside on days like this but walking in this weather is just amazing!
The images below are just some from these very wet moments.
On the path in the rain : Gallery
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats , was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature.
Yeats was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival and, along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn, and others, founded the Abbey Theatre In Dublin , where he served as its chief during its early years. In 1923 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as the first Irishman so honoured, for what the Nobel Committee described as –
“inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.”
Yeats is generally considered one of the few writers who completed their greatest works after being awarded the Nobel Prize; such works include The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929). Yeats was a very good friend of American expatriate poet and Bollingen Prize laureate Ezra Pound. Yeats wrote the introduction for Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali, which was published by the India Society,
Drumcliff, a village in County Sligo is the final resting place of the poet W. B. Yeats (1865–1939), the village is on a hillside ridge between the mountain of Ben Bulben and Drumcliff bay. On visiting its is a great resting place for this Irish poet and artist, considering that his last Poem was about this great Irish Mountain.
William Butler Yeats
Last Poems and Two Plays, 1939
Swear by what the sages spoke
Round the Mareotic Lake
That the Witch of Atlas knew,
Spoke and set the cocks a-crow.
Swear by those horsemen, by those women
Complexion and form prove superhuman,
That pale, long-visaged company
That air in immortality
Completeness of their passions won;
Now they ride the wintry dawn
Where Ben Bulben sets the scene.
Here’s the gist of what they mean.
Many times man lives and dies
Between his two eternities,
That of race and that of soul,
And ancient Ireland knew it all.
Whether man die in his bed
Or the rifle knocks him dead,
A brief parting from those dear
Is the worst man has to fear.
Though grave-digger’s toil is long,
Sharp their spades, their muscles strong,
They but thrust their buried men
Back in the human mind again.
You that Mitchel’s prayer have heard,
“Send war in our time, O Lord!”
Know that when all words are said
And a man is fighting mad,
Something drops from eyes long blind,
He completes his partial mind,
For an instant stands at ease,
Laughs aloud, his heart at peace.
Even the wisest man grows tense
With some sort of violence
Before he can accomplish fate,
Know his work or choose his mate.
Poet and sculptor, do the work,
Nor let the modish painter shirk
What his great forefathers did,
Bring the soul of man to God,
Make him fill the cradles right.
Measurement began our might:
Forms a stark Egyptian thought,
Forms that gentler Phidias wrought,
Michael Angelo left a proof
On the Sistine Chapel roof,
Where but half-awakened Adam
Can disturb globe-trotting Madam
Till her bowels are in heat,
Proof that there’s a purpose set
Before the secret working mind:
Profane perfection of mankind.
Quattrocento put in print
On backgrounds for a God or Saint
Gardens where a soul’s at ease;
Where everything that meets the eye,
Flowers and grass and cloudless sky,
Resemble forms that are or seem
When sleepers wake and yet still dream,
And when it’s vanished still declare,
With only bed and bedstead there,
That heavens had opened.
Gyres run on;
When that greater dream had gone
Calvert and Wilson, Blake and Claude,
Prepared a rest for the people of God,
Palmer’s phrase, but after that
Confusion fell upon our thought.
Irish poets, learn your trade,
Sing whatever is well made,
Scorn the sort now growing up
All out of shape from toe to top,
Their unremembering hearts and heads
Base-born products of base beds.
Sing the peasantry, and then
Hard-riding country gentlemen,
The holiness of monks, and after
Porter-drinkers’ randy laughter;
Sing the lords and ladies gay
That were beaten into clay
Through seven heroic centuries;
Cast your mind on other days
That we in coming days may be
Still the indomitable Irishry.
Under bare Ben Bulben’s head
In Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there
Long years ago, a church stands near,
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
On the 12th of February this year Ireland was hit by the remains of a hurricane given the name of Darwin, by the time it hit us it was down rated to a storm but its power was truly stunning.
Locally in counties Tipperary and Kilkenny there was a lot of damage to peoples property and farm building but the forests and their trees where the most affected. Irish Forestry lost almost one years worth of timber , the same amount that would have been harvested in 2014.
It is only in the last month that most of the local fallen trees have been removed, sadly however to do this it has meant clear felling very large areas of our local woodlands.
The images here where taken during the the year and include the after effects of the storm and then images of Forest workers during the process of clearing some one sq mile of Breanomore forest near the mountain of Slievenamon, County Tipperary.
The last set of images show how the forest looks now, a vast area has been cleared. The effects of Storm Darwin are still very clear even now in November and the work to remove damaged and fallen trees will continue for sometime to come.
A true reminder of the power of nature.
The results of the February storms
Forest workers clearing the trees
The Forest after being cleared
Four images taken during a visit to the old city of Ancient Rome.
I was completely captivated by the old city of Rome, The scale of the temples and city building is just amazing.
As I walked around with a camera I wanted to capture as much as I could of the atmosphere, after I had a good look from the street level I took a higher view as I wanted to capture the many visitors as they themselves discovered this amazing place.
The old city of Rome
It has been a couple of years now since I last visited Rome and I am starting to think of a return visit at some point, on my last stay with my brother we visited the Vatican Museum.
One of the most amazing thing about this museum is that it holds much of the worlds fine arts along with artifacts from per-christian time, including the classical Greek period and the time of the pyramid building in Egypt.
I captured this image of “Perseus with the Head of Medusa” by Antonio Canova (1757 – 1822) as its just a wonderful work of art as with all his sculptures.
Below I have included a description of the Greek Myth “Perseus and Medusa” and then a description of the sculpture itself.
Perseus and Medusa
Medusa was one of three sisters, the gorgons, but she was the only mortal one. Some versions say all three were born as monsters, but the predominant myths had them as gorgeous maidens. Medusa was so beautiful that Poseidon was crazy about her, but she didn’t care about him; Poseidon turned her and her sisters into monsters with live snakes covering their heads. Medusa kept her beautiful face but everything else was so monstrous. And whoever dared to look into her face ended up being turned into stone.
Perseus thus had a hard task. He asked Athena and Hermes for help and two of them, together with the nymphs, provided winged sandals to fly him to the end of the world where gorgons lived, a cap that made him invisible, a sword and a mirrored shield. The latter was the most important tool Perseus had, since it allowed him to see a reflection of Medusa’s face and to avoid being turned into stone.
medusa-headWhen he cut Medusa’s head off, from the drops of her blood suddenly appeared two offspring: Pegasus, a winged horse, and Chrysaor, a giant or a winged boar. It’s believed that those two were Medusa’s children with Poseidon.
In any case, once he accomplished his task Perseus flew back and escaped Medusa’s sisters who tried to reach him. Later, Perseus used Medusa’s head as a weapon in many occasions until he gave the head to Athena to place it on her shield.
The myth of Perseus and Medusa was one the most powerful inspiration for many artists in the ancient times, but it hasn’t lost its artistic significance to the present day either. Paintings and sculptures of the moment of beheading or Medusa’s portrait itself are famous all over the world. One of the most known art work is the Medusa shield by Caravaggio, painted at the end of the 16th century. It is exposed in the Uffizi museum in Florence. Close by the museum, in the main plaza of Firenze (Florence) there is a sculpture of Perseus.
Perseus with the Head of Medusa , By: Antonio Canova (1757 – 1822)
This exquisite marble statue of Perseus is being restored thanks to the Generosity of the Northwest Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts.
Antonio Canova is one of the most important Italian sculptors of all time. His marble statues are characterized by classical beauty and they are now on display in the most important museums in the world.
Antonio Canova (1757 – 1822) was born in Possagno, a village near Venice. He spent most of his youth studying, with a strong bias towards the art of sculpture, and was greatly rewarded by the benefit of his grandfather’s stonecutting. His move to Rome as a young man gave him the opportunity to examine the splendid relics of antiquity, and put his abilities to the test.
Canova’s Perseus had not been commissioned by anyone, thus he put it up for sale. Giuseppe Bossi, secretary of the Academy of Brera, and personal friend of the sculptor wanted to place the Perseus in the Foro Bonaparte and he had already begun the payments when a letter came from Cardinal Doria informing Canova that Pope Pius VII wanted to buy the sculpture for 3,000 gold coins in order to place it in the Vatican Museum. Thus, the Perseus was moved to the Vatican and was placed on the empty pedestal of the famous Apollo Belvedere which had previously been moved to Paris by the French, following the Treaty of Tolentino. Pope Pius VII also appointed Canova with the prestigious award received by Raphael under Leo X: the Inspector General of Fine Arts. The location of the statue on the pedestal of the famous Apollo together with the nomination of the sculptor as Inspector, consecrated Canova’s success.
The imposing statue depicts the hero of Greek mythology Perseus, son of Zeus and Danaë, with the helmet of Pluto (which had the power of invisibility), the winged sandals of Mercury and the diamond sword given to him by Vulcan.
These gifts were granted to Perseus in order to allow the hero to defeat Medusa, against whom he was sent by Polykleitos, king of the island of Serifos.
Canova represented the Perseus triumphantly raising his left arm with the head of Medusa. The excitement of the action is frozen as is customary of the classical style. The Argive hero has similar proportions and positioning to the Apollo Belvedere.
By following the classical theme of the heroic male nude in action, Canova seems to have been able to achieve results as advised by Winckelmann and the Neoclassical age, according to which the only way to become great is to be inspired by ancient models. Stendhal said that Canova imitated the Greeks, but like them, his genius invented a new beauty.
The early morning Sun in November is very different than in the mid-summer, rising closer to the south-east than its Mid-June Eastern point on the horizon. It’s rise is much slower as the angle it takes always hugs the horizon closer, it never gets as high in the sky as June even at mid-day.
With the three Images above I wanted to capture the atmosphere of the early light as the sun starts its slow daily movement through the sky, I took three exposures using a Tripod, at different exposure setting in order to get a feeling of the colours and silhouette’s that Sun light can create.
Our November Sun …….
Have you ever seen
in your life
than the way the sun,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone–
and how it slides again
out of the blackness,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early light,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love–
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
as it warms you
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world–
or have you too
– Mary Oliver
King John’s Castle, Limerick
Back in January this year I took a weekend trip to Limerick on the river Shannon, to King Johns Castle located at the high street end of the town.
The Castle is a 13th-century construction located on King’s Island in Limerick, next to the River Shannon. Although the site dates back to 922 when the Vikings lived on the Island, the castle itself was built on the orders of King John in 1200. The walls, towers and fortifications remain today and are visitor attractions.
The remains of a Viking settlement were uncovered during archaeological excavations at the site in 1900
If you are passing this part of the world the Castle is well worth a visit as is a walk around Limerick city itself. You can go on a loop river walk that lets you see every part of the city from the river bank. There are many pubs and coffee stops along the way all with a great view of the river.
The arrival of the Anglo-Normans to the area in 1172 changed everything. Domhnall Mór Ó Briain burned the city to the ground in 1174 in a bid to keep it from the hands of the new invaders. After he died in 1194, the Anglo-Normans finally captured the area in 1195 under King John. In 1197, local legend claims Limerick was given its first charter and its first Mayor, Adam Sarvant. A castle, built on the orders of King John and bearing his name, was completed around 1210.
The castle was built on the boundary of the River Shannon in order to protect the city from the west and from any rebellion by Norman lords to the east and south. Under the general peace imposed by the Norman rule, Limerick prospered as both a port and a trading center, partly due to the castle acting as a watchdog on any cargo passing through the port of Limerick.
The town of Limerick became so wealthy during this era King John set up a mint in the North West corner of the castle, with pennies and half pennies from this time available to see in Limerick museum today. A 1574 document prepared for the Spanish ambassador attests to its wealth: