Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Forgotten places

Sheeps bit – Wild flowers at the old slate quarry

Irish wild flowers
Sheeps bit
Slate quarry’s
County Kilkenny

Sheeps bit – Wild flowers

The Slate Quarry at (Ahenny, Windgap, Co. Kilkenny) is one of our best local locations for wild life and wild flowers – at this time of year. There are three or four old open quarry pits most of which now form small lakes, along with many heaps of slate that remained in place after all the good slate in the area had been removed. In the summer the lakes are used for swimming in.

I often visit and today I captured these blue sheep’s bit flowers at lunch time and they cover most of the tops of the old slate heaps. Natural blue wild flowers are one of natures rarest finds so it was a true pleasure to see such a large amount growing in one place.

Here are some details about these very special little plants ….

Sheep’s-bit

Scientific Name: Jasione montana
Irish Name: Duán na gcaorach
Family Group: Campanulaceae

Also known as Sheep’s-bit Scabious, the books say this is a rather variable plant and can easily be mistaken for a composite or a scabious, but theAlso known as Sheep’s-bit Scabious, the books say this is a rather variable plant and can easily be mistaken for a composite or a scabious, but the florets have a 5-toothed calyx and not a pappus. Also the anthers in this plant do not project – unlike those of Devil’s Bit Scabious. I hope this helps. It is a pretty little downy biennial which grows in rocky places, cliffs and heaths up to 40cm high. It has bright blue rounded flowers aggregated in a compact head (15-25mm) which is borne on a slender stem. Its leaves have wavy edges and are hairy, grey-green and short-stalked. The plant is on flower from May to September. This plant is a native and belongs to the family Campanulaceae.

I first identified this flower in Laragh, Co Wicklow in 1976 and photographed it in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow in 2006.
florets have a 5-toothed calyx and not a pappus. Also the anthers in this plant do not project – unlike those of Devil’s Bit Scabious. I hope this helps. It is a pretty little downy biennial which grows in rocky places, cliffs and heaths up to 40cm high. It has bright blue rounded flowers aggregated in a compact head (15-25mm) which is borne on a slender stem. Its leaves have wavy edges and are hairy, grey-green and short-stalked. The plant is on flower from May to September. This plant is a native and belongs to the family Campanulaceae.

I first identified this flower in Laragh, Co Wicklow in 1976 and photographed it in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow in 2006.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre


Beyond The Door – Poem by Clark Ashton Smith

Beyond The Door – Poem by Clark Ashton Smith

Alas! the evanescence of a dream,
That, like a rose, shall never blossom more!
A glimpse of unguessed things, and then the door
Of waking sense clangs to. Alas! the Gleam,
The visioned Secret and the Light supreme,
That one at moments nears, when, lo! the pall
Of veiling darkness drops and covers all –
The darkness of the daylight’s aureate beam!

Leaving but an elusive memory –
A heavenly cadence, a supernal word,
Never but half-recalled. In dreams are heard
Who knows what tidings from Eternity,
Transcendant, strange! Alas! we may not bring
Aught past the gateway of Awakening!

Clark Ashton Smith


Ireland’s Historic Buildings : Pearse’s Cottage (Teach an Phiarsaigh),Rosmuc, County Galway

Patrick Henry Pearse (also known as Pádraig or Pádraic Pearse; Irish: Pádraig Anraí Mac Piarais; An Piarsach) was born in Dublin on the 10th of November 1879 and he died in Kilmainham Gaol(Jail), county Dublin on the 3rd of May 1916. He was primarily an Irish teacher but was also a great barrister, poet, writer and original Irish nationalist. He was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. Following his execution along with fifteen others, Pearse came to be seen by many as the embodiment of the rebellion.

Patrick Pearse’s Cottage at Ros Muc, county Galway in the heart of the Conamara Gaeltacht, ( an Irish speaking and strongly Irish cultural area) was used by Patrick Pearse (1879 – 1916), while he spent time teaching and marking students papers.

The cottage and its interior, although burned during the War of Independence, has been perfectly reconstructed and contains an exhibition and a number of momentous of Pearse’s life.

The cottage was Pearse’s summer residence between 1903 and 1915. It was also as a summer school for his pupils from St Enda’s in Dublin where he worked during the main Academic year.

The historic cottage, has been developed as a national monument and tourist attraction as part of the 1916 centenary commemorations; and is a key ‘discovery point’ on the Wild Atlantic Way route.

I was lucky enough to visit the cottage last week and enjoyed my time here very much, the staff helped greatly when it came to understanding the life of this great Irish man and his time spent here.

If your in county Galway, you just have to call in and spend some valuable time here !

Pearse’s Cottage (Teach an Phiarsaigh), County Galway, Gallery


Kilcooley Abbey, County Tipperary. The silence of the Abbey in the field.

Kilcooley abbey is located near the town of Thurles in county Tipperary, it was founded by the Cistercians in 1182AD when the lands were granted to them by Donal Mor O’Brien. It became one of the three great Abbeys in the local area, the other two being Jerpoint and Holy Cross.

It would have been in use at least until the dissolution of Abbeys in the 1500’s and it now sits hidden away on the lands of the Kilcooley estate.

I always love visiting this abbey as its one of the most peaceful of places you could wish of, surrounded by woodlands and farms, very little sound from the modern world penetrates the field its located in. As such you can sense the times when this abbey was first lived in and used on a daily basis as a refuge and place of worship for the Cistercian monks who would have lived here.

If there are such things a Ghosts then how could they not be found still living within and around the grounds of this great Abbey.


Ghost House in the Irish landscape, Poem by Robert Frost, 1874 – 1963

Ghost House
Robert Frost, 1874 – 1963

I dwell in a lonely house I know
That vanished many a summer ago,
And left no trace but the cellar walls,
And a cellar in which the daylight falls
And the purple-stemmed wild raspberries grow.

O’er ruined fences the grape-vines shield
The woods come back to the mowing field;
The orchard tree has grown one copse
Of new wood and old where the woodpecker chops;
The footpath down to the well is healed.

I dwell with a strangely aching heart
In that vanished abode there far apart
On that disused and forgotten road
That has no dust-bath now for the toad.
Night comes; the black bats tumble and dart;

The whippoorwill is coming to shout
And hush and cluck and flutter about:
I hear him begin far enough away
Full many a time to say his say
Before he arrives to say it out.

It is under the small, dim, summer star.
I know not who these mute folk are
Who share the unlit place with me—
Those stones out under the low-limbed tree
Doubtless bear names that the mosses mar.

They are tireless folk, but slow and sad—
Though two, close-keeping, are lass and lad,—
With none among them that ever sings,
And yet, in view of how many things,
As sweet companions as might be had


Time and Eternity By : Emily Dickenson, (1896)

Tintern Abbey
County Wexford
Irish Landscapes
Nigel Borrington 2018

One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place.

Far safer, of a midnight meeting
External ghost,
Than an interior confronting
That whiter host.

Far safer through an Abbey gallop,
The stones achase,
Than, moonless, one’s own self encounter
In lonesome place.

Ourself, behind ourself concealed,
Should startle most;
Assassin, hid in our apartment,
Be horror’s least.

The prudent carries a revolver,
He bolts the door,
O’erlooking a superior spectre
More near.


Cutting Turf , Irish landscape History

Irish Bog lands and Turf cutting
Irish landscapes
Nigel Borrington

On Wednesday I posted some picture showing the results of a Wildfire on the bog lands of Littleton in country Tipperary, having done so I just wanted to share some more images from another Bog land in county Waterford and share some of the history of these amazing places along with some details about the history of turf cutting in Ireland.

The Irish tradition of turf cutting

In the past, Irish people heated their homes and cooked their food using turf taken from from the bog as fuel. Turf was cut from the bog by hand, using a two-sided spade called a sleán. Entire families often helped to save the turf on the bog.

Saving the turf involved turning each sod of turf to ensure the sun and wind could help in the drying process. The turf was then placed upright or ‘footed’ for further drying. Footing the turf was a back-breaking job and involved placing five or six sods of turf upright and leaning against each other. Finally, the turf was brought home and stored in sheds or ricks.

In the midlands and the West of Ireland, the tradition of using turf or peat as fuel has continued in many homes.The turf is mainly cut by machine nowadays, but saving the turf still involves lots of work and requires good weather.


Images from County Kilkenny : Kells Priory in black and white


Film Friday, Swanage Steam Railway – Traveling back to the 1940’s

Swanage Steam railway
Nikon FM2n
Nigel Borrington 2018

These images are all taken using a Nikon FM2n, loaded with Ilford XP2 Super black and white film. I used a black and white film on the day I visited the wonderful Swanage steam railway project as I felt it was perfect to capture the atmosphere of a 1940’s experience.

Sometimes when your out for the day with a camera, its the experience of finding subjects that’s the most enjoyable part of the day, on this day however it was the enjoyment of taking a trip into the past and enjoying the feeling that you had slipped back into the countryside of the 1940’s, taking these images was just a process of recording the moments.

Here is a small introduction to this great project.

Welcome to Swanage Railway

The Swanage Railway offers a more intensive heritage steam and diesel timetable train service than virtually any other preserved railway.

Steam and diesel galas, Family events plus regular Evening Dining and Sunday Lunch services complement themed events such as our highly popular Santa Special trains during the run up to Christmas.

Our award-winning standard gauge preserved steam railway is located in Dorset with easy access from neighbouring Hampshire and the South of England. Visitors can experience a unique journey through six miles of beautiful scenery passing the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle, travelling down to the blue flag beach at Swanage.

You can even drive and fire your own steam train thanks to our one-hour footplate taster experiences

Swanage Steam railway a Film Gallery


5 Images for the Week , Wednesday _ All that remains

All that remains
Wed 21th Feb 2018
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington