Ardgroom Stone Circle, County Cork, Ireland
The Ardgroomon stone circle is located on the Beautiful Beara Peninsula, county cork. It has to be one of the most magical of all the Irish stone circle, it also has the best of locations and views, sitting about the Atlantic ocean. There is something so exciting and mysterious about visiting a stone circle. The Ardgroomon circle is located in an area were there is an abundance of these historic sites, as well as wedge tombs, ring forts, boulder burials and fulachta fiadhs.
As well as being used for the Solar Spring and summer Equinox’s along with the Summer and Winter Solstice, many of these stone circles would also log the Movement of the Moon, Planets and Stars as during the year they changed their positions along the horizon. The standing stones in a stone circle would have in combination with a feature on local hill sides, have been lined up with astronomical objects(Sun, moon, planets and Stars). This would have given an almost daily measurement for months of the year.
The reason that ancient peoples needed to log the movement of the heavens was mainly for practical reasons such as farming, they needed to know when to sow seeds, bring cattle down from the mountains and bring in the crops, also they needed to know how long their store of food had to last before the new growing season started, no imports in those days.
The Hills above Grange in County Killkenny, offer some of the most stunning landscape views in the county, here you are looking across the boarder into county Tipperary.
The day I took the following images I had been walking for a little while when I took a rest at a gate, there is that moment in the county when you see some cows resting on a sunny morning and they spot you from a distance. It only take a little time before they all stand and walk over to the gate, I think they are wondering if your the farmer and it time for their feed. Sadly for them I was not and all I could do for them was take some pictures of them to share on WordPress 🙂 🙂
We have many old forgotten farms around county Kilkenny, its hard to know just how old they could be?
There are so many memories lost in these places, so many working days following by family evenings resting out in the fields and the yards ……
Evening Poem : By Alice Oswald
Old scrap-iron foxgloves
rusty rods of the broken woods
what a faded knocked-out stiffness
as if you’d sprung from the horsehair
of a whole Victorian sofa buried in the mud down there
or at any rate something dropped from a great height
straight through flesh and out the other side
has left your casing pale and loose and finally
just a heap of shoes
they say the gods being so uplifted
can’t really walk on feet but take tottering steps
and lean like this closer and closer to the ground
it is the hours on bird-thin legs
the same old choirs of hours
returning their summer clothes to the earth
with the night now
as if dropped from a great height
Don Bouchard Jul 2015
These Farmers; These Fields
Who are these farmers,
And who, these fertile fields,
Verdant under native grass,
That stand un-plowed,
That shake beneath the plow,
That lie now fallow,
That bear the planted seed,
That wear the heavy grain,
That await the Harvest pain?
And who, these Harvesters,
And who, these close-shorn fields,
Desolate in short-cut stubble,
That stand, stiff in silence,
That wear the heavy tracks,
That have endured the harvest,
That yielded up their dead,
That bristle through the falling snow,
That whistle wind-song low?
And who, these merry Farmers,
And who these stubbled fields,
Glistening beneath the melting snow,
That warm beneath the glowing sun,
That host the migrants of the sky,
That tremble the biting plow,
That accept the falling seed,
That wait beneath the welcome rains,
That cycle through the seasons once again?
Ok , Today is more of a collection of images than one single image, to close the week 🙂
May and the local farms are getting busy, Irish farms are usually a little smaller than in Mainland Europe, so for some of the work a small tractor is still needed in order to work the smaller fields.
These images are a study of a little tractor most likely still used for many tasks around the farm over the next weeks of this busy month …..
The rock-like mud unfroze a little and rills
Ran and sparkled down each side of the road
Under the catkins wagging in the hedge.
But earth would have her sleep out, spite of the sun;
Nor did I value that thin glilding beam
More than a pretty February thing
Till I came down to the old Manor Farm,
And church and yew-tree opposite, in age
Its equals and in size. The church and yew
And farmhouse slept slept in a Sunday silentness.
The air raised not a straw. The steep farm roof,
With tiles duskily glowing, entertained
The mid-day sun; and up and down the roof
White pigeons nestled. There was no sound but one.
Three cart-horses were looking over a gate
Drowsily through their forelocks, swishing their tails
Against a fly, a solitary fly.
The Winter’s cheek flushed as if he had drained
Spring, Summer, and Autumn at a drought
And smiled quietly. But ’twas not Winter—
Rather a season of bliss unchangeable
Awakened from farm and church where it had lain
Safe under tile and thatch for ages since
This country, Old already, was called Happy.
The Nire valley in county waterford offers some of the most amazing landscape views in the south east of Ireland, I used a Wacom MobileStudio Pro tablet to draw this sketch of one of my favorite positions, sitting on an old stone seat that looks across at the farm fields as they slowly make their way up into the hills above.
Winters on a farm are a hard time of year, dealing with the weather and the cold, the dark evenings and early mornings. Life as a farmer must have many great moments but its not hard to imagine that there are less of these in the winter months than in the summer.
I took these images while out on a walk yesterday and as you can see, on this farm some of the cows are still out in the fields while some have been returned to their winter shed, soon all of them with be inside. In the Barn close by is stored some of the feed that will be used for the cattle over the next few months. In an area of the barn next to the feed is the farmers haybob that would have been used only a few weeks back to help get the hay bales ready.
The next few weeks are all about rest for the land and keeping the live stock warm and health in the sheds, life slows down and less work out in the fields is needed. While welcome in some ways you can imagine that this lack of activity can at times feel a little to slow but this is farm life.
Here in county Kilkenny each year you develop a great sense of the farming seasons and the activities that go along with them.