Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

kilkenny photography

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


Eva Cassidy – Who Knows Where The Time Goes ?

Can you believe it ? it is already the end of January and the afternoons here are already feeling longer, its about 6pm before its dark on a good day.

Goodbye January ! Hello February ……

Eva Cassidy – Who Knows Where The Time Goes ?

Across the evening sky,all the birds are leaving
Oh but then you know, it was time for them to go
By the winter fire, I will still be dreaming
I do not count the time
for who knows where the time goes?
Who knows where the time goes?
Sad,deserted shore
your fickle friends are leaving
oh, but then you know it was time for them to go
But I will still be here

I have no thought of leaving
I do not count the time
for who knows where the time goes?
I know I’m not alone
while my love is near me
I know that its so until its time to go
All the storms in Winter and the birds in Spring again
I do not count the time
For who knows where the time goes?
who knows where the time goes?
who knows where the time goes?


Images from 2017 – Summer time in Ireland


December on the Farm, A photo-story …..


Snow Day – Poem by Billy Collins

Snow Day – Poem by Billy Collins

Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows

the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.

In a while I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch,
sending a cold shower down on us both.

But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news

that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,
the Ding-Dong School, closed,
the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with – some will be delighted to hear –

the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School,
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and – clap your hands – the Peanuts Play School.

So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.

And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.
Snow Day


Images without words : Irish Landscapes, the view from GarryDuff county Kilkenny

Irish Landscape Images GarryDuff county Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington


The Heron, A poem by : Linda Hogan

A Heron, hunting
Kings river
Kells
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

The Heron
Linda Hogan

I am always watching
the single heron at its place
alone at water, its open eye,
one leg lifted
or wading without seeming to move.

It is a mystery seen
but never touched
until this morning
when I lift it from its side
where it lays breathing.
I know the beak that could attack,
that unwavering golden eye
seeing me, my own saying I am harmless,
but if I had that eye, nothing would be safe.
The claws hold tight my hand,
its dun-brown feathers, and the gray
so perfectly laid down.

The bird is more beautiful
than my hand, skin more graceful
than my foot, my own dark eye
so much more vulnerable,
the heart beating quickly,
its own language speaking,
You could kill me or help me.
I know you and I have no choice
but to give myself up
and in whatever supremacy of this moment,
hold your human hand
with my bent claws.


Aghaviller Round Tower and Church

Aghaviller Round Tower and Church
County Kilkenny
Ireland
Nigel Borrington

Aghaviller

Round Tower and Church

Located in county Kilkenny, Aghaviller Round Tower and Church are together one of the most interesting of Irish Historic sites. Based on the presence of the round tower, it is believed that the Agherviller monastic settlement was once a relatively high-status ecclesiastical foundation dating back to Early Christian times. The church and a holy well not far from the site have been dedicated to St Brennain. We don’t know who founded the monastery but it could have been St Brennain. The round tower is built on top of a square stone plinth, an unusual feature which is only found in one other place in Ireland –at nearby Kilree. Sadly, only the lower 9.6 metres of the round tower survived.

The original NE facing round-arched doorway is in its customary location about 4 metres above ground level, although a ground-level lintelled doorway has been added in more recent times. The sandstone tower was unfortunately in deep shade from the nearby dense woods on our late afternoon visit, but it is worth a return trip in morning light to photograph the stonework which is beautifully dressed to the curve inside and out. There is a southwest facing square-headed window at the second storey level.

The church dates to the 12th Century but was significantly modified in the 15th by the addition of a massive tower over the chancel that served as a residence. Only the foundation of the nave remains. An archaeological excavation revealed a gully filled with kiln material and a sizeable ditch/boundary running north–south with stone revetting on its eastern side. This ditch is believed to have surrounded a second or outer enclosure, a common feature of high-status monastic sites.

Gallery


Nature without words (Horse fly)- Solo images (Ballykeefe nature reserve, county Kilkenny)

Horse fly
Ballykeefe nature reserve
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington


Nature without words – Solo images (Ballykeefe nature reserve, county Kilkenny)

A bumble bee in flight
Ballykeefe nature reserve
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington


The House on the Hill, By : Edwin Arlington Robinson

The Old house on the hill County Kilkenny  Ireland Nigel Borrington

The Old house on the hill
County Kilkenny
Ireland
Nigel Borrington

The House on the Hill

Edwin Arlington Robinson

They are all gone away,
The House is shut and still,
There is nothing more to say.

Through broken walls and gray
The winds blow bleak and shrill:
They are all gone away.

Nor is there one to-day
To speak them good or ill:
There is nothing more to say.

the-old-house-on-the-hill-county-kilkenny-nigel-borrington-02

Why is it then we stray
Around the sunken sill?
They are all gone away,

And our poor fancy-play
For them is wasted skill:
There is nothing more to say.

There is ruin and decay
In the House on the Hill:
They are all gone away,
There is nothing more to say.


A Winters day on the farm …..

WinterFeed in the barn County Kilkenny Nigel Borrington

WinterFeed in the barn
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

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.

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winters-day-on-the-farm-166-nigel-borrington

winters-day-on-the-farm-167-nigel-borrington

winters-day-on-the-farm-168-nigel-borrington

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Landscape Video : Early morning on the kings river , Kells County Kilkenny 


Landscape Videos : A Misty morning on the kings river, kells, county kilkenny

This morning on the Kings river as it flows through Kells County Kilkenny.

I have just started creating some landscape Videos to go with the Landscape Photography that I take and share here on my blog

So I felt what better way to start than filming an early frosty November morning on the Kings River, Kells, in this video you can hear the birds starting to sing and watch the Leaves fall onto the water. The mist created my the cold and frost was drifting down river.


Callan, County Kilkenny, life in a small town a personal perspective ….

Callan  County Kilkenny Nigel Borrington

Callan
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

Callan, County Kilkenny – life in a small town from a personal point of view

Today I found myself without any transport other than my much loved bicycle, which has been used a great deal this year, on evening and weekend cycles just the two of us out doors.

By lunch time I was feeling a little trapped and went out again for a cycle, out of the town into county Tipperary, on the way back into Callan I stopped for five minutes to take a look at the moat field and the Kings river.

I have lived in this small town now for well over a decade, it’s amazing how fast time passes.

In my first few years living here, I found that there was some pressure to get involved with what was happening locally and did so, taking part in some local exhibitions with other local artists and photographers, however it almost eight years since these times. In the years that followed these exhibitions, I did wedding photography and portraits along with some commercial work. I also keep up with painting and my art.

Standing today looking across the view of the town it occurred to me that I am much happier now, as in these days that I feel a little less involved with such deep local happenings. I don’t know if anyone else has experience in their lives when moving from a bigger urban part of the world to smaller places?

In a city everything feels much more established and if you get involved with an event then you find that you are only one of many before you who have been involved. Your involvement is only a small part of a much bigger well established picture. You can help as much or as little as you want and it is mostly understood that your involvement is for your personal growth and expression as much as it is about the establishment your offering your valuable time !

callan-sep-20092

To Myself however the biggest difference relates to the personal interests that people have by getting involved in local events in the first place, in the large context of a city most people get involved in order to be self expressive, to help themselves grow personally and to add new elements to their lives, this is all about the self and very little to do with the local town or even others. After all the local town should be about everyone living in it !

Personally!! I found this to be a massive difference when coming to live in a smaller setting, with massive respect to people, most people’s lives are slower here and general activities less available, this I feel increases the pressure on their involvement in almost anything. Personal Involvement becomes deeper and seems to almost take on an irrational level of importance!

callan-from-the-moat-sep-2009

As an example I was asked many times to attend some meetings, in the build up to a local festival in the town. I think this was due to the fact I have local family and had held some local exhibitions, one when the town was 800 years old. It was not until I realised that these festival meetings started almost the moment that the last festival had ended, to plan the next year’s festival, that I had some concerns. I wondered sometimes just who could benefit from such an exhausting process? In the end I decided that I personally would not benefit and would only end up exhausted!!

One thing you really notice in a smaller place is everything is about the town , here in my own example “Callan” and less about the bigger general activity you want to be involved in ! e.g. Art or Walking or Cycling. The emphasis is on “Callan” infront of all these things not just , the Cycling club or the Art club !

I can fully imagine that if any one local reads this they will wonder if I am having a go at them personally! , well I am not! All I am doing is pointing out my personal observations and experiences when doing my very best to make a transition from one place in the world to another!!

I don’t know why but It’s a small bit hard to say these things on my blog, however I feel that this is one reason for me having a blog in the first place, so that from time to time I can express personal feelings along with sharing images and the poems that I do share. It is also much easier to do so now as these days I am feeling that in my life I have found a more relaxed existence, a more laid back approach to local life.

I have managed to separate how I feel personally from how well this town is doing or even what the people of this town are doing. How I feel in myself is about me as a person, the things I do or chose not to do. To be content in myself is less about being over involved with activities, things that mostly only keep me active without having any true personal benefit, I have also become able to analyse if it is only others who want to completely benefit themselves from my personal energy and time.


Wild flowers and Woodland plants , Viola riviniana

Common Dog Violet Viola riviniana Nigel Borrington

Common Dog Violet
Viola riviniana
Nigel Borrington

At this time of the year our local woodlands here in county Kilkenny fill with new life and colours, one of the the wild flowers I love the most are the Violets.

They are a familiar little wildflower of the woodlands and grassy hedge-banks, this plant is quite similar to Early Dog-violet and is easily confused. The unscented, blue-violet flower is always solitary on the stem, and is open with five petals, the lower of which has a stout, blunt, pale, curved spur which is notched at the tip.

The mouth of the flower is absolutely wonderful to view through a hand-lens or magnifying glass. It has a pattern of deep purple lines which run into the throat over a paler violet patch, becoming white. The upper petals have a fringe which is over the opening. The dark-green, heart-shaped leaves are on long, slender stalks. This native plant which blooms from April until June is a larval foodplant of the Dark Green Fritillary. It belongs to the family Violaceae.

‘Look at us, said the violets blooming at her feet, all last winter we slept in the seeming death but at the right time God awakened us, and here we are to comfort you’.

Edward Payson Roe 1838-1888

‘I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.’

William Shakespeare 1564 -1616


A foggy Morning Poem , 12 O’clock In the Morning

Foggy Mornings  Kilkenny Nigel Borrington

Foggy Midnight poems
Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

12 O’clock In the Morning

Late nights are when my thoughts linger
I think too deep and begin to ponder
Why life has no purpose but to bring joy or pain
We have so much to lose but much more to gain
Many people give up too fast
Instead of living in the present, they focused on the past
These thoughts strike in the middle of the night
And they make me wonder with all of my might

Foggy Morning Kilkenny Nigel borrington 02

I haven’t lost that much
The only thing I fear is to lose all trust
Half of that is already gone
It got swept away with old love songs
My thoughts are getting foggy an hard to see
The midnight hour is the key

Jo Hello Poetry


When Great Trees Fall, By : Maya Angelou

When Great trees fall 2

When Great Trees Fall
By : Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When Great trees fall 1

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.

When Great trees fall 3

Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

When Great trees fall 4


Monday Poetry , Canal Life, By : Ian McMillan

St Mullins Kilkenny on the canal

Ian McMillan
Canal Life

The canal tells you stories
The canal sings you songs
They hang in that space
Between memory and water

Once saw a narrowboat raised up,
Like it was cutting through the air,
Between two grass walls and the road below
Like it was sliding through history,
And a tiny vole swam across the water
So a tiny vole swam through history.

The canal tells you stories
The canal sings you songs

Once saw a man floating belly up in a canal
Like he was in the bath. He shouted
‘This is the life’ as I passed by on a narrowboat;
The sky was reflected in the surface
And we tied up in the places the map never showed us,
The man floating by, making ripples on the surface.

They hang in that space
Between memory and water

Once got waved at by a jogger as I stood gongoozling
On the towpath; her running gave rhythm
To the early afternoon, dog-strollers and kids
Who’d rather be here than sitting in school.
To gongoozle is to stand and watch narrowboats pass
And a canal is a lesson, a water-based school.

The canal tells you stories
The canal sings you songs

St Mullins Kilkenny

Once these canals were information highways
If coal and iron can be information,
And I think they can be. And there are bridges,
Pub gardens, the laughter of children
As they walk by the water; and the canals
Turn us all into curious children.

They hang in that space
Between memory and water

Once is never enough for a canal, I reckon;
You need to go back and see it again,
And sail it again, and smell it again, and
Touch it again; canals run through our veins
Like they stroll through this country
Like blood through our veins.

The canal tells you stories
The canal sings you songs
They hang in that space
Between memory and water


Monday Morning Poems – Dark Wood, Dark Water, by – Sylvia Plath

Dark water dark wood

Dark Wood, Dark Water

By : Sylvia Plath

This wood burns a dark
Incense. Pale moss drips
In elbow-scarves, beards

From the archaic
Bones of the great trees.
Blue mists move over

Dark water Mondays 2

A lake thick with fish.
Snails scroll the border
Of the glazed water

With coils of ram’s-horn.
Out in the open
Down there the late year

Dark water Mondays 3

Hammers her rare and
Various metals.
Old pewter roots twist

Up from the jet-backed
Mirror of water
And while the air’s clear

Dark water Mondays 1

Hourglass sifts a
Drift of goldpieces
Bright waterlights are

Sliding their quoits one
After the other
Down boles of the fir.


Images of County Kilkenny. Ireland – Tales from the river bank .

Irish Landscape Photography Tales from the River bank Nigel Borrington

Irish Landscape Photography
Tales from the River bank
Nigel Borrington

A Gallery for Friday, images from the many river banks of county Kilkenny, Ireland .

Tales from the river bank, a Gallery

Pictures from the river bank 06

Pictures from the river bank 02

Pictures from the river bank 05

Pictures from the river bank 03

Pictures from the river bank 01

Pictures from the river bank 07

Pictures from the river bank 04


Kilkenny Landscape Photography : The Simple things – A line of trees.

Kilkenny Landscape Photography Nigel Borrington

Kilkenny Landscape Photography
Nigel Borrington

Most of the time when I am out taking Landscape pictures, its the simple things that catch my attention, like this simple line of trees at one end of a large woodland, set in the hills above Windgap, county Kilkenny.

When trees are young like these ones they are planted very close together. later this area will be thinned out and half these trees will be cut down so that there is space for the best trees to develop and grow, the cut trees will be sold as firewood so it is not wasted.

There are so many things we just don’t notice, I think this is one thing I love most about doing about Landscape photography, it makes you look at and see things so often lost in the bigger picture of daily life.


Christmas time and the mystery of the Christmas tree

The wild Christmas tree millennium woodlands Kilkenny  Nigel Borrington

The wild Christmas tree
millennium woodlands
Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington

It’s almost Christmas , so a big Happy Christmas Holidays to you all 🙂

While I was on an evening walk yesterday in one of county Kilkenny’s woodland parks – the Millennium forest, I came across a tree I see every year and every Christmas this one tree has been decorated with all kinds of great Christmas decorations !!!

Each year I have wondered who comes here to do so, as its a great thing to do and see as you walk past !

I think it has something to do with the origins of this forest , in the year 2000 the Irish forestry company coillte planted one forest in each of the Irish counties and made sure that each forest contained at least one tree for everyone living there. They then sent a letter to everyone telling them where in the forest their own tree was. each tree is not numbered as such but you can locate the area/plot number for your tree.

Clearly someone has taken full ownership of their tree, decorating it each year as they would a tree for their own front room.

So I think the great mystery of the Decorated Millennium Christmas tree is partly solved , I hope to be lucky next year and come across who ever it is who comes back to their tree each year.

Who every you are, Thank you and Merry Christmas to you !!! 🙂

The Christmas tree 2


Poetry By Mary Oliver : The Journey

Lifes Journey Photography : Nigel Borrington

Lifes Journey, Callan, County Kilkenny
Photography : Nigel Borrington

The Journey

Poetry
By
Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
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
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.

The Journey bw

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.