Bagenalstown, county Carlow
One of my most loved small towns located along the river Barrow as it flows through county Carlow is Bagenalstown, it is located of the side of the hills that surround the river barrow south of Carlow town. Otherwise known in its Gaelic version as Muine Bheag it is a pleasant stretch of the River Barrow and derives its name from Walter Bagenal, who, in founding the town, had visions of mirroring the city of Versailles, in northern France.
However, his efforts became frustrated due to the re-routing of the coach road away from the town. He left more than enough for visitors to enjoy with handsome stone public buildings including the impressive Courthouse, now a public library in Bagenalstown.
The arrival of the railway in 1846 rejuvenated the town, and its neo-classical railway station is one of the finest in Ireland. Attributed to William Deane Butler it is constructed of limestone and granite and is a seven bay, two-storey building in an Italianate villa style. Today Bagenalstown station still retains its charm in a largely unaltered state. This former mill town made full use of the river Barrow to transport grain, beet, coal, turf and Guinness by barge, evidence of which can be seen in its fine industrial architecture. Near the railway bridge on the R705 Borris road is an example of the Carlow fence which consists of a decorative fence made of granite pieces, laid horizontally over vertical posts and is found nowhere else in the world.
One of the finest views of Bagenalstown may be enjoyed on the approach road from Leighlinbridge and includes the spire of St. Andrew’s Catholic Church and the fine tower of St. Mary’s Church of Ireland Church. St. Andrew’s Catholic Church was built in 1820 on a site provided by the Newton family, successors to the Bagenals. The stained glass behind the altar is worthy of particular attention. Nowadays, riverside walks, picnic tables and a picturesque lock enhance this fine town which has been twinned with the French town of Pont Pean since 1999.
ATTRACTIONS: The ruins of the early 14th century Ballymoon Castle and 13th century Ballyloughan Castle are located near the town. Wells Church, situated closeby, is the preserved ruin of a church dating back to 1262. The church is surrounded by an enclosed and well-maintained graveyard which is still in use today.
ACTIVITIES: Outdoor swimming pool. The McGrath complex offers excellent sporting facilities including cricket, hurling, soccer and Gaelic football fields, tennis court and pitch and putt courses. The River Barrow in this area is renowned for coarse fishing with wheelchair friendly fishing stands located near the swimming pool. The Barrow Way long distance walking route passes through the town.
TTOPOLOGY – Dennis McNulty, at the Carlow Visual arts center – OMG I am so confused about Contemporary art ?
This afternoon I took sometime off and visited the County Carlow , Center for Visual arts, having read a description of an exhibition by the Contemporary artist Dennis McNulty LINK HERE!.
Its about a month since I last visited this Gallery, when I did I came away as so often just a little confused as to just what I had witnessed? the work consisted of a single image of a sunset that did not change for 30mins (maybe the video was frozen?) to the sound of bird song in the background!
The latest Exhibition By Dennis McNulty I am afraid to say just left me with the same head scratching feeling, it was described as follows
03 February – 20 May
TTOPOLOGY, an exhibition of new and retrospective works by Dennis McNulty considers the technologies and systems that have been developed, cast aside, or revised in order to advance our human potential. Coupling technology and art, McNulty explores the fields of science, engineering, built environment, retro technologies and future possibilities. See this link for more details ……
All my life I have been a lover of art , a viewer of many forms of artistic expression, open minded and well able so soak in new ideas – yet I feel it must be many years since a visit to an art exhibition from a currently working artist has produced anything other than a feeling of massive disappointment and total confusion as to the state of modern art.
Personally I feel the time has come for me to stop looking deeper and doing my very best to find that small percentage of good – within the work I take the time to go and see!
I feel its time that the art loving public as a whole start to make it very clear that we are getting sick and a little drawn out with looking at exhibitions that we are just meant to get or at the very least in some way forgive the artist for because at the end of the day, well they art artists aren’t they! and they get something we don’t?.
Fact is however Most people who walk away from a modern art exhibition these days do so with nothing other than confusion if not a little anger, because basically they feel cheated, let down and taken for fools!
I have felt for a long time that currently working modern artists have no interest what so ever in what the viewers of their work think, In fact I wonder just who they are producing their work for? it cannot be for the 99% of the public! I don’t feel that its acceptable any longer to just act as if its the responsibility of the viewing public to get on board or just be dismissed because they don’t get what is at the end of the day trashy, Lazy and ill conceived work!
From my basic understanding of formal art study, artists spend four to five years in an art school taking a degree of some form. During this period the work they produce can be of many kinds and make use of many forms of artistic media, this type of work by itself should not and does not need to be presentable to the public. At the end of each academic year there is usually an end of year show building up-to the final degree show held as a presentation of the students work put forward as their final degree submission.
When you understand these levels that go into passing an art degree, maybe just maybe you can start to understand the kind of work your looking at in some current art exhibitions!
There is also another factor that the viewing art minded public needs to understand and that is that many art tutors in art school are required to hold their own exhibitions each year so that they can show that they are at the very least practicing artists and not just a teacher. Still however these artists work relates in form very closely to the kind of experimental work produced during art school study , basically because these tutors are the very people who are judging their students work!
So here are some questions !
Is the art work that most of the public views in public galleries these days, no more than art school/student level and experimental level work and not the work of professional artists would have not only passed an art course of some kind but also spent many years building on their art study to become a professional artist and with an understanding of the real world?
If this is the case, then would it be fair to say that the confusion around modern art is that we are just not being told about the level at which the artists involved in some if not most of the exhibitions we see, site in their level and progression of work ?
My own feelings are that, the current type of modern art works that I view in most of the exhibitions I take time to go and see, is for me personally for whatever reason basically lazy, fuzzy, repetitive and unacceptable ( well under worked, not over worked for sure!) IMO!. I feel that Modern art finds itself in a position where it is being produced for other reasons than for my pleasure as a viewer of it! I also wonder if the formal art world is not just feading on itself until there is basically nothing left and the bottle is empty!
Will I keep going to art exhibitions, Hell yes! just in the hope that one day I get to see something that I truly do understand and end up walking out of the door once again with a smile on my face !
If Dennis McNulty ever reads this post, not likely ! I have respect that your putting your work out there , its just not for ME!!!
Gallery of an exhibition.
With the aim of shopping for some new summer plants and flowers for the garden, today I spent sometime at Altamont Gardens, county Carlow.
This is a fantastic house and gardens with a great garden center, the staff know a great deal about the kind of plants that will grow well locally.
A great way to spend the afternoon, looking and plants, walking around the grounds and finally and cup of tea and cake in the little cafe …..
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.
Snow on snow
By : James Hart
Snow on snow
Flakes gently falling
Like leaves from a tree
Before they land
On the snowflakes underneath
Each one different
Like leaves on a tree
A white carpet
Pure white till soiled
By children’s shoes
They love its touch
Ooo snowball fights
Snow doesn’t hurt
Snow is soft and forgiving
They are selfish and cruel
So let it snow
Snow on snow on
Snow on snow
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington
by : Jode Cox
The road keeps getting longer
the farther that I walk
A head wind seems to push me back
I don’t have the breath to talk
My lungs they burn, my heart it pounds
My throat is getting dry
I see a looming hill ahead
And now I want to cry
To you this hill may seem small
To me it is a mountain
I don’t want to ask you for help
I keep going as fast as I can
I slow with every footstep
Until I have to stop
I find a way to busy my self
To pretend there is nothing wrong
To admit this trouble to you
Is to admit it to myself
I don’t want to ask of others
I want to do this myself
I feel this is all my fault
If only I could heal
The shame I feel at every gasp
This journey has become too real
If only I was stronger
This disease I could have fought
It silently crept up to me
The illness I don’t want
Each day I am able to do less
No matter how hard I try
For now I can only do my best
You don’t even understand why
I used to run and jump and play
Nothing too hard to do
Now the smallest task I take
I must ask for help from you
You think I don’t see the resentment
The bitterness in your face
You think I chose to be sick
To give up on my life in this place
This hill is not enormous
The one you gave to me
I will make it to the top
I will do it just for me
I have just spend the morning at Altamont Gardens, County Carlow, getting some images of the Gardens, flowers and the old house in the grounds.
Altamont is one of Ireland best kept old estates, known for the most romantic garden in Ireland, with some 100 acre’s in total.
Whilst still little known, it ranks in the top ten of Irish gardens and is often referred to as ‘the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown’
Here I post some images of just some of the hidden locations that can be found while walking around the grounds.
Altamont Gardens, County Carlow – Hidden places gallery.
The river also forms a natural border between parts of counties Kilkenny and Carlow and Kilkenny and Wexford.
I Completed walking all the stages of the river last year, my favourite part of the river however is around the Goresbridge area, county Kilkenny.
The images below are just some taken at Goresbridge, during June of 2014.
River Barrow Gallery
Tamron Adaptall 24mm f2.5 lens
Two Locks one lens many years of enjoyment
For some 40 years I have been taking Landscape photographs in both the UK and Ireland, one of the very first lenses I purchased when I first got a Nikon 35mm film SLR, was this 24mm F2.5 Tamron, wide angle Lens, purchased in 1987.
The images below are from a visit I made to Top side lock, near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire in the south of England a wonderful old lock with a lock keepers house. The second image is from Ballyellin lower lock on the river Barrow, County Carlow , Ireland, taken in January this year.
Sometime keeping a hold onto equipment that you like using and that work very well, is far more important that searching for the new. Endlessly upgrading equipment has become the norm, we live in an age of none stop upgrades yet now and again it is still possible to keep a hold of the old and trusted things.
This lens works very well and in many cases even better now that its used with a digital camera body.
It is a manual focus lens yet because it contains all the focus and aperture details on the lens barrel it is very easy to use, you can set it up for what is known as Hyper-focus and shoot all day like this.
I just love using this lens and get a real kick from the fact it still works so well.
Top side lock , Grand union Canal, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Ballyellin Lower lock, County Carlow, Ireland
Borris Viaduct, Co Carlow, Ireland
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington
In January I visited the Viaduct in Borris, County Carlow.
The Viaduct is Located just north of the town and was an amazing construction for its day, back in the 1800’s this construction help link north county Carlow to county Wexford for both passenger transport and goods – daily , until 1947.
On the 1st January 1855 the first ground was cut near Borris, County Carlow, for what was to be the Bagenalstown County Carlow to Wexford, Railway.
However with expensive construction costs and difficult terrain the company only ever made it half way to Ballywilliam in county Wexford, shortly after going bankrupt with debts of £100,000.
After a period of failed ownerships the railway was sold for £24,000 by the board of works to GS&WR in 1876. Passenger services ceased on the 2nd Febuary 1931, a goods service remaining until 27th January 1947, CIE finally closed the line on the 1st January 1963, 108 years to the day after the first ground was cut near Borris.
Visiting the Location
The Viaduct is located on a farm and is used as a public foot-path, access is through the grounds of a local school. The path up to the level that the rail line would have been on is steep but easy to walk up.
The first thing you notice is that the walls each side of the Viaduct and the path are very low and are not fenced, so you feel that you want to walk down the centre of the path. It is a good few hundred meters to the end of the Viaduct itself but the walk is well worth it as the views of County Carlow from here are spectacular !!
Once you reach the end of the path the old rail line cuts through some trees, there are picnic areas offering some great views of the county, at the end of this wooded part of the walk is a small bridge with a well kept garden and another picnic area.
You get the feeling that this is a much love and well kept area for the town and a pleasure to visit.
If you are in county Carlow you simply have to pay it a visit.
June is the Month of the poppy here in Ireland and I just love this little flower, its mainly known for growing along the sides of roads or rail lines. This is mainly because the earth on this land has been turned over and the seeds of the poppies have been moved back to a depth that they can grow again.
It’s not that common here unlike France or main land Europe to see full fields of poppies, one location I have found were this is true is around the remains of the old house at Duckets grove, County Carlow.
These images were taken one evening in June, the light was fading and a tripod was needed with the camera but I think the low light has resulted in some strong reds and deep greens for these images. they have been enhanced this a little in photoshop but I did need to do to much work.
An image of the Coolasnaghta ridge walk, mount leinster, County Carlow. Taken back in February 2013, the mountains grass and heathers were still brown and yellow from the snow and cold of the winter.
This is a great walk along the ridges of mount leinster in Co.Carlow as it offers views of four of Ireland county’s below (Carlow, Wexford, Waterford and Kilkenny ). The mountain is best accessed from the village of Borris, Co.Carlow and is about a 10km drive away.