There are so many great quotes from John Lennon, but this one has to be one of his best 🙂
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
In current times finding happiness has become very important for our mental health, we all need to fight as hard as possible to achieve personal happiness, never let anyone for what ever reason put you in any other mood than a generally happy one !
One tool I have developed over the last weeks to active this aim is to stop reading/watching or listening to the daily news, I could write an essay on the why’s but life is to short!
Just stop listening, get outside as often as you can (walk, say hello to people, look at the landscape around you), it is not selfish to make sure your in a good mental place, you can give more to others if you are!
Happiness needs working at, working to find the things that make you happy and at the same time dismissing the things that don’t – it takes work !!!!
A lot of my images have been black and white of late, I love black and white :), here is a great use of colour in a photo, A sunset that is to die for 🙂
Of all the locations in Ireland for a great sunset, County Kerry has to be the best 🙂
Maidenly lake, fathomless lake,
Stay as you were once, overgrown with rushes,
Idling with a reflected cloud, for my sake
Whom your shore no longer touches.
As the name implies the Meeting of the waters is where Killarney’s famous lakes converge. The Upper lake, Middle Lake (also known as Muckross Lake) and Lower Lake (Lough Leane) all come together at this beautiful spot. It is a little haven of tranquility and can only be reached by foot or bicycle. Also found in this area are Dinis cottage and “The Old Weir Bridge”.
The easiest way to reach the spot is by walking along the well signposted path from Muckross House for approximately 5km or if you don’t feel that energetic then approx one mile beyond Torc Waterfall (direction Kenmare) there is a parking spot on the right hand side of the road. Dinis cottage is signposted from here and the cottage and “the meetings of the waters” is a 15 minute walk from here. Its definitely worth the walk on a fine day.
Last week while visiting Muckross Traditional Farm, I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Tom Allison, he is an experienced professional and you can tell that he has a passion for blacksmithing. With his easy-going way of showing you how he works and creates some amazing items.
Tom studied blacksmithing at Hereford College in 1997 and continued his training with an apprenticeship in Wales for 2 years. Tom moved to Sneem in 2000 to set up his own forge and since then has completed a number of major commissions.
I spend a good amount of time watching Tom work in the old forge at Muckross Traditional Farm while he demonstrated the old skills of blacksmithing. His work ranges from contemporary art and designs to traditional historical reproduction and restoration.
Land Divided Into Farms
The land it was divided, into farms for cattle and sheep,
Some land they grew the corn, for the workers to keep,
Some they had wheat to sell, was taken to the mill,
Their stone ground for bread, the baker’s shop and his van to fill.
Some land it stayed in woodland, itself to regenerate,
As old ones fall and lets in light, young saplings they do await,
A long cycle of new to old, from the old forestation to new
Fenced all round now, and preserved for this nation.
It was just before dusk
When he started his climb
The path grew narrow
So the dog went ahead
It grew rocky and steep
But the old man kept up
Not knowing the dog
Had slowed his pace
The old man thought back
To his very first climb
That summer evening
Of his twelfth year
All alone on the mountain
A heaven full of stars
A rock for his pillow
He talked to the moon
He asked many questions
He called his ancestors by name
The heavens answered him
With many signs and sounds
That were later explained to him
By the tribal Medicine Man
A man who came to play
A very important part in his life
He became a warrior that year
He learned much from his family
The tribal customs and traditions
Were ingrained in his soul
He was a good listener
And was comfortable with words
He was accepted by the coucil
At a very young age
He had the strength of his father
The patience of his mother
The intelligence of his grandmother
And the wisdom of his grandfather
He learned how to guide
Not only himself but others
He had become all things
To all of those around him
He was a good chief
But his days were dwindling
His mind kept going back
Over all the things he had done
No regrets, no what ifs
Knowing he did his best
But things were changing
It was the dawn of a new era
The old man reached the ledge
Where he had stood many times
Since being that boy of twelve
And he was still awed
By the beauty of the heavens
The stars seemed so close
You could reach out and touch them
And that night, he did
Come my love and live with me
In a sweet little cottage by the sea
Where roses grow around the door
And flowers bloom for evermore
Inside my cottage clean and neat
A big brick fireplace will give out heat
Outside the birds will sing all day
And on the beach the children play
So come my love to the cottage by the sea
And see how happy we will be.
A Cottage by the Sea …
River has a silver string that runs its length,
holds it to a source in the mountains.
River cradles its corded muscles of water
between high banks, giving the banks no thought
as it bites them with eddies,
eroding their lower flanks.
River thinks it is only water and the gristle
of currents, hay stacking surfaces
and deep, bellowing falls
running for the sea, though
it does not know it is there.
River should take more care of its banks.
Banks are what hold it a river, give
direction, keep it mitering downward.
Without banks, river loses its way,
becomes a swamp and stills.
All my life I have chafed at river banks,
fighting to spread my currents
in whatever turn needed exploring.
The high song of freedom seemed
to be a music of ‘no banks’,
and yet the whole joy of rivers is pushing,
etching the banks to join the flow,
but having them hold.
A river Poem By : Manonton Dalan
TREE BY THE RIVER
Under the tree’s canopy, there I lay
Dreaming how the world could be
Beyond those clouds, the horizon
Would there be one like me, alone
Got up pick up the roundest stone
Cast to the river and glide by its own
Hits a ripple, goes airborne
For a kid like me, it is a phenom
By the grassy banks, frogs abound
Love to disturb them,
into the river they plunge
Never tried to catch them because they slime
So beautiful, shiny greenish yellow, brown
Water is crystal clear,
see fishes swimming
Stones unturned are coated with stringy green
Constantly dancing as the little shells cling
Reach down to touch the water
Felt something came to me, a power
Don’t know what it was but still here
Carrauntoohil (/ˌkærənˈtuːl/, Irish: Corrán Tuathail)
The highest peak on the island of Ireland. Located in County Kerry, Ireland it is 1,038 metres (3,406 ft) high and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range. The ridge northward leads to Ireland’s second-highest peak, Beenkeragh (1,010 m), while the ridge westward leads to the third-highest peak, Caher (1,001 m). Carrauntoohil overlooks three bowl-shaped valleys, each with its own lakes. To the east is Hag’s Glen or Coomcallee (Com Caillí, “hollow of the Cailleach”), to the west is Coomloughra (Com Luachra, “hollow of the rushes”) and to the south is Curragh More (Currach Mór, “great marsh”).
The summit of Carrauntoohil
Carrauntoohil is classed as a Furth by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, i.e. a mountain greater than three thousand feet high that is outside (or furth of) Scotland, which is why it is sometimes referred to as one of the Irish Munros.
The Macgillycuddy’s Reeks also contains many loughs of which lough callee is just one, the image above was taken last week while approaching the devils ladder route up to carrauntoohil Mountain peek. The morning was misty yet lots of wonderful light was finding its way on the the green slopes and the deep water of the lough, the mountain top is some distance above this level and hidden in the mist ……
Just returned from a seven day family Holiday in County Kerry, what a wonderful part of the world county Kerry is 🙂
I will share lots more images but here are just a few ……
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring’d with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
The Path down to the Beach at BallyQuin, Brandon, County Kerry Ireland
I first visited Skellig Michael in 2012 and the following images and post were taken and created during and following this visit, since then the island has been used during the making of the latest Star Wars movie “The Force Awakens”.
While no one worried too much about this remote and sacred place being used for this purpose, I think a lot of people are very much hoping that it does not mark the start of the island being openly used in such away, here it Ireland places like this are treasured and their peace is defended strongly. The Island is also the home to some very unique and protected wildlife.
Skellig Michael : an island escape
Skellig Michael is an Island some 12 to 16 kilometres by boat from the ring of kerry, county Kerry, Ireland. It is most famous for the fact that during the 6th to the 8th Century’s a religious settlement was established here.
The Island is a world heritage site and falls under the guardianship of UNESCO, you can find the official historic details from the link on the world heritage web page here : Skellig Michael
In my last two posts I shared the boat trip to the Island and then the long but wonderful walk up to the settlement at the very top of the Island some 218 meters from sea level. Today I just want to share images of the inside area , the location that the people who lived here spent their life’s and also the location in which they are buried and there final resting place.
The images in the Gallery below are placed in the order that you view the buildings when you walk through the site, the only access is through a small passage in the outer walls.
The very first thing that greets you are two small head stones, in a very small patch of grass. These are the graves of two young boys, it was a tradition that monks in this period would take very young boys as members to their orders. These boys where from families on the main land and once they moved here they would most likely never return to see there families. Our guide informed us that it is a possibility that both boys were killed by Viking invaders as when the remains where examined wounds were found that indicate that they were killed by the use of weapons, both boys did not pass the ages of ten or twelve. It is also thought that other graves in the pictures here, in the centre of the living area contain some adult victims of such attacks.
A monastery may have been founded as early as the sixth century, reputedly by Saint Fionán but in 1044 rededicated to Saint Michael, the image here shows a large sculpture that is located towards the middle of the complex. It was described by our guide as being a cross but it could also be very much in the form of a human figure, with the arms to the side and a head looking over the site.
The word Skellig is defined as meaning “splinter of a stone”, and thus this rocky island was dedicated to saint Michael, there are also other Islands around Europe and maybe further away that are dedicated to this saint ( Mont Saint-Michel France, St Michael’s Mount Cornwall)
One of the most famous features of Skellig Michael are the so called Beehive structures, there were may be six or seven of these of which six are still standing, they were the living spaces for each of the monks, this fact would indicate that a maximum of seven people lived here in the beehives at any one time, there is a structure at the very end of the settlement that is constructed completely differently, It is thought that the head of the order would have lived in this building but few fact to prove this exist.
In any case the indications are that eight people lived on Skellig Michael at anyone time during its long history.
Living with in these stone constructions looks very harsh , during the time they were occupied however they would have looked very different, in some of the pictures you can see supporting stones that stick out of the main buildings by some amount, it is thought that these stones supported a covering of thatch consisting of straw and clay, this would have been deep and was used to keep the inner stone structure warn and dry. Not all but some of the Beehives have a hole in the roof that was used to let out smoke from fires inside.
At some point I want to post about the life’s of these people, who they where and why they chose to live here, I need to read a little more however , so for the moment that’s it. Three post over the last three day, that I hope share a visit to this wonderful and mystical island.
If you get a chance I would really encourage you to visit. Its an experience of a lifetime and helps you to open your mind to European history.
I cannot help however feeling that this place holds something else other than the official history, The question as to why these monks felt the need to occupy Skellig Michael, so far of the Irish coast line, is very big !
This place feels like an escape, a refuge but from what and why ?
With such massive risk’s taken by a small group of people to construct three stone stair-ways to the top of the Island and then build the walled settlement, the question of why looms very large. These were times when the word of Christianity was first being spread across Ireland so why the need to hide away here ?
I need to do much more reading, before I understand these bigger questions 🙂 and even then maybe some of the answers have been lost !
The National park Killarney , county Kerry, is one of Ireland treasures as far as landscape photography is concerned.
The basic details of the park are as follows :
“Killarney National Park (Irish: Páirc Náisiúnta Chill Airne) is located beside the town of Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. It was the first national park established in Ireland, created when Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish state in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 102.89 km2 (25,425 acres) of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, oak and yew woodlands of international importance and mountain peaks. It has Ireland’s only native herd of red deer and the most extensive covering of native forest remaining in Ireland. The park is of high ecological value because of the quality, diversity, and extensiveness of many of its habitats and the wide variety of species that they accommodate, some of which are rare. The park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981.
The park forms part of a Special Area of Conservation.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service is responsible for the management and administration of the park.Nature conservation is the main objective of the park, and ecosystems in their natural state are highly valued. The park is also known for its beautiful scenery. Recreation and tourism amenities are also provided for.”
I have visited many times here over the last few years and hope to return for many more landscape images in the coming months.
On my last visit I did a full image study of Muckross Abbey – of which there is one image in the Gallery below. I will upload a full post next week on this fantastic place 🙂
Killarney National Park – Landscape image Gallery
I have just returned from a trip to Killarney National Park, County Kerry, getting lots of Landscape images during the four days away.
The Killarney national park was looking just fantastic at this time of the year with Snow on all the mountains that surround the Killarney lakes, these two images are taken with a fuji film x100 in portrait format and then jouned to create panoramic images.
Connected to the North,
Earth is considered the ultimate feminine element, Earth is fertile and stable, associated with the Goddess. The planet itself is a ball of life, and as the Wheel of the Year turns, we can watch all the aspects of life take place in the Earth: birth, life, death, and finally rebirth. The Earth is nurturing and stable, solid and firm, full of endurance and strength. In color correspondences, both green and brown connect to the Earth, for fairly obvious reasons! In Tarot readings, the Earth is related to the suit of Pentacles or Coins.
Mother goddess is a term used to refer to a goddess who represents motherhood, fertility, creation, or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.
The Irish goddess Anu, sometimes known as Danu, has an impact as a mother goddess, judging from the Dá Chích Anann near Killarney, County Kerry. Irish literature names the last and most favored generation of deities as “the people of Danu” (Tuatha De Danann). The Welsh have a similar figure called Dôn who is often equated with Danu and identified as a mother goddess. Sources for this character date from the Christian period, however, so she is referred to simply as a “mother of heroes” in the Mabinogion. The character’s (assumed) origins as a goddess are obscured.
The Celts of Gaul worshipped a goddess known as Dea Matrona (“divine mother goddess”) who was associated with the Marne River. Similar figures known as the Matres (Latin for “mothers”) are found on altars in Celtic as well as Germanic areas of Europe.
In many cultures, earth spirits are beings that are tied to the land and plant kingdom. Typically, these beings are associated with another realm, the forces of nature that inhabit a particular physical space, and landmarks like rocks and trees.
In Celtic mythology, the realm of the Fae is known to exist in a parallel space with the land of man. The Fae are part of the Tuatha de Danaan, and live underground. It’s important to watch out for them, because they’re known for their ability to trick mortals into joining them.
Gnomes feature prominently in European legend and lore. Although it’s believed that their name was coined by a Swiss alchemist named Paracelsus, these elemental beings have long been associated in one form or another with the ability to move underground.
Likewise, elves often appear in stories about the land. Jacob Grimm collected a number of stories about elves while compiling his book Teutonic Mythology, and says that elves appear in the Eddas as supernatural, magic-using beings. They appear in a number of old English and Norse legends.
– by Lorna Madson
I still recall shearing at Dad’s place,
All those early starts,
Learning to skirt the fleeces,
Pulling off the daggy parts.
I remember Dad sewing up sheep that were cut,
With a needle and big piece of cotton,
Sometimes we helped him yard up the sheep,
Or bring in some the dog had forgotten.
There’s a definite art to throwing a fleece,
One that i’m still yet to master,
The only time I ever tried,
Was a complete and utter disaster!
It was always a guess as to when we would shear,
Dad never knew quite when they’d come,
But you always knew by their thirsty look,
When they were about to do the last run.
Mum prepared meals and worked in the shed,
While us kids got up to mischief,
One time we shore so late in October,
Mum asked if they’d be there for Christmas!
Every year without a doubt,
The straw broom went down to the shed,
Either Dad forgot to buy one,
Or it was easier to take Mum’s instead.
On school days we’d race from the bus to the shed,
There was no time for homework or chores,
Getting tossed in a wool press, riding sheep in the pen,
Our hands full of prickles and sore.
When we cut-out half the district would come,
The wool table would be covered in grub,
Plenty to drink and the odd song or two,
It was better than any session at the pub!
This is a glimpse of what shearing was like,
Or at least it’s the bits I remember,
The shearing shed’s where all the action was at,
Usually somewhere around August-September.
But I doubt if Dad’s memories of shearing,
Are as fond to him as mine are to me,
For I didn’t have to worry ’bout microns,
Wool packs and presses you see!