Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

Posts tagged “Ireland

Irish Landscape Images, Tramore Beach, County Waterford 2018

Irish landscape images Tramore beach
county Waterford Nigel Borrington


Monday Poetry : The Mountain Horse

Mountain Horse
Slievenamon
County Tipperary
Nigel Borrington

The Mountain Horse

Its cold at dawn in the Great Divide
And the Dew lies thick on the mountainside,
The bite of the cold air nearly makes you choke
And breath from your nostrils like dragon smoke.

The saddles are on and the cinch is tight,
Bridles are buckled and a bit to bight,
The horsemen are ready to break the camp,
The mist still rising and the bush is all damp.

The mobs been found in a clearing up ahead,
They’re all wild horses and they’re mountain bred.
Bushes flying by lashing legs and sides,
There’s danger here now for anyone who rides.

An overhanging limb so bend down low
Around rocks and wombat holes we go
There’s a mighty log we’ll have to jump
Look out, look out avoid the stump.

The big bay stallion leads his harem through the creek
There’s no place here for faint hearted or the meek,
Their hooves are like thunder and stock whips are cracking
Horses are snorting and their courage is not lacking.

Down along the valley where he knows every stride
Down along the valley where the wings are stretching wide,
But it’s too late, he knows it now, there’s nowhere left to run,
He turns and rears up high, his fight has just begun.

Something about these mountains makes you want to stay
And a mountain horse’s spirit you cannot take away.
My mind wanders back to a day not long ago,
When the horsemen came and found my mob and I put on the show.


Irish Landscape Photography, Windgap County Kilkenny – in Black and white

Images of Ireland
Black and white Landscapes
Windgap
County Kilkenny


The first signs of Spring – BlackThorn

Blackthorn is the 12th letter of the Gaelic tree alphabet, representing P, yet another controversial letter. There was no P in the Gaelic alphabet until recently, so some tree has had to stand in. As Blackthorn was in the original alphabet (for St, as its old Gaelic name is Straiph, but St is no longer considered a letter in its own right). As Blackthorn’s latin name is Prunus spinosa, it fits the bill. Its modern Gaelic name is Draighneag or Airne (sloe) or Sgitheach dubh (black hawthorn).
Snippets of Lore

Blackthorn is the 12th letter of the Gaelic tree alphabet representing P, controversially, as there was no P in the alphabet until recently

For my explanation of why Blackthorn stands for P see http://mandyhaggith.worldforests.org/index.asp?pageid=359149

Blackthorn’s latin name is Prunus spinosa. In modern Gaelic, draighneag (pierce), airne (sloe) or sgitheach dubh (black hawthorn).

Blackthorn’s fruit is called sloe. They are very high in Vitamin C.

To get a taste of the bitterness of sloes, nowhere better to start than Vicki Feaver. http://www.spl.org.uk/best-poems_2006/feaver.htm

Too much sloe gin may be too much of a good thing.

Sloe gin infused with pennyroyal and valerian was the original ‘Mother’s Ruin’.

Blackthorn is the ancestor of all plum trees.

Sloe stones have been found in Neolithic cairns and crannogs.

The Ice Man was carrying a sloe, presumably to eat.

Sloes are better flavored if frosted, or dried then rehydrated.

Sloe jelly is best made with apples.

Sloes are good for the bladder, kidneys, stomach and lung complaints.

Sloe juice and bark gives indelible ink.

Sloes gives a pinky purple dye, and blackthorn bark produces a red or orange dye.

Blackthorn bark can be used to reduce fever.

Use blackthorn leaves for tea. It’s good for tonsils and larynx.

Have another sloe gin (by Seamus Heaney) http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/IrelandGenWeb/2003-11/1069876152

Responding to Heaney, Tom Rawling’s Sloe Gin: http://www.xen19.dial.pipex.com/dec_2.htm

And another moody blackthorn poem, this one by Louis McKee, coming into blossom. http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-blackthorn/

Blackthorn produces beautiful snow white blossoms early and before the leaves come.

Blackthorn’s leafless stems, in flower, evoke a place between death and life.

Blackthorn blossom is unlucky indoors (maybe for the same reason as hawthorn?)

A tisane of blackthorn blossom ‘purges to the depths’.

Rough weather in March is called a Blackthorn Winter.

Blackthorn is the sister of Hawthorn: Blackthorn governs Nov-April, Hawthorn governs May-Oct.

Blackthorn wood is hard and good for walking sticks and weapons. Best walking sticks are blackthorn entwined by honeysuckle.

Irish sheleilaigh sticks are made with blackthorn wood.

Blackthorn trees give good shelter for birds to nest in. It makes excellent hedges.

Blackthorn is supposed to never exceed 13 feet.

Proverb: Better the bramble than the blackthorn, but better the blackthorn than the devil.

Blackthorn helps you see beyond negatives to opportunity.

A hero fleeing from giants needs a magical blackthorn twig which will sprout into a thicket!

Blackthorns were believed to spring from the blood of Norse invaders.

A blackthorn thorn tipped with poison is a subtle weapon known as ‘a pin of slumber’.

Blackthorn is associated with Sleeping Beauty – after pricking her finger, the castle was thorn-bound until love came.

Witches stick blackthorns into wax effigies of their enemies.

Blackthorn was used for pyres when burning witches.

Blackthorn was believed to have been used for Christ’s Crown of Thorns, hence unlucky.

For fertile fields, make, wear, then burn a blackthorn crown and spread its ash.

Blackthorn represents the inevitability of death, and of dark secrets.

Evil fairy-folk stole babies – and hid them in blackthorn bushes.

‘Many sloes, many cold toes’ – presage of bad winter ahead.


Street views, Cobh, County Cork, Ireland, April 2018

Street Views
Cobh, county Cork
Nigel Borrington
April 2018


Visiting the Underworld, Dunmore caves, county Kilkenny Ireland

Dunmore caves
County Kilkenny
Nigel Borrington 2018

The Easter holidays are always a great time to do some different activities and visited some locations I had on my list for sometime.

One of these locations was Dunmore caves in the north of county Kilkenny, the caves are some of the most spectacular – located here in Ireland, with a large entrance hall and a great mix of tunnels and caverns. This time was a great visit, there have been some great guides over the years but our female guide over the weekend was clearly into the geology and environment of the area and of the caves themselves along with the Pagan and Viking (history, myths and beliefs) based around the long time use of these caverns.

One local myth in Kilkenny county revolves around the belief that there is a tunnel that goes all the way from the caves into the center of kilkenny city, possibly used for escape in times when the city was under attack. This tunnel has been searched for many times but never found, so maybe it is just a story but the search goes on.

Dunmore caves facts and History

Dunmore Cave (from Irish Dún Mór, meaning ‘great fort’) is a limestone solutional cave in Ballyfoyle, County Kilkenny, Ireland. It is formed in Lower Carboniferous (Viséan) limestone of the Clogrenan Formation. It is a show cave open to the public, particularly well known for its rich archaeological discoveries and for being the site of a Viking massacre in 928.

Development

Dunmore Cave was designated a National Monument by the Commissioners of Public Works in 1944, but development as a show cave with visitor centre and tours didn’t begin until 1967, at the behest of respected archaeologist and spelaeologist J. C. Coleman. The cave was closed in 2000 for archaeological work and redevelopment, and reopened in 2003.

History

The earliest historical reference to the cave is to be found in the Triads of Ireland, dating from the 14th to the 19th century, where “Úam Chnogba, Úam Slángae and Dearc Fearna” are listed under the heading, “the three darkest places in Ireland”.The last, meaning the “Cave of the Alders,” is generally thought to be the present Dunmore Cave, while the first two translate as the caves of Knowth and Slaney. It is not known which exact system of caves/passage tombs near the river Slaney is being referred to, with the most likely, those at Baltinglass. Other sources translate the listed locations as Rath Croghan, the cave or crypt of Slane and the “Cave of the Ferns”.

In the Annals of the Four Masters, dated to the 17th century, Dearc Fearna was recorded as the site of a great Viking massacre in 928 AD:

“Godfrey Uí Ímair, with the foreigners of Ath Cliath, demolished and plundered Dearc Fearna, where one thousand persons were killed in this year as is stated in the quatrain:

Nine hundred years without sorrow, twenty-eight, it has been proved, ‘Since Christ came to our relief, to the plundering of Dearc-Fearna.”

Gofraith, ua h-Iomhair, co n-Gallaibh Atha Cliath, do thoghail & do orgain Derce Fearna,
airm in ro marbhadh míle do dhaoinibh an bhliadhain-si, amhail as-berar isin rann,

Naoi c-céd bliadhain gan doghra,
a h-ocht fichet non-dearbha,
o do-luidh Criost dár c-cobhair
co toghail Derce Ferna.

While the human remains found in the cave are thought to be victims of the Viking massacre, this has not been reliably confirmed. Many of the remains belong to women and children, and it is hypothesised that they are the bodies of people hiding in the cave who were unable to leave when the Vikings tried to smoke them out, dying from asphyxiation.

Archaeological study

The earliest writings on the cave of an archaeological nature came from the bishop George Berkeley, whose report dated 1706 detailed a visit that he made to the cave as a boy. The essay was not published until 1871. In 1869 Arthur Wynne Foot, a physician, made an archaeological visit to the cave with Rev. James Graves and Peter Burtchaell and discovered large quantities of human remains, which they collected. In his reports, Foot meticulously documented his findings, and culled references from the writings of researchers over the preceding 120 years.

In 1999, a hoard of 43 silver and bronze items was discovered in a rocky cleft deep in the cave. Archaeologists dated this hoard, consisting of silver, ingots and conical buttons woven from fine silver, to 970 AD.

Dunmore caves
Visitors center
Count Kilkenny
Ireland
Nigel Borrington 2018


Now the Snow has gone, it’s springtime at the River. Spring On The River, Poem By Archibald Lampman


Down by the banks of river suir
County Tipperary
Nigel Borrington 2018

Spring On The River

By Archibald Lampman

O sun, shine hot on the river;
For the ice is turning an ashen hue,
And the still bright water is looking through,
And the myriad streams are greeting you
With a ballad of life to the giver,
From forest and field and sunny town,
Meeting and running and tripping down,
With laughter and song to the river.

Oh! the din on the boats by the river;
The barges are ringing while day avails,
With sound of hewing and hammering nails,
Planing and painting and swinging pails,
All day in their shrill endeavor;
For the waters brim over their wintry cup,
And the grinding ice is breaking up,
And we must away down the river.

Oh! the hum and the toil of the river;
The ridge of the rapid sprays and skips:
Loud and low by the water’s lips,
Tearing the wet pines into strips,
The saw mill is moaning ever.
The little grey sparrow skips and calls
On the rocks in the rain of the water falls,
And the logs are adrift in the river.

Oh! restlessly whirls the river;
The rivulets run and the cataract drones:
The spiders are flitting over the stones:
Summer winds float and the cedar moans;
And the eddies gleam and quiver.
O sun; shine hot, shine long and abide
In the glory and power of the summer tide
On the swift longing face of the river.


Lighthouse Poetry : “The Lighthouse Keeper” by Phil Lindsey Jun 2015

Hook head lighthouse
at dusk
County Wexford
Nigel Borrington

Phil Lindsey Jun 2015
The Lighthouse Keeper

The keeper of illumination
Aye, the keeper of the light
Safety first, his fascination
Dusk to evening through the night.

Aye, the keeper of the light,
Every season, every day
Dusk to evening, through the night
He tends the beacon, shows the way.

Every season, every day
Climbs thirteen flights of thirteen stairs
He tends the beacon, shows the way
The Fresnel lantern he prepares.

Climbs thirteen flights of thirteen stairs
Skyward, toward the landing high
The Fresnel lantern he prepares
Lighthouse beacon must not die.

Skyward, toward the landing high
Strike the match, produce the spark
Lighthouse beacon must not die.
Guides ships safely through the dark.

Strike the match, produce the spark
Safety first, his fascination
Guides ships safely through the dark
The keeper of illumination.
Phil Lindsey 6/25/15


Irish Lighthouses : Valentia Island Lighthouse, in 10 images

Valentia Island Lighthouse

Built on the site of a 17th century fort, Valentia Island Lighthouse on Cromwell Point has stood against sea and invader for hundreds of years. Now, this gleaming white lighthouse on beautiful Valentia Island looks out across some of the most spectacular sights along the Wild Atlantic Way.

There’s much to enjoy in a visit to this lighthouse. Take a tour of the lighthouse tower and balcony. Be blown away by the dramatic scenery and big weather! Soak up the stories and the science as you learn about the people and technology that have guided ships safely home from sea over the years.

Valentia Island Lighthouse offers a great day out: fascinating history, inspiring views and a unique insight into island life.

A quick history

Valentia Island Lighthouse sits on the site of the 17th century Cromwell Fleetwood Fort, which guarded against the threat of invaders right up to the 19th century. You can still see the cannons overlooking the harbour.

The lighthouse was designed by George Halpin Senior, one of the most famous civil engineers of the time. The light was first exhibited in 1841.
A lighthouse keeper lived with his family on site until 1947, when the lighthouse was automated.


The Castle Inside and out, Rathfarnham Castle – south county Dublin

Rathfarnham Castle
South county Dublin
Ireland
Nigel Borrington 2018

Rathfarnham Castle is located in south county Dublin. It was built in 1585 by Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Armagh. This is one of the finest examples of what is described as a ‘fortified manor house’ in Ireland. It’s 4 flanker towers, instead of being square are angular (angle bastions). This site is steeped in history and had previously been the site of an Iron Age fort.

The interior of the castle was redesigned in the 18th century by two of the greatest architects of the time, William Chambers and James Stewart. Chambers designed Buckingham Palace, Kew Gardens, St James’s Palace, Trinity University, and Casino Marino and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart is best known for his pioneering role in Neoclassicism in the mid 1700’s.

Rathfarnham Castle was for a long time used as a private house and ended up being a Jesuit College before it was taken under the care of the Office of Public Works. It is now open to the public.