Friday 30 September 2016

Hay Bales Turning Back To Grass

I took this photograph of these  square hay bales this morning.  They have been waiting in the field since we made hay in July.  They were made up of rushes and hay.  Then they got rained (just for a change hey?) on and a farmer friend said he would have them to use for his ducks and hens for bedding.  He must have forgot about them and now they have turned back to green grass.  Isn't nature funny?

Thursday 22 September 2016

Mystical Islands Off The Kerry Coast.

We took this photograph from inside the car near Caherdaniel in County Kerry, the other week.

I of course duly informed the car passengers that these were the: Skellig Isles.  You know the one's that they filmed some of the recent Star Wars film  locations there.  I am going to apply for the 2016 Bunty prize for getting my location/destination wrong, for a change.  

These are of course the: Scariff Isles.  They haven't been occupied since about 1911 when the last census was held there.  I get fed up about rural living and having no basic amenities like (make it short Dave!): no public transport, a pub, a shop, street lights, a village hall or even a village...  But imagine living with your family and nothing but yourself and your livestock and the fishes and the sea birds?  So you could become a poet, philosopher or a painter (wood-chip hung for five pound a roll) or even a smuggler?

Do you think country living is too isolated?

Time for a song.  

Here's the real Skellig Isles sung by second favourite Irish band: Clannad.  Well Thin Lizzy are obviously my favourite from Ireland.  Both bands I have seen four times: once for Thin Lizzy and 3 times for Clannad.  All at Manchester Apollo funnily enough.  Enjoy.

Sunday 18 September 2016

A Glimpse Of Glengarriff.

Another scene from Ireland for you to look at.  This is the Blue Pool in Glengarriff.  It's about thirteen miles from Bantry which is near where I live on the Sheepshead Peninsula in the very South of Ireland.  We visited Glengarriff the other day.  It was rather dull and overcast but I still managed to take these photographs.  

 You can board a ferry to Garnish Island from here.  It's micro-climate with a subtropical garden and even a sunken Italian garden..  There's even a Martello tower which the British built because they thought the French might invade here.  George Bernard Shaw wrote Saint Joan here.  

Glengarriff had quite a few other famous holiday makers like Wordsworth and Virginia Woolf.  Maureen O Hara had an house here.  I use to see her parking her car in Bantry town centre and walk in the Bank of Ireland.  It was strange seeing an Hollywood legend doing things like shopping or going to the bank.  Have you met anybody famous doing their: messages?  That's what the locals call the shopping!

Friday 16 September 2016

Alms Houses in Youghal

The other day I featured some social housing in Adare.  They were idyllic thatched cottages for the workers who built Adare manor.  We noticed some more social housing in Youghal last week.

Apparently the Almshouses were built in 1661 by Richard Boyle, the 1st Earl of Cork.  The Almshouses were built for six retired soldiers and their wives.  They received five pounds per annum.  They are the oldest Almshouses in the whole of Ireland.  There once lived a retired soldier there, who was 7 foot tall.  The five foot high doors must of given him a lot of fun.  Especially if been for a few sherbet dabs at the local inn.  

The houses are now in private ownership.  

We also noticed the Protestant Asylum.  This Almshouse was designed by the architect William Tinsley in 1838.  He designed quite a lot of churches and buildings in Ireland.  Work started to dry up for him during the Great Famine of 1845 and he and his wife emigrated to America.  He designed many important religious and formal buildings there.

The Protestant Asylum was built by the Protestant Relief Society to provide rooms for the homeless.  In 1992 the building was renovated to provide sheltered housing and renamed Shalom House.  

It was good to know there was social housing in those times and not just the workhouse for the poor.  Anybody can be down on their luck and homeless. It's good that the people before us cared for the poor and needy.  Much better  than the work house or "Spike".

If it was a dark and miserable morning.  My dear late mother would say:

"It"s like Christmas Day in the workhouse."

What sayings did your parents often say?

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Myrtle Grove.

We went for another ride out the other day.  This time it was to Youghal in East Cork.  Youghal is famous for being the location scenes for Moby Dick which starred Gregory Peck.  

Youghal was also the occasional home of Sir Walter Raleigh.  No he didn't invent bicycles in Nottingham.  But he did bring tobacco and potatoes back with from the 'New World'.

 Myrtle Grove is a private residence.  You can just get a glimpse of it behind the big foreboding gates.  Apparently Sir Walter Raleigh grew potatoes here in the garden.  I think we all know the story of him growing spudatoes and his servants served up the green stalks of the haulm instead of the tubers.  Oh yeah.  There was also the tale of him smoking some of his tobacco and his servant thought he was on fire and threw water over him.  

I think this was a gate house.  But after looking at Google images me thinks it's a wing part of the house.

  Apparently it's open to the world and his wife several times a year.  But it wasn't open when we visited it. 

Never mind.  It was a good run out.  If Sir Walter Raleigh had waited 400 years.  He could have got some frozen chips and meat and potato pies from Iceland down the road in Midleton.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Chocolate Box Cottages In Adare.

I took these photographs in Adare in County Limerick the other day.   They always attract the tourists on their way to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and to Shannon Airport.

Apparently the English landowner the Earl of Dunraven built them for his workers building Adare Manor.  Don't think he actually physically built them himself.  He just paid to have them built and no doubt had a say in their design.  He rented the houses out to the tenants.  A fine example of nineteenth century social housing and they are probably worth a king's ransom these days.

They look so quintessential English and I wouldn't mind living in one of them.  Would you like to live in an old rustic building like a thatched cottage?

Thursday 8 September 2016

Where A Star Of The Silent Movies Use To Go On His Holidays In Ireland.

We also went to Waterville in county Kerry on Saturday afternoon.  Charlie Chaplin and his wife spent ten years of happy holidays there in the 1960's.   The locals paid for a statue and stone to remember his visits to their town.

 Apparently it was Walt Disney who recommended that they visited the town of Waterville.

Here's a wonderful video I found on You Tube of one of England's finest actors.

Sunday 4 September 2016

A Ring Fort On The Ring Of Kerry.

We went for a run out yesterday on the ring of Kerry.  It was raining and the villages and towns eating and drinking establishments seemed to be doing a roaring trade with the cavalcades of coaches and cars stopping for refreshments.  

We decided to stop at Staigue Fort.  It's a dry stone fort from Bronze age times.  There is an 'honesty' box outside the entrance requesting visitors donate 1 Euro.

 It was probably an haven for farmer's from wolves and marauding tribes.  I found it incredibly peaceful and didn't 'pick up' on any bad karma's.  I can dowse for water and I tried dowsing with my hands and picked up on a very strong pull in the centre of the fort.  Some people claim that there are hidden tunnels connecting these forts to other ancient forts.  

I am still recovering from my foot-blisters from my 100 mile walk along part of the Dingle Way.  It was good to see places from the comfort of the car.  

So who would live in a smallholding like this?  A Lord or a Lady or just a family of smallholders?


Thursday 1 September 2016

Thinking Of Amy.

I got back from my camping and hiking adventures yesterday.  It's been a bit like my own personal Dunkirk.  I lost the battle (Dingle Way) but I haven't lost the war.  Course I have the war wounds (foot blisters, hurt pride) and frustration that Sod's law won the day.  

My fifteen your old son told me to "man up" the other week when I came home with a couple of foot blisters.  I laughed and his words often came to mind during the walk.   Any way enough of my troubles and strife's and let me share with you an experience I had last Sunday.  

There was a concert at St James Church Dingle on Sunday night.  We were staying in Dingle and it was only ten Euros to see a "dub reggae" band called "Avator".  They were a very impressive 8 piece band with an amazing saxophone player.  They never sang a single song and their tunes seem to last about 14 minutes at a time.  

It was strange though.  I was missing my wife and children and was very tired after three days walking and camping.  All I could think of was poor Amy Wine-House playing this little 85 seater church.  It's been featured in the Amy film and many documentaries.  It felt like Amy was there in spirit.  Will post some more tales and photos of my Dingle Way adventure soon.

Here's Amy at Dingle.  What a treasure so greatly missed. 

What We Had For Our Smallholding Tea.

 The polytunnel and veg plot keeps on giving and we seem to be eating new spudatoes every day at the moment: Snowball onion, kale and new po...