September 27, 2011

Heywood Gardens - Ballinakill, Co. Laois

Heywood Gardens - Ballinakill Co. Laois P1020735.jpg

Completed in 1912, the area formally known as Heywood Estate just outside Ballinakill consists of gardens, lakes, woodland and architectural features. It was transferred to State ownership in November 1993 from the Salesian Fathers who had taken care of it since 1941. The formal Gardens form the centre-piece of the property and were designed by the famous architect, Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) and probably landscaped by Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932). It is one of four Gardens in this country designed by him, the others being in the War Memorial Park, Lambay Island and Howth Castle. The Gardens are composed of four elements linked by a terrace that ran along the front of the house which now no longer exists. This is a little known midlands gem and there are images of the what used to be Haywood House on the grounds, it must have been some pile! I believe it was destroyed by fire sometime in the 1950s and subsequently demolished in much the same circumstances as Rockingham House at Lough Key in my native Boyle.

Petrol Station Ballinakill P1020736
The Petrol Station at Ballinakill, Co. Laois.

Photos: Lumix LX5

Templevanny, Co. Sligo

Templevanny - Co. Sligo P1020973

If you take the R295 out of Boyle, Co. Roscommon and head for Ballymote, after about 10kms you'll come to the Halfway House pub and a right turn that takes you to the passage tombs of Carrowkeel. Take the right turn and as you drive down the road a few hundred meters, you'll see Templevanny Lake with a small cemetery behind it in the distance. A sign at the gate will tell you that this was once an early christian and medieval monastic site but there is no visible evidence of any architectural features here today. There is however an abundance of low profile rough-cut or weathered headstones that may be the relics from an earlier age, but in this I'm only guessing. Some of the earliest recognisable headstones date to the 18th century and extent right up to the present day. In the absence of a local church, this would appear to be an unusual site for a cemetery. Nestled cosily on the foothills of the Bricklieve mountains with a tranquil lake in front and the majestic neolithic tombs of Carrowkeel behind, this might well be a fairly decent spot to spend your 'eternal sleep'. I must find out a bit more about the area as there doesn't seem to be a lot about this place on-line.

Templevanny Sligo P1020975

Photos: Lumix LX5

September 24, 2011

Wish you Well

Wishing Well P1020952
Living Room P1020955

A little place by the roadside on the N61 between Tulsk and Boyle near Gortnacrannagh. I've been watching it fall into disrepair over the last two years and judging by the absence of a 'sold' label on the sign for the auction scheduled for early September, I'm guess that the decline will continue. An interesting, modest, humble Irish cottage with some rustic customised features, I'm sure it was a special place to it's recent inhabitants.

ps - calendar reads November 2009.

September 23, 2011

Cahir Castle - Co. Tipperary

Cahir Castle P1020917

Cahir Castle is an imposing structure built between the 13th & 15th century. It was designed by Conor O’Brien to be a state-of-the-art defensive castle, appearing to grow from the actual rock on which it stands, the castle has been the scene of sieges and bombardments for centuries.
The powerful Anglo-Norman family, the Butlers, came into the possession of the castle in 1375. It fell to Devereux, Earl of Essex, in 1599 after it had been battered for three days with artillery; it surrendered without a fight to Inchiquin in 1647; and again to Cromwell in 1650.
Over the centuries the Butlers considerably rebuilt and extended their stronghold. However, by 1599, the castle had reached its present appearance, with the only subsequent alterations taking place in the 1840s.
In 1961, the last Lord Cahir died and the castle reverted to the State. The castle retains its impressive keep, tower and much of its original defensive structure.

Roadside Poppies P1020920

There are still plenty of poppies to be seen along the roads of the Irish countryside. Outside Cahir, I stopped to take in the view and found these bright and colourful fellows.

Photos: Lumix LX5

'Down Around' - Tramore, Co. Waterford

Down Around - Tramore P1020864

Recent weeks have seen a lot of mileage clocked up. From Milford at the tip of Donegal to Tramore in Waterford, it's been a busy time. Unfortunately, the weather and light this September has not worked in my favour. Perhaps it's a case of 'wrong place - wrong time'? None the less, it's been an adventure and I've recorded it as best I could with my point-and -shot. When I arrived at Tramore on Wednesday, I was anxious to identify a location for a low-light shoot that evening but the weather turned nasty and motivation flagged. There were gale force winds blowing on the prom when I took this shot, I couldn't keep the lens on the camera clean due to the heavy mist coming in from the sea and it was difficult to stand steady. Salt water mist is a devil to shift from a lens, it reminds me of a sugar and water solution - very sticky!
I've been informed that the locals call the area about the prom 'down around', thus the title to this post. I would have loved to spend more time here but 10-minutes after I took this shot, the rain came ... and continued for the rest of the day. So I headed to Cork and spent a very enjoyable evening with good friends instead. Thanks E & L for a great oul evening:-)

Tramore P1020848
Tramore, Co. Waterford P1020874
Tramore P1020850

All photos; Lumix LX5

Arthur's Day ... Me Arse! Ferbane, Co. Offaly

Arthurs Day P1020948

Do people really buy in to this? Are we actually going to take to the pubs to drink a toast to Arthur Guinness on this particular day or is this just another high finance advertising campaign aimed at the vulnerable and weak-minded to give the Irish (and everyone else) an excuse to drink? ... I wish I had the time ... and the money!!

Photo: Lumix LX5. Taken 22nd September (Arthur's Day!) in Ferbane, Co. Offaly. A lovely award winning pub on the main street, worth a visit ... for soup and a roll:-)

September 19, 2011

Inniscrone, Co. Sligo

Cliff Baths Inniscrone  WM P1020800

I visited the small seaside town of Inniscrone, Co. Sligo over the weekend for the purpose of examining this spot for some location work next weekend. It was very wet and windy and I'm thinking it will be challenging in the absence of some relatively calm weather. This is a really beautiful spot. In my childhood, my parents regularly made the short 7-mile trip from Ballina with a car full of screaming kids during sunny summer Sundays. Summers were a lot warmer then ... and felt a lot longer too! Inniscrone hasn't changed that much, apart from the wholesale building of holiday homes, it still has a lot of it's old charm. The Cliff Baths was always a building that looked out of place here. I was never inside it, as a child I could never figure out why people would come to the seaside and go into a place with no windows to take a bath! This little fairytale castle was built in 1850 by the Orme family, the local landlords, and has withstood the forces of the Atlantic Ocean for over 150 years now. It's been closed for quite a while, replaced by a more modern bath house just down the road.

Cliff Baths Inniscrone  WM P1020761

Another shot from the visit HERE.

Photo: Taken with a Lumix LX5.

September 17, 2011

September 4, 2011


Turf WM

'Turf looks, for all the world, like a dried piece of mud with bits of vegetable matter sprinkled through it. In reality it is entirely vegetable matter that has been buried and compressed in the strange and harsh bog environment for thousands of years. Left to itself for another several thousand years, this stuff would be well on its way to becoming a more potent fossil fuel.
You can always tell when winter has hit Ireland by the lovely smell of turf burning. Unfortunately, it does smoke quite a bit, but it produces an aromatic smoke with a lovely character. It takes a while to catch, relying more on heat than open flame. Turf takes a while to light, but once caught it burns completely to ash and provides a long-lasting, warm fire. No wonder the ancient celts made it a habit to use this as their primary fuel.'

source: Turf

Turf WM TMP 7800
The Bogmen - a shot from a few years ago that came to mind in the context of turf.

September 2, 2011


Portfolio Thumbnails
A snapshot of some of my work during the summer months over on Flickr.

September 1, 2011

Boyle Railway Station

Boyle Railway Station WM P1020472
Train Interior WM P1020474

Boyle Station about 9.35am as the train to Sligo departs and my train to Dublin arrives. I've avoided Dublin this last couple of month's but the summer is at an end, the kids are back to school on Thursday and the leaves are started to turn and fall. Autumn is a beautiful time of year, perhaps my favourite time. My journey today was productive and enjoyable and the weather mild and bright in the city. There seems to be a lot of tourists about too, which is always good for the country.

Photos: Lumix LX5