RIVER LEE FLOWING THROUGH CORK

I was very lucky today because I seldom go to Cork city these days, it so happened that for the past few days I was there, unfortunately most of that time was spent with Ian in hospital, but while on the way back from parking the car in the multi-story carpark I took these snaps today. Most importantly Ian was seen to and is doing fine, and we are home again tonight. But as you can see for yourselves Cork, which is the largest city in County Cork, and to us the nearest city, an eighty minutes drive on a good day (without roadwork stops), it is above all a beautiful and charming city. Population is only about 417,211 souls. Cork was originally a Viking trade settlement around the year 915 and is now a thriving and very popular place to shop and visit.
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The river flowing through Cork, the river Lee, flows from a lake in Gougane Barra in the Shehy mountains on the Western border of county Cork, it winds its way down other lakes and eventually reaches Cork city where it splits into two, creating an island on which the centre of the city is built.

A lot more could be told about this lovely river but I will carry on and show you today’s photos of the views I enjoyed so much and which I hope you will enjoy too.
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Another iron bridge, this time it is just a narrow foot bridge, very much in use!

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Here are some interesting and beautiful gables along the streets near the Lee river, I could not resist taking some photos of these too. Just love that gate!

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NATURE TRAIL – BALLYDEHOB

Ballydehob is a small and very charming village on the coast of West Cork, and along the Wild Atlantic route. It was once a thriving mining town, now-a-days it is still overlooked by Mount Gabriel which is where copper was mined back then. Its beauty is superb, and last Saturday we decided to go on the Nature Trail which leads around and over the old railway bridge which leads over one of Ballydehob’s two rivers, the Bawnakeane and Rathravane, but I am not sure which of the two it is! We took along one of my granddaughters, she is a real nature child and took delight in drawing pictures of some of the scenery in her note-book. Ian was well able for this walk and enjoyed it too. I took note of all the new growth along the way, there were several flowers open, Lesser Celandine, Daisies, and Herb Robert were among them. I also noticed young leaves of the March Violet, a wild Geranium, and quite a few very pretty ferns.  The walk along the trail is easy for anyone and the views are magnificent.  We finished our walk in the village with coffee and delicious cake at a delightful eatery called Budd’s.
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THE RAILWAY BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER ILEN

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This now unused railway bridge runs over the river Ilen in the small town of Skibbereen, West Cork, in Ireland.  This market town used to have a rail connection between it and the large city to the East, Cork.  The railway extended also to Ballydehob and Schull, and to Baltimore.  I have heard it said that in days gone by sugar beet was cultivated around Baltimore, a seaside place close to Skibbereen, and that daily the sugar beet would be transported by train all the way to the factory in Mallow, a town which lies much further inland.

Sadly the railway is no more, neither is the sugar beet production.  The old bridge stands to this day and is part of the West Cork Hotel.  I happened to pass there today and immediately saw that the reflection of the bridge was perfect on the water, so took some photos with my phone and played around a bit with editing.  I wanted the bridge in black and white, but I found that in colour – especially boosted a bit, the result was fine too.

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Skibbereen is a small town in the South-West of Ireland, I plan to explore it more in future and also to learn more about its history.  It has many interesting corners, and lately I am discovering new walks.   Time to start a little exploration!

TEXTURE, COLOUR AND BEAUTY

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Yesterday found us in one of the most beautiful places in West Cork, a small fishing village along the coast.  It was a quiet and a sunny day, a day like you might get in September or October, when the sun is golden, bringing out the colours everywhere and in everything.  The air was crisp, and all along the hedgerows lashes of bright red fuchsia were still proudly in bloom, lifting the landscape and infusing in us a feeling of vibrancy and beauty.

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We stopped for a bite to eat, seafood chowder and smoked salmon on homemade brown bread, it was delicious.

We walked to the pier to watch the fishermen mend their nets, bright colours were everywhere, whether the nets were new or old, or whatever other materials are used by the fishermen, there is a wealth of texture and colour to be seen.

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Fisher boats moored along the pier

Everywhere I looked I saw art and beauty, was it me or was it the reality of things?

Fishermen working on their nets, nice to watch, dedicated work.

Ian having a great walk down memory lane, and nets everywhere!

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This is, or was the Post Office in this little village, the village of Unionhall.

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We were celebrating my 69th birthday and it was a wonderful way to do so.

Thank you Ian for helping to make this day so very special.

BALMY SUMMER DAYS

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You have got to love these balmy summer days, when the wild roses are flowering along the hedgerows, and the dark yellow of the ragwort is blending in with the straw-coloured grasses now dried out from sun and water need.  And the bright red of the fuchsia bells against the dark green foliage of the hedges all along the country roads.  And the evenings when the scents fill the air, scents of night flowers, of grasses and trees, of the soil, delicious are the fragrances of the land as the earth cools down as the sun slowly disappears.  How lovely these long and light summer evenings, stretches of brightness seen along the horizon as late as midnight – to reappear as early as four in the morning when the sky lights up again.  I used to set my alarm to witness this magical moment to see the new morning appear, glad for another chance at life and anticipating a wonderful day.  These are the restoring days of the year, the sun brimming with health giving vitamin D3 (well at least our bodies can avail of the sun to make it).  It has been since 1976 that Ireland had a summer like this, with higher temperatures than we get here normally.  And as the heat continues there is said to be a water shortage and resulting ban on using the water hose in the garden, so I’m keeping all my grey water and what is left in the rain water barrel for my vegetables.  The dry earth soaks up the water eagerly.

At this moment I am very much out of routine, seems to be like this for a while now, my regular blog reading and writing has diminished.  I miss it, but too much is happening and I’m getting little done.  It is just that type of a summer I think – a summer of laziness, but also a summer of beauty and of enjoyment, of scents and sights.

I do hope that it is full of goodness for everyone of you too.

 

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IRISH WINTER COLOURS

This blog goes back to December 2014, but I would like to reblog it, as I am not in Ireland at the moment – yet I like to think back of its beauty even in winter time, and reflect on it.

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During the winter months here in West Cork the colours of the landscape change dramatically, at least I think they do. I took my photos on the Beara peninsula, near the Caha mountain range. In summer these mountains, they are not very high, look fabulously green, but come winter they turn all shades of brown, ranging from sienna, to rusts, to sepia, and even burnt umber. It’s the grasses and the bracken that deck the landscape in such an array of colours. It never seizes to impress me, around every corner on the road there is another palette, it’s fascinating.

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INISH BEG GARDENS SKIBBEREEN

On the road between Skibbereen and Baltimore, West Cork, there is a most beautiful garden, it is the Inish Beg Estate and recently Ian and I visited it together with my daughter and my five grandchildren, it was a lovely afternoon and being the month of May so many flowers were in bloom, the gardens were looking so very beautiful, the many trees with fresh green foliage, the Rhododendrons, all varieties, were flowering. From a herb and kitchen walled garden, to a fairy house among the trees, everything is thought of.  The children enjoyed it very much too, running along the paths and discovering all sorts of things including sticks which they then ended up comparing with Ian’s walking stick.  And of course they loved the fairy houses.  These gardens comprise 97 acres of woodland, organic pasture and farmland, formal gardens including a the before mentioned walled  garden.  There is an orchard, a bamboo grove and a sunken garden.  And something I did not know about but is mentioned in the brochure of the ‘West Cork Garden Trail’ is that there are 4km of carriage drives.  There is a lot more to this garden and it would be worthwhile to look it up on-line if you are coming to visit West Cork I think.  We just enjoy it as it is so close to where we live.  The birds were singing their hearts out, everything was so very peaceful and beautiful.  We were lucky with the weather, I think that this is Ireland at its best.

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FANLIGHTS IN CORK CITY

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A fanlight is a feature of Georgian architecture, it is found of course in England, but it is also found in Ireland, and I think it is a beautiful feature.  It is a semicircle window above a main door, it is called a fanlight because several panes radiate like a fan outwards.  While it is a useful addition to any hall, it is also very decorative and in Ireland efforts are made to preserve these features in the many Georgian style houses.

While I was in Cork city the other day, I took some photos with my mobile phone.  I think these features are so nice and interesting.  I had to go and look up information on them and did not even know that they were called fanlights, I only knew that you see these features a lot in Irish cities.  Fanlights originated in England during George I (1714), and fettered by the year 1901. But in Ireland, the use of these fanlights lasted longer. Especially in the eighteen hundreds though they were a frequent architectural feature to be seen in Dublin, also in Cork and other cities.

During the nineteen seventies a poster was produced featuring some of the beautiful fanlights in Dublin, it is very popular to this day.  There are still many Georgian houses found in Dublin, also quite a few in Cork, fanlights only being one of it’s Georgian features of course.  Many of these houses are now neglected and some are almost derelict, efforts are being made to restore them, many, however have been demolished in the past.  But equally many have been restored and there still remain quite a variety of fanlights and they are very appealing to the eye.  It is also good to know some of the history behind it.  The fact that they started out as a useful feature, then became a decorative feature and remain like that today.  What I see today in modern doors is that the idea of a fanlight is actually build into the door and in this way throws light into the hall, that is, of course, not half as beautiful (just my thought).

I took my photos along the Dyke Parade in Cork city.  At some future date I would love to explore the city much more and make many more photos.

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A BLESSED SUNDAY IN RURAL IRELAND

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Harry Clarke is well known for his use of the most beautiful colours, deep blues especially delight the eye.  This is one of the stained glass windows in St.Barrahane’s Church in Castletownshend, Ireland, there are three windows designed by Harry Clarke in this little church. We spent some time here last Sunday as my latest grandchild was being christened.   Because of the week that was in it there was not much work done in the garden, apart from the hedge cutting.  I went on an outing with my daughter and grandchildren one of the days, we did some shopping but also walked along the estuary and bird sanctuary at Timoleague and saw the ruins of an old abbey there (http://www.timoleague.ie/abbey/default.html).  And on Friday we had a crafts day with the two oldest girls, we made a treasure box from scrap items which they thought was great fun!  Then on Sunday there was yet another outing to the christening, and a stroll along the country road where the starlings were making a racket but otherwise all was very peaceful.

Meanwhile it is the second of November and still the weather is mild and a golden sun burnt away the grey skies this morning.  So far we have been really blessed with the weather here which we gratefully accept after a rather cool and sunless summer.
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Sts Louis IX and Martin of Tours – stained glass window by Harry Clarke.
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Sunday stroll around the old pub where we had lunch, an old farm door took my interest.
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Magically recreated soap powder boxes.  And deep pink hydrangeas along the Irish country roads.
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Starlings gathering in the trees, and autumn leaves all along the hedgerows.