Saturday, 17 March 2018


I just had to breakout and celebrate and as you can see Hazel over did it ... !

The best of Irish Ale -

With this Lady backing us how could we lose...


These lads came on as Champions and left as IRISH GODS !

Members of the disappointed English team.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Escape to The Hares Corner

After four days of being snowbound we finally managed to escape from the weather enforced confinement of our bijou home. Last night, the end of the fourth day, a mammoth tractor whose size very nearly filled the width of the road cleared away the mounds of accumulated snow drifts and our car was freed.

Our first call was to our nearest store, 6km away, to top up on essential supplies like fuel for the Bentley look-a-like, turf briquettes for the stove and an essential packet of MacVitie's digestive biscuits that most cuppa's need. We turned for home when a sudden idea came to me, 
"How's about we go for lunch in The Hare's Corner ?" 
Agreement from Mrs H came very swiftly and without hesitation.

No better place for good wholesome food !

In warm weather you can sit outside on the terrace and enjoy the warmth of the day.

The great man himself, Declan Furlong,
the Owner and Chef of Hare's Corner.

Hares abound at every turn. 
I have an idea that hares might be Declan's totem animal.

I believe that this building was once an Irish grain mill belonging to Odlum's Flour, 
hence the industrial steel columns, heavy beams and stone walls. 
As a restaurant it is a comfortable and an almost homely space to dine  
whether that be for a breakfast or lunch.

We do indeed need the 'Tonic of Wildness', especially after eating one 
of Declan's meals, then a good walk in the nearby Slieve Blooms provides 
the tonic of fresh air and exercise.

Alternatively you might do as I did and have a snooze in the chair alongside
a cosy turf fire and dream of walking in the wilds !

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Change of Scene

UPDATES at bottom of page.

I am very glad to have had the sunshine penetrate my body and mind last Sunday because it has prepared both myself and Mrs H for what we are now facing.

The above photo looks at my nearest neighbours house which can just be seen above and to the right of the yellow post.

The snowy road outside of our cottage with five inches of beautiful icing.

The boreen or lane opposite our front door.

What is expected from 4 pm tomorrow. 
It is then that Storm Emma, from The Bay of Biscay, mingles with the Beast from the East 
producing blizzard conditions of heavy snow and gale force winds in excess 100 kph. 
Goodness knows what the chill force factor will be.

The people like us who live in the Province of Leinster and those who live in Munster have been told
to be in their homes by 4pm and remain there until there is a cessation of the conditions.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross said this evening that it is predicted there will be 25cm of snow tomorrow and 40cm by lunchtime on Friday, which is an “unprecedented situation”.

 Further update

BREAKING: Met √Čireann have extended the Status Red snow and ice warning to all counties from 11pm tonight until 3pm on Friday.

Monday, 26 February 2018


We had ourselves a day out to Kinvara once again on Sunday. Because of the impending snowy weather, which I am not looking forward too and if it were in my power it would not be happening anywhere near me, we escaped to make the most of the good weather while it lasted.

The day was absolutely gorgeous with wall to wall sunshine
and not too cold either, just a little over 8 deg C.

A day of hardly any sea breezes, lots of parked cars and hardly any people.

This mosaic was adhered to one of the harbour buildings and she caught my eye,
this red haired woman playing a fiddle.

A motherly swan feeding on pinkeens (small fish) in the company of seagulls.

This was just a lucky shot - catching her with her head down in range of the camera!

There was something about this sloop, it kept catching my eye,
perhaps it was the reflection on the water or its snug berth?

I found out later that the occupants of most of the cars were tucked away in a local
restaurant listening to a jazz band, I was not tempted... for such sunny 
weather in February is a rarity not to be missed.

Take care all of you and keep warm !

Monday, 5 February 2018

Ireland Is

What does Ireland mean to me ? 
To answer this question I must use an analogy, it is if I was an orphaned child seeking its Mother before I came here.

Prior to my first arrival in the Belfast area, in 1986, and then later that year after travelling down to Cork in July, there occurred what I can only describe as a mystical experience. She, who I call Mother Ireland, stepped silently into my inner core, where she still resides and continues to nurture my very essence for which I am very grateful.

I can tell you that there have been a few times since living here when I have been very ashamed of my birth country England because of its inhumane actions and deeds towards Ireland and the Irish people.

Such have been my experiences that I no longer have any desire to visit England and nor do I have any pride of place towards it. 
For Ireland is my home. I do acknowledge that England is the country of my birth and I was educated there from childhood to be discerning.

So today this migrant looks back at England and the changes that have taken place over the years. That I see a nation skewered by authoritarianism and indignation that knows not how to care for all of its citizens. There appears to be no love or tolerance. These gifts seem to be so rare and generally misunderstood, instead there is a dichotomy of fear and punishment pervading the land of my birth. Perhaps it has always been present and I failed to recognise the fact?

If you are a migrant do you feel truly at home in the country of your choice ?

Monday, 15 January 2018

Gremlin On My Shoulder


An unseen gremlin at work

There is a glitch, an anomaly, occurring on-line when I try to leave a comment on some peoples’ blogs. 

This is something which is most annoying and beyond my capabilities to fix. No matter which way I send in the comment, even though my words appear on the blog, they disappear as soon as I log out !

Now, for some reason this problem is not affecting all of the blogs that I correspond with on a regular basis, only some of them.
And I am not alone in this for several of my friends have the same problem when trying to leave a comment on my blog.

Personally it is like having a gremlin on my shoulder who is making decisions for me without making any consultation!

I have tried to contact Google about this problem but all to no avail and my guess is that they are far to busy to make a reply.

So if you my blogging friends have not seen a comment from me in a while it is not that I am ignoring you, it is that my comment has been stopped by the Google Gremlin :)

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

75th Birthday

The Ninth of the First is my birthdate and this year it was my seventy-fifth birthday. The celebrations started early on Sunday 7th with a long awaited visit from a friend of longstanding. We met each other in Newtownards in Co. Down in the 80's and little did we know then of how are lives would intertwine over the coming years, or the respect that we have for each from our own perspectives.

Photo taken at 07.10 on 9/1/2018
I thought it only right to circulate this to the majority of my friends and relations
just to let them know that I am a Happy Man !

After breakfasting on a banana each, Mrs H and I set off for points west to Gort in Co. Galway. There we visited our friends who live in a small townsland in a very alternative home. So alternative that they sit next to an unlit fireplace and feel the warmth... !

as do the two small dogs.

Our next port of call was to Kinvara, where we dined on a light lunch in the Gentian Cafe, situated very close to the harbour and which serves great food at reasonable prices.

Then our eyes fell upon a small Gallery and Gift Shop and so being of good cheer and inquisitiveness
we entered. We had fun looking around, admiring the numerous products made by the local crafts people.

We are a Happy Pair

One of my main reasons in visiting Kinvara was to have a paddle in the sea. 
Strangely however, I only ever remember that when I arrive back home. Ah well... may be next time I will remember to do so.

So here I am stood at the harbour side welcoming you all
to one of my favourite haunts

A unique Kinvara Fairy !

On our journey home I received a missed call from an unknown number, which I called back, wondering who it was. "This is Yvonne the florist are you Mel ? " asked a voice.
I said "Yes, but we are on the road, in the middle of a torrential rain storm so won't be home until
a few minutes after five pm."

On our arrival there was the delivery vehicle parked outside and as I stepped towards it out popped this very cheery lady who said "Happy Birthday Mel, I have flowers for you." And then she was gone into the dark rainy night.

Flowers from my friends in Co. Wexford,
the perfect end to a perfect birthday.

Thursday, 4 January 2018


We all have dishes that we are fond of and sometimes only rarely manage to consume.
Mine is to simply have something, which when I was a lad, was commonplace on our family menu.

Home made fruit scones
with a topping of strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream. 

One of the many culinary skills of Mrs H is the ability to quickly make light and tasty fruit scones.
We were fortunate in that a friend of ours was visiting Ulster and knowing my desire for clotted cream, happened to be in Sainsbury's when they saw and purchased a couple of pots of RODDA'S
Cornish Clotted Cream just for me !

Unfortunately, it is not available in this part of Ireland which is I think a great shame.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Our First Adventure of the New Year

The day was bright, the sun low in the sky and the road surface was wet, making driving conditions difficult for our first adventure of the year. Despite passing over my peak cap to give some extra shade, Mrs H was dazzled but keen to be on our way!

We journeyed at a safe speed, allowing for sunlight conditions, passing the looming remains of O’Moore’s Castle on the Rock of Dunamaise.

The Rock of Dunamaise, a site of many battles, was an important fortification throughout Ireland's history. It was plundered by the Vikings in the 9th century, became a Norman stronghold in the 13th, was rebuilt by the O'Moore's in the 15th and was finally destroyed by Cromwell's guns from the east in the 17th century.

We stopped in Carlow for some freshly made sandwiches and coffee as break-fast had only been a single banana each, insufficient to travel on for long. 
Our destination was to visit to Clonegal, an attractive village that sits on the boundary of Counties Carlow and Wexford. Our last visit was in 2013, so it was good to see the changes that had taken place since then.

Where I was disappointed by not having my thirst pint of the year!

I had hopes of having a glass of stout in Osborne’s but unfortunately it was closed, probably for them to rest up after the previous nights New Year’s Eve celebrations.  My thirst was quenched by Adam’s Ale (water) instead.

The smallest building in Clonegal known as The Weigh House

 The 1916 Memorial

The Derry River which always attracts me and so good to see the new railings.

Looking up  The Derry river and the garden with the protective stone bank.

Number one is one of the three stone pigs that sit next 
the Weigh House.

Number two is the sleepy pig who ate too much perhaps over Christmas ?
And number three 
is missing because he got away !

We shall return in May when the blossom is out to visit the gardens of Huntington Castle, a place where I spent many a happy hour in the company of Olivia Durdin Robertson and her associates in the Fellowship of Isis.

This shop is in the small town of Stradbally in Co. Laoise,
we often pass it on our journeys. It is the large ice cream cone that attracts me.
This time we stopped because Mrs H wanted a mineral drink and I an ice cream,
The message that she returned with made me laugh.
For she said that the man in the shop said that there was no ice cream to be had and
that there was only a cone on the roof because he was unable to take it down...
So I had a pipe of baccy instead.

Finally, I wish you all a very happy New Year and the courage to face up to the many changes that may come your way.