Tuesday, 23 August 2016


A quare blog post to make you smile!

THE BOG MAN of PULLAGH, Co. OFFALY  carved out of Bog Oak.

Looking at the map and also at the road signs it would be easy to believe that there are two places with similar names next to each other, for just over Plunkett Bridge which strides the Grand Canal is POLLAGH and the reasoning for this is something for which I know absolutely nothing about. Last night I read a survey compiled by Offaly County Council hoping to find an answer - unfortunately they described it all as being PULLAGH !

The carpark at Ballinahown, Co. Westmeath.
with a Bog Oak structure which was once a fountain.

The reflection looks better with a root stock emerging from
a stony pond and somehow more meaningful ?

These miniature iconic models or perhaps garden decorations
caught my eye.

I think that this fellow is supposed to be a

Thursday, 18 August 2016


The title says it all, for the Slieve Blooms are beautiful, especially when the heather is out. This year it carpets the land with a purple blanket that burns the eyes. We are very fortunate to be living where we do close to Sliabh Bladhma [Irish name]. 
This photo was taken from The Ridge of Capard looking towards the east and on the skyline several ancient sites sit in equal splendour. Different to us in that they are on the tourist route; I am never quite sure whether it would be good to have the same number of visitors as they do or not, it would bring about changes and they are not always beneficial.

The quiet and almost secret mountains.

Part of the Ridge of Capard is an area of scientific interest, to allow access board walks have been laid to prevent damage.

Here I captured two female photographers unaware of my actions.

A proud Grandpa with his Grandson.

A significant full moon marked the end of our family
holiday together and the eve of my daughters' birthday.
We celebrated with Prosecco, gifts and talk that went on past midnight.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Rescue at Brownshill Dolmen

The 5,000 year old Brownshill Portal Tomb, 
Kernanstown, Co.Carlow 

Poor Granny has a 150 tonne capstone on her head!

Grandpa assists Ollie to lift what is reputed to 
be Europe's largest capstone off Granny's head.

After the lift the Druid's Apprentice checks the energy,
to make sure all is as it should be.

The next stage is to do a rhythmic step dance
to seal the energy force.

On his final inspection of the portal tomb Ollie
discovers a Wooly Caterpillar.

The rescuers and the rescued are refreshed with ice creams
at the Chocolate Garden in Rathwood, Co. Wicklow.

Ollie takes Granny on an assault course to improve
her dexterity.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

An Intrepid Explorer

A visitor all of four feet and two inches high has arrived with his parents to explore the wonders of this island. Yesterday he made a visit to an inland beach far from the coast!

The intricacies of the river being explained to him.

There is no better experience than solitary exploration.

It takes courage to stand on the edge and look down
into the depths of the river.

Leading the nervous along a new route!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Confluence Tree

To the rear of the dry docks at Shannon Harbour stands part of a bog oak tree on which has been inscribed with the names of three waters that join together at the western end of the harbour, hence the name of this blog.

The Confluence Tree

The three waters are :-
The River Shannon
The River Brosna
The Grand Canal

Monday, 1 August 2016

Guinness goes West

On leaving Shannonbridge we retraced our route for home and made a detour to the attractive Shannon Harbour. A place that holds fond memories for me of my early time in Ireland, for here I would visit and take a relaxing stroll along it’s banks to look at what floats in its waters. I loved and still love the sense of an ambiguous freedom that glides above the surface to permeate the very air that we breathe.

Looking West

Shannon Harbour built in 1803 is the terminus for Grand Canal which starts in Dublin and connects to the River Shannon via a lock at the western end. The GC whose waters were once used for making Guinness, also provided a means of transporting the great beverage to all hostelries en route to and including the City of Limerick. On their return journey they would bring back various cargoes such as turf (peat), potatoes and other goods. 

All types of craft moor here including a few
English narrow boats.

I have to admit to being intrigued by the name of this boat
SLY FOX which I think might have been named by a woman.

This beautiful yacht bears the name of famous Irish woman Granuaile also known as known as The Pirate Queen Gráinne Ní Mháille  or Grace O’Malley in English (c 1530- 1603)

The narrow boat SNOWBALL in the dry dock being prepared for bottom blacking.

I could not quite work out as to what the thumb-stick was for because he
seemed to be quite able to walk.

The Irish canal barges were 80 feet long by 17 feet-1 inch wide and made of iron and later of steel. Today the remaining barges have been converted into houseboats.

The first or the last road bridge over the Grand Canal, depending on which end you count from !

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bridge over Calm Waters.

Did I ever tell you that I was afloat before I could walk ?  As a consequence I have always had an affinity with water.

Our latest trip was to Shannonbridge, where the great river flows and separates Co.Offaly from Co. Roscommon. Prior to 1757 you would have had to be ferried across this great, wet divide. Today this sixteen arch bridge is part of the R357 that connects Ballinasloe in Co. Galway in the west with the eastern part of the country.

The Shannonbridge artillery fort showing the main redoubt with the ramp in front of it, the R357  enters the fort just in front of the fortified Barrack Block. The defences were designed to delay a military force approaching from the west from crossing the River Shannon to the eastern side. They take the form of an elongated triangle with blunted western end, consisting of a sub-rectangular redoubt in front of a wedge-shaped enclosure and connected to it with a pair of diverging stone walls. The redoubt was completed in 1810, the barrack Block in 1814 and the rest of the defences in 1817. 

Today the old fort is the well known Parkers Restaurant where you can sit and dine and watch the boats go by.

Of the sixteen arches of the bridge it is at this span at the eastern end which is used for navigation, for all the others are impeded by hidden rocks. Originally this span was fitted with a pair of iron swing beams.

The Old Crane with Bridge Master's House
in the background.

I greatly admired these lamp standards with
their ornate tops.

The preserved swing bridge
or The Oldest Pair of Swingers'
for miles around!

The Floral Arch

I have long admired the design of this type of
craft, which think may possibly be pre WW2

Moored at the dock are examples of the various
motor cruisers that abound on the river Shannon

Sunday, 24 July 2016


Fore warned is fore armed is an old proverb and so today you are warned to read the small print on food labels.

European Commission -
Daily News 22 / 07 / 2016

EU Commission authorised three genetically modified soybeans for food/feed uses.

The Commission authorised three GMOs for food/feed uses (soybean MON 87708 x MON 89788, soybean MON 87705 x MON 89788 and soybean FG 72), all of which have gone through a comprehensive authorisation procedure, including a favourable scientific assessment by EFSA. The authorisation decisions do not cover cultivation. The GMOs approved today had received "no opinion" votes from the Member States in both the Standing and Appeal Committees and the Commission adopted the pending decisions. The authorisations are valid for 10 years, and any products produced from these GMOs will be subject to the EU's strict labelling and traceability rules. For more information see here. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: + 32 229 56185; Iris Petsa - Tel.: +32 229 93321)
also read these two links


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

On The Road Again.

The other day we wended our way across the landscape, seeking out places to explore and photograph.
I felt duty bound to amend for the statue of last week. So our first stop was on the banks of Lough Owel in Co. Westmeath, a Lughnasadh site where horses were ritually bathed in it’s waters. 
Today it is the home of a beautiful statue, created by Linda Brunker, that stands proudly over looking the lake.

The Children of Lír

The rich aroma of freshly made coffee wafted across the car park and as I turned I saw a three wheeled vehicle, complete with full sized coffee machine in the back. Two double shot expressos were ordered and quickly served by the camera shy operator. 

Revitalised we headed to our next stop which, according to Mrs H’s research, would provide us with some rich material. I misdirected her on to a very narrow country road, which was not without interest, for there were two donkeys on the lawn of an empty house.

We finally arrived at Abbeylara where Mrs H found a holy well and visited the ruin of the Cistercian Abbey and I spotted a jolly gardener in the school grounds.

The Jolly Gardener.

Cistercian Abbey.

Onwards then to Ardnacliffe, Co. Longford and to Lough Gowna, 
‘the lake of the calf’. The name comes from a legend about a supernatural calf which escaped from a well and raced northward with a stream of water following it. The flooded area became the lake and the mysterious calf is said to still live beneath the waters.

Not a calf but a horse visiting the waters at Lough Gowna.

We parked on the banks of very attractive small lake- Lough Leebeen known as 'the lake of the small fish' possibly the Stickleback. It sits quite literally on the outskirts of the village. 

The tranquil Lough Leebeen.

Turning for home our next stop was at Ardagh to see the beautiful statue of Midír and Etain by the artist Éamonn O'Doherty. 
For an account of their story see the Lady Gregory version here:

Midír and Etain