Wednesday, 30 May 2018

A Place of Interest

On our travels we often find interesting places, like the one below which is almost hidden from sight by shrubbery. It is the ruins of a gate lodge belonging to a once large coastal demesne of Finavarra House in Co Clare, built in the 1800's.

I expect if it had a voice there would have been some interesting stories it could relate.
Perhaps the gate keeper would utter tales about his employers coming and going at all hours of the day and night and talk of their visitors, those who would tip him well or those who would speak kindly to him and those who would not.

There is enough of the lodge remaining that it would be an interesting project
to renovate and carefully modernise the old building.

The gate has gone now and has been replaced with a modern tubular field gate
so that only the stout stone pillars remain.

All of the windows and the doorway have cut stone features.

Through the front window you can glimpse the interior. 
I can only imagine that it was once a cosy home with a roaring fire here on the hearth.

A superb view of the coastal waters would have been seen from the lodge.

Wouldn't you love to see this view as you woke each morning ?

Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Faerie Tailor of Co. Clare

If I have a fad for a particular piece of clothing it has to be that of a waistcoat. 
This all started at the age of fourteen when I became the owner of an ex-army sleeveless, leather drivers' jacket with a khaki lining; it became my pride and joy when going on long hikes across Dartmoor as it kept me warm and left my arms unrestricted to do those things that are necessary when camping alone.

Over the years I have had several waistcoats and still have quite a few in my possession.
As a consequence of this fad my eyes are always on the lookout for a new one.

We recently visited a treasure trove of books, cards, clothes and jewellery in Kinvara Co. Galway.
Ostensibly we dropped in to get Mrs H a copy of Jack Roberts' new book 'Island of the Sheela-Na-Gigs' (ISBN 978-908378-40-8) but you can imagine how delighted I was when my eyes fell on a rail of waistcoats! One in particular caught my eye and to be honest I did not know why at the time.

In our wild garden

The wonderfully comfortable waistcoat

The rear view showing its sensible length

The embroidered emblem.

After a day of wearing the waistcoat I suddenly recalled that the design
on the back reminded me of my first mantra when I first started in the practice
of transcendental meditation of over forty-five years ago!

Detail of buttons

Regina Tierney  the Faerie Tailor of County Clare who is the designer of my waistcoat.
She also creates clothes and beautiful jewellery. 

Please visit her website here -

Wednesday, 16 May 2018


Since buying my new camera I have found myself becoming rather attached to it. 
There are times when it is not with me that I scold myself especially when I see a particular scene that, to my mind, would make an interesting photo.

So here are just a few of those photographs, things that have recently caught my eye.

The Ship on a Stick.

This can be found on the outskirts of Portumna, Co. Galway quite close to the River Shannon
upon which I doubt very much it will ever cruise again.

A conglomeration of coastal properties that sit under the Burren uplands and on the banks of 
Galway Bay. The smallest of them always attracts my eye.

The Keep

A very well preserved circular building made of local stone. 
I often wonder whether it was once a lot higher, though I guess that we shall never know.

Kiosk Lady

She must have plenty to natter about for she is always there, 
chatting away at all times of the day and night.

Rainbows on the wall

I captured these lads early one morning floating about and looking rather attractive, 
my one complaint is that the pots of gold are nowhere to be found.

Fresh leaves in Sunlight

The scene caught my eye this morning while visiting Mrs H in her studio, 
so I dashed indoors for my camera.

The Dog in the Doorway

How could I not resist capturing the magnificent Toby
guarding the entrance and enjoying the scent of spring.

It is a rambling garden that we have, with worn down paths that flow easily amongst 
whispering wild flowers where bees and other small creatures live in harmony.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Coffee in the Old School House.

This building was once Ballinahown’s National School and was built by John Ennis of Ballinahown Court in 1863. During 1924 the interior was redesigned by Canon Denis Reynolds making all of the classrooms co-ed as opposed to the segregated classes of the previous years’. This arrangement continued until the closure of the school in 1982 when a new school was built.
The Old School building was leased for a time as a private residence before being sold by the Parish and converted into business premises. 

An tSean Scoil
The Old School House

On the ground floor is Westmeath Craft Design selling a range of handcrafted products from jewellery to bog oak carvings.
The upper floor houses ‘Woodfield at Balllinahown Tea Rooms’. 
This is a new venture opened by our friend who owns the wonderful Woodfield Cafe in Birr which, as you know from my previous posts, has an excellent menu. At Balllinahown the food is great too and as always the staff are friendly, efficient and brew a wonderful cup of coffee!

Quite literally up the wooden hill.

The Café

The rear view of Ciara at work.

 Plates of mouth watering goodies 

I wondered what that old bald fellow was doing and then I realised

that he is checking his phone and so I was...

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Wandering Camera

I often wander about with my camera, taking odd photos of anything that catches my eye.
Today though I was required to show off the latest pendent. 

The pendent made from the tine of a Red Deer.

I chose an old 5p coin to sit as a cap on the top.

Afterwards I ambled into the back garden to discover three splendid white ladies and a dog.

The three ladies

I opened my eyes, and in surprise
Looked in wonderment
At all that the She-God has made.

So beautiful! 
Below the skies!

©MRL 6th April 1985

Our one and only Toby asleep in the sunshine at the door of Mrs H's studio.

He awakes on hearing my chuckle and out pops his tongue !

The noble Toby follows me in to the studio and settles down by the easel for more rest, 
for he is now and old man of 90 in dog years and enjoys his sleep.

So do you have any old pets ?

Monday, 23 April 2018

Hidden Creatures in Natural Forms

Sorry for not having posted up a blog for such a length of time, but I have been busy using my grey matter on the project below - well that's the excuse for my absence !

We were given some antlers a few weeks ago by a good friend and decided to do something with them, other than just hang them on a wall or above a doorway, as we had done previously.

So together we sat and studied their form, turning them this way and that, until our eyes and mind connected and we saw the hidden shapes.

This one Mrs H saw as a deer feeding or perhaps it is the fin of a whale?

This piece will be used as a pendant eventually.

Here is a branch of coral, a seal, a sea bird.

This tine became a necklace strung with moss agate, Connemara marble and aventurine.

Just one question. 

Do you see the shapes of other creatures hidden within natures' natural forms?

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Just Swanning Around

A short drive from home across a neighbouring county fetched us up into Co. Westmeath
and in particular to Lough Ennell

Where we were greeted by a whiteness of swans who were busily preening themselves.

The way in which this pair were acting towards each other strongly suggested that 
there would be some hanky-panky between them later !

Much the same with this pair too !

Later that night I just happened to be outside when I saw a red moon rising.
In the short time it took to reach my camera the redness had faded to a rich gold.

Then became banana coloured

and just before it disappeared behind some cloud the red began to return,

by which time I had become quite chilled so I returned to the fire that blazed in the stove.

Monday, 26 March 2018

A Dry Journey To Water

On a short journey when going nowhere in particular we turn a corner and meet with a traffic jam
consisting of a nosey dog, a tractor driver and a postman exchanging news and we after sharing laughter, we receive a letter.

A rural traffic jam

The gable end of the Augustinian Priory in Lorrha, Co. Tipperary

We have a tranquil place to park on the banks of the River Shannon that tourists rarely find
and we never share.

I am always fascinated by the rapidly changing light of how its reflection sparkles 
on the surface of the water and the cloud formations too, all of which keep my camera busy.

So do you always carry a camera ?

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.