Sunday, 27 May 2012

Jane's Exhibition

It is with great pleasure that am able to share the following:

About the artist: Jane Brideson was born Jane McGill in Ghana, West Africa and 
adopted her Manx grandmother's name of Brideson 
(Mylevreeshy / Mac Ghiolla Brigide) when she began painting in the 1980's.
After growing up in Liverpool and on the Isle of Man, she moved to live in Ireland between the Slieve Bloom mountains and the River Barrow where she shares a cottage with her husband, Mel, their dog and several cats. 

Jane has an honours degree in graphic design and a diploma in client-centred art therapy. 
Whilst in London she worked as a freelance designer / illustrator for the Observer newspaper and Hodder & Stoughton Publishers. 
In 1997 she collaborated with Teresa Moorey to produce their book 
"The Wheel of the Year : myth & magic through the seasons". 

She loves Ireland and the Irish mythology, the power of images, books and music to transport us to other worlds and the occasional pint of Guinness.

In 2006 she was inspired by a dream to begin painting 
"The Ever-Living Ones" and along the way found help, support and knowledge.

Without the following people this exhibition would not have been possible:
Mel Llwyd, Fred Mathews, Michael Collins, Seán Gilmartin, Fiona Young,
 Áine-Máire Ní Mhurchú, Siobhán ní Ghabhann, Shirley Swan, 
Marie O'Dwyer, Seámus Ó Ceallaháin, Antoine O'Lochlainn, Carole Larkin, 
Trish Keating, Gearóid Ó Crualaoich, Eoghain Mac Connell, Flor Burke, Seánie Larkin, Carmel ní Dhuibheanaigh, Bill & Peggy Sinnott, 
James Crowley, Jenny Butler, Anthony Murphy, Colm Mac Con Iomaire, 
Fr. Seámus O'Duinn, the late Dáithí Ó hÓgain, Noel Reynolds, 
Suzanne Power, Æ, the contributors to "On Crow Road", Claire Tuffy at 
Brú na Bóinne, Joan & Des at Midland Framing, Mochua Print & Design, 
Joe & staff at  O'Sullivan Photography, The National Museum Dublin and 
the staff at Tullamore Library.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Shop Fronts - Birr

The character of any town is in it's architecture, colours of buildings and the variety of business premises. I am unable to show them all, so I have made a selection in the hope that it will give you a flavour of the town.

Emmet Square sits at the start of the town

There is always one who tempts the wrath
of a traffic warden.

The Horse & Dog Outfitters being next door a victualler always brings a smile to my face, for my imagination always conjures up a picture of a portly well fed & groomed dog strolling down the street in top hat and tailed coat smoking a cigar. 


Bia Licious is a wonderful eating house who serve freshly baked food on the premises,it is tucked away in a quiet courtyard with chairs and tables outside plus a eye-catching vintage Austin Seven. It was in this cafe that my wife spotted the waitress as being an ideal model for her painting of the Goddess Anu, which is now three quarters finished.

The Organic Store is a great attraction and always receives a weekly visit from us.


Brambles is owned and managed by Ms Delahunt who has keen sense of wit and a fascinating surname; Besides serving delicious food and the best coffee in Ireland!

Delahunt: the first two syllables might suggest a French origin however Delahunt is an anglicised version of the pre-tenth century gaelic name O'Dulchaointeach, a name composed of the elements 'Dul' meaning satirist and 'Caointeach' meaning keening song
The satirists were part of the ancient druidic caste and to be specific they were part of the Filidh/Fili who had many grades of members, from the highly educated poets, musicians and satirists to the lowly uneducated baird /bards. Satire in ancient times was capable of reversing the fortunes of a Chieftain's status and therefore it paid to keep the Druids and Filidh well fed when they came to visit. 

The sparkly interior of Brambles

Imelda is a ladies hairdressers with an eye catching and unusual window decorations, in the form of handwritten messages and drawings that change to celebrate every season. The street that it is in seems to have a proliferation of mens barbers and women's hairdressers. 

A close up of Imelda's messages

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A Faceted Jewel

We now do our weekly shopping in a different town, a place that we had often passed through on our way to the counties of Clare and Galway. Early in January on the recommendation of a friend we visited Birr in Co. Offaly to use a different insurance broker, it was a good advice, for it saved us well over €200 on the annual car insurance.

On our walk along the main street we noticed that the townspeople were friendly and convivial by giving us, who were strangers to them, a nod and a "hello" as we passed them by. Mrs H remarked to me about there being a good variety of interesting shops which were well stocked including a small art shop; what we did find amusing and unusual for the size of the place was the number of large, privately run, pharmacies, all of them on the main street and in some cases next door to each other.
Birr is like a faceted jewel whose intricacies belong solely to this town, the like of which cannot be found anywhere else in Ireland or even in the world. These I will be sharing with you in several future blogs.

St. John's Mall

Signs of the times

St. John's Hall

An unusual building to be seen here is Saint John's Hall. This building was erected in memory of John Clere Parsons, son of the 2nd Earl of Rosse, who died in 1828. It was built as a miniature Greek ionic temple and provides a focal point along the axis of two flanking rows of terraced houses.

'Umbillicus Hibernia'

Referred to by Geraldus Cambrensis in the 12th Century as 'Umbilicus Hibernia' (The Navel of Ireland) and probably part of a megalithic monument at Seffin, the exact site of which is now unknown.
Reputed by oral tradition to have marked a meeting place of the Fianna. It was removed from Birr in 1828 by Thomas Steale and taken to his residence Cullan House, Co. Clare to honour Daniel O'Connell and used as a Mass rock at that site.
The monument stone was returned to Birr Urban District Council in June 1974 by the Department of Lands. The stone is a block of limestone from the Lower Carboniferous Age, 250 million years old and is of local origin.

 The Little Brosna River ( the home of a rare fish)

The Croneen Trout

The Croneen is a fresh water, migratory, silver, torpedo-shaped trout that can weigh over 4lb, it spawns in the Little Brosna and Camcor rivers and migrates to Lough Derg, in the river Shannon, to feed. 
Advances in genetics and DNA techniques show that trout such as the Croneen trout are distinct species. Additionally it has been shown that many of our lake trout populations in particular belong to races or “conservation units” that must be protected as they have evolved and adapted to suit the conditions to the lake and river sometime after (and in some cases before) the last Ice Age, 13,000 years ago. The fact that they return ‘home’ to their place of birth on the river ensures that they do not mix.

A gift from a neighbour

When we returned home we had a pleasant surprise! For standing on the window cill was this bowl of eggs, which from the colour of the eggs and design of the dish we recognised
as being a gift from our nearest neighbour.