Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Magical Dusk

Last night I was sitting in quiet repose wrapped in my enormous bath sheet after a relaxing hot bath & the phone rang!

The call was from a friend a few miles away who suggested that we took a look at the sky, so Mrs H wrapped in her dressing gown stepped out and called me to bring a camera.

It is just as well that the road is very quiet, mostly devoid of traffic and people, otherwise they would have seen the glamorous Mrs H and a Ghandi type figure busily taking photos over the hedge .

Beyond the leaves a magic lives !

It's the type of sky that could encourage me to drift away....

The fairy horses whose eyes sparkle like diamonds

Monday, 29 July 2013

Travels from my iPhoto

I had this idea this morning of sharing some of my favourite photos stored in my iPhoto album and I hope that they give you as much pleasure as they do me.

Ollie moments before he was swamped!
(see previous blog)

The reeds of the river Shannon near Portumna in Co. Galway.
I like the way in which the light is reflected into the water and the rippled effect among the reeds.

Preparing my boots for winter prior to adding the dubbing.
This is the chair on which I sit and write.

The harbour at Kinvarra.
This is one of my favourite photos and it sits on my desk top, allowing me to create dreams about what might have been there voyages with actually knowing!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Ollie's Holiday

We had the family over for a few days earlier in the year and it was young master Oliver's first ever trip to Ireland and we had a wonder filled time together. Personally I was a bit apprehensive about how Toby (our dog) would react because he had never been in the company of children before. I  need not have worried for he was absolutely marvellous and they were like two pals together.

Ollie by the Atlantic

The  adults in deep thought while Ollie looks
at the ducks

At the waters edge

Toby and Ollie

Our last few minutes together

I have to go home Grandpa
see you next year

Toby who weighs 60 lb

Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Tale of a Shirt

Mrs H told me that she was going to have a clear out of her clothes and other accessories to create more space on our shared rail. I was delighted to hear this as it would now be easier for me to retrieve the few clothes that were mine. 
I was looking forward to a quiet afternoon sitting on my own with a book. 
When I heard her good self sing out 
'What shirts are you going to dispose of ?' 
to which I retorted 
'You can sling the black ones if you like, for there's no profit in me wearing them anymore'

When her good-self came over from the UK to check both me and this country out, I took her on a mini tour of Ireland for a few days and just like now the weather was up, meaning sunny and warm. 
After a few days I had changed into wearing a pair of black trousers and a shirt to match. We stopped at a rural garage to fill the fuel tank before tackling the next stage of our journey. I gave the attendant a fifty pound note he strolled off to his shed and was gone a considerable time; such that I sneakily peered through his window to see what was causing the delay and saw him delving into drawers and putting together coins and notes.
When eventually he returned he took my hand turned it upwards and pressed the change into my palm and pushed my fingers over the whole amount and said 
'Have a nice day, Father' I felt a bit embarrassed at his innocence, gave him my thanks and without checking I pushed the change deep into my pocket.

Later on that day we were at the southern end of the Dingle peninsula, having found a B&B with a pub nearby.As we had ceased travelling for the day we thought that we deserved a drink.
Whilst sitting at the counter and waiting to be served I idly counted what money was in my pocket it came to twenty-five pounds more than what it should have been. 
Something very similar happened to us in Co. Clare when we stopped for lunch in a hotel and when I went pay the bill was halved, again I was wearing a black shirt & trousers.

However, since the fall in popularity of the church of Rome due to the despicable clerical abuse of children etc, one hardly ever sees a priest wearing any form of religious garb in the street and I have certainly stopped wearing black shirts.
My un-priestly days are over!

Those wise owls among you will have realised that my easy release of the black shirts did not stop there. For my presence was summoned and about another ten or more different coloured shirts came off the rail and went into the charity shop bag. I did though manage to rescue one that had never been worn.Why it was put into the disposable heap though - I shall never know. I might even wear it tomorrow when we go out for lunch
if I can remember which one it was :))

Thursday, 11 July 2013

A Cool Scene

My activities are some what curtailed today so I decided to visit YouTube for some relaxing music

and I found this piece from Colm which I hope you will all enjoy .

NOTE! The video time shows 0.00 - 0. 00 don't be fooled just click on the picture and it will start to play - in this case bullying is good!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


I left the thermometer outside in the shade for a few minutes at 12.15 and took this photo.

So I estimate that it's just over 32 deg C or 90 deg F on whatever scale you rate it at.

It is VERY HOT outside and I have two friends who at the weekend will be going to sunny 

Spain - for cooler weather perhaps !

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

It's Warmish !

After seven years of cool and cold & wet summers we have soared to 30 deg C (86 deg F) those out door jobs that I had planned to do on dry days are cancelled. Instead I shall relax in the shade with a book and a glass of iced coffee.

We live in under the 30 indicator on the map, warm in summer and cold in winter

3 Day Outlook 
Headline: Very little change for the next few days. 

Wednesday night will be another dry and mainly clear night and it will be misty again. Temperatures overnight will be between 13 and 15 degrees and winds will remain light easterly. 

Thursday and Friday will continue dry, warm and sunny. Temperatures will be between 22 and 27 degrees and on Thursday it will be hottest in the west of the country while on Friday it is likely to be hottest in the east. Winds still light and from the east or southeast. Temperatures over night will fall to between 12 and 15 degrees. 

There is set to be a change from Friday on however. Winds will become northwesterly later on Friday and then Saturday will be a slightly cooler day in the northwest. 

Although a little cooler Saturday will still be dry. Winds will be from a northerly direction and there's a risk of cloudier conditions in the northwest coastal areas. Temperatures still well over twenty degrees in the east and southeast but falling back to the mid to late teens in parts of the west and the northwest. 

The further outlook through the weekend and in to the early days of next week is for continued dry and settled conditions but the hot weather will be replaced by a slightly cooler regime, still reaching well above 20 degrees on most days though, particularly in the east and south.

Friday, 5 July 2013


I view a lot of blogs around the world and I feel very strongly about Human Rights, in particular Women's & Children's Rights for it is my belief that these issues are generally neglected world wide.

Last night I visited Gerry Adams blog Léargas (means 'Insight') and after reading his words I was inspired to share them with you.

A cause and consequence of women’s inequality.

The recent conviction of Adrian Bayley in Australia for the brutal rape and murder of Jill Meagher, the savage murder of Jolanta Lubiene and her eight year old daughter Enrika in county Kerry and the media furore around the photos of celebrity cook Nigella Lawson being assaulted by her husband, have all brought into sharp focus the issue of violence against women.
Co-incidentally two weeks ago the annual report for 2012 from Women’s Aid was published. Its facts were equally shocking.

·       One in five women in the Irish state will experience violence and abuse from an intimate partner

·       3,230 disclosures of direct child Abuse to the Women’s Aid Helpline – a 55% increase on the previous year

·       11,729 calls to the Freephone Helpline

·       32 calls per day

·       49% of the women supported in One to One service were experiencing abuse from a former husband, partner or boyfriend

·       30% of first time one to one support visits were with women from migrant communities

·       The most dangerous time can be when a woman is planning or making her exit and in the period afterwards.
The facts are equally stark in the north. The Making the Grade report in 2007 revealed that:

·       In 2006/7 the Police Service Northern Ireland responded to a domestic incident every 22 minutes of every day of the year.

·       In 2006/7 there were more domestic violence related crimes (10,115) than the combined total for sexual offences against children, indecent exposure, robbery, armed robbery, hijacking, fraud and counterfeiting, shoplifting, dangerous driving, offences and firearms offences

·       20% of all attempted murders in 2006/7 had a domestic motivation

·       The rate of conviction for rape decreased from 28.2% in 1994 to 19% in 2005.

·       The number of recorded rapes increased from 292 in 2001 to 457 in 2006.

·       84% of victims of sexual offences were women.
But as with any statistics it is essential that you look beyond the bullet points and focus on the human experience that they reflect.

The Women’s Aid report records harrowing accounts of this experience. Women have described being locked in and prevented from leaving their houses, being drugged, assaulted and hospitalised, being beaten while pregnant or breast-feeding, being gagged to stop screaming, being raped and sexually abused, including being pinned down and assaulted, and being forced to have sex in return for money to feed their children.
For women violence includes but is not limited to domestic violence, forced marriage, rape and sexual assault, crimes in the name of honour, murder, trafficking and sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, sexual harassment and stalking. It causes physical damage ranging from death to miscarriages to broken limbs. Sexual offences can also result in sexually transmitted diseases and forced pregnancies, as well as leaving long term psychological damage.

Kofi Annan, the former head of the United Nations said:
“Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture or wealth. As long as it continues we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.”

Safe Ireland also published the results of a one day survey which revealed that almost 850 women and children received support and protection from domestic violence over a single 24-hour period on November 6th last year.

The survey found that more than 500 women and over 300 children sought domestic violence services on that day. Almost 270 women and children were accommodated in refuge, with 21 women being turned away due to lack of space. The census also found that more than 20 pregnant women looked for safety from violence.

At its core violence against women is a cause and a consequence of women’s inequality. It cannot be challenged and defeated without a recognition of this.
So how do we end it? Coherent, integrated and properly economic, social, cultural and political strategies are needed. Such strategies do work. 

Regrettably, in the south the promised consolidated domestic violence legislation contained in the Programme for Government has yet to be delivered. This week I again asked about this in the Dáil. The Minister for Justice wrote me a letter saying that it will be ‘progressed as soon as possible having regard to the need for consultations and other legislative priorities in the Department of Justice and Equality.’
Other legislative priorities? What greater priority should there be than protecting the lives and human rights of women and girls.

The bottom line is that there is no underlying strategic approach or priority being given to this issue.
The Minister also told my comrade Mary Lou McDonald that the government has still not signed the European Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.  It apparently supports the aims and terms in principle but he claims there is a ‘particular difficulty reconciling property rights under the Irish constitution with the requirement under Article 52 of the European Convention and the availability of barring orders.’

This is also the rationale presented by the Minister for rejecting Woman’s Aid recommendation for an on call system for accessing emergency barring orders to give women and children protection. And yet when the government rushed through legislation in the Dáil earlier this year on the Irish Bank Resolution Company it included a provision requiring the ‘permanent or temporary interference with property rights for the common good.’
So, we can have rushed legislation on property rights to aid banks but no legislation on property rights to help women victims of violence. And all the while violence against women continues.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

To The Kingdom & Dan Cronin

We took a trip down to The Kingdom the other day. The route I took was more or less parallel to a tolled motorway. My preference is not to pay a road toll as I hate parting with cash to drive on a road on which some of my taxes were spent to build the damn thing.  So I use the slower routes that connect with towns and villages, occasionally to stop eat, drink coffee and view the scenery.


Our first stop was to pull into the riverside car park at Caher, a beautiful old town in South Tipperary. On the river bank opposite the car park stands Caher Castle which was built in 12th century by Conor O'Brien on an island in the river Suir. For much of its history Cahir was influenced by the Butler family. It was from this family that the first Barons of Caher were created in 1375 and the castle was granted to James Butler the newly-created Earl of Ormond; his heir managed to hang on to it until 1647 when it was surrendered to Murrough O'Brien (a descendant of the original builder). In 1650 it was again surrendered to Oliver Cromwell. Betwixt and between ownership of the castle reverted back to Lords of Caher, continuing until the last Lord Caher - Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Butler Charteris died in 1961. The castle then became the property of The Irish State.
As I write this piece of history I am wondering if the subject of the previous blog has any connection with the Butler's of Caher?

We journeyed on along the roads towards Michelstown in Co.Cork where we turned off to take the road to Mallow. It was some years ago that I had last travelled this road and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had been greatly improved since my last trip.

Mallow town

It is probable that there has been a settlement near Mallow since the Neolithic, for there is an alignment of six standing stones about 8 miles away at Beenalaght. For me Mallow holds a variety of memories as it has frequently been an attractive town that I have passed through on my way to the coastal areas of Cork and rarely stopping, until a friend of ours made her home there for a few years. She moved to Cupertino to assist in the development of Apple computers and is sorely missed in this household.

On the outskirts of Mallow we joined the road that leads to Killarney however, our destination was the village of Old Rathmore, about three miles from the Cork/Kerry border placing it very definitely in 
The Kingdom of Kerry.

Mrs H, with Margaret & Dan Cronin

We were there to visit Margaret & Dan Cronin.(Dan a friend of Mrs H) 
Dan is an historian, author and journalist who has written for every Irish newspaper, including a magazine called Ireland's Own.
At ninety two years of age he is still actively writing about the local history of his home place. (ibid: 2012/07/small-tour-of-cork-kerry.) Truly a remarkable man who left school at the age of fourteen and educated himself by spending lot of time visiting libraries.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself listening to Mrs H and Dan conversing on their favourite topics, namely Irish mythology and sacred sites.

On our journey home I cut across country from one main road to another and as we did so, Mrs H noticed a road sign that said "The Site of the Moving Bog". There followed a discussion between ourselves, for I recalled reading about a Bog that moved years ago though the actual details escaped me.

Below are extracts from two newspapers of that era:-

The Kerry Sentinel, 6 January 1897
Killarney, Friday.    
   "Early this morning rain ceased falling in the district that surrounds Killarney, and at the scene of the recent disastrous land slide, a slight frost also set in, which must be regarded as a favourable change. The peasantry living near the great bog slide, who have passed a week in fear and trembling, did not occupy their own homes last night, but took shelter in dwellings more remote with kindly neighbours who pity them and offer temporary relief in this period of trouble. During the night additional parts of the mountain moved, but by noon to-day the sliding had practically ceased. The people, however, are still apprehensive, and expect that at any moment the bog will move again. Direct communication between Killarney and Gneeveguilla continues cut off. Search parties, composed of peasants and police, were out on the hill sides all day looking for the remaining bodies of the Donnelly family, but without success. The search will be continued to-morrow."

   "An inquest was held to-day on the body of Daniel Donnelly, and evidence, in the main, similar to that already reported, was given, and a like verdict returned. There were, however, some points of particular interest disclosed. It was shown at the inquest that the body of the boy, who was sixteen years of age, was found a mile and a half from the spot in which he had resided had stood. This shows clearly how strong must have been the current of the moving bog, and where the other bodies are hidden it is impossible to conjecture. The funeral followed shortly after the inquest, and was very largely attended by all classes in the district." 
   "There is no longer any mystery surrounding the calamitous disaster in Kerry. Indeed it has occasioned very little surprise in the minds of those who were ultimately acquainted with the character of the spot. For years it was feared that this landslip was bound to happen, though possibly nobody anticipated that it would have proved so terrible in its results, otherwise it is difficult to conceive how those who stood in peril calmly awaited their impending fate. As has been already stated, this bog was extensively cut by the farmers in the country round. No provision, however, appears to have been made for carrying off the surface water from the cut-away portions. The result is that this has been accumulating for years, and during the past two it was apparent from the shaky condition of this portion of the bog that it has for some time been floating, though held in position by some slight barrier. The heavy rains of the past month, no doubt, supplied whatever increased bouyancy was necessary to float its position, and this happened with dire results during the small hours of Monday morning. It is gratifying to learn that the bog has now ceased to make any further progress, so that no more ill effects are looked for. The traces left by the moving mass as it shot down the valley show that it must have swept past in a fairly compact body, and with a tremendous force levelling to the ground and sweeping before it everything which obstructed its progress."
—Cork Constitution.

We returned home totally sated from our interesting journey to The Kingdom and having driven over 300 miles I sat and enjoyed a pleasant cup of tea before going to bed.