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

Friday, 15 July 2016

Almost Numb Within

I am quiet within, almost numb, yet not though without thoughts in regard to the victims of violence. My deliberations bring to my mind what was occurring in the world when I was in my mothers womb, seventy plus years ago. Then thousands of people in military service were not just actively killing each other but also killing the civilians of the opposing countries who were at war with each other. 

I have heard it said that people often learn by example. 
One of the examples of the second world war was the aerial bombing of civilians, the soft targets. The sole purpose of such action was to reduce the morale of a nation’s population by inducing fear and intimidation.

That brutal and crude example is lesson that has been used time and time again by those whom we know as terrorists. 
Personally I am not sure that any reign of terror actual works in the long term. What it does do though is to harden the resolve of the survivors to resist. Others to seek more peaceful havens in which to live. 

Throughout my lifetime there has been an almost continuous flow of refugees from war torn countries throughout the world. At this time it is the peoples from the Middle-East who risk life and limb to find their safe haven and I am sure that those in the camps dotted around Europe still cherish the hope of peace and safety.

It seems to me that very few of the worlds’ people have learned anything at all about living in peace with each other nor about forgiveness and I am not sure whether most of them even have the desire or the skills to make a totally peaceful world.

What do you think ?

Monday, 11 July 2016

A Westmeath Lough

The other day we took off on our travels again, northwards this time instead of westerly or even southerly. Still though the hunger remained within us to learn more about the area we were visiting and we agreed that a return trips must be made to slake our thirst.

You have probably have heard about the Children of Lír or at least have read one of the many tales, for they are as numerous as the fleas on a dogs back.

Well here is another.
The story of the Children of Lír is one of the best known tales of Ireland. This story tells of Lir and his wife Aobh and their four children called Aodh, Fionnghuala, Fiachra and Conn. Lír's wife died and he married again. His new wife was called Aoife and she became the children's stepmother. At first she loved them dearly but after a time she grew jealous of their father's affection for them.

One day she bore them away and put them under a spell. They were turned into four white swans at Lough Derravarragh in County Westmeath. They remained there for four hundred years. Then they flew away and settled on the Sea of Moyle between Ireland and Scotland, where they stayed for three hundred years in cold and misery. From there they spent three years in Erris, County Mayo where they endured even further sorrow.

At the end of that time they returned to their old home at Sídh Fionnachaidh in County Armagh. Their father was long dead and the place was desolate and empty. They flew off again to Erris and there met the Christian Missionary, St. Mochaomhóg who treated them with great kindness.

At last their period of enchantment came to an end and they were turned into three withered old men and an old woman. The saint baptised them, they died peacefully and were buried together.

Lough Derravarragh in stormy light.

The notice half hidden by a precious/precocious land owner say's 'No Entry'
Forgetting that the fit can easily leap the wall!

Stuck amongst the reeds - how embarrassing !

Reed beds are a plenty on these lake shores
and I like their reflected images.

The Yellow Water Lilies could be the children of Lír reborn as flowers?

In nearby Castlepollard stands what to my mind is a grotesque impersonation of The Children of Lír. What are your thoughts ?

I have been caught fiddling again.

A special Welcome to the viewers
from Mauritius
thank you for visiting.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Songs of Anúna

The round tower in Clonmacnoise

We first heard and watched Anúna at a performance in Clonmacnoise invited there by a very good friend some years ago and became entranced by them. So much so that the memory of hearing their voices remains so very fresh in our minds still.

I encourage you to listen their voices and then click on 
for more until you are sated !