Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yellow Bell Tower Trim, Co Meath

The Yellow Tower gets its name from the colour its stonework appears at sunrise and sunset. At a height of 40 metres it dominates the skyline of Trim and towers above Trim Castle which sits at the base of the hill. Built in the 14th Century it was the Bell Tower and a place of refuge for the Augustinian Abbey of St Mary, it was destroyed in the 17th Century.
This door at the base is almost 1.8m or 6 foot, in the previous picture its on the left bottom corner. That might give an impression of the height of the tower.

A ruin of an old out building

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Trim Castle Trim, Co Meath

Trim Castle built in 1100's is Irelands largest castle and is also the largest Norman Castle in Europe, it was built for Hugh De Lacy. It was made famous in more recent times when used in the movie Braveheart.  It was important to the Normans as it was the capital of the county Meath at the time and it was the western  edge of 'The Pale'. This was the region on the East coast that was under the control of the English untill the middle ages, it was controlled locally by Norman Knights planted by the English. Even today the derogatory name for people from this area is West Brits.
It was used in the 1500's as a meeting place for the Norman-Irish Parliment and was one of the locations mentioned for the site of Trinity College founded in 1590.
The Castle keep

Views of Walls and moate, where the wall is gone parts of the internal structure can be seen.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Traditional Irish thatch cottage, Trim Co Meath.

I came upon this cottage this afternoon, It is a gate house to a large estate house, thankfully it is kept in the style it was built. Red doors, white washed walls and thatched, the gate pillars are about 1,.8m or 6 foot, so you can see that the walls are quite low.

One thing I did notice was the front door on traditional cottages were usually half doors, you can see that the door is just about 1.5m or 5 feet., so you would have to stoop. Look at the top of the roof in second picture and see the little design, this was used as the calling card of a thatcher, each one had their own. The windows were very small, there would have been very little light, that was part of the reason for the split front door. There would have been rooms sometimes in the attic, it would have been quite warm in the winter, but there were no windows and often this would be the sleeping quarters for hired seasonal labour or Spailpeens. Because the thatch was warm they would have to share this area with rodents and bugs, I have heard older people talking about Spailpeens that would have had bites taken out of their ears!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sunset Brackloon Kiltullagh

This was the view from my sofa this evening.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Old Head of Kinsale where the Lusitania sank, Co Cork.

In 1915 the Lusitania sank in 18 minutes with the loss of 1918 people of the coast of Cork on its way to Cobh (then named Queenstown). Its sinking by a German U-boat caused outrage at the time and was a major influence in bringing America into the war. It sinking still cause arguments to this day as the Germans had declared that all British or Allied ships would be sunk in the British Isles and they had taken out an advertisement in the papers to state as much. While the ship was a passenger ship it was listed as an Armed Merchant Cruiser, was designed with gun mountings and it was carrying ammunition aboard when it was sunk. Though it was listed as an Armed Merchant Cruiser it was never used as such and never had any guns mounted.
Today there is a new controversy in the area, the Old head is now one of Irelands most expensive Golf clubs and people can no longer walk out to the lighthouse, there are a few campaigns to open the area up to the public.
Old head of Kinsale today,

The Castle at the Golf club entrance.

Memorial to the Lusitania

Another Castle

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunset on the Cork coast

This first picture was taken before sunset

Taken on the beach at sunset.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Royal Victoria Dock Yard, Passage west, County Cork

Funny to see this up on a wall in County Cork, the rebel county. Its Ironic that this would survive when Cork has more statues and memorials to victims of the 1916 rising and other republican figures, than all other counties. The town of Cobh (the Cove of Cork) got renamed by the English as Queenstown to celebrate the visit of Queen Victoria* in 1939, this dock yard built in 1932 got the same treatment by the owners. Like the posts boxes its funny to see reminders of the old enemy around the country.

* When the Queen visited Dublin City, some of the people of Dublin hung out Union Jacks on the windows of their homes giving them the derogatory nickname 'Jackeens' (used by all outside Dublin). It was also used to reference the derogatory nickname of 'West Brits' that the Dublin people were also known as or 'little Jacks' (as in little Union Jacks) as mentioned in the house of commons. A version of Websters 1913 had a listing for Jackeen as "A drunken, dissolute fellow", which the rest of Ireland would agree with ;p.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snow Co Galway.

While I look out at green fields parts of Galway still have snow, we are not used to the snow like some of my friends. The roads are a dangerous mixture of slush, snow and ice and driving conditions in parts deemed as treacherous according to Road Safety Authority.
But this is what I had wished for at Christmas.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My 2009 in pictures

This maybe not the best selection of pictures, but is more a representation of my Year, last year.
The music is from a up and coming singer songwriter from Galway, the song is 'The Universal Tune' with permission from Ultan Conlon from his album 'Bless Your Heart' available from, see also his his Youtube

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Frost Brackloon Galway

We have had the worst frost since the 60's, we have had sub zero weather since Christmas. We are not used to this and are not prepared for prolonged frozen weather. This is the view from the back of my house and from the attic window, no snow but everything is white.

From higher up