Some trees these days suffer middle age spread!
The photo was taken on a recent visit to Antrim Castle grounds.
Some trees these days suffer middle age spread!
The photo was taken on a recent visit to Antrim Castle grounds.
We gathered on the green, we gathered on Cathedral Steps,
People of all ages, accents colour size shape and sexual orientation,
Warm hearted cheerful people one message on heart & hand.
Civil Marriage Equality for all in this corner of the land.
Soon the streets were full and whistles began to blast
Banners, flags and badges adding colour to Belfast.
Raised high, like a Peacock’s proud display
It certainly was a sunny RAINBOW day!
We were off!
We walked and talked, shared stories
Renewed old friendships and added many new.
We were one big family one thought on our minds:
The introduction of civil marriage for same-sex couples in Northern Ireland.
To give you a taste:
I know. I know!
It has been a full week since all those pranksters played their pesky practical jokes!
We in Northern Ireland have far more serious issues to concentrate on right now.
Our Easter Holidays finished last night. The remainder of the western world who mark this
Chocolate Egg Eating marathon Christian festival, celebrate from Good Friday through Easter Monday.
Not Northern Ireland. We do things differently! Our official days of celebration are Easter Monday and Tuesday. So this morning many a weary worker is trudging back to sit behind their desks until next month when we will begin and end the month with Bank Holiday weekends!
Over the past few years. changes have been planned, sorted and finally set in motion. On 1st April 2015, a total of 26 different district councils have been reduced to 11. So time and MONEY has been spent in each of these areas, providing all forms of information to ease the path for all the residents. We have new council names, logos, colour schemes and up to the minute online Websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
There is absolutely no excuse to miss out on any dates for upcoming events.
For example when we begin the week with a holiday, the bin collection due, often happens one day later than normal. This chart below makes this change very clear!
Thanks to my friend Emily for pointing me in this direction.
A one hour lesson on the history of Ireland with plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy. The programme was made in 1997 so we have moved on a little since then.
All the rain we endure is the price we pay for the greenery.
Yesterday, one of those days when unsure what season we were in, so it took longer on choosing my clothes for the day. It was a day for layers. I had planned to collect my
old young friend Janet, for a bit of adventure. I can see where she lives from my kitchen window.
She lives on top of that bump to the right of the wind turbines.
The idea was to exercise our legs…. and our tongues with the odd bit of chatter.
Did I say the odd bit of chatter? I am not sure I gave Janet a chance to say more than a half dozen words. Next time, I will bring a band-aid to help keep my trap shut. 😉 I promise!
I was the driver for the duration, so as chief navigator, I allowed Janet to choose direction and the destination for our coffee spot. Our rain jackets travelled comfortably on the back seat.
She chose the Creative Gardens Galgorm Castle, Ballymena, County Antrim. It opened in February this year, so a first time visit for me. They have a Garden centre, Seasonal Shop and the now obligatory Coffee shop.
This display caught my eye as we were wandering about.
The plants are not just sitting on the chair. Oh no. The side view gives you an idea of how it works. The original seat is long gone and a sacking type fabric is stapled to the inside of the seat space, slightly sagging, growing medium added and then the plants inserted. If you look very carefully you can actually see the petunia plugs, lifted out of the compost by the weight of the blooms.
If you try this please watch dear old aunt Mabel, in case she tries to sit on it! 😉
It did rain:- when we were in the car or sipping coffee.
Neither of us were in a hurry home.
Janet suggested a walk in Portglenone Forest Park. I was game for anything.
It was very overcast as we arrived in the car park.
“Do you think it will rain?” asked Janet.
“Not to worry, says I, we can shelter under a leaf!”
We took the Red route.
Portglenone, in Irish: Port Chluain Eoghain, means “The Fort of Eoghan’s meadow”. We local yokels might tease and call it Port-glen-one, but the correct pronunciation is more like Port-glen-own.
Portglenone Forest Park, lies 8.5 miles (14 km) west of Ballymena. It is classified as an ‘Ancient Woodland’, and has well marked nature trails, with the River Bann flowing through the forest. Records show that the forest was once part of a much larger woodland comprising Mountreivelen, Killetra, and Glenconkeyne Woods.
These woods formed one of the biggest oak forests in the country. In 1607 Sir John Davys, the Irish Attorney-General, described this area as “well nigh as large as the New Forest in Hampshire and stored with the best timber in Ireland.”
The ground flora contains extensive colonies of species such as bluebell, wood anemone, and wild garlic. We would need to go back in late April or early May to enjoy those beauties. These plants take centuries of woodland cover to establish, and provide the wood with its important conservation and educational aspects.
Augustine Henry (1857–1930) was an Irish plantsman and sinologist. He began work as a medical officer and customs assistant to the Chinese customs service in 1881. He was an ardent reader of botanical literature and collected 15,000 dry specimens and 500 live plant samples of flora for Kew botanical gardens. From his specimens 25 new genera and 500 new species were identified.
In 1913 he was appointed the first Professor of Forestry at the Royal College of Science (now University College Dublin), serving until he retired in 1926. He was involved in developing the national Forestry Service and in evaluating foreign conifer species. These included Sitka Spruce and Lodgepole pine.
In 1935, J. W. Besant was to write: ‘The wealth of beautiful trees and flowering shrubs which adorn gardens in all temperate parts of the world today is due in a great measure to the pioneer work of the late Professor Henry’.
I have another Janet surprise, but that is for tomorrow!
I had five minutes of fame way back ……..
It was Wednesday, 5 November 2008. I had been invited to take part in RTE Television’s Afternoon show to share my household hints and tips.
Then on 1st April 2013, I made a ‘Don’t blink or you will miss me’ appearance, again on RTE Television with the programme See you at the pictures, a nostalgic look at our cinema-going past & the impact that cinema has had on Irish culture down the years.
Third time lucky, they say…. So this time I got to dress up and tread the boards… Like a REAL actress. Stop laughing and sniggering back there, Grannymar is game for anything…. Well almost! 😉 I think I mentioned it here.
Yes, another ‘Don’t blink or you will miss me’ moment in a sketch for a 4 part historical fun series for RTÉ2: Holding Out For A Hero and this time I think I said two, three, four or was it five words?
Sure who’s counting?
I had a fun day watching wardrobe & make-up artists at work before meeting the director and his team again. There were four of us ladies in the scene, the other ‘gals’ were well used to the smell of the laughter and the roar of the greasepaint….. or is it the other way around? I was fascinated at the way the camera crew brought an old building to life. We all had fun.
Neil Delamere, the leading actor (he took the day off when I was there), is determined to uncover the truth behind 4 legendary Irish heroes of yore. Neil will be treading the boards with a stand up comedy gig as part of the programme in Vicar St on Saturday 2nd August at 20:30. He’ll be showcasing all-new material based on everything he’s learned about our four heroes – Red Hugh O’Donnell, Grace O’Malley, Cú Chulainn and Fionn Mac Cumhaill. The gig will be recorded and inserts included in the programme, and the whole project should appear on TV between late August and December.
Now I need to check my diary… Do I have anything on for 2nd August….
Apart from clothes! 😉
It has been a long week. So long, it had two Saturdays, two Sundays and two Mondays. Alas, to day it comes to an end and I head for home.
Saturday: We made Christmas puddings – You already know about that.
Sunday: We had a visitor for morning coffee. After lunch the landlady walked the legs off me. We dandered to the Basin.
We watched a mammy duck teach her three tiny balls of fluff, no bigger than cotton balls, to swim.
Their tiny legs were going a mile a minute under the surface of the water, until….. a large bird swooped down…. Then there were only two balls of fluff for the mammy duck to quack instructions at, to swim faster than time to the protection of their hidden nest on the island in the middle of the lake.
When we left the basin, we passed the Black Church where legend has it that if you run around the church clockwise three times, then enter the church and stand by the altar, you will see the devil.
I never quite had the courage to test that theory when I was young. The building was deconsecrated in 1962, and is now occupied as offices.
The Black Church is mentioned briefly in the novel Ulysses by Irish author James Joyce, in the chapter entitled ‘Oxen of the Sun’, as the location of one of Bello’s many sins: He went through a form of clandestine marriage with at least one woman in the shadow of the Black Church. Joyce lived for a few months only yards from the Church in Broadstone, at 44 Fontenoy Street, one of the Joyce family’s many temporary homes around Dublin. He stayed there with his son Giorgio from July to September 1909 and again alone from October 1909 to June 1910 while trying to set up the first cinema in Dublin.
Monday: Did I mention James Joyce earlier? Well, on Wednesday I met him! Honest. Here is a pixture to prove it:
He even called me Nora!
It was Bloomsday. In Dublin, Joyceans in full Edwardian costume mark June 16th 1904 literary events of ‘Ulysses’ We met them on the Dart, on the Streets and in the shops. Eileen and I went to Dún Laoghaire. They were there ahead of us.
I have to tell you what happened on the Dart. You will never believe it. Eileen, nudged me with her elbow and said “That guy over there winked at me!” I looked at the Toyboy and said, pointing at my sister “Did you wink at her?” He nodded. I looked questioningly and asked “Where’s my wink?” Grinning, he winked at me. Holding up my mobile phone, I asked if he wanted my number. He burst out laughing. With that, the engines started and we were moving…. Our Dart moved south, and his on the other track moved north!
No visit to Dún Laoghaire is complete without a visit to Teddy’s for a 99 – a whipped ice cream cone with added flake chocolate.
Eileen with ice cream cones.
Tuesday: I spent the morning in the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin, with my eldest brother. We saw a Viking House
I suggest scrolling to the bottom of the link above and working upward to follow the work in progress. I found it fascinating. I am trying to image life in Dublin 1,000 plus years ago.
I also saw a replica Viking boat ‘Gro’ on display. It was constructed from Irish oak in 2006 at the Irish National Heritage Park by Danish boatwrights using techniques employed in Dublin 1,000 years ago, the boat is on loan from the Ferrycarrig Heritage Park.
I drove my sister to Howth for an early dinner, which was delicious, and we were home in time to see one of the Football matches.
Wednesday: We were entertained to lunch by Brian, who sent us each a text as we were leaving home to say, he had just realised it was forty years since we first met, so a good job we looked like we did all those years ago! Is it really forty years since I was given the handle Grannymar? Yes, it is.
Thursday: I visited Drimnagh Castle, but that adventure is worth a special post. I hope to have it ready for Tuesday.
Friday: was a rest day, playing with Buffy and finishing a project that I was working on. I forgot to take a photo of the finished item, so when I get that photo, I’ll write about it.
Saturday: Was the longest day, so where better to be than on the Hill of Tara, Home to the High Kings of Ireland. The panoramic view in my Header is from the hill at Tara. We were there to celebrate the life of Emma Sharma Hayes. It was a beautiful day, the sun shone and nature’s choir of bird song & gentle breezes sang around us for most of the day. We picnicked outdoors
and I found a very comfortable seat to rest my legs before we climbed the hill.
I nearly got a job too! One old guy asked if I would plough his back field? I told him I was busy and it would have to be next week!
Sunday: I went to work! Really. You have heard of ‘Bring your daughter to work days. Well this was a bring your family to work day, at Intel. Do you like my outfit?
Grannymar in a Bunny suit! These are actual uniforms worn by those who work in the clean-rooms. Buses took us on a tour of the site and we had a window tour of a clean-room. Elly showed the corridor she walks everyday, at least twice. It is a mile in each direction. We were introduced to the gym, where I could not miss an opportunity to sit on the equipment. I tested a massage chair, it felt like Ramana Rajgopaul’s masseuse was dancing on my back.
The staff looked after us royally and had fun & games for all ages. Thank you everyone for making us so welcome. Now the holiday has come to an end and I am homeward bound once more. I am covered in a healthy outdoor glow and my legs must be at least six inches shorter from all the walking. It was a wonderful week.
On Saturday, in a light hearted short post, I admitted that I had been wrong to iron my clothes. The graphic I produced told me the freshly pressed clothes showed up the crease lines on my face.
The comments were fun.
Col asked: “How can you steal hearts away if you don’t go dashing away with a smoothing iron?”
Immediately I was back in the house of my youth with a mountain of shirts, blouses, sheets, pillowcases, half a dozen linen tablecloths and napkins, tea towels and a mound of handkerchiefs…..
Sitting by the fire was my granny singing this little number:
I replied to Col, with: “I have evidence of one young lady who took that idea to the extreme! Watch out on Monday”.
So here is the evidence.
Elly ironing on the Giant’s Causeway!
I had to go digging to find the photo and while there I reread the post that went along with it A Political Guide for Tourists to Ireland written four years ago. It applies even more so today, I think you might enjoy reading it.
In the past I wrote about visiting a church and having fun. At another time I told you about going to confession, when for my penance I drank the black stuff…
Last week I was back in The Church and came away refreshed. 😉 Elly came to meet me and we walked round the area at the back of the building. It was at one time a very popular graveyard for the dearly departed members of St. Mary’s parish, a large and wealthy congregation.
By the 1940s, the large churchyard was being used as a playground, with the tombstones being removed to the further end of the yard. It was de-consecrated in April 1966, the Church of Ireland sold the graveyard to Dublin Corporation which later developed the site now known as Wolfe Tone Memorial Park. Why Wolfe Tone? Theobald Wolf Tone – United Irishmen Founder was baptised in St Mary’s Church, in 1763.
The park’s feeling of openness, perhaps because it is unfenced and accessible and allows for unimpeded shortcuts between the busier nearby streets, yet it maintains a separate identity from the paths on either side. An urban space with a variety if hard surfaces, which includes a large gravel area adorned with a cow.
City Cow ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~ Jackie McKenna.