Category Archives: Travel

A very special day

It was time for lunch. Not just any old lunch, but a catch up with Brian – He who gave me the handle Grannymar. Calendars were checked. Dates discussed, arranged, postponed and finally organised for the week before he returned to ‘La Heredia’. I knew I would be going to Dublin, so decided to travel a few days early and have our lunch there instead of Belfast.

I asked if he knew where the Hungry tree was, it was on my list to photograph.

He did. One thing led to another and before I knew it lunch became a day of adventure for me.

I was collected at 11 am and traveled in style to see the Hungry tree.

The hungry tree

The hungry tree

The seat has been there so long, the tree has grown over the back of it.

Hungry tree from another angle

Hungry tree from another angle

We then continued up the drive to the front door of our next port of call…

The Honorable Society of King’s Inns

The Honorable Society of King’s Inns

The Honorable Society of King’s Inns is the oldest institution of legal education in Ireland. The Honorable Society of King’s Inns comprises benchers, barristers and students. The benchers include all the judges of the Supreme and High Courts and a number of elected barristers.

Gateway to my adventure

Gateway to my adventure

It was founded in 1541 during the reign of Henry VIII, who had passed the Act for confiscation of Religious Houses in 1539, and granted the Society the lands and properties on which the Four Courts now stand but which were then occupied by a Dominican monastery.

The Lobby

The Lobby

When the Four Courts were built in the 1790s, King’s Inns moved to Constitution Hill and the benchers commissioned James Gandon to design their present property, the headquarters of the Benchers and the School of Law. The primary focus of the school is the training of barristers.

Looking up from the window

Looking up from the window

In the Middle Ages, the need for apprentice lawyers to learn about common law led to the founding of hostels where they could live and study. The Inns of Court were places where the students were provided with accommodation, meals and tuition. Up to 1800 the buildings at Inns Quay provided all that was needed for practice at the bar. There were chambers where barristers lived and worked, a hall for eating and drinking, a library for research, a chapel for prayer and gardens for recreation. Things changed somewhat with the move to Constitution Hill. Chambers and a chapel were to have been built but the plans were never executed. However, many of the 17th century traditions remain or are co-mingled with 21st century developments.

The Dining Hall

The Dining Hall

The formal records of King’s Inns (the “Black Book”) date from 1607. Initially a voluntary society but by 1634 membership had become compulsory for barristers wishing to practise in the courts.

Nolumus Mutari

Nolumus Mutari

The fireplace in the dining hall with the King’s Inns seal. An open book and the motto Nolumus Mutari which is commonly translated as ‘we do not wish to be changed’. It should be read and understood as the determination by the bench and the bar that the law will be applied without fear or favour and will not bend to suit interests of those with power and influence.

Some of the paintings in the dining hall

Some of the paintings in the dining hall

After the Williamite wars of the 1690s catholics were effectively excluded from the legal profession by the penal laws. This exclusion lasted for a century until the Catholic Relief Act of 1792 when catholics were allowed to practise at the outer Bar.

The gong to announce dinner

The gong to announce dinner

King’s Inns did not possess a library until in 1787 but on the death of Mr. Justice Robinson, his law books (at that time valued at £700) were bought by the Society.

The reading room

The reading room

The present library building was erected between 1826 and 1830, to a design by Frederick Darley. The Library has three stories over a basement and was originally seven bays wide. In 1892 an annexe was added at the north-west end.

View of the gallery

View of the gallery

A Copyright Act of 1710 required that printers give a copy of each book published to various university libraries in England and Scotland. During the reign of George III, in a further Copyright Act (1801), the libraries of Trinity College, Dublin and of King’s Inns were added to the list. In 1836 the provisions of the act were withdrawn.

Detail of the plasterwork

Detail of the plasterwork

The present library building was completed in 1830 and houses some 100,000 volumes including those which formed the original collection, purchased in 1787.

Not your usual light reading

Not your usual light reading

Today the library contains over 110,000 volumes, about half of which have a legal content, the remainder being concerned with a wide variety of non-legal subjects.

Nolumus Mutari

well read weighty words

The general collection contains works on art, history, the classics, literature, biography and numerous other subjects. Of particular note are the books printed before 1501, parliamentary papers, Encumbered Estates Court Rentals, pamphlets and manuscripts.

Throwing light on the subject

Throwing light on the subject

While in the past the Society sought to create a comprehensive general library, the emphasis in recent years has been on developing the legal collection. The legal collection contains all of the Irish and most of the English textbooks along with statutes, reports of cases, digests and legal periodicals. European, Commonwealth and American Law are well represented and amongst the older legal material are fine collections of trials, Irish appeals to the House of Lords, nominate reports, Roman law and canon law.

I walked all the way down and. up again, but didn't  count them.

I walked all the way down and. up again, but didn’t count them.

We went all the way down stairs to where we found bound copies of The  Times from long before I or my parents were born.

Bound copies of The Times newspapers

Bound copies of The Times newspapers

I was privileged to be allowed into the inner sanctum of the bencher’s room. A place for the learned gentlemen to unwind and discuss the matters of the day.

Inner sanctum for the benchers

Inner sanctum for the benchers

Some decorative details:

decorative ceiling detail

decorative ceiling detail

ceiling light

ceiling light

Ceiling rose

Ceiling rose

One surprise was a garderobe:

a garderobe

a garderobe

A modern soap dish, toilet roll & loo brush are evidence to the fact it was still in use today. I have to say I love the towel holder.

classy towel holder

classy towel holder

That towel holder looks like a heavy door knocker. I like it!

The whole visit was a wonderful experience and I must say a special thanks to David, who with Brian made the visit so memorable.

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

gallery 3 Miscellaneous selection of photos:

We did go and have a late lunch at Aqua in Howth. The company, the food and the view were all fantastic. A pet day!

Little Museum of Dublin

The Little Museum of Dublin can be found in a beautiful Georgian townhouse at No. 15 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin not far from Grafton Street. It is a non-profit company and depends on the generosity of the public to survive.

The Little Museum of Dublin

First floor at The Little Museum of Dublin courtesy of the museum.

It tells the story of Dublin in the 20th Century. Launched in April 2011 with a public appeal for historic objects with a connection to Dublin during that time. The response to that appeal reflects the generosity of the Irish public, as well as the vision of the patrons in Dublin City Council.

The ground floor covers Emigration to America

The ground floor covers Emigration to America

There are now over 5,000 artefacts in the collection, as well as three floors of exhibition space and a café in the basement. The goal is not to sell an ideology but simply to remember the past.

The story of three women

The story of three women

The Little Museum was recently described as “Dublin’s best museum experience” by the Irish Times and they have been nominated for the European Museum of the Year Awards.

Did you use an old Royal

Did you use an old Royal

The collection includes art, photography, advertising, letters, postcards, objects and ephemera relating to cultural, social and political life in Dublin between the years 1900 and 2000.

Finlater’s Bicycle for delivering the orders

Finlater’s Bicycle for delivering the orders

The collection is mostly comprised of donations and loans from the people of Dublin. Somehow I had difficulty with taking photos, so much of the items were familiar from my young life.

Please note: the museum is on the first floor of a Georgian building. Assistance is available for visitors with wheelchairs.

Bell ringing

The other day I wrote about trying as many of the modes of public transport available to me in Dublin.

Today I want to cover items 2 &18 from my ‘To Do’ list for 2013:

2. Take an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trip.
18. “A Day In My Life” in photos.

Travelling by train was the mode of transport I chose.

Map of the main train lines from Dublin to stations across the land

Map of the main train lines from Dublin to stations across the land

Monday 22nd July, saw me up early and ready for the road good and early.

Where to choose?  I wanted a train with the opportunity to hop on and off or change direction.

Where to choose?
I wanted a train with the opportunity to hop on and off or change direction.

I decided to take a train from the local Station in Adamstown and see how far I could comfortably travel in one day.

The adventure begins!

The adventure begins!

Leaving the house at 09:32 hrs, I walked to the train station. The next train to Portlaoise was due at 09:36 hrs

Thirteen minutes makes for an easy stroll to the station up ahead.

Thirteen minutes makes for an easy stroll to the station up ahead.

Thirteen minutes to reach the train station in the distance. That makes for an easy stroll. 😀

My ticket to Portlaoise

My ticket to Portlaoise

Although my Northern Ireland Senior Smart card is valid for all public transport in the Republic of Ireland. I need to get a train ticket for access to and from station platforms. It also records the journeys we take in order to charge Translink, the Northern Ireland transport system for our usage.

Here she comes!

Here she comes!

The train on the right is the fast Inter City, My train is further back on the left hand track.

The wheels are turning.

The wheels are turning.

The wheels are turning and we are on our way.

 Into the wild.

Into the wild.

The fields are well bleached by the sunshine of the past ten days.

View on the window across the carriage

View on the window across the carriage

View on the window across the carriage, I had it all to myself at that time of day. Anyone in a hurry went back to Dublin to catch the non stop Inter City train.

He didn't get on board!

He didn’t get on board!

He did not get on the train, the next stop was the final destination for this train.

Portlaoise Station

Portlaoise Station

Now to find my way into town, have a cup of coffee and do a little exploring.

Plastic people to make the street look busy!

Plastic people to make the street look busy!

Shop mannequins display the clothes sold in a nearby shop. Trees lined the street and were rather a nuisance. They must have dropped a wide circle of sap during the night. My shoes literally stuck to the pavement every time I passed a tree. I heard the locals complaining too. It was like walking on moist glue.

I felt I had traveled back in time about fifty years. Nothing really changed since I accompanied my father on journeys across the country all those years ago. Time to head back to the station and catch the next train to Cork on the south coast.

Cork City from the train

Cork City from the train

Not sure why this one was so ‘blue’ I blame the train window! 😉

Engine No 36

Engine No 36

Engine No 36 is on Display at the entrance to Cork Kent Station. Built one hundred years before I was born, this old workhorse is looking well!

Busy St Patrick's Street, Cork City

Busy St Patrick’s Street, Cork City

I took the bus to St Patrick Street, the main thoroughfare. It was buzzing and lively. I enjoyed my dander and kept going until I came to the end of the street.

Is that Shandon I see before me?

Is that Shandon I see before me?

I wonder if that is the Tower of St Anne’s Church, Shandon? Do I hear the famous bells? There is one way to find out…

The River Lee, Cork

The River Lee, Cork

I crossed the river Lee and up some steps!

There are plenty of stepped alleyways to be found in Cork City.

There are plenty of stepped alleyways to be found in Cork City.

I spoke to those two gentleman and they assured me the steps would lead me to the Shandon Bells. I took my time. It was a very long climb for knees that live in a bungalow!

Not far to go now

Not far to go now

Once at the top I followed the directions i was given.

Nice car

Nice car

Pity I didn’t meet this guy at the bottom of the hill. We spoke for a few minutes but a call to his phone brought word of a burglary at his home. He needed to rush off.

I finally found the tower.

I finally found the tower.

I finally found the clock tower.

The clock was made in 1847 by James Mangan, a Cork clock maker. It was at the request of Cork Corporation who paid for it then and to this day still maintain it. The clock is known locally as “The Four Faced Liar” because in days gone by, the four faces seldom showed the same time.

The four dials are painted on the stone of the tower with each face having a diameter of 15 feet 7 inches. The roman numerals are 3 inches high, made of timber and guilded. The minute hand is seven foot three inches from centre to tip.

St Anne's Church of Ireland, home to the Bells

St Anne’s Church of Ireland, home to the Bells

Even more steps!

Wooden steps to lure us further up.

Wooden steps to lure us further up.

The wooden steps take us to where you can ring the famous bells.

visitors ringing the bells

visitors ringing the bells

This young family working the bell ropes had come all the way from Alaska. The ropes are numbered one to eight like the notes in a music scale. A book sits on a lectern with several simple recognizable tunes for people to play on the numbered ropes. The young girl was calling the numbers for her family to play. This time it was Happy Birthday and I discovered that they were playing it on the birthday of the little fellow in the middle.

I let the family go ahead of me

I let the family go ahead of me

These steps needed thinking about – narrow very steep and with only a rope for help. It was a “Will I, won’t I” moment…

Rough flagged curve to the next level

Rough flagged curve to the next level

Now you know my answer.

View from a narrow window

View from a narrow window

View from a narrow window looking at the North Cathedral.

still more steps

still more steps

Look at how steep those steps are.

How time was & has changed

How time was & has changed

There are five barrels attached through pulleys to five weights which provide the power for driving the clock. Five is unusual as three are the norm. The clock ran for four days and had to be wound up by hand twice a week. The weights have now been disconnected and small electric motors are attached to the barrels, keeping the clock wound and running.

The pendilum

The 14 ft pendulum of the clock

The 14 foot pendulum of the clock hangs through the ceiling from the clock works on the floor above. It takes two seconds to swing from side to side. The total weight of the clock is in the region of five tonnes. I would not like the weight of that time on my arm! 😉

The clock bears an inscription:

The clock bears an inscription:

“Passenger measure your time for time is a measure of your being”

The eight bells were installed in 1752, a gift from Daniel Thresher. The played out across Shandon on 7th December for the marriage of Henry Harding and Catherine Dorman. They were being played as I passed, and although I was given ear protectors, I didn’t dally to try and photograph the moving clanging giants.

Each bell carries an inscription

Each bell carries an inscription

The eight bells weigh a total of six tonnes and each one has an inscription. They were cast at Rudhalls foundry in Gloucester, England.

The final steps to the viewing gallery were a little precarious for me so I cried off made the sensible decision not to climb any higher. I still had to work out how I was going to unclimb all those steps.

If you are curious the view, professional photos and more history can be found here.

It was time to head back to the station if I wanted to make it home in time for dinner. The journey home was short, my head was buzzing with all I seen and the wonderful people I spoke to on my day of adventure.

I had a wonderful welcome waiting for me when I got off the train at Adamstown:

Welcome home

Welcome home

A Darting Day.

The other day I decided to try as many of the modes of public transport available to me in Dublin.

 dublin area

Leaving Elly & George’s house, I hopped on the local bus  to town (Dublin), alighting at Heuston Train Station. From there I jumped on a Luas tram to Connolly Train Station, where I boarded the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART), that runs from Howth & Malahide on the north of Dublin bay right to Bray and on under Bray Head to Greystones in Co Wicklow.

I chose the southerly direction and a destination of Greystones.  It has been over almost half a century. since I visited Greystones, back then it was a very sleepy village.

Plenty of overhead cables at this end of the street

Plenty of overhead cables at this end of the street

Although expansion has taken place in Greystones and the arrival of the ‘Dart’, turned it into a commuter town.

The other end of the street. Note the difference when the cables are underground

The other end of the street. Note the difference when the cables are underground

The place still holds on the village feeling with a wonderful selection of interesting restaurants and well looked after shops and boutiques.

Mrs Robinsons_1

Mrs Robinsons Restaurant

Mrs Robinson believes in looking after her outdoor customers.
Mrs Robinson believes in looking after her outdoor customers.

I ambled my way about the streets and sat for a coffee at the Happy Pear  It was busy, but welcoming and the coffee was good. I sat outside and ‘people watched’.

I found this small strand from the road, but it was a long climb down

I found this small strand from the road, but it was a long climb down

Then it was time to seek out the beach of soft coarse sand.

Soft sand, but no bright sun so far today

Soft sand, but no bright sun so far today

The sky was clearing and the sun appearing…

I see the sea!

I see the sea!

When I had my fill, I worked my way back to the Dart Station, to head back towards town. Realising that I had never travelled all the way round Dublin Bay in one go, I got my ticket to take me to Howth.

End of the line at Howth Dart Station

End of the line at Howth Dart Station

Howth was really the end of the line. I have been to Howth on many occasions, so did not dally this time.

I took the Dart back to Connelly Station, from there the Luas to Heuston Station and this time a train from Heuston to Adamstown.

The fresh sea air, had sharpened my appitite and the aroma of good cooking was very welcome smell. Elly & George produced aperitifs and nibbles to snack on, as I shared my adventure and we waited for dinner.

So I was on a bus, tram, Dart and train, now that leaves boats and planes for another day!

A taste of my Dublin Week

Sheep shade

Sheep shade

Monday sun and rising...

Monday sun and rising…

Photographing the Alphabet ~ O

O ~ Organ

This Pipe organ is in St John’s Church, Donegore, nestled against the side of Donegore Hill.

 

St John’s church on a sunny afternoon

The parish was fortunate to receive the gift of this pipe organ from St Brigid’s Church of Ireland, Parish of Mallusk, Co. Antrim. It had started life in a Roman Catholic Church in the South of Ireland and spent some time in a Presbyterian church before the move to Mallusk.

Many hands were needed to assist in the task of moving the seven hundred and eighty pieces from St Brigid’s Church to the horse lorry, and again from there into Donegore Church.

Pedals polished by regular footwork.

A view from the pulpit.

The church still uses candle power for lighting the building, and the Christmas Carol Service is always packed to the doors.

In the south-west corner of the churchyard is the watch-house, or corpse house, built in 1832 to foil the attempts of the “resurrectionists” at body-snatching.You can see it at the beginning of this little video clip. It was my very first attempt at making a soundless video and not very high quality, but you get the idea!

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Donegore Church is a Grade A Listed Building by the Historic Monuments and Buildings Branch of the Depratment of the Enviroment (N.I.) and the corpse house is also a listed building. As such, restoration and repair must be carried out to the highest standards and in sympathy with the architecture and history of the building.

Green Day

Slemish in the distance

Slemish, historically called Slieve Mish, in the townland of Carnstroan a few miles east of Ballymena, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is the remains of the plug of an extinct volcano. Tradition holds that Saint Patrick was enslaved as a youth and brought to this area to tend sheep herds on Slemish, and that during this time he found God.

A view from the other side

A circular walk starts from the car park at the base of Slemish, up a steep rocky track to the summit some 1437 feet above sea level. The track down is much gentler and leads back to the car park. On a clear day, as the song goes,it is possible to see as far as the Sperrins.

On this our National Holiday…. May your life abound with blessings:

A soft breeze when summer comes, a warm fireside in winter

And always: The warm, soft smile of a friend.

Grant us a sense of humour, Lord, the saving grace to see a joke,

To win some happiness from life, and pass it on to other folks.

♣ ♣ ♣

Torched

It was hard to credit that my journey from Co Antrim to Co Down was taking place in the month of June and not darkest November. Setting out at 3pm, I drove through the darkness of fog, road spray & rain so heavy it was necessary to use dipped beams and fog lights! My sympathy was with those running, walking or dancing through the streets carrying and trying to keep a ‘torch’ alight.

My rendezvous was with the speccy family at the Outlet Centre outside Banbridge and we were to travel together from there into the town.  Mr Speccy was Torch Bearer No. 90 and we were headed to find a Pole/Lamp Post with that number on it.

Pole No 90 and basecamp for The Speccy Family

In our group we had a proud Mum & Dad (who travelled from England for the occasion) Mrs ‘Pole 90’ aka speccy, Girl1 & Girl2. Along the way we grew in numbers with friends, colleagues and school children.

The miserable wet day may have soaked the clothing of the spectators, but it certainly didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowds waiting all along the streets of Banbridge in Co Down, yesterday evening.

A smile in the rain from a finalist for Face of Northern Ireland as we wait for the torch bearers to arrive.

The pole with a gold number 90 was the spot where Mr speccy would accept the flame from the previous runner and begin his journey. We got there in good time and spread along the kerbside. As the minutes passed the crowd swelled and buzz of chatter grew with n air of anticipation and excitement.

Police outriders were the clue that the parade was arriving.

There I go again… distracted by a Toyboy on a bike and look what happens…..

I almost missed the man of the moment arriving to be greeted by family and friends!

In place and ready for the hand over of the Olympic flame.

Passing on the flame.

Robbie aka Mr Speccy – Son, husband, father, teacher & friend – a man known to go more than the extra mile for those in need, is ready to run for Northern Ireland in the Banbridge stretch of the London 2012 torch route.

He is off!

Well done young man!

Openings 37 ~ A hole

An opening in a rock at Cavehill, high above Belfast.

The photo was taken from the area called the Devil’s Punchbowl.

Cave Hill Country Park gets its name from five caves – which could be early iron mines – located on the side of the main Belfast cliffs. Click to enlarge the photo ( I can only find three caves at this angle) or take a virtual tour of the Cave hill and McArt’s Fort

There is a challenging circular route walk (4.5 miles), beginning at Belfast Castle it can, however, be joined from

  • Bellevue (Belfast Zoo) car park
  • Upper Hightown Road
  • Upper Cavehill Road.

It is a steep climb over unsurfaced paths. I know. I have done it in the past, right to the top, and hope to try it again someday. I did go back on my own as far as the Devil’s punchbowl, but would not attempt to go further alone these days.

Any takers?

McArt’s Fort

You need stout shoes and waterproofs in case the weather changes. But on a clear day the view is well worth it.

That’s not me, but I have been up there on that spot.

Looking down over Belfast Lough as the Stena Voyager catamaran makes her way into Belfast from Scotland

Now I will let you into a little secret….

I had to go out especially to take the next few pictures.

From Fortwilliam roundabout

The Cave hill from below, is distinguished by its famous “Napoleon’s Nose”, a basaltic outcrop which resembles the profile of the famous emperor.

It is said to have inspired the famous novel Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.*

View from the Waterworks Park at the Cavehill Road, Belfast

Way below the cliff there is an actual Lilliput Street, off the Shore Rd.

The street has been rejuvenated in recent years but the buildings on the next street corner have yet to have a facelift.

* A visit to Auntie Wikipedia gives me a different story:

Lilliput is reputedly named after the real area of Lilliput on the shores of Lough Ennell in Dysart, Mullingar, County Westmeath in Ireland. Swift was a regular visitor to the Rochfort family at Gaulstown House. It’s said that it was when Swift looked across the expanse of Lough Ennell one day and saw the tiny human figures on the opposite shore of the lake that he conceived the idea of the Lilliputians featured in Gulliver’s Travels.

I think it is a case of ‘you pays your money and you takes your choice’!