Browneshill Dolmen, County Carlow. Built by the Neolithic Irish over 4000 years ago. Tall Ship off Duncannon Fort, Hook Peninsula, County Wexford. The fort held out in 1649 against an attack by Ireton and Cromwell. Kilkenny Castle. built by the Normans in the 13th century. Reginald's Tower, Waterford City. Built by the Normans in the 12th/13th centuries, on the site of an earlier Viking fort.

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Coumshingaun,  Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford. Coumshingaun is one of the best examples of a glaciated corrie lake in Ireland. The back wall of cliffs rise 1200 feet above the lake. Click for larger image. Ireland
Dunmore East, County Waterford.

Standing stone near Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford. Jerpoint Abbey, County Kilkenny. Fouded by the Normans in the 13th century. Click for larger image. Kilfarrasy, County Waterford. Click for larger image.

Cliffs of Moher

Summer seaside

Cliffs of Moher

Castle near Doolin, County Clare

Achill Island, County Mayo

Patrick's Pearse's cottage


Lough Corrib walls

Maam Valley clouds

Maam Valley floor

Maam Valley

waves near Dunmore, County Waterford.

After a mild, quiet winter, the second half of January 2002 brought some bad storms. For three days in a row, even on the south coast, the waves rolled in 20 foot high or more.

Poulanassy Waterfall, County Kilkenny tramore harbour, County Waterford

Top of Mahon Falls,  Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford. Ok, so it's not Niagara Falls (although the total drop, in a series of small cataracts, is about 300') , but this valley is worth a visit. The road goes to within a mile of the falls, and a  path goes the rest of the way to their base. Don't climb up beside the falls unless you know what you're doing. Click for larger image. 500' high back wall at Coumfea, Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford. Click for larger image. Stone circle? Mahon Falls,  Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford. Click for larger image.

Waves near Dunmore, Autumn 2002.

Rock of Cashel, County Tipperary.

Seascape, County Waterford. Click for larger image

Early October 2001 brought a week or two of gales, before the weather settled down.

Landscape, County Waterford. After a poor summer, the flushes of blackthorn, of gorse, of hawthorn, elder and meadowsweet finished, and a warm, sunny September filled the country with ripe blackberries.

Southern arete at Coumshingaun,  Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford. Click for larger image. Cottage at foot of Comeraghs. Click for larger image. Coumshingaun,  Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford. Click for larger image.

'Where the Wood and Waters meet', County Waterford. "What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and wilderness yet."
From "Inversnaid" by Gerard Manly Hopkins.

Blue-tailed Damselfly. Click for Michael O'Meara's great site on Waterford wildlifeClick image to go to Michael O'Meara's great site on Waterford wildlife. Using mainly his own time and money, Michael has devoted much of his life to studying and protecting wildlife in the Waterford area. Some of his work is now partly supported by The Heritage Council, RTE Radio and The Royal Irish Academy, among others. More funding is needed to print the results of Michael's fieldwork, which will be distributed free to schools in the area, and if you would like to help, visit Waterford Wildlife or contact Michael at michael@waterfordwildlife.com .

Coumshingaun, Comeragh Mountains, County Waterford.

Poulanassy Waterfall, County Kilkenny. "Once more had come now the miracle of the Irish June. Yellow of gorse; red of clover; purple of the Dublin Mountains ...and wherever a clump of trees was there grew great crops of bluebells, and the primroses lingered who should have been gone three weeks and more ... Once more had come the now the miracle of the Irish June. Westward the sun drove, like some majestic bird, and the rays, yellow as yellow wine, cleared the purple peaks and slopes ... but in the valleys and lowlands the foggy dew still rested, so that the kine and the horses were breast deep in it, as in a sea of silver. And from the mountains there blew a little breeze, cool as cool water ... All the trees nodded to her, all the flowers waved, the rivers sang and the salmon leaped high from the pool ... and the fisherman of Aran and the peasant tilling his acre stopped for a moment to say: God is good! Once more had come now the miracle of the Irish June."

From Hangman's House by Donn Byrne.

"Oh, the wild joys of living! the leaping from rock up to rock.....
...the cool silver shock
Of the plunge in a pool's living water..."
From "Forever In Joy" by Robert Browning.

Caiseal na Ri - Cashel of the Kings. Click for larger image. Medieval bridge over the River Suir in County Tipperary. Click for larger image. Cahir Castle. Click for larger image.

Wood, County Waterford "...the Fomor have ye in thrall; and upon your minds they have fastened a band of lead.....Believe it, that the sun does shine, the flowers grow, and the birds sing pleasantly in the trees. The free winds are everywhere, the water tumbles on the hills, the eagle calls aloud through the solitude, and his mate comes speedily. The bees are gathering honey in the sunlight, the midges dance together, and the great bull bellows across the river. Saleen, County Waterford The crow says a word to his brethren, and the wren snuggles her young in the hedge..... Leave the plough and the cart for a little time; put aside the needle and the awl..... Come away! Come away! from the loom and the desk....Is it for joy you sit in the broker's den, thou pale man? Has an attorney enchanted thee?.....Come away! For the dance has begun lightly, the wind is sounding over the hill, the sun laughs down the valley, and the sea leaps upon the shingle, panting for joy, dancing, dancing, dancing for joy".....more in this vein.

From the song of the Shee (Sidhe) in the "The Crock of Gold" by James Stephens.

Rock Of Cashel, County Tipperary.

Dunmore East, County Waterford. Click for more pictures.

Wave Break, County Waterford. Click for more seascapes. "I remember a day...on which some distant storm far off in the Atlantic sent in the last of its waves to batter the island. There was something very dreadful in the sudden rising of the sea on a day of calm airs, for the great rollers seemed to be driving in on us by an incommunicable volition of their own, independent of the will of the sky. Long before they reached the line of reefs that run out from the point of the island their heads began to topple over in foam, and then they would cast themselves on the rocks, tower up in innumerable fountains to the sky, and at last in their fall bury the black rocks in a white confusion of foam. The long shape of Carraig Fhada would disappear entirely, and then gradually emerge here and there through veils of streaming snow, only to be buried again as another wall of water crashed down on it from the sky."

From "The Western Island", a book about the Great Blasket Island off County Kerry, by Robin Flower.

Blasket Islands, County Kerry.  Photo by Elizabeth Murray.

Blasket Islands, County Kerry. Looking south-east from near Dunquin, Slea Head (the mainland) is on the left, The Great Blasket is in the middle distance, Inishvickillaun behind The Great Blasket to its left, and the shark's tooth shape of Tearacht can just be seen on the far right. Photo by Elizabeth Murray. "Ryan's Daughter", directed by David Lean, was filmed here. Many of the place-names are beautiful - Tearacht, the Scornach, Iveragh, Cuan Una, Cuas Cromha and the Rodana. They remind me of those on the Waterford coast - Falskirt, Portamhada, Durlach, the Hookasaun, Oogowra, the Beanlea, Coolum and Clashlachai (I've never seen some of these names written down anywhere, so I'm unsure of the spellings).

"'Would you like to go up to the hill with me?' said my grandfather, putting a straddle on the ass to bring home a load of turf.
It was a fine, calm, sunny day. My father had gone at the sparrow's chirp lobster-fishing to Inish-vick-illaun in the west and was not to return till Saturday.
'I would' said I.
We went up the road, my grandfather with a stick in one hand, the other holding his pipe in his mouth for lack of teeth.
When we reached the top of the road we had a fine view between us and the horizon to the south - the Great Skellig and Skellig Michael clearly to be seen, Iveragh stretched out in the sunshine to the south-east, not a puff of air nor a cloud in the sky, herring-gulls in hundreds around the trawlers which were fishing out in the bay, larks warbling sweetly over the heather, young lambs dancing and playing tricks on one another like school children let out in the middle of the day......"

"The next day, a Sunday, was very fine, the sea calm and not a sound to be heard but the murmur of the waves breaking on the White Strand and the footsteps of men walking down to the quay on their way out to the mainland to Mass.....
It was midday now, the sun in the height of its power and a great heat in it. While we were talking, Tomas rose up on his elbow : 'Do you know where we will go for the rest of the day?'
'Gathering sea-gulls eggs in the Scornach'.
Away we went until we reached its mouth. Looking down at the cliff, a feeling of dizzyness came over me.
'What mother's son could go down there, Tomas?'
'Arra, man', said he, with a laugh, 'you only lack practice'...
Tomas was down before me leaping as light as a goat through the screes...'Take it fine and easy' he said to me, 'for fear your foot would loosen a stone and hit me on the head as it went down the hill. It is then you would be raising a clamour , Maurice, when you would see me falling over the cliff.'
'Don't be talking that way, Tomas. You make me shiver.'
A cold sweat was coming out on me with the eeriness of the place. I stopped and looked up. When I saw the black rugged cliff standing straight above I began to tremble still more. I looked down, and there was nothing below me but the blue depth of the sea: 'God of Virtues!' I cried, 'Isn't it a dangerous place I am in!'......
I...looked down. Tomas was nowhere to be seen. 'Tomas' I cried.....
'Well' came up from Tomas far below....It seemed to me he was miles below me. God of Virtues, said I to myself, he will fall over the cliff as sure as I live. I will go no further myself anyway....
The sun was now as round as a plate beyond the Tearacht to the west, and a path of glittering golden light stretching as far as the horizon over the sea.....Hundreds of birds were flying around, rabbits leaping from one clump of thrift to another, a fragrant smell from the white heather and the fern, big vessels far out on the horizon you would think were on fire in the sunlight, a heat haze here and there in the ravines, and Kerry diamonds lying all around weakening my eyes with their sparkle."

Muiris and Tomas survived their trip to the Scornach, and although the eggs Tomas stole were useless as food, having chicks in them, Muiris had caught several dozen puffins. Hunting birds and rabbits provided an important source of nutrition for the islanders in those days.

"It was growing late. The sun was sinking on the horizon, the dew falling heavily as the air cooled, the dock-leaves closing up for the night, sea-birds crying as they came back to their young, rabbits rushing through the fern as they left their warrens, the sparkle gone out of the Kerry diamonds, and a lonesome look coming over the ravines...."

"We were now in sight of the village, lamps lit in every house, dogs barking, the houses and rocks clearly reflected in the sea which lay below them without a stir like a well of fresh water, the moon climbing up behind Cnoc-a-choma, big and round and as yellow as gold."

Muiris O'Suileabhain (Maurice O'Sullivan) was born and reared on the Great Blasket in the early 1900's. The above extracts were translated from his book, "Fiche Bliain Ag Fas" (Twenty Years A-Growing), by Moya Llewellyn Davies and George Thomson. Life could be very hard on the island for much of the year, and The Great Blasket was abandoned to its ghosts in the 1950's.

Reginald's Tower, Waterford City

The kettle on the hob

The kettle on the hob

Showjumper at Waterford Show

"...The other horse is jet black...head firmly knit...
...feet broad-hoofed and slender...
...Spirited and fiery, he fiercely gallops..stamping firmly on the ground...
...Beautifully he sweeps along...having outstripped the horses of the land..."

From a description of the Dubh,
one of Cuchulainn's two chariot horses,
(The other being the Grey of Macha)
in "The Wooing of Emer",
a 2000 year old Irish saga.

The Irish still love their horses.

Dog Learns to Drive
Dog Learns to Drive

"I knew the dog was possessive about the car
but I would not have asked her to drive it
if I had thought there was any risk."
(From an insurance claim form)

All images are copyright
and may not be reproduced without
written permission.

Thanks to Tom Moylan for the loan of his camera and lenses,
and for the use of some of his pictures.