Sunday, December 26, 2010

December 26, 2010

First real snow of the season. The old homestead...

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ireland, 2010 - The Bog

On our fourth day in Ireland we went to one of the local bogs to help our hosts load up some dried turf. Turf in Ireland is kind of like firewood is here in New England, although turf is probably not a renewable resource. Practically speaking, firewood is barely renewable in most of New England. Anyway, it's basically dead plant material that when extracted from the ground dries out nicely and burns much like charcoal briquettes.

Here's a view of the bog with the peat turf hilled up:
Freshly extruded peat:

Stacked for drying:

After initial extruding, the peat breaks up into nice stove-sized chunks:

Part of the bog where the peat is being cut. It can go down six feet or more. After the peat has been removed from a bog, the land will eventually be converted to pasture, although some local farmers told us it's still too soggy for cows:

If I have any facts wrong, I would appreciate thoughtful comments/corrections. The bog is an interesting place.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Knappogue Castle

Knappogue Castle is a popular attraction in County Clare and host to regular "Medieval Night" dinners. Built in 1467, it has a long and varied history. After having been owned by a local farmer in the 1920's, it was acquired in 1966 by Mark Edwin Andrews of Houston Texas, and restored to it's present state. There are a few in-depth histories of the castle on-line, and they are well worth reading.

Here is a view of the tower from the court-yard:

A doorway leading to the banquet hall:

Nice lighting through-out. Maybe next time, we'll visit at night, when everything is lit up as it would have been 500+ years ago...

Window in the great room.

The great room.

View from the gardens, which probably would have looked a lot better if not for the severe Irish winter of 2009-10, which killed off a lot of hedges and plantings.

Next up: Some Irish beaches.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ireland, 2010 - Quin Abbey

Quin Abbey was built between 1402 and 1433 by Sioda Cam MacNamara. According to the care-taker, it was built to pay tribute to God for having saved MacNamara's son from drowning in a near-by lake.

An impressive grave marker in the cemetery.

The cloisters.

Just one of many intriguing staircases in the abbey. We did get a bit lost while exploring the abbey, which is free to the public (as are all the others I've posted about so far), and visitors can roam about to their heart's content.

This is one of the upper-level rooms. It's strange to climb a few sets of stairs and seen green grass when you emerge.

A school tour arrived as we were finishing up. They were not allowed on the upper levels, so I teased them a bit.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ireland, 2010 - Clare Abbey

Clare Abbey is just a few miles from Shannon Airport, and right off the highway, but it's like another world in the abbey ruins. I like ruins.

Some say there are spirits lurking among the stones. Some of them are kinda cute.

A raven perched atop the abbey wall.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ireland, 2010 - Dysert O'Dea

Wildflowers on the walk from Dysert O'Dea castle to the monastery ruins.

The monastery.

Steps set into the stone wall. Access to the monastery from the pasture.

The Monk's Tower with the monastery on the left, ca 12th century. The castle was built in 1480.
Monastery interior arches.

Later ruins on the O'Dea archaeological trail. The site is so pristine that we felt like the first visitors since it fell to ruins. We did see one other group of tourists that day.

Leaving O'Dea, the road to the Burren.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ireland, 2010 - Dysert O'Dea

A few photos from our trip to West Clare this June. Our first day-trip was to Dysert O'Dea castle, just south of Corofin.

Castle interior.

Views from the top of the castle.

The castle from a near-by pasture.

More to come...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Future Science

I love cities of the future, the older the better...This one is from 1948.

And the vehicles to tour them in:

What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Queen of the Back Yard

Pinky-Cat (nee Mojo) surveying the yard on a warm May evening.

Here she has moved to the other end of the picnic table. A significant event for her.

Obviously, a nap is now called for.

Monday, May 24, 2010