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Bunmahon Copper Mine, Waterford

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We went for a spin last weekend and took in some of Waterford’s Copper Coast which I always thought was named after it’s beautiful sandy beaches.  I never knew that there was an entire copper mining industry in the area in the 1800s.  Maybe I can be forgiven for this considering I’m technically a ‘blowin’.

Driving through an area called Tankardstown we came across these buildings, which are the remains of the old copper mine that operated there from 1850 to 1879.

Bunmahon Copper Mine

The Dublin Mining Company had moved their operations to Tankardstown in 1850 and business reached its peak in 1865.  This however was followed by a steep decline and eventually in 1879 all the engines were sold for scrap and the buildings fell into disrepair. Continue reading

Dromana House and Gardens – Herbs and Wild Flowers

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Over the last year I’ve seen lots of photos of Dromana House and it’s gardens, but haven’t had the time to visit. So I was delighted to finally get to see this wonderful place today when I attended a talk on growing and foraging for herbs.

Thanks to Google Maps, Ally and I had an ‘interesting’ drive from Clonmel to Newcastle, over the Vee, and around Cappoquin before finally reaching our destination.

This beautiful gate, alone, made the journey worthwhile.

Dromana Bridge

This is Dromana Gate, and it’s history is quite enchanting, if not a little unfathomable.

Dromana Gate

Aside from the questionable origination of the gate, one has to wonder what on earth’s name a 160 year old woman was doing up a cherry tree. She was obviously one very agile lady.

The road from the gate stretches on for a fair distance before reaching the turn off for Dromana House. Google Maps was spot on (apart from the pronunciation).

There’s a fine size car park (I’ve said this in my best Tipp accent) that faces part of the garden, at the rear of the house.

This is the stunning view that greeted us as we drove into the carpark.

Dromana Gardens

Below is the herb garden where the talk, by Áine Marie Reilly, started. I really like the layout of the circular herb patches.  I might have to steal this idea.

Dromana Herb Garden

Herbs grown included lavender, lovage, sage, thyme, chamomile.  The list was endless.  Within other sections of the garden there were peppermint, lemon balm, fennel and lots more.

Dromana House

Áine Marie Reilly was a fountain of knowledge when it came to the properties, healing qualities and methods of growing the various herbs. Some I was familiar with, and others were new to me.

Some notes that I took on the herbs while I was wrestling with my camera in the breeze (it was quite windy):-

Peppermint has a cooling and anaesthetic effect – good for pain, itching, bites and swollen joints

Lemon balm uplifts the mood and is also great for viral infections

Fennel relaxes the digestive system. It also helps increase the flow of breast milk and is good for colic.

Lavender is calming and is handy for people who don’t sleep deeply. (I can vouch for this.)

Thyme is an antiseptic and good for infections, especially lungs (coughs) and kidneys (urinary tract infections).

Chamomile is good for inflammation (chamomile teabags on inflamed eyes is supposed to work wonders). It’s also good for stomach ulcers and leg ulcers.

Rosemary increases the circulation to hands, feet, and also the head. It helps with concentration. (I need a good dose of this stuff.)

Those were just a few of the herbs that Áine spoke about.

Dromana Gardens

As we progressed through the gardens I was fascinated by the display of colour throughout. I especially loved the rhodo….rhododendro…rhododenrens….you know the ones I mean…

I think I’ve planted a rhododendron at every house I’ve ever lived.  None of them ever did very well, until we moved to the house we’re in now.  We planted a rhododendron last year and it has the most amazing pink blooms on it now, even if it is still quite small.  I’m sure those at Dromana must have been planted a lot longer though.  Some of them are magnificent and cover a huge area.

Dromana House Gardens

Dromana House

Dromana House and Gardens

Dromana House

 

The little pathways through the grounds are fabulous and I’m looking forward to going back and taking more photos when I’ve more time.

After the tour of the garden we were taken into the old kitchen part of the house, where there was tea waiting for us, and the most delicious vol au vents with wild garlic flowers garnishing them, followed by both rosemary and lavender biscuits – a really nice touch.

Then Áine demonstrated how to make some of the herbal remedies, making it look so easy that I think I’ll give it a go myself….if all my herbs don’t pass away before I get around to it.

Dromana House is definitely worth a visit, and certainly worth another visit or two in this case.  It has an amazing 600 years of history behind it – a history that is visible in the structure of the building that incorporates an original castle, and the furnishings and paintings within.

Thank you so much to the owners of Dromana House for their hospitality today, to Bill Flynn for showing me around the house, and, of course, well done to Áine Marie Reilly for her enlightening talk and demonstration.

Dromana House and Gardens is open to visitors during April, May and June and offers guided tours.

All other times are by appointment.

Visit the Facebook page at:- Dromana House

Rant of the Day – Waterford

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I almost got through an entire 24 hours without a rant!  But, as d’Unbelievables would say ‘Ye can’t be having that lads!’

And besides, it’s been a long time since I posted a rant here. Nothing like letting off a bit of steam to….to….well I’m sure there are benefits somewhere.

The long and the short of it (and it’s probably more long than short) is that I will NEVER use the €5 all day carpark in Waterford again.

It took me THREE attempts to get out of there today.

If anyone was watching me they’d have had a right laugh. (Please let whoever monitors the Garda cameras have been on a lunch break.)

First –  I couldn’t find the machine to pay my parking fee….because there isn’t a machine… until you reach the exit barrier.

There are no signs anywhere to tell you HOW to pay….until you reach the exit barrier.

And so it was that I pulled up at this exit barrier, with a ten euro note, thinking that in THIS day and age, surely I could put a tenner into the machine and get change. (That’s how all the OTHER machines work!)

A notice on the barrier informed motorists that ‘NO CHANGE IS GIVEN’.

I had to reverse from the barrier, park my car again, wait for an age at the pedestrian lights, walk up to The Granary for a take-away coffee….which I was beginning to need anyway, then wait for a hundred years at the pedestrian lights again, while my coffee grew cold.

I reversed my car out of its space again, this time gleefully approaching the barrier, with my newly gained five euro note held aloft….only to see that the slot I had thought was for the insertion of paper money was actually for….I don’t know what it was for actually….Waterford blahs, judging from the size of it.

As I was about to explode with annoyance, I noticed the credit card slot (YEAH!) and, as much as I hate using my credit card for small stuff (or anything that’s not a flight somewhere sunny actually), I hated the thought even more of once again getting out of my car to try to source change.

So I whipped my credit card out of my purse (where it’s lain dormant since June 2012), and inserted it into the specifically designed slot….only to find the fooking slot was  JAMMED!! I mean SERIOUSLY jammed. No matter how hard I shoved my card at it, it didn’t give way.

I had to reverse for a SECOND time from the barrier and park the car. I parked it  a little haphazardly this time. Personally I just wanted to abandon the thing and take the bus home.

I was getting out of the car and I must have looked like I was going to MURDER someone, because a lady who pulled up in another car to park in the space next to me (or, rather, the space that had the front end of my car stuck in it), thought better of it and drove off. I got into the car again and straightened it up because I’m nice like that, and then stormed into the bus station to beg for change in there.

WAHAYYYY….lucky me, there were two change machines in the bus station! I stuck my fiver into the slot of one of the machines, ready to hit the jackpot, when a message popped up asking me to ‘select my destination’.

If you’ve just laughed at that bit….I hate you.

I got my five euro back and managed to get change at the small shop in the bus station, where the girl who served me told me that so many people come in looking for change, and she wished someone would put proper signs up.

No small wonder that that particular car park was still largely empty as I was leaving then.

Get your act together, Waterford!!  Get some proper signs up…or at least fix the Blah machine.

5 of 365 pix – Places to visit in Tipperary – New Inn

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Today’s photo. No hints.  It’s WAY too easy!

(Title updated. Location correctly identified)

 

New Inn, Tipperary

05012013

 

 

Taken at 9AM this morning, and I got a big wave from a man out doing his shopping.  I need to get out more often.  I got two wolf whistles and a ‘Hiya gorgeous’ last week.  And, no, I wasn’t walking the dog at the time.

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The Moorings (pub for sale), Cheekpoint, Waterford

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The MooringsAlly and I stumbled across ‘The Moorings’ on our way back home from Wexford a couple of weeks ago.  We had stopped off in Cheekpoint at McAlpin’s Suir Inn for a coffee, and for a gawk, as I’d never been in Cheekpoint before.  McAlpin’s, by the way, do a nice cup of coffee, and I’d love to try their dinner menu next time I’m there – the food smelled delicious, but we had had a huge lunch earlier.

Continuing on up The Strand Road for home afterwards, both of us copped the worn facade of ‘The Moorings’ and noted the side window wide open. Continue reading

Irish Coastguard Helicopter at Hook Head

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The Irish Coast Guard Helicopter (or at least one of them) was out and about while we were on Hook Head last week.  I was getting back into the car having taken a few photos of the lighthouse, when I heard the ‘copter approaching.

Thinking I could grab a few photos of it, I practically galloped across the rocks in my attempt not to miss out on shooting the massive red and white beast!

Coastguard Helicopter

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The Cat’s Bar, more sheep, and a house for sale!

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I made another trip to Mount Melleray on Monday.  This time Ally came with me.  She’d seen my photos of the old cottage and the sheep skulls and thought the skulls would make great drawing material.

So we packed plastic bags and rubber gloves, donned our boots and rain gear and set off up the wet, grey mountains (in the car) to fetch a bucket of bones.

The last day I was there, there was a single, lone sheep in the field.

This time there were two DOZEN….at least….

Sheep

 

….two dozen sheep who followed us, nervously, bleating loudly.  I had visions of an angry old farmer in a long coat tied in the middle with baler twine, appearing out of nowhere to shake a long crook at us and tell us to ‘clear orf’ out of his field and stop upsetting his sheep.

No farmers appeared though and we were able to gather up two or three skulls and their corresponding vertebrae and ribs, before letting ourselves back out the gate, tying it securely, and making our way back to the car with our hoard.

The sheep milled around the gate and seemed a bit upset that we’d absconded with their deceased ancestors’ skeletons….or maybe they were just disgusted that we weren’t taking them (the sheep) with us.  I’m not surprised.  I’d have been a bit miffed too if I’d been left in that field on the day that was in it.  They were soaked!

Sheep

 

Ally and I decided we’d drive a bit further up to ‘The Cats Bar’ for some coffee to try and get the heat back into us.  It’s not too far past Mount Melleray Abbey and is on the main road to Cappoquin.

The Cats BarThe Cats Bar 

There’s a billboard outside with a price list on it that would certainly entice the price conscientious traveller inside.

Where would you go wrong with coffee and a scone for two euro?

Cats bar price list

The inside of the pub was clean and bright, and there was a fire lighting beside the bar.  We were greeted by the owner (Mick Power) who took our order for lattes and scones.  A second fire was lit beside the table where we sat down, and it wasn’t long before we’d warmed up.

Cats Bar

 

The Cats Bar is a family run pub. It was Mick Power’s wife, Tina, who served us our coffee and scones, and there were a couple of boys stocking shelves and helping around the bar, who I expect were Mick and Tina’s sons. The scones were home made and were served warm, with butter and jam, and the latte went down a treat.  And there were no complaints about the price.  Two lattes and two scones came to six euros. I’ve been into places where I’d pay that for one serving.

Ally coffee

Don't take a photo of me....I'm warning you....

With the flames leaping in the gas coal effect fire in front of us, I could have spent the damp afternoon where I was and drank something a bit stronger than latte, but there was work to be done at home and I’d to drive too.  However, for anyone interested in spending an afternoon, or indeed, an evening in The Cats Bar with a few bevvies, this website belong to Pat Kiely mentions that they do Bed and Breakfast too.   The website is probably several years old though.

Of course, you could always just buy a house nearby.  This 4 bed, 2 bath bungalow on over an acre comes with the appealing price tag of just €165,000 over on SherryFitz website and is a mere 2 mile stroll from the bar.  Just the ticket if you don’t mind a few bothered sheep following you home.

House for saleHouse for sale

Mount Melleray Abbey and the missing Rag Tree

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Mount Melleray is a Cistercian Abbey located about 27km from Clonmel towards Cappoquin.  It was founded in 1832 by a group of Irish Monks who came to Ireland when they were forced to leave their Monastery in Brittany, France, following the revolution.

It is still a fully functioning Monastery and masses are held every weekday at 7.45AM, and on Sundays at 10.00am and 12 noon.

We arrived there yesterday morning, just as mass was finishing.  The right thing to do would have been to arrive before it began, I suppose, but I’m not very religious.  I pray, and I light a candle now and again, but it wouldn’t necessarily be in a church.

Avenue at Mount Melleray

Avenue at Mount Melleray Abbey

 

There are beautiful tree lined walkways around the Abbey – the perfect place to reflect and to have a quiet moment to oneself.

Mount Melleray Abbey

Mount Melleray Abbey

Melleray Avenue

Mount Melleray Avenue

 

There’s a small little café that does tea, coffee, hot chocolate and some lovely snacks and cakes too.

Mount Melleray Tea Rooms

The Cloisters Tea Rooms, Mount Melleray

Coffee and Scone

Instagram coffee

 

When we’d finished coffee I walked down the long driveway in the direction of the Scout Centre.  John has been on camp with the scouts there on several occasions and I wanted to take a look.

Mount Melleray Driveway

Mount Melleray Driveway

 

The camping field is very well looked after.  Maybe next time I’m invited along I might actually go.

Melleray Camping Field

Melleray Camping Field

Mount Melleray

Mount Melleray

Melleray Scout Centre

Melleray Scout Centre

 

There’s a small shop and a hotel just outside the gates of the driveway.

I’ve been into the hotel before.  It’s good for tea and scones.  The last time I was there I had a tour of the bedrooms too, which were lovely.  The hotel runs Christmas parties and this would be an ideal place to stay with family as it’s so small and cosy.

Mount Melleray Hotel

Mount Melleray Hotel

 

A lot of people visit the Grotto at Melleray where Our Lady appeared over 30 years ago and delivered a nine day message. You can read more information on the apparitions here.

You’d almost miss the Grotto if you didn’t know where it was.  The entrance from the road is a small little archway set in a wall, just off a bend in the road.

Grotto Entrance Melleray

Grotto Entrance Melleray

 

You’d want to be blind to miss the two carparks though, although I suppose that’s as good a reason as any to visit a Holy Grotto.

Melleray Grotto Car Parks

Car parking at Melleray Grotto

 

The last time I was at Melleray must have been over a year ago.  At the time I remember there being a Rag tree or ‘Fairy tree’ not too far from the Abbey – maybe about a mile or so out the road to Newcastle.  But I couldn’t find it this time.

I’ve learnt so much about them though through all my searching for this one.

They’re often situated beside ‘Cloughtie’ or ‘Clootie’ sacred wells and are thought to be associated with Gypsies.  I vaguely remember a few caravans in one of the fields up beside Melleray when I was there last, and I’m pretty sure it was probably the field where the cottage was that I visited yesterday, as there were signs that someone had been living there up till fairly recently.  I think that’s probably where the tree was too.

It’s gone now anyway, which is a pity.  It made for a fairly striking sight when driving by.  Maybe that’s why there were so many sheep carcasses around though.  I can’t imagine chewing on buttons and sets of Rosary beads would do the poor sheep any good.

I passed a tree down beside the Suir in Clonmel yesterday, across the road from Raheen House, and there were rags hanging from it’s branches.  So it looks like Clonmel will have its own suburban rag tree fairly shortly.  This is also a pity.  Because, as striking as the Raggedy Whitethorn was that was up in the wilds of the Knockmealdowns, I’m not sure that a Rag Tree needs to put in an appearance beside the river in Clonmel.

Rag Tree Knocklucas

I had a look for this particular tree when I got back from  Melleray.  Apparently it’s just out the road in Knocklucas.  The picture is from the Heritage Trees Database on TreeCouncil.ie.

I couldn’t find it.  The website states that, at the time,  the well and the path leading to it had fallen into disrepair, and God only knows how long that link has been on the site.

Having cleared out the wardrobes here, again, I have enough rags, myself,  to decorate a small forest.  I think I’ll just shove them in the Recycling bank though.  Like I said….I’m not very religious.

 

Mount Melleray Map

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Field of Bones

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Cottage

Cottage

I love visiting old, ruined buildings, whether they be castles, monastic sites, or just old, abandoned cottages, like this one.

This cottage is on the way to Mount Melleray from Newcastle, on the left hand side, just on a corner.  It’s pretty dilapidated but still interesting.

You can access it through a gate a little bit further down the road.  I’d recommend using the gate rather than climbing over the dodgy wall.  Just watch out for the sheep.

Sheep

Maaaad at me....

I don’t particularly like sheep.  There’s something about their eyes that unnerves me.  I’m quite happy that they’re usually so scared of everything that they go running off in the opposite direction when I approach.

This one didn’t though.  It just stood and stared….and blocked my way to the ruin that I wanted to take photos off.

He got fed up with me taking photos of him eventually though and decided to trot off.

Sheep

He gave me this rather reproachful look then as I took another photo of him.

Sheep

Sheep Skeleton

I think I know why he was giving me such vengeful looks though.

I found this in the grass:-

Sheep skull

 

And this:-

Skull

Seeing an entire sheep’s skeleton on the ground made me feel more uneasy than the sheep that I’d annoyed.

Seeing another sheep’s skeleton really creeped me out.

sheep skeleton

Field of Bones

And then I realised the entire field was strewn with bones.

Field of Bones

Porch area

I mean, I’d have expected a few bones with all the sheep that are in the mountains, but an entire field full of them? There are at least two skulls in this picture, plus the one from the first photo.

I also noticed that the bitter sheep had stopped following me as I got closer to the cottage.   I half expected a giant sheep eating Bigfoot Yeti to jump out of one of the windows, so when two pigeons came noisily flapping from the roof area I was ready to run attack!

I was left in peace though to continue taking photos.

Cottage doorway

The next photo is the view inside when standing outside the porch area of the cottage.  I’d to stand on my toes to try to get this picture as the ground outside is a good bit lower than the cottage floor.  Those are more sheep bones on the window sill.

Porch

Rusty Hinge

Rusty Hinge[/caption]

Door frame

Door frame

Sitting room

Sitting Room

It mightn’t look it, but it was pitch dark in the cottage.

There were a lot of cans and bottles around the place, and lots and lots of sheep poop! The floors were covered with it.

Doorway to Bedroom One

Doorway to Bedroom One - the only door in the cottage

Window in Bedroom One

Window Sill in Bedroom One - More Bones

Bedroom Two and Porch Doorways

Doorways to Bedroom Two and Porch

Bedroom Two Fireplace

Fireplace in Bedroom Two

Cottage Front View

Front View of Cottage

A view of the cottage from the front before I left for Melleray.  The sheep had gone.

I’ll be back there tomorrow with Ally who wants to take some of the skulls for art (yeuch!)

 

Dunmore East

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I had a lovely Mother’s day today.

Originally I’d been roped into doing a bit of filming today for Bláthny and her friends.  Unfortunately one of her friends couldn’t make it for the shoot, and the ‘movie’ had to be postponed.

As we’d nothing else planned we decided we’d head to Dunmore East, which has recently become one of my favourite places to while away a few hours.

 

Dunmore East Lighthouse Waterford

 

The harbour is lovely, although it can be quite chilly, even on a warm day.  Today there was enough of a breeze to make me think twice about walking the high wall that runs the length of the pier.

The girls were about to attempt it but when I told them I wasn’t jumping in after them if they blew off, they thought better of it.  They posed for some photos instead.

 

Dunmore East Lifebuoy

 

Dunmore East Lifebuoy

 

I made my first attempt at using the bracketing on the Canon 7D to try out HDR…..without a tripod.

It’s a bit blurry and it doesn’t really look HDRish.  But at least I know how to do it now so I’ll practice a bit more with it and bring my tripod with me in future.

Dunmore East HDR

 

It wasn’t long before we were all feeling the cold and we made our way up to the Spinnaker for dinner.  I love the Spinnaker, and so do Ally and Bláthny, ever since we tried it for the first time last summer.

The Spinnaker Dunmore East

 

It was packed today though and when we arrived we were told that we’d be waiting for an hour and a half for a table.  So we made a booking and then went down to the little beach nearby while we were waiting.

 

This dog kept us amused for a while.  He was absolutely adorable.  All he wanted was for people to throw stones for him.

 

Dunmore East Dog

 

Bláthny and her friend had a great time.  They’ve been best friends since they were in Junior Infants in Primary School, and when we moved house seven years ago they lost touch with each other.  They recently got in touch again through Facebook and have basically picked up where they left off.

Dunmore East

 

 

Dunmore East

 

After about an hour of clowning around we were all starving and made our way back up to The Spinnaker again where there was a table ready for us right beside the fire.

The food was delicious, as always.

 

Fishcakes (iPhone Photo)

Fishcakes

 

 

Goats Cheese Tartlet with Roasted Veg (iPhone Photo)

Goats cheese Tartlet with roasted veg

 

On the way home we passed through Waterford and there was a funfair on the quays.  I’d love to have stopped and taken some photos but we were all feeling tired so I made an attempt to get some snaps as we drove past.

Waterford Funfair

 

The colours of the sky in the background were absolutely amazing.  I’m planning on rising early tomorrow morning to make the most of what I think is going to be a fantastic, sunny day!