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!
The Dunbrody, built in 2001, is a replica of a 19th Century famine ship (originally intended for use as a cargo ship) that sailed the seas from 1845 up until 1875 when she ran aground off the coast of Labrador. Between the years of 1845 and 1851 she ferried Irish passengers across the Atlantic, to Canada and the US, to escape the terrible famine here that ensued after the potato blight struck.
Famine ships were often termed ‘Coffin’ ships but the Dunbrody had a good record for getting passengers to where they were going so it didn’t slot into that category, thankfully.
That doesn’t mean that conditions were good though.
The photograph above is of the ‘steerage’ accommodation. It looks bright and airy, but picture it with 200+ people inside and the hatches shut.
Steerage (who made up the majority of passengers on board) spent six to eight weeks below decks in dark, cramped, deplorable conditions and often had to share their quarters with fleas, bedbugs and rats. They’d an even less pleasant time (the passengers that is, not the fleas and bedbugs) if they were unlucky enough to have to sleep in the bottom bunks. Those in the top bunks didn’t always make it to the nearest bucket in time if they were feeling unwell.
Bunks were shared by four people as the passenger bunk list below shows. This meant that couples or single people often shared their sleeping quarters with complete strangers.
We watched a 10 minute video presentation that showed the making of the replica ship and the naming of it by Jean Kennedy Smith, the sister of John F. Kennedy whose grandfather had emigrated from New Ross.
Of the original Dunbrody, only the bell remains. Apparently it was tradition for the owners to keep the bell when they sold the ship on.
A tour guide was available to take us around the ship on the day we visited. Towards the end of the tour the bell rang above, and I wondered at the mixed feelings of relief and intrepidation that those poor passengers on board must have felt, years ago, on hearing that same bell ring when land was sighted.
On Saturday several members of Photowalk.ie met up at Boro Valley Fruit Farm where we were made feel at home by Murt Murphy before being taken on our ‘fruitful’ journey.
An amazing journey it was too!
There were more strawberries than I’ve ever seen.
Huge polytunnels, and a state of the art greenhouse with a computer controlled heating and ventilating system, housed long rows of strawberries.
These well looked after berries are grown in long containers suspended at chest height.
Rows and rows of ’em!
Murt gave us a complete rundown of the lifecycle of the strawberry, from planting to picking. I never realised there was so much involved in looking after strawberries, and I pity the five strawberry plants growing in a container in my back garden with only me to care for them.
I haven’t tasted my own homegrown strawberries yet as they’re still green, but I did get to sample some of the Boro Valley Farm crop on Saturday and they were gorgeous!! Even Ally, who is not a fruit eater, declared them to be ‘delicious’ and said ‘It’s no wonder Murt was eating so many of them!’. (I ‘lolled’ out loud at that because it was very true.) 🙂
I think Ally had a job to stop herself from eating them too though.
We spent a couple of hours taking photographs of the strawberries (photographers delight really), and then had fun taking photos of this lot!
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And the best bit?
We got to EAT everything afterwards! 🙂
Thanks to Murt, the Murphy family, and everyone at Boro Valley Fruit Farm for an enjoyable day. They’re lovely people and I wish them continued success. And thanks to the members of Photowalk.ie who were great fun and who even lent us some of their gear to try out. (We loved this fish eye lens)
Ally and I are both looking forward to the next photowalk already!
Oops! I almost forgot to mention. Pop over to Brian’s Blog for more photos from Saturday.