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.
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 →
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.
We made a last minute decision to take a trip to Cunnigar Strand in Waterford today, so that Ally could collect some stones and shells for arty stuff. The girls’ brightly coloured hair stood out in stark contrast to the surrounding beach scenery, but do you think they’d pose for me?
Not a chance!
I still managed to grab a couple of shots of them though.
The photo below was taken as they came across a jelly fish or something. Both of them were daring each other to touch it, but neither of them would.
Some of you will have seen my Tweets and my Facebook status last night and early this morning, and will know that I spent some time in A&E last night. Several people thought I was there with John because of the photos I posted of him last night with the angle grinder. 😀 John is fine. It was Ally who wasn’t feeling well and she was kept in last night, unfortunately.
I finally got home at about 2AM this morning so I had a late start today – probably just as well as the sun came out and I had a window of photographic opportunity for a while.
Dove Hill Castle, Carrick-on-Suir
I must have passed this tower house hundreds of times on the road from Clonmel to Waterford and have never stopped to take a look. So, seeing as Ally could leave the hospital for a while today, I took both her and Bláthnaid for a spin.
Dove Hill Castle is a Norman tower built about 1450, and is very much in ruins. The ivy has taken a firm hold on the building as you can see from the photos.
The tower is sited on private land. There is a gate, with a section removed, that allows one to climb through easily into the field, and there’s a pathway worn through the hay up to the castle. Further down another gate states that trespassers will be prosecuted. I didn’t see that gate until I came out though, and I think maybe it leads into a different field (…honest, Garda).
If you feel you’d rather not take your chances with the sign, then you can easily take a photo of the tower from the gate. Just don’t arrive on a sunny day at lunchtime or it’ll be a silhouette you’ll be photographing.
When you’re all towered out you can nip across to the Dove Hill Irish Design Centre and shop to your heart’s content. I don’t want to sound like an advertisement, but they’ve a fantastic Newbridge Silverware section, they stock gorgeous Meadows & Byrne kitchen and homeware, and Lily Mai’s café is great for lunch and dinner.
It’s an awful pity Dove Hill wouldn’t do something with their website though.
I took a spin out to Mahon Falls where the sun decided to do a disappearing act, and I almost froze to death trying to take a photo. It was 5 degrees up there and people were strolling around the mountain looking freshfaced, windblown and happy.
I can’t remember the last time I was up at Mahon Falls, and the landscape is really stunning. There are lots of places where you can pull in to admire the view, and there are at least two carparks where you can park up for a while if you fancy a bit of hillwalking.
Did I mention the magic road? A little way down from the waterfall is an incline beside a Fairy Bush (or a raggy bush as it’s sometimes called). If you turn your engine off and put your car into neutral, your car will magically roll UP the hill! Try it, but try it on a day that’s not Sunday in order to avoid the steady stream of cars touring the Comeraghs.
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.
Ally 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 →
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….
….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!
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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 Avenue
There’s a small little café that does tea, coffee, hot chocolate and some lovely snacks and cakes too.
The Cloisters Tea Rooms, Mount Melleray
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
The camping field is very well looked after. Maybe next time I’m invited along I might actually go.
Melleray Camping Field
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
He gave me this rather reproachful look then as I took another photo of him.
I think I know why he was giving me such vengeful looks though.
I found this in the grass:-
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.
Field of Bones
And then I realised the entire field was strewn with bones.
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.
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.
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 - the only door in the cottage
Window Sill in Bedroom One - More Bones
Doorways to Bedroom Two and Porch
Fireplace in Bedroom Two
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Goats Cheese Tartlet with Roasted Veg (iPhone Photo)
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.
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!