JUST DAISIES

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Just daisies and a few visiting insects.

 

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Thank you for visiting my post. Please check out my Irish wildflower category on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c802-irish-wildflowers-photos

 

 

 

BLOSSOMS, BIRDS AND BEES

corona times

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I’m continuing to search for inspiration in my own garden, while under restrictions imposed because of Covid-19. The apple trees are breaking into blossom and they look so gorgeous! This year they have a different significance. These photos will always remind me of the time I was confined to my home for fear of catching or spreading the dangerous corona virus. I never thought I would be prevented from walking on the beaches, but it has happened. Some of the beaches were getting too busy for safety, so they were closed.

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The weather has been just wonderful, most of the time, which makes it so much more bearable to be confined and out in the garden.

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I look forward to the apples. No sign of a blossom on the other fruit trees – cherries, plums and pears; but the apples trees are developing nicely.

Below is a video recording of birdsong at sunset. This one is a bit of a cacophony of sounds, from grasshoppers or crickets (or both), to various birds all chirruping together, some cattle in the distance, and all blurred by the white noise of the sea, which seemed particularly noisy on this occasion for some reason. One day I may get up and make a dawn chorus recording – but to be honest, it’s rare for me to be such an early bird.

This is for those of you who are confined to apartments, and who might be missing the sounds of nature.

STAY WELL FOLKS!

STILL PASSING TIME…

corona times

I’m losing track of time, but since my last post on this topic the restrictions have tightened and I’m limited to staying around my house.  So, I am trying to find subjects in my garden and very close by. No more cliff or beach walks, and another three weeks minimum of this has recently been announced. 

A local covid-19 case was diagnosed recently, a mile or two from here, with a holiday home visitor contact, I believe. This was the first I know of on the peninsula. It illustrates the importance of staying put and not travelling to holiday homes, running the risk of bringing the virus with you. Most people are observing this advice, but some do not.

The good news is that our government has announced a reduction in transmission rate of the virus and it’s now down to one or less than one per infected case, which mean the restrictions are working. The total number of cases in Ireland is 13,271, with 486 deaths.

I’m trying to get on with some painting; I procrastinate a lot, but it’s hard when the weather is so nice – I prefer to be in the garden topping up my vitamin D and doing a few jobs outside, in this wild unruly space, where the birds are happy and unfortunately so too are the brambles, rushes, rampant yellow iris, montbretia and fast growing indestructive willow. I’m so glad the japanese knotweed hasn’t found its way down here yet, although it’s not too far away! Any ambitions I might have about growing pretty wildflowers are fairly swamped by the over aggressive growth of these highly invasive species, which refuse to be controlled, so far.

I have however managed to complete some paintings; here is one of them. It shows the Tiaracht Island, one of the Blasket Island group, viewed from Clogher on the Dingle Peninsula. It’s an oil painting on canvas, 70 x 50 cms.

Tiaracht

Sunsets still happen, of course, although they have different levels of beauty.  I’ve previously captured and posted several from outside my home. Here are some recents.

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DSC_2633 Emlagh Sunset

 

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Above is Sybil Head, and I like to remind people that this was a location of the Star Wars movie The Last Jedi. The set, a replica of the ancient stone beehives on Skellig Michael, was placed on top of this headland for the entire summer during that filming.

DSC_2635 Three Sisters from Emlagh

 

Above and below you can see the Three Sisters, iconic images of the Dingle Peninsula. Here they are at sunset and in bright daylight.

DSC_2511 The Three Sisters from Emlagh-

 

Below is a photo of the recent pink moon – not looking so pink here – just a tinge, perhaps. It was covered with clouds within seconds after this. I barely had time to grab this.  Atlantic clouds! It was clear over the rest of the country

DSC_2567 emlagh moon

 

 

Like thousands of others at this time the birds are attracting my attention. There was a newcomer to the garden feeder recently; I’m still trying to discover whether he is a redpoll or a linnet.

I decided to have a  bit of fun recording myself playing some tunes with my flute along with the birdsong in the garden. The birds don’t always perform to order, and you have to take whatever type is active at the time, but there is usually some kind of peeping and chirruping. At first I tried sound files only, not wishing to video myself playing, but WordPress didn’t accept those files, so I had to start all over again using  video, which was difficult in terms of where to place the phone to get some kind of half pleasing image on it. The result shows an upside down image and the cold breeze did nothing for the tone or the tuning of my concert flute, but it was only for fun. I’d never have thought of doing it were it not for Covid-19. 

I tried a couple of bird related slow airs, here is The Lark in the Clear Air .

When you click on it the image it seem to right itself.  Don’t know why it won’t stay upright then! But the purpose of the exercise was really just to record the sound.

 

I consider myself lucky to have a peaceful environment and a good outdoor space in which to take some exercise and fresh air. It must be so hard for some people who have less comfortable surroundings in which to be confined, especially if they are trying to keep children entertained, or deal with stress and conflict –  even domestic violence.  I really feel for them, and especially those who are confined to apartments.  I’m not religious so I don’t pray, but I sincerely wish the best for everyone in these very unusual and (for some people) very difficult times. KEEP SAFE, all of you!

 

 

 

 

 

CHARLESTOWN, ITS LIMEKILNS etc.

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I visited Scotland last summer, where I visited friends in Charlestown, Fife,  but haven’t got round to showing these photos until now. Staying at home more due to the corona virus restrictions has finally motivated me to try to get it done.

Charlestown was a planned village created by Charles Bruce, the 5th Earl of Elgin in the 1750s.  The village cottages were built to house the workers operating the limekilns, intending to make the estate a major producer of lime for building purposes and fertiliser. Coal and limestone were resources already available on the estate. The lime industry was previously located in the neighbouring village called Limekilns.

Charlestown soon became one of the most important industrial centres in Scotland, served by a railway and harbour. It’s located on the coast of the Forth estuary, which flows into the North Sea on the East of Scotland.

But from the 1930s lime production diminished and the limekilns at Charlestown finally closed in 1956.  They quickly became derelict and neglected but work on their restoration began in about 1990 and today they represent an amazing bit of history and industrial architecture.

Here are my photos of those wonderful architectural old lime kilns at Charlestown.

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DSC_8821 Charlestown Harbour

The harbour, now a rather sleepy place compared with it’s once hustle and bustle.

DSC_8823 Charlestown Harbour

 

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An old type of houseboat, moored at the harbour.

DSC_8825 Charlestown Harbour

 

DSC_8830 houseboat Charlestown

 

DSC_8832 Houseboat Charleston

 

DSC_8834 boatwreck and Limekilns

 

DSC_8786 cottage gardens

The old worker’s cottages on the Elgin estate, now desirable residences. The tiny stone cottages, with their spacious gardens, all appear to have extensions built now.  Most of them have fabulous gardens, some in the front and back.  I was so impressed with my friend’s garden, above. You couldn’t do that in many parts of West Kerry.

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DSC_8788 cottages in charlestown

 

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The above rooftops and chimneys are of houses on the coast road, Charleston.

DSC_8804 Forth Bridge

A view of the Queensferry Bridge, with the evening sun illuminating the cables, one of three bridges over the Firth of Forth. Another bridge can be glimpsed in the background. I will show more of these bridges in another post.

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The area is amazingly colourful with flowers – wild and cultivated, everywhere. Above is a field of wild poppies, close to the village. I was amazed to see how much more flowerful the area is compared with back in West Kerry, and the foliage growth on the trees much more advanced, in spite of the more northerly latitude, and also on the cold North Sea. The windy Atlantic coast at home does seem to shorten our summer. They also get more sunshine in this part of Scotland than in West Kerry.

I have more Scotland to show. I hope to do so soon, now that more severe Corona Virus restrictions are keeping me at home.

There are more photos of Scotland on my website, I’m still in the process of adding to that:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c867-photos-of-scotland

It’s possible to contact me from the website.

Thanks for visiting my post. BE SAFE!

MORE THAN A WEEK

corona times

It’s more than a week now into partial shutdown and social isolation. it’s good to live in a place where one can still walk and enjoy the fresh air and lovely views.

These photos are on Béal Bán (White Mouth), Ballyferriter, on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry.

DSC_2238 beal ban people

Just thought I’m mention again that the above rocky ridge, Sybil Head (Ceann Sibéal), was a film location of Star Wars – The Last Jedi, during 2016.

Covid-19 doesn’t stop the rainbows. I unfortunately missed the best brilliance of this rainbow while on the long winding road from the main road to the beach, but here are some captures of it, sorry if they look a little like some previously posted shots – same place but different rainbow.

DSC_2137 beal ban rainbow

 

DSC_2177 beal ban rainbow

I noticed a runner stop to look at a bird near the water’s edge on the beach. I stopped to enquire was there something wrong with the bird and he informed me that it was a fulmar, which normally spends all its life at sea and has very limited walking skills. I guess it needs to propel itself in water in order to fly up. I hope it survived the several dogs that were running free on the beach. They know nothing about social distancing!

DSC_2256 fulmar on the beach

As I went on my way I realised that I may have slightly transgressed the recommended social distance in that conversation. So difficult to remember all the time, in this place where people are normally very sociable!

DSC_2228 beal ban with bird

 

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DSC_2186 beal ban rainbow

St. Patrick’s Day on Tuesday demonstrated the real spirit of the people in the country, who created their own mini parades, in their back gardens with their children, and with musicians in some cases, and recorded them of course!

This week brought some very amusing corona virus inspired videos to my phone, including one of a couple of guys planting toilet rolls! That did make me laugh out loud.

It was no surprise that there were no toilet rolls at the supermarket, but I got everything I needed. Only one person allowed in the pharmacy at one time.

No swimming, no pub music sessions (I play flute), no weekly gathering of musicians at my house.

My own gallery is closed to visitors, but trading online or by phone is still an option.

This is just a microcosm of Corona virus imposed changes in my tiny insignificant world.  But the real concern is the health of individuals affected by the virus, and then for the economy and the loss of jobs and stress and strain on people’s lives, all over the world. 

But nature continues to provide us with its wonderful gifts. Here are two photos of this week’s sunsets, which I have also covered in my previous two posts.

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The birds are still singing in the garden. They are still fluttering around the bird feeder. I found some small but tasty broccoli florets that had been developing quietly and gave me a nice surprise. I had written off the broccoli plants! The wind has been so fierce and persistent this past few months.

Good health to you all and your dearest.

 


HAPPY ST. PATRICKS DAY

DSC_1670 Mount Brandon from Béal Bán

This will be a quiet St. Patricks Day. But we still have the beaches and the hills to enjoy, (weather permitting), but even sitting in one’s car looking out at the waves and perhaps the occasional rainbow can be a soothing, mindful experience. It will definitely be a different St. Patricks day for all of us, in many countries of the world; no parades, no parties, no going to the pub, no big social gatherings… many of us practising social isolation, for fear of catching or spreading Covid-19..

Below is a photo I took one December, of Croagh Patrick, in County Mayo, locally called The Reek. Named after St. Patrick, where he fasted for 40 days, it’s now a mountain of pilgrimage – hundreds of people climbing it in bare feet every year.  The mountain in the shot above is Mount Brandon, our local big mountain, the highest on the Dingle Peninsula, here in County Kerry in the South West of Ireland.

croagh patrick

It is believed that St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland, in the 5th century AD, although there appears to be some evidence now that it was here before Patrick’s time.  But still St. Patrick is celebrated by Irish people every year in many countries of the world. All so different this year.  But I wish you all good health and happiness on this St. Patrick’s Day 2020.

 

STILL STORMY 2

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These photos were taken shortly before those in my previous post STILL STORMY. It was very windy. I was at Ballinrannig, Ballyferriter, on the Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland. All these photos were taken from close to the small car park, viewing all around from there.

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DSC_2083 ballinrannig wave with black rock

 

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For more Ballyferriter images, here’s a Ballyferriter tag-link to my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/ballyferriter

Thanks for your visit. I hope you have enjoyed my pics.

STILL STORMY

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The storms seem relentless this year. These shots are from Clogher Beach, on the Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland, a favourite spot for rough sea fans.

DSC_1975 flurry of foam clogher

With a powerful wind blowing from the sea, the biggest challenge was keeping the lens free of the salty sea spray. So many potentially lovely photos ruined by wet blobs on the lens, and the salty water certainly won’t do my camera or lens any good. On this occasion there was continual wet spray.  In the above photo, I caught one of the frequent flurries of foam blobs that blew up from the crashing waves.

DSC_1968 clogher splash

It was difficult to get any colour into these photos. I tried converting to black and white but in the end went back to the coloured pics, slightly strange though they may appear.

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Moving around to the cliff at the right hand side of the beach, you can see the shape of the beach with it’s foamy frothy water (below). It was shortly before a very high tide.

DSC_1992 Clogher Beach

You can see paintings and photos of the Clogher Beach area on the following link to my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/clogher+beach

I appreciate your visit, thank you.

BEAUTY AND THE BEASTS

The storms are coming think and fast these days. Fierce though they are, they provide a wonderful magnetic attraction, particularly around our coasts, for along with the beasts that they are, they create powerful spectacles in the form of giant waves, massive splashes and magnificent movement.

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Thank you so much for viewing my post. If you like stormy sea images, check out this tag on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/rough+sea

BIG PAINTINGS

Atlantic Movement

Atlantic Movement

These are quite large paintings. Oil on canvas, 150 x 100 cms (60 x 40 inches approximately), inspired by the wonderful coastal imagery of the Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland.

I think that large paintings are difficult to show sympathetically on a website. The larger the painting, the greater the reduction of the image. This has the effect of making the image look much more tightly painted than it is in reality. It’s always worth bearing that in mind when viewing paintings on the internet. These here can be viewed much larger if you click them, and you may still be able to open out the image and see the style of the brush-marks more clearly, and be able to evaluate the freedom of the style or the discipline that is employed.

I have been sitting on these for several months, in a manner of speaking. This is the first time I have shown them on my blog. They are on my website on this page:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c863-new-paintings-2018—2020

I needed to wait for at least 6 months before applying varnish. Many painters are not aware of the need to wait and may apply the varnish too soon. As yet most of these are not varnished, except the one I have sold (Blasket Islands).

The purpose of varnish is to protect the picture, but if it is applied too soon it fuses into the paint below, and cannot in the future be removed if desired. It might never need to be removed in the life of the picture, but it’s best to follow good practice, as the varnish yellows with age.

Some painters think it’s best to not use varnish at all, as it can create problems of its own. Large paintings in particular are difficult to varnish evenly. It’s not strictly necessary to varnish, and many painters use an oiling out technique to bring up the colours and create an even sheen on the picture. I sometimes do this myself. An oil painting, once completely dry will have a washable surface and as long as it is kept in a clean unpolluted environment there should be no real problems. Most people do not now smoke inside their homes, and this has removed the main polluting agent in one’s home.

Steamy Atlantic Spray

Steamy Atlantic Spray

 

atlantic splash 9169Atlantic Splash

 

Rushing Wave in the Wind 9172Rushing Wave in the Wind

 

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West Coast

 

DSC_9281 blasket Islands

Blasket Islands

 

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View of Mainland from Great Blasket Island

I would be delighted to respond to any questions that anyone would have. Please enquire through my website.

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c863-new-paintings-2018—2020

For those of you who might be in my area, I have a gallery, showing these large paintings and several smaller paintings. Here is the big paintings room. Directions on Google. I look forward to meeting you.104718 gallery big paintings