OCTOBER WALK ON MOUNT EAGLE

DSC_0112 mt brandon from mt eagle

It was a fairly short walk, a few weeks ago, on Mount Eagle, which is on the west end of the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland. I didn’t go to the top, but it was just a bit of much needed uphill exercise and an opportunity to take a few photos along the way. I have of course taken many photos on this route before, but in this climate the views are ever changing.

DSC_0117 dunquin from mt eagle

The winter colours are so lovely in the October sunshine.

DSC_0124

Mount Brandon in the distance, above and below, so clear with no heavy cloud on top.

DSC_0128 mt brandon ballydavid head from mt eagle

DSC_0133 mt brandon ballydavid head from mt eagle

DSC_0139 mt brandon from mt eagle

DSC_0141 dingle bay iveragh from mt eagle

Dingle Bay, above, with the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula, South Kerry, across the water. The peaks of Carauntoohil, Irelands highest mountain can be seen.

DSC_0150 blasket islands from mt eagle-2

The Blasket Islands, above and below.

DSC_0164 sleeping giant from mount eagle

Views over the fields of Dunquin, in these last few pics.

DSC_0165

DSC_0167

On my website I have many more photos taken from this mountain, many from the top also. Please take a look, using this taglink:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/mount+eagle

Thanks so much for looking at my photos. Please come back.

THE BLASKET ISLANDS – TODAY’S VIEWS

THE BLASKET ISLANDS – TODAY’S VIEWS

rrem

The Blaskets, a group of Islands off the coast of the west end of the Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland. Famous for their beauty and their history. On my website there are several photos of the Islands and on Great Blasket, the largest of the Islands, on which there was once a thriving community. See: http://www.helene-brennan.com/c53-photographs-of-the-blasket-islands-

 

rrem

 

rrem

 

rrem

 

rrem

 

rrem

 

rrem

 

rrem

 

rrem

The ruin in the above photo is the schoolhouse from the movie Ryan’s Daughter. See my earlier post about this: https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/time-changes-everything-the-schoolhouse-from-the-ryans-daughter-movie-2/

 

BLASKET ISLANDS

DSC_0744-2

View of Blasket Islands and Dunmore Head from the slip descending to the pier.

Below is a photo of Inis Tuaisceart.

DSC_0769

Inis Tuaisceart, AKA The Sleeping Giant, one of the Blasket Island Group, above.

DSC_0729-2

The Blasket Islands from Ballyickeen Commons, Dunquin.

DSC_0766

Great Blasket Island.

DSC_0720

Blasket Islands, from Ballyickeen.

DSC_0715

The Tiaracht, one of the Blasket Island Group.

DSC_0709

The Blasket Islands from The Clasach, Dunquin.

The links below will take you to my previous posts about the Blasket Islands.

Great Blasket Island – Photographs, Comments, Stories (Part 1)

Great Blasket Island – Photographs, Comments, Stories (Part 2)

Great Blasket Island, Part 3

BLASKET EVENING

Thank you for looking at my blog.

More Blasket Islands photos on my website:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/c53-blasket-islands-photographs

TIME CHANGES EVERYTHING – The Schoolhouse from the Ryan’s Daughter Movie.

DSCF0079

Sometimes I enjoy taking photos that show how things change over time. The schoolhouse from the Ryan’s Daughter movie is one such subject that has caught my attention.

On this wonderful awe inspiring peninsula in 1968 a film crew from MGM descended to make a movie, directed by David Lean, which, though not immediately popular with the critics, became a huge box office success. Many local people were extras in the movie, or worked in some capacity for the film company and still have many memories and stories of the events of that time. Imagine how exciting it was to the people in an area which, at that time, in spite of its exceptional natural beauty was economically struggling. The exposure of this marvellous place to a wider world contributed greatly to the increase in visitors the Dingle Peninsula has enjoyed over the years since then.

Most of the set built for the story was destroyed when filming was finished, but the schoolhouse still remains, in an increasingly ruinous state, perched on the coast of Dunquin and with marvellous views of the Blasket Islands. Most visitors don’t even know it’s there. The name Kirrary National School still to be seen there means nothing to most people. (Kirrary was a fictitious place.) There has been talk of restoring the building. That could be interesting.

Since I started to prepare this blog I discovered that there is another wordpress blogger who has written on this topic. For more in depth information and images of the schoolhouse from the time of filming, see  SMcP Blogfeast’s very interesting blog:

https://blogfeast.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/saving-ryans-daughter/

You can check out this on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan%27s_Daughter

Also to see more images from the Dunquin area of the Dingle Peninsula please visit my website:

http://helene-brennan.com/tag/dunquin

Here are some photos taken in October this year (2015) as well as some taken in September 2013. As you can see the timbers have now been ripped from the roof with the storms that have raged since.

DSCF0083wpDSC_2341 ryans daughter schoolhouse wp

DSC_2335 wp

DSCF0104

DSCF0102ws

DSCF0106wp

DSC_2338 wp

DSC_2331wp

DSCF0090

DSCF0100-2

DSCF0065

VIEW FROM MOUNT EAGLE

DSC_2311 wp

On the path coming down Mount Eagle, the views are stunning. Here you can see Dunquin and the Island of Inis Tuaisceart, (The Sleeping Giant) one of the islands of the Blasket group, off the coast of the Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland.

Please check out my other Dunquin photos on http://helene-brennan.com/tag/dunquin

CLOGHER

AdobePhotoshopExpress_198369f8e80b42d4b29de25970e9f2c9 copy

One of the most wonderful places to be on the Dingle Peninsula. Inis Tiaracht  and Inis Tuaisceart (Sleeping Giant) – both islands of the Blasket group, are on the horizon, left to right.

Please see more of this area on my website:

http://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/clogher

BLASKET EVENING

blasket02

The warm colors of evening sun on the ruins of Great Blasket Island. The island’s beautiful beach lies behind.

More paintings of the Blasket Islands on my website:

http://helene-brennan.com/c62-blasket-islands-paintings

Blasket Sunset

Blasket Evening - oil on canvas  041

What a great privilege it was to sit and observe the beautiful colors of the late evening as the sun sets over the Islands of Great Blasket and Beginish.

More paintings of the Blasket Islands on my website:

www.helene-brennan.com/c62-blasket-islands-paintings

Photos of the islands can be seen at: www.helene-brennan.com/c53-blasket islands-photogtaphs

Pattern and Rhythm

Cliffs of Moher
The famous Cliffs of Moher, in County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland. The forms of the cliffs running into the distance create a rhythmic aspect to the composition, and I have attempted to express the richness of the patterns in each area of the picture.

Have you ever thought about how much your life is affected, governed, controlled by patterns and rhythms. Rhythms are intrinsic to our existence. Our bodies have rhythms; the earth has rhythms; seasons are rhythmic. Rhythms are all around us in our environment.  We seem to have a basic need to organise our life and working spaces into rhythms and patterns. Without this organisation we would have chaos.

Rural farming landscape in the hills of Northern Thailand

The furrows in the field, the trees in the distance and the banana trees in the foreground all offer variety and interest to the rhythms and patterns of this composition. I also use fast flowing strokes to further contribute to the rhythms and movement in the picture.

Small wonder that works of art are often designed with the use of clearly defined areas of rhythms and patterns, which are important aspects to the composition.

Rough Sea with Sleeping Giant

Stormy Sea on Clogher Beach with Inis Tuaisceart (also known as the Sleeping Giant) in the background. The sea provides endless possibilities for the expression of rhythms and patterns.

Patterns in nature are free and random, while still maintaining a sense of organisation. Rhythms and patterns are to be found in many art forms.

Fermoyle Beach, on the north side of the dingle peninsula, West Kerry

The rhythm of the waves on the sea,rolling into the beach, an endless rhythm, random, yet repetitive, maintaining an irresistible visual excitement.

It seems our artistic sensibilities and responses are, in many cases, strongly influenced and encouraged by our need for rhythm and patterns. Often, in visual art, it is impossible to clearly define the difference between rhythms and patterns, but you know – it doesn’t really matter.

Wood Shed in the forest, by the River Wye

The wood pile, the corrugated roof, all framed by the rich foliage provided a wonderful opportunity to express the wonder of nature in its fabulous varieties of patterns

Of course there are many other aspects to a work of art, but for this post I am focusing on pattern and rhythm. I have selected some of my paintings and photos that have examples of pattern in the composition.

Villages and Terraces in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Mountain terraces and village houses offer fascinating sources of patterns in the landscape, in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco

 

ventry sand patterns 2
The retreating tide leaves patterns in the sand, enhanced by the golden light of the setting sun
Sunset at Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, with the Blasket Islands in view

Without the pattern in these clouds, there would be limited visual interest

In a pond beside Tralee Ship Canal, two swans negotiate a film of ice around the edge.

There is a hint of rhythm created by the two swans, working with the grasses in the foreground. The pattern on the water in the background contrasts with the smooth surface of the ice around the edge.

Evening clouds on Ventry Beach, Dingle Peninsula

Clouds are a wonderful source of nature’s patterns

The setting sun reflects on the fishing boats in Dingle harbor

The visual rhythm created by the row of boats is enhanced by the strong golden evening sunlight, and their colours are unified. The composition gains further interest by the patterns in the clouds, water and stone wall etc.

Nature has taken root in the walls of this old building

Reduced to black and white, we are encouraged to appreciate the details of the patterns in the wall and nature’s growth from the crevices.

The ruin of the schoolhouse used in the movie 'Ryan's Daughter'

In this old skeleton of a ruin of the schoolhouse used in the movie Ryan’s Daughter, over thirty years ago, the sunlight shining through provides interesting rhythms of light and dark.

Great Blasket Island, Part 3

Great Blasket Island, Part 3

As promised, this is Part 3 of my post on Great Blasket Island, which is off the Dingle peninsula, County Kerry, south-west Ireland.

Image

Blasket Islands from mainland

The gorgeous visual beauty of the island and the glorious views provide great delights for visitors. The familiar landmarks on the mainland – Mount Eagle, Cruach Mharhain, Sybil Head, Mount Brandon, Dunmore Head… and of course the other islands of the Blasket group all conspire to present a feast for the eyes and soul.  Walking around and along the length of the island is such a pleasure and a privilege. Sitting on a rock in a heathery hump, observing the slow passage of feathery, fluffy and puffy clouds  and the swell of the blue ocean with ribbons of white trailing the contours of the land, while enjoying a simple sandwich and contemplating the splendour of our natural environment, cannot fail to re-affirm your values (if needed).

Image

The island Inis Tuaisceart – also known as The Sleeping Giant, or The Dead Man, as seen from Great Blasket Island. The sleeping man shape not so obvious from this view.

The island, like many remote islands, has its own unique ecology. Wildlife on the island is a special reward, especially so for those who are experts in the fields or ornithology or biology etc. But even for those of us who are no experts, but who have an appreciation for the wonder of all the earth’s creatures, there is great enchantment at even the sight of a humble rabbit, of which there are many on the island.

Image

Blasket Rabbit

I recently caught a fleeting glimpse of a hare – scampering away at the speed of light. Hares are not indigenous to the island, having been introduced by man’s interference with nature for his own dubious reasons.

Image

Nice quiet place for a nap – no tourists down there!

There are sheep kept on the island, and a few donkeys are left to roam free most of their time, much to the delight of visiting children. I once watched with amazement while a donkey led his harem of females to the field of choice to settle down for the night, and then proceeded to move all the sheep well away from that field. He walked and walked, his head nodding up and down and the sheep all across the fields in the area in front of him slowly moved towards the setting sun, and when he was satisfied that the sheep were far enough away, he walked back to rejoin his ladies. I concluded that this was his habit at the time, and the sheep probably knew the drill.

DSCF0013

Group hug

The seals are a big hit with visitors. They are usually seen just off shore during the day and when the visitors leave they come up onto the beach. They are usually too shy to hang about when humans arrive. At night they make some very eerie sounds, their howling and wailing being reminiscent of the stories I heard as a child of ghosts and banshees. Thankfully, I don’t believe in ghosts, so it doesn’t worry me.

All seal eyes on the human visitors on dry land.They appear very untrusting – not surprising as there have been reports of mass slaughters of seals on these islands.

The nights also bring the strange, unmelodic calls of the manx shearwater as they return in their thousands to their colony under cover of darkness.  This is one of the largest colonies in Europe.  On my recent stay on the island I did not hear so many, and whether their numbers are diminishing or if they just vary their itinerary or timing according to weather and lighting conditions I’m not sure. There is also a major colony of Storm Petrels – most of which nest on the Blasket Island of Inis Tuaisceart. This is the largest colony of the Storm Petrels in the world. The mink on Gt. Blasket Island are seen as a serious threat to these ground nesting creatures.

DSCF0071 butterfly

Butterfly, quietly resting in the grasses on the island.

There are no rats on the island, and of course most people would want to keep it that way. There is no landing pier there, and there has been much controversy about whether or not to build one. The larger vessels that could land there could potentially carry rats or even other creatures that would disturb the delicate balance of nature. The ferries cannot moor at the small rough concrete slip so passengers have to climb down a ladder into a dinghy, which drops them off at the slip. This slip hangs on the end of a very rough rocky and steep approach to the more smooth and grassy but also steep path that leads up and around through the village. Those visitors who have some mobility or fitness issues may  find their enjoyment of the island somewhat compromised.

DSCF0167x800jpg

The village is built on quite a steep slope.

But aside from these inconveniences, I have no doubt that all visitors are glad they made the effort. Information about the islands history and heritage is available from friendly guides on the island, and there is usually plenty of time for a trip to the magical beach, or maybe even a long walk along the island, before returning to the ferry.

Walking on the island, with the mainland in view

It’s with great reluctance that I leave the island and I always intend to return soon. That’s not always possible. Now that October is here, I don’t expect any more ferries until next year. One day, I’ll get my own boat!

More photos and also paintings on my website:

http://helene-brennan.com/c62-blasket-islands-paintings and

http://helene-brennan.com/c53-blasket-islands-photographs

The Blasket Centre in Dunquin is well worth a visit:

The Blasket Centre/Ionad an Bhlascaoid

For more information on Flora and Fauna and other Blasket Islands information see:

http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/blaskets.html

For bird lovers:

http://www.birdwatchireland.ie

http://www.kerrybirding.blogspot.ie/