SNOWY TOP ON MOUNT BRANDON

It was one of those cold, numb finger days, walking on the roads in the vicinity of Mount Brandon, on the Dingle Peninsula. The mountain gleamed bright white with its sugaring of snow and fleeting sunlight, and in between showers of hail I managed to get a number of shots of this lovely mountain.

This is one of the 10 highest mountains in Ireland, and the highest on the Dingle Peninsula. I find it quite majestic in appearance. Its name comes from St. Brendan the navigator, an Irish monk who lived from 484 to 577 AD, and who many believe sailed to North America in a leather boat, with a team of other monks, many years before Christopher Columbus.  According to local legend, he spent 40 days in prayer and meditation on the top of this mountain to prepare for his journey. Already an experienced sailor, he had much knowledge from his own experience and that of other sailors he met on his journeys.

His voyage was simulated by Tim Severin in 1976 and he concluded that Brendan’s successful voyage to America was not only possible but probable. (Incidentally, Tim severin who replicated other historical journeys also, sadly passed away just last December at his home in West Cork). Some more information about St. Brendan can be seen here https://www.history.com/news/did-an-irish-monk-discover-america

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This mountain can be seen from many places on the peninsula and other places also. On this tag you can see several images of the mountain, including some paintings, on my website:

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

Thank you for your visit. Keep well.

DUNQUIN VIEWS

Fluffy clouds, Dunquin. Below the horizon stands the Blasket Centre, which provides information and history about the vibrant community that once lived on Great Blasket Island, the larger island on the left, below.

Just below the Blasket Centre on the coast, this very nice new viewing platform has been built on the cliff, at a cost of €2.25million+ !!! I have heard that the rusty effect alone was a substantial part of the expense.

There are stunning views of the Blasket Island group from the Dunquin coast. This is on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, South West Ireland.

More coastal views from Dunquin.

These shots were taken on Dunmore Head, which is nearest to the islands. Here there is another of those World War 2 lookout shelters, of which there are several around the coast. Unfortunately they don’t look very pretty.

An Ogham Stone stands on Dunmore Head. So named because it has some of the ancient Ogham script carved on it. Ogham is an Early Medieval alphabet used to write the early Irish language, and later the Old Irish language. (Pronounced Ohm, it has a silent G). Dingle Peninsula has a large percentage of the country’s Ogham Stones.

Couminole Beach, not very obvious here because the tide is high and the sandy area is covered over. It’s a beautiful beach for a saunter and a few photos, but not so safe. Nevertheless, my walking companions went down for a swim – yes in January! I didn’t venture down on this occasion as I was in a hurry.

The steep path to Dunquin Pier can be seen in the above photo.

I have to show these shots of this beautiful horse with his long mane!

This friend of mine, Lisa, likes to feed him daily with her vegetable peelings and give him a bit of attention, as she passes on her daily walks in Dunquin.

Lisa has named him Gruaig Fhada, which simply means Long Hair. Her own hair makes them a good match.

I have never seen a horse with such a long mane before! I assume he is a shire horse.

He is rather lovely, isn’t he?

So hard to see his dark eye in that black patch. I don’t know how he can graze with that hair in his eyes!

On my website there are many photos and a few paintings of the Dunquin area, including captures of Couminole Beach which I bypassed above:

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

Also some animals and wildlife on this tag:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c101-animals–birds-and-other-nature-photos

I appreciate your visit. I hope you like my views of Dunquin, do come again.

UP ON A MOUNTAIN – SLIEVANEA

Here are some photos taken on a walk up a mountain from the car park on the Conor Pass road, on the Dingle Peninsula, South West Ireland. I have previously posted photos from this Conor Pass road. https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/02/24/conor-pass-or-main-road/ The path northwards from the road goes up the Slievanea Mountain, which has wonderful views, as, as you might expect.

I find – on my computer it takes two clicks on most of the photos to see the best, sharpest version.

Mount Brandon is the mountain in the above view.

Here in this one above one can see Dingle town, and below, across Dingle Bay to the Iveragh Peninsula (Ring of Kerry)

 

 

These corrie lakes are stunning, at any time of the year, looking a  little frozen at the moment. The grass was crunchy with frost under our feet. It was really cold, with a bitter North East wind.

 

Would you believe it – that someone was so stupid and thoughtless to walk up a mountain, behold the wonderful views, and leave a beer bottle behind!

There were quite a few other walkers about, not surpringly, being such a beautiful sunny day.

Unfortunately we ran out of path, and tried to make our way through humpy boggy ground, before abandoning the walk in case of not being able to find a safe route back. Besides, it was bitterly cold. Another Day!

 

 

The above shot was taken from the road on the way back to Dingle. It shows the Kinard area, with the sea stack The Searrach, meaning foal, in view.

The Conor Pass is the highest ashphalt mountain pass in Ireland, and one of the most scenic routes you could find.  It’s not easy to drive for the visitor who doesn’t know the road, being very narrow and winding with overhanging rocks in places.

Thanks for visiting my post. If you would like to see more Conor Pass images, there are several photos and paintings on my website. Please check out this tag on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/conor+pass

THE VILLAGE THAT WAS…

Walking up Cruach Mharhain, from Dunquin, on the Dingle Peninsula, in County Kerry. The weather was particularly dull for the most part, and many of these photos needed some help  in showing a bit of colour.

The Islands here are the Blasket Islands. The largest one, on the left, was once the home of 150 or more remarkable people, the most westerly community in Europe, until about 1953.

 

Head butting sheep!

 

A road to nowhere? Actually this was the scene of the fictitious village of Kirrary, that was built for the 1970 movie Ryan’s Daughter. A substantial village was built here, using local labour, which was a welcome source of income to local small farmers when there was very little employment or tourism in the area.  Most locals now seem sorry that the village was demolished. It was offered free to anyone who wanted it at the time, but I think there were issues around the fact that it was built on commonage. It would have been a great tourist attraction.

Just as we came over the shoulder of the mountain just beyond the village, there was this wonderful view of Sybil Head. A bright sun shone out from the dark clouds, with a strange light. Strangely enough, the top of Sybil Head was the location of a Star Wars movie set a few years ago.

The schoolhouse that was built for Ryan’s Daughter is down at the coast, falling to ruin. I have many photos taken at different stages of ruin:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/tag/ryans+daughter+schoolhouse

Thanks so much for your visit to my post,

2020 – A POTTED PERSONAL REVIEW IN PHOTOS

2020 for me started in the beautiful state of Mizoram, in North East India, where I spent Christmas and New Year. Here is the city of Aizawl, built on mountain peaks, and with wonderful sunsets.

Back home to the Dingle Penninsula, in the South West of Ireland, to enjoy, endure, survive the winter storms and the powerful, magnetic and awe inspiring Atlantic Ocean.

And experience the beautiful beach walks!

But….who could have thought…the dreadful Covid-19 came along and threw us all sideways – or worse, in some cases.

I had planned a trip to Italy in March, but had to cancel. Social life was on hold for most people.

Luckily, I was still able to walk and capture the beautiful coastal images – for a while longer, before restrictions became stricter.

More time to study the birds in my garden, through the window.

As a little experiment I recorded myself playing flute with the bird song in the garden. If the image looks upside down to you, it will correct itself when you click it.

Local sunset, below.

Lockdown to a greater or lesser extend affected all of us, world over. Our individual experience of the world became very small, as we were obliged to reduce our social contacts and curtail travel. Many shops and pubs were closed. My regular trad Irish music sessions in local pubs, where I joined in with my flute were cancelled, indefinitely!

For a time my photography focused on my immediate area, and the garden. These sunsets from around the house and very local area take on a caged appearance, as indeed we were caged, all of us, in some measure.

I am very lucky that the local area has many beautiful places for walking. beaches were closed for some weeks, but cliff walks were possible.

My birthday celebration was a cliff walk, with friends. It was lovely.

Much garden navel gazing was undertaken. I never took so many photos of flowers and garden creatures before.

I never before appreciated how beautiful apple blossom can be.

Wildflowers became objects of scrutiny and much enjoyment too.

So many bees in the garden!

– And I discovered just how photogenic the humble daisies can be.

Thistles too!

I am so thankful for my good luck in being able to take many coastal walks.

Seaside and flowers together here. Lovely sea pinks make a wonderful show in early summer.

Beaches finally opened again, in June, I think. It’s all a bit blurred in my memory now, as Covid-19 figures rose and fell and lockdowns went in and out of different levels of severity.

Tourists returned in full force to the Dingle area in the summer, much to the relief of those whose livlihoods depend on tourism.

Sunsets around my area continue to fascinate, less cage-like with the summer foliage.

Lovely coastal and mountain walks. These photos were from different sides of Mount Brandon.

I updated my photos of Dingle Harbour, and took several shots around the town of Dingle.

The swallows raised two families in my shed. These first day out fledgling swallows only had a couple of weeks to grow strong before their long flight to South Africa. I wonder if they made it.

Some apple trees did bear fruit, though hundreds of babies were blown off the trees in summer storms before they were ready to eat. This is the entire harvest from several young trees.

Exploring beyond my own area, as easing of Covid restrictions permitted, I visited Killarney, South Kerry, West Cork and more.

The Gap of Dunloe, near Killarney.

On Cape Clear Island, above, off the coast of West Cork.

The small mainland harbour, Baltimore, County Cork, below.

Back on local Ventry Beach, below.

In October, a cruel hand was served on Dingle. After a several months of Covid-19 related hardships, Fungie, the globally famous Dingle Dolphin disappeared, without trace. Fungie, a wild dolphin has lived in Dingle Harbour of his own free will for 37 years. He was probably about 45 years old. Missed by many, whether they made a fortune running Fungie tourist trips, or whether they were just people who loved to see and play with the dolphin. For sure, Dingle will be a different place without him. This was a major event here. It’s not easy to explain how this wild, free dolphin touched the hearts of Dingle people and many visitors from around the world.

I have no photos of Fungie, preferring to leave that to the Fungiephiles who had developed considerable expertise. Here is a video from Jeannine Masset and Rudi Schamhardt.

More local captures below.

Fungie is gone, but the Dingle Peninsula remains the same beautiful place.

An autumn forest walk, above, in Glanteenassig Wood, on the Dingle Peninsula.

December shots from Mount Eagle, below.

The Blasket Islands, above.


Snow on Mount Brandon, shot from the garden, heralding the coming of Christmas 2020

On Christmas Day on a local Ballyferriter beach, Béal Bán, some brave swimmers rushed into the cold water, with an air temperature of about 8 degrees C. I did not partake, I prefer to stick to the heated pool these days. But it was fun to be there and support them.

Recent Storm Bella, seemed to last for about three days.

I completed a number of paintings this year, and failed to complete several more – so far. I’ve dicovered that I can be more motivated in that field when I have more activity in general in my life. The slower pace of things this year seemed to diminish my motivation in the more demanding creative side.

Now we are in a 3rd wave of the Corona Virus, with a new more transmissable variant of the virus in the country. In fact a case was discovered in Dingle recently. We have a high level lockdown again, going even stricter after today, but vaccines have arrived in the country; I for one will not hesitate to take advantage when it’s my turn.

So now 2021 approaches. May you all be lucky enough to only have contact with those people who are honest, compassionate and kind, who treat you as they would wish to be treated, and I wish the best of health and happiness to you all. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

STORM BELLA

Storm Bella has been blowing for a couple of days now. Today I went out for a few shots of big waves, hoping it wouldn’t be too challenging for me.

These photos were taken in the Ballydavid area of the Dingle Peninsula, in the South West of Ireland.

I have to say it was indeed difficult to stand up to the cold strong North West winds, while being battered by rain, hail and sea spray. My fingers went numb, making it difficult to manage the controls on my camera. Keeping my lens clean was impossible. I had to continually wipe it, only to create a smeared affect on the lens. The spray was relentless.  I lost a lot of good images through having a foggy lens.

The results weren’t the best I’ve ever done, but I’m glad I went out and got the fresh air. In these covid days we have to make an effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting. If you enjoy images of turbulent sea, please visit my website:

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

NOVEMBER SUNSHINE

 

A collection of photos from Ventry Beach, on a November Day in glorious warm sunshine.  Yes, sometimes we do have lovely weather in the winter here – just not as much as we might like.  But this was one of those lovely days.

Ventry Beach is a few miles from Dingle town on the Dingle Peninsula in the South West of Ireland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The village of Ventry can be seen across the water here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have many more photos from Ventry Beach, taken at different times of the year and in different light.  Please visit my website for more photos.

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

Also, I have published several previous posts here on Ventry Beach. Here are two of them:

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2020/07/25/ventry-beach-2/

https://helenebrennan.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/ventry/

Thanks for viewing my photos. I hope to see you again soon.

MIZEN PENINSULA, WEST CORK

 

I have so many photos from my September trips to West Cork, that I have to show them in several posts, in order to do them some justice. No point in showing too many at once. This is another lovely area in the South West of Ireland, with a beautiful coastline, many ancient historical monuments and much more…  I was lucky to get to do a few trips before stricter lockdown restrictions were imposed again.

This post focuses mainly on the Mizen Peninsula of West Cork. There is so much to see here that I only skimmed the surface really, in a manner of speaking. It would be necessary to stay for an extended break to explore more thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Altar Wedge Tomb, above, which dates back to 2500 to 2000 BC. This was easy to find on the coastal drive. It’s about 7 kilometres west of the town of Schull, and overlooks Toormore Bay.

This information was taken from notices at the site.

 

Some of the coastal views near the tomb, below.

 

 

 

 

 

Mizen Head, below.

This is a popular place for visitors, with a visitor’s centre, an interesting bridge leading to the Mizen Head lightouse and fog signal station.  Mizen Head is the most South Westerly point of Ireland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lighthouse and signal station, above.

 

 

 

The rock formations here are really quite something to look at.

 

 

 

They say this can be a good place to spot seals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was really quite busy with visitors, making social distancing somewhat awkward on the narrow paths and bridge.  I use this as an excuse for the fact that while concentrating on my photos, plus trying to maintain appropriate distance from people, I managed to miss the path to the lighthouse, and I returned to the beginning of the walk without going there. It was a very hilly and exhausting walk, so I didn’t feel like going around again.  Ah well, next time!

Next stop Mount Gabriel. The photo above was taken later, it shows the two giant footballs on the top of the mountain. This is actually an aviation radar station and we thought we should go up there to investigate and see the views.

 

Views from the top of Mount Gabriel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The purpose of this radar station is to track flights over european air space. In September 1982, one of the two globes was bombed by the terrorist group, the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA, a splinter group of the IRA).  It is believed that the bombing was prompted by the publication of a newspaper article which claimed that the installation was part of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) radar system.  Generally believed to be fake news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I appreciate your visit and hope you will come back again to see photos of Cape Clear Island. Cape Clear is just a short ferry ride from Baltimore.

More West Cork photos on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c865-west-cork

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRANDON POINT

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A lovely walk on the far side of the Connor Pass from Dingle, to Brandon Point on the edge of Mount Brandon, and up the hill from the car park. Beautiful views, well worth the journey, although negotiating the tourists on the pass is somewhat precarious in August.  Parts of this road are very narrow and winding, with overhanging rocks, and a steep drop on one side.

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With the Connor Pass well behind, this is Cloghane Estuary

 

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View from the car park at Brandon Point.

 

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…and walking up the hill, looking at the views.

 

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One of 83 wartime (WW2) lookout posts around the coast of Ireland.

 

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Jasmine and friends, a lovely bunch of people relaxing at the top of the hill beside the cairn.  You can sometimes meet the nicest people at the top of mountains!

 

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Brandon Beach

 

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On the journey back to the pass.

 

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Home safe and sound after this enjoyable little bit of a hill walk. So nice to see the scenery at the other side of Brandon Mountain.

Next I have some photos to show of yet another side of Mount Brandon.  Here is a preview:

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Thank you for your visit to my post, I hope you will join me again for my next post, coming soon.

Dingle Peninsula photos on my website:

https://www.helene-brennan.com/c25–photos-of-dingle-peninsula