Archives for category: Cork

Here are some photos I took this year. 2020 wasn’t a year for travel, so most of these shots were taken in or near the 5km zone around the house. Inevitably, I kept on returning to the same subjects: Ballycotton and Garryvoe in County Cork. This reduced range forced me to consider new ways of looking at the same things. It was also the year I got a 400 mm lens, giving me much more visibility of objects in the far distance.

Garryvoe hotel at sunrise. I took a few photos like this during the year, when the conditions were right. Morning fog has a profound effect on the local landscape.
The short summer hiatus afforded us an opportunity to go slightly further, and this one was taken by the cliff walk.
The ghost ship MV Alta washed up on the Ballycotton coast just a few weeks or so before lockdown. A harbinger of what was to come as we too became trapped by the forces of nature.
Ballycotton moonrise This one was very popular indeed. I love the colours and the shine off the waters. The evening wasn’t very clear, but the clouds added a mysterious quality to the moon.
It seems like ages since Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE lit up our night skies in the summer. The camera required some serious tweaking to get right. Taken in the back field around midnight back in mid-July.
A fortuitous one, this. The island swathed in fog, apart from its topmost parts. Like an otherworldly city in the air.
Birds departing in a line from the local wood. An almost oriental quality to this photo.
A boat in Ballycotton bay, awaiting the setting of the sun. This was taken while out with a few other photographers in Ballycotton.
Stormy waves in Garryvoe, looking east to the signal tower by Knockadoon.
A funny one this: a goose washing itself in The Lough in Cork.
Ok, last one: a tree illuminated by the sunrise, with fog in the near distance.

Wishing you all a better year ahead. Stay safe.

I’m spending a lot of time with Affinity Photo these last few weeks – originally looking at how to improve my portrait photos on the iPhone, but now looking at trees and buildings. I’m experimenting with methods of isolation – removing the subject from the foreground and placing it on a complementary, neutral background. It’s trickier than it seems, particularly when it comes to trees and plants – the complexity is immense. I’ve been working on selection refinement and feathering as ways to reduce complexity and to allow the subject to sit well with it’s background with no jagged edges.

Here’s a selection of photos I’ve been working with. I took all of them over a single hour last week in Castlemartyr Resort in Ireland, and I’ve since been working on extracting them from their backgrounds. Castlemartyr Resort has some stunning trees for me to work on.

Oak Tree, Castlemartyr

Oak tree, Castlemartyr Resort

Pine Trees, Castlemartyr Resort

Pine Trees, Castlemartyr Resort

Image 26-02-2018 at 22.22

Spruce tree, Castlemartyr Resort

Image 03-03-2018 at 17.41

Monkey Puzzle, Castlemartyr Resort

Image 02-03-2018 at 10.55

Irish Yew, Castlemartyr Resort

Image 01-03-2018 at 22.18

Mixed trees, Castlemartyr Resort

Lastly, a photo of the castle on the hotel grounds.

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I hope you like them.

A whole field of ragwort near the Two Mile Inn by Midleton / N25. Ragwort is classified as a noxious weed, capable of causing liver damage to any animal that eats it. Each plant produces 50,000 to 200,000 seeds, so this field will produce literally billions of seeds in the coming days and weeks. This is about as bad as I have ever seen.

For more information about ragwort:

http://www.ihwt.ie/site2/welfare-campaigns/welfare-information-tips/797-2/

http://www.independent.ie/business/farming/keep-your-land-free-from-fatal-ragwort-26647422.html

http://www.irishtimes.com/culture/time-to-weed-out-ragwort-and-japanese-knotweed-1.956953

http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/1936/act/38/enacted/en/print

 

 

 

Just because something happened before it, doesn’t mean it caused it.

Just because a footballer forgot to bless himself before a game, doesn’t mean that’s why they lost the match.

Just because a screaming sound was heard in the middle of the night, doesn’t mean your granduncle is going to die.

Just because a vaccine was given doesn’t necessarily mean it caused a sickness at a later date.

Other things: a virus, an infection, the ageing and growth process, genetics, a stressful situation, other people, might have caused it too. 

Trying to figure out root cause is really, really difficult, but if you rush to a conclusion about cause, without doing the hard work, chances are you are going to be wrong.

The hard work, trying to figure out causes? We call that science.

And that is why you need to bring in scientific voices and scientific studies when you are discussing issues like vaccines, because they are the only people who have done the work to assess root cause.

Let me reiterate that. They are the only people who have done the hard work. They are the only people who must take the emotion out of it, who must control for bias, who must look at all the data, who must go about it the right way, in order to be taken seriously. They get penalised for taking short cuts, something that doesn’t happen when we give our opinions or talk about our experience.

If you exclude the scientific consensus and scientific voices from a discussion on vaccines, or if you think it’s “just another opinion”, then you are biasing the discussion. No ifs, no buts. 

If you exclude the scientific consensus, you are not looking at the whole picture. And, you might be scaring people without just cause.

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I had the morning free, so my daughter and I took a walk around the city to see what was going on. The election count was in full flow in the City Hall but we didn’t stay there too long. The city was waking up, getting ready for the day.

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We headed down to the footbridge by the Grand Parade. In the distance were the limestone towers of Finbarr’s Cathedral, looking out over the city.

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And in the other direction, Father Matthew Church, flanked by the river Lee, modern architecture competing with the buildings of earlier years.

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The English Market was already in full swing. It’s one of Cork’s main attractions – the variety of food stalls and coffee houses is wonderful.

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Close by, a small arcade selling coffee and Middle Eastern food. Cork is full of little alleys and side streets.

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Pembroke Street, joining Oliver Plunkett Street to the South Mall, and home to some great bars and restaurants.

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St. Paul’s Avenue, with a view of Shandon in the distance.

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Finally, we made our way back to the City Hall and out of the city. The muddy river Lee continuing its march towards the sea.

We have had a few bad storms already this year, but last night was the worst so far. The town of Midleton was badly flooded, sections of the N25 were rendered impassable and parts of Garryvoe beach practically wiped out, with rubble strewn across the car park. Here are a few pictures I took today.

Midleton Main Street flooded.

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The Midleton river burst its banks, flooding the area around the distillery.

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Things were not much better by Bailick Road.

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Garryvoe carpark has been covered in rubble again.

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Much of the beach seems to have disappeared.

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The carpark is inaccessible from the hotel due to heavy flood waters.

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When we were leaving, attempts were being made to reduce the flooding by constructing a new channel to the sea.

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Skehard Road, near the Mahon Shopping Centre, Cork.

Expected Completion date January 2002?

The only thing this sign is advertising now is copious algae, dirt and graffiti.

Surely it’s about time it was removed?

We were treated to a wonderful morning a few days back. Fog and frost covered the fields, the rivers and the hedges. All was quiet. Armed only with an iPhone and Instagram, I visited a few beauty spots and took some photos. Some of them had a good reaction on the Internet, so I have reproduced them here, going back to the originals and seeing if I could improve on them.

View from Belvelly Bridge

View from Belvelly Bridge

Belvelly Castle, Great Island, Co. Cork.

Belvelly Castle, Great Island, Co. Cork.

Fortified House, Ballyannan, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Fortified House, Ballyannan, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Estuary, Ballyannan, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Estuary, Ballyannan, Midleton, Co. Cork.

Midleton, Co. Cork.

Midleton, Co. Cork.

Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork.

Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork.

Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork.

Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork.

Last Sunday, we went on a boat trip in West Cork. We were hoping to come up close and personal with a large pod of fin whales, but, despite excellent weather on the day, they were nowhere to be seen.  Photos of these magnificent creatures will have to wait for another day.

The trip was remarkably uneventful. Not only did we not see fin whales, but we also failed to spot any sunfish, dolphins or minke whales either. Even the skipper couldn’t hide his frustration on the day, as the previous few days had been marvellous for spotting marine creatures. 

We did manage to see seals, but this time of the year they’re not likely to go too far as the females are heavily pregnant. And no, we didn’t see any newborn seal pups either, in case you’re asking.

The upside is that I managed to take some nice photos. The coastline around Castletownshend is gloriously photogenic, even if its marine inhabitants were in hiding.

20140825 - Boat Wake

The Stags

The Stags

Seal Rocks

Seal Rocks

Yesterday, we headed to the Galley Head area in West Cork, halfway between Clonakilty and Skibbereen. The day was uncharacteristically perfect. The low winter sun offering this battered coastline some light relief.

The winter storms had not yet abated and the waves around the Long Strand (Castlefreke) were enormous, crashing loudly onto the beach. I caught some nice shots during our walk.

Castlefreke 6

We then headed to the Drombeg Stone Circle, close to Glandore. These Bronze Age Menhirs with their portal stones and altar is a reminder of mysterious times long gone. Close by is a wonderfully preserved “Fualacht Fia” – an ancient kitchen. Red-hot stones were added to the water, allowing the water to boil, thus cooking whatever food had been caught during the day.

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