Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Shandon footbridge and Pope's Quay
St Mary's (Pope's Quay) reflected in Lee
The Opera House
Camden Quay
Camden Quay & Patrick's Bridge
St Patrick's Quay (west end)

Metropole Hotel (Patrick's Quay)
Patrick's Quay (east end)
Partrick's Quay and Clontarf Bridge
Brian Boru Bridge reflected in Lee
Penrose Quay

Many of the quays of Cork City were named after merchants (e.g. Lavitt’s and Pope’s). My walk this sunny September morning took me from Pope’s Quay down past Camden Quay and Patrick’s Quay before ending on Penrose Quay. Not true as I walked down the other side of the North Channel, on quays such as Lavitt’s and Merchant's to get the photographs you see here, all taken with my sturdy Canon G10. Bridges passed (west to east) were Shandon (footbridge), Christy Ring, St Patrick’s and Clontarf.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010



Fair play to the management of the Frank O’Connor City Library in Mayfield: they always seem willing to give an artist an chance.

Called in there the other day and found a solo show by young Silverheights artist Keith Wright and an exhibition by a local amateur group.

Some of the ladies in the amateur group were taken with the quality of Wright’s work. He had just a handful of paintings on display and most recreated actual moments from the history of the Second World War (phone pic on right gives you a rough idea).

His captions showed that quite a lot of research had gone into the scheme as, in the case of fighter planes (one shown strafing a Normandy beach), the type of plane and the pilots' names are mentioned.

There is a limited market obviously for this type of painting, though his prices (€200-300) were reasonable but, if the local ladies are right, Keith is on the way up and will be breaking the limits in the future.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


The North Window
The South Window

The Augustinians, named after the famous Bishop of Hippo (Algeria) who died in 430AD, have been in Cork since the late 13th century; their original base was in what is now known as the Red Abbey.

The present church structure in Washington Street was built in 1942 and further extended in 1972 with the priory being re-built in 1982.

St Augustine's welcomed Culture Night visitors recently and I took advantage to have a look. Of course, you are welcome to call during opening hours any day.

There is quite a lot of artwork throughout the church and if you wish to know more then you will get plenty of information on the excellent website below.

Highlights are undoubtedly the two large solid coloured glass windows by Gabriel Loire (1904-96) from Angers in France. The North Window symbolises the interior life of the Church while the South symbolises the expansion of the Church.

Sporting artist Christy Ring was also associated with the church and in 1954 he volunteered his 8th All-Ireland medal to be added to an artistic chalice of St Augustine’s.

There is also a well stocked shop here that sells a wide range of religious items and books included quite a few Augustinian themed gifts and books. 

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Click twice on collage to enlarge. 

An excellent visit........
MILITARY MUSEUM at Collins Barracks

“Rain: unlike anything we know.”

That was one of the helpful hints for Irish solders leaving Collins Barracks for UN duty in the Congo in 1960/1. It would be a tough experience for the brave soldiers, the torrential rain the least of their problems.

The Congo (with displays of arrows, spears and photos) is just one of the UN campaigns touched on at the Military Museum in Collins Barracks. Missions to Cyprus, Lebanon, Somalia, Kosovo, East Timor and Liberia are also covered.

The UN missions would be an obvious target for the museum, established in 1985, but so much more is remembered here. Photos and trophies from the British Years (including the Irish contribution to the Boer War). Recruiting photos and a picture of VC winner Sergeant Cosgrove recall the Great War.

The Easter Rising figures prominently as do the Cork Lord Mayors McCurtain and McSwiney and then the Civil War. Peace then until the emergency which is remembered with lots of paraphernalia including helmets, gas masks and bikes.

Small arm weapons (mainly pistols but also a Black and tan dagger) figure prominently through the years and especially in the room dedicated to Michael Collins, for whom the Barracks is named. Also here is his letter cabinet.

Also remembered are the McSweeney family who, from 1934 to 1996, had at least one member serving here..

The Museum has an entrance at the top of Military Hill, once the old entrance to the barracks, and you have to go up a few steps to a side door and may have to press a doorbell to gain entrance. You could well be overwhelmed with the amount of items on displays but curator Jim Horgan is always on hand to help you out.

Old Youghal Road
021 4514252
Culture Night special opening: 5-8pm.
Normal hours: Mon, Wed and Fri – 10am to 1pm.
No entry fee.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

GUARDHOUSE at the Cork City Gaol

It is seldom that the Guardhouse of the Cork City Gaol is open to the public, even though the entrance to the whole complex is through the guardhouse door.

It was open recently for an arts and crafts show and I took advantage to visit. There are some fine views of the city from the top floor, though you should remember that you will be looking through bars.
Also remember, as you exit, that prisoners were hanged over the entrance.

Friday, 17 September 2010


Click to enlarge
Autumn in the back-garden: Michaelmas Daisy and Silver birch

Tuesday, 14 September 2010



A short few years back, the people of Terrasson (France), finding that tourists, having seen its 12th century bridge, were moving through very quickly, put their heads together and came up with the idea of Gardens of the Imagination as an added attraction for their small town.

Visited it this summer and, despite a touch of hype in the brochures and also from the guide, it was very enjoyable. Water is perhaps the main feature of the garden and all the water is recycled right down to the fountain at the entrance.

There are moss terraces and a rose garden and other distinct areas. All are well laid out and there is also a belvedere where there is a brilliant view of the area of the town below dominated by the church. In all, there are nine distinct areas, including a small open air theatre (see pic).

Dry stone walls feature in the gardens and also in a living breathing structure at the end of the walk, a structure that contains an exhibition of the Japanese art of Niwaki, not to be confused with Bonsai. The trees are allowed to grow bigger and into more natural shapes.

We followed the tour with a walk around the town and enjoyed its many water features and vistas, particularly those around and about the old century bridge which spans the Vezere here.

Could we in Cork do something like this. It wouldn’t have to be, shouldn’t be, an exact copy – after all, we have our own imaginations, don’t we? What is happening in the old grounds of Farranferris? Could be a suitable area. But I’m sure there are a few more. And if it is not done in the city, what about one of the surrounding towns taking it up.


I walked in Glanmire not long ago. It is a pleasant place but could be one of the most beautiful villages of Ireland. It has many advantages: the church of St Mary on the Hill, the village located along the river, the bar overlooking the river, its people who care about the place.

But it could be so much better. Should tidy up a little and get rid of lingering ruins and also that galvanized shed beside the well maintained Grotto.

Most truck traffic has been diverted to the new Cork-Dublin main road. It is now time to reduce traffic further, for example by introducing a one way system. 

Now the big step. Install a control (tidal gate) at Dunkettle Bridge and do some dredging from there to the village. Result: a secure area, with a controlled water level, for teaching sailing, canoeing and other water sports, including fishing. 

Construct bike paths, sidewalks and cafes on the shore, or even create a beach area. It has already been done elsewhere. An example: the French town of Vieux-Boucau / Port d'Albret on the Atlantic coast. If Glanmire does not follow this idea, how about you Glounthaune? The same potential exists in the tidal areas here.

Saturday, 11 September 2010



Came across Agri Aware at the Midleton Food Festival today.

“Agri Aware works closely with teachers and students throughout the country, both at primary and secondary school level. We raise awareness of agriculture through curriculum-linked resources. Our ethos is to entertain whilst educating, ensuring children are informed about the importance of the farming and agricultural world around them.

That’s the official blurb but it was much more down to earth in Midleton. Here, Agri Aware brought their Mobile Farm, a bunch of farm animals, to meet the kids, not just the younger generation either, I hasten to add. Ducks and hens and their young were petted and admired as were the goats and calves.

Enjoyed it myself! This Munster area Agri Aware Mobile Farm is owned and managed by Claire Stack. Claire has a degree in Food Science and comes from Midleton. To book a visit in Munster: Claire Stack - Ph: 087 – 2119863

Agri Aware

Waverley Office Park,
Old Naas Road,
Dublin 12
Phone: 01-4601103
Fax: 01-4601097

Sunday, 5 September 2010



Blarney’s Church of the Resurrection has a good position, looking down on the village but still very much in the centre. With Carrigrohane and Inniscarra, it forms the Carrigrohane Union of Parishes (Church of Ireland). Every first Sunday, the three congregations get together for a joint service in Carrigrohane’s St Peter’s.

Built in 1776, the church is the oldest functioning building in the town square. It included a private gallery for the family that owned Blarney Castle. The stained glass windows, both featuring the resurrection, are by Hardman in 1867 and by the Harry Clarke Studios (1926). The church was renovated in 1997.

021 4877 260



You will pass Drake’s Pool, a scenic part of the estuary, on the road from Carrigaline to Crosshaven. There is a car park nearby so you can stretch your legs and take in the pleasant view of the historic spot.

Apparently, in 1589 or thereabouts (you will see other dates, though 1589 is the one on the nearby commemorative plaque), Sir Francis Drake  (1540-96) was being pursued by elements of the Spanish Armada who chased him into Cork Harbour. But the Spaniards didn't have the local knowledge and sailed past the Crosshaven estuary and up towards the city instead.

They missed Drake and his handful of sheltering ships and sailed out again. The relieved Englishman allowed a few days to elapse before venturing back to the open sea. It must have been a nervous time but today the location is all about relaxation, plenty of seats around the modest tree lined “pool” and many pleasure craft bobbing at anchor with not a care in the world.

Friday, 3 September 2010


Pools of the Imagination


Fountainstown, let’s face it, is not the prettiest of beaches. But it does have a bus service from the city and also has a large car park. It has been popular for decades and that is still the case.

There is sand enough there but on my recent visit, it was covered in seaweed. In fairness, a clean-up is scheduled. There are also a fair share of small stones there and one would have thought it possible they could be periodically cleared with a tractor and rake. Maybe it is done early in the season.

In any case there is more than enough to keep the kids going here. One of the main attractions, as it has been over the years, is the huge number of little pools left in the rocks as the tide retreats, more than enough to occupy the inquisitive children, not to mention the parents.

Oh by the way. There was a small amount of litter there but nothing major. A good clean-up of the seaweed and this great little destination, which also has a little shop and cafe, would be in great shape for what is left of the “Indian” summer.



Myrtleville village, close to Crosshaven, has a horseshoe shaped beach and it quite popular. Called there in mid-week and a handful of people (the schools had re-opened) were enjoying themselves. It is a small sandy beach and looked quite clean. There is no car park there and you have to find a place on the roads. 

But there is no shortage of parking at the popular Bonny Connellan’s Bar/Restaurant which is just up from the beach. Quite a lot of cars there that afternoon – maybe a wedding reception in progress.

Thursday, 2 September 2010



This 5km walk, 10km return, is quite a pleasant one, with the estuary at your side all the way from outside Carrigaline to outside Crosshaven, not centre to centre. You may start at either end and there is also a car park at, approximately, halfway.

The path, shared between bikers and walkers (dogs on leads are welcome), is tarmac all the way and there are quite a few seats if you need a break or if you want to picnic. It is laid out over an old railway line, is very clean and popular.



The stunning rooftop penthouse of the Cork Clarion Hotel overlooks the city and I suspect that is why attracted most of us who visited during the recent Heritage day. But it is more than just a viewing point. The split level venue is an ideal party or product launch base and is fitted with all the latest technology.

And just to confirm: the views over the city are quite good, especially to the east, south and west.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010



Since 1844, the headquarters of Freemasonry in the province of Munster has been the Masonic Hall in Tuckey Street, one of the many premises throughout the city that opened their doors to the public on August 28th, National Heritage Day. It is also the meeting place of the local St Fin Barre’s Lodge No. 8.

I called in there soon after opening time and found it quite busy. Got a big welcome and an information leaflet and spent some time wandering around the various floors and looking at the souvenirs and artefacts of the order over the centuries.

Here you will find many historical items, including the original ceremonial level used at the laying of the foundation stone of the modern Patrick’s Bridge (1859) and later at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral (1865); ceremonial mason aprons, and banners, emblazoned with coats of arms of Prince Masons past and present, antique chairs and desks and so much more.

And indeed, there would have even more but for the 1970 fire that destroyed the adjoining Jennings Furniture and that damaged part of the Lodge.   

If you’d like to visit, a coffee morning is held each Friday from 10.15am to 11.45am. All are welcome to visit and it is often an excellent introduction for prospective members. All proceeds from these mornings are donated to charity.
For more info on the Freemasons, see the website:


Fenn's Quay Terrace 1986

 (the terrace)

Most Corkonians walk past Fenns Quay without realising its architectural importance. And I’m not talking just about No 5 which houses one of the city’s best restaurants, one of my favourites.

“The buildings 2-5 Fenns Quay comprise the majority of an 18th century terrace with remarkably intact interiors and has been “conserved, with European funding, in the Corporation’s Historic Area Action Plan and the project was awarded the  RIAI Silver Medal in 2005 .” (summary of info in Cork Corporation’s Cork Heritage Open Day handbook)

It has certainly improved the area since my photo was taken in October 86, taken because I thought it resembled some townscapes I had seen in Brittany.