Thursday, 20 December 2012

Sunrise in Mayfield

Sunrise pics from Mayfield (Cork), 18.12.12

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Santa's Tea is coming...

Competition now closed. List of winners here

Santa's Tea is coming...

Listen up folks! Thanks to Barry's Tea, we've a big bunch of boxes of Santa's Tea as a gift for you! But you gotta be quick - closing date is Sunday next at noon. Send me an email  here with the words Yes Please Santa in the subject line. Don't forget your name and address! (RoI addresses only).

Barry’s Tea has created a very festive limited edition Santa’s Tea box which is for sale exclusively on for tea fans at home and abroad. The box retails at €3.49 and is the perfect stocking filler for young and old.

The Barry’s Online Tea Shop also hosts the full Barry’s Tea range and a plethora of tea gifts for the entire family. The Online Shop was created to help the needs of tea fans living abroad who may not have access to their favourite tea brand. Tea fans should take note that the final postage date for sending a box of Santa’s Tea to a loved one within Ireland is December 19th.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Sharkey Meets Ike. Ex US Pres in Cobh

When Sharkey Met Ike.
Ex US Pres in Cobh.

In August 1962, ex US President Dwight D. Eisenhower spent a few days in Ireland as part of a European tour. Ike was accompanied by his wife Mamie (who wasn't named in the photos I’ve seen of the time).

During an RTE interview, he said he didn’t believe there be a nuclear war but that was before the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, a crisis that had us all on edge.

Generally though it was a relaxing visit. They stayed in the penthouse suite at the Gresham and he played golf, in the August rain, with Joe Carr in Portmarnock.

On the afternoon of the last day of the visit, I was on my way home, via train from Kent Station to Little Island. As I walked along the platform, I saw a small ceremony taking place with none other than Ike at the centre of it. A presentation was made on the red carpet.

Very few people seem to have been aware of it and years later I often wondered if I had really seen it. So I was glad to get confirmation in the summer of 2010. I was visiting an exhibition of old photos in the Sirius Gallery in Cobh, called the Wilson Collection,  when I saw a photo of the event.

I put an account of my Sirius visit on this blog here and also on Qype. Recently, I was contacted by Kevin Kibbey (UK), who had read the Qype review, and he told me his uncle met Ike in Cobh that time.

“My uncle was Jeremiah Griffin - everyone in Cobh knew him as 'Ger' or 'Sharkey'”. And, even better, Kevin had the photo that was taken of Sharkey and Ike! If there is anyone out there with memories of Ike either in Cork or in Cobh and you would like to share, then please get in touch at cork dot billy at gmail dot com

Monday, 12 November 2012

Dingle Drive

 Dingle Drive

 It was the second Saturday in November, yet we enjoyed a brilliant drive on the Dingle Peninsula. First stop, it almost always is, was the long Inch Beach that juts out into the bay.  As I parked, I spotted three cats sunning themselves near a wall and, later the three, joined by at least as many again, were fed by a man.

The waves, quite big ones, were rolling in the from the ocean and, near to the beach, a surfer was trying his luck in the big rolling waves. Further out, a bunch of people were trying their luck in the water, with a jet skier in the immediate vicinity. This intrepid bunch were more easily seen from the high road when we resumed the trip west.


Had quite a walk on the beach before turning back in a hurry. Heavy showers had been forecast and we spotted one coming in over the mountains to the south. Not sure the shower ever quite made as we were on our way to Dingle.

Tom Crean

But not before a coffee stop. That came at Lispole. Many of the major attractions are closed up for the winter, as you’d expect. But the very handy Fáilte Ireland book, South West (one of a series), indicated that the nearby Wildlife and Seal Sanctuary was open. It wasn’t but the cafe, Blúiríní Blasta, was.

Blúiríní Blasta
This is well worth a call. There is some lovely food here, including lights meals and an excellent children's menu. They also do some great home baking and our scone was top class, enhanced by their home made jam and an excellent coffee.

Spider crab in Aquarium
 On then to Dingle itself and our “replacement” visit: the Aquarium, overlooking the harbour. Quite a while since I’ve been here and I enjoyed it especially as we hit feeding time in the colourful Amazon area. There is a new highlight in honour of explorer Tom Crean (we had also called to his birthplace Annascaul) where a bunch of lively penguins catch the eye. So too do the sharks in a nearby pool and then there are the rays that you may touch though be careful of the fellow with the thorny back!

Penguins in Aquarium
 Back on the westward route now, rounding Ventry Bay and heading for Slea Head. Some heavy showers rolled in with even the sturdy gulls staying put on the sea walls. The showers soon passed and we were able to enjoy the spectacular scenery, including that prone Blasket island man, with his big belly (full of spuds and craft beer maybe!).
Slea Head

 Not a day to be visiting the islands so we turned north and drove through the Dunquin area to Clogher Head and more fantastic views as the lively sea battered the cliffs below. Time now for a hot fire and taste of some craft brew and no better place than Tigh Bhric, a brew pub in Ballyferriter, where we supped some refreshing golden ale with proprietors Paul and Adrienne (the brewer).
Waves crash in

The brewery may be relatively new but our next stop, Gallarus Oratory in Ballydavid, certainly isn’t. This is the best example of an early Christian oratory on the peninsula; must have been handy builders as it was built in the ninth century or thereabouts. The oratory is under the care of the OPW. But the facilities, including a video introduction, are not and you are charged three euro to use them.
Brew Pub
 The light was going now and so it was time to head back to Dingle and on to base in Killarney. The low sun made a couple of brief appearances as we headed east, once helping in causing a fantastic double rainbow but, before I could get out of the car with the camera, the rain swept in from behind and the magic arch vanished quickly leaving only the faintest of traces. So, no photo, no pot of gold on this occasion. Reasons enough to head back again to this gorgeous part of the country!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Sunny Morning Stroll in Dublin

Sunny Morning Stroll in Dublin

Took advantage of the sunshine last Saturday morning to take a stroll along the banks of the Liffey, between the Custom House and the spectacular Convention Centre. Took the Luas up from Parkgate Street, got off at Bus Aras and then walked down to the quays in the crisp cool air. Blue skies all the way as you can see by the pictures. Hadn't been here for years and it turned out to be an eye-opener and very enjoyable indeed.

Convention Centre

Beckett Bridge and Convention Centre

O'Casey Bridge

Samuel Beckett Bridge

Custom House and (left) Liberty Hall

City Quay

Matt Talbot

Famine Figures

The Linesman

Jeanie Johnson

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Upcoming events at the Cork Opera House

Upcoming events at the Cork Opera House

Fri 30 November, 11pm, HMT
From the people who brought you PROHIBITION. Expect vintage cocktails, craps tables, burlesque bombshells, hot swing and of course, sizzling hot 1950s noir style.
Tickets: €12.50
Booking fee may apply


Damien Dempsey
Sat 1 December 8pm
Almighty Love, the brand new studio album from Damien Dempsey, was released on 28th September 2012 to great acclaim. The album has been over four years in the making and is Dempsey’s most definitive recording to date.
Tickets: €26
Booking fee may apply

  Read December listings 

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Cork Jazz Festival 2012

Cork Jazz Festival 2012
The beat on the and easy!
Berlin band Beat 'n Blow (above) play Patrick Street
and (below) the New York Brass Band
(from York in the UK) on
the open air stage by the Opera House.
Sunday October 28th 2012

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Glucksman's Irish Craft Fair

For three days in early November, the Glucksman gallery spaces will be brimming with beautiful gifts and a seasonal opportunity to buy Irish. This year’s Craft Fair features an even wider selection of craft makers than previous years, with leading Irish Craft artists presenting work in textiles, jewellery, ceramics, glass and woodturning. 

Gallery Director, Fiona Kearney, said, “The Glucksman’s Craft Fair showcases the creativity and quality of Irish Craft as well as supporting Irish artists and the local economy. The displays are always beautiful to look at and I’ve got my eye on some special gifts already!” 

Craft Fair 2012 is now an established highlight in the Glucksman calendar and a fantastic way to acquire unique and distinctive Irish Crafts. The crafts on sale are aimed at a range of budgets and provide you with a wonderful way to buy Irish and give Irish this Christmas. Throughout the weekend, the creative team at the Glucksman will run art workshops in the River Room enabling parents to shop and children to have fun making their own craft masterpieces. 

Craft Fair 2012 takes place from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th November. The entrance fee of €5 supports the Glucksman’s artistic programme of events, educational workshops and activities that run throughout the year. 

Friday 09 November 3pm-6pm, guest speaker opening the Craft Fair at 5pm. 
Saturday 10 November 10 – 6pm 
Sunday 11 November 11-5pm 
€5 euro entrance fee.

You can find out more about the Lewis Glucksman Gallery by ‘liking’ us on Facebook or following us on Twitter – we look forward to staying in touch! 

Read more

Monday, 22 October 2012

De Profundis

Print Exhibition reveals the fate of Titanic duo Albert & Ernest

'Albert, Ernest & the Titanic', an exhibition by Jamie Murphy will open in CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery Thursday, October 25 at 6pm and will run until Saturday, November 10. Peter Murray, director of Crawford Art Gallery, will open the exhibition.

The exhibition consists of a collection of original black & white lino-cut prints and a substantial artists' book by Murphy about the fate of the Titanic and her on board printers. Film and photographs documenting the development of the project will also be on display.

The book 'Albert, Ernest & the Titanic' is the product of two years of research conducted by Jamie Murphy while studying for his MA in Design at NCAD, it tells the story of the Titanic’s ill-fated on board printers, Abraham “Albert” Mishellany and Ernest Corbin as they embark on the ship’s maiden voyage. They acted as both designers and printers for items produced on board the liner, such as menus, stationery, etc. Today, such items sell for tens of thousands of euro at auction.

Printed at Distiller’s Press in NCAD, Murphy has used only the type of equipment and materials available to Mishellany and Corbin to produce this beautiful limited edition book. All the text for the 36 copies was painstakingly set and printed by hand using traditional letterpress methods. Forty hand cut linoleum illustrations portraying the working men and the vast, luxurious liner, were also created to complement the publication. Murphy said: “One special component is the use of coal salvaged from the Titanic’s wreck site to make an ink for the book. This means there is a little bit of the Titanic in each copy.”

The book has been letterpress printed at Distillers Press, NCAD, Dublin, Ireland. All the text has been set by hand. The book runs to 176 pages with 40 linocut illustrations. A unique adhesive-less binding has been designed for the book and it has been hand bound in a limited edition of 36 copies.

The exhibition will include a display of print tools including: Original linocuts (mounted & unmounted), antique metal type (1907), newly cast metal type (2011), digitally produced magnesium printing blocks, laser cut wooden type, Titanic coal, pestle and mortar, printed Titanic coal ink, two open 'Albert, Ernest & the Titanic' books.

Author Colm Tóibín writes in his foreword for the book: “As we mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, we are reminded of the amazing gallery of prose and poetry prompted by the events of 1912. However, as well as the passengers, we cannot forget the skilled craftsmen who worked on the ship.”

Jamie Murphy is the winner of the NUI Art & Design Prize 2012 and the RDS Printmaker Award 2012. Murphy is a practicing graphic designer based in Dublin. His studio is called Fjord and work can be seen here.

Albert, Ernest & the Titanic will run from 25th October to 10th November and will span Design Week 2012. For further information contact Wandesford Quay Gallery on  021 4335210 or <>

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Burren. On a very good day!

The Burren. On a very good day!

 Enjoyed a spectacular circuit of the Burren the other day, sunshine all the way. I’ve been lucky with the weather these past few months, striking it just right in West Cork, the Glen of Aherlow and now in County Clare.

Aren’t we lucky to have such enormous attractions as the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, world class wonders of nature, right on our Irish doorstep? Which is your favourite? You don’t really have to choose as you can visit both in the one day. If I had to pick, I would go for the Burren on a good day, the Cliffs on a bad one and see those waves crashing in!
 On our day trip to the Burren, we drove up from our hotel in Lahinch (or Lehinch as you see in many signposts around here). Which is it? While I'm at it, what is the correct spelling for the neighbouring town: Ennistimon or Ennistymon?

Spellings were far from my mind as we left Doolin Pier and its dolphins behind and headed into the Burren proper, taking the coastal road north past the beach of Fanore with views of the Aran Island to our left and the grey stone formations of the Burren on the right.

Stops galore but soon enough we were on the Black Head with the sea views now widened out to take in much of Galway Bay while still the Burren’s grey almost sparkled in the sunlight to the right.
 Not just on the left though as there is quite a strip of the flat rocks between the road and the sea. Amazingly, at the water’s edge, there was a tiny field, hardly half an acre, and there were nine or ten cattle grazing away down there. Wonder how their meat would be described on a restaurant menu?

We weren’t the only travellers on this marvellous day. The viewing point was well populated and we noticed that many of the tourists were from abroad. No less than three full size Paddy Wagon buses were parked on the roadside and quite a few more from other companies as well, not to mention the cars.
 Leaving the head behind, we motored eastwards, getting great views of Galway Bay, both to our north and east. Soon, and for the first time in a while, the views were being hindered by hedges as the vegetation became more plentiful as we approached our stopping point of Ballyvaughan.

If ever you are on a trip in this area and need a “pit-stop”, don’t hesitate to call into the beautiful Tea and Garden Rooms that face the harbour here. The minute you enter this lovely building and gardens, you’ll be hooked by the desserts and cakes piled across the groaning table.
 After the replenishment, you have choices. You may retrace your steps on the coastal route but we decided to go inland through the heart of the Burren. The sea is now out of sight but still these fields and hills of grey stone are unreal and you’ll also have towns such as Lisdoonvarna and Kilfenora to call to.

Indeed quite a few people start and stop at Kilfenore and it is a good idea as there is a Burren Visitor Centre here.
 Also visited: Cliffs of Moher  The Burren Brewery Wild Honey Inn  St Tola Goat Cheese Lahinch area Ballyvaughan Tea and Garden Rooms