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Ireland

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Flowers

"Once more had come now the miracle of the Irish June. Yellow of gorse; red of clover; purple of the Dublin Mountains ...and wherever a clump of trees was there grew great crops of bluebells, and the primroses lingered who should have been gone three weeks and more ... Once more had come the now the miracle of the Irish June. Westward the sun drove, like some majestic bird, and the rays, yellow as yellow wine, cleared the purple peaks and slopes ... but in the valleys and lowlands the foggy dew still rested, so that the kine and the horses were breast deep in it, as in a sea of silver. And from the mountains there blew a little breeze, cool as cool water ... All the trees nodded to her, all the flowers waved, the rivers sang and the salmon leaped high from the pool ... and the fisherman of Aran and the peasant tilling his acre stopped for a moment to say: God is good! Once more had come now the miracle of the Irish June."

From Hangman's House by Donn Byrne.
New pictures are added to this part of the site every few weeks, usually at the top of each page.


1. Ancient Ireland - Megaliths

There are about 1,200 megalithic (Greek for "Great Stone") structures in Ireland.



Older than the Pyramids?
Browneshill Dolmen, County Carlow

The massive capstone of this dolmen,
estimated to weigh well over 100 tons,
is the largest of its type in Europe.

The dolmen is situated about 2 miles east of Carlow Town,
which is 45 miles north of Waterford.



Waterford Dolmen
View from Northeast

In popular folklore, dolmens were the
tables or graves of giants, or druids' altars,
or entrances to the Underworld of the Tuatha De Danann.
This dolmen is unusual in that it has two capstones.


Megaliths are divided by archaeologists into 4 main types : -
  • Court (eg. Creevykeel) - 329 sites
  • Portal or Dolmen(eg. Poulnabrone) - 163 sites
  • Passage (eg. Newgrange) - 300 sites
  • Wedge (eg. Labbacallee). - 400 sites

Most megaliths date from 3,500-5,000 years ago.
The Neolithic (New Stone Age) farmers who built them were here long before
the English, before the Normans, and Norsemen, even long before the Celts.
And for over 4,000 years before those again, lived another people, the earliest known Irish**.
These Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) hunter/gatherers and fishermen
sailed here, or possibly crossed over land bridges from Scotland or Wales
after the ice sheets started to melt, but before the seas rose
high enough to make Ireland an island.

**Apparently, there is some disagreement about whether
the Neolithic and Mesolithic Irish were distinct peoples,
with some arguing that the Mesolithic Irish learned farming
from contacts with Britain and the Continent,
while others claim that there must have been a major influx of new people.



Then the record of human habitation runs out.
While remains of reindeer, Irish giant deer, woolly mammoth, brown bear
and spotted hyena have been found dating from some of the "warmer" Ice Age periods
(as far back as 35,000 years ago), there are no signs of people.
Maybe there were no earlier inhabitants.
Or maybe there were, but their traces have been washed away by the rising seas,
or erased by the mile high ice sheets that came and went across the country
for much of the preceeding 250,000 years.

The above information was culled from a number of sources,
the best being "Early Ireland (An Introduction to Irish Prehistory)",
by Michael J. O'Kelly
Published by Cambridge University Press 1989.



As far as is known, Ireland has been populated only fairly recently
(if you can call 9,000 years ago recent).
In contrast, the fossil and other evidence of hominid habitation
in other parts of the world goes back much, much further,
to 10-30,000 years ago in North America, to 60,000 in Australia, 250,000 in Britain,
500,000+ in mainland Europe, to nearly 2 million years ago in Asia,
and to over 3 million years ago in Africa.

I'll be expanding this section of the site when I can,
but in the meantime, half the fun is finding this stuff out for yourself.
So off you go - search for the ancient temples of Malta, or Chatel Hoyuk, or Red Paint people,
Neanderthals, Shandimar 4, archaic Homo Sapiens, Homo Heidelbergensis, Homo Erectus,
Homo Habilis, Java Man, Pekin Man, Australopithecus Afarensis or whatever
(I search on Google.com a lot - it's fast and accurate)




MORE ABOUT IRELAND

I've lived most of my life here in Waterford, Ireland.
While I've always liked the scenery, it's only since I began photography
that I've begun to properly see what else has been around me all these years.
The countryside and towns are full of castles and cottages,
watchtowers, standing stones, raths and ringforts, dolmens and stone circles.

No photography (particularly not mine) can do justice to these sites -
you have to be here to feel their atmosphere.


Dolmen

Another view of dolmen (from South).
Dolmen is over 10 feet high




Giants Grave (Passage Tomb)

Circle of more than 25 stones around 20 foot by 6 foot passage tomb.
Excavated in 1941(?) - 2 skeletons, pottery, jewellery found,
although grave had previously been robbed.

Magnificent 360' view of Waterford (Fornaght, Dunmore, Tramore Bay and Sandhills, Comeraghs etc.),
and into Wexford (Saltee Islands, Hook Peninsula) and Kilkenny,
Carlow (Mount Leinster) and Tipperary (Slievenamon).
I'll try to get a good photo asap.





By their choice of location, it's obvious that the Neolithic people
who built the monument above thousands of years ago could appreciate natural beauty.
By their choice of location, it's equally obvious that our modern-day "planners" can't
- the view to the north is now ruined by MMDS and mobile phone masts a few hundred yards away.
(See next picture)


Two views of the mobile phone/microwave debate.

1. They ARE harmful - Interview with Dr. Neil Cherry.
2. NO EVIDENCE that they're harmful - European Union Scientific Steering Committee.

See also BBC Talking Point (Public comments on the latest (May 2000) UK report.)

You will be leaving this site etc. etc.


My own opinion is that it's advisable, especially for younger people,
to use mobile phones only for emergencies.
Their use raises new isssues, and it will be years, if not decades, before adequate evidence is in.
It's therefore irrational, unscientific, and a mindless repetition of previous health controversies
(Cigarette smoking, DDT, Thalidomide, Nuclear Power,
Hepatitis C / Aids contaminated blood products, BSE, Dioxins etc. etc.).
for anyone to claim, in the absence of evidence,
that mobile phone use is "safe".

The alarmists have as good as record
as the "pooh pooh,there's no possible harm" scientists in these matters
This type of scientist has done untold harm to the reputation of science,
and I've yet to hear any of them apologise for getting it so wrong,
once the brown stuff hits the fan.
Unless they're embroiled in legal action, of course, in which case it pays to sound contrite.





Progress





Giant's Grave
View from inside tomb, looking southwest.



Newgrange, County Meath



More Irish Megaliths



Irish Mythology

(You will be leaving this site if you follow the above two links,
so Bookmark/Add to Favorites if you want to return easily.)



Tips on Travel to/in Ireland

If you've been thinking of visiting Ireland, don't put it off too much longer.
Ireland is changing fast - it has recently overtaken the U.S. as the world's largest software exporter,
and is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

And just as we need effective planning more than ever,
our system has finally been revealed as corrupt,
with a collection of thieving scumbags from CHARLES HAUGHEY, retired Taoiseach, (leader of the government)
to PADRAIG FLYNN, currently(!) Ireland's EU Commissioner,
to GEORGE REDMOND, retired Assistant Dublin City and County Manager,
among many other elected TD's and councillors, being found to have taken large cash bribes from big business,
usually in relation to planning applications.

Partly as a consequence of all this, while there's still great beauty, honesty and soul to be found here,
and a greater appreciation of our past and of our land, there's also rapidly growing ugliness, traffic, pollution and litter,
indiscriminate building everywhere, with more and more greenery being chewed up into concrete, tarmac and plastic.
Ther is also a more hurried approach to life, and a decline in traditional Irish friendliness.

On a different subject, you should be aware that some Irish people are racist, so, especially if your skin is dark,
you may experience unfriendliness, and ignorant or unpleasant comments in public.


Some examples :

  • Mount Congreve Estate, Waterford (New Motorway)
    The National Roads Authority wants to drive a motorway or a dual carriageway
    through the estate, within 50 yards of the world famous gardens,
    destroying thousands of 100-300 year old trees, and tens of thousands
    of younger trees from the garden's vital shelterbelt.
    (Many of Mount Congreve's plants are delicate exotics,
    and will suffer badly if exposed to Ireland's windy climate.)

    The authorities have already succeeded in the usual Divide and Conquer policy
    (See Letter to Irish Times 2 below) -
    "The road is going through anyway - no choice (why not??)
    - either it goes through someone's village or it goes through the estate - which?"
    This is like giving someone the "choice" of being hit on the mouth or hit on the nose

    Links : -
    Letter to Irish Times 1
    Letter to Irish Times 2




  • Glen of The Downs, Co. Wicklow.(Road Widening)
    The Gulags are alive and well, and now located in Ireland.
    In mid February 2000, 13 anti-roads protestors were imprisoned, not for any crime they'd committed,
    but because they refused to give undertakings not to interfere with tree felling.
    In other words, they were imprisoned for "thought crimes". Shades of Stalin/Mao or 1984.
    Most of the protestors gave undertakings after a few weeks, but four remained in prison until early April.
    Apparently, they could all have been kept in prison INDEFINITELY,
    and were only released because the tree-felling was almost complete.
    So, a legal system that allowed the corruption of rich and powerful golden circles
    to flourish unchecked for decades, gets real tough with a handful of penniless activists
    who didn't even have access to legal aid.

    Links : -
    (You may need to scroll to find the relevant letter)
    Colm Toibin (Sunday Independent)
    Cork Examiner Article
    Letter from Christy Moore/Luka Bloom
    Letter to Irish Times 3
    Letter to Irish Times 4
    Letter to Irish Times 5
    Letter to Irish Times 6




  • Stradbally, Co. Waterford. (New Factory Farm)
    One of the most beautiful and picturesque villages and beaches I've seen in my life,
    Stradbally always scored very highly in Ireland's Tidy Towns,
    winning its category on a number of occasions.
    Now, Waterford County Council has given planning permission for a giant piggery factory farm,
    an Bord Pleanala has upheld the decision,
    and the County Council has voted down a motion that attempted to revoke the decision.
    Maybe it's some kind of grotesque joke?

  • River Pollution
    Yet another report catalogues yet another decline
    in the water quality of Ireland's rivers.
    And yet again, the powers that be shout "Something must be done!" and do nothing.

  • It can't all be blamed on the Government/Big Business/The Farmers/The Planners/Corruption.
    A recent (Government commissioned) environmental survey showed that many
    Irish people were two-faced in their attitudes to pollution.
    While 68% agree that pollution is "an urgent and immediate problem",
    most of that 68% apparently are unwilling to do anything whatever
    about this "urgent and immediate problem"!
    (Almost 50% of the total surveyed are litter bugs, a similar percentage ignore environmental labelling,
    60% don't consider the environment in their choice of car,
    and over 70% make no effort to cut back on driving
    or occasionally switch to public transport for the sake of the environment).
    New car sales in Ireland are at record levels, and this is widely hailed as being a great thing.
    Yet, the greatest moaners about "the traffic" are car drivers!



  • The decline of rural Ireland.
    Read article by John McGahern
    (Author of "The Dark" and "Amongst Women")
    in The Irish Independent.



  • Some points about Racism in Ireland (from 1997).
    More (from Jan. 2000).


    (You will be leaving this site if you follow the above links,
    so Bookmark/Add to Favorites if you want to return easily.)



    It's not all doom and gloom, of course.


    IN SPITE OF ALL THE ABOVE, HOWEVER, IRELAND IS STILL A COUNTRY WELL WORTH VISITING!

    (The above is a "warts'n'all" account. Most countries have problems -
    you just don't hear about them in their Tourist Board blurbs.)

  • More by luck than design, Waterford City has largely been spared the kind of destruction
    visited by an criminally ignorant and corrupt establishment on Dublin,
    and many of its old buildings and streetscapes are still intact.
    Recently, in spite of the huge increase in car numbers,
    parts of Waterford City center have even been pedestrianised!

  • Dr. Rory Harrington and others, by using reed bed filtration systems,
    are making Dunhill, Co. Waterford streams fit to drink again.
    A minor miracle, considering the current level of water pollution in Ireland,
    and the hopeless official response.


  • Castlecove.....5 women put their dying Co. Kerry village on the map,
    recently winning 2 "Green Oscars" in Japan.

  • Fenor Bog.....A local community gets together
    to purchase and conserve a unique Waterford wetland.

  • Irish Seed Savers Association.....Since 1900, 75% of agricultural seed varieties have been lost.
    This small group is working to save what's left.
    Full Article
    List of Seed Saving/Organic Growing organisations (Worldwide)

MORE TO COME



2. Irish Cottages

More Irish Cottages



3. Irish Seascapes
(See also Dunmore East
)

More Irish Seascapes



4. Irish Castles


French Tower, Waterford City walls
Anglo-Norman Extension
13th Century ?

Tower is an unusual
3/4 moon-shape.
More Irish Castles



5. Irish Landscapes

8KB

River Suir
at Great Island, Co. Waterford

More Irish Landscapes


6. Irish Streetscapes



Waterside
St John's River (The Pill).
Waterford City





Carrick-on-Suir





St. Catherine's Hall
Waterford City
Built 1861





Medieval Bridge
St John's River (The Pill).





North Wharf
Waterford City




7. Dunmore East

More of Dunmore East



8. Miscellaneous

Dragonfly

Dragonfly



The kettle on the hob

The kettle on the hob



Showjumper at Waterford Show

"...The other horse is jet black...head firmly knit...
...feet broad-hoofed and slender...
...Spirited and fiery, he fiercely gallops..stamping firmly on the ground...
...Beautifully he sweeps along...having outstripped the horses of the land..."

From a description of the Dubh,
one of Cuchulainn's two chariot horses,
(The other being the Grey of Macha)
in "The Wooing of Emer",
a 2000 year old Irish saga.

The Irish still love their horses.


Cattle at Coolum

The Cattle Raid of Coolum


White Bull of Aillil

White Bull of Aillil


Friendly(?) Bull

Friendly(?) Bull


Stallion and Shy Mare

Stallion and Shy Mare


Pickled field mushrooms

Pickled field mushrooms


Mushrooms and Toadstools

Mushrooms and Toadstools






Ducklings


Dog Learns to Drive
Dog Learns to Drive

"I knew the dog was possessive about the car
but I would not have asked her to drive it
if I had thought there was any risk."
(From an insurance claim form)
More claims


All images are copyright
and may not be reproduced without
written permission.




If you have any enquiries, complaints or suggestions please e-mail me at earrings@tinet.ie