August 31, 2005

Junkyard Blues

What do you do when you have a beautiful, and unique, natural resource on your doorstep. Why, crap all over it, of course. Above is a photograph of the Coral Beach in Connemara from April 2003 (the 'sand' is actually tiny pieces of brightly coloured coral - hell to walk on in bare feet but shines incandescently in the sun) and below is a picture of the same parking area a couple of months ago. Despite a survey claiming that Ireland has significently less litter now than ten years ago, our citizenry still seemed determined to bury the country under as much junk as they can throw at it. Short of threatening to shoot litterbugs on sight, I don't see much hope for the future (and we'd still need a lot of bullets...)

UPDATE Sept. 1: Some of the pictures don't seem to be appearing on the site. I think it's a Flickr problem, so hopefully it will sort itself out shortly.

,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 06:29 PM | Comments (1)

August 30, 2005

Bunlough Strand, Co. Mayo

This is the last one I'll post from the series I took on Bunlough Strand 19 months ago.

,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 06:36 PM | Comments (2)

August 29, 2005

Self Portrait

Filling a much-needed gap in the market, a picture of yours truly, taken in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 06:00 PM | Comments (1)

August 28, 2005

Force 7 from Galway

The sand dances along the footpath on Salthill promenade with every gust of wind this morning. According to a buoy off Slyne Head, unromantically named M1, (and the Beaufort Scale), the wind is blowing at Strong Breeze level, gusting to Near Gale Force. It certainly felt like that - the spray at high tide easily reached the roadway. The wind (or the less than Mediterranean temperatures) didn't deter a bunch of swimmers - no better way to clear the head at the end of the weekend.

,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2005

The early riser

Chances are, if you've been to Inis Mór (the largest of the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway), you've seen this fellow. Just up the hill from Kilronan pier is a brightly painted house and a clutch of chickens in the adjoining garden - Big Daddy here looks to be the boss of the clan.

,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 08:18 AM | Comments (3)

August 24, 2005

Down by the River

Six people drowned on this spot 63 years ago yesterday. A small headstone at Carrickmakeegan Bridge, over the Ballinamore - Ballyconnell Canal in Cavan remembers the names of Maureen Moran, Annie Walsh, Maureen Rowley, Carmel Prior, Sean Dolphin and Seamus Wisley.

I asked the fisherman what he was trying to catch. He didn't tell me. They never do.

,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 10:19 PM | Comments (1)

August 23, 2005

Bluebells at Lilliput

Twenty years ago, my parents and neighbours planted oak and beech to replace the centuries old stock that had been cut down in defiance of a court order and local sentiment. The oldest of the originals had probably shaded Jonathan Swift when he holidayed here (a few hardy ones remain). But the new trees have settled in, softening the memory of the original desecration, and once again, provide the necessary shade for the purple carpet of bluebells every spring.

Picture taken on May Day this year.

,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2005

Bunlough Strand

Another snap from the first set of pics I took with the Canon G3, the day after I bought it, back in November 2003.

,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2005

Electric Leisureland

It's August and the leaves are turning. So is the Big Wheel in Leisureland in Galway, though it was nearly empty on Saturday night when I took this shot. At least it keeps them off the streets...

,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 10:26 PM | Comments (5)

Summer rain

Summer? Oh, that summer. Maybe it'll be sunny tomorrow...

, ,

Posted by Monasette at 08:23 AM | Comments (3)

Alma Mater Blues

Great post from Alive in Limerick. I'm guessing that Trinity don't have one of these signs at the front gate...

, ,

Posted by Monasette at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2005

Does my bum look big in this ?

This boggy puddle sits about half way along the path to the top of Benbaun (Binn Bhán) in the Twelve Bens range in Connemara, at about a height of 450 metres (that's the Maumturks that you can see in the distance). When we climbed the mountain last month, it was nearly 30 degrees, and it nearly killed me. On the way down, we stopped by the little 'lake' for a break. The sun had warmed it so that even splashing some of its water on my face hardly cooled me down. It did however impart a certain je ne sais quoi for the rest of the descent. Actually, I do know what it was - eau de sheep's pee - and it's this year's killer scent with the ladies, or your money back.

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2005

National Symbols...

Lucky Shamrock pens, as distinct from the doom-laden ones, which I'm sure proved to be less popular. And where are these magnificently tasteful objects on sale? Why, St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin, of course.

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 09:37 PM | Comments (1)

August 17, 2005

Cork rubbish

Sign in West Cork, taken a few years ago with a dodgy Konica digital compact.

Posted by Monasette at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2005

Hand of God

Talk to the hand...gravestones in west Galway

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2005

Jesus of Clontuskert

Another one from the archives...holy statue in Clontuskert Abbey, Co. Galway.

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)

August 14, 2005


I went out this evening to pick mushrooms. The first one I found was all you could hope for :- firm, white, with an irresistable earthy scent. It was also the last mushroom I found, so no mushies for tea, then. The picture above is an old one from the archives - a shot of a porcelain fungus that was growing about 8 foot up an oak tree in Barna Wood. The shot was taken a couple of years ago (with an EOS 500 and a Sigma zoom) on Fujichrome film and then scanned witha Minolta film scanner. It was nearly monochrome to begin with, but I converted it anyway in Photoshop.

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 11:28 PM | Comments (1)

August 11, 2005


Remember the sun? Bathers and paddlers in Salthill, Galway a couple of weeks ago.

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 11:15 PM | Comments (1)

August 10, 2005

The Burning Bush

Strictly speaking, you're not allowed burn off the cuttings from hedges anymore - the danger of Sting turning up to sing protest songs is just too great. But, damn it, burning stuff is fun. Back in the late Seventies, we reclaimed a couple of fields and disposed of tons of furze, ash hedge, hazel scrub and as many Val Doonican records as we could find with a row of bonfires that glowed long into the summer night. Picture above taken somewhere in Galway this week.

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2005

Cnoc Maol Réidh

Under a sunny sky on Sunday, the forces of Munster overcame those of Connacht. At the same time, I was standing on top of Mweel Rea, the highest mountain in Connemara. Not much in the way of pictures - the cloud sat on the mountain all day. I was feeling sorry for myself having to lug my rucksack around all day until one of my fellow walkers invited me to lift her pack. I nearly gave myself a hernia - she had packed three bags of sugar for extra weight (she's practising for an Alpine walking holiday in a couple of weeks). That shut me up. A good day in all, though if anyone has a spare pair of knees I can borrow, let me know.

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 10:55 PM | Comments (6)

August 08, 2005

Snap Happy

This post was supposed to be about Infrared photography. But I got sidetracked, as usual. Maybe later in the week. The location of this picture is just a few yards from that of the one posted yesterday. This is a colour infrared digital photograph, with the levels adjusted slightly to desaturate the leaves but retain some warmth in the water. Taken using a Canon350 DSLR, a Canon 75-300 USM IS lens and a Hoya R75 IR filter.

On Saturday, I downloaded the RAW thumbnail viewer plugin for Windows Explorer (for XP only - available here). I shoot most pictures in RAW format, which, until now, was not viewable as a thumbnail in Windows[The difference between JPG and RAW is described in this article on the Luminous Landscape website]. You can click on a thumbnail to see a large version of the image, though the resolution isn't great. The plugin supports RAW for Nikon and Canon (the .CR2 format)- it also supports the older .CRW RAW files generated by my Canon G3 compact (though the resolution is even poorer). The downside, for those of you living in planet Dial-up, is that, while the plugin is 5Mb, you have to download a Microsoft .Net framework (whatever the hell that is), which brings the total download size to 48Mb (yes, that's forty eight). No doubt such an ungodly act will see you in hell one day, but in the meantime, assuming you've got the bandwidth, the plugin is quite handy.

A couple of months ago, John Naughton wrote an article for The Observer that triggered a tinge or two of guilt. It began

What are you going to do when your hard disk fails? Note that I said 'when' - not 'if'.

He was talking about back-ups, and how important they are. Now, the reason I felt guilty was that I'd been meaning to do a back-up but hadn't got around to it. And after a day or two, the back-up joined the rest of the mental pile of things that I keep meaning to do, like climbing Croagh Patrick again, tidying the apartment and hunting down the rest of Westlife. Then, about a fortnight later, I switched on the computer to be greeted with the Blue Screen of Death. And, just like the chorus of a Johnny Cash song, Naughton's words came back to haunt me. Luckily, the problem wasn't the hard disk, but I wasn't taking any more chances. [Maybe it's just me but I find that XP crashes or hangs almost as often as my old Windows 98 machine. But, like a gentleman drunk, it just picks itself up again and is too polite to mention the unseemly occurrence again. Until the next time it happens.]

There was one small problem. The size of the backup. I have almost 60Gb of photos stored on my hard drive, but almost half of those were taken in the last six months (and most of those since I bought the Canon 350). It's an 8mb model, so each shot is twice the size of one taken with my previous camera. I bought a 1Gb card with the camera, and can easily fill it on a good day. [I should point out that most shots I take are total rubbish, even on a 'good' day. I'm a bit trigger-happy with the shutter button. And I can't bring myself to delete any of them]. My PC has a maximum capacity of 160GB, so I'll probably fill it completely within 18 months.

The last time I did a backup was in March and it took nearly a box of DVDs and several hours. But unless I wanted to build my next house out of DVD cases, that wasn't a long term solution. So last Saturday, I bought an external hard drive. It cost 200 euro, stores 250Gb and if you can buy it somewhere else for less, don't tell me. [It also crashed the PC repeatedly for about an hour and then worked fine, without any intervention from me. Go figure].

As for the process of backing them, I use Picasa - the second useful piece of free software that I use. It's available from Google (you can download it here) that acts like a photo album and browser. I've already organised my sub-directories of photos by location and date, so Picasa allows me to browse all the photos of a particular place by location (as rows of thumbnails). Incidentally, Picasa supports RAW in thumbnail but often hangs when I try to view full-size images in RAW. Maybe version 3 will sort out that problem.It also supports back-ups, including incremental back-up (i.e. it only back-ups the photos taken since the previous back-up). I don't know how long it took to back-up all the photos (there were 29,000 of them) but when I came back after lunch , it was done. Of course, the external drive sits on the same desk as the PC, so if the apartment burns down, all the pics will disappear. But, given that I live about 50 metres from where oil tankers dock to unload their cargo, if there's a fire, the computer will be the least of my worries…

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 09:20 PM | Comments (6)

August 07, 2005


View of Galway City (between William O'Brien Bridge and the Salmon Weir bridge) along the river with the Cathedral in the background. Pciture taken with Infrared filter.

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 11:05 PM | Comments (5)

Best foot forward

There was an 8km run around Galway this evening. I've posted a few pics here - artistically, they're not much to look at, but if you're in one of theme, or recognise someone, feel free to download them.

Incidentally, everytime I pointed the camera at the massed runners, 50% of the runners would make eye-contact and pose like mad. Bad news, ladies. Most of the 'posed' shots didn't come out, and if you posed for the (ahem) dashing young chap at the bridge, it won't appear in the papers either.

Update August 8th.The set of pics from the race are proving to be surprisingly popular already - 2 of them have already made into my top 20 List of Most Viewed Photos on Flickr. Either a lot of you are turned on by the sight of joggers or a lot of you are runners...

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

End of the Line

The number of visiting salmon fishermen has halved since 1999. The reason ? It's getting harder to catch anything. And the reason for that? In part, the fleet of Irish drift net fishing boats sweeping the western seaboard of Ireland that catch salmon on their return journey (to spawn) in Ireland and the UK. This afternoon, one fisherman struck lucky, netting a sizeable salmon. One less salmon that will return to breed and propagate the species...

Incidentally, a shoal of mackeral is trapped in the Inner Dock - it swam in during the day and the lock gates are closed until tomorrow. A Scandinavian fisherman was hooking dozens of them (he didn't fancy having his picture taken) and I could see the silver flecks of the fish darting about in the murky water. So if you fancy mackeral for lunch tomorrow, get up early...

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2005

Climb Every Mountain...

The Tuam branch of the Irish Countrywomen's Association launch their wild mushroom tasting course...

I finally got around to organising a slideshow of pictures from the Mother Courage... show during the Arts Festival.

Between two and three hundred people a month visited my Croagh Patrick galleries during the summer. I've been meaning to revisit the mountain on Reek Sunday but I didn't manage it this year. Here is a great set of photographs on Flickr from someone who did.


,, ,

Posted by Monasette at 11:36 PM | Comments (1)

August 03, 2005

Rainy Days

The rain swept along the Galway Docks in a wave last night, washing away every vertige of the previous day's sunshine. It wasn't all that disappeared. Along the path between the quayside and the oil storage tankers, the council laid out a strip of topsoil back in May and sowed grass. Despite the best efforts of every feathered freeloader in the city (i.e. the pidgeons) to eat as much of the seed as possible, there is now a fine coating of grass that adds a bit of welcome colour to an otherwise unrelenting swathe of concrete. About a month ago, a row of Norwegian maples were planted, and I should have know that I was tempting fate when just yesterday, I was thinking to myself how well they were doing. This morning, there is only a hole to commemorate one of the trees. A mindless galoot either stole one of them or pulled it out to throw into the water. Either way, may he/she die roarin' for a priest, as we say around here...

Just a day before...I can think of better ways of spending a hot Bank Holiday Monday than painting an oil tanker.

Meanwhile, organisers of the Galway Lark in the Park are wondering why they sold so few tickets (forcing them to cancel it). Hmmm...50 quid to stand in a field to watch Aslan and Brian Kennedy ? A mystery indeed...

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 11:00 PM | Comments (1)

August 02, 2005

St. Colman's Church

St. Colman's Churchyard at the edge of the Burren, Co. Clare.

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 11:10 PM | Comments (5)

All along the Watchtower

Picture is Gleninagh Castle, near Ballyvaughan in Co. Clare. In the background, about eighteen kilometres away across Galway Bay is the small, sandy cliff of Silver Strand.

Even though today was a scorcher, the pilgrims are not taking any chances for Wednesday...

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 12:07 AM | Comments (1)

August 01, 2005

Sign of the Times I

This area has featured in almost all of Ireland's history, particularly the turbulent bits, and yet 90% of the souvenirs relate to an affable slice of blarney filmed around here half a century ago. Cong, Co. Mayo is ground zero for The Quiet Man tourist industry, though the Abbey, Ashford Castle, the two lakes and even the ill-fated canal are probably more interesting. Next time I'm up there, I want to see a sign for "The Firbolgs slew the Tuath De Danann here amid much slaughter and severed heads and all I got was this lousy T-shirt".

, , ,

Posted by Monasette at 01:29 AM | Comments (0)