It IS easy being green – Weekly Photo Challenge

Being Irish, this topic is almost made for me, Ireland’s national colour being …. yes that”s right BLUE. You didn’t expect that did you? Everybody associates Ireland with the colour green, and everyone who has visited the Emerald Isle will bring you stories using GREEN very often.

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Tricolour, flying from Thirty Three The Mall, Waterford.

So, what should I use to picture being green. How about a few of these. You can see where the song came from “The moorlands and the midlands with their forty shades of green”.

I’ll end this post with the Waterford Greenway. I’ve used pictures of the Greenway for a few photo challenges over the last number of weeks, because I’ve been spending a lot of time there. The whole length of the Greenway, a disused railway line, was officially opened on Saturday 25th March, fifty years to the day that the last passenger train did the journey. It is a beacon for people thinking about recycling projects, old infrastructure and how things can be used into the future. It is a catalogue of civil engineering projects, bridges, viaducts and tunnels, all built to carry people from A to B. Turning this piece of history into a modern cycle track and walk way has had it’s own engineering problems. What do you do if cows want to cross from one side to the other, through an old bridge? Give them their own tunnel. What else would you do? I have a video cows crossing under me, but WordPress won’t let me attach it without paying, so you’ll have to believe me, it’s a sight to see.

You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YG1EInsqNAs

 

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Atop – Weekly Photo Challenge

Decisions, decisions, what to do for this one? Atop of a mountain, atop of a building or atop of spaghetti, all covered in cheese, I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed!

celestial star with truffle atop

Well you can’t beat this. Chocolate truffle atop a chocolate star cake. Anything can be improved by adding more chocolate.

I wish – Weekly Photo Challenge

I’ve used pictures I’ve taken on the Waterford Greenway quite a few times, for different photo challenges, but I don’t think I really do it justice. I WISH I could bring you all for a cycle along the Waterford Greenway, so you could see for yourself.

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The Ballyvoyle Tunnel, Waterford Greenway, Waterford, Ireland.

Entering this tunnel feels like going into Jurassic Park, the vegetation around the wall cut feels like it’s from an other world, the temperature is different and the air is still. Then 100 yards later you are out in the open crossing a valley on an iron bridge.

So why do I love this place so much? Well, it changes, from one end to the other, a coastal town to a medieval city, sea views, rolling farmland, around mountains and along river banks. It has it all, except for cars. 46 kilometres of cycling without having to look over your shoulder ….. WISH YOU WERE HERE?

 

The Road Taken – Weekly Photo Challenge

I often find my mind wondering while doing every day things, but especially thinking back to the history of the places I’m passing through. I’ve used pictures of the Waterford Greenway before, because it is very picturesque, but it’s also a road taken by many people throughout our history.

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The Road Taken by countless Irish people, heading for England.

Children today will know this place as a safe playground, a cycle way with no cars and very little in the way of hills. It is a very beautiful route travelling from Dungarvan on the coast around the Commeragh Mountains, then along the Suir Valley into Waterford City.

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Looking towards Waterford City

So who has taken this road before? With the proximity of the river, the area has been important with traders, throughout history. Kilmeaden Castle stands on the south bank of the Suir, and controlled a lot of the local trading with Norman England, which could be why Oliver Cromwell was so upset.

 

Long before the railway was built and Cromwell came to visit, Waterford was a very popular destination with the Vikings. The Woodstown Viking Site at the edge of the Greenway, was only rediscovered in 2003, whilst doing excavation work for a new road. The were so many artefacts discovered that work on the road was immediately stopped. The range of objects found on the site, on display in Reginalds Tower museum and well worth a visit,  show how important international trade was to the Vikings.

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The most important stone in Waterford?

At the edge of the river bank, near the Woodstown Site, it this stone. Why is it there? I don’t know the answer, but my imagination tells me it’s important. Think of the river as  The Road Taken, would this be the Viking equivalent of a parking meter to moor your longboat to, or maybe it’s for the equivalent of the traffic management camera with a Viking sitting on this guiding the river traffic to the right dock. Maybe one day we will find out for sure.

 

A Good Match – Weekly Photo Challenge

I see this as the perfect match, MY DOG’S EARS. I often watch her, even when she is at rest, with her ears twitching on her head like the Radar on R2-D2’s lid.

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The ears of a Berger Blanc Swiss

OK, it’s not a great picture for a photo challenge, but as you can imagine, she doesn’t stay still for long! In fact, I would go as far as to say, she knows how a camera works, and moves as the the shutter clicks.

Going back to her ears, they never seem to relax, and are permanently ON. One ear will hear a noise, and fix dead still on her head, while the other will scan around under complete control trying to verify any threat. This happens constantly.

Thinking about it now, I’ve always had dogs with this type of ear, and very wolf-like heads, “Oh, Grandmother, what big ears you have” I hear you cry, but it’s someimes good to have the wolf on your side.

Though, remember ladies,  there are various kinds of wolves. There are also those who are charming, quiet, polite, unassuming, complacent, and sweet, who pursue young women at home and in the streets. And unfortunately, it is these gentle wolves [that get voted for] who are the most dangerous ones of all.

Against the Odds – Weekly Photo Challenge

I’ve been thinking about this subject, trying to work out what to do, a picture of a Lottery ticket, a poker hand or a set of dice. Then I thought, life is a bit of a lottery. What are the chances of being lost at sea, two days after your son was lost? Must be against the odds.

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Memorial to S.S. Formby and S.S. Coningbeg

So what were the Formby and the Coningbeg? Sister ships, from the Clyde Shipping Line, working between Waterford and Liverpool. Exporting livestock, outward to Liverpool, returning with manufactured goods from England, for the Irish market. The Coningbeg was captained by Joseph Lumley, the 2nd Engineer on the Formby was his son William Lumley.

The fortunes of Waterford have always been linked with it’s river and the trade from the sea. So it comes as no surprise that generations of families, earned their livings at sea, but you don’t expect to loose your life and ruin your family’s future through that work.

The two steamers were in Liverpool, making ready for their last journey home before Christmas, a trip they had done many times. S.S.Formby left first, heading out into the Irish Sea, to be followed by the Coningbeg once it had finished loading.

The odds of getting home were somewhat shortened, by the presence of a German U-Boat in the Irish Sea. U-62 spotted the Formby off the coast of Wales on the 15th December 1917. This is what was written in the U-Boat’s log book:

6pm  15/12/1917

Dark night, westerly wind force 3-4. Shortly before dark a big darkened freighter observed. Pursued attack position. Speed and course 230° of steamer observed.

7.58pm 15/12/1917

Bow shot No.1 tube, C/06D Torpedo 2.5m depth. Opponents speed 11knots, interception angle 80°, distance 500m, hit in engine room. Vessel of unknown nationality. After clearance of smoke of the explosion 3-4 minutes after the strike, ship sinks with all hands.

The Coningbeg sat out a storm in Liverpool, before leaving for home on the 17th, the Captain not knowing of the fate of the Formby, and his son William. They entered the Irish Sea unaware of the stalking U-boat.

8pm 17/12/1917

Very dark, westerly wind force 3 clear. Saw a large darkened vessel, 220° and steamed up to attack. Vessel loaded deep and steaming at 12 knots.

11.45pm 17/12/1917

Night is so dark, target is only recognisable at 1000m with night glasses. Stern tube IV C/06D Torpedo 2.5m depth, distance 500m, angle 80°. Hit amidships. Vessel in flames, breaks in two immediately and sinks with all hands.

83 people lost their lives in those vessels, 67 from Waterford. Their families gathered on the Quay in Waterford, outside the Clyde’s office, but no news came. The body of Annie O’Callahan, Stewardess, was washed onto a beach in Wales, the only body to be recovered. After Christmas the Clyde shipping company declared that they were not coming home, what had become of them was still unknown. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that the 83 were given Service Medals, from England, allowing the families to be given War Pensions.

So, what were the odds of that happening? Well greatly increased, when you add the skill of the captain of the U-Boat, Ernst Hashagen. He could easily be seen as the villain of the piece, but even if he was just following orders, you have to admit he was very good at his job. He is thought to have come to Waterford in the 1940’s, making enquiries about the ships. He went into Phelan’s Barber Shop, run by the son of one of the victims, and told him of his time on U-62. I’ll leave you with his words.

It’s rather dreadful to be steaming thus alongside ones victim knowing that she has ten maybe twenty minutes to live, till fiery death leaps from the sea and blows her to pieces. A solemn mood possesses those few on the bridge. The horror of war silences us.

The moment that the liberating “Fire” rings out, the torpedo is already leaping from it’s tube and on it’s way. No word passes between us. Great experiences render one dumb. We know we did our duty.