Camden Again

I will eventually round up the photos from the Cork photowalk a couple of weeks ago. This is the last of them, another visit to Camden with the rest of the gang this time. It’s pretty much the same up there, although with the notable exception of several new rooms now being open to the public. Most of these rooms were hosting an art exhibition but there were one or two that were bare, as pictured above.

Although not very visible in the shot, the majority of the floor space in this room was converted into a shallow pool with several tiny boats doing laps. Yes, I thought the reflection was more interesting than the boats and chose to compose and expose accordingly.

Other than that, Fort Camden is as it was from our last visit so there’s no major updates. They did open one of the piers at the end of the impossibly long (and quite steep) staircase though and it is nice to see the place further developing. We were all treated to sunshine again for our morning at the fort, rounding off the Cork photowalk nicely. When those snowy winter months roll in I’ll have to start putting together some thoughts for Cork Photowalk 2012. Thanks to all that attended, great to see some new faces and of course equally great to see all the regulars. Hope you all enjoyed the day (and a half) out.

The full set from the photowalk is available on Pix.ie and Flickr

Church of St Anne

The second stop in last weekends 1.5 day photowalk in Cork, the church of St Anne in Shandon. I spent much of the time walking up there hoping it was open as on a few previous trips I’d found that the opening times were a little optimistic. As always, the claustrophobic and acrophobic were invited to remain at ground level, the climb to the top of the tower isn’t one that either of those two groups of people would particularly enjoy.

The view from the top is still as good as it ever was although I don’t think the photo below does it any kind of justice. It’s worth the couple of euro entry price to climb up there and see it for yourself.

Home from Home

When you’re not in your luxurious quarters, you’ll be able to roam the grounds, play some football, listen to your favorite bands on your very own state of the art music system, build sandcastles, enjoy dipping your toes in the cool Cork harbour water and wave at the locals. If you’re good, you might even get back to the mainland in 14 months. Yes, you’re on Spike Island courtesy of the department of justice.

If you’re there in 2011 however, you’ve either made a wrong turn in your yacht or you’ve paid for the pleasure of touring the now closed down (and mostly burned down) Fort Mitchell prison. They could go as far as to title it “Spike Island; More than just a prison you know!”

By the time I was old enough to comprehend it, I was told that the island visible off the coast of many of the seaside spots I grew up next to was a prison. Nothing more, nothing less. I wasn’t informed that before those times, it served as a monastery, a colony and a strategically important military stronghold to guard against unsavory types making their way into the inner harbour.

Neither did I know that it’s where “Little Nellie” (a Cork legend) was born. I can’t elaborate too much on that one, to me Little Nellie is mostly what I heard peoples parents threatening them with. “Eat all your potatoes or Little Nellie of holy God will come and get ya” and so on. It was either that or “we’ll put them in an envelope and post them off to the starving children in Africa”. Ah the 80’s were great.

It was strange being on the island after wondering about it for so long, much like the first time getting into Fort Camden. Spike was always that bit more elusive however as even with a telephoto lens or a pair of binoculars and some time spent in Crosshaven or Currabinny, it was still quite difficult to make out anything on the island except for high stone walls and lots of fields.

So walking onto the island for the first time, I was amazed to learn that it was more historically significant than just being a place to temporarily hold joyriders. Although we only saw them from afar (owing to a somewhat time restricted tour), we were told that there were houses, barracks, a church and a small town square. Almost hard to believe. It was all a bit confusing as we were lead around the winding path to the fort on the top of the hill. It was a place that people were born and grew up, where people were married and lived happily and then with a few more turns of the road, a place where teenagers were dragged in handcuffs and locked in cells.

Just as quickly it turned back into a military operation and it wasn’t difficult to imagine soldiers running through the narrow corridors of the gun room, loading shells and farting about with cordite. Then back outside into the bright August afternoon and it was a prison again. It’s all a bit confusing. The only two things I think I’d change about the tour are, 1; It was very wordy. Although our guide was a mind of information and very friendly, we were bombarded with names and dates in our frequent stops from landing on the pier to standing inside the parade grounds. That links in with 2; I think the tour is too short. Like maybe an hour or 90 minutes too short. After all the information is dispensed and the tour is led to some of the more photogenic parts of the fort, I’d like to see more than 20 minutes being allowed for people to be left to their own devices. 20 minutes to explore such a vast structure didn’t leave much time for anything other than a frantic dash to see a couple of rooms.

I can fully appreciate that the tour is in it’s infancy and given the opportunity, I’d like to raise a group large enough to return to the island on a private booking where hopefully a full mornings photography could be catered for. Given time and sufficient supervised access, Spike Island is a photowalk in itself.


A block (two photos above) where inmates were housed. The scene of a riot in August 1985 where prisoners took control of the block, burning it out.

Inside the outer gate

Drogheda in the sun


Severed heads and ice-cream cones, just another day in Drogheda. Looking outside today it’s hard to imagine how I managed to pick up such a bright tomato red shade on all exposed skin yesterday while on the annual Drogheda Photowalk. We met late morning and began the day’s walking tour around the town, which I will admit is bigger than I had previously thought.  From our meeting spot we headed to Millmount museum where we were treated to a very informative (I honestly can’t figure out how the guy remembers so many dates) speech on the history of the town.

We got shown around the museum and were treated to a snippet of info on the tapestries housed there. No, I didn’t manage to shy away from doing the ‘Ve are here to inspect ze tapestries’ bit from Indiana Jones. Then, as Sarah rightly pointed out, the basement was full of ‘cool stuff’. A mix of old and not so old, including a 1990’s Telecom Eireann telephone that some poor unfortunate customer is most likely still paying equipment rental charges for.

The rest of the museum, as one might expect, was full of Drogheda’s achievements, famous faces and err, shoes. I never knew the Drogheda shoe was such a famous article of clothing. Apparently even St. Patrick wore them while he was dancing on snakes heads [citation needed].

After some expert level milling around the courtyard, we headed down toward some lovely lovely derelict stuff.


If only I could have secured myself a short notice tetanus shot and borrowed a big stick from someone for self defense I’d have been in there like a shot. I couldn’t help but feel teased by the whole affair. From there further down the road to a mostly abandoned flood plain where some creative group photography was practiced. I found myself on the outskirts of the group so I don’t feature. Having witnessed some of the less fearful members of the group put their eyes up to holes in doors & windows of the derelict houses, I wondered if they’d seen as many horror films I as I have. Nothing is more suspicious or more likely to result in a freshly poked out eyeball than a small hole in the door of a derelict building. Fact.

We moved on to a graveyard with delicious amounts of old headstones, withered flowers and sunlight partially blotted out by big leafy trees. Oh yes. Not before stopping for ice-cream and allowing Cole opportunity to photograph groups of girls. No phone numbers were taken, I have that on good authority.

Great day out had, even if I have to suffer for my stupidity afterwards in the form of sunburn. Thanks to Shane for organising and if anyone helped you, thanks to them too. Now to get off my ass and sort out details for a West Cork photowalk.

Flowers Made Easy

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The Flowers Made Easy photowalk yesterday in Dublin went off without a hitch, thanks to all the folks at Flowers Made Easy and those at photowalk.ie that made the trip possible. To sum it up in as few words as possible, it was like a trip to the Botanic Gardens but without all the required walking. Also, as you may have been tipped off by the photo above, Fran was knocking about with some foam props.

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There was also an opportunity to photograph some of the general melee of assorted stuff next door in the warehouse. Good to pick the camera back up after quite a while. First photos of 2011. Now to get out to another photowalk and practice some more.

These and more are available over on Flickr if you want a looksee.

Nom for visitors

Nom for visitors
Yes, I know, very heavy handed with the processing again. I’m going through another one of those stages of throwing sliders around aimlessly and not caring much about the end result. I’m sure it’ll probably culminate in bypassing lightroom altogether and uploading directly from the memory card. Possibly. Another from Dublin Zoo photowalk that took place last weekend in err, Dublin. Not too used to shooting things that move so didn’t cop that my ISO was set tragically low until we got up around the African plains bit. Ah well.

Gardens of Napoli

Gardens of Napoli
Almost, but not quite… Photowalkers doing their thing during the June get together in west Cork. This particular stop was Garinish Island, one stop after Gougane Barra but one before the impromptu ‘it’s too early to go drinking yet’ trip to Sheeps Head. One of the best photowalks yet, if only because this time I know the area I was traipsing around. Half way there now, only 6 photowalks to go!