Weekly Photo Challenge – Shine


‘I was blinded by the light’ – Manfred Mann

Earlier this year, MB was trying to get a shot of the trees behind the visitor center at the lake back home. It was early morning and some rain had fallen during the night. The rain clouds had disappeared before dawn and the sun arose to a clear sky.

But on looking towards the trees, MB was completely blinded by the sun’s reflection off something very bright lying on the ground a few meters forward. MB had to shift his position somewhat to see that the sun was actually shining off a rain puddle, that was a leftover from the night before. Made an interesting addition to the shot.



Weekly Photo Challenge – Local


The view from Ash Point, Lough Gur, Co Limerick, SW Ireland.


View from Ash Point, Lough Gur

Weekly Photo Challenge – H2O (Nr 2)


Want to introduce non-Irish followers to Lurgan College in the West of Ireland. The college hosts Irish language summer camps and has become a Youtube sensation in recent years with Gaelic language versions of well-known popular songs.

Their most recent upload is Africa (by Toto), in which H20 plays a prominent part:

Weekly Photo Challenge – H2O

A bunch of people and some elephants messing around in some H2O.


Weekly Photo Challenge – Quest

Quest (noun): A long or arduous search for something.

For MB & daughter MB2 earlier this week, the quest involved a search to locate the various food outlets at the Irish National Ploughing Championships, and avail of the tasty free sample handouts. The 100,000 other attendees on that day each also had their own quests to pursue.

The NPS is Europes largest outdoor exhibition with over 1,700 exhibitors displaying, publicising and selling everything under the sun. Almost 300,000 people visited NPS over the 3 days from 20 to 22 September 2016.

So MB suggests you add the Irish NPS to your bucket list. Even if no interest in ploughing (MB never saw any!) or farming, the NPS is a spectacle on a grand scale that can be enjoyed by all.


National Ploughing Championship, Tullamore, Ireland. 20 September 2016.

In the misty morning………

First morning home. Top 10:



Weekly Photo Challenge – Edge


Sorento. Italy.


Weekly Photo Challenge – Mirror


Followers of the HX Report will have seen this one before. It’s a shot taken on solstice morning, 21 June 2014, of Knockfennel Hill, which overlooks Lough Gur lake in MB’s HX homeland. MB took the shot in perfect early-morning calm, when there wasn’t a whisper of wind in the air.

The perfectly still lake surface was like clear glass, which provided the perfect mirror for the adjacent hill and the sky overhead. At left of pic, one can see a small white cloud in the sky and its mirror reflection on the surface of the water. The dark tree and its reflection provide some additional contrast to the shot and a point of interest. MBs perfect mirror!


Weekly Photo Challenge – Frame


The ruins of ‘Crokers’ estate house, framed through a whitethorn bush, directly across the road from the farmhouse where MB and siblings grew up in Grange, just north of HX, Limerick, SW Ireland.


The ruins of Crokers Estate House at Grange, Limerick, SW Ireland



Weekly Photo Challenge – Rare


It’s not often you will see an elderly Muslim gentleman standing beside a Western lady with a low neck-line. The lady has some Arabic influence however, as she is sporting an intricate henna tattoo on her face & neck, almost like a veil, which must please the Muslim gentleman no end!




Weekly Photo Challenge – Fun


The local drama society back in HX puts on 3 or 4 plays per year which are always well attended. The comedies are particularly popular and one normally needs to book tickets in advance to see them.

Can’t remember the name of this one, but like many others in the past, it was great fun!


At the Honey Fitz Theater, Lough Gur, Limerick, Ireland



MB & family visited the ruins at Pompeii during their recent Italy trip. Pompeii is close to the city of Naples in the Campania region of Italy, and as bad luck would have it, lies approximately 8km from Mount Vesuvius. Read More


From the movie GLADIATOR

Marcus Aurelius: Are you ready to do your duty for Rome?

Commodus: Yes, father.

Marcus Aurelius: You will not be emperor.

Commodus: Which wiser, older man is to take my place?

Marcus Aurelius: My powers will pass to Maximus, to hold in trust until the Senate is ready to rule once more. Rome is to be a republic again.

Commodus: Maximus?

Marcus Aurelius: Yes. My decision disappoints you?

Commodus: You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: Wisdom, justice, fortitude, and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness, courage, perhaps not on the battlefield, but… there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn’t want me for your son.

Marcus Aurelius: Oh, Commodus. You go too far.

Commodus: I search the faces of the gods… for ways to please you, to make you proud. One kind word, one full hug… where you pressed me to your chest and held me tight. Would have been like the sun on my heart for a thousand years. What is it in me that you hate so much?

Marcus Aurelius: Shh, Commodus.

Commodus: All I’ve ever wanted was to live up to you, Caesar. Father.

Marcus Aurelius: [Marcus Aurelius gets down on his knees] Commodus. Your faults as a son is my failure as a father. Come

[Gives Commodus a hug]

Commodus: [Commodus hugs Marcus and cries] Father. I would have butchered the whole world… if you would only love me!

[Commodus begins to asphyxiate Marcus while they hug, Marcus grunts]

MB recently traveled to Italy with family. It was his first visit to the country of pasta and pizza, and much more. And it included a two-day  visit to the eternal city – Rome. Previously, MB would have selected Istanbul as his Nr 1 city on the planet. But Rome now occupies that position.

Rome is described somewhere as the city of a lifetime, as it will take a person a lifetime to understand it all. It is truly an architectural assault on the senses, with some incredible structure around every corner one turns. Huge culture and history abound, from pre-Christian to Roman Empire to Christian to modern. And food………… Such food!

As ever, MB had his gladiatorial weapon of choice in hand – his camera. The following are some of the results:


Weekly Photo Challenge – Morning


HX. Early morning, 21 June 2015. Solstice morning.

Sunrise & jet trails over the Grange Stone Circle; and a short while later, cyclists from a Limerick city club pass by on their way to the annual lakefront solstice breakfast.


Morning Sunrise



Weekly Photo Challenge – Narrow


MB travelled to Italy with family in recent days and was lucky enough to visit the ruins of Pompeii. His shot selection for ‘Narrow’ is a shot through the ruins  towards the dastardly Mount Vesuvius, which exploded in 79 AD, burying Pompei and nearby towns in some 6 to 10m of hot ash and rock. Within a few generations, the locations of the towns were forgotten and it wasn’t until approx 1750 AD that the buried town (ruins) were discovered (by a local farmer trying to drill a well on his land).

Pompeii will feature again shortly in HX Report posts.

Until then:


Pompeii ruins and Mount Vesuvius in the distance