Trip Home – Grange Stone Circle


Happy St Patricks Day!

MB headed out early one morning in the final days of his trip home. He was at the lake not long after sunrise and was at the Grange Stone Circle approx 8am.

The Grange Stone Circle dates from the bronze age, making it approximately some 4,000 to 5,000 years old. Other local monuments date from an earlier age.

Some might consider that it dates from an older age, but exploratory excavations carried out in recent years down to levels below that of the circle, have discovered evidence that would appear to confirm the above approximate age of the structure. There is further exploratory evidence that there has been continuous human habitation in the HX/Grange/Lough Gur area since that time. That’s a lot of time!

The 113 stones were transported, probably on circular shaped logs rolling along the ground, from a nearby rocky hill called Knockderk. In years past, not too many, this hill was used as a quarry to produce stone for civil engineering purposes.

When you point a camera into the sun, the camera will automatically darken the photo. So the below photo seems as if it was shot a little earlier – just for those interested in the mechanics of cameras & photography. One friend commented that he thought the below shot was taken much earlier in the morning.

From the loughgur.com website. For the record – MB does not agree with some of the content:
Composed of 113 standing stones, the Grange Stone Circle is the largest and finest in Ireland. It was built c. 2,200 B.C. after the arrival of the Bronze Age People in Lough Gur. It is a ritual site akin to our churches of the present day and also served as an astronomical calendar. We can only speculate on the rituals which took place here but know that they were of great importance also to people from surrounding settlements. The circle is aligned on the sunrise of the summer solstice. Included in the archaeological finds were thousands of sherds of Beaker pottery. The breaking of Beaker pots against the standing stones seems to have been part of a ceremony. The largest stone is called Rannach Crom Dubh and is over 40 tonnes in weight and was transported over a distance of 3 miles.

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Grange Stone Circle, County Limerick, Ireland

Homeward Bound


The Summer Solstice festival in MB’s HX homeland is nigh and MB is homeward bound.

Mid next week MB will be on a plane heading to the furthermost point in western Europe and will be in the thick of the HX festival action. Lots of events to whet the appetite including: a night time lake shore planet & star gazing event organised by a local astronomy group, sunrise at the stone circle on solstice morning (circa 5am), charity solstice sunrise cycle from Limerick city to the HX lake front, the ‘long walk for a long day’ event which will involve a 3 hour walk around the hills and farm land surrounding the lake area on solstice evening, and much much more. MB is like a kid waiting for Santa!

For festival events check out the the following: http://loughgur.com/summersolstice2015/

Maybe catch up with one or two HX followers over there. All most welcome.

To give non-HX residents and new-comers to MB’s HX blog a flavour on MB’s homeland, herewith to drool over.

Ryans Hse & Bouchers Castle

IMG_4298 IMG_4034  IMG_4065 (1) IMG_4205  IMG_4125 IMG_4160 IMG_4040 Crokers - shot from Knockfennel

Weekly Photo Challenge – New


New

Not really into New Year resolutions. But remember sitting in class one sleepy afternoon many years back in secondary school and the nun, who was also the school Principal, advising us all for future life to –

Hitch your wagon to a star

Have never forgotten those words.

Photo is from MB’s trip back home and one of his shots of ‘The Plough’ from his back garden last week. Click to enlarge:

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Lough Gur – The Sky At Night


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Night Sky


MB took a few shots tonight from his back garden. 8″ Exposures. The Plough is clearly visible in first shot. Cold night. Read More

Shooting stars (of the ‘not shooting’ variety)


Informed you all in previous post of the trek into the desert of last night and the ‘no-show’ of star celebrities. Was a bit of a giggle in any event, and want to show you all some additional shots from the occasion. Lots of stars, but of the stationary and non-shooting variety only:

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Photo 30/30: Stargazing


The Idea
Have decided to post a photo per day for 30 days, each based on a word or theme. The deed is now done and we reach 30/30.

Photo 30/30
MB went out last night to view and shoot the meteorite shower called the Camelopardalids. Dubai Astronomy Club publicised a gathering under the nighttime desert sky at Bab Al Shams desert resort when we would see the ‘once in a lifetime’ event.

Camelopardalids shower may prove extraordinary’ rang the headlines. Anything between 200 & 1,000 meteorites per hour were expected and viewers would be held in spellbound awe. Approximately 2,000 people showed up with MB, and we grabbed our sandy patch on arrival.

Towels or blankets covered the night sand. Pillows appeared. Tripods erected. Cameras attached. Food and water removed from bags and consumed. And we gazed. And gazed. And gazed.

From 9pm until 5am we gazed. And gazed. And saw nothing!

One or two of the gazers informed MB that they did catch a glimpse of 2 or 3 of the elusive beings. But MB was not sure if gazing for so long into the star laden night sky had not provided an hallucination or two in their brains. Maybe. Maybe not. MB can categorically state that he did not see any shooting stars/meteorites.

MB did witness distant planes as they flew into Dubai or Sharjah airports which are both relatively nearby. And someone lit a red Chinese lantern – which glowed brightly as it burned and rose into the heavens. MB assumed one of the Astronomy Club lads lit it, to remove thoughts of lynching from our minds. Some distant cars passed into the night providing opportunity for light trails in your photo, if you were of a mind to shoot light trails at ground level, when the ones you really wanted were in the sky.

And so it ended. MB packed up his gear at 5am and headed back to his car. Tired and meteoriteless. But gazing into the heavens at nighttime, with a gentle desert breeze blowing, while lying on the sand with a comfy pillow under your head and a plentiful supply of chocolate to hand is not a bad way to spend a Friday night. Occasionally.

MB gives you one of his pics from the evening. A couple of stargazers stand ready to capture the ‘200 to 1,000 per hour’ spectacle (not!!!), the lights from a nearby village shine brightly behind them, the headlights of a passing car leave a bright trail of light on the bottom right, a desert tree is lit up by the lights of the adjacent resort and some stars pepper the night sky.

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