It’s the weekend


Last weekend MB went to the ballet Cinderella. The same Cinderella who fled the ball before midnight and left her slipper behind. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – A face in the crowd


A face in the crowd.

The Appearance of Christ Before the People or The Apparition of the Messiah is a famous painting by Russian artist Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov. (1806 – 1858). The painting hangs in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and MB had to good fortune to visit the gallery and view the painting during his May 2017 trip to Russia’s capital city (where he grabbed a few shots!).

There are many faces in the crowd by the banks of the River Jordan in the famous painting, which depicts many stories from the Bible; John the Baptist, Apostles John, Peter and Andrew, and others. The artist has also included a self-portrait in red headgear sitting not far from John the Baptist who has his hand and staff raised in the direction of Christ. For further info on the painting, take a read of the Wikipedia link.

Herewith: two shots of the painting from MBs trip, both giving a sense of scale and size of the painting which took the artist 20 years to paint.

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Moscow – Tretyakov Gallery


MB has already given followers a photo post on the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. So he doesn’t intend to discuss it further in text. Just click on the link to get the Wikipedia info on it if you wish to learn more. The stories behind many of the paintings are fascinating. And if you are ever lucky enough to visit Moscow please do not miss it.

Some photos to give you all a flavour:

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Moscow – The Bolshoi Theatre


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If you fancy a night out at the ballet or opera lads, MB would respectfully suggest that you consider a trip to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. There is much pirouetting, pointing of toes and lepping about in mesmerising magical movement.

The Bolshoi Theatre (operating since 1776) is perhaps the most famous ballet and opera theatre in the world. The original buildings (there were two) were burnt down in 1805 and in 1812; the latter occasion being the result of a French invasion of Moscow headed by a vertically challenged Frenchman, suffering a severe bout of ‘small man syndrome’; one Napoleone di Buonaparte. In any event, the ballet & opera-loving Ruskies were not to be bested, and the present building reopened again in 1824 under the name of the Bolshoi Petrovsky Theatre. To this day, French nationals are forbidden from buying tickets for performances. Joke!!!

Anyway lads, MB was lucky enough to have a ‘Moscow break’ in recent days and to catch a ballet at the Bolshoi called ‘Lady of the Camellias’ last Saturday evening, based on a book by French writer Alexandre Dumas Jnr. It’s about a courtesan (prostitute) called Marguerite Gautier, who was available for the pleasure of court noblemen. If she was holding a red camellia flower in her hand it meant that she was already taken for the night and one needn’t waste one’s time asking. But if she held a white one, it meant that she was still available. A tragic love story unfolds when a local young lad called Armand Duval falls in love with her, to the great displeasure of his father. MB will just leave it at that, knowing that many HX followers are already booking flights and tickets online as they read.

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The performance on Saturday evening included world-famous Bolshoi Prima Ballerina Svetlana Zakharova in the lead female role, considered one of greatest ballerinas of all time. She is some lepper.

Photography is not permitted during a performance, and for the first time in his life, MB complied with such a rule. Taking photos was allowed, however, when the cast took their bow at the end, when those like MB (who know their ballet) shouted “bravo, bravo”!

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Pompeii


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

Weekly Photo Challenge – Cherry On Top


Cherry On Top

Many hundreds of people, or even thousands, visit the Grange Stone Circle each year, 1km or so distance from HX. Most feel a sense of energy or awe in the very scenic surroundings.

From the loughgur.com website:

It is the largest standing stone circle in Ireland, 150 feet in diameter and enclosed by 113 standing stones. The largest stone is Rannach Chruim Duibh (Crom Dubh’s Division) and is over 13 feet high and weighs 40 tons. The entrance stones are matched by a pair of equally impressive slabs on the southwest side, whose tops slope down towards each other to form a v-shape.

The placing of hands and forehead on the 40-tonne headstone, to feel the power and energy of the circle, is considered the ‘cherry of top’ of the visit by many.

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Grange Stone Circle

 

Turkey


Less than 24 hours ago, the bridges over the Bosphorus Straits were closed by Turkish army units who were attempted a coup. The coup failed. For medium-term or longer-term impacts we must wait and see. MB is no fan of Erdogan, but he does not support any coup.

MB has traveled to Istanbul a number of times in recent years and took many shots of the Bosphorus and its bridges. Herewith:

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A stroll around the souq


Souq Waqif and surrounding streets. Doha, Qatar. 05 July 2016.

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The Euros, and all that!


As every lady knows, the Euro football championships are on at present in France and are a footballing joy to behold. Iceland football team, and Republic of Ireland fans, are everybody’s favourites. Iceland’s defeat of the ‘auld enemy’, as we in Ireland sometimes often refer to ‘England’, will be many people’s favourite sporting moment ever, in the whole world, in the whole of sporting history, back as far a the days of the Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble.

It’s a little a lot ironic, that in the middle of the tournament, Britain voted to exit the European community. Northern Ireland, Wales & England (all Brits) are each playing in the competition; but MB isn’t going to get into a deep (or even a shallow) discussion about Brexit, David Cameron, et al. Instead he wants to mention an aspect of it all that friends of MB back home would not have considered.

The beautiful game is, of course, a world sport and the games are watched avidly in MB’s Middle East abode. And as the ME is a melting pot of numerous races and peoples from every continent on the globe (except Antartica), MB found himself having to explain to many, when asked, the difference between the Republic of Ireland (MB’s patch and one of the participating teams) and Northern Ireland (another of the participating teams). “So you’re all British MB?” asked many Pakistanis/Nepalese/Mongolians/Khazaks/Arabs and God only knows who else.

“Grrrrrrr” replied MB to the first one or two such questions. Then MB though – it’s actually a question that Irish people have also asked themselves for approximate 800 years, since date of arrival of first British visitors to Irish shores, who had previously read all sorts of good and juicy things of the Emerald Isle on some early version of tripadviser.com. And arrived en masse to ‘help’ the locals.

Anway, MB tried as best he could to explain the difference between North (British) and South (Republic – not British – definitely not) Ireland to all who asked, and hopefully the people of Outer Mongolia and elsewhere will shortly receive geographical enlightenment from their cousins working under the hot desert sun in the Emirate of Qatar. The world bwill be a better place for it, and MB will receive less such Grrrr questions in the future.

MB also explained to many that Ireland has it’s own language. “You mean English MB?”. “Grrrrrrrrr” replied MB yet again. But in the spirit of imparting knowledge and wisdom, as MB is often given to do, and to put the geographically and culturally challenged imbeciles friends of MB in the right direction, MB pointed many to YouTube links to an Irish college, who have numerous really cool videos of the kids performing uber-cool versions of well-known popular music pieces – in the Irish Gaelic language, or ‘as Gaeilge’ as we say back home. MB regularly watches and listens to the videos of Coláiste Lurgan (Lurgan College), not because of any curtural/Irish reason, but because they are so damn good.

So HX followers, herewith, MB  gives you the kids of Coláiste Lurgan, singing their hearts out in the Irish language – as Gaeilge. Not in English. Grrrrrrr…………….!

Warning – it’s addictive listening. You may find yourself listening to more than one or two!

Really cool. Enjoy.

 

John Carew – HX Poet & Storyteller


MB has oft mentioned Lough Gur lake in posts of his HX homeland. He has told you a little of the mystique of the lake, and the fact that one of the adjoining hills (called Knockadoon) is home to one of the four Irish entrances to the Land of Everlasting Youth, called ‘Tír Na Nóg’ in the Irish Gaelic. The entrance, as MB has also previously informed you, is secret and is known only to certain ‘Guardians’ (such as MB). It is also heavily guarded by the fairies, and it is no easy task to get past them. Beware of HX fairies dear followers. Read More

Weekly Photo Challenge – Partners


Partners.

Fishermen unload their catch at Ajman Fish Market, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Late Friday afternoons provide a great spectacle at the Ajman docks as thousands of fish are landed and laid out on the concrete paving by species and size. Traders from the adjacent market then bid for their requirements by an open auction process. Retailers, hoteliers, restauranteurs, or members of the general public like MB, are then able to buy the fish in the air-conditioned market as they wish, and a team of workers is on hand to gut and clean the fish if you require. There is also a small shop at the end of the market, run by a Syrian gentleman named Mr Hussam, who will cook the fish for buyers by smothering in his secret (& delicious) sauce/spice/herb mix and wrapping in tin foil, before popping into the flame oven.

If you ever get to visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi and have a few hours to kill, MB highly recommends a visit. And if photography is a hobby, then so much the better. FYI – Ajman is one of the seven Emirates of the UAE.

Partners

The strange tale of the Irish Cherokee Indian & the lady with rebel blood


Strange incidents and coincidences ofttimes happen to MB. There he was doing almost nothing some few months back, eating organic chocolate or some such, when he received an interesting message on one of his blog posts. Read More

Bealtaine


01 May is associated with Irish (Celtic) festival of Bealtaine (pronounced approximately – b-yowl-tin-a). It’s a celebration of the coming Summer season and a hoping for a good harvest from the fields some months hence. It’s also a time when you must be careful of the dastardly activities of the fairies, who are up to no good at this time. You must take measures to protect your home, your children and your herd of cows, lest they come to some harm.

From a W.B. Yeats poem:

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world’s more full of weeping
than you can understand.

So be careful of the pishogues tonight, throw a few primrose flowers inside your front & back doors to keep the bad fairies out, drive your herd of cows between two fires to keep the milk pure and prevent the cows milk drying up completely. But only on this night.

Read more of the Bealtaine festival on the Irish Archaeology blog site: http://irisharchaeology.ie/2011/05/mayday-and-bealtaine/

Be careful out there!

Some Spring flowers from MB’s trip home last week:

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Admiration


Admiration.

MB admires very much the unpaid volunteers from his home community who man the Lough Gur lake Heritage Centre. As well as giving of their daily time to look after the shop and interactive displays for visiting tourists, they also act as guides for those who wish to gain some knowledge of local monuments. Some of those same monuments date back over 6,000 years.

Check out www.loughgur.com for further info on MB’s home locality.

The Lough Gur Heritage Centre

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A local Guide with a group of visiting tourists at the Grange Stone Circle

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Weekend Trip Home


MB took a flying visit home last weekend. Lots of local events were taking place, particularly relating to the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule.

Some pics from the trip:

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