Posted on May 11, 2018
When one lives the expat life, one’s thought very often turn to home. Regardless of how busy or good or great life has become in the adopted country, the littlest snippets of news from home and the homeland are welcomed like nuggets of pure gold.
The below photo features an old ruin which lies across the road from MBs parental farmhouse home, known locally as ‘Crokers’, on account of the family that once resided within. It has featured in many of MB’s past posts. Croker’s is synonymous, in MB’s brain, with his true place in the world. Home is where the heart is, after all. Truly it is.
Posted on March 28, 2018
The Grange Stone Circle lies in MB’s HX homeland and dates from the Neolithic era, estimated to be approximately 5,500 years old. The circle is 150 feet in diameter and contains 113 stones, the largest weighing some 40 tonnes. Because of an embankment around the entire outside of the circle, it is thought that the circle had ritual purposes. But who really knows?!
On summer solstice (21 June) and on winter solstice (21 December), local (& not so local) people gather at the circle before sunrise to watch the first rays of the sun appear for the day that’s in it. Assuming cloud cover does not spoil the occasion, which it often does!
MB took this photo on early morning, 21 December 2017. A candle glows in the centre of the circle as people await the sunrise.
Posted on December 24, 2017
Followers will find a version of ‘The Prayer’ on Youtube by Andre Bocelli & Celine Dion. The version MB now gives you is by HX ladies JD & NOS from the Christmas Carol service at Grange Church on Sunday evening last. MB knows which version he prefers.
Posted on December 19, 2017
For the last six years, a Christmas Carol service has taken place at Grange Church, HX, where attendees make financial donations on the night to assist various charities, with an emphasis on helping local people at Christmas time. It is always a stunning musical event, and last Sunday night’s concert, which MB attended, was possibly the best ever. Many locals have now come to recognise this event as the real start of Christmas in the locality. MB understands that sentiment. The atmosphere on the night is very special.
The choir on the evening comprises volunteer members of the three local church choirs who come together for the annual event and attend rehearsals over the previous three or so months. The adult choir for the occasion goes by the Irish Gaelic name ‘Cor Na Nollaig’ (The Christmas Choir) and the children’s choir, who also perform on the night, is called ‘The Little Voices Children’s Choir’. The event is overseen or managed by two very young members (we can call them ‘kids’ actually!) of the Grange community, NOS and JD, who arrange the music and conduct on the night.
None of the choir members are professional singers, just local inhabitant choir-members. But youngsters NOC and JD have studied music, as will be evident from some videos that MB will post in subsequent posts. MB might have been better concentrating on either the photos or the videos, as he might have gotten better results, but what to do when needs must?!
For the moment, MB will give followers some photos from the night, to set the scene and give a flavour. Apologies for the poor photo quality. MB’s camera lenses are really not cut out for the ‘low light’ conditions. And FYI – the red glow in many of the pics is coming from the red-light heat lamps on the walls of the church, evident in some of the pics. “Enough of your nonsense excuses MB, they are just crappy shots”. “OK, ok lads, maybe you’ve got a point. And Happy Christmas to you too!!!”.
Posted on August 16, 2017
This week’s photo challenge phrase is one that MB was not previously familiar with. Perhaps because it’s purely an American phrase. Or perhaps, that phrase & MB’s paths just never crossed.
The phrase, according to Andrea who set this week’s challenge, means something that is distracting, like an American bird distracted by a shiny object (Irish birds just don’t get distracted – they are always focused and in ‘the zone’).
Anyway, MB got to thinking, what makes him distracted?
When he travels back to the Emerald Isle he is always distracted by the ruins of an old manor house anytime he drives past, known locally as ‘Croker’s, after the old boss man of the family who lived there. The ruin lies just across the road from the farmhouse where MB grew up.
There is a local saying back in HX-land – “I doubt it, said Croker” – which originates from a deathbed conversation that Coker had with his priest. The priest tried to console Croker in his final dying hours with the soothing words – “At least you will be going to a better place”. To which Croker famously replied – “I doubt it”.
Herewith, a shot of the ruin which MB took from the nearby wooded area along the Grange/HX road during his trip home last May:
Posted on April 19, 2017
This week Cheri is asking for a scene that honours the outdoors.
Well, in Ireland we have tonnes and tonnes of nature, and tonnes of outdoors, all green and naturey. Is ‘naturey’ a word MB? Did anyone ask that question to James Joyce? MB replies. And quit with the inane questions lads. Pleezze.
Anyway, there is so much nature in Ireland, we can say that nature is second nature to the Irish. That’s clever MB. Yes, MB knows it is lads, now whisht up a while.
Yes indeed, the Irish are boggle eyed from all that emerald greenery. So to liven nature up a little, and prevent naturey over-familiarisation, the Irish are likely to throw in some music, at a whim, just to help nature out a little.
Here’s an example, from 21 June 2015, at the stone circle in MB’s HX homeland:
Posted on March 5, 2017
Saw and heard this lady play an Irish music piece on Solstice Morning, 21 June 2015, in the Stone Circle back in MB’s HX homeland (google ‘Grange Stone Circle’). The piece she was playing, as MB seems to remember, was The Culinn, which is an Irish air about an historic Irish warrior. She was an extremely talented musician and informed MB that she played with a national orchestra.
Posted on February 10, 2017
Ok, Ok! MB knows that he has used this pic previously in the photo challenges, so quit your moaning. The theme is ‘Shadow’, and as MB is in possession (with full copyright) of the greatest shadow photo in the entire history of Shadow Photography, there was just no way he would not use his awesome shadow shot for this week’s photo challenge.
So, Ansel Adams (RIP – alas), Gregory Hysler, Steve McCurry and other MB Wannabees, eat your photo hearts out and gaze in wonderment at MB’s s**t-hot shadow shot (MB is also a poet!):
Evening of June 20th, 2015. Summer Solstice eve. Grange Stone Circle at HX, Limerick, Ireland. The setting sun throws a great tree shadow slap bang in the centre of the circle as a few suck-calves (Irish farming expression) laze in the evening sunshine.
Awesome or what?!
Posted on November 26, 2016
In recent years, MB has been lucky on a few occasions to be home for the Christmas Carol service in his home Church at Grange. On the nights MB has attended, the services have opened with a traditional Irish air called Innisheer (or Inis Oírr in Gaelic).
So, without further ado, here are Grange girls Noreen O’Sullivan on concert flute, and Jade Dillon on keyboard, playing Inisheer (& apologies for posting a video as MB’s effort for the weekly photo challenge!):
Posted on October 28, 2016
“To change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.”
MB will not post anything strange or grotesque, but will instead focus on the ‘transform’ element of this weeks challenge.
Our local churches back home at Grange & Patrickswell are almost exclusively used for daytime and daylight activities throughout the year. Living in a very rural location there is no great, or hardly any, need for the opening of the churches after dark, save an occasional evening funeral service.
But at Christmas time each year the churches host Christmas carol services, or midnight masses which are actually on at approx 8pm (an Irish midnight!).
Anyway, it’s interesting to see them in their transformed Christmas state.
Posted on August 26, 2016
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.
Posted on June 10, 2016
MB was back amongst his own two weeks back and was shooting anything that moved. He gives you some random shots from his HX locality:
Posted on January 22, 2016
Posted on January 22, 2016
Posted on November 26, 2015
MB returns once more to his home community of Grange. To the history and the scenery and the greenery. A number of his posts of recent weeks have concerned same topic. MB did not explain in previous posts why he was running a series of pieces on his homeland. Apart from the interesting content (really MB?!) of the actual posts, there was another reason. Read More