Posted on June 10, 2018
This week’s One Word challenge is MUSIC. Big thanks to D of Travel with Intent blog for her challenging efforts.
If it’s music you want, then there’s a fair amount of it any day you wish back in MB’s Irish homeland. The Irish music scene is of course famous, from Thin Lizzy back in the day to Van Morrison to Enya to various Boy Bands to The Corrs to U2, and numerous others. That’s not to mention the Irish folk music scene which continues to thrive, and where many of the international groups started their young apprenticeships and have their roots. And who wouldn’t like to wander into a quaint Irish pub of an evening, after a day’s hard toil and unwind to the sound of some local musicians playing a few Irish gentle (or rousing) folk tunes or singing an Irish ballad, whilst sipping a tasty Irish brew?
Yes indeed guys, if you’re looking for a music fest, just head on over to MB’s homeland and you are likely to find music under any blade of grass you care to lift. In the kitchen. The living room. The street. The pub. The local hall. The Stone Circle. Etc.
“Stone Circle MB?”
Yes, guys. The Irish play music in Stone Circles. And why not?!
It’s fast approaching the 21 June Summer Solstice, and back in MB’s HX homeland, you are likely to find a musician or two in the pre-dawn twilight welcoming in the early-morning solstice sunshine with some music in the middle of the Grange Stone Circle.
The following shot was taken by MB in June 2014. Annoyingly (for MB) the shot is of 2 musicians who are accompanying another musician/singer out of shot, as evidenced by the directing in which the people are looking. However, it does invoke a certain sense of mystery – who is that musician? male/female? more than one? What’s he/she singing/playing? etc?
“Bullshit MB, it’s just a dodgy shot”.
Ok lads, maybe you got a point!
Posted on April 15, 2018
If you go down to the woods today,
you’re sure of a big surprise.
Yes indeed ladies, if you go down to the Irish woods around this time, be prepared for some strange goings-on and some big surprises. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, at this time of the year, that you will encounter some real live Irish fairies. Following an unusually nasty winter when the weather was wacky as hell, and fairy activity was subdued and minimal, the fairies are now rarin’ to go and full of mischief and trickery.
Are the fairies like the Leprechauns MB? What a stupid questions ladies. The fairies are nothing like Leprechauns. Leprechauns are good-hearted, generally go about their business in as humble a fashion as possible, and are even willing to hand over their pots of gold to anyone (like MB) who is fast enough and clever enough to catch them while a rainbow momentarily blinds their vision. And there will be absolutely no hard feelings from Mr Leprechaun if you do manage to snatch the gold. You can just waltz off into the distance with the pot of gold in your grasp, considering how much bitcoin you might invest in, and Mr Leprechaun will just wave you off and wish you well.
The fairies, on the other hand, can be nasty, it must be said. They like to play tricks on the natural people, who are expected to grin and bear it. The only protection from fairy nastiness is to scatter some primrose flowers around the perimeter of your farm and they will never cross the primrose line. Don’t ask MB why ladies. That’s just the way things is.
May eve is fast approaching when fairy activity will be at its peak. Be warned. You may find that your cow has run dry and can not produce any more milk. Or you pet goat isn’t feeling very well. Or your sheep gets a sore throat and ‘baa’ suddenly sounds like ‘baaaggghhhh’. Yes, dear followers, should any of the aforementioned happen to you and yours, then for sure its the fairies at work and you need to tread very carefully indeed.
And for the good of your health, just play along with them. Don’t screw around with the fairies. Pretend you’re impressed with their fairy powers, and only a tad annoyed at their trickery. Otherwise much nastier things can happen. Such as your goat disappears completely some night without an earthly (or non-earthly) trace. Or worse. The very last thing you want to do, MB means the absolutely very very last thing you want to do, is to awaken the wrath of a bunch of fairies. No siree. No way. It’s the last thing you want to do.
Anyway, now that MB has given you all some advice on how to deal with the Irish fairies, he is happy to share an image with you all of a fairy house he managed to capture in recent times back in the HX heartland. For sure MB is not a liberty to divulge the exact location of the shot, as he is mindful of the health and welfare of his sheep and goat herd. He will only say, that he wore a crown of primrose flowers, granting him invisibility from the HX fairy hoards, and beat a hasty retreat from the fairy village back to the natural world in the immediate aftermath of the shot. And lived to tell the tale.
Herewith (and be warned – sharing any shots of a fairy house is not advised):
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 March 7, 2018
If ever a picture could tell a story, then a picture of Reardon’s pub back at the HX crossroads could tell a plethora of them. And that’s an understatement. Read More
Posted on January 17, 2018
Posted on December 20, 2017
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 November 19, 2017
Posted on November 9, 2017
Posted on November 3, 2017
Posted on October 27, 2017
Posted on September 29, 2017
Posted on September 17, 2017
Posted on August 25, 2017
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: