It’s the weekend


There are worse ways to spend a weekend than relaxing in a field in HX.

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The Grange Stone Circle


Stone circles are often considered to be some kind of prehistoric seasonal calendar or places of ancient ceremony. The Grange Stone Circle in MB’s HX locality is the largest circle in Ireland, is some 45M in diameter and comprises 113 contiguous stones. It is supported by an earthen embankment, unlike circles of individual standing stones like the famous Stonehenge in England and others.  It is estimated to be some 4,500 to 5,000 years old.

The earthen embankment is some 1m higher than the inside of the circle, suggesting that the Grange circle was used for some type of public ritual. MB is aware of the visit of an American psychic lady to the circle a number of years back. During a guided tour of the circle, she informed the local guide that she had seen visions of human sacrifice in the circle. This may have happened of course, but no evidence of such activity has even been encountered during any archaeological excavations. Coins belonging to the soldiers of Oliver Cromwell were discovered during one excavation which evidenced the overnight encampment of the soldiers before attacking the city of Limerick, some 12 miles north. Much Beaker pottery has been discovered at the lowest level of the embankment.

The Grange circle sees large numbers of pre-sunrise visitors on summer and winter solstice mornings. However, in the opinion of MB, the circle is not aligned in any way to the point of sunrise on these dates. Despite many theories of locals and others, nobody truly knows why the circle was constructed, or what purpose it served. It is known that the large stones were sourced from two or three nearby locations. The headstone (largest stone) weighs some 40 metric tonnes and is the largest individual stone in any circle in Ireland.

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MB took the following shots today in late afternoon just prior to sunset:

 

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The Cliffs of Moher


In 2011 the world voted for the new seven wonders of the natural world from amongst a list of 28 finalists. The Cliffs of Moher was the single Irish entry but it was not amongst the winners. Read More

Random shots from the homeland


Some random shots from MB’s Chrismas trip to his homeland. More to follow:

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Leprechauns & Rainbows


On the London Metal Exchange today, as MB types this post, gold is trading at approximately USD 1,264 per Fine Troy Ounce (FTO). For those few HX followers who are not regular gold traders, one FTO is approximately equal to 31 grammes. That conversion rate is very germane to the amazing story that MB is about to tell, so please keep it foremost in your brains. In the frontal lobe perhaps, MB would most respectfully suggest.

Two days back, a mere one day after MB had dismounted his camel on arrival in the Irish HX region, having travelled overland (a-lá the Three Wise Men) from the dusty Arabian Gulf, MB came within a hairsbreadth of possessing a very large pot of the yellow stuff. Think Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. And were it not for a skullduggerous Leprechaun and the illest of ill winds, MB might well have landed a king’s ransom worth of glittering, shiny, USD 1,264/FTO solid gold.

Those who have previously succeeded where MB just now failed have informed MB that a pot of gold weighs in at some 50KG. Or 1,613 FTO. Or USD 2M.

But allow MB to explain a little more……………… Read More

Doors & Doorways


But what about gates?!

The below shot is MB’s entry for the Lens-Artists Challenge #20 from Tina at Travels & Trifles Blog site. Tina’s site is well worth a visit, her pics are always stunning and awesome, and place MB’s meager paltry offerings in the deep dark shade!

Anyway, for this week’s Doors & Doorways challenge, MB returns to his HX farming roots. To a gate actually. That is penning in some wayward cattle. With some help from a short blue rope. Don’t get above your raisin!

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It’s The Weekend


The Pigeon House

Many people in the HX locality go for weekend walks around Lough Gur lake. And if one takes the walk from the car park to Ash Point on the Knockadoon Hill side of the lake, one will happen across the old stone remains of a Pigeon House on one’s left-hand side.

A Pigeon House was used in medieval times to house pigeons (really MB?!) which were a source of meat, eggs, and fertiliser. The one at Lough Gur is some 400 years old, maybe much older, and the specifications are included in the information plaque next to the structure.

Happy weekend!

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It’s the weekend


Sport.

Seems like every weekend in Ireland has some sporting activity of one sort or another. If your kids happen to be sporty, then as a parent you will be on the road a lot. In winter, the field sports of rugby and soccer (as the Irish refer to football) are played, while the uniquely Irish sports of Hurling and Gaelic Football are played in Summer. That’s not to mention the numerous other indoor our outdoor sports available to Irish kids all year round.

When MB was home at September, he witnessed his daughter MB2 win a big Gaelic Football regional final with her local club.

MB caught these two at that game having their own sport while the big game was going on!

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Blending In/Standing Out


MB’s efforts for this week’s Photo Challenge from Blogger Ann Christine – Blending In/Standing Out.

MB is not sure if the four dhow boats on Doha Cornice last week were blending in or standing out. Maybe a bit of both.

But Mr. Crow, standing on top of a Celtic Cross outside a church in Adare, County Limerick in late September as MB passed by, was definitely standing out!

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Scenes from the homeland


MB arrived in his HX homeland a few days back. The following shots are taken mostly around his HX village locality. A few are taken in the Lough Derg area of south-east Galway, where youngest-sister-of-MB lives.

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It’s the weekend


Lough Derg, Ireland.

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It’s the weekend


Lough Derg, Ireland

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One Word Sunday – Stark


Stark.

MB’s response to this weeks challenge – a shot from mid-December 2017 from Lough Gur lake back home.

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One Word Sunday – Music


Music.

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!

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Awakening


Awakening.

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):

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