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 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 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 December 18, 2017
MB is back in his Irish homeland mere days and he already received gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh in the newly reopened HX shop and filling station. Well, in truth, he received a free cup of coffee from manager TOC, and did not actually received any of the aforementioned metal or spices. TOC, MB is now thinking, could easily have been one of the three wise men, had he lived back in the ‘Bethlehem/bright star in the sky’ days. But anyway……….
Jokes aside, MB was hugely pleased to hear of the reopening of the new ‘Xpress Stop’ facility a few weeks before his return home, as it creates a focal point once more in his HX community that was sadly missed since its closure a few years back. Older people in the community, in particular, got to meet neighbours and friends in that shop and learn of local news and gossip, and who was getting married and what baby was born and who had died and what time the funeral was on. Etc.
With much of rural Ireland losing shops, post offices and other facilities, HX is certainly bucking the trend of rural decline. Not surprising, MB guesses, when the locality has a world-renowned blogger in its midst spreading the bright HX news, week in week out, throughout the four corners of the flat-earth globe. It was only a matter of time, MB is now thinking, before the HX shop and filling station performed its ‘Lazuras’ act. And so it has come to pass.
Anyway, notwithstanding MB’s vastly over-inflated sense of his own importance, he wishes TOC and all the ‘Xpress Stop’ staff the very best with the new venture. Onwards and upwards.
Posted on November 30, 2017
Posted on November 9, 2017
Posted on October 27, 2017
Posted on July 12, 2017
Back in the HX heartland, there’s a cultural museum on the HX/Meanus road called the Old Irish Ways Museum. It includes a large collection of agricultural implements and multiple other mementoes from an older Ireland; the Ireland of our parents and grandparents. The contents were gathered over many years with huge dedication and effort by HX local Dennis O’Connor who travelled the length & breadth of Ireland in his quest. Many acquisitions needed repair and renovation, and as can be seen from the end result, it was very obviously a large labour of love on the part of DOC. If ever you get to visit HX, then do not miss the Old Irish Ways Museum.
Every room and exhibit within provide a spectacular visual collage for the visitor.
Posted on June 2, 2017
There is a castle and pub next to a river bridge on the road between Shannon Airport and Limerick City in the west of Ireland at a village called Bunratty. The castle takes it’s name from the village – Bunratty Castle, where you can book into one of the castle banquets that take place there most nights during the tourist season as far as MB is aware. The pub is one of Ireland’s oldest at almost 400 years old and has the great name of Durty Nelly’s. If you want to check out who Durty Nelly actually was, you can read it on the pub’s website She was certainly a character.
Even amongst natives, the pub is renowned for the quality of the Guinness beer served within. A number of years back, MB and English friend Pete, who liked his Guinness in the pubs of London, stopped off for a tipple having landed at Shannon Airport only a short while before. “Well Pete, how do you like our Irish Guinness served in Durty Nelly’s” enquired MB, Pete having taken a swallow that made almost half the contents of the pint glass disappear on the occasion of his first visit to Ireland. Pete closed his eyes, leaned back on his bar stool and uttered the immortal reply -“It’s like strawberries and cream on a summer’s day MB”. And so it was.
MB took the below shots on his trip home last week on a bright sunny day as he passed through the village:
Posted on May 5, 2017
MB’s home city Limerick, had it’s Great Limerick Run last weekend with some 12,500 participants. Lots of nice pics appeared on facebook, for those of us on distant shores.
The following is an MB ‘Limerick’ shot of St John’s Castle, taken from Patrick St.
Posted on March 16, 2017
In Qatar, it’s already St Patrick’s Day as it’s 30 mins past midnight. In Ireland, there’s still a few hours to go.
Best wishes from MB to all on the occasion of the Irish National Holiday, which is also celebrated to a greater or lesser degree in most countries around the globe.
MB has avoided pics of churches and such like in making his celebratory selection. Instead, he has just selected a few shots from his HX homeland from October 2013. The occasion was a charity horse ride around the local lake. MB’s Arab friends, in particular, like to see some greenery!
Happy St Patricks Day to one & all.
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 October 14, 2016