Posted on December 31, 2018
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.
MB took the following shots today in late afternoon just prior to sunset:
Posted on November 15, 2018
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.
Posted on October 11, 2018
The Holy Trinity Abbey Church, Adare, County Limerick, Ireland
The Holy Trinity Church in Adare is some 800 years old and has a very interesting history. Read More
Posted on September 18, 2018
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.
Posted on June 24, 2018
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: