The Colour Red : Sunday Stills

Freighter in Valletta Grand Harbour

Freighter in Valletta Grand Harbour

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Red boats stand out, especially against the grey stonework and the blue, blue sea, in Valletta Harbour, Malta.

poppies popping up

poppies popping up

And these red poppies are just wonderful, and remind me of summer heat.

Linked to Sunday Stills


Wordless Wednesday : Safe Harbour

Kariba Harbour

Kariba Harbour

The Daunt Rock and The Mary Stanford

On a visit to Ballycotton last weekend, I was intrigued by the very battered and bruised old lifeboat on display overlooking the lighthouse.  This was the Mary Stanford, and it was only when I got home and asked the all knowing ‘ Dr Google’, that I found out the intriguing history of this very hard working little boat with the big heart.

RNLB Mary Stanford

RNLB Mary Stanford

Unusually, this lifeboat was the only lifeboat in Ireland that was awarded a gold medal for gallantry. Often lifeboat crews receive medals for gallantry, but in this case the lifeboat also received a gold medal, for the famous Daunt Lightship rescue in February 1936.    The original Mary Stanford was built in 1916, and was stationed in Rye, England, but was lost in a storm in 1928, when it went down with all 17 crew on board.

In 1930, the son of Mary Stanford paid for a new lifeboat which ended up in Ballycotton, Co Cork.    She was the lifeboat there until 1959, going out 41 times, and saving over 120 lives.   The most famous rescue, and the most dangerous, was in February 1936 when the Daunt Lightship, off the Daunt Rock outside Cork Harbour, broke away from her moorings in a violent storm.   There were 7 crew on board, and the Mary Stanford was called out from Ballycotton.    It was at sea for 41 hours, and the crew had no food for over 24 hours, but all the crew of the lightship were eventually rescued after the lifeboat  went alongside over a dozen times.   Brave boat and crew indeed.   You can read about the rescue here.

The lifeboat was retired in 1959, and was on the quays in Dublin for many years, and as you can see, it is in a very sad state of repair.  Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the  people of Ballycotton, the boat is now ‘home’ and will eventually be restored with care and attention, and will remain at the start of the Ballycotton Cliff Walk, overlooking the Ballycotton lighthouse.





Weekly Photo Challenge : On the Move…By Boat

Before airlines, and cheap travel, the main means of transport from one country to another was the boat, or liner (I wouldn’t call them cruise liners as we know them today, as these liners were far from luxurious)

The last port of call for most of these liners before they crossed to America, was Cobh in County Cork (formerly known as Queenstown), and from the 1900s, hundreds of thousands of Irish people went to seek their fortune in America, and most of them never returned home, or saw their parents or family again.   This port saw an awful lot of sadness and tears.   Can you imagine what it must have been like, saying goodbye to your children, knowing that you might not see them again.   The children were off to a strange land, probably not knowing anyone, and as well as trying to make a living for themselves in a new country, they also did their best to send a little money home to their old parents left behind.    Once the parents died, there was no one to take care of their house or few acres of land, and perhaps that is one of the reasons you come across so many ruins and abandoned houses around Ireland.

Even up to the 60s, there were very few telephones in private houses, each village probably had a telephone in the post office, and the main form of communication in those days was the letter, which would take about 6 weeks to get from America to Ireland, or – usually if there was bad news – the dreaded telegram.

I grew up on a farm with my grandparents, and I remember in the mid 50s one of my aunts was leaving to join her husband in New York.  We had a  party in the house, called a ‘hauling home’ and all the neighbours called and brought a simple little gift, maybe a prayer book, or a little card, something for her to remember them by.   I suppose we were luckier than some families, as my aunt’s husband worked for an airline (TWA) so they did manage to come home every few years, but there were many others who never saw their children again.

Old pub sign

Old pub sign

On a lighter note, the boat below is one that gives a lot of happiness to children as they put their money in the slot and ride the waves!

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Linked to Weekly Photo Challenge : On the Move    and

A Word a Week Challenge :  Boat



Please Release Me, Let Me Go


Boats on the bank in Drakes Pool

I must go down to the seas again

To the lonely sea and the sky

And all I ask is a tall ship

And a star to steer her by

Taken from the poem Sea Fever by John Masefield

A Word a Week Photograph Challenge : Atmospheric

Following on from my post on the fallen trees in Currabinny Woods yesterday, I thought I should also show you some calmer photos for this week’s challenge.   Atmospheric photos of the seashore always bring holidays and sunny days to mind, and I hope you enjoy them.

Gazebo overlooking the harbour, Currabinny

On the seashore

Crosshaven, Co Cork

The Bend in the River

Drake’s Pool is situated on the mouth of the Owenabue river, before it flows into Cork Harbour.    This spot is very well known to locals as there is a walkway, on the site of the old railway line from Carrigaline to Crosshaven. This walk is about 7 km long and stops at the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Crosshaven.   Many people use this walk every day, either walking, running, cycling or strolling.  There are a few car parks along the route, so if one doesn’t feel like doing the whole walk, there are always options.

According to history, Sir Frances Drake is meant to have sailed up the Owenabue River, while hiding from the Spanish Armada, and this is how Drake’s Pool got its name.

By the way, the Royal Cork Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club in the world, it started in 1720 and has been going ever since.

Here are some photos I took this afternoon at Drake’s Pool.

A good resting place from the storms

Calmness and peace

The Bend in the River


All is calm


Crosshaven looking across at Cobh

Kinsale and it’s Charm

I live fairly close to the lovely town of Kinsale, in County Cork, and it is a place that always has a buzz about it, gets lots of visitors, has plenty cafes, restaurants and bars,  (sometimes known as the Gourmet Capital of Ireland).  There are great walks such as the Scilly Walk,  which is a 4km trail along by the sea, which brings you to a 400 year old fort (Charles Fort) that has been restored and is a major tourist attraction.   This is a star shaped fort and was occupied by the British when the  battle of Kinsale took place in 1601, when the British were almost defeated by the combined forces of the Spanish and Irish armies.   The fort was restored in later years, and was declared a national monument in 1973.    On the walk to Charles Fort, should you be in need of some light refreshments, or even a pint, there are some very nice pubs, such as the Spaniard, one of the oldest pubs in Kinsale, or the Bulman, which is in Summercove, and is a great place to sit outside and watch the world go by, on a sunny day.

A few miles further on from the town is the Old Head of Kinsale, where there is a lighthouse, and in 1915 the RMS Lusitania, a Cunard ocean liner,  sank off the Old Head, during the first world war.  The ship was torpedoed by a German U Boat, and sank in 20 minutes, with the loss of over 1000 passengers.

This past weekend was the Guiness Cork Jazz Festival, and Kinsale, which is only about 20 minutes drive from Cork, also holds a jazz festival on the same weekend, so there is a great choice of places to hear live music.

Kinsale is also a great fishing and yachting town, and you can see the fishing boats coming in every morning to bring fresh fish to the restaurants and fishmongers.   As a child I remember coming down to the pier close to one of the local hotels, where there was often a shark being weighed straight off a fishing boat.

Above are some photos so you can see some of its charm for yourself.

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