Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ireland X: The Shed

Ethel's dad has a pretty awesome barn, filled with all manner of machinery, tools, vehicles, and cats.

During a brief break in the rain, I felt obligated to go make a photo that paid homage to the vastness of the space and the jewels contained therein.

Toys abound (late for bigger!)

And while her dad built it, maintains it, and does the work in's the cats (9 or 10 of them) that really run the show.

This photo took a good while to create. Lately I seem to be enjoying putting more time into subjects that wouldn't even garner an iPhone snapshot from a passerby.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ireland IX: Exactly Enough Information

If this doesn't tell you everything you need to know, you've got problems.

Consider yourself warned


Monday, July 21, 2014

Ireland VIII: Dunbrodies

As I've hammered home exhaustively in this series of posts, rainy Irish winter weather begets pubtime. Also, catching up with old friends most conveniently happens at pubs. Thus, a trip to Ireland over the holidays results in many evenings spent in dimly-lit buildings, older than the US, taking turns buying rounds of pints. Horrible injustice, that.

Saddle up, cowboys

Your breeches had better fit

The night before New Years Eve, we caught up with a veritable gaggle of Ethel's friends at Dunbrody Country House, which features a regular-people pub next to a hoity-toity restaurant. We opted for the pub. Obviously.

Sneaky selfie

Old window

So cute

On the trip home, a break in the pissing rain revealed another Dunbrody, this time the Abbey. It's currently being renovated but is still a pretty cool spot. Fortunately, it was being backlit gloriously, making for a ghastly silhouette. Unfortunately, that epic backlight happened to be coming from the nearby power plant, a continual sore spot among locals.

Either way, we stopped, and I did what I could sans tripod (idiot) and between sheets of rain (lame) to do it some justice.

Not haunted, they promised

In the last few days of our trip, we had little more to do than take advantage of any breaks in the rain and catch up with as many friends and relatives as possible. In the meantime, however, there was Jameson's to sleep off.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ireland VII: Coolrain House

Tiny backtrack here. Prior to our escape to Wexford, I took the time for a morning photo session at a striking old structure. We had driven past it several times (on the way to the pub, but who's counting), and I was intrigued enough to find out more about it. Michael talked to the neighbors who said it was fine to go check it out, so d^2 and I wander across a mucky field, unload gear, and get to work.

View from the road

The grand old house is known simply as Coolrain House, and it's old and crumbling. Very old and crumbling. Nature is taking over the building, the property, and everything in between, and it's sublime.

So lonely

Wall no more


I improvised a bit with the available gear I had (one light and no tilt-shifts), and I think we made it work pretty well. I wanted to give this the same photographic treatment that I might apply to a $5M home: study the details, be deliberate in composition and lighting, and capture the essence of the place. The only difference is that in the $5M home, that essence is very deliberate and purposeful, and in Coolrain House, that essence is a byproduct of decay and what used to be.

Vines and sky

Next level

While the exterior walls remain standing, most everything inside has collapsed, crumbled, or been scavenged. What remains is evidence of grand staircases, of fireplaces in every room, and plaster as guide for where walls and ceilings used to be.

Stronger than brick

Cellar under front door

Grand facade

Stepping carefully over rubble, we learn the flow of the house, wandering from room to room, sometimes having to take huge detours outside and then in through a window thanks to the biggest piles. Every time an opening in a wall reveals another wing, the house's unknown story grows tantalizingly more complex.

Through the gap

Casting softly into the cellar

More vines

Outbuilding becomes forest

Inviting or not?

It's easy to imagine the place in its full grandeur. A spectacular structure, one can visualize it playing host to kids and cows and horses and chickens and withstanding all manner of exciting Irish weather.

Front wall


Back side

And that's the shitter, really

It appears as though some restoration/rebuilding efforts had begun some time ago, but I think those were suffering the same fate as the rest of the structure: neglected and forgotten. Thanks for looking!


Monday, July 7, 2014

Ireland VI: Hook Head

Well, dang it. How time flies. I think 2 months is my biggest hiatus to date, and that's hot on the heels of swearing that I'd be better. Methinks the dark matter struck again, or rather, more simply, work's been a beast.

Anyhow, I've got a good few more posts to share from our trip to Ireland last Christmas, or else this backlog will suffocate me for good.


After passing through Kilkenny and arriving in Wexford, we have a few days to enjoy the Sunny Southeast before we head home. "Sunny Southeast" is a little bit of a misnomer unless you consider it in the relative sense: if it rains 350 days a year elsewhere, and it only rains 340 days a year here, it's "Sunny." In a land of blind men, the one-eyed man is king.

Actually, we're graced with pretty good weather. The pattern we've been recognizing is that day-and-a-half storms pass through about every 2 days, so temperate half days are very nearly predictable, and must be taken advantage of thoroughly. Our visit to Hook Head coincides (almost) with one of those spells, the only exception being that a storm is on its way, so we're treated to Rowdy Irish Coastline instead of Calm and Inviting Irish Coastline.

Rowdy's always more fun anyway.

Road to Hook

Cliffs and spray

Not so friendly

Seafoam like gooey marshmallow

We wander around in the wind for a while and then I turn my attention to Murphy, who usually makes a pretty good model.


And then I find a spot to combine the burly coast with her, and promptly geek out for a solid half hour, even getting unsuspecting passersby to hold my light for me.

Ka-blast ninja!

There's a chance this is one of my favorite photos in recent history. Satisfied, we return to the homestead for a cup of tea. And wait for the storm to roll in.


Past Detritus