Category Archives: Family
So I haven’t been getting out much with the camera lately unless I manage to clear out of Dodge completely for a few days, as I have been very busy, especially in work.
One of the main reasons for this has been due to managing a project to redevelop Alcohol Action Ireland’s website and to develop a new website, DrinkHelp.ie, as well as establishing a social media presence for both sites.
It’s been a very interesting project and it it at all went “live” earlier today, which is great! The usual teething problems need to be sorted, but they will be. I hope people find the new sites useful and engaging.
As many of you kindly helped me out back at the planning stages by filling in a survey I put up here, I said I would let you see how it all turned out, but I am keeping this post brief as the sites should speak for themselves – if they don’t I’m in trouble!
Feedback, as ever, is welcome! Oh and normal photographic programming will resume shortly!
So last night I put one of my Christmas presents up on the wall. It is a copy of an amazingly detailed drawing of Victorian Dublin, dating from 1890.
“A Bird’s Eye View of Dublin” was a present from my “Secret Santa” (as is now the tradition among the six Cullen siblings) and the Geographer in our family, Declan.
Amazingly, this panoramic of Dublin was issued as a supplement to “The Graphic” newspaper 123 years ago. Kind of puts the countless churned-out supplements you’ll get in the Sunday newspaper today into perspective, eh?
This drawing is by H.W. Brewer, who (according to the information I have found on Old Irish Maps, where they are selling an original copy of this map) was named by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) as the finest of all Victorian architectural draughtsmen.
Unsurprisingly, Mr Brewer was also a perfectionist. There is incredible clarity and detail in “A Bird’s Eye View of Dublin”, which the image above does not do justice to. Especially as it was taken late last night under artificial light - Mr Brewer would not have approved!
As pointed out on Old Irish Maps, this is “an incredibly detailed original topographic panorama, church spires and street-scapes are shown with exacting precision. To look at the scene in High Street, as the eye is drawn from St. Audoen’s to Christchurch is akin to stepping back in time, with the minute detail of each house, window, door etc. delicately rendered”.
I’m writing this post from just in behind the Four Courts, the impressive building dominating this small section of the overall map, which, as well as the Four Courts, shows The Liberties, High Street and Christchurch in the foreground, and stretches out to include the Liffey as it flows into Dublin Bay, with Howth and Killiney also clearly visible in the background.
How Mr Brewer achieved this fantastical view of Dublin before the age of helicopters and aerial photography has apparently been a matter of some conjecture since it was first produced.
According to Old Irish Maps, “that he invented it all using ground-level sketches and a bit of imagination is highly probable. And indeed would be a correct assumption, except for the fact that five years before this Dublin panorama was completed he produced a “Bird’s Eye View of Liverpool - As seen from a Balloon“, (1885). We guess it will remain a mystery!”
Oh and, on a final note, I have to say, Declan set the bar pretty high this year, as I also got this amazing book!
Here are some photos from the days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. They can be broken down into roughly three sections.
Hook Head: We took a walk in Hook Head on a very wild day and it was beautiful, with waves crashing against the rocks and the foam and spray creating its very own white Christmas for the visitors braving the elements. However, I had no tripod as I lost it here on Christmas Day after leaving it behind me and, in any event, the wind was so strong it was impossible to stand still, let alone hold a camera still. In fact the first thing we heard on the radio after getting into the car to drive to the Hook was to stay away from exposed coastal areas due to extremely strong gale force winds… but we weren’t the only people ignoring that sound advice! The light was poor too, so hence the pretty awful image quality, which does not even do scant justice to the beauty of the Hook that day. I’ll get it right there some stormy day!
Curracloe: Another walk. This time in my favourite place, which I have blogged about many times before on here. Again my missing tripod would have been a great help due to the low, fading light, but I took a few shots anyway. Plus, tripod or not, they would have been no match for Curracloe on a sunny day.
Round the house: These mostly involved testing my new lens by pointing it randomly at various household objects and patient relatives, as well as taking a few shots of my sister’s family – another of this blog’s regular star turns – when they came to visit.
So we decided to ward off Christmas cabin fever by getting out for a couple of hours earlier.
My brothers Declan and Pádaí, our friend Anthony and I headed for the nearby Cullenstown Strand.
It was a beautiful, clear day, with the clouds and inevitable rain only closing in just as we left.
The lads mostly played hurling and I mostly took photographs during the preceding two hours or so.
Anthony, for an Aussie who has never played hurling before, proved a natural.
The exercise and sea air primed use well for a delicious Christmas dinner back in the Cullen household.
So I was preparing to leave my parents’ home in Wexford for Dublin last weekend, a weekend that had seen not a single photo taken.
This was problematic as the weekend is really the only time I get to take photos at the moment.
Then, like a gift from the Gods of photography, arrived my sister and my favourite models; Shauna, Atlanta, Savannah, Kaleb and Gianna. The stars of a couple of previous posts on here.
So I grabbed the camera and we had some fun for a short time before I hit the road.
Sometimes I think my sister is crazy for having five kids.
But, mainly I’m just crazy about the kids.
And my sister is an amazing mother.
P.S. Trampolines are fun.
“I’m youth, I’m joy, I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg” – James M Barrie.
I was going through my photos last night as I tried to get my albums from this year in some sort of order and I realised that one of my favourite shots from this year was not up on this blog.
It is a photo of my niece Gianna enjoying the sea on Duncannon beach back in February as her big brother Kaleb keeps a watchful eye on her. I hadn’t planned on taking any photos that evening, but then, as I have mentioned before, that’s the great thing about phones these days, being able to capture moments like this:
Gianna, at the tender age of two, is already a great character – smart as a whip and fiercely independent. She also has that innate ability to tap into unbridled joy in the simple pleasures that seems to get harder for us all to access as the years go by.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy,” Rumi said. Which brings me neatly to one of my other favourite photos from this year, once again featuring Gianna, the youngest of my sister Amy and her husband John’s wonderful children: