So, I’ll level with you here.
if I hadn’t been so busy lately these photos wouldn’t be up here.
Getting some quality time with my camera has been increasingly difficult, but I’ll be addressing that next weekend – in some style I hope!
Until then, dear reader, please look kindly on this mixed bag of photos from recent weeks, most of which were taken on a stroll around Dublin, which took in St Stephen’s Green and the Iveagh Gardens.
Others were just random snaps when something caught my eye when the camera was close by.
I’ll try caption them, as best I can.
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!
I have been walking past Chancery Park at night for some time now, always looking longingly over the spiky railings as I stroll by.
Chancery Park is a grand title for what is essentially a small garden attached to a building comprising 27 flats (Chancery House), which you can read all about here, in Dublin’s north inner city. It is located just beside the Four Courts between the Luas (tram) tracks and the Quay.
The reason for the longing looks is that I have been particularly taken with the fountain there, which is lit up at night, with The Spire on O’Connell Street in the skyline behind it as you look at it from the Four Courts side (the second photo below).
However, you can never get in there at night as the park is only open a few hours a day and closes very early in the afternoon. This is apparently to do with anti-social behaviour and is mentioned in the piece I linked to above.
The fountain is the park’s centre piece and is surrounded by a few small benches. Several trees are placed closer to the nearby perimeter and that’s it. However, it’s still a very charming park. Albeit, one that I never see anyone in, though again this is probably due to the limited opening hours.
Anyway, last night I stopped looking longingly at the fountain and hopped the spiky railings to get my photo.
Apologies to Dublin City Council.
Earlier yesterday I had bought a tripod to replace the one I left behind at the beach on Christmas Day. It was fun to practice long exposures again.
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.
For those of you, like me, who love nothing more than stunning images then the Facebook page run by the team over at Irish Weather Online is an absolute must “like”.
Or for those sensible enough to have no Facebook account, you can still view the images if you visit the page.
Anyway, I’m delighted to have made their album of favourite images from around Ireland in 2012 with the photo below and if you visit the album you’ll see my image is keeping some pretty exceptional company.
I was driving home on Christmas Eve and I was tempted to stop loads of times in Dublin city by the sky, before I finally succumbed in Ringsend. where I took a photo from the bridge, down towards Lansdowne Road stadium, now known as the Aviva Stadium.
I like the stadium. It’s on my to-do list to photograph at night time, probably from the same spot.
After getting my photo fix I continued happily to Wexford.
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.