Category Archives: Family

A few snaps

Atlanta about to make a wish

Atlanta about to make a wish

I have disappeared off the blogging radar in recent times. This has been largely due to a combination of being very busy and a lack of inspiration when windows of opportunity do arise.

I took the neglected Nikon out yesterday for my niece Savannah’s Communion celebrations and some of those photos are below.

I have also included a few snaps I took on a couple of the other rare occasions I have briefly taken the camera out lately.

Hopefully, this post will kickstart more regular photo taking and posting.

Savannah puts her shoes back on to restore the full Communion outfit after a spin on the bouncy castle

Savannah puts her shoes back on to restore the full Communion outfit after a spin on the bouncy castle

One of the many colourful flowers in my mother's garden

One of the many colourful flowers in my mother’s garden

If you look closely into Savannah's eye you'll see the photographer

If you look closely into Savannah’s eye you’ll see the photographer

This tree at Johnstown Castle definitely has a story to tell

This tree at Johnstown Castle definitely has a story to tell

Laura's face. My leg.

Laura’s smile. My leg

Strawberries

Strawberries

Laura and Savannah draw in the sand as Shauna lets a rock go behind them...

Laura and Savannah draw in the sand oblivious to the fact that Shauna has let a rock go behind them…

The Aftermath!

The Aftermath!

Pretty impressive rhododendron across the lake at Johnstown Castle

A pretty impressive rhododendron, as seen from across the lake at Johnstown Castle

A rhododendron casaulty

A rhododendron casualty floating on the lake

Savannah and Shauna

Savannah and Shauna at the former’s Communion celebrations

Laura skimming a stone

Laura skims a stone at Cullenstown Beach

Atlanta starts on the rocky path across the water

Atlanta navigates a rocky path across the water

Laura drying her hair

Laura drying her hair

Laura

Rusty and I relaxing in the car boot before heading to the beach

Rusty and I relaxing in the car boot before heading for a walk

Gianna

Gianna

Savannah takes off

Savannah takes off

Fountain

Neglected fountain at Johnstown Castle

Johnstown Castle

Johnstown Castle

Atlanta makes her way...

Atlanta makes her way…

To make her mark

To make her mark

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Alcohol-related websites

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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!

Alcohol Action Ireland and its Facebook page

DrinkHelp and its Facebook page

An evening walk in Duncannon

I spent the weekend at home in Wexford.

Before leaving yesterday (Sunday) evening, my mother (Phyl); her three eldest grandchildren, Shauna, Atlanta and Savannah; Rusty (the most blogged about dog in Wexford) and I all set off for a walk on nearby Duncannon Beach.

The wind was really strong, the tide was right in, it was freezing cold… and a lot of fun!

The sun was setting as we came back up the beach too, which made for a pretty picture – one I don’t do justice to with these photos.

Thanks as ever to my willing young models and apologies to their mother (Amy) for sending them home slightly wet and mostly covered in sand!

Footsteps in the sand (Atlanta)

Footsteps in the sand (Atlanta)

Rusty and Shauna

Rusty and Shauna

Phyl and Savannah

Phyl and Savannah

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Savannah

Savannah

Koala in the long grass

Koala in the long grass

Messing!

Messing

The result of said messing

The result of the messing – Savannah came off worse!

More messing!

More messing

One of the two poor dead seals we came across

One of the two poor, dead seals we came across…

And the other one

And the other one

Savannah

Savannah

Shauna on the first of the two crucial rocks for the stream crossing

Shauna on the first of the two crucial rocks for the stream crossing

Atlanta and Phyl

Atlanta and Phyl

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Sisters jumping!

Sisters jumping!

Looking towards the South Beach housing estate

Looking towards the South Beach housing estate

Atlanta

Atlanta and her cold face!

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Running down

Savannah preparing for take off

Taking flight

Atlanta taking off

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Granddaughter and grandmother fleeing the waves

Granddaughter and grandmother fleeing the waves as the sun disappears

A Bird’s Eye View of Dublin

A Bird's Eye View of Dublin

A Bird’s Eye View of Dublin

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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.

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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!

Festive Season Odds and Ends

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!

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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.

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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.

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Christmas Day in Cullenstown

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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.

Anthony, Declan and Pádaí

Anthony, Declan and Pádaí

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I'm not the only one who takes photos around here - Anthony in action!

I’m not the only one who takes photos around here – Anthony in action!

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All I want for Christmas…

My beautiful niece Savannah, who can now sing the following song to her heart’s content…

 

Whip Your Hair!

Savannah

Atlanta

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.

Getting some heads together

Atlanta

Getting all the heads together!

Shauna and Savannah

Atlanta whips her hair!

Savannah has a go!

Hair-raising stuff!

Sister Slumber

And eyes wide open!

Beware of uncles who can tickle and take photos at the same time!

Jammy Dodger!

Kaleb

Washing up. In the interests of giving credit where it’s due, Atlanta was actually washing up when I came along and took this!

Nana shows her appreciation.

Auntie Collie shows Shauna how to do a neat French plait, with Savannah the willing test subject

I’m missing a what?!

Sometimes I think my sister is crazy

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.

Gianna, Kaleb, Savannah, Atlanta and Shauna

Atlanta

Gianna

Shauna

Kaleb

Savannah, Shauna and Atlanta

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Taking off

Landing

Kaleb

Sister pyramid…

Crumbling!

Big sister, little sister

Resting

Scheming

Atlanta and Shauna

Savannah and Shauna

Atlanta and Gianna

Jumping for joy

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The beautiful Blake kids

The joy of youth

“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: