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Glasnevin Cemetery

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Sunday 23rd May saw me visit Glasnevin Cemetery with my good friend Blaithín.

I was dubious. I was beginning to wonder slightly why I went, at first. You may also wonder why a cemetery is being featured on this blog. As disclaimers go, I paid in just like the rest of the some 30 people who managed to get on the guided tour.

But the 140 acre site is amazing. The €5 priced guided tours done by historian and development manager Shane MacThomais run daily at 11.30am, 12.30 & 2.30pm and are well worth it. Really well worth it.

Of course you can walk in for free…. but whats the fun[?] in that. There are 1.5 million people buried there since 1832 – just pay the fiver…. you won’t regret it.

From an ‘outdoors’ person perspective…. it was noticeable that the trust has been putting a lot of money into restoration of the entire grounds. A lot of headstones appeared as 2 seperate colours and it wasn’t until Shane explained that they had been laid a long time ago and sank, some from 8′ high down to just 2′. These are all now being fixed. The fact that the yew trees were put there to prevent people parking their cattle and right down to why cemeteries are no longer placed by rivers as they used to be.

This June the cemetry will also be joined with the Botanical Gardens so one will be able to walk through from one to the other and there are further plans to open a sort of stone masons apprentices school. That I think is a great idea for such a craft. Once again its not until Shane explains how long in hours and hammer taps per hour a piece of stone takes by hand.

All that aside there are the stories of the grave robbers, why a Dublin person is never buried after 12 noon [uisce beatha 😉 ]  and as funny as it sounds even just looking at the trees made me smile.

The tour outdoors takes about 1.5 hours. The tour inside the building and out combined costs a tenner and both receipts will give you discount in the coffee shop [where the cakes are a must and the staff are polite]. They also do student rates. If you believe you may have some family history here…. do go and research.

Some of the more better known names buried there include: Daniel O’Connell, Michael Collins, Eamon De Valera, Charles Stewart Parnell, O’Donovan Rossa, Arthur Griffiths and Countess Markiewicz. Brendan Behan, Luke Kelly, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Michael Cusack and Liam Whelan.

The trust employs 2 full time and 7 part time staff and can be contacted via the Glasnevin Trust website, telephone 00353-1-8826590 or email tours[at]glasnevintrust[dot]ie

*view more images of Glasnevin Cemetry

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The Garden Group Set To Sail

I have a different gig on this weekend – not be confused! To this one, planning had started some time ago for the garden groups second journey and I am pleased to say we are ready to roll.

Never been on a garden group gig…?

After a late night phonecall with a gentleman called Mark from Island Ferries [4th February] our next adventure will be to Irelands Eye.

  • Date: April 18th, Sunday
  • Time: 11.30 am
  • Meeting Point: Outside The Bloody Stream Pub, Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Cost For Boat Trip: €15 return – paid to Skipper on the day
  • Booking: via comment here only
  • Contact me: I’m on [Vodafone Prefix]6594688 or twitter.com/DoneganGardens
  • Other: As we are travelling by boat I will need to call two days in advance to ensure that weather conditions are suitable for us to travel. There are no toilet facilities on the island – so use your head!  Also be very careful with rubbish/ wrappers that may blow away.
  • Dress Code: See above video and this is Ireland.
  • Duration: I conferred with The Skipper and I and he reckon about 3 hours on the island should be ample.
  • Weather: the weather…. your guess is as good as mine ;) and this is Ireland. But I will be keeping an eye on met eireann and saying a wee prayer. Bring an umberella. Wrap up warm. And wear some shoes that will keep your feet dry.
  • Lunch: I had suggested bringing a picnic. That’s what I will be doing anyway. All things going good it’ll be a flask of coffee and some nice sambos!
  • Anything else: leave a comment below or gimme a call.
  • Directions: Get to Howth via DART is the best option. The entrance exit of the station is right next to our meeting point The Bloody Stream Pub. Bus numbers 31 & 31B also go there from Lower Abbey Street and there should be ample parking.

Have I ever been there…? No. But from my extensive google research here’s what I have found out.

Courtesy Wikipedia

The ruins of a Martello Tower and an 8th-century church (the Church of the Three Sons of Nessan) are the only signs of previous habitation. The tower’s window entrance 5 metres above ground level can now be accessed by a rope that hangs down from the window. The church functioned as parish church for Howth until recent centuries, eventually being replaced by a church in the village due to the limitations of having to take a boat for every service.

In Celtic times the island was called Eria’s Island. Eria was a woman’s name and this became confused with Erin, derived from Éireann, the Irish name for Ireland. The Vikings substituted the word Island with Ey, their Norse equivalent, and so it became known as Erin’s Ey and ultimately Ireland’s Eye. The island was also known formerly as Inis Faithlenn.

Ireland’s Eye comprises the main island, a range of rocks and an islet called Thulla. The most spectacular feature is the huge freestanding rock called “the Stack”, at the northeastern corner of the island, which plays host to a large variety of seabirds, including thousands of guillemots, razorbills, fulmars and gulls. Ireland’s fifth gannet colony became established on the Stack in the 1980s, and there are now a few hundred pairs breeding there each year. There is a large cormorant colony on the main island, and a few breeding pairs of puffins. Grey seals are abundant in the sea around the island.

The Eye is a townland in its own right, with a registered area of 21.5 hectares (53 acres).

Birdweb.net also have some good reading for those a little more into the nature side of it with some great notes on routes to take and what you can expect to see. I would pay particular note to this line of their writing

It is good policy to stick to the trodden paths as it is only too easy to walk on well camouflaged chicks or eggs.

Places for trip are limited to 18 people. Those who were on the previous Garden Group trip have first refusal and the usual Garden Group Guides apply.

*The First Garden Group Journey

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Loughshinny Beach

Before you even dream of saying it….. I will 😉

What on Gods earth am I doing reviewing a beach…?

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Well, it turns out one of North Dublins hidden gems may not be the worst day trip you ever took. And in this case it turns out there is a lot more than sand to see here.

This place is literally brimmed with history and nature.

For those not into the ye olde botanics of the great outdoors…. this is exactly what you are looking for. The beach may well be the meeting  point [so to speak] but there is so much more than that here.

I went down on Valentines day, a change of plan from what I had intended, but… it was just relaxation heaven. The tide was out. Some of the boats were in. The fishermen where loading up the days catch. I walked the harbour wall and looked over towards Lambay Island. I walked on towards the Martello tower and did what is known as the Millennium Walk.  I brought the dogs. It was cold. I wrapped up warm. And as the wind blew [right] through my hair…. the horses wandered the beach front. You simply cannot find serenity and such amazing views like it. Add to that the fact that the beach and surrounding areas were absolutely spotless.

Shame that Fingal County Council have such limited information on their website about the history of Loughshinny. Maybe someone else maybe able to shed some extra light on this [?]. For the moment, go forth and so enjoy…. simply amazing.

View more images of Loughshinny Beach

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niall mellon township building blitz 2009

update: table quiz dec 3rd malahide…?

950 Volunteers – 1 Week – 200 New Houses

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Wallacedene, Cape Town, South Africa.

My third year to travel with The Garden of Hope Team, this year was always going to be yet another amazing project. As most of you know by now, I travel not to build houses but as part of a team of gardeners to, this year, build a community playground, football pitch and vegetable and fruit gardens.

What we didn’t bank on was the rain…. and by God did it fall.

But the options were….? We did have one half day of rain stops play… we then worked through as it got worse to make up the lost hours. And in the end it did work out. The sun started shining. It was always gonna happen 😉

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I’ve had to pause here writing this post…. It’s upsetting to be honest. My voice is gone. My bones are sore. There’s a pride inside me for what I as part of a team did… and then I think that maybe I could have done more. I’ve tears in my eyes. I’ve turned on the heating and type on my laptop and I’m trying, really trying not to write a sad post. Maybe to speak of the families and children with HIV and on housing lists for over 20 years…. when the rain came down one of the guys was telling me of a man they met with a frying pan trying to keep the water from his shack. I doubt he slept that night. But the people are so happy, friendly and polite. The children still smile. To see them dancing in middle of the water feature… that was the moment I took. Maybe I’ve numbed slightly to it after 3 years…

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I heard of one lady. Originally from South Africa. She works in a pub in Ireland and for the last five years has saved her tips. This year she done the trip. She paid €5,000 to come to South Africa to work. The same as all of the Irish did. I worked with ladies in their 60’s and 70’s who laboured as myself and Colin lay cobbles. I met people who had lost loved ones so recently. Those who had no jobs to return home to in Ireland…. I’ve just thought of them too.

I’m gonna sit and have a cuppa now. The vid is done. I have some writing done here and a blog post to thank you all so much for your support. In garden terms… I think you’ll agree the volunteers made the best of it and kept the smile sunny side up… More than that – I know you will agree that our new friends in Wallacedene love it.

Thank you all for everything…. see you in a little.

to read post no. 2 of the journey – click here

I’ve uploaded all of my 2009 blitz images/ photographs here

A great overview of the entire week can be read on the official Niall Mellon Township Trust blog – click hereReblog this post [with Zemanta]

gardeners charity poker classic in ballyboughal

are you going...?

are you going...?

***Tickets can be bought behind the bar in The Village Inn from Kevin or drop by my house or give me a call 🙂

From Yes folks 7 tables of 7 people will battle it out for the title of Ballyboughals best poker player Friday 16th October.

The gig won’t take place in O’Connors pub exactly as the people wont really all fit in… rather it will take place in the old school opposite… but systems are in place that a lounge person will run back and forth constantlty from one to the other with your beverage in case your taste buds dry out 😉

The reason… well of course the trad session is on so when you finsh your game of cards… simply walk the far side of the [very narrow] road and have a listen to some of Ireland finest musicians.

Sandwiches will be provided on the night and the trad session [as always] is free in.

All money raised will of course go to my trip to South Africa with the Niall Mellon Township Trust. Click here to see how much I’ve raised so far.

Never been to ballyboughal [just outside Swords btw] here’s how to get here

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