dinsdag 30 september 2008

Lost Property

This shoe was abandoned on a secluded beach in North Mayo. Did its owner quarrel with her lover and walk off in a blind rage, leaving it behind? Did she run into the sea and was never seen again? With its lining of pretty flowers, it was once one of a favourite pair.
Photo: Annie. Click to enlarge.

maandag 29 september 2008

Holiday Reading

"While I paced softly on, the last sound I expected to hear in so still a region, a laugh, struck my ears. It was a curious laugh - distinct, formal, mirthless. I stopped". Reading Jane Eyre on Keel Beach.
Photo: Annie

zondag 28 september 2008

Fun Fair

All the fun of the fair in Keel.
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 27 september 2008

The Great Irish Cemetery

They're everywhere. This one - near Clew Bay - has various Republicans pushing up the daisies.
Photo: Annie

vrijdag 26 september 2008

Everyone's Favourite Bird

The robin... fiercely territorial but friendly.
Photo: Annie. Click to enlarge.

donderdag 25 september 2008

More Voodoo

A religious figure adorned with a scapular and rosary at Tobernalt Holy Well near Sligo Town. A place of pilgrimage since pagan times.
Photo: Annie

woensdag 24 september 2008

Holy Well

One of many holy wells in County Mayo. Whole families drive up with enormous bottles to stock up on supplies.
Photo: Annie

dinsdag 23 september 2008

Rocks near Dooega

Never forget that a freak wave can occur at any time like the one that hit the Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1995. The Master said it "came out of the darkness" and "looked like the White Cliffs of Dover."
Photo: Annie

maandag 22 september 2008

Vanished Beauty

The Cathedral Rocks, lost in a storm.
Drawings by Peti Buchel

zondag 21 september 2008

The Long and Winding Road

... that leads from the door of the house to Mulranny, Newport, Castlebar and the world!
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 20 september 2008

vrijdag 19 september 2008

A Bird's Eye View of Polranny

This is what the birds and the planes see as they fly overhead: the house, the trees, the garden and the boglands beyond.
Photo: Google Earth

donderdag 18 september 2008

Pirate Plunder

These gravestones were taken not from an ancient churchyard but from the set of a film about the Irish famine. They are made of expanded polystyrene and weigh nothing.
Photo: Annie

woensdag 17 september 2008

Pirate Fashionista

Here is Annie in the latest Pirate fashions: a Regatta anorak from Westport, a baseball cap from the Lidl in Castlebar, Adidas jogging pants also from Castlebar and a mink bikini by Dolce & Gabbana of Milan.
Photo: Bertje

dinsdag 16 september 2008

Beyond the Garden

Behind the back garden is the bog. The bay is to your right where, if you're lucky, you may find fresh oysters.
Photo: Annie. Click to enlarge.

maandag 15 september 2008

Teenage Trouble

The back garden here in the far west of Ireland has long been an animal sanctuary with badgers, Irish hares, moles, feral cats and foxes. Here, away from the traffic and free of human persecution, they can breed to their heart’s content.

Foxes are especially known for their cunning and, over the generations, they develop new skills. Two years ago, the garden became home to a herd of goats that soon discovered the delights of the plum tree. The sweetest plums hang, of course, from the highest branches. But that’s no obstacle for a hungry goat, which simply stands on its hind legs and stretches its neck a little. Soon the foxes were copying this technique, which has since been passed on down the generations from vixen to cub.

The current vulpine mother-in-residence is a mature lady, who is probably coming to the end of her reproductive life. Earlier this summer, she was regularly seen beneath the plum tree with a single adolescent cub in tow. She would patiently show him how it is done: you find your balance, stand bolt upright and, when necessary, leap towards the juiciest plums. But Junior simply rolled on his back, scratched himself and waited for the choicest fruits to drop into his mouth. This did not happen. Instead the mother fox snarled, lunged at him and told him in, so many words, that she was sick of waiting on him hand and foot, and that it was high time he made his own way in the world!

Two days later Junior was on his own and sitting as still as a garden ornament in the pouring rain. What now? Clearly, for all his teenage bravado, he hadn’t a clue. Finally the rain stopped, the sun came out and the very next day he came bursting out of the woods with a large and very dead mole his mouth. This prey was his and his alone; he wasn’t sharing it with anyone!

Later that afternoon, Junior lay replete and satisfied in the long grass. Slowly his gaze drifted upwards towards those luscious plums. It couldn’t be that difficult, could it?

Photo: Annie

zondag 14 september 2008

zaterdag 13 september 2008

The Bedroom...

... as seen by Odette Muijsers. Part of the Narnia cupboard is on the top left-hand side.

vrijdag 12 september 2008

Narnia in Polranny?

This statue in East Belfast shows the author CS Lewis about to enter Narnia through the famous wardrobe in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. Curiously, there is also a similar piece of furniture in the Pirates’ main hideout, just waiting to entice residents onto ever-greater flights of fantasy or reason.
Photo Polranny cupboard: Annie

donderdag 11 september 2008

The Winning Combination

The house, the car and plenty of wood for the fire!
Photo: Annie

woensdag 10 september 2008

Pirate Private View

Willem (on the right) plus guest

A celestial presence

Last Sunday, art lovers from as far away as Dublin gathered at the house of Pirate friends Willem and Doutsje for a viewing of Willem’s lyrical paintings of Mayo. Tea, wine and delicious quiche and cakes were served, the craíc was great and an excellent time was had by one and all. The main topic of conversation was our hosts’ imminent departure for Holland, for an exhibition of Willem’s work, and then France where plans are afoot for a book about their extraordinary garden, aptly known as the Achill Secret Garden.
Photos: Annie

dinsdag 9 september 2008

How to Create Classical Pillars for an Irish Folly

Carolien writes that the Folly’s pillars (see below) were based "not only on the column drums of Roman Apamea and the austere yet colourful Mamluk architecture, but also on experimentation with plastic drainpipes, which resulted in the 'shamrock pillar'. This technique had already been used by 'local plumbers' of a different era, as is illustrated by the photo above."

maandag 8 september 2008

History in Ruins

Half a watchtower, still standing at Roscahill, Clew Bay.
Photo: Annie

zondag 7 september 2008

Absolute Folly

The continuing story of building madness. The second layer of pillars is already in place. The design and construction concepts are the work of Pirate Carolien Feldbrugge. She also built the outer wall and cast the lower layer of pillars and architraves.
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 6 september 2008

The New Stove

The new stove has arrived!! Now we're hoping that Pirate friend PJ will come and build it into the living fireplace here:

Photos: Annie

vrijdag 5 september 2008

Little Man

We are delighted to say that Little Man, the Pirates' favourite local security guard/scarecrow, has survived the recent storms, and still looks as perky as ever. In recognition of his services, he has been presented with the green and red colours of the Mayo Gaelic football team, which contrast nicely with the Irish rugby flag in his other hand.
Photo: Annie

donderdag 4 september 2008

Bert's Folly

According to Wikipedia, "a folly is a building constructed strictly as a decoration, having none of the usual purposes of housing or sheltering associated with a conventional structure. They originated as decorative accents in parks and estates." Like all things Pirate, Bert's Folly is unorthodox in its practicality that includes a wonderful living space with an open fire and a feather soft bed. Meanwhile, in the top photo, Pirate Bert is working on the second layer of columns, while Pirate Annie enjoys the sun amidst a classical arcade of PVC pillars.

A postcard of the Roman ruins of Apamea in Syria was the inspiration behind Pirate Carolien Feldbrugge's design for this Eighth Wonder of the World with its columns that reference the colours of Mamluk art. The component parts are cast in concrete using buckets from the local supermarket.

Photos: Bert and Annie

woensdag 3 september 2008

Republican Petrol Pumps

These petrol pumps are located outside the Minaun View bar in Keel, which has a formidable collection of IRA memorablia.
Photo: Annie

dinsdag 2 september 2008

Pirate Painter

The artist Joan Scanlon is one of the Pirates' favourite people. She is pictured here with her assistants Chance (on the left) and Lady (on the right).
Photo: Annie

maandag 1 september 2008

The Curse of Glenveagh Castle

Glenveagh Castle in County Donegal was built by John Adair, who became infamous for evicting 244 of his tenants in 1861 so they would not spoil his view of the landscape. His actions provoked such bitterness that one of his evictees, a woman, cursed Adair and all Glenveagh's subsequent owners that none of them would ever have children. And indeed, all of them died without issue including the final owner, Henry Plumer McIlhenny (pictured above), who Andy Warhol described as "the only person in Philadelphia with glamour". Fortunately McIlhenny was also a gentleman and made amends for Adair's atrocities by bequeathing Glenveagh Castle and all its land to the Irish nation.