zaterdag 26 december 2009

A Prayer for Sr. Natalie

A thoughtful reminder at Ballintubber Abey. I wonder who she was...?
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 19 december 2009

Sad Saint

This tearful saint adorns a lichen-covered gravestone in Burrishoole Friary, located near the waters of Clew Bay.
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 12 december 2009

Jesus of Westport

Jesus floating in mid-air as he ascends to the Kingdom of Heaven in St. Mary's Church, Westport.
Photo: Annie. Click to enlarge

zaterdag 5 december 2009

It's Always Good to have a Spare One

Spotted parked outside the very beautiful Ballintubber Abbey in County Mayo.
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 28 november 2009

zaterdag 21 november 2009

Patiently Waiting His Turn...

... is the surfing gull of Achill Island!
Photo: Peti

zaterdag 14 november 2009

After the Storm...

... come the windsurfers of Keel Beach!
Photo: Peti

zaterdag 7 november 2009

And It Heats the Space as Well

The new stove in the living room, looking quite splendid!
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 31 oktober 2009

Mulranny Beach at Its Best

Sunshine, clear blue skies and candy floss clouds.
Photo: annie

zaterdag 24 oktober 2009

The Holy Ghost?

It's probably all a matter of smoke and mirrors...
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 17 oktober 2009

zaterdag 10 oktober 2009

Finding Your Bearings in Connemara

A handy signpost with all the important details.
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 3 oktober 2009

Those Hardy Annuals...

Although the garden is now ready for the winter, the dahlias are still going strong.
Photo: Peti

zaterdag 19 september 2009

The Ayatollahs of Achill????

Pirate Peti writes: "It has come to pass that the flag of the Ayatollahs of Iran is flying over the Slievemore mountain. Has Achill been invaded by the Axis of Evil or is it in honour of visiting dignitaries of disreputable character? Nobody seems to know. The girl at Bretts Newsagents thinks the flag's there because it adds the traditional County Mayo colours of green and red to the festivities surrounding the annual Achill Regatta."
Photo: Peti

zaterdag 12 september 2009

The Men Behind the New Bathroom

PJ and Tony Kilbane, father and son, are two of the men working on the new bathroom extension at the back of the house. Tony does the plastering.

zaterdag 5 september 2009

It's All Go in Polranny!

The pantry and the shower behind the kitchen have been demolished and are being replaced with an extension with the latest, state-of-the-art amenities. Fortunately for our guests there is still the bathroom upstairs, which is also the best place for watching the local wildlife.
Photos: Peti

zaterdag 29 augustus 2009

Nature Watch

There are two foxes in the garden this summer. This young gentleman and an older female with grey shanks, possibly his mother.
Photo: Annie.

zaterdag 22 augustus 2009

Halloween in August?

Standing in the misty shadows of the spooky Slievemore Mountain, this has to be the scariest scarecrow of Achill Island.
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 15 augustus 2009

Some Pirates Have Green Fingers...

... and this summer's dahlias are their pride and joy!
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 8 augustus 2009

Where's the Rest of Him?

... spotted in nearby Clew Bay.
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 1 augustus 2009

Birdy Paradise

A handy addition to the garden: a avian tree house with a variety of tasty snacks.
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 25 juli 2009

Simple But Effective

The essential details of the bathroom door...
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 18 juli 2009

Land of the Giants

This may look like some slightly weather-beaten sculpture installation; in fact it's part of the extraordinary rock formations of the Giants Causeway in Country Antrim. The official explanation has something to do with volcanic activity during the Paleogene period. But personally I prefer the stuff of legends and that Irish warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight his Scottish counterpart Benandonner.
Photo: Annie

woensdag 15 juli 2009

Corraun Diary (13) Checking the Takings

Despite the uncertain future of their pub, Pirate friends and neighbours Jane and Al are determined to look on the bright side, as Jane writes in her diary entry of 29 July 2005: "The Currane Yawl Race takes place at the front of our property over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

Bar takings for last night, the Thursday before the August Bank Holiday, were €153. The same night last year it was €420 and the year before it was €2919! Of course the reason for the huge takings on the equivalent day in 2003 was the opening of the Currane Failte Abaile (Welcome Home festival). We moved our bar license to the community centre for that event. You have to go to court to do that, so there were legal fees to pay not to mention the large number of staff we had to employ for the occasion.

There was, however, a play in the community centre and a golf event in the Compass last night so hopefully things will improve over the rest of the bank holiday.
Photo: Jane

zaterdag 11 juli 2009

Irish Weather

In Ireland, they say that the weather changes every 15 minutes...
Photo: Annie

woensdag 8 juli 2009

In the North, Even the Creches Can Be Sectarian

This photograph was taken in Derry's Waterside, a Loyalist district.

Click for the full picture.

Photo: Annie

zaterdag 4 juli 2009

Corraun Diary (12) What to Do Next?

In her diary entry of 21st July 2005, Pirate friend and neighbour Jane had some tough issues to consider regarding The George, the pub she was running with her husband Al: "Long discussion with Al today regarding the future of the bar. This year's business is 20% down on last year, which was 20% down on the year before. We have heard that all bars in Ireland are having similar problems. We have always maintained that we will do everything we can to keep the bar open but that was assuming that it would cover its costs. We are getting very close to it costing us money we don't have. In September, our insurance money is due - approx. 6,000 Euro. If August does not go well and we don't have the money we will have to break into our emergency money. I think we'll probably do this and give it another year but we have to face the fact that any serious business person would say it would be better not to pay the insurance and close the bar. We both really hope it doesn't come to this."

Photo of happy days in the bar: Jane

woensdag 1 juli 2009

Irish Wolf Hound

These gentle giants may have arrived in Ireland as early as 3500 BC with the first settlers, who bred them as war dogs. On average, they are the tallest dogs in the world and are known to be unconditionally loyal to their owners. Sadly they only live for between five and ten years.

This beauty is the lordly canine at Lissadell House (see the entry below).

Photo: Annie

zaterdag 27 juni 2009

Lissadell House and Countess Markiewicz

Lissadell House in County Sligo was the childhood home of Countess Markiewicz, who became a Sinn Féin revolutionary nationalist and the first woman to be elected to the British House of Commons. Following her involvement in the 1916 Easter Uprising, she was sentenced to death but eventually served just one year in prison. Countess Markiewicz also fought actively for the Republican cause during the Irish Civil War and helped to defend Moran's Hotel in Dublin.

As the dramatist Séan O'Casey said of her: "One thing she had in abundance—-physical courage; with that she was clothed as with a garment".
Top photo: Annie

woensdag 24 juni 2009


This magnificent swan graces the door of the church in Drumcliffe where the poet WB Yeats lies buried.

The rather Zen-like epitaph on his gravestone is taken from the last lines of "Under Ben Bulben", one of his final poems:
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by

Photo: Annie

zaterdag 20 juni 2009

Corraun Diary (11); The Afternoon the George Stayed Closed

In her diary entry of 17 March 2005, Pirate friend and neighbour Jane describes the evening that the George, the pub she was running with her husband Al, stayed closed for the afternoon. There was simply too much musical competition elsewhere: "No point in opening the bar until this evening so we went to Dookinella to watch the pipe bands."
Photo: Jane

woensdag 17 juni 2009

Votive Offerings

Objects tied to a tree at Tobernalt Holy Well in Carraroe in County Sligo. The Well was also worshipped in pre-Christian times.
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 13 juni 2009

Just Stop and Admire the View

Climbing the Slievemore on Achill Island can be an arduous experience. The good thing is that the view becomes more magnificent with each step you take!
Photo: Annie

woensdag 10 juni 2009

Stick to the Straight and Narrow!

An interesting bridge construction in North Mayo. While the wall on the one side is nicely reassuring, its absence on the other promises an iminent dunking!
Photo: Annie

zaterdag 6 juni 2009

Corraun Diary (10); Ju Ju Comes to Visit

Writing her diary in January 2005, our friend and neighbour Jane records the day that Ju Ju came visiting: "Ju Ju Anderson comes to visit. Her father, William Anderson was one of the gardeners at Corraun House. She has wonderful stories to tell about the gardens here. She is shocked at their decline and has very kindly brought some pictures taken in the 1920’s/1930’s for us. I’ve scanned the pictures and put them on the Currane web site ( for all to see. This makes me keen to try and save the gardens. It would be wonderful for them to be restored for the community to enjoy. I've tried several times to get some help/grant aid but failed. I feel motivated to try again."
Photo: courtesy of Ju Ju Anderson

woensdag 3 juni 2009

The Mythical Badger

The garden here in Polranny is enormous, and includes a stretch of woodland where a badger is reputed to live. Not that anyone ever sees him...
Photos: Annie

zaterdag 30 mei 2009

Different Strokes for Different Folks

The Catholic and the Protestant churches to the right and left of the 19th century lunatic asylum in Sligo. Now a major hotel.
Photos: Annie

woensdag 27 mei 2009

Literary Life

Nearby Achill Island has its own writer's group. From left to right: Anne Cattigan, Dan McDonald, Marjorie Wallace, Pirate Peti,Doutsje Nauta,Anne Shannon and Kathleen Pevler.
Click to enlarge.

zaterdag 23 mei 2009

Corraun Diary (15); After the Christmas Bash

Writing in her diary on 25 December 2004, Pirate friend and neighbour Jane records a hectic Christmas night at the George, the pub she was running with her husband Al in nearby Currane: "It's about 4am an Christmas Day. Our Christmas Eve customers have gone and after a very busy evening all is now quiet and we've finished clearing up. The bar will be closed tomorrow. The bar looks so pretty tonight. I'm very pleased with my decorations."
Photo: Jane

woensdag 20 mei 2009

Changing Colours

Nature's colours transformed with the changing season. The garden in early spring (top photo) and a month later (bottom photo).
Photos: Peti

zaterdag 16 mei 2009


Like something out of "The Secret Garden", you know that it's finally spring when bluebells and yellow daffodils dominate the floral colour scheme.
Photo: Peti

woensdag 13 mei 2009

Small World!

Here is our friend and neighbour Mrs. Masterson with Spot the dog and her daughter Annette in Ougterargh, Connemara. Annette is a regular reader of this blog. How? Through her Auntie Bridgie, who lives in America. Enterprising Auntie Bridgie discovered our blog by googling Polranny. And the first thing she saw there was a photo of Spot the dog!

Meanwhile, Annette's son Alan, who lives in Australia with his girlfriend, has also become a Polranny Pirates regular. Nowadays he's a chartered accountant, but this is him back in 1982 when he was snapped by Pirate Peti while visiting his grandparents here. We're sure he hasn't changed a bit!
Photos: Peti

zaterdag 9 mei 2009

Leaving Present

A prize addition to the Polranny Pirates' collection of artworks: this stylish rustic seat/ woodstack. Who made it? Was it Michel, Laura, Bas, Mark or maybe the leprachauns? Whoever it was, thank you! We love it!
Photo: Peti