Our local weather department are warning us of a cold snap over the next few days:

Could be pretty Major storm on the way for Monday which could last well into Christmas eve. Warnings will be issued tomorrow, advice is to stay tuned to forecasts and warnings especially if you have travel plans. This looks to be quite an exceptional storm, which is likely hit not just us here in NI but the whole of the UK. It is currently affecting parts of Canada causing disruption to travel and power supplies. It will quickly move across the Atlantic to affect us over the Christmas period. Keep an eye out for warnings folks.

The snow has already started in Ballyboughal, just north of Dublin, and many other places north of that. Time to light the fire and bunker down for the duration.

I hope it does not end up as cold as in the header, a photo through one of my windows a couple of years ago.



As you all know

I live in Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland. An area of great beauty, heritage and some wonderful people. It is variously described as a country, province or region of the UK.

At last count we had a Population count of 1.811 million. The majority of whom wish to go about their daily business and earn an honest crust. Unfortunately there are a few………….

The Northern Ireland Assembly, sitting at Stormont, is the devolved legislature for Northern Ireland. Don’t be going interrupting them with any little problems at the moment, 😉 they are in recess (14 December 2013 to 5 January 2014).

The NI Assembly is responsible for making laws on transferred matters in Northern Ireland. In recent weeks (maybe months), the members of the five main Stormont parties have been examining a draft document on the way forward on flags, parades and the past, drawn up by US diplomat Richard Haass.

Early in December 2012, the organisers of a ‘Fleg’ protest (that is how these folk pronounce the word Flag), caused major disruption to the hard grafting folk of Belfast and many other towns across the province. Marches and protests were often followed by violence, which discouraged people from shopping or planning meals out with friends etc. In times of recession, every sale is important, some establishments and stores were depending on pre-Christmas business to make quotas after poor sales earlier in the year. Many of these businesses did not survive past the end of the year.*

The organisers of the ‘Fleg’ protest, following the decision of Belfast City Council to limit the days that the Union Flag (the flag of the United Kingdom) was flown from Belfast City Hall, are the same people who decorate every highway and byway street light and telegraph pole with a flag every year for the marching season. Some of these specimens are attached to the pole at the furthest reach of the person attaching it. Many looked like the country was in mourning with the flags looking like they were at half mast.

The enthusiasm ran out, as it does every year during the marching season.  The flags are crudely hung, on occasions upside down, and left there until they rot. No sign or thought of having respect for a flag, as we see in other countries. Today I managed to take a few photos of one such rag that was pristine (but cheap poor fabric, probably made in China) when it first graced a light pole in my neck of the woods, last May. Not alone is it an insult to Queen and country, it is now no longer suitable to be used to wipe your shoes.

Not wanting to be left out in the cold, ‘theotheruns’ wanted some of the action…..

On Monday 25 November 2013, masked men in boiler suits hijacked a car and forced the driver to take a beer keg packed with 60 kg (132 lbs) of home made explosives to the city centre and leave it at an underground car park entrance to Victoria Street Centre, the prime shopping location in Belfast close to one of the city’s main police stations and the court complex.

The centre was evacuated and surrounding streets closed during the alert, with dozens spending the night in the Ulster Hall concert venue. The bomb detonated at 11.15pm as army bomb disposal experts prepared to examine it. Car owners who had parked their vehicles in the underground car park, were unable to return and retrieve them until 7am the next morning.

Last Friday night dissident republicans claimed responsibility for a small bomb explosion in Belfast Cathedral Quarter. The weekend was one of the busiest for staff outings in the run-up to Christmas. Dozens of those forced to pile out onto the streets had just sat down to food, when the police began evacuating the area.

Just think of the wasted long hours spent in growing, shipping and purchasing the food. This is before the costs to purchasing premises, running costs, hiring staff and paying wages and preparing, cooking & serving the meals. One nights disruption alone, cost restaurants £60,000′.

* This three part interview with Paul Rankin and Michael Deane, made in April this year, gives a picture of the mountain that businesses have to negotiate here in this tiny corner of the globe.
Part 1Part 2 & Part 3

If we, in this tiny speck on the globe cannot work together, what hope is there for the rest of the world? Peace how are you!

Con Houlihan

Con Houlihan

Con Houlihan

Con Houlihan ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~ Unknown to me.

Con Houlihan was one of Ireland’s premier sportswriters. He was often described as ‘writer, journalist, philosopher, raconteur, Gaelic scholar and gentleman, he entertained his readers with some fantastic writing.

Con looks like a man with a thirst!

Con looks like a man with a thirst!

This sculpture was erected in the vestibule of The Bank Bar & Restaurant on College Green, in Dublin.

Bank Bar & Restaurant

Bank Bar & Restaurant

In a brief eulogy at the end of the funeral service, Ray Hennessy, a friend of the journalist, described Con Houlihan (1925 – 2012) as:

A sculptor of language” who was “sensitive, compassionate, humourous, sometimes extremely funny, courteous, with perfect manners.”

He recalled a comment he made when unable to locate a book of poetry by Gerald Manley Hopkins after a cleaning lady had done her work, “you know, if that woman worked in Trinity College she’d throw out the Book of Kells”.

On another occasion, when Kerry unexpectedly beat Dublin in football he was asked how his friend Harriet, a dedicated Dublin supporter, was taking it, “Con replied ‘House private. No flowers’.”

There was no signature or sculptor’s name on the work and I have been unsuccessful in my search for further information.

The Onion Seller

The Onion Seller

The Onion Seller

The Onion Seller ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~ Séamus Murphy (1907-1975)

This is a monument to the women dealers in the Coal Quay, Cork City Open Market.

The Onion Seller-2

It was erected on February 27th 1986 and unveiled on February 28th 1986 by the Lord Mayor, Alderman Dan Wallace TD as a gift to the City of Cork to commemorate Cork 800 by Sunbeam Wolsey PLC.

Séamus Murphy was born at Greenhill, Burnfort, Mallow, Co Cork.

The Echo Boy

The Echo Boy

The Echo Boy

The Echo Boy ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~ Barry Moloney

This memorial is for the Echo Boys.

Poor and often homeless children who sold the newspaper The Evening Echo & on the streets in Cork City.

Evening Echo newspapers for sale

Evening Echo newspapers for sale

Barry Moloney (1935 – 1992) was principal of the Crawford School of Art. Unfortunately, I had little success in finding information about Barry Moloney.

Plaque on the wall behind the Echo Boy.

Plaque on the wall behind the Echo Boy.

“The Echo Boy”
150 years of
The Cork Examiner
And 100 years of the
Evening Echo

The sculpture was
Unveiled 8 December 1991 by
Councillor Denis (Dino) Cregan
Lord Mayor of Cork

Barry Moloney

Relocated from Cook Street to
Saint Patrick’s Street 2004

Special offer today.

Today, like all the best Supermarkets I offer two for the price of one!

Theobald Wolfe Tone 1763-1798

Theobald Wolfe Tone

Theobald Wolfe Tone ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~ Edward Delaney

As you approach St Stephen’s Green from the North East Corner A large sculpture of Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763 – 1798) stands guard today. Commonly known as Wolfe Tone, he was one of the founding members of the United Irishmen and is regarded as the father of Irish republicanism.

Cyclists resting at the feet of the father of Irish republicanism. I wonder what they are scheming?

Cyclists resting at the feet of the father of Irish republicanism. I wonder what they are scheming?

When you walk round the stone pillars the other side tells a very different story:

Hungry Heart Famine memorial  ~Edward Delaney

Hungry Heart Famine memorial
~Edward Delaney

Hungry Heart Famine memorial ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~Edward Delaney

Hungry Heart: Edward Delaney‘s “Famine Memorial”

The two parts are all one sculpture and you can read more about them in this obituary for Edward Delaney from The Guardian in 2009

This eight-minute video on Dublin, Ireland’s St. Stephen’s Green and sculptor Edward Delaney’s “Famine Memorial” (1967) gives more information.

Back on August I featured the work of Edward Delaney, with his piece Four Angels.




Sculptor ~ Eamonn O’Doherty

This sculpture, in polished and patinated bronze, combines the symbol of medicine, the Rod of Aesculapius and its coiled serpents, with the laurel wreath of Hygieia, mythological goddess of health, and the double helix of the DNA.



The work is dedicated to the countless men, women and children who have occupied the various institutions on this site during the last three hundred years, and celebrates the evolution of the modern St. James’s Hospital.



Eamonn O’Doherty was born in Derry in 1939 and studied at University College Dublin, earning a degree in architecture. Later he became lecturer at the Department of Architecture at the Dublin Institute of Technology. In various capacities he also taught on the Dún Laoghaire College of Art and Design(Ireland), the Ecole Speciale d’Architecture in Paris (France), Harvard University (USA), University of Nebraska (USA) and the University of Jordan (Jordan)

He was responsible for some of the best-loved works of public art in the Republic – including the Quincentennial Sculpture in Galway’s Eyre Square, the James Connolly Memorial across from Dublin’s Liberty Hall and the Anna Livia fountain (aka ‘the floozie in the Jacuzzi), which was relocated from O’Connell Street to Croppy Acre Memorial Park near Heuston Station.

I have in the past featured Swans a work by Eamonn, alas, my old blog is down right now and I am unable to give you a working link.

The Three Fates

The Three Fates St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The Three Fates
St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The Three Fates ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~ Professor Josef Wackerle

The fountain is situated near the Leeson Street entrance to St. Stephens Green, Dublin, Ireland. It consists of a group of three bronze figures – representing the Three Fates, who weave and measure the thread of man’s destiny.

The Three Fates  St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The Three Fates
St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The statue was a gift offered by Roman Herzog, President of the Federal Republic of Germany at the time.

The Three Fates (3) St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The Three Fates (3)
St. Stephens Green, Dublin

The engraving on the plaque is in German, Irish and English:

German: In Dankbarkeit für die Hilfe, die das irische Volk deutschen Kindern nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg gewährte

Irish: Le buíochas as an gcabhair a thug muintir na hÉireann do pháistí Gearmánacha tar éis an Dara Cogadh Domhanda

English: With gratitude for the help given to German children by the Irish people after World War II.

Photographing the Alphabet ~ V

V ~ Viaduct

I have a couple of photos that I may well have shared in the past, but the viaduct the other day was far to close to the busy road I was travelling on. I didn’t want to risk my life or be a hazard to others, in the  heavy traffic so kept on driving.

Viaduct carrying the train line from Belfast to Dublin

Viaduct carrying the train line from Belfast to Dublin

This photo was was taken in May 2010 through the car window as I was stopped in road works traffic. The work was nearing completion on the last stretch of motorway from Belfast to Dublin and cutting out the last of the bottlenecks on the journey.

Another stretch of the same railway line at the end of March 2013

Another stretch of the same railway line at the end of March 2013

Photo taken at the end of March 2013. This time it was mid morning and the traffic was light so I pulled over to the hard shoulder to take this shot. You can just about see Newry through the arches.

Newry is a city in Northern Ireland that straddles the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  It is 34 miles from Belfast and 67 miles from Dublin.

Moving on to Randalstown….

A 19th century viaduct built to extend the railway system in County Antrim.

A 19th century viaduct built to extend the railway system in County Antrim.

This Charles Lanyon designed viaduct was built in 1856 to extend the railway from Randalstown to Cookstown. There are two levels the upper one was the train line and the lower the road from Randalstown to Antrim Town.

Approaching from the Main Street.

Approaching from the Main Street.

In 1830 Randalstown was described as ” chiefly one street extending for half a mile along the road from Toomebridge to Belfast..”

I once heard that the area was also called: a “potwalloping borough”, this meant that anyone who boiled a pot of yarn was entitled to vote…. I think they really earned that voting right!

Disused railway bridge leading to the Viaduct

Disused railway bridge, now a pathway leading to the Viaduct with the entrance to Shane’s Castle on the right.

In the late 1990’s the top of the viaduct and part of the railway track were converted into a walkway and cycle path leading from Station Road to New Street. This development provides views of Randalstown, the River Maine and the adjoining parkland of Shane’s Castle.

Entrance to Shane's Castle, Randalstown

Entrance to Shane’s Castle, Randalstown

The entrance to the Shane’s castle Estate

Looking across the town from the Viaduct pathway

By the end of the 19th century the town depended on an iron works and the Old Bleach Linen Company which was established here in 1864. All that remains now is the chimney of the mill which you can see in the photo above. At its peak in the 1930’s, the Old Bleach company employed over 1000 people. Its doors finally closed in 1980 and demolition began in 1994.

Damask table linen made in Ireland graced tables all over the world in a bygone era of elegance and leisure. I wonder how many of you across the globe have a family heirloom lurking in a drawer?

Four Angels

Four Angels Fountain_1

Four Angels Fountain ~ Bronze
Sculptor ~ Edward Delaney

Four Angels Fountain_2

The Four Angels Fountain at College Green, Dublin, Ireland, is a secondary piece to the Davis Memorial. The statue of Davis, was unveiled on College Green, Dublin, in 1966.

Four Angels Fountain_9

Designed by Edward Delaney and known locally as the ‘peeing angels’, the fountain in memory of Thomas Davis depicts trumpeting Heralds of the Four Provinces proclaiming one of Davis’s best-known poems A Nation Again. The surrounding tablets illustrate harrowing scenes from the Great Famine of the 1840s. 

A Nation Once Again was first published in The Nation on 13 July 1844 and quickly became a rallying call for the growing Irish nationalist movement at that time.

Four Angels Fountain_3

This site was previously occupied by an equestrian statue of William III. That monument was blown up six times before being completely destroyed by a bomb in 1946. The wreck was taken to a corporation yard and the horses huge lead testicles were melted down and used to repair a pipe.

Four Angels Fountain_8

In the background is the Bank of Ireland formerly known as the Irish Parliament House, was the world’s first purpose-built two-chamber parliament house.

The fountain is a great favorite of students, who regularly ‘clean up’ the angels with the addition of dish washing liquid!

Four Angels Fountain_10