Monthly Archives: May 2018

Postcards from the Wild Atlantic Way – Mizen Peninsula Co Cork

We left East Cork on a wet and miserable Sunday morning, heading to West Cork with its wonderful scenery. The weather cleared. The sun shone.  It was a perfect day for drifting along the coast enjoying the moments. Here was the Wild Atlantic Way in all its glory! After a wonderful breakfast in Budds of Ballydehob, we headed to Barley Cove to stretch our legs. The magnificent beachscape here and sand dunes were created by a tsunami in the aftermath of the great Lisbon earthquake in the 18th Century.

Next stop was Mizen Head itself with its rugged landscape, pointing out into the Atlantic Ocean at Ireland’s most south-westerly point. The visitor centre here forms the entrance to the Mizen Signal Station, built on an island in 1905. Access is via a very secure walkway and bridges with a number of easier walks to viewing platforms. Everywhere you look the cliff scenery is spectacular

The walkways allow for close encounters with birdlife and a close-up view of some spectacular geology.

It takes about 10 minutes to walk down – longer to walk back up via the famous 99 steps!

The signal station with keepers quarters was severely damaged in the storms of last winter and they and the Marconi Radio Room were still under repair at the time of our visit. All the more time for us to enjoy the fantastic views of Dunlough Bay and out towards Sheeps’ Head and the Beara Peninsula. Afterwards, we meandered towards Three Castle Head. Access to the site is via a working farm, unsuitable for our dogs, unfortunately, but we enjoyed the lovely countryside.

  • This is what we missed – next time, hopefully!


    Three Castless overlooking Doulough – Image Wikipedia.

    We then headed towards Crookhaven via Browhead with its interesting fieldscapes. Traces of 19th Century copper mines remain here.

    From the pier in Crookhaven…an old quarry works can be seen.

  • We headed back via the famous church in the townland of Altar. This Church of Ireland building was erected between 1847 and 1852, at the behest of  Rev. William Fisher, who gave work to the poor people of the area, with funding from Famine Relief. He named it ‘Teampol-na-mbocht’  – the Irish for Church of the Poor.

    Nearby is a fine example of a Wedge Tomb

  • It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day, overlooking Toormoore Bay.


Filed under Ireland, Wild Atlantic Way

Postcards from Mount Congreve, Waterford, one of the great gardens of the world

The gardens at Mount Congreve, Waterford, consist of around seventy acres of intensively planted woodland garden and a four-acre walled garden. The owner, the late Mr Ambrose Congreve, was inspired by Mr Lionel de Rothschild’s exceptional garden at Exbury in Hampshire, England.

It was here that he indulged his passion for Rhododendrons, Magnolias, Camellias and indeed many other plants from every continent in the world.

With over 3,000 different trees and shrubs, more than 2,000 Rhododendrons, 600 Camellias, 300 Acer cultivars, 600 conifers, 250 climbers, hundreds of magnolias, hundreds of wisteria and countless herbaceous plants, this is a truly magnificent site and what is more, these wonderful gardens were gifted to the people of Ireland after the death of Mr Congreve.

My Blogging friend, Social Bridge lives in this area and has long tempted me to come to have a look….and what a magnificent look it was! My most excellent guide knows every inch of the place and she was the best company on my visit!

I am posting these images ‘as they come’ so you too can take a virtual walk and enjoy this magnificent place.

My wonderful guide!

My wonderful, knowledgeable and inspirational guide!

Mount Congreve is open to the public Thursday – Sunday from 11 am.  I heartily recommend a visit and I am looking forward to seeing the herbaceous summer borders in all their splendour. Oh and the cafe is just lovely!

For further information


Filed under Great Gardens, Ireland, Ireland Seasons, Irish Countryside

Being a woman in Ireland in 2018

Mammy, do you not love me?       Read on…

Yesterday morning I woke to the sound of a young mother of five children weeping from my radio. Emma Mhic Mhathuna, the girl who fronted the HPV vaccine advertising campaign in Ireland, revealed that she was informed yesterday that she has terminal cervical cancer. Emma, the 37-year-old mother, whose children range in age from 15 to 2 and a half,  is one of 209 women whose cervical smear tests were incorrectly reported, and when the results were found to be incorrect, the information was withheld from them. This is 21st Century Ireland.

Yesterday we heard from Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene died aged just 35 in June of last year. They had two small children, now aged 3 and 5. Irene had two incorrect smear results. Stephen has only been told in the last couple of weeks that Irene’s test results were incorrectly reported and that when the error was discovered, the truth was kept from them. Irene is one of 17 women who were told that their smear tests were clear when they were not, and who subsequently died. This is 21st century Ireland.

This scandal broke last week when a brave terminally ill Limerick mother of two, Vicky Phelan aged 43, sued and won damages for being given an all-clear result from her smear tests that in fact showed abnormalities. She refused outright to sign a gagging clause and as a result, this entire scandal has been revealed to the nation. Vicky’s children are aged 12 and 7. This is 21st Century Ireland.

Yesterday in the Irish Parliament, the Director General of the Health System accused those questioning him of ‘hysteria’. What an appropriate word. When the errors were discovered, an internal memo in his organization was circulated in March 2016 with the following instructions:

Next steps

• Pause all letters

• Await advice of solicitors

• Decide on the order and volume of dispatch to mitigate any potential risks

• Continue to prepare reactive communications response for a media headline that ‘screening did not diagnose my cancer’.

There was no mention of any woman in that communication. The wagons were circled.

The state denied it had any duty of care towards Vicky. They fought her all the way and she had to prove that the misdiagnosis meant she would die earlier than expected. The Cervical Check took two years to inform her doctor of the ‘misdiagnosis’ and it was a further 15 months before she was informed. All of this is too late for Vicky and too late for Emma – both of whom are in advanced stages of cancer. And far too late for the women like Irene who have died. This is 21st Century Ireland.

This country has not done its women proud. While every country has its scandals, in Ireland, it seems that girls and women are at the centre of the worst of them.  Although not related to the outrageous Cervical Check issue, women across this country are talking about being a woman in Ireland. No one is accountable for what happens to them.

Young unmarried mothers were incarcerated for years in so-called Magdalen Laundries, their children were taken from them and, if they survived, they were often sold for adoption. The state colluded. No one was accountable.

Women whose unborn babies are diagnosed with fatal foetal abnormalities have to travel to England to end their pregnancies as a potential jail sentence of 14 years hangs over anyone who carries out an abortion in this country.  Similarly, with underage girls who are victims of incest, abuse and rape – any termination of pregnancy cannot be undertaken in this country.  The United Nations Committee for Human Rights has found that Ireland’s law prohibiting and criminalising abortion has violated the human rights of a woman.

Today Irish women can take little comfort from the pronouncements of one of the leaders of the Catholic church, Bishop  Dermot Farrell who has stated that abortion is ‘far worse than rape’. This is 21st Century Ireland.

The anguished words of  Emma have been ringing in my head for the past two days now often reducing me to tears – tears of anger, tears or sorrow, tears of utter helplessness.  You can listen to her here .

Last night I read the transcript of an interview given by Emma to an Irish radio station. It is the most heartbreaking thing I have read in such a long time.

This is Ireland in the 21st Century and this is what we have done to women and children up and down our country. I am so ashamed.

This is what Emma said about giving the bad news to her children:

Shuigh mé síos agus dúirt mé leo tá mé ag fáil bháis … Oisín, tá sé sé bliana d’aois, chuirceist, an mbeidh mé ag teacht ar ais, ná téigh aon áit Mamaí, nach bhfuil grá agat domsa?  Ní thuigeann sé.

I sat down and I  said to them I am dying…Oisín, he is 6 years of age, posed a question, would I be coming back, don’t go anywhere Mammy, do you not love me? He doesn’t understand.

Neither do we, neither do we.



Filed under Ireland