Category Archives: Ireland

The elusive Grandaunt Eva Maud Clinton

For most of my life, ‘Aunt Eva’ as our mother called her, was depicted as a tragic figure. Invariably described as being very beautiful she was the eldest sibling of our maternal Grandfather, Robert Clinton. Our mother referenced her whenever she heard of a wedding being arranged for the month of May. It was, she declared, an unlucky month to get married and she knew, because didn’t aunt Eva get married in May! I recall having a heated discussion with my mother over the date of my own wedding which had been ‘penciled in’ for the first Saturday in May. So as not to tempt fate, the point was conceded and the date moved back to the last Saturday in April.

So who was this Grandaunt Eva and what became of her?

With the arrival of Irish genealogy records online, it should be easy to unravel the mystery! Unfortunately, that was not the case. In the first place, the marriage of her parents, John and Amelia has not yet been found. The quest continues! (Amelia was from the Church of Ireland while John was Roman Catholic so there are many possibilities.)

In the 1901 census, we have our first sighting of Eva Maud as a fourteen- year- old, living with her parents and four siblings in Cleaghmore, Ballinasloe, Co Galway. See here.

According to the census she was born in Co. Mayo, yet there was no sign of her in birth records. The first birth certificate to be uncovered was that of our grandfather, Robert Clinton in 1889, so Eva Maud as the eldest must have predated this. By sheer fluke, her arrival was discovered – not with the names Eva Maud, but with the given names of Bridget Evaline! Did Amelia quickly learn that only Saints names were allowed in the Catholic Church and did she feel aggrieved that her firstborn daughter could not be named after her own sister Eva Maud Judge, for whom she had stood as witness in her marriage three years earlier? We shall never know!

Civil birth entry Bridget Evaline Clinton (NLI)

1911 Eva was a 22-year-old shop girl in Ballinasloe, boarding in the house of Merchant Daniel Hogan in Society Street. See the census record here. Her birthplace was given as Co Westmeath, and the age does not tally, but there is no doubt that this is the right person.

Society Street Ballinasloe c. 1900 (NLI)

By this time in 1911 her family had moved on Carbury Co Kildare, where her father John was now Stationmaster and she had 6 siblings. She stayed behind in Ballinasloe. I wonder if she often visited the family while they lived in Carbury?

Carbury Station, home of our great grandparents, parents of Eva Maud. (Image thesilvervoice 2017)

Although I have not yet established exactly when the family relocated to Carbury, we do know that our great grandfather John Clinton died there just before Christmas in 1920 after an illness of 11 months. It is highly likely that Eva would have visited him there during his illness.

The next ‘sighting’ we have of Eva Maud was at her marriage on 2 May 1927 in St Fintan’s Church, Howth to Thomas McLoughlin, a shop assistant of St Peters Terrace Howth. Again the name Bridget E. appears on the cert.

The marriage certificate of Eva and Tom.

At the time of the marriage, Eva was living in a big two- storey house, Brackenhurst, Howth probably owned by the Bamford family, drapers in the town, who are likely to have been Eva’s employers.

The interesting thing here, and not something I had ever heard mentioned, was that the groom was a widower. Not only that but he had at least two children by his first marriage, so our Grandaunt Eva became stepmother to two relatively young children.

The little house in St Peter’s Terrace, Howth where Eva and her family lived.

Tom McLaughlin was born in Howth on September 6, 1882, the son of a Fisherman. He married Catherine Ward on January 18,1915, and I have located two children born to them – Joseph born in October 1915 and Philomena born September 1916. (Catherine was a widow at the time of her marriage to Tom as her first husband John Ward, who she had married on December 25, 1911, died of Typhoid Fever in January 1914. Catherine was the daughter of a sailor, her maiden name being Sisk). In any event, Tom and Catherine would not enjoy a long happy marriage as she died in St Vincent’s Hospital on June 15, 1924 only some 9 years later. The cause of her death was Endocarditis.

Death cert of Catherine (NLI)

Death Announcement, Catherine. Irish Independent

So a new life beckoned with the marriage of Eva and Tom, who would also be a mother to the children.

But alas that was not to be. Only 140 days later, Eva would be dead. The official family version of her death had been that she died in childbirth. The death certificate tells a slightly different and very sad story.

The death certificate of Eva Clinton McLaughlin (NLI)

She had been just two months pregnant and had the very serious condition of an ectopic pregnancy. She died in Holles Street Maternity Hospital, not aged 34 as stated, but aged 40, with Peritonitis cited as an additional cause. We can only hope that she did not suffer too much. But my mother was right, May was a very unlucky month for her marriage.

The death announcement from the Irish Independent.

And so Thomas McLoughlin had to bury another young wife. But where? Family lore has it that Eva was buried in the old Abbey in Howth, but no grave has ever been located. Our mother was only 9 years old when her Aunt Eva died, but her death left an indelible mark on the family. It is very disappointing that we have not been able to identify her burial place. The search continues.

Somewhere there is a photo of Eva Maud as I recall seeing it. If any family members can add any information to this post, I would be thrilled to hear from you! For now, we remember the 132nd anniversary of the birth and untimely death of our elusive grandaunt.

NOTE:

Thomas married for a third time on January 7,1929. His wife was Emma J Stephens. Thomas died on March 24, 1956, but I have been unable to establish where he is buried.

There is a headstone in Deans Grange cemetery for an Emma J McLoughlin who died in 1993 and I believe this is possibly Thomas’ widow or possibly their daughter. More research required!

Fingal County Council has an extensive online database of burials but the Old Abbey records begin in the 1960s.

So the hunt for grandaunt Eva Maud or Bridget Evelyn goes on.

I would like to thank the legend that is S.Wilson for the info on Aunt Eva’s residence of Brackenhurst in Howth. His excellent site is at https://www.swilson.info/

UPDATE FEB 8 2019

I have been in contact with family of Thomas McLoughlin who have provided the following information:

Emma Josephine Stevens married a brother of Thomas Mc Loughlin after Thomas died. The headstone above in Dean’s Grange is Thomas’ brother John and his two wives.

While aware that Thomas had been married three times, the identity of Thomas’ second wife, our great aunt Eva was not known to them.

References

NLI BDM Records

Census NLI.ie

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New Year’s Day in the desert!

The beautiful Australian Christmas tree. ( Nuytsia floribunda )


On a return trip to Western Australia, I was excited to be visiting the Pinnacles Desert for the first time, a long time entry on my bucket list.

We headed up along the Indian Ocean Drive- the very name promising ocean views in abundance. In reality, we saw very few as the road was slightly inland and away from the coast. Nevertheless, it was interesting to witness the different types of ‘bush’. Some stretches had copious quantities of the very beautiful Australian Christmas trees, in full bloom at Christmas time.

Related image
Australian Christmas Tress.

This is not what it seems however as it is a parasite, possibly the largest in the world! It is a member of the mistletoe family (Loranthaceae), but growing as a tree rather than a shrub attached to trees, such as we find in the northern hemisphere.

We then drove on into veritable ‘forests’ of iconic Grass Trees. And Guess what – In keeping with Australian idiosyncratic things, they are neither grass nor trees!

Image result for how old are grass trees

Living for hundreds of years they produce a great seed head up to 4 meters long. They can withstand the infernos of bushfires and will simply grow again after everything else has been destroyed in the searing heat. Tough little customers!

As we drove on, vast sand dunes of snow white sand loomed on the horizon – looking for all the world like snow-capped hills in Ireland. These enormous dunes, up to three or four storeys high, are used for sandboarding and for 4 Wheeled drive adventures.

Sandboarding. (Image West Australia tourism)

Sandboarding in the sand dunes.

A stop to exercise three energetic girls in Lancelin offered a wonderful view of the Indian Ocean as we enjoyed a lunch of delicious ‘Sweet lipped Snapper’ I didn’t try the lips but the parts I did eat were superb!

The Indian Ocean with Lancelin Island Nature Reserve in the background.

Our destination, Nambung National Park, was a little further on and was marked by the contrasting sand colour – where snow white sands meet the yellow sands of the Pinnacles Desert – as can be seen here.

The Pinnacles Desert is well named for the hundreds and hundreds of pinnacles of every shape and size that stand here.

Statues in the sands

There are a number of theories as to how these were formed, but one thing is certain – there is evidence of seashells in them, so perhaps, as in the Burren Co Clare, water dissolved the limestone to create these magnificent sculptures, some of which are up to 3 meters high. More explanations can be seen here.

The site is quite extensive and a very user-friendly route for vehicles has been marked out with minimal impact on the site. It would be difficult for pedestrians to see the entire site, especially in very high temperatures.

A fascinating landscape and well worth a visit! Ideal for children whose vivid imaginations see beyond the ‘tombstone effect’ and can create wonderful monsters and stories in the blink of an eye!

Images; the silvervoice

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A family treasure

img_1856This beautiful object is a hallmarked sterling silver hair comb that belonged to our grandmother Mary Gallagher, nee Friel. (See earlier post here ) It was given to me by her second daughter, my aunt Eileen, in the 1980s. Aunt Eileen had very generously given, to the best of my recollection, one of her mother’s possessions – a watch, a ring, a pendant and a hair comb – to each of four granddaughters – Cathy, Nuala, Eva and myself.

It never ceases to amaze me how few family artifacts pass down through the generations of ordinary people, but I am so honored and pleased to own this part of our family history.  The hallmarks tell us that it was made by silversmiths, Reynolds &  Westwood in Birmingham in 1905.

But how did she come to have it? Who gave it to her?  Was it a gift from her parents? Had it belonged to her mother? A gift from a beloved sister? From her husband, our grandfather? On the birth of one of her children?  Or was it a possession that was handed on to her when one of her family passed away?  The manufacture date is useful in that it can only be connected to her family members alive after that date. As she and our grandfather married in 1915, it is possible it was a gift from him – perhaps instead of an engagement ring? – but even that date is ten years after it was made.

We will never know.  We have three photographs of her. One taken at her marriage in 1915 and another after her first child was born in 1917. The watch, the ring, and the locket are clearly visible in these, but as the hair comb would have been worn at the back of her head, we don’t know if she was wearing it or not!

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Our grandparents’ wedding photograph. 1915. Locket, watch and ring are clearly visible

 

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1917. Following the birth of her first child, our Aunt May

It is in fact quite a serious ‘comb’ with long prongs that would have been inserted into wrapped up long hair to keep it neat. I have not seen one of these being worn, nor can I find any instructions on how to use it. It is however very beautiful. In days before hair bobbles and hairclips, they would have been quite commonly seen as hair ornaments.

The third photograph we have of her is one that she wore in the locket. She appears to be much younger and certainly had a fine head of hair.

mary gallagher

I often think of her sitting at the dressing table in the bedroom that I knew so well, tossing her hair, gathering it up and then picking up the comb to insert it and arranging herself. I often think of her, just looking at it and perhaps smiling as it is such a lovely thing. I often think of her holding it, admiring it, cleaning it. And I wonder if her five young children ever hung around her, watching her doing her hair.

So when would she have worn it – every day or for special occasions?

Did she wear it when living with her sisters? Did she wear it when she was a housekeeper for her brother the priest in Glenties? Did she wear it on her wedding day?  It’s impossible to tell from the photograph.

When did she last wear it? She was quite ill for several years before she died. Would she have bothered with it then? Would she have worn it on days when she needed to feel good or to put up an appearance for her family who watched her suffering?  Or did it lie abandoned in a drawer for the last years of her life?img_1858

This is the only object we have in my family that our grandmother owned. It will be passed on to my daughter, her great-granddaughter in time. I would like to think that the great-great grandaughters she now has – Sophie, Isabella Freya, Lee, Mary Catherine, Mia, Freya, and Eliza Mae might in time be interested in seeing it too.

It is particularly poignant to remember her today, on the 87th anniversary of her untimely death on 25 July 1931 at the age of 49. Her beautiful silver comb will keep her in family memory, hopefully for many years to come.

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Summer in an Irish Country Churchyard – Parched or Burned?

I am fortunate to live near a country churchyard on a bank of the tidal Owenacurra river, in Ballinacurra, Co Cork. This small graveyard contains the ruins of a church dated c. 1550, a watchman’s house and some historically interesting gravestones from the 19th and 20th century.  In common with all older graveyards, ancestors rest here, flora and fauna thrive here in these special, largely undisturbed habitats.  I thought it would be interesting to observe the four seasons in this very special place. My first post is here, –  Spring, at the end of April last.   It was now time to see what summer had to offer.

Spring was cold and it was late. When it finally arrived, it produced lots of wildflowers there were lots of blossoms in the hedgerows. There is a particular concern this year that pollinating insects – and insects in general – seem to be scarce, but in recent weeks there have been wasps, bees, hoverflies, moths, and butterflies dropping in through open windows. So it was with a sense of anticipation I went down to record the magic of summertime in an Irish Country Graveyard.

I was surprised to see that the stile at the entrance was covered by a pile of scrub – presumably to be removed at a later date?- and that it had been stripped of vegetation.

Inside the gate, the groundcover plants have been obliterated. This has been a challenging summer with high temperatures and very little rain, resulting in a parched landscape.  But the lack of vegetation here goes way beyond this. It is obvious that the area has been sprayed with a herbicide. There are no birds and no insects in this now barren place, no mosses or lichens and probably no invertebrates. Birds need insects and insects need vegetation, but there is precious little of it left. There seems to be a total lack of wildflowers, and therefore no pollen or nectar and instead of the bee-loud glade I expected, there is almost total silence. No humming of bees, no birds twittering on branches, only the sound of breaking grass under my feet.

Greenery at ground level is gone.

But what can have happened here?  The sign inside the gate is clear.

This site is protected under the National Monuments Act and no spraying of chemicals is allowed. The regulations forbid the removal of vegetation from ancient stonework, as very often this very vegetation strengthens ancient walls.

The watchhouse sprayed and ivy removed.

The term ‘scorched earth’ just about describes what has taken place here. But why?  By whom? Was it authorized by the Local Authority?

This place is much loved and in constant use by local walkers and dog walkers who very often cross through the graveyard to reach the shore. Most of these people would be nature lovers who enjoy the uniqueness of the site. One walker yesterday described the work here as ‘total butchery’,  another said it is a ‘terrible shame’ while another said that it was his understanding that there is to be a burial here in the coming days. Even if there is to be an internment, it is hardly good cause to destroy an entire ecology system?

If the intention was to clean up the graveyard, this too has been a dismal failure as the place is strewn with bottles and cans . On the plus side, it appears that the walls of the 16th Century church have remained relatively intact – but the work is not yet finished so who knows what plan is in train with regard to these?

The interior of the church

Ivy remains at roof level but the base of the external wall seems to have been cleared

Small bushes have been cut and even a branch of a cherry tree seems to be in the way.

Great piles of bushes and scrub are now stacked up in various locations around the walls – what is to happen with them?  I doubt that they will be removed, but rather left to decay where they are thrown.

I do not have any expertise with regard to ancient buildings or gravestones or graveyard metal work, but I would have concerns that they are secondary to the need to remove groundcover. My limited expertise as a result of my career as a landscape designer leads me to the conclusion that a very powerful herbicide was used here and that it will take years for the soil and the site to recover from the loss of plants, wildflowers, invertebrates, lichens, mosses, insects, rodents, micro-organisms and birdlife. It appears to be too extensive to have been accidental or an unintended consequence.

It is such a shame.

Surely it is not impossible to clear up these special places and at the same time preserve the integrity of the flora and fauna that thrive here and give pleasure to so many?

 

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Remembering Hugh Coyle- a gentle giant

On this day, 13 July, 1911, a son was born to Hugh Coyle, car driver, in Milford, Co Donegal and his wife Mary. Hugh Coyle from Milford, and Mary McBride had married on 14 November 1902 in the parish chapel of Mevagh. Hugh’s father Patrick was deceased at that time, and Mary’s father, also named Hugh, was a farmer in Devlinreagh, Carrigart, County Donegal.

In the 1911 census taken in April, we see that Hugh and Mary had four children – Ellen (Nellie) born in 1903, Bridget (Bridie) born in 1905, Patrick (Paddy) born in 1907 and Kathleen, born in 1910. Baby Hugh arrived in July and Anthony (Tony) arrived in 1916.  Hugh Senior is invariably described as being a ‘Car man’ or ‘Jarvey’ on all official records. In the1901 census he was a car man in the service of Hugh McDevitt, hotel proprietor in Milford.

I don’t know when the young Hugh Coyle came to Carrigart, but he did so at a relatively young age. The earliest photo I have of him was probably taken in the early 1930s.

hugh early30s

Our Uncle Séan Gallagher, Hugh Coyle and Uncle Jim Gallagher at the front.

Hugh served as an apprentice shopworker at Mc Elhinneys shop in Milford. This very positive and glowing reference is dated 1937, which may well be when the then 25-year-old moved to work in Carrigart. In any event, we can tell from photographs that he was friendy with our family and he was to fall in love  with and marry one of them!

hugh reference

The next photo I have of him is with our father when both of them were in the Local Defence Force. This photo is dated 1940.

hugh and dad

Hugh Coyle on the left with our father Gerard Gallagher c.1940

The next photo I have is easily dated for it is the wedding photo of Hugh with our Aunt Eileen Gallagher in 1945.

hugh di wedding

A very happy Mr and Mrs Hugh Coyle on their wedding day

On the 19th of July 1946, their first child, Mary Patricia was born in Carrigart, just 6 days after her Dad’s 35th birthday.  By this time Hugh was working in Derry as Mary Patricia’s birth certificate gives his address as 23 Orchard Street, Derry adjacent to the famous St Columb’s Hall, and beside the city walls.  The joy of their new arrival was to be short lived as Mary Patricia survived but a few months. However they went on to have a son in the following year and a few years later a daughter was born.

di and high

An undated photograph of Aunt Eileen and Hugh in the back yard of the family home in Carrigart.

hugh and gallaghers

Our Uncle Jim Gallagher, Hugh Coyle, Uncle Séan Gallagher and friend Charlie Gallagher. Again undated.

Hugh worked in Letterkenny for a time, in what I think was the Rainbow Bar, but they eventually emigrated to Glasgow and lived in the Pollokshaws Road.

hugh di ca nd g

A happy family photograph

Every year, the Coyles came home to our house for the summer holidays and it was always great to see them. My abiding memory of Hugh is that he was a very gentle, quietly spoken and kind man. It often strikes me that even as a child I loved these qualities in him.

In Glasgow, he was able to take a passionate interest in the Glasgow Celtic Football team which he loved. In 1970 they reached the final of the European Cup but they were defeated by a Dutch side which would have been a great disappointment.  The following day on May 7,1970 on his way home from work, the gentle and kind Hugh died suddenly and tragically within feet of his own front door. He was only 58 years of age.

I recently came across a few photos of Hugh that I had not seen before and as it is his birthday I thought it would make a nice tribute to put a few of them together.

We remember him with love today and always. We were the better for having known him and it is an honour to have a page for him in our Family Story Book.

Hugh Coyle, born July 13, 1911, died May 7, 1970

Mary Patricia Coyle born July 19,1946,  died September 5, 1946

 

 

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Postcards from the Irish National Stud

IMG_3932Ireland enjoys a worldwide reputation for producing top class thoroughbred horses that consistently achieve international success. The largest producer of thoroughbreds in Europe, Ireland ranks as the fourth largest in the world. This success is attributed to our temperate climate and calcium-rich soil that is good for young animals. It has long been on my ‘to do’ list to visit the Irish National Stud in Kildare and I finally managed to tick this box the other week. What a treat it was on a beautiful sunny day!

The Irish National Stud and Gardens belongs to the people of Ireland. Established in 1900 by Colonel William Hill Walker, a wealthy and somewhat eccentric Scotsman who bought 1,000 acres in Tully Co Kildare to establish a stud farm.

4401A8C7-806B-47AC-AAFE-06C5041CFF2FThis statue of Colonel Walker, unveiled by President Higgins in 2015, portrays him looking at the items in the tree of life that interested him. In addition to racing, we can see signs of the zodiac which informed much of his horse breeding. He was also interested in gambling as indicated by the playing cards!

E96EE547-52BB-4DF4-8692-A4A2952F8883Col. Walker also loved horticulture and it was under his direction that the world famous Japanese Gardens were created here between 1906 and 1910, by the Japanese Craftsman, Tassa Eida.

Having enjoyed some success in racing circles, including winning the prestigious Epsom Derby, Walker gifted his stud farm to the British Government in 1915, to form the basis of the British National Stud. Their success continued with the stud producing the winners of all classics and in 1942, Sun Chariot, born and bred at Tully, landed the fillies’ Triple Crown – the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and St. Leger – for King George VI. However, in 1946, the by now independent Irish Republic took over the ownership and running of the redesignated Irish National Stud. Although the acreage of the stud has now been reduced by about a hundred acres because of road building, this place continues to produce top class bloodstock that makes their mark the world over. Many famous racehorses are retired here, excellent stallions stand here and foals are bred here.

Of the retired horses, or ‘Living Legends’ as they are known, even I as a non-racing person, recognized many of the names.

 

This lovely fellow is Hurricane Fly, trained by Willie Mullins. He is the holder of the world record for most Grade 1 races won by any racehorse. His paddock mate is Hardy Eustace, a very famous 21-year-old.

In the paddock are another three retired ‘living legends’, including Beef or Salmon, seen below on the right. Beef or Salmon was trained in Limerick by Michael Hourigan. Also here are Kicking King and Rite of Passage. These are world-class racehorses, living out their retirement in luxury on buttercup filled meadows!  Until his death a few years ago, the world-famous Vintage Crop grazed here too –  he was the 1993 winner of the Melbourne Cup – the first foreign-trained horse to do so.  All of the ‘living legends’ are geldings and are people friendly lovers of sugar cubes. (Unlike the stallions that would attack)

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In a paddock nearby are some of the new season foals standing with their mothers. All foals have a birthday of January 1st, regardless of when they are born. This determines the categories of races they may enter.

In addition to the Japanese Gardens, the grounds are beautifully enhanced by St. Fiachra’s Garden just opposite the paddocks of the retired famous boys. These gardens were looking great at the time of my visit and are delightful for walking and are formed on a reclaimed wetland.

Here too are some reconstructed Beehive huts similar to those found in Kerry.

But it is hard to beat nature in all her glory!

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This route leads to the area where the Stallions are kept. Potentially very dangerous animals, they are contained between two layers of fencing.

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Invincible Spirit in his buttercup rich paddock

Meet Invincible Spirit – he is grazing there in his meadow the background. This is the current king of the National Stud whose offspring can sell for millions. With stud fees of €120,000  a session, he is kept busy and covers many mares, making him the highest earner hereabouts, providing 80% of the total annual income of the stud.

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The stabling is ‘high end’ as these horses are living in the lap of luxury with this yard named after the famous Sun Chariot.

And so to the Museum. I was thrilled to bits to find Arkle here – although it was only his skeleton. Arkle was a remarkable racehorse, a real legend, one of the greatest racehorses that ever lived, one that we were familiar with in the 1960s and one that had a personal impact on our house. My younger sister Eva recalls someone coming to look for her one day when she was about 8 or 9.  We children tended to roam about and wander from house to house in the village, coming home only when we were hungry about mealtime. She was eventually located and told that our father wanted her at home immediately. She hesitated thinking she was in trouble of some sort, but when she reluctantly arrived at the house she was informed that she had won a white Bush Television in a draw because she had chosen Arkle as her horse, who had gone on to win whatever the race was. And here was the wonderful Arkle, the main exhibit in the museum, who provided us with a TV when they were something of a rarity in our neck of the woods.

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The skeleton of the legendary Arkle – he supposedly loved to drink Guinness.

Not only did Ireland introduce Steeplechasing to the world, but we see in the museum that we also introduced showjumping – the first showjumping competition in the world was held in Dublin in 1868. In 1937 Ireland became the first country to have three successive wins and win the 2nd Aga Khan Trophy outright  In 1937. (Switzerland had previously won the 1st trophy outright by winning three times, but not successively) .

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The Aga Khan Trophy

This jockey weighing -in chair was interesting and very ornate!

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The visit to the National Stud was fascinating and so very worthwhile! Absolutely educational and in such wonderful surroundings.

Our father was ‘mad’ about horses and often drove about the country with my young daughter ‘looking; for horses in fields. They were often seen up on ditches peering at them or hanging over farm gates admiring them. He never put a bet on a horse in his life, but he loved them and passed that on to my daughter who became an accomplished rider, showjumper and dressage contestant. I am not sure if Dad ever got to the National Stud, but today on Father’s Day, I dedicate this post to him. He would love it. So would you!

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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!

    Dunloughcastle_4.jpg

    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.

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