Tag Archives: Wildflowers

Postcards from Geraldton Western Australia

Geraldton was one of our overnight stops on a road trip north to the Shark Bay Area. Some 425 kilometers north of Perth, it is an important modern port handling the export of wheat and ores from the mining industry. Established in the mid 19th century, the town of Geraldton has some lovely historic buildings reminiscent of early colonial times.

The old railway station
Set back from the newish main thoroughfare, this appears now to be a car park!

Marine Terrace seems to have been the original main street but now runs parallel to a thoroughfare nearer the sea. Beyond the Railway Station, there were some lovely buildings. With no time to investigate their history, it was enough to look and enjoy their beauty.

Also here are some modern memorials to historic events. A section of the coast near here is known as the Batavia Coast after the flagship of the East India Company that foundered on rocks off this coast in the 17th century.

Weibbe Hayes

Weibbe Hayes became a hero after he led a group of survivors of the shipwreck against mutineers after the ship ran aground. I was pleased to ‘meet’ him as I had already been very impressed by the Batavia exhibition at the Shipwrecks Gallery in Fremantle on a trip a few years back.

Surviving timbers of the Batavia at the Shipwrecks Gallery Fremantle. (Image Shipwrecks Gallery)

I have been fascinated for some time by posts from a fellow blogger, Jessica Barrat, who writes about historic events and collects great newspaper clippings about life in Western Australia. She had recently been sharing gems about cases of Bubonic Plague in Geraldton in the early 1900s – not that long ago! My favourite was a report that seaweed was being spread on the streets to reduce infection!

Jessica’s blog is at https://thedustybox.com/ and her twitter account is @jessb3. Well worth a follow!

It would have been wonderful to have had a little more time in Geraldton to explore its historic connection. My time in Geraldton was literally a couple of hours – but surely a teaser for a return visit to this most historic town, with stories of shipwrecks, famous carpets of spring flowers and an abundance of 19th century history.

Wildflowers on Geraldton from the everythinggeraldton website

I will be back!

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Postcards from Bere Island, County Cork

A few weeks ago I was able to go back to Bere Island on a day trip. Bere Island is in Bantry Bay just a short distance offshore from the County Cork town of Castletownbere, and overlooks the deep water harbour of Berehaven.

image

A Pontoon seagull gazes across to Bere Island with its Martello Tower.

 

We caught Murphy’s Ferry at Pontoon that crosses  to the village of Rerrin. The crossing takes about 20 minutes and is very pleasant on a calm day such as this.

 

The Bere Islanders, who number about 200, are very friendly and welcome visitors to enjoy the beautiful scenery, to cycle, to walk, to fish, to watch birds and whales, to enjoy the beautiful wildflowers. The  wildflowers were pas their best as we headed into autumn, but I can assure you that you will never see anything like the fabulous linear wildflower meadows that line the roads here throughout the summer.

imageThere is a very rich archaeological heritage on the island, which is well signed.

Around the harbour at Rerrin there is safe anchorage here for some very attractive yachts.

On arrival, the tide was out. How about this as an example of excellence in recycling!

The purpose of the visit was to attend a talk in the Lecture Theatre on the very important role of Bere Island in various times of conflict from the Napoleonic Wars to World War 2 .

These delightful women had travelled over to the island from Durrus to hear the talk and took time to have a picnic lunch in the lovely sunshine.

While inside, the World War 1 building and former chapel, the speaker was having a chat with the early birds.

imageAfterwards there was time for a whistle-stop tour of the island, but only after some delicious chowder in the Lookout restaurant. I loved the very unusual barometer that was hanging on the wall.

At the end of the high season the roads are particularly quiet and attractive for walkers.

It’s not all plain sailing though as we discovered when we met some stubborn locals!

The island scenery is good for the soul!

And so back to Rerrin to catch the ferry back to the mainland

The tide had filled while we were away and the harbour looked totally different.

 

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy, Fish are jumpin’ …..

Such a beautiful evening, with water lapping softly

No roll-on, roll-off ferries here –  it’s a question of trusting in the guy directing as you reverse on….

It had been a couple of years since my last visit  and I have been blessed with great weather on each occasion. It makes you want to go back for sure, to this island sitting in the splendour of Bantry Bay.

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Filed under Ireland, Irish Countryside, Irish Heritage, Irish History, Living in Ireland, My Travels

Tait’s Clothing Factory: Flowers in the rubble.

In June last there was an ‘Open House’ event in Limerick City, showcasing the historically important Tait’s Clothing Factory, ahead of the redevelopment of the site, to provide much needed housing in this part of the city.

The site today

The site today

It was a great honour to stroll through this significant industrial heritage site of international importance. Opened in 1853, the clothing factory became the biggest clothing manufacturer in the world, supplying military uniforms to the British Army,the Canadian Volunteer Militia and to the Confederates in the American Civil War. Many hundreds of Limerick men and women were employed here, up to the time it closed in 1975.

Sir Peter Tait was born in Lerwick Scotland in the early 19th Century and arrived in Limerick to join his sister in 1838. He was an astute and successful business person who became Mayor of Limerick in  three successive years from 1866 to 1868. During his thirty years in the city Peter Tait provided employment to hundreds of people who serviced contracts for military uniforms.

On the day of my visit,at first sight, it appeared to be a desolate site, but on closer inspection I was pleased to see an abundance of wildflowers amid the rubble. I was struck by the similarities with the poppy fields of the world war battlefields, and could not help but think of these beautiful wildflowers as a testament to the men and women who sewed and stitched the uniforms that went to the Crimea and to the United States, many of which became shrouds for their unfortunate wearers.

These are a few of my snaps in memory of all of them. Tomorrow in Limerick, as part of Heritage Week, there will be a day long seminar on Tait’s Clothing Factory,past and future, entitled  ‘A Testament to Time’. These wildflowers are a testament to all those whose lives were affected by the work carried out here.

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Filed under American Civil War, Ireland, Ireland and the World, Irish at War, Irish Diaspora, Social History Ireland