Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category


Sunday, April 20th, 2014

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Bull Island

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Photos from a walk along Bull Island and Dollymount Strand in North Dublin, December 2009. You may recognise the scenery from the end of Adam & Paul, tragicomic film about two Dublin heroin junkies.

Marlay Grange, after snow

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

The last two winters in Ireland have been colder than usual, with deep snow and frozen roads. Public transport seized up and water supplies dried up. In February 2009, I was working in An Gúm, on the New English-Irish Dictionary project, first real job after college.

I was walking to work because the buses weren't running out as far as my house, and the bike was a non-starter on icy roads. As I walked past my beloved Marlay Grange, I saw the gate was partially open, as it often was (more on that later).

I resolved to get up extra early the next day, and bring my camera to work if the snow still lay. And it did, so I slipped between the gates and explored the snowy landscape, for all the world like the world of Narnia.

I took a number of photos which I wanted to share, but I delayed doing so for a number of reasons. Now there's no point in sitting on them any longer. These may be the last photos of the house intact, a very sad thought.

You can also read more about the house and grounds or take a look at the gate-lodge and its history.

Comment as you wish, click below to see the photos.

Marlay Grange, grounds and house

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Marlay Grange was built by renowned Dublin architect John McCurdy in the 1850s or 1860s, possibly 1866. John McCurdy also designed the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin's city centre. It lies on the Grange Road, in a woodland setting, sitting on 5.06 hectares, or 12.5 acres.

The grounds include specimen trees, two ornamental pounds and a trellis-covered sunken pathway which encloses a semi-circular formal garden. A long tree-lined avenue leads up to a gravelled forecourt in front of the house.

The house and estate were sold by then-owners the McGrane family in the year 2000 to the British Embassy in Dublin for stg£6.4 million. It was intended to replace the British Ambassador's residence at Glencairn House.

Tree-lined extent of the grounds of Marlay Grange, on the Grange Road

Planning permission was received from South Dublin County Council for a lot of work to renovate the property and to add a number of outbuildings and chalets on the estate to accommodate embassy staff, but the plan was eventually dropped due to security concerns. This led to the British Government re-purchasing Glencairn House and putting Marlay Grange back on the market, losing significant money in the process.

The property was bought in 2007/8 by Niall Mellon, property developer and philanthropist, who tried to build houses on the grounds. The council turned down his application for planning permission and the house went back on the market. Enquiries with the estate agent at the time suggested that the asking price was in the region of €12 million, even though the property crash was already in progress.

Last satellite image of Marlay Grange house and formal garden

The building is a cut-stone two storey high-roofed Victorian house built in the Gothic style. The imposing structure contains gables, dormer gables, and a tower with a truncated pyramidal roof.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage described the house as "a fine and comparatively rare example of a Victorian Gothic country house in the Ruskinian style".

Age And Impotence Await Us All

Monday, February 21st, 2011


Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Allotment gardens in Helsinki at the end of summer

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

In the cities of Finland, you can find allotment gardens, green spaces divided into little packages of land. Some are given over to vegetables, but most are full of flowers, and the majority include a small colourful building. This functions as a summer cottage where the owner can get away from it all.

Originally, these allotments were created for the poor who could not afford their own summer cottage out in the countryside and to allow them to grow their own vegetables. In the way of things, these allotments became highly sought-after by the rich as well and there are long waiting-lists in each city.

I spent a few hours walking around one of these allotment gardens, while the weather was still warm.

Marlay Grange, Gate Lodge

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Approaching from the road, you pass through tall metal gates, with signs saying "Marlay Grange" on both sides. The driveway turns immediately to the left. Following the driveway, you proceed along a tree-lined avenue, now overgrown. It leads past some sheds on your left and on up to the house.

The gatehouse is to your right as you enter the grounds, a two-story building of approximately 102 sq.m. (1,100 sq.ft). According to the 1911 census, the house has "2 rooms and 2 windows to the front."

The front door is sealed with a metal panel and the windows are blocked up. There is a curious feature at the rear of the house, a platform jutting out from a window with a pole above it.

According to the property brief, the gatehouse is in need of extensive renovation and modernisation. They weren't kidding. The electrics would have to be completely redone, as well as the plumbing most likely. The decoration seems not to have changed since the early part of the century.

There are very few items left in the house, although all of the mounted furniture (such as cupboards) is still in place. The upstairs area is inaccessible, the stairway is blocked.

The gate lodge had at least one famous resident, at the time of the 1911 census, who we will see in a later post.

Living in disestablishment

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

As promised, here are some photos from inside the convent where I live at the moment. I should have shared these earlier, but there's no internet in the convent!

I live on the first floor, in the middle wing of the very large building. There are perhaps 150 rooms in total, across wings with names like Bethany and San Damiano. It's very quiet, days go by without seeing another person.

See yesterday's post, In A Convent Garden, for the first set of photos from the grounds and gardens. Feedback very welcome.

In A Convent Garden

Monday, September 6th, 2010

This weekend, I took some photos in the garden of the former convent where I currently live, St Clare's in Harolds Cross. There's some historical information about the Poor Clares on their website. A lot of people think it must be very spooky to live in an abandoned convent but I rather like it.

I'll post some photos from inside soon enough. Let me know what you think in the comments.


Monday, July 5th, 2010

Last summer, a little bit later than this, I went to Helsinki for a week. I stayed in a few different hostels and carried my backpack around. I took a lot of photos during this time, and I am only now getting around to sorting them.

In the first hostel I stayed in, I met a very nice South Korean guy visiting from Italy, Kim Hee Won. We chatted for a while, and then went our separate ways. I ran into him again later at the market on the waterfront, where I bought peas and blueberries.

Together we got the ferry out to Suomenlinna, one of the many small islands in the bay of Helsinki. Once a sea fortress protecting the city from invaders, it is now popular with day-trippers and artists, who live and keep studios in the buildings which were once barracks.

Kim Hee taught me how to use my camera much more carefully, and I am very grateful for his help. Here are some nice photos from the island.

A chilly swim at Lough Bray

Sunday, March 21st, 2010


Beyond the tail-end of summer, we drove up to Lough Bray in the Wicklow mountains for a swim in the ice-cold water. The weather was just perfect, sitting on the rocks, swinging our feet in the water.

David played his mandolin, Ciarán his guitar. Kevin refused resolutely to get his head wet. Laura and I swam out to the other corner of the lake.

A blind dog felt his way across the boulders. The sun went down behind the mountain and we put our shoes back on.

An Cheathrú Rua

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Down the road to the bay

Go han-déanach, táim ag cur suas na grianghraif a ghlac mé nuair a bhíos ar an gCeathrú Rua, sa Ghaeltacht, le mo comh-ghleacaithe ón Gúm (cuid de Foras na Gaeilge anois).

Bhíomar ag múiniú cúrsa foclóireachta san Acadamh atá ann faoi láthair. Bhí roinnt mhaith aistritheoirí den scoth ag freastal ar an gcúrsa agus an tuairim atá agam ná gur bhain siad taitneamh as an gcúrsa.

Bhí uair nó dhó saor againn ar an lá roimhe sin agus shocraigh mé an deis a thapú chun roinnt grianghraif a ghlacadh den tuath. Tá súil agam go dtaitníonn siad libh! Tá fáilte roimh gach ráiteas.

Very late, I am putting up the photos I took when I was in Carraroe, in the Gaeltacht [Irish-speaking area], with my colleagues from An Gúm (part of Foras na Gaeilge).

We were teaching a lexicography course in the Acadamh [Academy] that's down there at the moment. There were a good number of high-level translators attending the course and it seemed to me that they enjoyed the course.

We had a free hour or two the day before the course and I decided to take the chance to go out and take some photos of the countryside. I hope you like them! All comments welcome.

Déan clic ar "Read the rest of this entry" chun na grianghraif a fheiceáil!

Click "Read the rest of this entry" to see the photos!



Monday, May 18th, 2009

A little collection of some of the more visually arresting photos I took last year, mainly from my trip to Sweden.

These were taken before I got my new camera, so quality's not perfect, but I like them.