This week’s photos come to you from Ireland, where we are on holiday for just over a week. Visiting family and seeing friends aside, we’ve also gone on an impromptu – and looong (as in the distance) – roadtrip as well as stretching our legs for a few hours via walking excursions. All in all, it has been a great week and even the weather has been pretty kind to us. Couldn’t ask for more!
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13 May: Our flight was delayed so we arrived in Dublin about an hour later than expected. At Terminal 2 (we flew with Aer Lingus), a familiar sight which greeted us was the sculpture of Turning Point by Isabel Nolan. A yellow, abstract-y object, I used to think this was a representation of some sort of an atom, with the charges flying around the core, you know. Anyway, it felt good to be back to familiar territory, even if the immigration officer only gave me a visa valid exactly till the day of my scheduled return to Paris. (Why so strict? If I had wanted to overstay, I would have never left in the first place!)
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Half the fun of Christmas break is feasting on delicious treats that various members of my family whip up over the few days that I’m around (have I mentioned there are numerous chefs in my family?) and the other half would be to take the opportunity to laze about. Or as my cousin quipped, bummin’ around.
The bonus then, would be hunting for bargain finds during post-Christmas sales. It is a lot more fun to shop when I don’t have to pay as much as I would, say, a week ago. While I didn’t grab this dinky serving tray, I have scored myself a good few items at incredibly low prices, including shoes, blouse, skirts and even a casual but cute dress. The trouble now would be trying to fit everything into my luggage that is not terribly big to start with and bring everything back with me to Paris!
Yesterday I touched briefly on the twin churches of Wexford. Since I was walking past the church on Bride Street this morning, I figured it would make a nice photo of the day to show at least one half of the “twin” a little more up close and personal. Plus, once you’ve seen the exterior of one, then you’ve effectively seen the other too, isn’t it? Two for the price of one ;)
I must admit to have never step foot into either churches. It’s strange considering I traipse in and out of various churches and cathedrals whenever I travel. Perhaps there’s something in us that tells us not to treat something local as mere visitor’s attractions? As a result, unless you’re a person of the faith and attend services held, the interior would remain somewhat of an unknown…
After blogging of different facets of Wexford through Project 365, I realised I have not yet share a picture of the town itself. Of how it looks like from a vantage viewing point. So here is one, of the good ol’ Wexford town, formerly a Viking stronghold, today home to about 20K inhabitants. It is really quite picturesque, with a compact town centre surrounded by mainly residential areas.
Dominating the skyline are two large 69-meter spires of the “twin churches” (they are identical, with foundations laid on the same day and built at the same time – pretty smart way of budgeting by making use of one architect and one plan for two churches if you ask me) of Bride St (Church of the Assumption, in the foreground) and Rowe St (Church of the Immaculate Conception, in the background). These churches are neo-Gothic in style and were opened in 1858, making them currently 153 years old. Pretty neat stuff.
Merry Christmas everyone!
A few things you should know which would explain the lack of a more Christmassy photo-of-the-day. First of all, my motivation is waning in light of the lack of snow like last year, which gives the whole place a feel of winter cheers. Terrible excuse, I know. Secondly, not only we have no snow, it has also been a rather wet and blustery day, so I’m in no mood to go wondering about. Still a terrible excuse but improving? Thirdly, we’re no longer in a large city so it’s great to escape all the glittering lights for a change. How’s that? And finally, I’ve been busy helping out in the kitchen and even busier eating that it cuts into photography time. Acceptable now? ;)
Still, a countryside scene of smoking chimneys does have a certain sense of simplicity, which is what I like about coming home. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, keeping things on the down low and not having to fuss too much over anything at all. I like standing here and looking out to this view, and I am so very lucky that I have such a view to enjoy anytime that I’m back in this home. I have been asked on a number of occasions where home is for me nowadays. Well, anywhere my heart belongs. It doesn’t have to be only one place at a time. Love is very accommodating that way.
This time last year, much of Europe was blanketed in snow. I barely made it back from London after 14 hours of train and ferry travel following the cancellation of my flight from Heathrow, and every land journey got allocated twice the amount of time to reach the eventual destination. Nonetheless, for all the inconveniences, it really felt like Christmas as how it has been sold to us in books and movies, which was quite wonderful.
However, with temperature hovering at a mild 10-12 °C, there’s nary a hope for white Christmas this year. Winter wonderland would not be quite as it claims, and the poor merchants who have been stocking up gears for icy winter are going to find themselves with a surplus of stocks of snow boots, de-icers, and whats not – Ireland is not exactly a country of extreme weather in the first place. OK, last year was a bit off the chart crazy with lows of -18 to -20 but that’s exception rather than the norm. Perhaps the colder weather is yet to come this season. We’ll see.
I’ve gone a bit trigger happy with miniaturisation mode it seems – two pictures two days in a row with similar effect!
Supposedly the longest bridge in Ireland (really? I supposed if it’s a bridge spanning across water and not including motorway bridges) Wexford Bridge spans over nearly some 400m across the River Slaney between Wexford town and Riverbank. It is rather handsome, I must say, and it not only serves traffic purposes, it provides spots for fishing too.
Yes. Fishing. From the bridge. Particular in the warmer summer months. Armed with rods and baits and pails, usually from evening on till early morning, there would be someone fishing which may or may not include my relatives… In a good season, the boys would catch fairly good size sea bass quite easily, and for days on end we would be cooking the bass in a variety of way. Steamed, fried, fillet and coated with corn flour before frying, etc. They are so very delicious.
I’m back in Wexford for a couple of days to see my family, and to say goodbye to the town that first hosted me in Europe. I spent only a couple of years there and yet I call it home more than I do with Dublin where I’ve live for just over a decade. Anytime that I need an escape from the city, off to Wexford I go. Unfortunately, it won’t be quite as easy in the future to do so. I won’t have just a couple of hours of bus ride to take, but I’ll have a couple of hours of flight to catch too.
The Sky & The Ground is a gastropub in town on the South Main St, which used to be the haunt of my uncle and I. I haven’t been there for a while now so I am not sure how they are doing nowadays. My uncle mentioned a while back that there was new owner to the place, but I can’t be sure if this is correct. Everything in my brain is a tad hazy right now. Not unlike the effect of this photo following the use of miniaturisation mode. ;)
The unfurled ribbon-like Chinese fringe flowers in hues of red and coquelicot have by far been the prettiest sight of this mild and sunny winter day. The colours vibrant, the petals swaying gently in the wind, it’s akin to a beckoning of spring. And I <3 Spring.
In the mean time, I’m starting to map my travels for the year. First up, I’m off to Paris for a couple of days next week to deal with matters related to my big move to the City of Light. Hopefully there will be a couple of trips to Asia and a number others in Europe. If I’m lucky, I could make five new countries this year to go towards the challenge?
Taking a break from going through all my worldly possessions (one really does accummulate without needing to give it much thought), I grabbed a late bus to Wexford for a wee bit of R&R. It may be viewed as running away or procrastination, I see this as an opportunity for some quality time with my family before my big move in a couple of weeks.
While things are still mostly bustling in Dublin, Wexford is another kettle of fish altogether. You do feel the recession here. Sure, Monday is traditionally a more quiet and subdued night, but the town felt dead in general. I was half expecting some tumbleweed to roll past me somehow. Maggie Mays may have live music this evening, but where is life heading for this country right now without a coherent working government in place?
The town of Wexford is by no means flat despite its proximity to the estuary of River Slaney. This means there are spots all over the town with breathtaking views. However, the hills are not steep in most part either, therefore it’s not particularly easy to photograph the vista and evoke the feel of heights. (Am I making sense here?)
The photo above is a view of the Irish Sea from Mulgannon in the southern direction, towards Drinagh and The Barrow. The sun was setting when I shot the photo but I have not seen much colour in the sky for the past week, and today was no exception. This is such a pity, because on days with vivid crimson and coral streaking across the sky, it is absolutely gorgeous out there.
Each time I walk past the locked gate that leads to the courtyard of Wexford Arts Centre, I’ve been piqued with curiosity over the painted walls. Were they specifically painted, or were they the works of artistic vandals (which the Arts Centre then decided not to remove, since street art is still a form of art)?
I must admit, I can’t quite recall when I last went to the Arts Centre. Must be a good 10 or so years ago, when my friends were involved in a local theatre production. I can only imagine changes that it has underwent over the years. I should go pay it a visit some time soon.
Wexford was my first home in Europe. It is a town situated in the sunny south east of Ireland, in County Wexford, with a population just under 20,000. (Cultural tips: most Irish county town bears the same name as the county itself.)
Wexford Harbour used to be a trading port but is today a beautifully restored waterfront and a popular strolling spot. By the quay, mussel dredgers and fishing boats are docked in a line, with smaller pleasure boats and yachts floating about nearby. On sunny days, I can’t think of anything better than to sit on the wooden platforms, with a simple picnicfare, perhaps a good book too, and bask under the sun for a couple of hours.
This post also marks the start of Project 365, in which I will try to photograph something daily of the places where I’ve been that day. ;)