Keith Dowling Photography: Blog https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog en-us keithdowlingphotography studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) Mon, 04 May 2020 20:42:00 GMT Mon, 04 May 2020 20:42:00 GMT https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u802445894-o366134263-50.jpg Keith Dowling Photography: Blog https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog 95 120 Bealtaine and the Fire of Summer https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2020/5/bealtaine-and-the-fire-of-summer  

Standing stone in meadow near Aghade Bridge, Tullow County CarlowStanding stone in Summer meadow near Aghade Bridge, County CarlowStanding Stone on a Summers day in County Carlow.

Bealtaine the ancient marker that welcomes the arrival of summer comes to us in or around the 1st of May; the celestial fire and energy of the sun empowering all of life into the fullness of the year. Bealtaine, for our ancient relatives, was a celebration, a welcome of nature's provision, and a reward for their expectations and hopes for a good outcome in the year. Their world, like our own, had its fair share of uncertainty, yet the cycle of the natural and celestial had a certainty of its own.

Bealtaine flowed from what came before. It lived in the cycle of nature and cosmic activity. That cycle included Samhain. Though Samhain sat in the grey of winter it was welcomed and celebrated. It was a marking of the latency of the winter held onto, beneath their feet there was a dance of stored energy making ready for new beginnings. Known  'thin places' in the landscape were marked, celebrated and honoured in Samhain too, as points in the realm of nature, where eternal time and mortal time embrace. 

Imbolg rose up out of latency of Samhain and Spring made her entrance. Where the old year closed behind you, your feet stood facing into a new beginning, a threshold to step over. Thresholds need a ritual as a crossing point, something that is mostly lost to us in our time.

One such early ritual was taking the old Brigid's cross from the rafter of the house, pray, burn it, and replace it with a new one. This ritual act of burning the old symbolically placed all that had been the year past in that present moment. The ashes also marked a  standing place to step on into the near future, as it were. Placing the new Brigids cross in its place welcomed the new year, and also gave a place in the cycle of time to start afresh without regret. Thus Spring and a new start were welcomed, and more importantly, celebrated.

And so Imbolg yields to Bealtaine. Fires lit to help the sun, to gather, dance, recite, remember, sing and prepare for hopes to be fulfilled and listen for the turn in the season.


                RevealedInside a Dandelion in Summer Light.Dandelion in Summer. .      Wild Flowers of Summer on Irish Country Roads.Irish Wild Flowers of Summer.          Wrought Iron gate in a Summer Meadow.Original Gate on a Summer Meadow.

The Fires of Bealtaine called to mind a sense of mystery, of cosmic order or even disorder. The bonfires sometimes symbolised the 'clash' of light and darkness or perhaps good and evil. The fires had the energy to cleanse, clear the ground and prepare for a good outcome. They were a release or freedom to lay hold of what was ahead. The ritual and celebrations you could say energised hope.

 

We see such hope in some of the larger narratives that fed the hearts of our Celtic relatives. One such story tells of the lighting of a Pascal fire by Patrick and Fiacc on the hill of Slane, whiile the fire of sacrifice on the hill of Tara by the Druids burned. A Pascal fire that celebrated the Immanent presence and brightness of 'Son of Man' as the fires of Bealtaine flamed brightly.

 

               Summer Sunrise on the Wexford coast.We ought to have Great Expectations .     Irish Wild Flowers of SummerCommon Dog Voilet; Viola Riviniana. .    Sunset on a Summers day at Inch on the Dingle Peninsula, Co KerrySummers evening on Inch Beech the Dingle Peninsula Co Kerry.

Our ancient Celtic relations had a strong intuitive and lyrical sense of their own soul's journey, not just later after death, but in the 'here and now'. Indeed more particularly in the journey of life here. The shelter of our own soul was clearly mirrored in the haven of the natural world for the heart of the Celts. There was always that ancient sense that maybe it was your soul that had the map of your future. Along with which the Celtic mind had a wonderful sense of the depth and mystery of soul. Though its presence could easily be missed as its place within felt something like the low flame of candlelight, and its voice very often could only be noticed in silence.

 

              Poppies in Barley Field 4Poppies in a field of Summer Wheat.Summer Crops and Poppy Flowers.         Skellig Michael after Summer rain of the Dingle PeninsulaThin Places, Skellig Michael.        Dandelion head in SummerNot a Weed, a Wild Flower, the Dandelion.

 

Not so much, 'Who am I ?' but more 'Who I am'The ancient Irish word for the coat over our soul was 'Dán'. 'Your Dán', your Poetry, the voice of your time and gift, your place in the world, your destiny lived out in the ordinary space of our Presence in the here and now. The 'fire in our belly' so to speak. The transcendent already within, a flame to start a fire.

 

Finally, Catherine of Sienna says it well.  "Become who you are meant to be and you will set the whole world on fire"

 

 Go well, 

Keith  

Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient Bealtaine divine ireland life May meditation mindfulness soul spirituality Summer Unseen beauty https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2020/5/bealtaine-and-the-fire-of-summer Sun, 03 May 2020 19:56:43 GMT
Samhain, Halloween, Oiche Shamhna https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2019/10/samhain-haloween-oiche-shamna Samhain, the dark half of the year begins, marking a sacred and luminal point in the Ancient Celtic Calendar.

 

Set around mid-way between the summer solistice and the winter equinox, it is a natural time-threshold which allows us to ease into the winter, with its darker shorter days, as the activity and gathering of summer and its season ends.

 


 

 

The awareness of the light and life force of the sun, its place in the heavens, its presence over all the natural world is part of the celebration of Samhain, with bonfires lit to help the sun's light stay a little longer around us.

The bounty of the year, its provision and purpose fulfilled, is marked, remembered and celebrated with gratitude. The stores are full to sustain and the ground holds latent energy, poised in winter for the sun's new journey over the low horizon into spring, and the new.

This is the start of the Ancient New Year. We turn into winter without regret for the year that's been, watching for new thresholds, for renewal and presence. Allowing ourselves to become aware of the immanent presence of persistent goodness and love around us and in each one of us. 

 

 

Time evident in us and in the dwindling light of winter moves towards the thin places of sacred and eternal time ... we are more than our mortality. And the world is latent beyond the senses.

Our ancient selves celebrated in gathering, song and words, in games, fun and an expectant awareness of life and living beyond this present time. Tribe, family name, ancestors and agents of good and evil were all in the sight of the soul. So too was the awareness of God's vanquishing goodness and presence. New beginnings and life were something to reach for, as Samhain turned into winter.

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) Ancient Celtic East Haloween Irelands journey life meditation mindfulness Samhain spirituality https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2019/10/samhain-haloween-oiche-shamna Thu, 31 Oct 2019 20:22:46 GMT
Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces-Ullard https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2019/5/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-ullard Ullard Church and Ancient site near Graiguenamanagh Co Carlow.Ullard Church and Ancient site near Graiguenamanagh Co Carlow.Ullard Church and Ancient Space near Graiguenamangh

Ullard not very far from the water's edge of the river Barrow as it meanders South into Graiguenamanagh, to its tidal point at St Mullin's in South County Carlow. A few miles outside Graiguenamanagh in the townland of Ullard or Erard as it was known in ancient times. The site and church at Ullard present are mostly a 12-century structure, will a beautiful original Romanesque style constructed just before the  Gothic period. This doorway echoes similar doorways at Killeshin and indeed Myshal. We find here above our heads a couple of original carvings above the arch of the doorway said to represent St Fiachra and St Moling. However, as always this structure has for example in some of its East and South facing walls remains of the late 6th-century church. The 6th century time of great learning, and cultural connection in Ireland when the names of dynamic and charismatic leaders such as Comgall of Bangor, Edna of Aran, Finian of Clonard, Ita of Limerick, Ciaran of Clonmacnoise, Brendan of Clonfert, Kevin of Glendalough, to name just a few men and women who helped reveal the character of the Celtic Irish, their story, their literal prowess, and deep creative hearts.

Placing the Christ story as one of grace and blessing beside the story of the lives of the ordinary lives encountered Gods presence was a little like the voice and beauty of Nature, He was nearby, attentive, knowable. A God paradoxically present Immanently and transcendentally. In a sense a lived understanding that the gentle light of Celtic Spirituality gave  the variety of human hearts somewhere to retreat as a place of sanctuary and acceptance, as the ordinary and sacred living  intertwined.

Here too the oral records of the ancients were written by the early Christians to preserve it. Story, poetry, myth, folklore. The monastic settlements and communities that were established served and nurtured,  the creative, and practical needs of the communities formed around them.

Their names then did'nt carry the prefix of 'St..... that came to us from the later medieval period..they were Ita of... Brendan of........  The stronger institutional religious sensibilities and all that these gave us arrived much later in the Medieval period in Ireland. Maybe too because so much of the records were destroyed after the Anglo Normans arrived we tend to know more of the cult of the saint, and the relics associated because these find a stronger connection in the Church of the medieval period and onward in non-celtic religious belief; maybe.

 

East Gable of Ullard church rendered in a 19th century sketchUllard Church Sketch Roamesque doorway in West facing wall of Ullard Church.19th century sketch work of Ullard church. High Cross detail of Ullard Cross.19th century sketch of Ullard High Cross.

The name associated here from the Churches earliest period is St Fiachra. Fiachra was the son of St Fiacc of Sleaty near Carlow. St Fiacc it is said was a cohort with St Patrick when Patrick lit the Pascal fires at Slane as the Druids lit their fires on the Hill of Tara. Fiachra came to prominence under Comgall of Bangor, and it is said worked closely with Moling, down the river at St Mullins. It is very possible that there is a record of Fiachra finding his way into Europe following the 'music of what happens' in his soul's journey establishing a monastery of hermitage somewhere in Normandy France.

REFLECTION: The mystery of Myself. Not so much Who am I ?   as  Who I AM.

         Do you and I have faith in ourselves, the greatness of our giftedness, our Dán within?

My Horizonstre horizon in Summer sunshine

What might be your horizons just now, the boundaries you set when viewing yourself, your world, God, or the reality you perceive?

 

Keith Dowling at Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces 2019

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient Celtic divine ireland journey life presence spirituality https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2019/5/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-ullard Fri, 10 May 2019 15:00:59 GMT
Tullow Tulach https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2019/3/tullow-tulach St Columbas in Tullow today.Tullow County Carlow.




Tullow sits on the gentle River Slaney in some of the richest arable farmland in Ireland. In our more ancient history, Tullow was capital of the North Leinster kingdom of 'Uí Felmeda Tuaid'. We see in the broken annals of early history, that Tullow also sat on a main national route, 'An Slige Chualainn', one of the five ancient national roads emanating from the Hill of Tara. Tara was the place of the High seat, of gathering, Brehon Law, poetry, prophesy and celebration. One of the last men to sit in Tara was Diarmaid as High King of 'most of' Ireland. After him the land gave way to many small kingdoms, some say as many as 100, where Brehon laws were adopted as local laws, and local Rí's (or tioseach) either fought or negotiated with their neighbours to secure name, land and heritage. That was before the Normans came.

However long before the Normans arrived, Tullow was also an important place of spiritual and secular learning. St Forthchern founded a community house here in the late fifth century. A scholar and skilled craftsman and a disciple of Patrick, Forthchern had already headed up a large community in Killoughternane in the south of County Carlow. This early site, though now non-existent, was probably where the 18th century church of St Columba stands, as it, in turn, replaced an earlier 11th-century church bearing the same name just off the town centre. To this day Tullow still nurtures such learning and cohesion within its communities. It's as if an ancient path still sits under the ordinary comings and goings in the market square.

It seems that at one point in antiquity, Carlow had something like 148 castles and 'piles', however by about 1435 only two remained, one in Carlow and one in Tullow, although it's rumoured that Tullow had two castles at two different points in its early history. One was possibly sited at Mount Aaron in the townland of what we know today as Crosslow. The other around the 11th century was sited near Castle Lane, very near what now is St Columbas Church just up the street from Market Square.

Farmland on the outskirts of Tullow at Crosslow.
With the arrival of the Normans came upheaval, unrest, battles and indeed new taxes. Ireland's bigger story was acted out both in Tullow and its surrounding hinterland. West Wicklow rebels in the Clans of O Byrne and O Toole, to name a few, fought to push the Norman presence out, and initially failed to do so with 400 of their own heads put on display in Dublin. However, they persisted and in around 1430 the Castle at Tullow was overrun and ruined. A victory of sorts.

As with the larger picture in Ireland then, names with power and wealth emerged, such as Henry, William Marshall, John Earl (son of King Henry), Hugh De Lacy, Theobold Walter 1st, Eleanor Countess of Ormond. They retained power, wealth, law and say-so as they brought rule of law, taxes, rent of lands and property along with their family names. However some also rebuilt bridges and mills at weirs to allow milling, food production and craftsmen to ply their trade, even in such times of occupation. And of course, their position allowed their family name to retain land wealth and gentry. Yet never quite gaining an all-powerful presence everywhere,  because rebellion could always appear over the next hill, or crossroads. Of course, the late Medival period in Ireland brought a shadow over Irelands Culture, Law, and Race identity that would slowly go quiet. Much worse to come later in our history with Cromwell, Famine and Penal laws.


For now though through the turmoil of Medieval times and on through the 13th and 14th centuries Tullows Settlement as a small market town somehow had a mixed population who farmed,  weaved, carved, and crafted into a resilient community who built up some tolerance of their differences in name and origins, some local, others not so much. This was partly due to the fact that by 1285 or thereabouts Tullow had been granted the status of a borough, and its inhabitants had the rights and privileges of burgesses. In general, burgesses owned plots ina town or village and also had a set amount of land in surrounding fields, along with some trading privileges for all of which they paid an annual rent. Like many rural settlements in Ireland at the time 'Borough' status was granted by their lords as a means of attracting settlers from England Wales.

    Cross as possible remains of Augustian Friary at Tullow from around 14th century.Augustian Friary at Tullow.
River Slaney and Civic Buildings at Tullow

By the early 14th century, Tullow was a thriving market town, church, castle, houses of the burgesses, tofts and small cottages with their holdings of small gardens and crofts. Historical documents testify to a list of surnames that reveal a significant degree of occupational specialisation and include carpenters, masons, tailors, dyers, and possibly a goldsmith. At this time in Tullow's history (about 1314) an Augustinian friary was founded across the river Slaney in the townland known as St John's or Templeowen. The founders of the friary at Tullow were Simon Lumbard and Hugh Talin who gave a house and three acres of land to the new house. Nothing remains of the fiary's presence now save a cross headstone embedded in a graveyard wall on the original site. Some photos here to indicate.

Cross remains from Augustian Friary at Tullow.Augustian Friary at Tullow

In the post-Medieval period, the castle at Tullow persisted. Suffering rebel attacks of Silken Thomas, and even disputes within the Ormond family. However, the town survived and remained a center of local trade. Such a rhythm still persists in Tullow local trade is quietly still in place, indeed the fields that oxen ploughed in the 13/14th centuries are still being ploughed in the townland of Tulloephelim (Tullow). At some point the castle was taken by Confederate Irish forces in the 1640s, only to be taken again by Cromwellian forces later. Later in the 1670s, it is said the castle was occupied by a William Cruchley a justice of the peace who is said to have greatly beautified the building.

In a detailed census of the Catholic parish of Tullow around 1795 suggest Tullow was a market town of importance. It also reveals the range of non-agricultural occupations among both Catholic and Protestant inhabitants as very striking, showing workers in cloth, leather, iron, as well as food processing, and retail. A quiet persistent history of local resilience and community still rings a bell here in Tullow County Carlow.

While Tullow has a long history reaching back to Medieval times and even to the early settlement in the 6th century, its town origin lies squarely in the Anglo-Norman period. Documents reveal too that Tullow and its region over time has been characterized by ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity. it seems the people who came to settle here in the 13th century and the indigenous population somehow were incorporated into the manor and borough and shared many traits, not least of which was their resilence. It seems that it was this resilience that saw Tullow survive through the centuries and enabled its transition from medieval manor to market town.

 

River Slaney and Church Spire at Tullow.Tullow County Carlow.
 

Keith Dowling,  Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces                                                                                                                                March 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient Celtic divine ireland journey life spirituality https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2019/3/tullow-tulach Mon, 11 Mar 2019 18:37:31 GMT
Imbolg in Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2019/2/imbolg-in-teach-bhride-ancient-spaces We are so sorry our Blog space to celebrate the arrival of Imbolg, has been delayed by server and platform problems. Nevertheless, we celebrate here a little late the unnoticed beauty and energy emerging all around us.
 

Family

Imbolg

Febuary 1st, Brigid's day, an Ancient marker for this new season comes full of possibilities to place energy at our feet for a whole new year.

Imbolg asks us to notice the footing we have had in Samhain, yes, our winter. It was not always all about, grey, dark, cold and 'not summer' complaints around winter. Let's get past it! Samhain retained an ancient awareness of winter's latency, its store of energy and its anticipation of spring. The reaching forward to new possibilities, new beginnings, the energy for small new starts when required, had its standing place on the edge of Samhain. The latency of Samhain becomes a provider for the glow of fresh awakenings in Imbolg.

 

bluebells/woodlandbluebells/woodland

 

People who know a thing or two about trees tell us that as we look in the dead of winter at trees, they seem empty, dark, leafless, stark. But underneath within the roots system, there is the loudest party of new life, new activity, communication and celebration. Nature and the 'knowing' of the trees anticipate new beginnings for themselves, soon. They are 'getting spruced up',  getting their 'glad rags' on.

Imbolg asks us to recognize that our world in its natural beauty, in its shape, sound and presence holds for us shelter, luminal places, thresholds of presence and insight, places to experience warmth, goodness and grace.

However, the standing, looking and asking is up to us. The gentle art of becoming a listener is all we need to hear, experience and enter.

 

Grooming in the Park.  20x16  OR  10x8Grooming in the Park. 20x16 OR 10x8Pictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Social

 

Ancient and wise voices recognized that there is friendship in creation for the journey of our souls. Creation assists our ability to live, love, to flourish. Yet again we see that in the process of seeking to reach toward 'the other', our gaze is lifted beyond ourselves, placing us in our meaning, rooting us and paradoxically meeting our own needs.

 

Imbolg marks Brigid's day. The symbol of a Brigid's Cross still holds strong meaning and indeed, presence. The fire of Brigid's own presence in the world, her poetry in destiny and voice has long been celebrated as a call to grow where you're planted. The story of her persistent holding, loving and serving the oppressed and impoverished, along with her prophetic sense to speak truth to power has served to model a life full of meaning while gazing on the other, be that God in spirit, or need in the frame of a friend or stranger in front of you. We don't realize sometimes that her name is among many others who, out of their experience of divine love, presence, and voice, became risk takers, rebels, and vanquishers on behalf of others around them. Brigid marks the call, as it were, to our own poetry and gifting in the world, for the world.

 

Early Christian site at Killeshin.  20x16  OR  10x8Early Christian site at Killeshin. 20x16 OR 10x8keithdowlingphotography

 

So maybe there's a little symbolic burning to do, but remember Imbolg is a footing that gently offers new beginnings without regret as we slowly turn our gaze from the old toward the new. Remember too, in the Celtic sense, to be filled with compassion and tenderness toward the face in the mirror, then share that a little  :)

Keith at Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces 2019

 

 

"Your soul alone has the map of your future"  J O Donoghue,  Anam Cara

Clasganney lockgates on the Barrow.  20x16  OR  10x8"Your soul alone has the map of your future"  J O Donoghue,  Anam Cara
 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient beginnings Celtic creation Imbolg interior ireland journey life meditation mindfulness natural New path spirituality Spring world https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2019/2/imbolg-in-teach-bhride-ancient-spaces Tue, 05 Feb 2019 19:41:22 GMT
Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces - Killoughternane https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/12/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-killoughternane
Killeshin early morning looking toward the  Black stairs.  20x16  OR  10x8Killeshin early morning looking toward the Black stairs. 20x16 OR 10x8Irish Landscapes,Leinster Province.The East.

Only the skyline and associated weather tells me we are approaching yet again another Winter Solistice.

Otherwise my head says we should be in or around Mid-August.

It feels like our modern posture of everything having some sort of urgency, real or imagined, little or large, has cloaked the seasons of a year into blocks of time. Time marked by commercial protocol and digital helpers that keep us 'posted'.

Sorry about the rant, back to more important things.

Winter Solstice is nearly here, that bit of winter in the three days around the 21st of December when, in celestial terms, the sun all but stands still. For the observer it looks like it simply rises and sets a the same point on our horizon. A time in the earth's cycle when light is pressed on by the sullen darkness all around. The sun, of course persists, and in small steps eventually begins its long journey south again. The Solstice in Celtic times was a celebration to encourage or partner with the celestial light and celebrate its persistence. Feasting, dance, song, and above all, light and fire marked the human connection with Winter Solstice. Life depended on Light.

Such was the power of these celebrations and of the symbolic language, that the Incarnation story (God's choice of coming into our world just like one of us) took on the fire of celebration in the dark of winter. I am reminded here of that special Jewish word, 'Shekina'  that describes the brightness and glory of God's presence immanent among people sometimes in particular locations. Here we move beyond the symbolic to the experiential.

In Irish culture, Christmas and the Nollag Mór to the Nollag Beag was a time when the special mystery of both human and divine love was celebrated. A particular time too when people were a bit more devout towards one another, generous to neighbour and indeed stranger ... Christmas gifts.

Kiloughterane Ancient site near Garryhill.  20x16  OR  10x8Kiloughterane Ancient site near Garryhill. 20x16 OR 10x8Pictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Landscape

 

Killoghternane church site sits near the beginning of the Black Stairs mountain range in southern County Carlow. Its original Irish name was Cill Uachtar Fhionnan, The Upper Church of St Finnian. Founded by St Forchern, a bishop said to be one of the three smiths of St Patrick, it is said that St Finnian was a native of Myshall village in Co Carlow, nearby. He was a disciple of St Forchern and became an instructor to many of the early church names across Ireland. Along with this, he was a spiritual father to over 3000 monks. Killoghternane become known as a major centre of learning, literature and virtue, resourcing many as it were 'light bearers' to journey into many parts of the world locally, nationally and indeed internationally.

The physical remains today portray just one church ruin from about the late 12th century, where in fact the mapping of the site indicates about 20 structures large and small including a round tower, spanning a time period from the mid 5th century AD for about 1000 years when this place at Kiloughternane was a major learning and literary centre, known far and wide.

Reflection:   In early Celtic Literature 'Dán' was a word or phrase which helped describe "Being Yourself'. It pointed to a deep seated wisdom in the human heart that asked us to practice our 'poetry'.  A Poetry of living a life of our own that embodied our gifts and our skill that in turn put us in touch with our destiny from within. Would that be something like an anchor, an inside anchor, meaning, 'being myself' ?

Finally, John O Donohue in his book Anam Cara tells us,  "Your soul alone has the map of your future."       (p83)

Peace and Joy this Christmas.                                                                                                     

Keith Dowling, Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces 

 

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient Celtic divine ireland journey life soul https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/12/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-killoughternane Mon, 17 Dec 2018 10:48:33 GMT
Arctic winters hold spring back https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/12/artic-winters-hold-spring-back entrance in winter

 

Winter winds hold back spring. While venturing out for some evidence of early spring colours, it was evident that the weather forecast was accurate, the "milder" Arctic temperatures on the back of persistent easterly winds have kept spring under wraps for now.

For a photographer out and about in early morning light, the back of the hand and the tips of my fingers quickly tell me the biting winds work quick.

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) Cold Fingers Late Spring https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/12/artic-winters-hold-spring-back Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:45:00 GMT
teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-clonmore-cluain-mor-maedhoc https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/11/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-clonmore-cluain-mor-maedhoc
Clonmore Ancient and Church site. Clonmore Ancient and Church site.Ancient Cross remains as sentinel

Anamcara

Clonmore sits in the north east of County Carlow a few kilometres from Hacketstown. The remains of its ecclesiastical site contains some clear markers from its ancient period around the 5th century. The village now would betray an earlier time of great activity in work, learning, and travel to and from this place.

The road south of the village has this site either side, where its ancient granite cross stands, ‘topless’ as a silent sentinel. A little further along from the cross we find a well marking what was an ancient place of connection, and the expectation of healing or recovery. Across the road there are a community of unmarked graves neatly place in rows, archaic and more recent. A few metres down from here sits an ancient Bullan Stone by the roadside, since well before Patrick.

Some historic annals consider at least some of these graves to be the final resting place of a few  6th century monks or abbots: a few of which are named as St Meadoc, St Finan the Leper, St Stephen, St Terno, St Lassa, St Dinertach, St Cumin, St Onchuo and St Brogan Cloen (who it's said wrote a poetic record of the life and miracles of St Brigid, here at Clonmore).

Clonmore Ancient and Church siteClonmore Ancient and Church site. Well and Reflection spaces at Clonmore.

In spite of the realities of life, its struggles, uncertainty and often real risks, perhaps some of these Clonmore monks recognised themselves as ‘ikons' in the world where the divine inhabited them and they in turn forged connection with each other, in community and on pilgrim journey. These early Celtic Christian journeys, offer us a beautiful picture of tender, persistent, human connection as well as a profound reminder of the divine, present and powerful in all of us, even today. 

‘Anamcara’ means the soul-friend; where an intimacy exists that loves the other as well as deeply respecting their wisdom. An honest, yet affirming space, this sense of anamcara helps each make peace with themselves, with others, with creation, and indeed with the passage from this life. Over time, these special soul ties of mentoring and strengthening contributed to the 'becoming' of each person, undergirded and nurtured by the energy of God's presence.

Ed Sellner in his book, 'Spiritual Mentoring',  says that the Christian Celts found in their anamcara, a friendship that often brought profound change, be they male, female or even angelic. In this relationship was the compassionate ear, the challenging word. They were aware that God is close to those that speak as friends do, heart to heart.

Maybe the gathering together of these people, these friends, at places like Clonmore, sharing work, worship, wisdom and the life of a pilgrim, resourced them to also share anamcara. Maybe for us, it is something lost, yet to be found?

 

Reflection:

You can never love another person unless you are equally involved in the beautiful, but difficult spiritual work of learning to love yourself.                             

"Who we are, coming into the world (the who and the gift and beauty that we bring), sometimes needs another pair of hands to hold a mirror before us to see with ‘fresh eyes’ how God already sees us."   John o Donohue, Anamcara       

 

Dereen river near HacketstownDereen river near Hacketstown a few mile form ClonmoreSunrise in Winter near Clonmore

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient Celtic divine ireland journey life meditation mindfulness soul spirituality https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/11/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-clonmore-cluain-mor-maedhoc Thu, 22 Nov 2018 22:49:23 GMT
Ryan's Daughter Revisited https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/10/ryans-daughter-revisted  

Director David Lean chose this picturesque location for his 1970 film, 'Ryan's Daughter' starring Sarah Miles in the title role and Robert Mitchum as the school teacher who becomes her husband. The movie is set in a remote Irish village in the highly politically charged period of 1916. Sarah Miles was nominated for an Oscar for her role. In his role of the village idiot, John Mills attracted no shortage of criticism, but ultimately won him an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor.

 

The film was not without its production problems, both natural and human! The rugged Irish weather proved a challenge and some of the beach scenes were shot in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as Inch Beach in Kerry. However, when Lean wanted a dramatic Atlantic storm suitable for the script, he had to wait for a year. When the storm finally appeared, actor Leo McKern was injured (lost his glass eye!) and claimed he would never act in film again! In actual fact, he was true to his word for a few years and steered clear of film work, but made the most of his TV career, eventually starring in Rumpole of the Bailey.

 

 

Among the cast, there were also some stormy times. In the script, Sarah Miles' character Rosy has an affair with a British major visiting the village, played by Christopher Jones. These two cast members famously did not work well together, despite having to share multiple love scenes. According to film folk lore, Robert Mitchum and Sarah Miles conspired to drug Christopher Jones in preparation for the pivotal love scene in the forest. They accidentally overdid it, so Jones was almost unconscious during filming!

 

The location itself serves as an evocative backdrop to the turbulent times, both political and personal. Cinematographer Freddie Young won an Oscar for his skilled filming of what was already a dramatic site. The movie was filmed in and around Slea Head and Dunmore Head on the Dingle Peninsula in the county of Kerry on the west coast of Ireland. A small village was established for the shooting of the film which was demolished afterwards, however the school house, central to the story,​ remains. 

 

 

​Whenever I visit,  it is clear to me why Lean chose the Dingle Peninsula for the film. It's natural sense of drama and classic example of wild Irish landscape made it a character all of its own.

 

Visit the file, 'Ryan's Daughter Landscapes Revisited' in my Landscapes Gallery to see a larger selection of images. School house at Cogerhead.School house at Cogerhead.Dingle Penninsula, Kerry. Westword Window in School house remains near ClogherheadRyans Daughter on Dingle Penninsula, Kerry. Sunset and Bog cotton over Clogerhead.Sunset and Bog cotton over Clogerhead. at Village location for Ryan Daughter.Dingle Penninsula, Kerry. Slea Head and coastline used in part of Storm sequence in Ryans DaughterRyans Daughter on Dingle Penninsula, Kerry.

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) daughter Dingle ireland Ryans https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/10/ryans-daughter-revisted Wed, 24 Oct 2018 23:30:00 GMT
Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces: Sleaty-Sleibhte https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/10/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-sleaty-sleibhte Just four kilometres north west from Carlow's town centre on the way to Knockbeg we find Sleaty. Standing in a small field near the edge of the river Barrow stands the remains of a 12th-century monastic site. Amongst the ruin here are two artifacts that most likely are the remnants of the early christian site from around the 5th century. One of which is an unmistakable long plain granite stone cross that stands head and shoulders above the gravestones and markers from much later times. The other artifact stands near an entrance to the main structure, a rough granite font weather-worn over many centuries, again it may had pride of place in the earlier 5th century site. The early Celtic Christian site stood mostly as a wooden structure with mortar and clay and some stone in its make up, hence no longer remains.

The 5th century landscape here as in so much of what was Ireland then was heavily forested native woodland, providing lots of raw material for much of the building needs. Within this landscape, there were no real roadways, just pathways and track, and the rivers made the essential 'main highways' to move people and  goods. This part of South Leinster was then known as Hy- Kinnselach along the river's edge.

Places like Sleaty emerged out of the woodlands as a place of rest, safety for the traveller and pilgrim. These early monasteries served as focal points not just for religious observance, they formed living communities of work, learning, writing, music, and often formed part of the path to far off destinations. Moving through such landscape over whatever distance the journey, especially for the early Celtic christians, was also a journey of heart and mind. Themselves, the landscape and all its seasons and songs along with ease for a divine presence both transcendent and immanent was essential to any journey.

Patrick and Fiacc and names associated with this little site at Sleaty. It was to become the Seat of the Bishop of Leinster in the late 5th century. However these two names while on their own pilgrimage's found themselves at Easter time, or there abouts on the hill at Slane with charge of the Pascal fire. The fires at Slane competed with the ancient druidic fires of spring equinox on the hill of Tara and its seat of the High Kings of Ireland. That competition ended peacefully with Patricks ability to entreat the Celtic hearts and minds to adopt the new faith into their already deep spiritual lives.

Fiacc remained an important figure and presence in the Landscape, Lives, and faith community in South Leinster. Based at Sleaty his reputation was one of wisdom, humility, learning and work. His name is retained as a strong identity with the local parishes at Graiguecullen and Killeshin, where the early less organised Celtic Church has strong meaning. 

Reflection: "Though the human being is born complete in a moment, the human heart is never..."       Anam Cara.   john O Donohue

 

Sleaty Ancient siteSleaty Ancient site St Fiacc and Sleaty Church near Graiguecullen.St Fiacc and Sleaty Church near Graiguecullen.Fiacc and Patrick had connections with Sleaty in the late 5th Century on its original site.

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient Celtic divine family ireland journey life meditation mindfulness soul spirituality Unseen beauty https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/10/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-sleaty-sleibhte Wed, 24 Oct 2018 08:32:13 GMT
Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces: Killeshin - Glean Uiseann, https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/10/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-killeshin Killeshin, Glean Uiseann - of Ossain, Uissin - the Bard - son of Fin Mac Cumhail.

When we pause and Reflect in Places like these, we may discover new thresholds for our own life's journey. 

Thresholds can offer powerful symbolic knowledge helping us to encounter the beauty and voice of ourselves in fresh living ways. Often opening new possibilities, new beginnings, new beginnings.

Killeshin's ancient site finds its setting in the lovely Killeshin hill about four miles west of Carlow town. Existing as a place of community, learning, and presence since around the early 6th century. However, with its presence, the existing stream and rath nearby was also a partner in all that was sacred and special in this place even earlier in our local ancient culture. Small granite stonework elements remain of the 6th-century place amongst this late 11th-century monastic site. However, it retains a very beautiful example of Irish Romanesque architecture and artwork from around 1041. It remains a powerful symbol still of thresholds even amongst ancient ruins.

Diarmaid was the first abbot here followed by Comgan who is said to have been son of the sister of St Columba, no less. Near his passing, it is said he asked for the female Abbott St Ita to come to Killeshin pray with his and close his eyes on his death bed. It is recorded that  Mugen an abbot here in the late 6th century was an instructor to Laserian of Leighlin in Sacred writings scripts and in the travels to open new places of learning eventually off this island.

Localities such as these give a sense of an ancient world, and of the organic Celtic heart and minds of our ancient race. A spiritual life was not a structure of building, beliefs, creed, tradition, and place. The Spiritual life resided inside humanity and its journey in the here and now, often gaining access to the invisible through what was visible.

This Ancient world had at its heart the Celtic sense of Belonging, and connection. The Tribe, its community and families and the life to be lived, including all of the realities of both life and death, formed part of belonging. However, the search for connection with the Natural, created world around gave recognition to another sense of belonging. It was one of a larger world, where life flowed from its visible sense to its invisible and back again. Over time such observations placed humanity as a key player, yet not at the centre of all things. There was a much bigger story unfolding in us and all around us. The Divine was present, Transcendent, and Immanent. We ourselves were more than our tactile sense, we in ancient woods, streams, and hallowed places were on our own journey through this life. We had a  measure of ourselves beyond circumstance, appearance, or position. We bore sacred life within. It was a thread woven in us and through us. We too were transcendent beings, journeying.

However here we are at this little place on the Killeshin hills. As you stand looking at the remains, stonework and indeed the detail of the  Romanesque architecture Nearby within 100 metres is a rath and stream that have been present long before even the faint remains of the 6th-century life here. Maybe here too the local Bard, the local chief, and the prophetic Druid marked this space as sacred, and significant to the life of the locals. Incidentally, the stream has a holy well, but I forget the name associated.

The Important Romanesque doorway which in the early morning or lit by a westerly sun presents a beautiful threshold. The arch and its artwork can serve as a place to stand. Standing to notice the warmth of sunlight, how the stonework is revealed, in shapes and textures, the geometry, feel, the light and shade. Notice too how it feels to stand in a doorway, a threshold, in an in-between space.

John O Donoghue in his wonderful book Anam Cara on the Celtic heart and soul comments for us, 'Our senses are thresholds for the soul'    (p84)

and he also reflects that; 'The Celtic world is full of immediacy  and belonging'    (p14)

If you're still standing here's a little reflection. :  As you stand in a threshold (seen or unseen) ponder the mystery of yourself. Reflect not so much on, Who am I ? but on WHO I AM. Namely the uniqueness of your own person.   Do you have faith in yourself, in your greatness?

 

More soon  K

  Killeshin Romanesque Doorway.Killeshin Romanesque Doorway.Ancient Spaces in Carlow. Early morning looking east from Killeshin looking toward the Black stairs. Irelands Ancient East in Carlow.              Romanesque Doorway Killeshin Co LaoisRomanesque Doorway Killeshin Co LaoisPictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Landscape Killeshin Church and Romanesque Doorway. as rain showers clear.Ancient Spaces in Carlow.

                      

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient Celtic divine ireland journey life soul spirituality Unseen beauty https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/10/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces-killeshin Tue, 23 Oct 2018 13:24:25 GMT
Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/9/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces  

Teach Bhride Ancient Spaces.

For its size Carlow and its hinterland has one of the largest numbers of ancient and sacred places, anywhere in Ireland. It is said that a significant number of saints, scholars, pilgrims travelled to, from and within this county,  not only major monastic and learning centres within Ireland such as Armagh, Clonmacnoise, Ferns, Clonard, but onward to Scotland, England, Belgium, France and beyond.

Here in the landscape of these ancient ruins we find the echoes of an era when the Celtic heart and mind recognised 'Spirituality' as something that was at the heart of humanity. This is very different to later times where we sought spiritual experience in the external form of traditional religion, that would later become strongly institutionalised and eventually leaving humanity outside the gate. 

In his book, Celtic Christianity  Timothy Joyce comments that Celtic spirituality was about sensing the passionate presence of God in all the ordinary events of life: love, eating, working, playing. In uncovering some of the life journeys of the ancient ordinary men and women, we now call saints , their prayer lives,and also the medieval poets, they ask us to notice that everything we experience is grace and blessing.

Joyce suggests, Part of the aim of Celtic Spirituality was to bring to consciousness the holiness of every moment. 

These ancient places are now simply ruins, for the most part in farmland, left behind, decayed. They represent a bit of history, a bit of archeology, a bit of religious life; some are still associated with the 'Saints' through feast days, prayers, relics, stained glass imagery, traditions and folklore. But in this day and age, maybe they have simply become irrelevant.

However it looks like our Celtic ancestors knew a lot more about living from the heart, and yet being strongly grounded in the real world. They managed to live with a deep awareness of themselves, their environment, their story and spiritual presence.

 

The Ancient Spaces Project is hosted by Teach Bhride at Tullow. This project will not only explore the who and the what of the ancient sites in this locality, but also the ability of our ancient forerunners, to live in vibrant awareness of life’s journey. Vibrant, because in the midst of the very ordinary struggles of life - meaning, significance, and belonging nourished life’s journey ; no matter the weather.

The project will develop opportunities to explore these ideas with presentations, site visits and more.

“The Celtic world is full of immediacy and belonging.”    John O’Donaghue, Anam Cara

More soon  Keith Dowling

Romanesque Doorway on Ancient Monastic site at Killeshin.Romanesque Doorway on Ancient site at Killeshin, near CarlowRain showers clear at Killeshin ancient site. St Moling Monastic Site at St Mullins, Co Carlow.St Moling Monastic Site at St Mullins, Co Carlow.St Mullins and St Moling Ancient sites at St Mullins Co Carlow. Part of Irelnds Ancient East 2018.    Killoughterane Church Fenagh Co Carlow.Killoughterane Church Fenagh Co Carlow.Ancient Monastic site near Black Stairs Mountains, part of Irelands ancient east in Carlow. Standing Stones at Crosslow Tullow Co CarlowStanding Stones at Crosslow Tullow Co CarlowNeolithic sites in County Carlow. Part of Irelands Ancient East. Standing Stone near Ardristan, Tullow Co Carlow.Standing Stone near Ardristan, Tullow Co Carlow.Neolithic sites in County Carlow. Part of Irelands Ancient East in Carlow. Sleaty Ancient site on the Barrow near Graiguecullen.St Fiacc and St Patrick associated with Sleaty in its Early Celtic period.

 

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient Celtic divine ireland journey life meditation mindfulness soul spirituality https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/9/teach-bhride-ancient-spaces Wed, 19 Sep 2018 12:53:54 GMT
Irelands Ancient East, it's all around us. https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/6/irelands-ancient-east-its-all-around-us St Mullins Early Christian site Co Carlow.St Mullins Early Christian site Co Carlow.Pictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Landscape

 

St Mullins, South counnty Carlow. The early site of St Moling is here. A man who shared his world by fighting off the power hungry and poverty, and bringing justice to the local society in his time. Circa 6th century Ireland by the banks of the lovely river Barrow

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ancient ireland keithdowlingphotography stmoling https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2018/6/irelands-ancient-east-its-all-around-us Sat, 02 Jun 2018 18:20:49 GMT
Underfoot, Common, and Beautiful https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2016/5/underefoot-common-and-beautiful As often is the case, being in such a visual culture we often miss things that can help give us a bit of equlibrium. Often our bodies, minds, thoughts, and life move far too quickly to catch sight of much of the extraordinary beauty around us. Our busy days are, you could say,  full of 'other worlds'. Herewith just a little sample of one of those 'other worlds'.  enjoy  K

 

County Galway Landscapes,Connaught.

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ireland https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2016/5/underefoot-common-and-beautiful Fri, 20 May 2016 23:00:00 GMT
Waiting https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2015/7/waiting Waiting. We all do it often without realising it. If it's accompanied by other feelings like impatience, frustration or anxiety, we will most likely remember those feelings. Sometimes, though, there's nothing else to do. It's out of our control and we just 'go with it'. Our mind wanders or we play with some device or other, or sometimes that device will tell us we ought to be doing more.

This little series and its gallery attempts to observe some of these waiting moments where we might be 'going with it'. Doing nothing even for a few moments, they say, is becoming important to our well being. Maybe you see something else entirely.

It too, is a reminder of how much pleasure, joy, and sometimes insight can be experienced in photography, and not just by the lensman.

I hope you enjoy this series, and don't forget there's a guestbook when you view www.keithdowlingphotography.com/waiting if you'd like to leave a thought or two.

Summer is still with us, so make the most of it, no matter the weather.      cheers Keith

http://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/waiting

 

Waiting, with a song.Waiting, with a song.Landscapre

 

Waiting for green.Waiting for green.Pictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Social

Waiting for the wife.Waiting for the wife.Pictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Social

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) waiting https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2015/7/waiting Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:12:20 GMT
Kilkenny https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2015/5/kilkenny Kilkenny ... a small city by any standards but a place brimming with history,  culture,  musicality and a wonderful vibe. Late spring is not  a busy tourist season, yet there is this feeling that someone is hosting, showing, celebrating, offering a welcome, or just playing a song for us.

A small city with a big heart that has learned to celebrate and share its ancient place, its history, and its culture. It has a welcome that is both Irish and uniquely Kilkenny for its many visitors. There seems to be a medieval bent this April/May and it's well worth a visit in any weather.

And of course, like anywhere when it's on our doorstep, we mostly glance by. So if you're at home in Ireland this year, give yourself a day off and have a wander around beautiful Kilkenny, one of Ireland's medieval, still standing cities.

A liitle taste here:

http://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/kilkennycity

 

 

Sq 1:1 image, 10x10, 16x16,& 20x20Sq 1:1 image, 10x10, 16x16,& 20x20

 

 

 

Sq 1:1 image, 10x10, 16x16,& 20x20Sq 1:1 image, 10x10, 16x16,& 20x20

 

Sq 1:1 image, 10x10, 16x16,& 20x20Sq 1:1 image, 10x10, 16x16,& 20x20 Sq 1:1 image, 10x10, 16x16,& 20x20Sq 1:1 image, 10x10, 16x16,& 20x20

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) cities city discoverireland failteireland ireland irish kilkenny medieval https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2015/5/kilkenny Mon, 04 May 2015 17:35:18 GMT
Easter Thoughts https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/4/easter-thoughts Easter comes every year, though unlike, for example Christmas, Easter is a less certain date. Often you might hear the comment, "So when is Easter this year ?" I reflect on our present world, that the influence of 'new moons' and the Christian storyline in its ancient calendar still effect when our Easter weekend, Bank holiday, and timeout with family and friends in an ultra modern age gets its date.

It is for me, like many others a very lovely time of the year. Winter is usually most definitely OVER; we are safe from that. Sunlight is filling more of our waking hours, summer is still un-opened like a gift to receive soon. And it's a long weekend worth planning a little, no matter how much you have to spend. It's family,  it's friends, it's possible nice weather, it's chill, it's bright, it's a new start, without the burden of new year resolutions!

For some it's deeper meaning becomes an anchor for all of the above. Easter is a story, that still is unfolding, that is if you've managed to embrace a faith journey, and as silly as it might sound to many, believe in a Mercy and outrageous Kindness, that is a bit more than our human story. And then Faith, Hope and Love, with Love being the greatest help to move beyond much uncertainty and give hope and dare I say Joy a new foothold.

I have to admit I need this anchor. 

Meanwhile late on Friday night (Good Friday as it's sometimes referred) while heading home across town I became enveloped it a beautiful fragrance while waiting for a 'green man' at the lights on Kennedy Avenue. Hundreds of tulips planted and in full bloom in the centre of town (well almost the centre) were giving me a hint of their presence in the hues of reds and greens of traffic minders. I wondered, how can I photograph that smell in full bloom in morning light ?

And of course there is no photograph, well at least not from me, that could ever do nature justice in its power and simplicity.

Not all that early, on Saturday day morning I wondered back to the same place, and just for the record shot off a few frames. And more than anything else I wanted to acknowledge the hands and service of those who cleared, prepared, and sowed this great sight, a the team at Carlow Town Council.  A simple and beautiful space there for a while, as they bloom over Easter and afterward for all passers by.

While it's just flowers and colour and fragrance, it's as they say 'the simple things'.

Tulips on Easter Saturday, kennedy Ave, Carlow Tulips on Easter Saturday, kennedy Ave, Carlow Tulips on Easter Saturday, kennedy Ave, Carlow Tulips on Easter Saturday, kennedy Ave, Carlow

 

While wondering around in the early afternoon I met a very beautiful young girl, Barbara. dressed in a pretty coat and hat. Carrying a festive basket, she caught my eye. Walking very content with her parents, Dad, Rafal and Mum, Joanna Pietka, it turned out they were heading to join many other local Polish families at the main Cathedral in Carlow town centre for a Easter Saturday Food Blessing service. I was learning new things.

As it turned out I stumbled into a large group of Polish families on their way to the service, a service I was unaware of. Families together, with many kids with hand made baskets decorated to mark the event, celebrating together as family and indeed community. I took great delight in taking little Barbara's image, as she was assured by her parents, this is ok .

Little Barbara Pietka Little Barbara Pietka

 

Finally a little after sunrise on Easter Sunday I visited the very old Christian site at Killeshin along with some of the hill top views looking to the Blackstairs mountains in the South of the County, and of course the beautiful morning on the river Barrow at Milford.

Easter Sunday Morning in Carlow Easter Sunday Morning in Carlow Easter Sunday Morning in Carlow Easter Sunday Morning in Carlow

 

 

 

 

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) belonging celbration easter family hope joy love spring https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/4/easter-thoughts Mon, 21 Apr 2014 23:19:04 GMT
Garden Shed Squatter https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/2/garden-shed-sqautter Garden Shed SqautterGarden Shed SqautterNatural Macro or Abstract


At one time he was an active member of his community. And now it's like he remains part and parcel of the garden shed, while everyone else has moved on.

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) insect life macro natural spider unseen world https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/2/garden-shed-sqautter Sat, 15 Feb 2014 00:30:27 GMT
Time to chill https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/1/time-to-chill Aoife was a changed woman now and one day suggested that she and the children should visit their grandfather. On the journey they stopped by a lake and she encouraged the children to go for a swim. The four children played happily in the water, not noticing that their stepmother was now standing at the waters edge wearing her fathers magic cloak.

'For too long you children have stood between your father and I, but not for much longer!' she cried

'We cannot be killed by you...' Aodh replied,
'...we are the Children of Lir and if you harm us our ghosts will haunt you!'

'I’m not going to kill you.....' she shouted
'......but I am going to change you!'

At this she bowed her head and started an incantation. The children looked at each other in fear as they saw a red and gold circle envelope them on the water. They saw Aoife open up her cloak from which the great light of a fireball emerged and hurtled towards them, burning all in its wake.

The fireball hit the water and caused masses of steam to rise about the children and they soon lost all feeling in their legs, arms, shoulders and head. They soon regained their sight only to see Aoife laughing at them. Aodh tried to attack her and flailed his arms about furiously but nothing happened except the splashing of water. He turned to look at his brothers and sister only to see that they had all been turned into the most beautiful swans ever seen.

Aoife scowled at them again and told them that they were to spend nine hundred years as swans, three hundred on Lough Derravaragh, three hundred on the Straits of Moyle and three hundred on the Isle of Inish Glora. To end the spell they would have to hear the bell of the new God.

'I leave you with your voice however, and the most beautiful singing ever heard' she said.  ;  Children of Lir, Excerpt.

 


Pruning in the morningPruning in the morningAfter a Long Flight.

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/1/time-to-chill Tue, 28 Jan 2014 16:38:22 GMT
Seeing with more than your eyes https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/1/seeing-with-more Seeing.

More than ever our world is saturated with visual stimuli. Images of everything: big, small, moving, flickering, in your pocket, on screen, on the wall, on the van, the taxi, the truck, on your skin. Visuals for deciding, feeling, learning, identity and more ...

Often with so much information moving toward us and around us, time itself becomes compressed and it flickers by too ... no time.

So, this little blog becomes a 20 second time out for that beautiful ability that all we humankind have: to SEE

To avert our gaze. To look & SEE.

Why? Because without sounding too corny, Love and Beauty is all around us ...

... and it sometimes reveals itself when we allow ourselves simply to look, to SEE.

20 seconds or so. Breath a little. Look and SEE ... connect inside and out, and there you are 'yourself', your good self.

Beauty in the ordinary ...

a landscape

a streetscape

a tree in the rain

they look and catch hands

the bus driver smiled

the waitress looked tired, but smiled anyway

sun on the road after rain.

Here's a few ...

Sisters by the seaSisters by the sea

Through hereThrough hereOld path, old ways, the gate.

On the way to DunquinOn the way to DunquinNatural Macro or Abstract

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) beauty beyond down in the ordinary intutive seeing sight slowing https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/1/seeing-with-more Tue, 28 Jan 2014 13:28:47 GMT
Mad Irishmen of Humble intent Carlow https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/1/carlow-file-madirishmen Mad Irishmen

Over a bit of time it's easy to see where stories, community and culture converged in the landscape of County Carlow. Local culture tells of men coming here to share their stories and stay, live, and serve.

From the little I know of early Christianity after Patrick and before the Celtic church disappeared, it sounded like an adventure, a risk, to have courage and come and be among people who weren't family and didn't know you. Names of men like Patrick, Lazerian, and Moling (Mullin) are a few I have stumbled across. (Sometimes literally as I crossed a field in pre-dawn light!) 

The visible remains of structure and symbol are there in the landscape and I sense an echo of their own time and a legacy that's not just a daring faith story, but also reading skills, books and new techniques to harness the resources of land, water, and enrich the community.

Some of these adventurers and risk takers brought hope and light to darker parts of Europe after their season here in County Carlow, Ireland.

Here a few images of places in Carlow's landscape that have a hint or two of these 'Mad Irishmen'.

Keith                keithdowlingphotography  carlow       www.keithdowlingphotography.com

After rain at Bagnelstown, Co CarlowAfter rain at Bagnelstown, Co CarlowSkyline after rain over Bagnelstown Co Carlow.

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) Unseen beauty carlow ireland landscapes landscapes of ireland https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2014/1/carlow-file-madirishmen Tue, 28 Jan 2014 00:00:00 GMT
Lorraine's Pick https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2013/10/lorraines-pick November 22nd 2013.

It sometimes seems that our winter is marked by points of celebration. We slip from autumn, summers end into school traffic, then it's Halloween, next stop Christmas, next stop January sales, winters slipping past, and.... did we escape snow, or will it come in March? All too often our big brands mark celebration, or our call to be together with a call buy things we might need, if we can afford them. And in all of that maybe we miss what winter might offer us. Not just the miserable sense of waiting for it to pass; but using it to prepare, repair, revive. or even renew?

In the landscape it is said there's another celebrating going on. Trees that become bare, that play their own music as winter chills whistle though their bows and branches, are having their own party. It's said the roots of trees are hugely active in winter expanding, preparing, making ready for new life, new seasons of growth, and flourishing, there's a big vibe in winter under our feet.

Today I and many family and friends heard there's a bit of a party, a celebration for Lorraine. Her medical professionals have seen dramatic improvement, indeed recovery in her health. And although she still has treatment to finish, there is big cause for celebration this winter for Lorraine. She prepares for Spring.  Lots of Love Lorraine   k

 

Herewith some images of our unseen 'party goers' in winter: trees.

 

Toward HeavenToward HeavenTree line obstructing heaven.

St Mary's Cathedral, CarlowSt Mary's Cathedral, CarlowCounty Carlow landscapes.

 

 

 

 

November 6th 2013.

November for me is often the most gloomy of the months, though it tries hard not to give us too much of winter before Christmas. Autumn is finally ended, though it stayed as long as it could this year, making, as many have commented in Tullow street in Carlow,  "Sur it'll sortin' the winter". Some of the grey tones of November remind me of what a surprise black and white images can be. It's as if our mind's eye sees something even more when the vibe of colour is removed. The possibilities of other things, unnoticed before, are now present. Maybe we 'see' from the inside? I guess that's what I will be doing with my photography this month, Seeing from the inside. Here are a few local images of the older streets in and around Carlow, along with other places shot on days sometimes like November. Enjoy the greys         K

 

The Day AwakensThe Day AwakensFog and mist yield to morning light.

 

 

Pollerton bridge Carlow town.Pollerton bridge Carlow town.County Carlow Landscapes

Hidden Path.Hidden Path.Irish Landscapes,Munster.

Nine Stones.Nine Stones.Irish landscapes,Leinster Province

On the way to DunquinOn the way to DunquinNatural Macro or Abstract

Walking the Dog.Walking the Dog.Pictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Social

Into the ComeraghsInto the ComeraghsTogether with yourself.

Street cornerShining PathPictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Social

 

 

 

October 23th 2013.

Yes, it will look like I am just rattling on a bit too much about this season, autumn. However all through summer I procrastinated about making a visit to Inistioge and the magnificent grounds of Woodstock House. This very beautiful spot sits just over the southern tip of County Carlow in County Kilkenny, a place of meandering waterways, slow hills and treelines sitting naturally in the line in which they were planted a very long time ago. Inistioge sits on the edge of the river Nore (one of the "Three Sisters", the Nore, the Suir, and the Barrow). Above this line of village and river sits Woodstock: beautiful grounds, home to very unique trees, some ancient, or indeed very old species planted over 200 years. The turning of the year, the waning of summer colours and the vibrance of nature in low, late-afternoon light was just beautiful. Here are just a few from this location. You will find several more on www.keithdowlingphotography.com. Just look into the gallery 'Other Worlds' and scroll the images titled, Inistioge or Woodstock -  about 18 images in all. Enjoy  K

Woodstock 3Woodstock 3Pictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Landscape

Woodstock 5Woodstock 5Pictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Landscape

Marking TerritoryMarking TerritoryPictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Landscape

Woodstock 9Woodstock 9Pictorial/Local interest/Editorial/Landscape

 

October 7th 2013.  And the kindness and warmth of a 'perfect' September yielded to a definite autumn feel in this early part of October.The colours of Autumn have begun to blaze in the days of a less high flung sun in the skyline. Its light rays are the perfect source to add warmth to autumn colour, and scenes. The south of County Carlow with its line of mountain, river and an east-west arc of sun movement in the skyline is full of beauty and landscape that have a wonder all their own.

The line of the railway viaduct, now overgrown, with glimpses of the grand Borris House which remains hidden from the main road as you move toward Ballymurphy, Clasganney and on to Graiguenamanagh, adds colour and shape to the backward glance of the small rural town of Borris, perched on a slow rising main street. As I moved away from Borris, and its viaduct of nineteen arches of beautiful granite, the Black Stairs hills revealed in autumn sunlight, were almost three dimensional even after the odd rain shower.

Clasganney lockgates and mill below the road level and from a well marked viewing point reveal the natural untouched course and line of the beautiful River Barrow as it pushes south toward St Mullins via Graiguenamanagh.

Carlow is indeed a very beautiful part of Ireland, full of lesser seen uncommercial beauty, of sights and sounds, and indeed memories and stories within the landscape.  More soon.     K

 

Clasganney on the Barrow.Clasganney on the Barrow.The Barrow, Second largest river in ireland.

Toward Clasganney near Borris, Co CarlowToward Clasganney near Borris, Co CarlowIrish landscapes,Leinster Province

 

Borris town autumn scene, Co CarlowBorris town autumn scene, Co CarlowIrish landscapes,Leinster Province

Borris House overlooking Borris.Borris House overlooking Borris.Irish landscapes,Leinster Province River Barrow at Graiguenamanagh, Co Carlow.River Barrow at Graiguenamanagh, Co Carlow.Irish landscapes,Leinster Province

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 20th 2013.

September seems to be giving us a gentle and slow moving autumn interlude. The echoes of our summer still, in bright warm days coming and going, even with the day appearing to start a little later and sunset ends coming sooner. All of which gives some of us time to appreciate the glad feelings that come when we give ourselves a little time to become aware of the passing cycle of beauty, and nature's turning of seasons - offering us insight into what's important, and what might feed our inner world despite our circumstances, and even our troubles.

These three images below were taken very recently at an ancient historical, early Christian site a few miles west of my home. The September sky looked like it had the promise of a beautiful sunset moment, however as I readied myself facing westward, the autumn weather changed quickly and rain showers pushed up over Carlow town, moving  westward toward the historic site on Killeshin Hill.

As I about-faced moving from a westerly sky to an easterly sky the fading sun's refracted light filled the rain-laden skyline with typical autumn colour and drama. The rainbow appeared, almost as a stage set moving with the rain showers.

Wed 2394Wed 2394

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 6th. 2013

Today a most beautiful September's day, reminded us that our great summer with genuine 'heatwave' feel is just slowly moving away. Lorraine is doing really well this week having recovered from a secondary infection while journeying through her treatment schedule. Recovering well, with good rest which is helping greatly. My guess is that the same breeze and warm air in our September day here in South East Ireland, probably made its way through her windows in South East UK. As a reminder of our wonderful summer, here is a picture of Waterville on the Kerry coast on its Iveragh Peninsula bathed in summer evening light and balmy summer temperatures, a real treat for South West Ireland too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today having updated some images from the Carlow File on the website, I thought it would be good to connect some images that reflect a part of Carlow where Lorraine's  Dad was born and grew up, before he, like his brothers, Jim, Noel, Billy, and John, emigrated in the early 1950's to England.  So here are a few places and streetscapes not far away from the streets where Lorraine's Dad grew up in Carlow town.

Sunrise on Little Barrack StreetLittle Barrack Street, Carlow

                                        Sunrise  on Little Barrack Street,  Carlow.

 

Old Storehouse at the Bottom of Pollerton RoadBottom of Pollerton Road, Carlow                                       Old Storehouse at the Bottom of Pollerton Road,  Carlow.

Railway bridge on Pollerton Road.Pollerton bridge Carlow town.                                                                         Railway Bridge on Pollerton Road, just yards from No 14.

 

                                      No 12 Staplestown Road, Carlow.

 

Interior of St Marys Cathedral Carlow town.Carlow Cathedral Interior.                                       Interior of St Marys Cathedral, Carlow Town.

 

Courthouse Athy Road Carlow.Carlow Courthouse.                                        Courthouse on the Athy Road, Carlow.

                                       Enjoy,    Keith

 

Up the road from me there's a piece of ground with rolling hills, some mountains along with trees, meandering rivers and streams and many ancient and historic sites. The much visited 'Garden of Ireland' as it sometimes is referred, County Wicklow. A place that provides beauty for the eyes, and solace for any man's soul in any season of the year. Here are a few images that really don't do this place justice. Another one for the diary for anyone's visit to Ireland.

 

Glendaloughs upper lake7R1A3461 Waterfall at Glenmaluirval-bratcher-builders_birdwatch_morvant-photography_bw-9691

 

 

Lorraine has, from time to time dipped into this website to view, and enjoy some of the landscape images that mark her Irish heritage. Lately Lorraine has come into a bit of bad health. This blog is dedicated to her road of recovery and well being in the days ahead.

The images posted here are here to help keep the focus on what is inspirational; to what points us all to what is more than our circumstances, our struggles. We are made for amazing worthwhile lives; each and every one.

This blog and image set over the next 6 months or so, are dedicated to Lorraine and her husband David as they journey together in the circumstances they find themselves in. 

This week begins a new phase in medical help and recovery for Lorraine. Loving life, and pushing ahead step by step is part of what Lorraine brings to her recovery. David is her 'shadow' in all she needs to do.   My prayers and thoughts to you both today           K     

 

When I climbed into this field of barley, I didn't think there was much to see, then I stood in a different place.   K  Taken near Aghade, Tullow Co Carlow Ireland       K

July brought, to the nation's delight, a 'proper' heatwave for most of Ireland, a rare event, and lovely. Though we Irish for the most part wilt a little after a few days of heat such as this, it brings its own glad, happy and optimistic feelings, no matter what the day brings.

Kerry, too enjoyed brilliant sunshine, warm onshore breezes and long beautiful sunsets. I had a few days on the Dingle Peninsula shooting some coastal and landscape images. To my delight I found the actual village location for the movie 'Ryan's Daughter', a film that inadvertently put Dingle and Kerry on the world tourist map as a 'must see'.

So the latest image below is an evening view of Clogher Head taken from a hill, and indeed the very spot where the village for 'Ryan's Daughter' was built in, I think, around 1969. The village was dismantled afterward, leaving just some of the cobble stone effect in the landscape now. 

This scene from Clogher Head below reminds me of this well known quote from Betty Smith.  "Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory. "           K

We Two Together

Inchnadonney Beech West Cork  IrelandSisters by the sea Poppies in Barley Field 3

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) ahead autumn freedom hope promise road turn https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2013/10/lorraines-pick Mon, 07 Oct 2013 21:30:00 GMT
Family, always worth a celebration together: The Harpers 2013 https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2013/5/family-always-worth-a-celebration-together-the-harpers-2013 This amazing group of people had planned to come together. The planning took a few years. They were in many parts of Ireland, many parts of the world. Some knew one another, some had lost touch for years. More didn't know that they belonged amongst all of these others. Love, faith, story, connection, celebration, song, music and belonging, all showed up too. In April 2013 in Kilkenny, Ireland, the Harper family came together for a four day celebration, from the old to the young, the great-grandparent to the new baby.

I for a few hours, had the great honour and pleasure of being this family's photographer. 'The Family group' numbered about 170, together on a sunny spring day at Kilkenny College grounds, and thereafter the informal tea party, to allow stories and laughter to be shared.

Beautiful

 

Keith

 

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studio@keithdowlingphotography.com (Keith Dowling Photography) 2013 Gathering Harper Kilkenny family gatherings https://www.keithdowlingphotography.com/blog/2013/5/family-always-worth-a-celebration-together-the-harpers-2013 Mon, 27 May 2013 10:58:05 GMT