Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Founder of the GAA

 The founder of Ireland's most historical sporting organisation, the Gaelic Athletic Association or GAA for short, was a man called Michael Cusack. 

He was born in Carron in the Burren of County Clare.


There are many local attractions close by to Carron and the area is outstanding in its natural beauty.


Oughtmama, Roscromroe, Temple Cronan and Dysert O'Dea are just a few of the many historical sights which are to be found in this area and well worth locating and visiting.

 There is a memorial plaque at the small Church in Carron which is often passed by or overlooked.

There is also a Michael Cusack Centre in Clare of which I can provide no information other than a link to its Website here   Michael Cusack Centre

By all accounts Michael Cusack was an interesting and courageous individual, traits which are sadly missing from those who today would claim to be our contemporary leaders.

 

The Gaelic Athletic Association  itself was officially founded by Cusack along with others at Hayes Hotel at Thurles in Tipperary. 

There is a small Plaque commemorating the event on the wall of the Hotel. 


Clare Library - Michael Cusack

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Geashill, Offaly

 

Geashill is a small village in County Offaly. 

There is a Tower House of some sort here but at present it is  inaccessible.

Geashill, Offaly

   This small village is more often than not passed through without stopping which is a pity as it is a very picturesque village if you take the time to look carefully about the area.

Geashill, Offaly

There is a wonderful Sculpture here called "Bog Bodies" which has various animals carved into it. 
You have to look hard to find them as some are cleverly disguised in the wood.

Geashill, Offaly

The largest Swine Market in Ireland was purportedly held at Geashill.

Geashill, Offaly

There are many wonderful vernacular buildings scattered about the small village including Cottages, various Business premises and its old Church of Ireland.

Geashill, Offaly

A Lord Digby is associated with the local area. I had never heard tell of Lord Digby before. There is also a well cared for Glebe walk through a small wooded copse.

Geashill, Offaly


Geashill, Offaly

There are also numerous information Plaques and Boards all around the village which are a great aid to interpreting the surrounding buildings and local history.

Geashill, Offaly

The Village is well maintained and local input and commitment to the environs are on obvious display.

Geashill, Offaly

Perhaps you have travelled "through" Geashill numerous times without a second thought. If that's the case I can highly recommending taking the time to stop off and wander about for a while.

Geashill, Offaly

Keep the wheels turning.

Geashill, Offaly

Geashill, Offaly


Saturday, 21 August 2021

Laois Bike Accident Map

 I came across this map of recorded bicycle accidents where cars and motorised vehicles had collided with a bicycle.

Laois Bike Accident Map

It's sad to say but Cars, Trucks, Lorries, Buses and assorted motorised vehicles are still travelling to close to cyclists and pedestrians. 

I've even had an ambulance of all vehicles passing too fast and too close for comfort. That's a sad reflection on the abilities and care that drivers possess.

While I was going up a steep hill the ambulance was flying down it in the opposite direction. 

If I stopped and pulled off the road I would have serious difficulty clipping back into the pedals on such a steep incline. The ambulance driver obviously saw me from a distance. 

He or she kept descending at speed and basically must have been thinking to themselves "get the F**k outta my way cyclist". Shocking stuff as it hurtled past me just inches away at huge speed as it came down Wolftrap mountain like a Bat out of Hell.

That's just a single example of many close calls, close passing, near T-boning and skidding around taking evasive action to avoid collisions. It's a regular occurrence and I'm actually glad my children don't cycle. It would scare the sh*te out of me to think of them on the road when I knew all to well what they would encounter by way of dangerous driving.

It just goes to show that there's no accounting for common sense where driving is concerned.

If in doubt about clearance don't overtake, just wait a few seconds before safely overtaking.

One life lost is one too many. Drive safely and give plenty of space to cyclists and pedestrians. Remember that could be your child walking or cycling on the road.

Car drivers often complain about cyclists however how many people have been killed on Irish roads by bicycles? I'd hazard a wild guess at zero.

R.I.P. those whom have needlessly passed away on our roadsides......

Monday, 2 August 2021

Plugger Martin, Dublin Champion of the World

 This links to an interesting article on Plugger Martin at "The Bike Comes First" Website.


"One of the most remarkable cyclists ever to emerge from Ireland, is a name that may be unfamiliar to many – 'Plugger' Bill Martin. Not only did he make his mark with his performances on the bike, but he has also been credited with some innovations which helped to revolutionise the sport."

It's a very insightful article and a glimpse into the early years of Cycling.

Plugger Martin - World Champion

Plugger Martin


Glenbower Bullaun Stone, Killeagh, Cork.

This Bullaun Stone sits beside what appears to be the base of some type of Cross at Glenbower Woods near Killeagh in Cork.

Killeagh Bullaun Stone, Cork

It's a mid sized single Bullaun. I have no information on the area other than it is a favoured spot for local walks through the Woods and the Dissour River runs through the area. 

Killeagh Bullaun Stone, Cork

The Bullaun sitting alongside the base of a Cross suggests a possible disappeared ecclesiastical tradition from a previous era.
 
Perhaps it was the site of a Mass Rock during the Penal Laws although that's just supposition on my part.

Killeagh Bullaun Stone, Cork

There is a memorial Plaque on a bridge which crosses the river in memory of Richard John Uniacke. 

An Attorney General for the Canadian province of Nova Scotia he was born in this general area.

Killeagh Bullaun Stone, Cork

The Bullaun Stone itself is located on a trail signposted for Fainin's Well. 

Killeagh Bullaun Stone, Cork

The land in this area was the property of the de Cappell family for almost 800 years.

Killeagh Bullaun Stone, Cork

It's a nice woodlands area with signposted walks and well worth a visit if in the area. The tree canopy is of mixed woodland rather than a Coillte Spruce "pulp factory".

Killeagh Bullaun Stone, Cork

Killeagh Bullaun Stone, Cork



 

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Emo Court

 Emo Court

Note: This post is a duplicate copy of a page which was incorrectly indexed and named. As such it is on the blog as both a post and a separate page.
 
Emo Court

Emo Court in Laois is described as a Neoclassical Mansion. The house was designed by James Gandon for the Earl of Portarlington in 1790 and its construction took many decades.

Emo Court 

Gandon also designed the Customs House building in Dublin. It is located near the small village crossroads of Emo not far from Portlaoise.

Emo Court

Emo Court is set in the midst of landscaped gardens which contain a variety of trees and shrubs from around the world, many of which have small plaques that indicate their species and country of origin. Entrance to the gardens is free.

Emo Court

 Entrance to the house is dictated by the seasons and guided tours are available for a small fee. I would highly recommend a short tour inside this stately house to view its beautiful interior.

Emo Court and Gardens

It is now in the care of the state and the OPW, who continue their good work to develop this fantastic location. 
The property was previously owned by Cholmeley Harrison and before him the Jesuit order. 

He spent decades restoring the house and relocating its original furnishings from around the world bringing them back to the house at Emo. 

Mr. Harrison (Major Ret.) gifted Emo Court to the people of Ireland in 1994 and he passed away in 2008.

Emo Court, Laois.

The House and gardens themselves are located within woodlands which contain a variety of trees and wildlife including Pine Martins, Buzzards, and Jays. There are many small lodges dotted around the surrounding woodlands.

Emo Court

The gardens at Emo are extremely well kept and it's an ideal spot for a family picnic in summer or a brisk stroll in other seasons.

There is also a nice Tea Room 
(if a little expensive) beside the house and the complete facility is underused so generally nice and quiet in the off season.
 
Update: As of 2021 Emo Court is now busy and being enjoyed by a larger number of visitors then previously was the case. Coach parking has not been installed yet (May/2021).

Emo Court

I have heard described two reasons for the unusual name of Emo itself. 

The first is that the name Emo is a derivative of the Irish word for a bed and the second that the name was taken from a small village in South Africa.

Emo Court

The Irish for a bed is Leaba so the first explanation doesn't seem to add up unless there is another derivative name for a bed.
 
My photographs don't do the site justice. Unfortunately most were taken in bad weather.

Emo Court

The original approach to the house can be walked or cycled but it is unpaved and no longer used as the main entrance. 

It is easily viewed from the house as a long avenue lined with Giant Redwoods (Wellingtonia), Sequoiadendron Giganteum, the largest species of free standing tree on Earth.

Emo Court

There are lots of trails in the surrounding woodland that are enjoyable to navigate by way of Gravel, Cross, or Mountain Bike or simple walking.

Emo Court

Above is an old Folly just off one of the surrounding woodland trails, built in the 1700's.

Emo Court

At one stage in the late 1960's the house was in an almost ruinous condition and Cholmeley Harrison went to see it with a view to purchasing it (£40,000). 

He was advised by a friend that "only a lunatic would buy it".
 
We owe Cholmeley Harrison a debt of gratitude for his foresight and lunacy. Were it not for his actions Emo Court may well have fallen into total disrepair and eventual collapse.

Emo Court

One of Emo Court's attractions must surely be its plants and flowers. I'm not a botanist but there are a wide variety of different species to be found here.

Emo Court

There are large specimens of several tree species which must be close to two centuries old.

Emo Court

Huge Cedar, Monterey Pine, Oak and the venerable Yew 
(Taxus Baccata) are some of the larger trees to be found here.

Emo Court

There are numerous shrubs planted throughout the landscape, apart from the obvious Laurel and colourful Rhododendron which are easily identified.

Emo Court

Some of the smaller trees include several species of decorative Maples (Acer) and the beautiful Dawn Redwoods which really come alive with colour in autumn. Below are some of the larger Oak trees.

Emo Court

The lake at Emo is home to Mute Swans and several duck species along with Coots and Moorhens.

Emo Court

There are a few different signposted walks which are colour coded and signed with wooden posts along the trails in the gardens.

Emo Court
 
A small inlet from the lake is pictured below. There are fish in the lake but I have no idea what species are present. 

I presume among others that Perch, Chubb, Rudd and Pike are present in the waters but I don't know for sure.

Emo Court

Below is what appears to me to be a delightful ornamental species of colourful Acer.

Emo Court

Emo Court

A species of Weeping (copper) Beech which is called Purple Fountain. Its Latin or scientific name is Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea Pendulata. Purple Fountain sounds easier to my ear.

Emo Court

I think the tree below may be a small Dawn Redwood.

Emo Court

Emo Court

A large specimen tree is looming in the background below. 

I'm guessing it's a Cedar tree by it's shape and outline. Whatever it is, it is very majestic looking.

Emo Court

Emo Court

Below is a large specimen Monterey Pine tree at Emo Court as it reaches for the sky.

Emo Court

Laois CC Emo Court

Walnut Tree at Emo Court

Emo Court, Laois

Emo Court

Emo Court

A type of Turkish Maple in the grounds of Emo Court. The size of it's main branching stem gives an indication that this is an old Acer specimen tree.

Emo Court

Emo Court