Blog

Annie Moore and her brothers

A statue of Annie Moore and her brothers quayside, Cóbh,

Click the photograph for my online gallery.

Annie, Anthony and Phillip Moore Statue, Cóbh– CLICK ME!!!!

Pam and I had the emotionally moving experience of  Cóbh Heritage Center on May 29, 2014.  This statue stands outside the center, on the quay from with thousands of Irish emigrated from what was then Queenstown.  My father’s mother, Elizabeth Wills nee Duffy, left from here April 28, 1898.

These are the words on the plaque:

“Annie Moore and her brothers Anthony and Phillip embarked from this town on 20 December 1891 on the S.S. Nevada.  Annie was the first person to be admitted to the United States of America through the new immigration centre at Ellis Island, New York on 1 January, 1892.  This sculpture was unveiled by the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson on 9 February, 1993.  It was erected by Cóbh Heritage Trust Ltd. and is dedicated to all who emigrated from Ireland.
This sculpture won the Zeneca Ireland Ltd. commemorative sculpture award .  A statue of Annie Moore was also erected at Ellis Island, New York.  The commemoration of Annie Moore at New York and at Cóbh was initiated by the Irish American Cultural Institute.
This sculpture is the work of Jeanne Rynhart of Bantry.”

Click to visit the previous post in this series, “The Old Aghameen School.”

Irish Countryside: the Old Aghameen School

A schoolhouse ruin on the Cooley Peninsula near the Tain trail

Click the pics to visit my online gallery

On Monday, June 9, 2014 John Mills, the first cousin of my mother, Catherine Wills nee McArdle, showed us the ruin of the schoolhouse used in the 1930 / 1940’s and which he attended as would Catherine if her parents hadn’t emigrated to Canada in the 1920’s.  Free public schooling was mandated in Ireland from 1831 and by the 1850s most Irish parishes had a schoolhouse, such as this in Ballymascanlon civil parish, as part of the National Schools.  When this piece was first published, Malachy Mills (a cousin), left a comment and clue…the name is Aghameen School.  The following information spooled out from that.

There is an Irish language site, Duchas.ie, with listings for Aghameen, a Louth township, the very one of the school and, very rightly, it is the name of the school.  There is even information from a teacher, Bean Ui Riada, who taught there 1937 – 1938, and posted information about local place names and legends.  Here is the link to his postings.  I learned from him that Aghameen is An tÁth Mín in Irish and means “field of the mountain meadow.”  You can see from the photographs the site is on the side of a mountain, pine forests all around.

Throughout her life my Mother had correspondence with her cousins who learned how to write in this very school.

The school existed at least since 1842. In private communication arising from this blog posting I learned a friend’s great, great grandfather, Denis Joseph Doherty, came from Donegal in that year to teach in the school and married a fellow teacher, Margaret Kane who was the girl’s school teacher. They raised a family while living at the school until moving to Jenkinstown. Margaret was from Jenkinstown, not far away and also on the Cooley Peninsula. They are Malachy Mills’ great, great, great grandparents through his mother.

Aghameen School is located on the Cooley Peninsula, County Louth, shown in the following Google Earth Image

Schoolhouse Ruin Overview from Omeath– CLICK ME!!!!

This is the exact location:
Latitude 54° 2’17.83″N
Longitude 6°16’3.08″W

To get there go to the cross-roads in Omeath and drive uphill for a few miles to a T-junction. Turn left and go through the Windy Gap past the Long Woman’s Grave (shown on the following Google Earth image). Take the right fork at the next Y intersection. Continue for 1.4 mile (2.26 kilometers) to a Y intersection, take the right fork. Continue .18 mile (.28 kilometer) to find the ruin is on your right.

Aghameen Schoolhouse Location– CLICK ME!!!!

I marked the a portion of the Tain Way with a red line where it passes near the Old Schoolhouse.

Aghameen Schoolhouse Location closer– CLICK ME!!!!

This is the road as viewed from the ruin looking south…..

Schoolhouse Ruin stone fence– CLICK ME!!!!

….and the distant view of the uniquely shaped peak Slievenaglogh to the southeast. Slievenaglogh in Irish is Sliabh na gCloch and means mountain of rocks. There is an identically named peak in the Mourne Mountains, to the north across Carlingford Loch. Slievenaglogh of Cooley Peninsula is an interesting element of south view from this valley.

Schoolhouse Ruin stone fence– CLICK ME!!!!

The ruin itself. Schoolhouse Ruin stone fence– CLICK ME!!!!

…behind a stone fence and gate posts.

Schoolhouse Ruin stone fence– CLICK ME!!!!

Overgrown with ferns, moss, grass…..

Schoolhouse Ruin stone fence– CLICK ME!!!!

…the ever present lichen.

Schoolhouse Ruin stone fence– CLICK ME!!!!

John’s son, Sean Mills, was with us.  That day, Sean lead us on Tain Way over the Golyin Pass over Slieve Foy with Carlingford as the destination.  Indeed, the Tain Way passes a few feet from this spot, being a loop of the Cooley peninsula. The Way is a two day walk, our starting point was a few miles from the schoolhouse.

Click for the previous posting in this series, “Happy Saint Patrick’s Day 2017”.

Click for the next posting in this series, “Annie Moore and her brothers”.Click for the next posting in this series, “Annie Moore and her brothers”.

Schoolhouse Ruin stone fence– CLICK ME!!!!

Red Sun over Cornell University

 

On this spring equinox morning a huge sun, filtered by morning clouds, hangs over East Hill and Cornell University. Taken from our home on West Hill, looking across the valley and Ithaca, New York.

The temperature is a balmy 18 degrees F.

Also…Happy Anniversary to my dear wife, Pam.  XOXOXO

Click the pic to visit my online gallery

Red Sunrise Over Cornell– CLICK ME!!!!

Red Sunrise Over Cornell– CLICK ME!!!!

Can you pick out these Cornell landmarks?
— Jenny McGraw Tower
— Lib Slope still covered in snow from last week’s storm.
— the looming fortress shape of Bradford Hall.

Red Sunrise Over Cornell– CLICK ME!!!!

Happy Saint Patricks Day 2017

On the Tain Way

On Monday, June 9, 2014, cousins John Mills dropped his son, Sean Mills, myself and Pam Wills off at the foot of the western slopes of Slieve Foy on the Tain Way.  Sean, Pam and I walked the way over the mountain and into Carlingford in the footsteps of epic Irish heroes.

Click the pic to visit my online gallery

On the Tain Way– CLICK ME!!!!

Click for the next post of this series,Click for the next post of this series, Irish CountrySide: a Schoolhouse Ruin.

A Far Country X: Hanging Valley

amazing resolution with the Canon 24 mm lens

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)

The resolution of the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM makes this lens a favorite of mine for landscape work.  Let me show you why.

In the previous post of this series you learned about a wonderfully shaped tree, a branch really, of Tempanos fjord.

The valley today’s posting lies behind the tree.  It is a broad valley shaped by ancient glaciers.

Here is the Google Earth view, from an elevation of 9,400 feet, with the ship position marked.  Northwest is a pushpin titled, “Hanging Valley and Waterfall.”

A Far Country X– CLICK ME!!!!

The waterfall marking the hanging valley is visible in the following photograph.   All photographs in this posting are from a Canon EOS-1Ds MarkIII, 24 mm lens (see above for complete name), on a Manfrotto travel tripod.  ISO 500, f5.6 or f6.3.

With a point of view about 50 feet above the water the valley bottom is hidden behind an 800 foot hill and the water fall is just above the hill.  See it?  …..I didn’t think so.

There is the island with the tree, to the left.  The following image is the same photograph, with the central section enlarged.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

The enlargement brings out the play of light, the low clouds, deep in the valley.  To provide scale, know those are full sized pines on the hillside, foreground.  The waterfall is just about visible.  I will enlarge the image one more time.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

There it is!!  I stepped up contrast, as well.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is another version of the original view.  That patch of sky had opened up seconds after the first shot and, as a result, the 3,000 door mountain and waterfalls, on right, are better lit.  Notice the bare rock face on the mountain slope, marking a landslide.

Click this image for a high resolution version, in your browser.

Fjord Island and Broad Valley– CLICK ME!!!!

A different landslide Scar is featured in two previous blogs,

A Far Country V: Landslides!!

A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord

The Regatta’s course brought us closer for the two following shots.

The lovely sky is still visible…..

Mountain and Waterfalls

….one minute later the clouds gather and relative darkness returns.

Fjord and Valley

The contents of this blog are Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen WillsThe lovely sky is still visible…..The lovely sky is still visible…..

A Far Country IX: Bonsai Shape

Compelling Plant Shapes

Visit the previous entry of this series: A Far Country VII: View of Tempanos Fjord

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)

Here is a Google Earth view of Tempanos Fjord from 9,400 feet, looking north, northwest over a point on the fjord 6.5 miles from Iceberg Glacier, at 4 pm local time on February 17, 2016.  This view is interesting for the insignificant island, .75 mile long, and broad mountain valley to the north fringed with waterfalls.

Marked is the location of a tree, “bonsai”, a feature of the fjord cliffs, “Landslide Scar” and a neighboring Fjord, “Farquhar Fjord.”

This blog features the tree.

The Landslide Scar is featured in two previous blogs,

A Far Country V: Landslides!!

A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord

You may view a headland forming the southern wall of Farquhar Fjord in my blog

Navigating the Messier Channel

The Farquhar Fjord entrance opens onto the entrance of Tempanos Fjord and is the last photograph.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

A photograph from our port side stateroom deck includes both the island and broad valley.  The misshapen tree, the “bonsai”, is on an islet to the right and in front of the island.  It is the small stump backlit by water reflection.  The stump is more interesting than can be seen in this image from a handheld camera, at 24 mm.  I used the variable lens for a closer look.

24 mm bonsai view– CLICK ME!!!!

From this 133 mm, f8.0, 1/250 sec and ISO 800, still handheld, interesting details come into view.  The islet is a rock on which clings a bed of moss.  Several ferns, a sapling (on the far side) and a stump, on the right, are surviving.  The stump presumably supported a small tree of which a “bonsai-like” twig remains.

Bonsai are fascinating, created through the art and skill of emulating pleasing natural forms.  Here the moss encrusted twists and miniature tree crown were formed from a difficult environment.  Bonsai of Japan originated from an ancient Chinese tradition of penjing (“tray plant”).  The inspiration for this are, at origin and now, must be, in part, from admiration of the tenacity and beauty of these plants.

133 mm bonsai view– CLICK ME!!!!

At the 200 mm maximum my Sony Alpha 770 (1/400, f9, ISO 800) image is a little fuzzy, still with great details.

From my interest in bonsai I am on the lookout for shapes such as this. Travelling the challenging environment of the Chilean Fjords I found examples here and there.

200 mm bonsai view – CLICK ME!!!!

 

The contents of this blog are Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills

A Far Country VII: View of Tempanos Fjord

A mountain and waterfall ringed bowl.

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)

4:00 pm local time the Oceania was approximately 5 miles from the Iceberg Glacier, moving forward at a slow rate of speed, 4.6 knots.  Here are more views of the mountain-ringed bowl behind a 1,000 foot cliff, the formation featured in my blog A Far Country IV: Tempanos Fjord.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

Both photographs are handheld using my Sony Alpha700, ISO 800, variable lens set to 45mm, 1/250 f13.  At the same time I shot from a tripod mounted Cannon, 24 mm wide angle fixed focus lens.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The following capture from Google Earth is the view from 12,200 feet.  Regatta’s position is the “5 miles from Iceberg Glacier” pushpin.  The formation is almost due north.  We were surprised to see a ranger station in this uninhabited area, not yet in view.  The white line, lower right, is the border between the Aisen (north) and Magellanic (south) Chilean regions.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The contents of this blog are Copyright 2016 Michael Stephen Wills

A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord

Fjord View

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)

By 3:20 pm local time the Oceania was approximately 1.75 miles from the Iceberg Glacier and the captain positioned the ship for a starboard side glacier view.  From our port side stateroom terrace Pam and I had this sweeping view of the way we had come.

Tempanos Fjord is a mile across here and we have a clear view of the landslide scar feature in my last blog.  It is 7.75 miles distant, a small white patch on the fjord wall.  The landscape scar marks where the fjord bends, changing north, northeast course to an east, southeast direction.  Before the bend, the Iceberg glacier is not visible.  Turn the bend and the glacier is plainly visible in the distance if the viewer is looking over the ship bow.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The following capture from Google Earth is the view from 14,000 feet.  Marked are the locations of the landslide scar and the ship position were I first photographed the scar on our way into Tempanos Fjord.  The red line  ship’s course may be followed out of the fjord back to the Messier Channel.  The fjord follows a course among mountain peaks and deep valleys.  My blog A Far Country IV: Tempanos Fjord features a view of one of those valleys.  A great pleasure of sailing Tempanos Fjord is the many vistas opening one to another.

Tempanos Fjord View West, Northwest– CLICK ME!!!!

The contents of this blog are Copyright 2016 Michael Stephen Wills

A Far Country V: Landslides!!!

All is Larger than it First Appears

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)

By 2:45 pm local time the Oceania was almost 4 miles into Tempanos Fjord, 10.5 miles from the Iceberg Glacier, when this telling gash on a mountain buttress forming the side of one of many glacial valleys.

First View of the Landslide scar– CLICK ME!!!!

Here is the Google Earth overview of our course that day through Tempanos Fjord, as the red line. Visible is the Farquhar Fjord, to the north. Marked is the position of the scar and the approximate position where I took the first view. Where the fjord bends to the southeast the glacier is not yet visible.

Overview of Mouth of Tempanos Fjord– CLICK ME!!!!

The scar, for all the rawness of the stone, is not recent. There was time for a forest to cover the destruction. The Oceania steamed past, making steady progress. The gash appeared ahead, unremarked. I wonder what the effect was after the cracks, slowly widened over decades by the ice, forced friction to give way to gravity, the mountainside sliding, perhaps, into the fjord. Hard to tell. There is no remnants of the slide visible.

Approaching the Scar -- CLICK ME!!!!

All is larger than it first appears.  Those are full size pines below the scar.  It is the steepness of the cliff face that holds off the vegetation, the whiteness of the rock the source of the apparent freshness of the gash.

Long Lens on the Scar -- CLICK ME!!!!

The mountainsides are threaded with waterfalls. Look closely to the left of the gash for a very thin line ending in a spray.

Visit the next entry of this series: A Far Country VI: View of Tempanos Fjord.

Visit the previous entry of this series: A Far Country IV: Tempanos Fjord.

Visit the first entry of this series: Lighthouse on Cape Rapier.

(Click any photograph to visit my online gallery)
The contents of this blog are Copyright 2016 Michael Stephen Wills

Spider Orchid Grand Flowering

grand flowering of an anniversary present to my wife

Here in Ithaca we have a greenhouse specializing in orchids. Several years ago if visited and picked up several for my wife, Pam, as a present for our wedding anniversary. Pam’s orchids site in our east facing bay window. This Caladenia, or spider orchid, has bloomed several times under her care. This bloom was especially successful.

These flower are an achievement. Caladenia are difficult to maintain and cultivate outside of their native environment. Most are endemic to Australia and New Zealand.