Slieve Gullion Forest Road

Visit a viewpoint in southern County Armagh, Northern Ireland

Yesterday, I simultaneously published nine photographs on my ImageKind Ireland Gallery and Getty IStock (click the links to visit): nine views taken from the slopes of Slieve Gullion.

Sunday, May 25, 2014 was a happy day for Pam and I.  It was the first full day of an eighteen (18) we filled with Ireland, travelling in a loop of the island following the coast from, naming the counties where we spent time on the ground, Louth, Armagh, Dublin, Meath, Wicklow, Cork, Kerry, Claire, Mayo, Antrim, Down and back to Louth.  The counties of Northern Ireland are in italics.  Indeed, at this time the politics allowed us to travel freely between the Republic and the North.  That day, our morning was spent in Louth attending mass, enjoying our first meeting with the family over a substantial mid-day meal (click the link for my Facebook album of the meeting).  We split off that afternoon to visit the home of my cousin, Mary and her husband Joseph in County Armagh, just over the border.  When Joseph offered to drive us over to Slieve Gullion it was totally new to us, we had no conception of the place or what to expect.

It was such a gift, we are grateful to Joseph for this experience.  Only in 2018 when, at 64 years of age and retired”, was I able to research the place and spend time developing the photographs for publication.  Two of the photographs illustrate this posting, to view the others in my online gallery, click either photograph.

Slieve is the Irish language word for “mountain.”  Slieve Gullion is a lone eminence, one remnant of volcanic eruptions about 60 million years ago during the rifting of continents that produced the Atlantic Ocean.  Around the mountain is the Ring of Gullion, a string of hills, 26 miles by 11 miles, surrounding the mountain and formed from the ancient collapse of a volcanic caldera.  The technical name for it is a Ring Dyke and it was the first of its kind to be recognized and mapped, well before the nature of the formation was understood of be volcanic.  The name Gullion is derived, in one formulation, from the name of the metalsmith, Culann.  In Irish Myth, Culann’s home and workshop was on the slope of Slieve Gullion.  A wealthy and respected personage, Culann invited  Conchobhar mac_Neasa, king of Ulster to feast.  During his approach to the mountain, passing through the surrounding plain, the king stopped to watch boys play hurling.  Among them was the future hero of Ulster, the young Sétanta.  Impressed with Sétanta athletic abilities, the king invited him to join in the feasting at Culann and the boy promised to follow after the game.  Later, while climbing the mountain to fulfill his promise Sétanta was attacked by the guard dog of Culann.  The myth says the dog was killed by Sétanta in self-defense.  Never the less, in compensation to Culann, Sétanta committed to rearing a replacement and to act as guard dog in the meantime.  In this way he became known as Cu Culann, “the dog of Culann.”  Click for more about Cu Culann.

On the summit two cairns north and south of a small lake, tangible proofs of ancient peoples and beliefs.  The north cairn is a more ancient passage grave, 90 feet wide, 16 feet high, the opening aligned with the setting sun on the winter solstice.  The cairn north of the lake is less ancient containing two cist burials.  For our visit Joseph drove us along the 8 mile drive.  The following is an image of a viewing platform and the road.  Just beyond, on the right, where the ridge meets the road, is the trail to the 1,880 foot summit of Slieve Gullion.  Our arrival disturbed sheep resting on the asphalt.  I’d have loved to spent a day climbing the summit, but it was not to be this trip.

Viewing Platform with Sheep – CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.

The way is part of the Slieve Gullion Forest Park.  Throughout are turnoffs to admire the view.  It was during our frequent stops I pulled out the photography gear to grab the views.  Here is one, looking southwest.  For the other views, click either photograph to visit my Online Gallery of Ireland.

North View from Slieve Gullion– CLICK ME for more Ireland photography.
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Loughan Bay Ruins, County Antrim

Deserted Cottages above the Irish Sea

We pulled off the side of Torr Road for this fine view on the way to Torr Head to take in this view of the Irish Sea.  The steeply rising distant headland is the Mull of Kintyre. Loughan an Lochan, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Michael Wills – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

We parked on a turnout above the Loughan Cottages, near this farmer’s sheep pen.  He drove up in a huge tractor and conversed with Pam while I was below shooting the cottages. He made a good impression.

Loughan Bay Farmer – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

Roofless walls of a cottage more substantial than the other deserted ruins above Loughan Bay, with two fireplaces a walled porch with a view. A number of outbuilding foundations lay around. The integrity of the walls, chimneys and gables speaks to the quality of construction. A freighter in the North Channel of the Irish Sea is visible in the distance above the upper ridge. Beyond is the island of Islay, Scotland, about 30 miles distant. Loughan an Lochan, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

I am happy to report a series of thirteen (13) photographs of these ruins were accepted for publication by Getty.  You can click any of the photographs in this posting for my Getty portfolio.

Loughan Cottages Ruins above Crockan Point – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

The land slopes steeply to a rocky beach.

Ruin Above Loughan Bay – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

A thick growth of ferns, grass on the gable was once a home with a view of Scotland’s Mull of Kintyre 13 miles across the North Channel of the Irish Sea.  The Isle of Sanda just visible on the right of the far gable.  A landform named Alisa Crag is just visible in the distance, to the left of the nearest gable. 

Single Room Loughan Bay Cottage – CLICK ME for my Getty Portfolio.

Please browse my reasonably priced stock photography. License a photograph, download and use it for your website or blog. Click this link to browse all my Getty IStock Photography offerings.

Or click this link or any photograph or this link to select a print with custom framing from my “Ireland” Fine Art Gallery.

Interested in learning more about this site?  I have a series of postings on Loughan Bay.  Click for the first posting in this series.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills, All Rights Reserved.

Botanic Garden of Belfast

In closing

The Ulster Museum is set among the Botanic Gardens. It was in the gardens on this rainy Saturday Pam and I wandered for twenty minutes to sweep away the cobwebs of our rainy drive from Coleraine.

I do not have an identification for the following photograph. If you know, please comment. Thank You.

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“Tropical” palm trees and bromeliad are found throughout Ireland. Thank You Gulf Stream.

Another unidentified plant…..

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Paper Thin and Wet

Poppies!!! Petals like paper

The Ulster Museum is set among the Botanic Gardens. It was in the gardens on this rainy Saturday, after the Foxglove flowers of yesterday’s post, flourishing, bright red poppy flowers caught my eye.

Here is a take on poppy flower buds on long stems among leaves.

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Poppy is a storied plant, most species do not produce the narcotic alkaloids associated with sleep and death, pain control. Papaveroideae, the sub-family of these plants, is derived from the Latin for paper, papyrus. You can see the association in the following photographs, petals drenched in water, crumpling like wet paper.

….and more.

..to be continued…..

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Foxglove

Approach to the Museum

The Ulster Museum is set among the Botanic Gardens. It was in the gardens on this rainy Saturday we needed the umbrellas several times during our twenty minute digression before the museum engulfed us.

The rain brought out this snail, house on its back.

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We found flowers flourishing throughout the island. These foxglove were huge. The common name is after Leonhard Fuchs, who first described it. “Fuchs” is German for fox.

..to be continued…..

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Entrance

Approach to the Museum

The Ulster Museum is set among the Botanic Gardens. It was in the gardens on this rainy Saturday. We needed the umbrellas several times during our twenty minute digression before the museum engulfed us.

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A solid fence, more dignified than a “Keep Off The Grass” sign.

This large, 28 acre, city owned park is free, opened to the public. It is treated with suitable respect by the residents.

..to be continued…..

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Gardens

Approach to the Museum

The Ulster Museum is set among the Botanic Gardens. Armed with umbrellas, Pam and I parked on this interesting street, Colenso Parade, on one side these row houses, on the other the gardens.

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We parked and walked in, free as you please, taking in some of the beauty on our way to “Treasures from the Girona”, a permanent Ulster Museum exhibit.

Our time strolling the walks was all too brief, 20 minutes, not enough to savor the treasures of knowledge suggested by the words “Botanic Garden.”

..to be continued…..

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Coffee

After the Ulster Museum and Garden

After our tour of the Ulster Museum and the Botanic Gardens of Belfast we stopped in for refreshment across the street at Maggie May’s Belfast Cafe. I am wearing a Cortland Line Company fishing vest adapted for photography. I purchased the vest at the company store, Cortland, New York just north of our Ithaca home.

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Our latte’s were perfection. The header photo looks forward to our visit to the gardens.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Breezemont Manor

math-bhuilich Coleraine and July 2020

A steady, drenching rain graced the landscape and ourselves during the road trip from Coleraine to Belfast. These are the parting photographs of Breezemont Manor, our lodging for the Antrim Glens exploration (see “A Bit about Torr Head for an entry point).

Before leaving I did a cursory photographic tour, skipping the messy bedroom. We arrived very late, after the posted arrival time. A plain-spoken Ulster Scotsman kindly let us in with a few choice words. After dinner out photographing the very nice room in pristine state was neglected.

The foyer, carpeted in a plaid and photographed below, bore the Scottish identity of the proprietor.

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Throughout there were tinted etchings, featuring local buildings.

An overview of the property. The glassed-in addition on the right hand (east) side is the breakfast room.

We enjoyed two breakfasts here.

There is a strong connection with the USA, where many Ulster Scots emigrated, including my own great and double great paternal grandmothers.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

La Girona VIII

Whistle, Astrolab and more

Let’s finish our exploration of the “Treasures from the Girona” permanent exhibit, Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

One hundred and eighty five (185) years after La Girona ran aground and broke up on the, later named, Spanish Rocks, the first reliable navigational chronometer was tested (1773). The navigators of the Spanish Armada remnants were sore pressed to follow the orders of their commander (see below) because (1) Spanish charts were incomplete and inaccurate (2) without accurate time keeping they were only able to reliably measure the location north/south (latitude), not east/west (longitude). Without this, navigators used Dead Reckoning, they measured current position from the last position, heading (direction of motion), and speed.

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The astrolab (below), used to measure the angle between a heavenly body (sun/moon/star) and the horizon at a given time of day, obtained the latitude. The dividers used on the (unreliable) charts. A weight on a measured cord determined the depth of the bottom. Not recovered was the instrument for estimating speed. It is a length of rope knotted at set intervals and attached to a “chip log” resistant to passage through water. Thrown into the water a sailor counted how many knots passed by in a given time, thus the designation, still used today, of speed in “knots”.

Sound (a whistle) was the method used for command and control by both Spanish and British.

Interesting odds and ends.

Evidence of trade between England and Spain.

Thank You for visiting (Click for the first post of this series)

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills