Monochrome Mondays

Normally Mondays are not so happy for most of us. Today however is a good Monday, since I am off today and tomorrow! But I still have some work to do…such as share with you a new Monochrome Mondays. In the case of one thing leading to another, the other day I changed my profile photo on Facebook to one from Ireland last summer. After selecting it, I scanned through some of the other photos I took, when I came across this one again. For all the natural beauty of Ireland, it is also a place where you are easily reminded of it also being a place where people work hard, and the landscape often shows evidence of it. Piles of turf, or hay bales abound. So do little boats, which seem to be everywhere near the coast. I walked one day down to a tiny little pier in Kilcar, Donegal. By no means was it a beautiful scene, and with the tide in it had that not so attractive smell! But the contrast of this little boat, leaning to one side, while looking towards the town was too appealing for me not to take this photo.

Low Tide, Donegal

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

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Monochrome Mondays

Hello again! Since this week leads into Saint Patrick’s Day, I decided I would share another photo of Ireland today. Readers of this blog from the start will know that I have written about Ireland and Irish music before. Here on Monochrome Mondays I have also featured  some shots of Ireland, but I think those have all been shots along the fabulous coast of Donegal. This one is different though. It is still Donegal, but it is a photo of a wonderful old tree on the land where my mother and her siblings grew up. Seeing it again set against the sky on a beautiful summer day it reminded me not just of the actual tree roots that have kept it alive all these years, but also of family roots. Last year most of us gathered for a special event (which I wrote about here) but one evening a smaller group of the immediate family had a dinner at the old house. Looking around at this gathering I was struck by the contrast between the two. Strength of nature, strength of family. Tree roots, family roots. Irish roots. Nothing else like it!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day all!

Tree On Family Farm, Kilcar Co. Donegal

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Monochrome Mondays

Like most people I have always had a strong dislike for Mondays. That dislike is lessened each week when I realize that it is time to present you all with another Monochrome Mondays. This week is no exception! I took this shot last summer in Ireland. One of my favorite spots in all of Donegal are the dramatic sea cliffs of Slieve League. Its sheer height dominates the landscape for miles around, and once you get up to the cliffs themselves the steep, rocky cliffs stand strong against the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Year in, year out. Timeless.  Do stop by every Monday for a new monochrome photo of the week!

Slieve League, Donegal Ireland

Slieve League, Donegal Ireland

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Monochrome Mondays

Alright, lets keep the momentum going in Week 2 of Monochrome Mondays! I took this photo this summer in Kilcar, County Donegal Ireland. The local spot known as Muckross Head is one of my favorite places anywhere, a combination of unique cliffs pockmarked by centuries of ocean waves crashing together with a stunning vista of Donegal Bay.

If you are interested in contributing a photograph to Monochrome Mondays, let me know in the comments below. I plan on featuring one guest photo every month.

Ancient Rocks, Donegal

Ancient Rocks, Donegal

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Irish ‘Noise’

Muckross Head

Muckross Head, Kilcar Donegal

Last week I returned from a short trip to Ireland. The main reason for being there was for my great aunt Brid’s 100th Birthday Celebration. It was wonderful to be with my (large) extended family for such a special event, and it was also wonderful to be back in Ireland again. It had been eight years since my last trip, which was for our honeymoon. Even though I was there for only a few days after flying in, I made sure to make the most of it. That is something you just seem to do when you visit Ireland. Especially in Donegal where my family is all originally from. It is a place of wondrous beauty- all rugged coastlines and rolling hills, flowing streams and deep glens. Its hard to see it all, especially on such a short trip, but I made an effort to try. Of course I took my camera with me nearly everywhere I went. Below in the gallery are some highlights of the trip.

At this point I have written a few posts based around Ireland or the other Celtic countries (here and here). Like my other posts they were based around the idea of finding a musical pairing or match for the photographs I took so I do not want to repeat what I have already written about. On this trip, in between various family events, as I wandered around, I became aware more than ever before about the sounds of Ireland, or Irish ‘noise’ if you will.  When I thought about  new ways I could write about the country I thought that this idea was interesting. It starts innocently enough when stepping outside in the morning-the chirp of a bird, the incessant baa of sheep which are…everywhere, or the deep rumbling echo of a cow in the distance.

Cliffs Of Slieve League

Cliffs Of Slieve League

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Soundtrack Of A Photograph, Part 6

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DONEGAL ROOTS

“Tiocfaidh an samhradh agus fasfaidh an fhear
Tiocfaidh an duilliar ghlasar bharr na gcraobh”

“Summer will come and the grass will spring
And the trees will bring forth their foliage green”

As I write this in the last week of January 2014, the New York area, and indeed much of the United States is in a deep Arctic freeze, with snow and bitterly cold temperatures and winds that cut right through even the warmest clothing. That makes people long for some warmer weather, green grass and for the trees and flowers to bloom. Which brings to mind the traditional Irish song quoted above, Tiocfaidh An Samhradh, Summer Will Come, which certainly does the job transporting you to a warmer place in your mind on a bitterly cold day. The origins of the song are from one of my favorite places on earth, and it is a place to which I have strong family ties to. .

County Donegal in Ireland holds a very special place in my heart. My mom was born and raised in Donegal and once encountered; the landscape and the people stay with you. I have been to Ireland several times, but truth be told, other than some day trips outside Dublin, the only place I have really spent time in and become familiar with in Ireland is Donegal, especially the area near Cill Charthaigh, better known as Kilcar, where my mom grew up. Some day I want to explore more of Ireland but having so much family around in Donegal, there never seemed to be much of a point in doing so. Being there never feels like a burden, but rather a treat. It is often described as wild and timeless, the presence of the Atlantic Ocean never far amidst the sparse landscape and rugged hills. Though the usual modern intrusions are there now, it still feels unique and ancient somehow. The photographs I am using here have been taken on different trips there over the years. The wonder of Donegal and Ireland in general is that there are so many places where one can take the same photograph they took 30 years ago and have it look unchanged save for changes in photo technology.

Slieve League, 1983

Slieve League, 1983

Slieve League, 2008

Slieve League, 2008

Another thing that has remained a constant in Donegal over the years is traditional music. Donegal is one of the areas in Ireland that has a strong Gaeltacht presence (meaning an Irish speaking region). That has helped keep Donegal music firmly grounded and to me for well over 25 years now there has been no better Irish traditional group than Altan, whose roots lie in Donegal. Going over the history of Altan for this edition, I began by looking at their origins, which started with an album by a young couple in 1983, the same year that I went to Ireland for the first time. It was called Ceol Aduaidh by Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh on fiddle and vocals, and Frankie Kennedy on flute. Frankie Kennedy came from Belfast, and Mairead came from Gweedore, further up in Donegal than Kilcar, but also in a Gaeltacht area. A follow up album by the two in 1987 was called Altan, and shortly after, that became the name of the group.

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