Old Zoo Entrance

Dublin Zoo Entrance

This blog is slowly turning into a miniature history lesson, that may have something to do with my new found obsession with photographing all the lodges and dwellings within the park. It came as a great surprise to me to find there were 35 such buildings in the park, ranging from small gate lodges to the likes of Aras An Uachtarain. I have decided to try and photograph as many of them as I am allowed to basically, so sit back and relax as this blog turns away from trees and takes a long look at lodges. You will notice directly behind this truly beautiful lodge sits an equally beautiful tree, I just can’t stop myself, sorry.

This is actually the original entrance to the zoo and was built somewhere around 1833. The building has been beautifully restored to its original state and is well worth a visit if you have ten minutes to spare before or after you visit the zoo. My memory tells me I used to enter the zoo via this entrance when I was a kid in the seventies, but in reality I can’t remember most things I did last week, never mind forty years ago. It would make an amazing addition to the zoo if they were to open it up to the public again. When you are up close you will realise just how very tiny it actually is.

The photo was taken on a Bronica medium format camera using Kodak Tri-x 120mm film. The print was made by my very own hands in a traditional darkroom

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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Gates Of The Walled Garden

Farmleigh House

These are the side gates into the wonderful walled garden on the grounds of Farmleigh in the park. These gates are located to the right of the main gates to the garden, almost directly behind the boat house café. If you are familiar with Farmleigh you will most likely know exactly where these gates are, if you don’t really know Farmleigh then I recommend you rectify that matter and get yourself down there sometime. I love this place in both Summer and Winter, both seasons have their charm. The staff who look after this place have an awful lot to be very proud of, parts of it are wonderfully wild but other sections look like they have been trimmed with a pair of small scissors, such is the care that goes into it. Some day I expect to arrive and find an army of gardeners down on their knees trimming each individual blade of grass to the exact height. I have been informed by staff in the house that these mysterious gardeners only work in the dead of night though, so no chance of a photograph to prove my theory.

(Sometimes I like to bend the truth on this blog, this could be one of those moments)

The photo was taken on a Bronica medium format camera using Kodak Tri-x 120mm film.
The print was made by my very own hands in a traditional wet darkroom.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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Alternatively you can purchase unsigned prints or postcards of this photo from the Redbubble site from as little as €2.50 by clicking this link.

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Another One Bites The Dust

Regular visitors will probably already know that apart from being dedicated to the world inside the Phoenix Park this website is also somewhat obsessed with trees, be they upright or fallen. Whilst I am always a bit sad to come across fallen trees, I do also love to photograph them in all their majestic [but dead] glory. This one has been sitting on the ground for so long at this stage that it was almost entirely covered in lovely soft fluffy moss.

I wish I could do a scratch and sniff feature with this photo as the smell in the area when I was taking it was just amazing. A friend of mine recently described it as the smell of slightly stale hummus, not sure I totally agree but I like it nonetheless.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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The Phoenix Park Dolmen

Phoenix Park Dolmen

I have been on the lookout for this particular spot for many months now.
My interest was originally sparked when I happened to see a Neolithic Cist marked on an old map which featured in the truly wonderful book “An Illustrated History Of The Phoenix Park” written by park superintendent John McCullen. I wasn’t entirely sure of its exact location but I did know that is was somewhere just outside the perimeter of the park ranger’s lodge. So my first job was to find the park rangers lodge. Not that difficult in fairness.

My research has led me to believe that this particular cist [or Dolmen as I like to call it] was known as “Knockmary” deriving its name from “Cnoc-Maraidhe” meaning the hill of the mariners. The mound on which the cist sits was originally about 40m in width and was possibly up to 3m in height. The mound was excavated [I don’t know when] and three human remains were found along with several grave goods, including a shell necklace. Unfortunately the cist is the only original element to survive to this day, but still, it’s a wonderful place to just sit and wonder about the history of this particular spot. I must admit it’s a lot smaller than other dolmens that I have seen in this country in the past but it’s still a thing of real beauty.

Imagine having this kind of history just outside your front garden, lucky park ranger eh.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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May Be The Gates Of The Cheshire Home

Near The Cheshire Home

This was actually the photo I was on my way to take when I happened to stumble upon the dead pigeon in the previous post [click here]

I really have no idea where these gates lead to but my educated guess would be an alternative entrance into the Cheshire Home. The gates are now quite rusted and chained up with a big padlock. As you can probably see from the overgrown trees the gates haven’t been opened in quite some time. The tree on the right hand side of the picture is what really caught my attention [as I nearly walked on a dead pigeon]. It looks like some creature from a sixties low budget horror movie. It was almost consuming the gatepost but was actually attacking it from above. The next scene in this movie features only one gate post and the viewer thinking about what is missing.

I decided to get really low down on the ground to take this one [what must the staff in the park think of me at this stage], by that I mean I actually lay down on the ground, I really wanted to make the place look like the entrance to Bates Motel from Psycho. I think the dead leaves scattered on the ground really add to the haunting feel of the scene.

After taking the photo, I then had to go straight home as I was all wet from lying on the ground. I’m a fool for my art

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Fallen Tree

I am beginning to think I have developed some kind of subconscious love of fallen or broken trees. Not sure when this actually started but I have discovered four or five posts on such subjects at this stage. I suppose it is just the nature of photographing trees that I am obviously going to stumble across many of these things, but what makes me have to photograph them I just don’t know. I suppose there is some kind of obscure beauty to these trees, nature tries to defeat them but they just struggle on and slowly repair themselves.

The trees in the background have appeared on this blog before, they are becoming regulars at this stage but I had to explain to them on this particular day they would have to play second fiddle. They were very understanding about this scenario and behaved themselves very well indeed.

The little stone bridge on the left hand side has also been captured before, who knows I may just have it set up on wheels and I bring it everywhere with me.

Enjoy.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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Another One Of The Dog Pond

Phoenix Park

Ok, I have actually published another shot of this particular little pond in the park before (see here) but this time I decided to get inside the cluster of trees and see what I could make of the outside world from within.

It’s kind of ironic as the previous post from outside the cluster of trees was captured on a digital camera and then processed to look like medium format film, whereas this one actually is medium format film. I’m still madly in love with the square format of the pictures that come of out my borrowed Bronica [thanks again Caroline] so I find myself revisiting many places to see just how differently I frame a shot within the same area.

It’s quite a simple photograph but hey, I kinda like it.

The photo was shot on a very old Bronica film camera using Kodak Tri-x 400 film.
The print was made by my very own hands in the darkroom in The Gallery Of Photography in Temple Bar.

Blast Off.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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The Boot Monument

The Boot Monument

Ok, this is officially the last one in my series of photos about the Wellington Monument.

I am going to keep this one short and sweet, I’m breaking the mould here with a lovely sugary sweet story about the funny things that little kids say sometimes. I tend to keep these kind of things out of the blog, everybody’s kids say funny things so it’s really nothing new for mine to do it.

So, here’s how the story goes.

We are down in IMMA playing in the gardens one day, that’s the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in case you are wondering. From the gardens you can see the Wellington Monument rising up into the sky. I was simply testing my three year olds memory and asked him what was the name of that giant thing over there amongst the trees. He replies “It’s the Boot Monument Daddy”, I must admit I was a tad disappointed that he didn’t remember what it was called, trust me I tell him enough times the poor little fella. We tend to visit the park quite a lot, I always feel I could be missing something if I don’t visit the place at least once a week. Anyway, back to the main story. So I don’t tell him he is actually wrong I just tell him “Good guess but it’s actually the Wellington Monument” and we move on. A few minutes later I ask him again, he pauses looks over at the big stone structure and informs me yet again “It’s the Boot Monument”. I simply have an internal sigh and we just move on with no more comments. A few minutes later I finally realise what he is doing, pat him on the head with one of those “I’m so proud of you son” looks on my face and tell him “You are right son, it is called the Boot Monument”.

I hope it doesn’t take you as long as I took to realise the crazy [but superb] logic that was going on in his head.

Now, that’s the fluffy feel good post out of the way for the year.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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My Name Is Wellington

Wellington Monument

The Wellington Monument, eh ?

It’s beginning to seem like a little personal dual between the two of us at this stage.
Ok, I am well aware that this very large inanimate object doesn’t purposely try to elude me but sometimes it just feels that way. All I am asking of this massive stone structure is to simply situate itself in one of my photographs so that I can finally be happy with it and then move on to something else. Every time I pass by I spot another opportunity to catch it unawares, set up my camera and quickly snap. Actually it never really happens like that, I usually spend about twenty minutes looking through the lens trying to get everything just right, there is nothing quick about setting up a huge medium format camera on a tripod and then measuring all the different sources of light.

I have to admit I really like this one. I think it almost looks like I managed to slowly sneak up on the gigantic pillar and press the shutter button before it ran away. Ok, I will repeat myself here, I know it can’t move or run away but I am taking no risks at this stage.

For those of you who have never been in the Phoenix Park, this thing is really huge. For those of you who have been in the Phoenix Park, it’s huge isn’t it. Tell the rest of them how big it is.

I should warn you, this is the beginning of a series of three new shots I have of the monument, so if you don’t like this one then I advice you stay away for a week or two.

Taken on a Bronica medium format camera filled with Kodak Tri-x 400 speed 120mm film. I printed the photo myself in a traditional darkroom [sorry, I like to boast from time to time]

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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To purchase a signed 11 x 11 inch print of this photo, just click the button below.

You can either pay directly via paypal or with your own credit card. The Prints are €25.00 each and that includes shipping to anywhere in the world. Your print will be made to order and will ship out within 48 hours.
If you would like a bigger or smaller size please don’t hesitate to email me with your requests.

Alternatively you can purchase unsigned prints or postcards of this photo from the Redbubble site from as little as €2.50 by clicking this link.

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The Lonely Bench

The Lonely Bench

I always find something very sad and lonely about park benches during the winter months. I often wonder if these benches had feelings then how would they feel during the winter when literally nobody wants to sit and spend a bit of time with them. I started to think this myself as I sat on this exact bench only a couple of minutes before taking this shot. I had just bought a coffee in the nearby boat house restaurant and decided against sitting inside on such a beautiful winters morning. Don’t get me wrong here it was actually bloody freezing but still I always think if the sun is shining then get out and enjoy it. When you live in a county like Ireland you really do tend to appreciate these kind of sunny winters days. When I open the curtains in the morning during the winter and see just a sliver of sunshine I usually make up my mind to get out and about in it.

(Comments and opinions are greatly appreciated, please feel free to let me know what you think)

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To purchase a signed 11×10 inch print of this photo, just click the button below.

You can either pay directly via paypal or with your own credit card. The Prints are €25.00 each and that includes shipping to anywhere in the world. Your print will be made to order and will ship out within 48 hours.
If you would like a bigger or smaller size please don’t hesitate to email me with your requests.

Alternatively you can purchase unsigned prints or postcards of this photo from the Redbubble site from as little as €2.50 by clicking this link.

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