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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I Didn’t Kill It, Promise.

Dead Pigeon in the Phoenix Park

Ok so I didn’t kill this bird, you have probably gathered that from the title of this post, but just to be totally and utterly clear, I didn’t kill this bird.

I found this poor dead creature just lying on the ground not far from the main entrance into the Cheshire Home. There it was just placed perfectly on the pavement in this exact position. It’s fair to say I grinned like the Cheshire Cat with camera in hand and everything ready to take a picture of the gates of the actual hospital. Then I started thinking this is just too good to be true, he started to look like somebody had placed him in this perfect position and was now watching me from somewhere nearby. I started thinking I am going to appear on one of these prank shows in a couple of weeks time. Well, it hasn’t happened yet and nobody jumped out of the bushes to surprise me.

Strange and funny end to the story though. As I spent about twenty minutes getting everything ready to take the photograph I did notice a park wardens van driving by on a few occasions. I didn’t want them thinking I had murdered the bird so I kind of pretended to be pointing the camera in different places, just to keep their eyes off the ground. When I finally finished with the shot and started to pack away my camera the van comes back again and this time it stops right beside me. The guy gets out of the van, calmly says “Are you finished with him then” and scoops up the bird with a shovel and throws him in the back of his truck. Seems it was a bin truck and he was just doing a general clean up in the area. He obviously knew about the pigeon all along.

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Crucifix Tree

I should point out that I am no great knowledge on matters of lightening strikes and their frequency but quite a few members of staff in the park have assured me that they regularly see the results of trees being hit by it. I can honestly see no other cause to the damage done to this particular tree so lets just go with the flow here and assume that this poor fellow was a victim of nature and the cruel tricks it can play on its own.

I have passed by this particular copse on several occasions and have intended to wander a bit further in to investigate this tree sitting right in the middle. It’s a fairly muddy and damp little spot, surrounded by some very tall trees on the outside, so not a lot of sunshine gets through. The ground is very thick with grass and almost swampy in places but I finally kitted up in wellie boots and headed in. The day I picked was quite dark and was threatening to rain at any moment. It seemed like the perfect day to go on an adventure in here. Most of the tree trunks are covered in this beautiful lush green moss at the bottom and the smell is just wonderful. There is something rather wonderful about the damp smell of a thick cluster of trees when you get to the very heart of them.

Anyway, as usual I digress. When I was actually setting everything up I met one of the park rangers who told me about the lightening strikes and after a few minutes conversation he started to wander off, just then he turns around and tells me “It looks like a crucifix doesn’t it”, I couldn’t argue with him on that one.

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

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Wellington Testimonial

The Wellington Testimonial

Ok, I think we are finally at the end of my [slight] obsession with the Wellington Testimonial, to use it’s proper name. If you are reading this Conor, then look, I have finally used the official name.

Most people, including myself I should add, call this particular structure the Wellington Monument, well I have news for you now my friends, it’s actually called the Wellington Testimonial.

The Wellington Testimonial was designed by Robert Smirke as a testimonial to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. It was completed in 1861 and is the tallest obelisk in Europe at just over 62 metres tall. I gather it was once the largest obelisk in the world, but alas no longer, that medal belongs to the Washington Monument in, er………………Washington.

There are lots of great stories attached to the building of the monument but I think my favourite has to be the poor butler who allegedly managed to get himself sealed up inside the plinth. The story goes he slipped inside with lots of dirty crockery after an al fresco opening party and nobody noticed he was inside when they laid the final few blocks to seal up the entire structure. The poor guy wasn’t noticed missing for a few days. I wonder did he stash any food inside on the sly.

See ya soon.

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

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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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To purchase a signed 12 x 12 inch print of this photo, just click the button below.

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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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To purchase a signed 12 x 12 inch print of this photo, just click the button below.

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Broken Tree Stump In The Peoples Gardens

The Peoples Garden

It’s a tree, I know that but it’s neither a full tree nor are there lots of them.
I know I said I was trying to challenge myself by moving away from trees, for a little while at least, but this is not my usual kind of view of life. I am not really one for getting up close and personal when it comes to photography, I do like to stand back from things a little bit. This shot, like many, came about completely accidentally. I am on a mission at the moment to try and photograph as many of the lodges in the park as I physically can, there are up to 35 in total so be patient with me on this one. Anyway, I was in the Peoples Garden one beautiful sunny day trying to get my hands on a decent shot of the lodge within the gardens. The lodge itself is completely surrounded by a five foot hedge so it was taking me a while trying to find a decent angle to allow the lodge rise above its surroundings. I found a rather large tree stump and after standing on it and setting up my camera discovered I could almost get the entire house into the shot from this elevated angle. By the time I had tripod set up, camera tested, light meter sorted, focus tested and retested, a crowd of about twenty teenage Italian students arrived on the scene. No problem there I thought, in fact they may just add something to the scene. Then they all started to practise some bizarre form of group dancing, you know the kind you see in really bad R’n’B videos. I’m not putting that in my photograph, sorry if I seem a bit snobbish about it but come on, group dancing in a black and white landscape photograph. So I waited……….and waited.

I sat down on the ground and held my head in my hands waiting on this to end.

Then I noticed this little fella looking straight at me with his “Please photograph me” stumpy branches. And so I did, and I ended up really liking the results.

By the way, I have absolutely nothing against Italian students, they just happened to be Italian students. In fact, I’m a part time Juve fan so you could say I have a love of all things Italian.

Arrivederci

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

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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.
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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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Thank You

Phoenix Park School

 

Thank You

I just want to say a really big thank you to everybody who came to my exhibition launch last night in the Workmans Club. I had a great night and I hope you all enjoyed it too. It was my first opportunity to display any of my pictures in public and I have to admit I got a real blast out of hearing peoples reactions to the photos and finding out all your favourites. To say I am happy is a huge understatement.

Here’s a photo of the Phoenix Park just to celebrate.

And for anybody who couldn’t make it last night, I know it’s hard getting out on a Tuesday night, the show will continue until the end of April. You can go and view the photos anytime until then. The bar itself opens every day from 5pm, so feel free to pop in and grab a quick pint, cocktail or just a coffee.

For anybody interested in buying one of the framed prints just email me at the address on the contact me page

Thanks again, and thank so much for all your kind words.

Dave

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To purchase a signed 12 x 8 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.
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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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Outside The Phoenix Park School

Near The Phoenix Park School

This shot was taken in a tiny little fenced in area directly outside the Phoenix Park School. I have always been intrigued by the building itself and to my shame I only discovered it was a school last year when I was given a gift of a book called “The Hidden Park”. It’s a really beautiful book of photography taken by people either working or living in the Phoenix Park. The book was produced and published by Ordnance Survey Ireland and features a host of works by various amateur photographers. If you have any kind of interest in the park and the people who work there then I highly recommend the book to you. It can be purchased directly from the Ordnance Survey Ireland offices located in the park, if you go past the turn into Farmleigh House you will see their offices on the right hand side.

The original school building seems to have been built around about 1848 and was designed by Decimus Burton. The school was built to cater for the children of the numerous people who actually lived in the park even at this early stage of its existence. Don’t quote me on this just yet but by my mental count there are between 30 to 40 different lodges / houses within the park so I’m sure the school itself was pretty busy.

I’m planning on a full count of lodges and houses within the park in the coming weeks, obviously with photographs to come too, so be patient with me while I do a little bit more research on these things. I have never really photographed many buildings before so this is kind of an exciting challenge for me.

All I need now is a bit of sunshine, anybody got any to spare out there.

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To purchase a signed 12 x 8 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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