Tatton Park and the folks you meet

A few shots from a recent visit to the Tatton Park Estate just outside Manchester. It’s one of those huge estates that’s now run by the National Trust and it really is a lovely place to spend a day, especially with the glorious weather we had. While there we of course went to see all the attractions – the big house, the gardens and the farm. The big house was just that – a big house with lots of rooms and really interesting stuff to see. Apparently Beatrix Potter lived there and the place is full of her characters.
I’ll probably get around to processing those pics at some stage but for the time being, here’s a few of the more interesting people I bumped into.

two men walking

Hidden stripes

Sometimes I like to hang around outside men’s toilets…….

man coming out of toilet


I mentioned Beatrix Potter once lived here – wouldn’t it be great if she was called Beatrix?

woman potter in her shop at wheel


I have to finish with a token colour photo and that’s just because of the flames. They just don’t work in B&W. I also wanted to show you the most expensive burgers in the world!
£6 Sterling I think it was for a cremated lump of mince in a Lidl bun. No onions, no lettuce, no gherkins, nothing! Lucky to get a squeeze of ketchup! Robbing bastards, but then stupid tourists like me are mugs for paying it.
And we think Ireland is expensive!

chef grilling burgers

Flame grilled burgers

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Charleville in 6 easy steps

So it’s that time of year again when we (at least some of us) head to the beautiful Charleville Castle in Tullamore for the annual Boards.ie bash. So what is Charleville all about?
To answer that question I’ve put together a short (long) six photo guide to what we do in Charleville.
Now being a photography weekend means lots of pictures are taken – at least that’s the theory. In practise, not a lot of pictures are taken unless it’s your first time there. Of course you can’t go there without taking a shot of the magnificent staircase, so here’s the said staircase. This is one shot you must get.

The beautiful staircase in Charleville

The beautiful staircase in Charleville

Once the photography is out of the way, we get down to the real business which is eatin ‘n’ drinkin. This is when we roll out the barrel and start burning some trees. The barrel becomes BBQ and the trees become a bonfire. A quick whip round for a kitty (for our German friends it’s a pot of money) followed by a foraging trip to Tesco and we’re ready to start cooking. If you haven’t tasted barbecued freeze pops yet, then you haven’t lived!

BBQ at Charleville Castle

BBQ at Charleville

Of course being an international event we have to cater for all creeds and cultures. One of our Spanish visitors treated us to the traditional Catalonian Penis Elongation ritual. I’m not quite sure how it worked so I’ll just leave the photo to speak for itself……

Man with big stick at trees

Traditional Spanish penis elongation ritual

With that lot out of the way, the bonfire gets going and the sparks are a flyin…..literally! We were covered in flying ash, cinders and sparks and we stank of smoke for two days. All the Pantene, Dove and Lynx in the world can’t get rid of the smell of smoke. In fact the inside of my car still smells of smoke two weeks later.

Bonfire at Charleville

The bonfire is underway

Then there’s the debauchery! What can I say? I haven’t seen debauchery like this since that day in Trim. Awful carry on and I couldn’t look at it, so I sent the wife down to take a photo – just in case like!

couple kissing at a bonfire

Disgraceful carry on

Of course as the night wears on and the drink kicks in the whole place becomes surreal. Photographic skills disappear and “art” sets in. Instead of record shots we get this…

Party on.....

Party on…..

Actually it’s not a bad representation of the great craic we had. The weather was kind to us, the company was brilliant, the food was plentiful and the drink flowed freely. What more could you ask for. So if you’re ever contemplating the trip to Charleville with the boards gang, this will give you some idea of what to expect.

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IAMO – Italian Love Story

Some of you may remember me mentioning how I shot over 900 images at one event and eventually whittled them down to 230 shots. That then prompted me to go out and shoot just “one roll of film” which resulted in this particular blog post.
Well here’s a few pics from that particular shoot.
The event was the inaugural performance of IAMO, An Italian Love Story – a musical produced and composed by Willie Hughes and Mark Cahill. The setting was the fabulous Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park and the opening night was a huge success. All I can say about Willie is that he was a hands on producer and was more than willing to get up there and show how it’s done.

Willie Hughes Producer of Iamo

Willie showing how it’s done

Of course without the people behind the scenes these shows just don’t happen. Mark and his crew backed up by a myriad of computers and technology kept the whole thing moving along nicely.

Mark Cahill at his control desk

Mark and the Starship Enterprise

Then of course we have the cast, or at least some of them. This is a shot from the dress rehearsal featuring the lovely Giada Mercandelli from Italy.

Iamo in action

The dress rehearsal


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Of sheep and men

So last Saturday saw us attend the Irish national Sheepdog Trials in Co. Roscommon which were held on the farm of Barra and Mary O’Brien. Although I’ve never seen a trial in the flesh I’ve always loved watching good dogs work and am a long time fan of One Man and his Dog on the telly. In fact as a teenager my two favourite programmes on a Sunday were the aforementioned One Man and his Dog followed by Countryfile – definitely a misspent youth! There was another programme on Sundays related to countryside issues fronted by an elderly bearded gentleman and I can’t for the life of me remember what it was – I loved that one too and if you know what it was called be sure to let me know.

So naturally a sheepdog trial is all about the working dog and the skill of his master in guiding him to control a flock of sheep.

Irish national sheepdog trials

Nowhere to run….

The dogs are simply amazing creatures with their instant reactions to their handler’s commands and their ability to guide sometwhat stubborn sheep who have other ideas.

Sheepdog turning sheep at a trial

The turn…….

These three gentlemen were relaxing in the sunshine enjoying the spectacle along with the hundreds of other spectators.

Three shepherds sitting down

Three wise men….

Speaking of other spectators…….

Spectators at the sheepdog trials

Spectators riveted to the action…..

You can see the full set over on Pix.ie

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