City lights and stars over Dublin…
Can you imagine anything better than a cosy pub, a good meal and a nice fire after a walk in the rain? I can’t! I shared a lovely meal with my colleagues after spending the day exploring wicklow.
Johnny Fox is a pub in Glencullen in Wicklow. It’s established in 1798 and they claim it is the highest pub in Ireland. I do believe I’ve seen more pubs with that sign throughout the country though so I’m not sure. Facts anyone? It played a role in Irish history when it became a meeting place for the leaders of the 1916 rebellion.
People warned me that the Military Road up in Wicklow isn’t really accessible when it’s been snowing. And of course I saw the cars parked before the hill. But I’m sure you can guess what happened next: halfway up the hill I started sliding down and ended up beging stuck in the icy snow.. Big thanks to my colleague getting out, pushing my car and giving me directions on how to get out!
I’ve posted photo’s of Sally Gap before but this is the first time I got to see it covered in snow. It was absolutely amazing to be up there, I believe it’s my favourite spot in the Wicklow Mountains!
I couldn’t resist. I had to go to Times Square to see the touristy highlight of the city with all the lights and advertisements to try some long exposure shots..
I’m lucky enough to spend 3 weeks in Cambridge for my new job. This might mean that I’ll be neglecting my blog a bit but at least I’ll have a chance to roam around some lovely cities on the East Coast for the next weekends.
On Sunday early morning I walked out to the river and to this amazing view of the Boston skyline.
After a lovely and lazy sunday listening to music and seeing local art on display we left the covent where all this was organised and that was just in time to watch a beautiful sunset!
We saw the fog creeping up from the river ‘Niers’ over the fields while the sun was setting in the background. Result: both my mom and I ended up with muddy and wet boots in the field trying to take some photo’s while my stepdad was getting cold and hoping for us to come back to the car to go home.
Specially since I moved away I realise that my lovely hometown Gennep doesn’t look too bad every now and then :)
Melaka is known as ‘Heritage Town’. Populated by Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and eventually the British. Over the last 600 years the town turned into a mix of heritage sites. You can walk around the city center from the Dutch town hall (it was slightly odd seeing Dutch street names in Malaysia), to China town and to Little India while smelling all the different types of food that come with the respective Countries. Though, even they had a windmill on the square, I didn’t find Dutch food ;)
The Chen Hoon Teng temple was built in 1645 and is the oldest functioning temple in the city. Below some photo’s I took around the temple and in a tea house down the road.
Some history as found on amazingmeleka.com:
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is not only a Taoist temple, it is also the oldest functioning temple in Malaysia. “Cheng Hoon Teng” literally means “Temple of Clear Clouds” in Chinese. Cheng Hoon Teng Templeis located in Jalan Tokong, also known as the Harmony Street. Jalan Tukang Emas, Jalan Tukang Besi, Jalan Tokong are the streets that makes up the entire Harmony Street. These streets are called Harmony Street because it portrays a sense of harmony between the major races in Malaysia and each of the temples of different religions are able to locate in close proximity with each other. The temples here are the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, the Kampung Kling’s Mosque and the Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple.
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple was founded by Chinese Kapitan Tay Kie Ki @ Tay Hong Yong in 1645. The Kapitan position was created by the Portuguese as a head administrator to the local community. This historical Cheng Hoon Teng Temple has a built up area of close to 60,000 square feet. In its early years, besides serving the Chinese community’s religious needs (mainly Hokkien), Cheng Hoon Teng Temple also functioned as the official administrative centre and a court of justice for the Kapitans.
Besides Kapitan Tay Kie Ki, other prominent Kapitans that played an important role in the building of Cheng Hoon Teng Temple includes Kapitan Lee Wei King, Kapitan Chan Lak Kua and Kapitan Chua Su Cheong. In 1704s, Kapitan Chan Ki Lock started the construction of the main hall. in 1801, Kapitan Chua Su Cheong was responsible for rebuilding of the main hall while the Kapitans and Teng Choos after him contributed towards the aesthetic and structural additions of the building. “Teng Choo” is the title given to the leader of the temple after the British abolished the Kapitan system in 1824. Teng Choo assumed some of the Kapitan’s responsibilities .
The date 28 September 1949 marks a historical milestone for Cheng Hoon Teng Temple. The Parliament passed the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Incorporation Ordinance 1949. It meant that Cheng Hoon Teng Templewas now officially sanctioned by an Act of Parliament, guaranteeing the temple’s future and its role as guardian of the community’s spiritual and cultural heritage. A Board of Trustees was formed after the ordinance to look after the temple. The prime mover, Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock, became one of the first trustees under the Act. The other trustees then were Poh Kim Tiong, Chan Teck Chye, Loh Kim Swi, and Chee Guan Chiang.
Another historical milestone was in 1962, where Seck Kim Seng ordained Houn Jiyu-Kennett, a Zen nun from England and the founder of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives in this temple. And in 2003, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple was awarded a UNESCO award for outstanding architectural restoration.
One of the best things about living in Dublin is the distance to Wicklow mountains. It takes us 45 minutes to leave the city and be in the middle of this amazing landscape.
If you follow the military road through the Wicklow mountains, through Sally Gap you’ll find a small parking spot along the Glenmacnass river. You can leave your car and walk a few hundred meters along the river. You’ve been driving through the bogland but when the river falls down into Glenmacnass valley and you’ll have an amazing view of the valley with its sheepfarms, the mountains, forest and the beautiful waterfall. It’s one of my favorite spots in Wicklow!
When you move to a new country you integrate. You adjust and try new things. I’m not saying I’m always as open as I would like to be but I try. I celebrate new holidays, try new food and learn some of a local language. For example, we’ve started to celebrate Halloween. It’s actually fun. And even though this is the second time I live in our apartment on this holiday, I can’t get used to our neighbors tradition… The 4 story bonfire seems odd to me. Slightly dangerous maybe? Last year I thought it was a prank gone wrong. Until I noticed the adults standing around. And the fact that no one called the fire department? Hello? The number is 112. Right?
We have some neighbors, they were standing out on the balcony wondering out loud what was going on. I welcomed them to the neighborhood ;) I haven’t fully integrated in lovely North Dublin I’m afraid.
For most people the first thing that comes to mind when you say Borneo is Orang Utangs. So of course when we decided on diving of the cost of beautiful Sabah, we figured that we had to fly into Sandakan in order to go to Sepilok.
Sepilok is located about 25 Kilometers from Sandakan, in the North-East of Borneo. I have to admit that I didn’t explore Sandakan at all. The city is the former capital of British North Borneo and today it functions as a gateway for tourism into Sabah. Independent travel doesn’t seem to be too popular and buses to tourist destinations go only a few times a day. On the other hand it’s fairly easy and affordable to rent a cab or, for longer trips, a driver with a 4×4.
After a flight from hell through a storm (to all the people in Europe, stop complaining about Ryanair. Air Asia makes for more interesting trips) and calming down in the infinity pool on the 14th floor we we’re ready to make the trip to Sepilok. This reserve consists of more than 10.000 acres, mostly virgin rain forest. Since 1964 the center rehabilitated many apes and around 80 of them still live in the reserve. Twice a day a ranger goes out to the platforms close to the center to feed any of the Orang Utangs still close by and not fully independent. When we were there there was only one. But with a small baby. I have nothing more to say than that they’re extremely cute!
Eventually while driving down Sabah’s Eastcoast I realised that I’ll have to go back to this amazing place and spend some more time here. It’s back on my travel-list :)
Things you find in the jungle.. Not too many very scary bugs I have to admit. The frantically searching of our hut delivered no results. Which is good because I’m not sure how either of us handles big spiders. A little bit delayed,since we didn’t have too many luxuries like electricity (at least not all day long) or something as advanced as internet, a post from Taman Negara. Taman Negara is a jungle reserve in the middle of the country. We reached via two different busses and a 3 hour-long river taxi ride from Kuala Lumpur. Arrived in the little village, a school, some houses and a few hostels we took another boat 20 minutes out from civilization to our ‘Holiday Camp’. I have to admit, as long as I can admire the jungle from my chair under a fan, drinking a freshly squeezed juice, I really like it. ;)
So the actual postcards have been written and are on their way (Yes mom, grandma, for you guys :) ) But let’s see how often in the next three weeks I’ll manage to send postcards here.
For day one, a twenty-hour stopover in Abu Dhabi and just enough time to explore this seemingly empty city. It feels there are too many buildings here for the amount of people present.
The biggest attraction, maybe if we choose to ignore the Ferrari Museum, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque:
Finally I made it to a Robbie Williams concert. It took a few years and well, Robbie, you’re not the same as you once were. Then again, no one in the audience was ;)
A bit older but still lovely! In about 2 seconds after appearing on stage the entire O2 was singing/ screaming along to ‘Let me entertain you’. Even after he left the stage everyone in the audience kept on singing (less screaming at this point) ‘Angels’. The night was amazing if only for the atmosphere in the audience. And face it, almost every song came with some good memories from amazing times over the last 10 years. One of my friends starting the night with a comment: ”I’m not a big fan, I don’t really listen to his music that much”. Every time I looked to my right she was singing along word to word though ;)
Apart from all the well known songs we heard two songs from the new album, ‘Take the Crown’. I have to admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first song, ‘Candy’ but I did like ‘Losers’.
Great concert and a great night!
Let Me Entertain You
Should I Stay or Should I Go? (The Clash cover)
Let Love Be Your Energy
Old Before I Die
The Road to Mandalay
She’s the One
Life Thru a Lens
A while back we stayed at the County Arms Hotel in Birr for a nice spa break. My colleague and I figured it was a good idea to get away from the city and from work. Turned out we both had to work on a presentation the entire weekend! Luckily the hotel had a lovely garden with this apple tree for us to work in and enjoy the rare sunshine.
The pictures are taken with my Canon 500D and my new 50MM lens.
I visited a real Irish haunted castle! Charleville Castle was built in late 1700 by Charles William Bury, Earl of Charleville and was designed by Francis Johnston, one of the leading architects of the day. When you drive towards Tullamoore in County Offaly in the Irish Midlands you see the castle in the distance but no signs on how to get there. Later we discovered that even though the castle is owned and maintained by one person, the grounds still belong to a distant relative of the Earls who used to live there. The dear old man keeps removing all the signs the owner of the castle puts up.
We found ourselves on a dirt road to a farm at first but eventually we found the road through the dense, old forest that forms the estate. The forest is quite dense, very green and the further you follow the road the more you feel isolated and like you are entering a special place. After passing the old broken gate you see the castle in front of you.
To enter we had to ring a bell on the door, we heard some noise inside but no one opened. The place started to feel a bit scary.. Eventually a nice Romanian girl opened the door and let us through the castle and told us about the history and the alleged ghosts.
Two of the Earls of Charleville were Grandmasters in the Freemasons of Ireland and hat the towers are designed with an eight point star construction . The castle was purposely built on Electro Magnetic Ley Lines.
I’m not sure about the ghosts but I did get a chance to see the ley lines in action. We visited the two towers and when the girl told us that objects would move when holding them above the line or the center I was a bit skeptic so decided to prove her wrong using my own necklace. In the first tower the necklace started to move a bit. I was still convinced this was my own doing. We went on towards the other castle via the hallway where the Earls daughter had died by falling down the staircase. Over here my camera wouldn’t focus. According to our guide it was the ghost. Maybe it was something else though ;)
In the second tower my necklace started to move around rather actively! Not sure what to think of it but it seems odd to me. Maybe it is a special place.. Anyways, they are always looking for volunteers and I’m considering to sign up, just to find out if all the scary stories about nightly visitors are true. At least the place is a lovely photography spot!
Below a bit of history from the Charleville website:
In the 6th century, these lands were part of an ancient monastic site of Lynally, which itself was an ancient Durrow monastic settlement.
Later, in the early days of Ireland’s colonization, when the city of Dublin felt threatened by the wild tribes of the West, these lands became the focal point for the first Stuart, and later more violent Elizabethan, plantations.
Charleville Castle stands in an ancient Oak-forest site on lands that were once part of an estate which began to be assembled following on from a gift of 1,700 acres to the Moore family, made in 1577 by the Queen Elizabeth I.
A member of the Moore family was raised to the Earldom of Charleville, but the title lapsed in 1764 due to the lack of heirs in the direct male line. The lands, however, were eventually inherited by the six-month old infant Charles William Bury, born into Co. Limerick land-owning family, who was importantly, also a grand-nephew of the last Earl.
Tullamoore in these times was a village generally featuring thatched roofs and was largely destroyed by fire in 1785 as result of an hot-air balloon being mismanaged during the 21st birthday celebrations of Charles William Bury. The rebuilding of Tullamoore on an improved plan and scale, with wider streets and more substantial buildings, was sponsored by the trustees and estate of Charles William Bury.
Charles William Bury was created Baron Tullamoore in 1797, and, as a man of considerable wealth, joined into a fashion of castle building by engaging the services of the renowned architect Francis Johnston in the planning of castle to be built near Tullamoore.
The construction of Charleville Castle commenced in 1798 and over the subsequent fourteen years, some fourteen hundreds man-years were involved in the building of what many consider to be the finest neo-Gothic castle in all Ireland. The wonderful craftsmanship involved being mainly due to the skills of Irish people.
Charles William Bury was raised to the restored Earldom of Charleville, as first Earl of the second creation, in 1806.
In 1833, Tullamore, having expanded greatly in population and wealth due to being a terminus of the Grand Canal, was recognised as the county town of the then King’s county in preference to Philipstown which had performed that role since the times of Philip and Mary. The Charleville Estate extended to some 24,000 acres at its zenith but changing fortunes and changing times brought with them new ownership for most of these lands. Amongst the refurbishments to the castle which took place in later years were the addition of stenciling, designed by the celebrated William Morris, to the dining room in the 1890′s.
The Earldom lapsed again for want of heirs in 1885 with the estate passing to the ownership of a niece – Lady Emily.
On Lady Emily’s marriage some years earlier, the family took the name Howard-Bury to comply with certain terms in the title deeds of the Estate they seemed due to inherit. Colonel Charles Kenneth Howard-Bury, a son of this marriage, was notable as an explorer and amateur botanist in the Himalayas. Colonel Howard-Bury, who had twice escaped from prisoner of war camps during the recent “Great War”, was sufficiently recognised as an explorer, linguist and diplomatist, to be appointed leader of the first expedition which set out to climb the Mount Everest in 1920-1921.
Whilst Colonel Howard-Bury was not himself actively involved as a climber, George Mallory and other members of the expedition team reached some 23,000 feet without benefit of oxygen cylinders or other more recent sophistication’s in equipment.
This expedition, which received an enormous public following, effectively provided survey information invaluable to subsequent expeditions and established the North Col route as the route of choice for several early attempts on Everest.
The surname Howard-Bury is reflected in the Latin name of a plant brought back from the Himalaya region by the Colonel. A room in the Royal Geographical Society in London is named in honor of Colonel Howard-Bury.
Following on from this expedition to the Himalayas, the Colonel won a seat in the House of Commons. A later attempt was made at involvement in political life in the Irish Legislature.
Although Colonel Howard-Bury inherited Charleville Castle on his mother’s death in 1931, it was left with only a nominal caretaker staff. Indeed, some years earlier, the Colonel had inherited the smaller and more manageable, but exquisite, Belvedere House near Mullingar – in later years, the Colonel also spent most of his time on an estate he had purchased in North Africa.
Upon the Colonel’s death in 1963, the castle became uninhabited and even has its roof deliberately damaged as a device for the avoidance of paying high local property levies. Given the condition of the roof, the authorities agreed to deem the castle as being a ruin.During the later 1970′s, the long term lease of the castle was taken up by persons who deplored the state into which the castle was falling and a move was made towards turning the tide of neglect and disrepair. Modern day Irish craftsmen with traditional skills have subsequently been involved in a gradual and loving restoration. Fortunately, some of the finest features of the castle (The Gallery, The entrance Hall, Main Staircase and Landing, The Library, The Morning Room and The Dining Room) did not suffer critical damage in the interim.
Two weeks ago the the Liffey was crowded with tall ships. They started a month ago in Portugal and eventually ended up here in Dublin. I’ve said before that this area around the Convention Center and the Samuel Beckett Bridge is one of my favorite parts of Dublin. The city seems clean, spacious and modern around here! Having said that, I love the older, authentic streets too actually..
About the photo, I intended to go out and take some photo’s by daylight. I didn’t manage to do that in time so I found myself between a lot of people blocking my view and without a tripod. I know I should carry one but luckily I usually find an alternative. In this case it was the steering wheel of my bike, worked for me!
Anyways, the big ships and the festivities were a good opportunity to take some more photo’s. I’ll share the photo’s of two guys doing a fire show soon as well.
I couldn’t resist. I’ve posted pictures (and a story in Dutch) of Hampi before but today I edited these two again using Photomatix Pro and Snapseed. These aren’t HDR, at the time (2009) I wasn’t aware of this option but I ran the photo’s through Photomatix for the tonemapping features.
Hampi is a small ‘holy’ village in Kartataka, India. The surroundings are amazing between the vivid green rice fields and the red rocks scattered throughout the landscape. There are a lot of abandoned and used temple’s surrounding the village what once was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.
What Wikipedia says about the Vijayanagara Empire:
The Vijayanagara Empire referred to as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South India, in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts by the southern powers to ward off Islamic invasions by the end of the 13th century. It lasted until 1646 although its power declined after a major military defeat in 1565 by the Deccan sultanates. The empire is named after its capital city of Vijayanagara, whose ruins surround present day Hampi, now a World Heritage Site inKarnataka, India. The writings of medieval European travelers such as Domingo Paes, Fernão Nunesand Niccolò Da Conti, and the literature in local languages provide crucial information about its history. Archaeological excavations at Vijayanagara have revealed the empire’s power and wealth.
The empire’s legacy includes many monuments spread over South India, the best known of which is the group at Hampi. The previous temple building traditions in South India came together in the Vijayanagara Architecture style. The mingling of all faiths and vernaculars inspired architectural innovation of Hindutemple construction, first in the Deccan and later in the Dravidian idioms using the local granite. Secular royal structures show the influence of the Northern Deccan Sultanate architecture. Efficient administration and vigorous overseas trade brought new technologies such as water management systems for irrigation. The empire’s patronage enabled fine arts and literature to reach new heights in the languages of Kannada,Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit, while Carnatic music evolved into its current form. The Vijayanagara Empire created an epoch in South Indian history that transcended regionalism by promoting Hinduism as a unifying factor.
I love how the weather changes around here so quickly. If you want to go out to snap some pictures there is never a dull sky for long :)
Yesterday I posted pictures of angry waves and an angry sky over Howth. About an hour before that, we were at Bulls Head. The weather looked completely different on this side of the hill. There was a lot of wind over here as well but it came with blue skies, a lovely rainbow and a handful of people who actually dared to go kitesurfing.
They promised us ‘Charlie like hurricane weather’. It wasn’t that bad, at least not here around Dublin. There was still a warning not to go near the coast, cliffs or the likes. So you can guess what my colleague and I did? Right. We went to the harbor in Howth..
The weather changed incredibly fast, in the few hours we were driving around the area we saw sunny blue skies and the angry skies on the pictures in this post. We were soaking wet after about half an our out there but it was absolutely beautiful!
Some dogs have Character. They are a bit special. This one is just weird, in a good way mom! I know that you’re reading this and I couldn’t dream of insulting your third child ;)
His name is puk and he smiles when you come home, he viciously attacks intruders, like the neighbor who comes by every day at the exact same time, and he butts in if we play a game. Yes he does! For the entire night he was sitting on someones lap, watching every move we made.
Does your dog do that?
I flew to The Netherlands for my birthday celebration with my family. I didn’t realise on forehand what a bonus the summer weather would be! Yes I tend to complain about the Irish climate a bit, but it wasn’t before I was sitting in my parent’s backyard, I really felt how much I missed this season. Sitting outside, under an umbrella, surrounded by the beautiful green and flowers listening to the small waterfall while feeling the sun on your skin.. For me the picture in this posts beholds all of that.
What about you? What do you see when you think of your kind of summer?
The ticket said no professional camera’s and no detachable lenses. Uhoh.. I decided to take my chances and hide my camera in a scarf and raincoat (much needed..) While wearing my compact camera as a decoy around my neck, miling at the lady who was searching my bag: ”There is really no alcohol in there.” At least I didn’t lie.
The show looked and sounded amazing, I was a little disappointed by the fact that almost all of it were songs from the new album. I did hope for a bit more older songs. During the first song out in the rain we heard a snappy command for a raincoat but luckily she ignored the pouring rain later on.
There were plenty of costume changes, the lighting and the video’s shown in the back ground were amazing.
Even though I have a terrible cold and my jacket is still drying, I love the way the rain shows up in the pictures!
MDNA Tour: Dublin, Aviva Stadium Tuesday 24 July.
I am always a little mesmerized by people smoking. Don’t ask me why. I don’t smoke myself and it smells bad (unhealty, expensive bla bla bla.. I know ) These pictures are from a warm Sunday in spring. I was back home and there was a fair in my home town. That usually means that we will end up at our favorite bar having a few glasses of wine talking to nice people you don’t see often enough.
The girl in the pictures is my Cousin, Marlieke. I think she is a pretty smoker ;)
On Friday night we went to see Paul Simon in the O2 here in Dublin. It took a little persuading from my side to get my boyfriend to join me. Have to admit, we certainly lowered the average age in the venue for the night.
Even though it was a very (maybe a little bit too much) calm night, audience and performance I enjoyed the concert. Below some photo’s and two video’s I took. They aren’t my best, but they are the best I could manage from way up the tribune with a zoom lens and a very high iso.
I guessed that zooming this much would make the handheld video’s a bit wobbly and it did but the sound is pretty good so I uploaded them anyway! The video was shot with my Canon EOS 500D.
Below the setlist as I found it on setlist.fm: