Thursday Doors – Strandfield Again

Continuing on from last week’s Thursday Doors, these are some images of the inside of Strandfield House Restaurant.

The tables and chairs are intentionally mismatched, as are the cups, plates and cutlery but it all adds to the character of the place.

I will definitely have lunch here in the wintertime, if only to see this stove lit.

The stonework around the fireplace is gorgeous, along with the lovely wooden mantelpiece with its selection of interesting ornaments. I have a pair of those Staffordshire porcelain dogs, too, but mine are a matched pair.

If you’d like a bit more luxury, choose a table with seating like these comfy chairs. You’ll ask for a second coffee because you won’t want to get out of them. But all good lunches must come to an end. As we walked along the front of the restaurant towards the car, I took one last shot.

Thanks a million for stopping by this week. There are lots more Thursday Doors from all over the world over on Norm’s blog, just click the links in the comments at the end of his post.

Posted in food, Ireland, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Thursday Doors – Strandfield House and Farm

I had a really good time capturing shots for this Thursday Doors post from Strandfield House, Ballymascanlon, County Louth. On a working farm we found a beautiful barn converted to an all-organic vegetarian restaurant. After a fabulous lunch that included the best sourdough bread I have ever tasted, we browsed around the adjoining bakery, florist and homewares shop. For this week’s post let’s explore the inside of the shop, where we bought some of that lovely bread we had for lunch.

Next week, I’ll post some images of the restaurant, it deserves a post all to itself.

The restaurant is through those blue doors on the right. You can see from the goods on display why I spent so much time in here. I’m really grateful to my youngest sister for bringing me there, it was so relaxing and in a beautiful setting. I had never been before but it’s the first place I’ll be making to for lunch on my next trip.

Of course, as this was a Thursday ‘Doorscursion’, I made sure I captured as many doors as possible.

There were hats everywhere, with a mirror provided to see how well (or not) they suited you. That’s my colourful summer maxi skirt you can see reflected.

There were as many surprises outside as there were inside. Let’s go out and have a look.

We used to have one of these back in the nineties. Ours was blue, with a few characterful patches of rust here and there.

What else is an old cast iron bath for, if not a planter? An animal trough, maybe?

This cute little donkey might not agree – he seemed happy enough drinking out of his ceramic sink.

These lovely ladies came over to find out what I was doing but toddled off when they realized I wasn’t the paparazzi.

I loved the look of this wee shed next to the shop but it took three attempts to get a photo without any people in it. Every time I took aim, someone inside opened the door and looked surprised when they saw me. I was beginning to feel like the paparazzi. The joys of Thursday Doors hunting.

This beautiful scenery surrounds Strandfield House and Farm. Now you can see why it was such a relaxing place to spend an afternoon. The vintage van was a bonus and I know the landscape will have changed by the time I revisit but the food will still be as tasty, I’m sure. Thanks for coming along, I wish I could have shared some of my delicious lunch with you, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth a visit. Find out what kind of Thursday Doors Norm has posted on his blog this week.

Posted in food, Ireland, nature, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments

Thursday Doors – The Navvy Bank

While visiting one of my sisters recently, she suggested a stroll to the Navvy Bank in search of Thursday Doors. We timed it so as to catch the colour changes in the sky as the sun was going down and we were not disappointed.

We even found a lovely old thatched cottage along the way.

The Navvy Bank is an artificial embankment that was constructed between Soldiers’ Point and the quays in Dundalk, County Louth. The plans were prepared by local engineer, John Macneill and legislation to build was passed in August 1840. The construction of the Navvy Bank (a total length of 7,006 feet) along with the necessary dredging works provided a considerable amount of employment during the Great Hunger (Irish Famine) of the 1840s. The name ‘navvy’ comes from the word ‘navigator,’ men who dug the canals and railway lines in the 1800’s. They were strong men and their pay was high compared to most other manual labourers but the work was extremely hard and often dangerous. A good navvy could shift 20 tonnes of earth a day.  Of the 250,000 navvies, operating in Britain at the height of the railway expansion in the Victorian era, roughly 1 in 3 was an Irishman.

This memorial bears the names of nineteen men and one woman who lost their lives when the SS Dundalk was torpedoed by a German u-boat during WW1. The stone is made from granite and the clock was reconditioned and came from the old Dundalk Steam Packet Company. The hands are permanently stopped at 11.10 pm, recalling the time that the ship was hit on October 14th 1918, less than a month before the end of the war.

The Navvy Bank is home to lots of waterfowl and wildlife and they are very well protected, thankfully.

The following bronze sculpture is 8 feet long and 15 feet high. It’s the work of County Louth artist, Ann Meldon Hugh and is a wonderful landmark along the Navvy Bank. She called it ‘Sea God Managuan and Voyagers‘ after a Celtic god of the sea. Mythology describes him as the leader of a group of the Fair Folk whose values are linked to the ocean.

I went a bit overboard (pun intended) on the photographs of this one but it was fascinating from every angle. The sky turning pink in the background reminded us that the evening was drawing to a close, so we continued on our walk, waiting for the clouds to change colour.

We reached the end of our walk along the embankment just as the sun was going down.

I managed to get in one last shot as a heron flew by, before heading home but there were plenty of street lights to guide us as the daylight disappeared.

I really enjoyed that walk with my sister, thank you for coming along, too. Norm has a great selection of Thursday Doors over on his blog for you to enjoy.

Posted in Art, boats, History, Ireland, nature, social issues, Thursday Doors, Travel, victorian society | Tagged , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Thursday Doors – Seaside

Continuing on from last week’s Thursday Doors, I have a few more images to share of the seaside village of Blackrock in County Louth. On one side of the street there’s the view above, a wide expanse of sea and sky. But if you can drag your eyes from those beautiful cloud formations and look at the opposite side of the street you’ll see some nicely maintained buildings.

I love how this Chinese restaurant uses a play on words for it’s name. I haven’t sampled the food there yet but intend doing so on one of my future visits to Blackrock. At the other end of the main Street there’s another hospitality establishment serving a slightly different menu.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin has been in business for many decades, changing hands over the years but retaining its original name. I love the artwork at the entrance. You can see at a glance what’s on offer, can’t you? The next image is an old photograph of the seawater swimming pool where my Dad taught me to how to swim and dive.

It was in the vicinity of Uncle Tom’s Cabin but has been replaced by an apartment block. Blackrock swimming pool opened in 1962 and was, at the time, the only 50 meter pool in the whole of Ireland. Its tiered seating could hold up to 800 spectators. Having closed in the 1980’s, it was demolished in 1995. What a loss for the community, especially as it’s not always deep enough to swim in the nearby sea. At the edge of the village there are some lovely houses that have been modernized while still, thankfully, retaining their character. These are two of my favourites.

I would have loved to buy a house in the village of my birth and my ancestors but it’s a very desirable place to live these days and way out of our price range. However, I’m so glad that I have family still living there and can visit regularly. As with many coastal locations, there is a price to pay for living in such a beautiful area. The sea isn’t always this calm.

There have been occasions when the briny water ventured across to the other side of the street. Everyone is on full alert with sandbags at the ready when there’s a high tide on a stormy day.

I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of Blackrock this week, thanks for coming along. For a great selection of Thursday Doors, take a trip over to Norm’s blog, enjoy.

Posted in History, Ireland, nature, photography, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

Thursday Doors – Ice Cream With a View

I might have used this image for a Thursday Doors post in the past, so forgive me if it looks familiar. I was in my native village of Blackrock last month and as usual couldn’t resist taking some photos. I like how the old empty house has been dressed up to appear lived in. Much nicer than the usual boarded up windows and doors we often see on vacant premises. The building across the street is far from empty, having been repainted and reopened as an artisan ice cream parlour. In the old days it served as the village post office/grocery/sweet shop.

This is the latest of three Storm in a Teacup artisan ice cream parlours to have opened along the east coast region. Here’s some info on this family business straight from their website:

‘Storm in a Teacup was a little family idea, that began in May 2010. The concept started as a tiny ice cream hut, selling beautiful ice cream concoctions from the pier, on Skerries Harbour. Since then, each family member has taken on specific responsibility for a new aspect of the ice cream business, to help it flourish & grow (all the while keeping things close to home & personal).  One of the first projects, after opening, was to restore beautiful vintage ice cream vans. These vans have attended many festivals, weddings, parties etc.  Following that, in 2015 the doors opened on a small production facility, based in Stamullen, Co. Meath. This facility makes beautiful handmade artisan ice cream, and for its efforts won an award.’ * 

The rest of the building has been nicely painted, too. I managed to capture a reflection of the sky in the pane of glass over the side door but the weather wasn’t as dull as it appears there.

You’ll see from the following shots that it was actually a beautiful day, perfect for an ice cream feast sitting on the sea wall watching the birds.

Speaking of our feathered friends, Blackrock is a great place for bird-lovers.

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll have a few more photographs from Blackrock next week but in the meantime, if you’d like to see some lovely Thursday Doors from around the world, have a look at Norm’s blog.

Storm in a Teacup *

Posted in food, Ireland, nature, photography, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Thursday Doors – Goodbye Dublin

I’ve a mixed bag of goodies for this week’s Thursday Doors and they’re all in various locations around the city of Dublin. Of course, I had to start with a red door, followed by a fabulous old bridge.

This next bridge was worth including, too.

I would be doing a great injustice not to include one of the many monuments and fountains to be found dotted around the capitol.

The Chariot of Life is a copper-bronze sculpture which is said to depict ‘reason controlling the emotions’. It is the work of Oisín Kelly (1915-1981) and was unveiled a year after his death.

There are quite a lot of unusual pieces of art on the streets of Dublin and some even have doorways included.

There is also a pleasant mix of old and new buildings. Dublin is definitely not a city of skyscrapers.

But most of all Dublin is known for it’s doors, so I think I should leave you now with a small sample to finish off this week’s Thursday Doors post.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Norm has a great selection of Thursday Doors over on his blog this week, too.

Posted in Art, Historical buildings, Ireland, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 31 Comments

Thursday Doors – Still in Dublin

More photos from Dublin in this week’s Thursday Doors. The General Post Office or GPO is the headquarters of An Post, the state-owned provider of Ireland’s postal service. The foundation stone was laid in 1814 and took three years to build. A century later the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising used it as their headquarters and it was almost entirely destroyed in the rebellion, except for its granite facade. A fact I didn’t know till I did some research was that ground rent for the GPO continued to be paid to English and American landlords right up to the 1980s. Let’s take a look inside.

Thanks for visiting this week. There are lots more Thursday Doors to be found on Norm’s blog.

Posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Thursday Doors – Dublin

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted anything on my blog and I have to say I’ve missed not participating in Thursday Doors. However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t on the hunt for them – you can take the woman out of Thursday Doors but you can’t take Thursday Doors out of the woman. While on a daytrip to meet up with some family in Dublin I took shots of various doors and buildings from around the city. The first one is of St. Thomas (Church of Ireland previously but now used by Anglican congregations). The original structure was destroyed in the Civil War of 1922 and this new church was built in 1931. Winner of the RIAI Gold Medal for Architecture 1932-34.

The Spire, taken from Henry Street.

The Spire of Dublin, also called The Monument of Light – An Túr Solais in Irish – is a very tall, stainless steel structure 120m (390 ft) high. It’s located on the site of the former Nelson’s Pillar on O’Connell Street in Ireland’s capitol city. Dubliners can be very witty and quickly ‘renamed’ it The Stiletto in the Ghetto. Here’s a closer shot of the Spire, designed by Ian Ritchie Architects, who sought an “Elegant and dynamic simplicity bridging art and technology”.

At dusk, the base of the monument is lit and the top 10m (33 ft) is illuminated by light-emitting diodes shining through 11,884 holes. I’m glad I wasn’t given the job of counting them. There’s a selection of doors of all shapes and sizes in the following gallery. Often it’s the upper levels that are more interesting when the ground floor is occupied by a retail store.

If you’ve ever been to Dublin you can’t have missed Moore Street Market, one of the oldest of all the markets in the city to have survived. I’ll put a link at the end of the post for a short but interesting history. *

It was first established in the 18th century and you’ll hear it before you see it. My mother used to bring me there on shopping trips to the city when I was a child and in my teens I spent every second Saturday roaming the streets of the capitol, absorbing the Seventies atmosphere in The Dandelion Market at the top of Stephen’s Green. Any of you readers of a ‘certain age’ who were living in Ireland at the time will remember The Dandelion.

A store my mother-in-law loved to visit was Guineys, still trading, having first opened in 1971 and I just had to pop in and have a look around. Another well known Dublin store is Arnotts on Henry Street.

It is Ireland’s oldest and largest department store, which opened for business in 1843 and is still going strong today. I’ll leave you with some random shots of doors and buildings that caught my eye as we left the city. Of course, there’s a red one included.

Thanks for coming along with me on this short tour of Dublin City. If you would like to see some lovely doors from around the world, have a look at the links in the comments on Norm’s latest Thursday Doors post.

Moore Street Market *

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Thursday Doors

The first of my Thursday Doors images this week is edited to look like a painting. Lately, most of my captures have been from a moving car and this one was quite blurred but I love that rusty old patchwork roof and couldn’t bring myself to delete it. Hopefully, these next few won’t have you thinking you need to book an eye test.

A few innocent bystanders were shot in the drive-by.

Thankfully, they lived to tell the tale.

Thanks so much for coming along on yet another road trip with me. For a lovely international selection of Thursday Doors, carry on over to Norm’s blog.

Posted in Ireland, nature, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Thursday Doors – Antrim

This first Thursday Doors features a lovely iron gate with the symbol of a blacksmith in its center. That’s a clue to where this week’s post comes from in County Antrim.

The scenery surrounding Glenview Farm is so beautiful, I was already feeling relaxed by the time I arrived there. It wasn’t me going horse riding but one of my grandchildren. What’s the difference between a pony and a horse? A horse is usually at least 14.2 hands tall (four feet ten inches). Whereas a pony is less than 14.2 hands. This lovely animal being groomed by my grandson is the latter.

Did you spot the old building in one of those shots? To my delight it even had red doors.

The return journey was just as relaxing as the one there, especially as I wasn’t driving. Here’s a wee taste of the Antrim countryside we drove through but the camera doesn’t do it justice. A longer trip through the glens of Antrim is definitely called for.

Click the link if you would like to find out more about Glenview Farm.

Thanks so much for joining me on this week’s journey. For lots of interesting Thursday Doors, have a look at Norm’s blog, you’ll find the links in the comments.

Posted in Writers Resource | 31 Comments