Thursday Doors – Ballyconnell

‘I thought we came to Ballyconnell on a hunt for Thursday Doors,’ said The Gaffer, who doesn’t like water – unless he’s drinking it.

‘We did,’ I replied. ‘But look at that lovely weir.’

Lovely as it was, The Gaffer gave me a look that said he wasn’t impressed and pulled me further along the path, until we found something that might lead to a door.

It was an old archway on private property and on the other side of the river, so we wouldn’t be looking for doors in that direction.

The doors are well hidden by foliage in this image, too. The Gaffer dragged me further along the path, which skirted a park and children’s playground, until we came to a nice little cottage with a more visible door.

For such a pretty building it has an unattractive main entrance. I much prefer the side door, what I can see of it.

Always one to throw himself into the job at hand, The Gaffer only stopped long enough for me to capture a couple of shots before moving on to the next leg of the journey. Leg is a very appropriate word to use here because he lifted his so many times putting his scent on this new trail – just in case I should suffer a sudden attack of amnesia or blindness before we found our way back to the car.

‘Lovely stone wall,’ I said to The Gaffer.

‘Nice lamp post,’ he replied.

I noticed his leg begin to twitch at the sight of it and hurried along to the next street.

‘Lunch,’ said The Gaffer, eyeing the ducks.

‘You swim over and grab one and I’ll check out Sophia’s Ristorante,’ I was beginning to feel peckish, myself.

The Gaffer was not impressed. Did I mention he hates water? We spotted a cute little bicycle behind those railings and just had to have a closer look. Bikes are another one of The Gaffer’s pet hates but this one didn’t look too threathening.

‘How do you stop a dog from following you on a bike?’ asked The Gaffer.

‘Shout at him?’ I guessed.

‘Take the bike from him.’ He has a weird sense of humour.

He’ll never make it as a stand-up comedian. However, if I can train him to use the camera I could send him off on cold wet days to hunt down some Thursday Doors for me, while I sit by our cosy stove. Then again, he’d refuse to go – he hates getting wet. Sigh.

Thanks so much for joining us in Ballyconnell for this week’s Thursday Doors, if you continue on over to Norm’s blog you’ll find lots more waiting for you.

Posted in Cavan, food, Humour, Ireland, nature, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , | 40 Comments

Thursday Doors – Fake

It was the autumn colours that initially caught my eye as the car came to a halt in traffic, on a recent road trip. After snapping a shot of those lovely copper and gold coloured leaves I thought there was something unusual about the house in the background. Fake windows and door. Further along the street there was another one.

Would you have known they were fake if I hadn’t told you? I’m sure there are some ‘real’ Thursday Doors over on Norm’s blog, have a look at the links in the comments at the end of his post.

Posted in Ireland, nature, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments

Thursday Doors – Belturbet by Night

This week’s Thursday Doors comes from Belturbet in county Cavan and features some shots taken late in the evening, without using flash. They turned out better than expected. This first one is of the main street with the town hall at the top.

There has been a lot of work done recently on this lovely old house and even the post office next door has had a bit of a make-over. It’s so nice to see these old buildings being preserved, I wonder what it will be used for – business or residential.

On my way to the river I took a photo of this derelict house. It now forms part of a walled garden but I’m glad that whoever owns the property kept the facade intact.

One of my favourite wee boats was moored at the marina. If you look closely, you might just make out a ‘living’ grass roof on it and a stovepipe. Next time I see it in daylight, I’ll take a clearer shot.

The sun was setting fast but I was determined not to use flash for my images so there was just enough light for one more shot. This next one is of the park, alongside the marina.

As always, thanks a mil for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed this walk around Belturbet by night and if you’d like to continue on a tour of international Thursday Doors, you’ll find links to them in the comments over on Norm’s Blog.

Posted in boats, castles and ruins, Cavan, Historical buildings, Ireland, nature, photography, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments

Thursday Doors – Ballycastle

Carrying on from last week’s Thursday Doors, here’s a few more photos from Ballycastle. Not only is the food fantastic in the Bay Café but the view is also pretty amazing, with plenty of ‘floating’ doors to see. There’s also a glimpse of Fair Head cliff in the distance, which rises to an impressive 600 feet above sea level. Last week’s shots of it were taken a little closer.

The nearby park has some interesting features, too.

The sculpture of four swans in mid-flight is the work of artist Malcolm Robertson and was unveiled in 2011. It represents the children of King Lír, turned into swans and banished by their jealous stepmother, to roam Ireland for 900 years. I remember learning about this well known Irish myth in primary school.

This lovely mosaic is where you can rinse the sand from your feet.

Of course, there is more to Ballycastle than beautiful scenery. The town has a rich heritage. If you zoom in to the next two images you can read some of the history and mythology for yourself. Robert the Bruce even gets a mention.

Some of the newer buildings are interesting, too. Like this house with a wrap-around porch.

I’ve been told the coffee in the Shorebird Coffee Hut is really good and you can look out to sea while sipping it. Unfortunately, it had just closed for the day when I got there. Next trip I’ll pay a visit.

If the weather had been a bit warmer I would have definitely sampled the ice-cream at Maud’s. I think I’ll wait until next year to try it. I settled for fish and chips instead.

On our way back to the house, the Gaffer decided to become a back seat driver. Mr. R. was not impressed.

It was lovely sharing this day out with you. If you’d like to see a few more Thursday Doors from around the globe, have a look at Norm’s blog – the links will be in the comments at the end of his post.

Posted in Art, boats, food, History, Ireland, nature, social issues, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Thursday Doors – Cottage Update

Ballycastle, on the north Antrim coast, features in this week’s Thursday Doors. My daughter and her husband have finished renovating their cottage (featured in a previous Thursday Doors post) and it’s now available to rent. Here’s a few before and after shots:

Of course I had to give it a trial run before it was unleashed on the public and it was the perfect setting for a spot of writing.

The Gaffer oversaw the door up-cycling.

I’ll put a link at the end for you to see more images of the inside and outside. I love what they did with the rear of the cottage, where it’s so nice to sit and enjoy nature.

Of course, I couldn’t resist taking some shots of the beautiful Causeway coast while I was there. So we headed for the beach, just a few minutes drive away.

There’s a ferry crossing to Rathlin Island from Ballycastle harbour every day but I haven’t been yet. I’d like to go when the puffins are there so I’ll wait till next summer.

Rathlin Island

Even though I was at the beach, I was still on the lookout for doors.

I think the Gaffer is feeling his age these days. He was giving me hints that it was time to turn back towards town.

As always, thanks a mil for coming along on this autumn beach walk with myself and the Gaffer. If you’re planning a trip to Ireland or fancy a few days exploring the Causeway coast and glens, have a look at what’s available for Cosy Cottage on Airbnb or There are more images of the completed renovation on those sites, too.

Norm has some interesting Thursday Doors over on his blog this week, with links to lots more in the comments at the end of his post.

Posted in Ireland, nature, photography, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 42 Comments

Thursday Doors – The Poorhouse (3)

Thursday Doors this week brings an end to the Poorhouse series. Part 3 will hopefully show you the size of the plot these buildings take up and give you a little more history of the place.

The Master’s rooms, surgery, boys’ school, probation ward and lock-up are to the right of the main entrance. On the left stands the office and boardroom, girls’ school, probation ward and lock-up.

The gates and walls of the workhouse have been beautifully reconstructed using most of the original stone and look exactly like they did when first built, as you can see from this old photograph.

A collection of iron cooking vessels that would have been used back in the day.

I stuck my phone through the trellis work in the gate to get some clear shots of the interior courtyard and almost dropped it in the process.

Facing the entrance gate is a long narrow building with steps leading up to the first part, the porter’s area. Behind that was the kitchen, which led into the dining room. The chapel was located at the rear of this building.

Here’s a view of the back of the infirmary with walls dividing the yard leading to the mortuary.

Nature is reclaiming what was once the male lock-up and privy. Although this part wasn’t fenced off, there was no way to gain access through here and I really wasn’t too eager to try.

In some parts the old ivy seems to be holding the walls together.

You can see what remains of the chapel through this fencing. There is still a stained glass window intact but it was impossible to get a close shot of it. My zoom-in isn’t too clear, sorry.

The female day-room and nursery sits to the right of the chapel and the male day-room to the left.

One hundred and sixty-three workhouses were built in Ireland between 1840 and 1854. With a cost of almost £6,000 Bawnboy opened in November 1853. Fifty-two of the five hundred beds were immediately taken. Because it was built after the Great Hunger years, it never suffered from overcrowding, unlike most of Ireland’s workhouses that were in operation at that dreadful time. It ceased to function as a poorhouse from 1921 but was used by the community for various purposes until 1981. In 2010, the local development association began the work of saving and preserving the buildings. I think this must be an ongoing process, as the cost is huge. Fair play to them for taking on such an expensive but important task.

If you’d like a tour of the inside, here’s a Youtube video.

Thanks so much for stopping by and if you call again next week you’ll find a post about a much happier subject with some shots of the beautiful North Antrim coast.

For a great selection of Thursday Doors, head on over to Norm’s Blog.

Posted in castles and ruins, Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, social issues, Thursday Doors, Travel, victorian ireland | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

Thursday Doors – The Poorhouse (2)

Following on from last week’s Thursday Doors, these are some photos of one side of the Bawnboy workhouse site. I took them as I made my way towards the rear of the buildings. Some of the roofs are still in good condition and may have been repaired over the years but many are in bad shape and have fallen in.

This is at the rear, around where the infirmary was.

I have no idea if this was originally a door or a window but it’s not very high.

This tiny building had some work done on its roof in the past, as part of a training scheme. If you became ill for any reason and had to be admitted to the infirmary (the building in the background of the photograph) you might have ended up here. It’s the mortuary and the tiny intact roof stood out starkly against the backdrop of the one behind it.

It looks bigger from the inside than from the outside and has two windows facing each other, allowing lots of light in.

Looking through the doorway you see an expanse of grass leading to the last journey you would embark on.

My companion that day was in no hurry to leave, so we followed the sign for the cemetery. Looking back you can still see the tiny mortuary.

We walked along the pathway, past a picnic table until we came to an overgrown track.

Just as we were thinking we had taken a wrong turn we spotted a single headstone in the midst of the trees.

It was strange to think that we were in the middle of a graveyard covered with trees instead of headstones.

I like the reference to the hope of a resurrection written at the top.

The setting was so peaceful and the wildflowers were in abundance under the shade of the trees. We even found orchids scattered here and there, alongside clover and meadowsweet.

Here is a link to a bit of the history of the workhouse with some good interior shots.

Bawnboy Workhouse

If you take a trip over to Norm’s blog you’ll find part two of his fascinating tour of Kingston Penitentiary in Canada. Thanks so much for stopping by. I’ll be posting part 3 of The Poorhouse series on next week’s Thursday Doors.

Posted in castles and ruins, Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, nature, social issues, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , | 27 Comments

Thursday Doors – The Poorhouse (1)

The Bawnboy workhouse, often referred to in the old days as the poorhouse, is the subject of this week’s Thursday Doors. You can see a glimpse of it in the first photo and it’s one of the largest workhouses that I’ve come across so far. The next few images will show how big it is.

Would you like to see inside? Unfortunately, there wasn’t any public access but there was an information board at the entrance, displaying some interior images.

I think this was later used as a sports hall.
These are the straw beds the inmates slept on. I’ll never complain about a mattress again.
The first image is of a cell, where those who broke the strict workhouse rules were locked up and the second one is of the latrines. No privacy in those days. However, because men and women (even married couples) were kept segregated and housed in separate areas of the workhouse, they didn’t have to share the same toilets.
You can get an idea of it’s size from this plan.
Here is an old aerial shot of the grounds. The workhouse buildings are on the top left, with the front facing the main road which runs diagonally across the photograph.
This may have been part of the infirmary.

The workhouse is a cut-stone structure which was built in 1852 and the funding for it came from rates paid by land and property owners. The diet was very limited and strict rules were enforced. It was a last resort for anyone to enter the poorhouse, as couples were separated and even children found themselves apart from their mothers and fathers. In 1920 the boys school room became a dance hall and was used for concerts, meetings and for Irish dance classes. In later years it was used for indoor sports, such as basketball and volleyball. In 1933 a vocational school was also in operation in the Bawnboy workhouse.

For next week’s blogpost I have more images from Bawnboy Workhouse and a wee bit more history, too. If you travel over to Norm’s blog you’ll find lots of lovely Thursday Doors to view, with links to even more in the comments at the end of his post.

Posted in castles and ruins, Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, social issues, Thursday Doors, Travel, victorian ireland | Tagged , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Thursday Doors – Redhills

We’re in the beautiful village of Redhills, County Cavan for this week’s Thursday Doors. It was the setting of two movies, The Playboys back in 1992 and The Run of the Country in 1995 .

I’ll start off with some doors, as this is what I initially came here to photograph. This terrace is typical of the houses around the village. I think they were labourers’ cottages but I’m not sure if these two are lived in anymore.

I couldn’t get a shot of the doors to this gate lodge as it was on private property. However, the walls to this estate are gorgeous and in great condition.

I’m not sure if the old bicycle in the background is a feature but the brightly painted plow definitely is. It was also lovely to find this old water pump still working.

This piece of bog wood is also an interesting feature and there was a notice giving some information about it.

You might be wondering if there are any more doors to be seen in this week’s post. There is, but not the type humans might use. I found a bug hotel in Redhills.

Here’s the info, just in case you’d like to build one.

Thanks for stopping by and please forgive the lack of doors in this week’s post. I’m going to make up for that next week when I take you on a tour of a nearby workhouse with a fascinating history. Meanwhile, Norm has some very interesting Thursday Doors waiting for you over on his blog.

Posted in Cavan, entertainment, environment, Ireland, nature, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments

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