Jean Reinhardt

It’s such a privilege to be part of this wonderful project. There are lots of interesting writings by a wide variety of people on The Silence 2020 site. The photographs were taken in Cork city on the night we went into lockdown in Ireland.

Pat Carroll,The Silence

The Silence Of The Land…..

Gone is the sound of playful laughter. I no longer hear the fusion of shrieks, rebukes and howls rising above the noise of squeaking swings.

The playground my grandchildren make a beeline for on every visit is now off limits, with a warning sign on the gate. Empty streets, vacant parks, lonely benches. So much is missing from my daily walk, intensifying the recent loss of a much loved canine friend. He was the reason for this ritual in the first place. I am usually a lover of solitude but not this COVID19 version of it.

Coming to the end of my strictly less-than-two-kilometre walk, I turn to glance one more time at the childless playground. Even the nearby river is silent, its stillness reflecting the emptiness around me as I search for reassurance that not everything has changed.

A car passes by…

View original post 197 more words

Posted in Blogging | 5 Comments

Thursday Doors – Old Town Hall

Cavan’s old town hall features in this week’s Thursday Doors. It has recently been given a makeover and looks so much better. No longer the town’s administrative building it’s now the Town Hall Cavan Arts Centre, where courses and events in the arts are held.

‘Town Hall erected by Cavan Urban District Council W.A. Scott ARIBA Architect W. Callaghan and Sons, Bldrs L.C.P Smith, Chairman Thomas McGuinness, Clerk 1909’

One of my favourite sculptures in the town is right beside this lovely building and is set in a bed of roses. It’s such a joyful piece, it makes me smile every time I see it.

It is the work of artist Tina Quinn depicting a father and daughter dancing. This reflects the important roles that music and dance have always played in Irish culture. In bygone days, usually in summertime, young people would walk miles to meet up for a reel and a jig, often at a crossroads. Spontaneous bouts of music and dance would also occur at someone’s home if there was a fiddle player or tin whistle on hand. Even travel journals from the early 1800’s give accounts of how much the Irish ‘peasants’ loved to dance. One of the first references to Irish dance is in a letter written in 1569 by Sir Henry Sydney to Queen Elizabeth 1st of England, “They are very beautiful, magnificently dressed and first class dancers,” Sydney wrote of the girls he saw dancing enthusiastic Irish jigs in Galway.

In the newly independent Ireland of the 1930’s the government was greatly influenced by the Catholic church. This resulted in morality being very strictly monitored and eventually the Public Hall Dance Act of 1935 was brought in. This allowed dance gatherings to be regulated by introducing a licensing system and a tax on admission. It was basically a ban on groups of people gathering to dance in domestic and non-regulated places. Interestingly, contraceptives were also banned that same year. If you would like to read more about the history of Irish dance here’s a good link.

Thanks for joining me on this week’s blog post. For a great selection of Thursday Doors carry on over to Norm’s blog.

Posted in Art, Blogging, Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, social issues, society, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Thursday Doors – All in One

This week I have only a single photograph for Thursday Doors but it’s an all in one image. A friend of one of my sisters sent me this great shot of a door that has so much I like in it – an arch, a stone wall, a red door and even some wild flowers. So a big thank you to Rose Moore for your lovely contribution this week.

The photograph was taken in Belvoir Estate, County Clare, which is a Gothic Revival structure built around 1820.

Belvoir was an early 19th century house on the same site as an earlier building. It was the home of the Wilson family, valued at £32 in the mid 19th century. The house was burnt in 1888 when leased by the Wilson Lynches to Lady Loftus. It was not rebuilt though recorded as the seat of Maj. Wilson Lynch in 1894. Members of the Wilson Lynch family continued to live in the remaining wing until the mid 20th century. It is now a ruin. *

As always, thanks a million for stopping by the blog this week and if you’d like to see more Thursday Doors from around the world, carry on over to Norm’s blog.

You can see more photographs of Belvoir Estate on Buildings of Ireland website.

Source *

Posted in Blogging, castles and ruins, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel, wild plants | Tagged , , , , | 25 Comments

Thursday Doors – Virginia Part 2

You are very welcome to part two of Thursday Doors in Virginia, county Cavan. Last week we saw some images of the Ramor Theatre and this week I’m starting off with the neighbouring building. I love the arch within an arch, very unusual design. Plus, it has two lovely red doors. I think this must have been a coach entrance originally. Down a side street I found some lovely old stone cottages and another red door. I love the decorative dormers on some of them.

That last one is striking with its mix of brick and stone. Let’s head on back to the main street to look for more bare stone buildings.

This one is beautifully preserved, along with its railings, but I can’t say the same for the one directly opposite, across the street.

Such a shame to see this lovely old house going to waste. I know it’s expensive repairing old buildings, we are still spending money and working on our own cottage three years after moving in, but it’s so satisfying when you see the finished result, not to mention the increase in value. I really like this town and the surrounding countryside. There are some lovely looped walks of various lengths, which I plan to explore, now that the lockdown is easing and we can travel freely within our own counties.

Now for a bit of history. The town of Virginia is over four hundred years old and derives its name from Elizabeth 1st of England, the Virgin Queen. Even back in the 1800’s this was a desirable place to live, as you can see from the following account.

Adjoining the town, and on the north side of the lake, is Virginia Park, a cottage residence of the Marquess of Headfort. The scenery of this park is extremely diversified, and its walks and drives very beautiful: the plantations are a highly ornamental feature in the landscape. Lough Ramor contains several small islands, which have recently been planted by his lordship, who has established an annual boat race on the lough and gives as a prize a cup of the value of 30 guineas. Many curiously shaped brazen pots, supposed to be Danish, were discovered in the lake a few years since, some of which are in the possession of the Marquess at Headfort House, near Kells.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1840 by Samuel Lewis

You will find some interesting information on the town’s website. I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Virginia and if you would like to see some Thursday Doors from around the world, head on over to Norm’s blog.

Posted in Blogging, Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Thursday Doors – Ramor Theatre, Virginia, Cavan

Welcome to another Thursday Doors post from Cavan, this time it’s the Town of Virginia. One of the focal points in the main street is this building, which now houses the Ramor Theatre. It was erected around 1845, at the time of the Great Hunger. Built originally as St. Mary’s Catholic Church on a disused plot of land, it took only nine months to complete at a time when there was great hardship, yet it stands solid and strong today – a testament to the skilled tradesmen of the day. Let’s have a closer look at that stained glass window.

Then main entrance is to the left of the building while an iron gate on the right leads to a side door.

The house next door had a couple of unusual occupants. Very suspicious looking, if you ask me.

There’s a door in there somewhere, at the top of those old steps.

You can see more info about the Ramor Theatre on their website. As always, thanks for stopping by. Next week I’ll post some more photos of Virginia with a little bit of history thrown in but in the meantime, maybe you’d like to see what interesting Thursday Doors Norm has on his blog.

Posted in Blogging, Cavan, entertainment, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel, victorian ireland | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

Thursday Doors – Castle Saunderson 2

On this week’s Thursday Doors we’ll be continuing our walk through the grounds of Castle Saunderson. There is also an international scout centre here with indoor accommodation and campsites stretching over an area of thirty four acres.

But the old church is what I came back to see, along with collecting some more wild garlic. It dates from around the 1830’s, incorporating or replacing an older place of worship that was previously on the site.

The crypt was locked up but I don’t think I would have ventured in even if it had been open.

This was at the entrance to the crypt – not exactly a welcome mat.

The wild plants also caught my eye, like this rhododendron just beginning to bloom. Although it’s not a native species and can be very invasive if not controlled, you have to admit it’s a beautiful plant.

The hawthorn is a native plant that blossoms all over the countryside at this time of year.
I must look out for these wild strawberries when the berry season arrives.

It must have been so lovely to live here surrounded by all this beauty. I was savouring the peacefulness when I heard a dog barking in the distance. Suddenly, there was a loud crash behind me and I turned around to see Mr. R. shooing a small black terrier away from the road and back into the trees. The dog had chased a large deer through the forest and it ran across the road behind me so quickly, I never got a chance to see it. There are a few small herds roaming around the estate but I imagine there were a lot more in the old days.

This stone bearing the Saunderson family crest is dated 1573 and was found on the site. As the family didn’t arrive until the seventeenth century they must have brought it with them.
The River Finn

I think that peaceful scene of the river running through Castle Saunderson estate is a good note to end this week’s post on but if you would like to explore some international Thursday Doors, carry on over to Norm’s Blog and follow the links in the comments at the end of his post.

Posted in Blogging, castles and ruins, Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, nature, Thursday Doors, Travel, wild plants | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

The Silence..update

I’m delighted to be included in this project.


The response to the project has truly been overwhelming.The photography of Rob O’Connor of one night in March has produced some wonderful writing by the contributers.Some of it very emotional,funny & some of it possessed a great element of fear of the unknown.

Initially,#thesilence had a plan,the plan disappeared as the project took on a life of it’s own.The contributors are quite diverse,they are from all parts of the country,some of them have never written before,as the wonderful #kintsugi artist,Wexford based Mary Wallace,said “what would I know about writing I’m a visual artist”..her contribution is wonderful…Submissions for #thesilence project will close on June 1 & it will go live on June 27 & who knows where it will take us,at times I feel the journey is just starting…Pat Carroll

View original post

Posted in Blogging | 2 Comments

Thursday Doors – Castle Saunderson

Even after a dozen posts from the Cavan County Museum I’m still hooked on history for this week’s Thursday Doors – and it’s a castle this time.

Would you like to have a look inside?

Sorry, this is as close as I can get but you can see the roof is gone thanks to a fire in the past.

Walking around the castle we came to this facade but I don’t know if the steps leading up to it are original. They have the same stone and seem quite old but are not very grand.

For me, this is the most interesting part of the castle. You can see lots of features like the coach entrances, some servants quarters and a balcony. Here is where a lot of the activity for the running of the castle must have taken place.

Nearby we came across a yew grove, with some lovely old trees.

Now for the history. Here’s what we found out on our visit. The notices must have been used for target practise by some birds flying overhead. It was difficult to clean it all off, so please try to ignore the odd smudge. The castle was the family seat of the Saunderson family, who acquired the original building in 1573, during the Plantation of Ulster. Previously, it belonged to the O’Reillys of Breffni and had been known as Breffni Castle from the fourteenth century.

The landscape is beautiful and, as you can see from this image, we were surrounded by trees.

At this time of year you get the wonderful scent of wild garlic and there is an abundance of it here.

Of course, I had to harvest a bit to make some pesto.

Thanks for stopping by this week, I’ll continue the tour of the estate in my next post. Meanwhile, have a look at the varied selection of Thursday Doors Norm has to offer over on his blog.

Posted in Blogging, castles and ruins, Cavan, food, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, nature, Thursday Doors, Travel, wild plants | Tagged , , , , , | 44 Comments

Thursday Doors – Cavan County Museum 12

Welcome to the last Thursday Doors post from the Cavan County Museum series. There is so much to see at this museum that I could have produced twice as many posts from my visit. This one features Clogh Oughter Castle, a circular tower, which stands on a crannog (a man-made island) in Lough Oughter. It was one of the final strongholds to withstand Oliver Cromwell’s forces but fell in 1653, when its east wall was destroyed by cannon fire. This first photograph is one I shot before the lockdown. Here’s a bird’s eye view from one of the posters displayed in the museum.

Would you like to have a look inside? Then follow me through this doorway.

I know it’s only a giant sized photograph but it does help you to picture (pun intended) what it would be like to step inside this old castle. It certainly took a lot of pounding by cannons in its day. How would you like to be in the line of fire of these cannon balls? One of them weighs twelve pounds.

In last week’s post I featured my husband’s great-uncle, Michael O’Neill, who died in WW1. Well here’s another O’Neill some of you might have heard of.

The O’Neill dynasty is mentioned in the Annals of Ulster, which was recorded from 1441 to 1531. It is one of the most reliable sources of Irish and Scottish history, particularly of Ulster, the province in Ireland I now live in. Owen Roe O’Neill was a very experienced soldier, having served for thirty years in Spain, who led the rebels to victory in the Battle of Benburb in county Tyrone. This took place in 1646 during the Confederate War of 1641-1653 in an effort to gain an Irish constitution and religious freedom for Catholics, while still remaining under the English crown.

It’s interesting that the O’Neill Dynasty is reputedly the oldest traceable royal lineage in Europe, going as far back as the fifth century. They are descended from Niall Naoi nGiallach (Niall of the Nine Hostages). It is said he consolidated his power by leading raids on the Roman Empire, taking hostages from rival royal families in Britain and the European mainland, thus earning his unusual name. Another account I came across was that Saint Patrick may have been one of his hostages. Maybe we owe Niall a big thank you for the fact that there are no snakes in Ireland.

A lot of stories are recorded about the existence and exploits of this man which can blur the facts. But in the scientific field of DNA he has a genetic marker named after him – M222, also referred to as Niall of the Nine Hostages, marker. In fact, he is thought to have three million descendants worldwide, which makes the story that he had twelve sons pretty believable.

Something I hadn’t thought about before doing my research for this week’s post was that Gaelic surnames usually refer to an historical ancestor, who may have belonged to a tribe or clan, whereas English surnames are often linked to a trade or place. This definitely applies to the names in my family tree, English on my father’s side and Irish on my mother’s.

I hope you enjoyed this last visit to the Cavan County Museum and for a great selection of Thursday Doors from around the globe, have a look at Norm’s blog.

Posted in Blogging, castles and ruins, Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Thursday Doors – Cavan County Museum 11

We’re still in the trenches for this week’s Thursday Doors post from the Cavan County Museum series. It’s a nice clean, easy to walk through, trench, unlike those that were in use during the first world war.

I see a doorway on the right with a soldier standing nearby. Let’s call into Coy HQ for a look around.

No solid door to be seen here, just a grey blanket pulled back from the entrance.

There’s a nice little stove in the corner for some heat and to warm up that tin of soup.

Considering where some had to sleep, this bunk is luxurious. Although, not exactly rat-proof.

When not contending with rats there was that other pest – the bane of most soldiers at the time – lice. Did you know that killing them was called ‘chatting’?

It was very difficult to maintain a satisfactory degree of sanitation in the trenches of WW1 but they did their best.

Of course the deadliest enemy was human. Extreme vigilance was required in order to keep on top of what the opposing side was up to. Trench periscopes were helpful.

I think it’s safe enough to make our way back to the main building now. There’s one more story to explore.

On the way there we pass by a lovely mosaic.

Thanks so much for joining me this week at the Cavan County Museum, there are lots more Thursday Doors to explore over on Norm’s blog.

Posted in Blogging, Britian, Cavan, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, social issues, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 30 Comments