Bombs Away! The day America dropped four nukes on Spain

This might have been an accident but the results could have been catastrophic for southern Spain and other parts of Europe. Interesting piece of modern history from David Lawlor.


Usaf.Boeing_B-52 A B-52 bomber like the one which crashed at Palomares

It was January 17, 1966, and Jose Molinero was teaching class in his elementary school in the village of Palomares, on Spain’s southeast coast, when he noticed huge pieces of blazing metal falling from the sky.

A plane’s landing gear smashed into the ground just 80 yards away. He immediately ordered his pupils to stay indoors. One little girl later described how the sky was ‘raining fire’.

Others witnessed the debris, too. ‘I looked up and saw this huge ball of fire, falling through the sky. The two planes were breaking into pieces,’ local man Manolo Gonzales later told Public Radio International.

Plane crashes are rare enough, mid-air collisions even more so, but this was even rarer – and far more dangerous… this was the day an American B-52 bomber and its refuelling plane collided causing four nuclear bombs to…

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Thursday Doors


As promised last week, Thursday Doors comes from Fota House once more. No blossoms this time as I’m focusing on the building itself. This image is of the front and the following one shows the rear.


Because we spent so long in the gardens that day (after all, the sun came out not long after we arrived) we missed the last guided tour of the interior of the house. However, I did manage to snap the reception area, with its beautifully paneled doors and windows.

From the outside, it doesn’t look too interesting, does it? Wait till you see the inside.


Beautifully restored plaster work above the fireplace.


Paneled walls and paneled doors.


The coffee and scones are delicious, too.


Just look at the height of those windows.

If this part of the house is anything to go by, I can’t wait to see the rest of it. Apparently, the classical interior has been stunningly restored and the servants’ quarters are well preserved, giving visitors the feeling of having stepped back in time. As soon as I can plan another trip to Fota, I’ll let you know how far back it takes me. Next time, I’ll make sure to take the guided tour before losing myself in the ‘enchanted’ gardens.

Many thanks for stopping by and if you head on over to Norm’s Blog, you’ll find a link to lots of wonderful doors from around the globe. Enjoy.

Posted in Historical buildings, Ireland, photography, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Thursday Doors


More like Thursday Gates than Thursday Doors this week, I’m afraid, as I got totally distracted by the flowers at Fota Gardens. On a grey, drizzly day last week, my husband and I decided to take a tour of Fota House, now that it’s open to the public. We set out with the best of intentions, after all, I was sure to find a great selection of doors in such a large old period house; with a bit of history thrown in from the guided tour. No better way to spend a wet afternoon in July, you would think – that is, until the sun came out. With no rain to drive us indoors it was hard to resist taking a stroll in the beautiful settings of Fota Gardens.


You might be wondering where all those flowers are. Well, hold onto your sunhats they are just across that lovely green expanse of grass, at the rear of the house (that’s the back of it in the photo). A short walk takes you to the Pleasure Gardens and last time I was there, I had arrived too late and the gates were locked. Not on this occasion, thankfully.

Just behind that hedge, directly inside the gates, is the Italian Garden.



I wonder if Foscarini knew that his ‘well-head’ would end up in county Cork. We couldn’t get into the Italian Garden as the gate was locked but the rest of the area was a feast to the eyes with its beautifully arranged borders, enclosed by a lovely old stone wall.

Then we came to the Rose Garden, with a hedge dividing it from the borders, it took me a few minutes to decide which path to take but the roses won out in the end. After all, their petals were already beginning to drop, so they might not be there on my next visit.



I took a few more shots of the grounds on our way back to the main house, to catch the last guided tour of the day.


Unfortunately, we spent so long in the gardens we missed the last tour. So, I now have an excuse to go back for another visit. I did manage to get a few photographs of the reception area and it’s lovely interior doors, which I’ll post next week. Thanks for looking and if you feel starved of doors after this week’s post, have a look at what Norm has to offer – you won’t be disappointed!

Posted in environment, Historical buildings, Ireland, nature, photography, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Thursday Doors


Thursday Doors comes from Ardmore again this week but this time it’s a bit more colourful, as the Summer arrived for the day on Wednesday and the flowers all came out.

Even the ‘living roof’ on the Cliff House Hotel was in bloom.


It wasn’t only the plants that contributed to the abundance of colour – some children having fun on the water put on a pretty bright display.


Of course, I can’t end this post without a red door.


Or without a boat.


For more doors and interesting photos from around the globe, have a look at Norm’s Blog.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Journeymen in Ireland, and much more

Fascinating account of these young journeymen by Inese. If you’re in Ireland, keep an eye out for them.

Making memories


These young men are Benjamin and Simon, two German blacksmiths whom I met at the supermarket on my way home. They are journeymen, and their plan is to travel around the Atlantic coast and find work. They might stay in Ireland for a couple of months. If you meet them, please assist them with a lift or a place to stay over night. They have already slept outdoors, and they have no tent. I still feel bad because I did very little for them, but I met them right after I spent my only ten euros on groceries, and I had very little petrol left in the tank too. Otherwise I would drive them all the way to Youghal where they were heading to.

During our drive we had the chance for a chat, and later I read more about the Journeyman quest in the internet.

A journeyman is a skilled worker…

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Front Line

The First World War was a war of empires which drew men and women from all over the globe into its carnage. On this, one hundredth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, along with remembering those who lost their lives or suffered life changing injuries, physically and mentally, I am thinking of another group of people. Photographers, cinematographers, writers and artists of all nationalities left us a legacy of eye witness accounts to ensure the sacrifice of so many would never be forgotten. The soldiers who kept diaries, something that was widely discouraged, probably did not realize just how important their words would become to the generations that followed.

This morning, I’ve been listening to archived interviews with soldiers who survived The Great War and their accounts are so poignant. If only it had been the ‘War to end all wars’ but that was not to be. I recently came across the book,  Anthem for Doomed Youth by Jon Stallworthy, which contains the poems of twelve soldiers of the First World War, along with some of their letters and sketches. Their words help to convey, with remarkable accuracy, the horror of the trenches and how unprepared the world had been at the time for mass warfare. What began with illustrious ideals and enthusiastic parades in 1914, ended in the realization that modern war methods were nothing like the battles fought in previous generations, and capable of much more destruction.


Alan Seeger 1888-1916

On this day, July 1, one hundred years ago, a young American poet, Alan Seeger, was among French troops who launched an assault on German trenches. He was living in Paris when the war began and joined the French Foreign Legion. His well known poem, I Have a Rendezvous with Death, is a very apt way for me to end this post, as this young man lost his life on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916. He was twenty-eight years old.

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear …
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.
Alan Seeger

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Cherubs and Elephants

The elaborate door caught my eye first; arched and square topped panels; squares within circles; a carved central pillar covering the join between the doors and no sign of a doorknob.    …

Source: Cherubs and Elephants

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Thursday Doors


I missed out on Thursday Doors last week as I was on a boat near Belturbet in County Cavan, with no internet connection. However, that didn’t stop me from taking lots of photographs for future posts. This one is of  Belturbet’s old railway station, where the Tidy Towns committee hold a car boot sale on the last Sunday of every month. There are some great bargains to be had, particularly if you like to read – you get four books for €1. On my next trip I’ll be checking out the Visitor Center and Museum, as they were closed at the time.

There was a nice selection of doors.


I’m not sure if the graffiti was accurate, as we didn’t venture into the toilets. Interesting that the Gentlemen’s just had an iron grill (well ventilated) while the Ladies had a nicely painted wooden door.



That’s not exactly nineteenth century garb on the ‘brakeman’, but he did find a nice old fashioned lantern at the car boot sale.



What’s a station without an engine? Not quite sure about the horse power, though.


Belturbet Railway Station was part of the Great Northern Railway line and built entirely of local stone in 1885, remaining in operation until 1959. Apparently, it is the only Grade 1 station constructed entirely of cut stone. The buildings lay derelict for almost 40 years until the Belturbet Community Development Association purchased the ten acre site in 1995 and began the restoration – and what a beautiful job they made of it, too. The station master’s house is fully restored and available as a holiday let. This site has a selection of images of the inside as it is now, along with some old photographs of a time when the station was in use.


Thanks for stopping by. More Thursday Doors await you on Norm’s Blog if you choo-choo-choose to pay a visit.:)

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Thursday Doors


This week’s photos for Thursday Doors comes from the 1980’s, when my husband, myself (eight months pregnant on twins), two children aged 5 and 3, and the dog moved, into an old bungalow needing plenty of refurbishment, in county Clare. No, it wasn’t the old stone cottage in these first two images, although that did come with the house and our plan was to renovate it, too. The first shot was taken during our first winter there and the second one, the following year. You can see where a lot more of the roof collapsed over the course of a year.


The reason we didn’t get round to tackling the old stone property was because the house we had moved into needed so much work. It was a four roomed bungalow, built in 1935 by the people whose family had outgrown the old cottage across from it, which must have been about 200 years old at the time. The man who owned these houses was a cobbler and with the village only a half mile further up the road, he probably earned a decent enough living. He also owned a quarry, right across from the old cottage, which may have created some extra income. It was on this old quarry that he built the new house for his family – the one that became our home in 1983.


You can just about see the remains of the old door on the cottage and what’s left of the thatch that became a ‘living’ roof. That’s me with the twins and our two older children. It was a bit of a challenge renovating on just my husband’s income but as we did a lot of the work ourselves it was manageable.


It took about three years to get most of the wiring, plumbing, heating, septic tank (we used a chemical loo for the first few months) and attic conversion done. As you can see from the photos of the front and rear of the house, I love red doors. We were able to save the double sash window at the back but the rest had to be changed. What a wonderful six years we had in that house, and I loved every minute of it – except when we had to empty the loo in a lime pit at the end of the garden. The first thing we did, was have a septic tank and flushing toilet installed. We had to wait for planning permission to come through for that, hence the need for the chemical toilet. The original front door was rapidly disintegrating with only its red paint holding it together, so we had to replace it – with another red door, of course.

 That red door was a great backdrop to lots of family photos.


Sometimes it was colder inside than it was outside.


At other times it was so hot we thought we were in Mexico.

Okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration. 

Thanks for visiting and joining me on my trip down memory lane. There are lots of interesting doors to be found on Norm’s blog, why not head on over and check it out!

Posted in castles and ruins, Ireland, photo challenges, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , | 69 Comments

Thursday Doors


I went with the colour blue for my post on Thursday Doors this week.


This gorgeous stone building houses not only the Visitor Center and Tourist Office but at the rear is the entrance to the YMCA snooker club. In between the two, there is a small museum with some very interesting artifacts on display – like Tom Thumb’s glove, for instance.


It really is a tiny glove.


You didn’t argue with some of the past Mayors of Youghal.


During the Great Hunger (Irish Famine) of the mid-1800’s, a piece of Italian lace  was unraveled by a nun, Mother Mary Ann Smith of Presentation Convent, Youghal, and carefully examined until the stitches were mastered. She then selected the children capable of the best needlework and taught them what she had learned. Their newly acquired skills brought money into their homes at a time when it was sorely needed to pay rent and buy food. No doubt quite a few evictions were avoided by those industrious children.


These pieces of lace are made by the needle and the thread is of very fine cotton.


The Convent Lace School was opened in 1852 and in 1863 a shawl of Youghal Lace was presented to the Princess of Wales on the occasion of her marriage to the future King Edward VII. It was the first of many presentations to the Royal Family. Queen Victoria’s coronation veil was made of Youghal Lace, as was a train worn by Queen Mary on a visit to India in 1911.


Several medals were awarded to Youghal Lace in international exhibitions over the years including the Chicago World’s Fair 1893 and the Exhibition of British Lace in London 1906. After Mary Ann Smith’s death in 1872, the work in the lace room was carried on by Sister Mary Regis Lynch, who produced many new designs. The Lace School flourished until World War I, which effectively did away with many lace markets. However, Youghal Lace continued until the late 1950s.

In 1987 history repeated itself when another nun from Presentation Convent Youghal, Sister Mary Coleman, along with Veronica Stuart from Carrigaline, Co. Cork, unraveled a piece of Youghal Lace, as Mary Ann Smith had done. The stitch work was studied and techniques noted, with Veronica Stuart even traveling to the Continent to perfect her skills in needle-lace. In 1989 she began to teach Youghal Needlelace, ensuring its survival. It is still being made today, having its own range of 100 separate stitches and is known for a hallmark shell border, alluding to the town’s marine history. It takes about three months to create a piece of lace the size of an A4 page, so I can appreciate why even a small piece of it fetched a price of £6,000 (€7,500) at an auction in London in 2012.

Thanks for stopping by this week, it’s amazing what you find behind a door. Why not have a look at some more Thursday Doors on Norm’s blog.

Posted in History, Ireland, society, Thursday Doors, victorian ireland | Tagged , , , , | 38 Comments