Thursday Doors – Derry Again


I’m still in Derry for this week’s Thursday Doors and this was as high as I could go in the Tower Museum. The view from the rooftop is wonderful, with the River Foyle cutting through the city in the background.


The exhibits inside are pretty good to look at, too. One of them was of a WW2 American fighter pilot’s flying helmet and medical kit bag.


In 1941, twenty-three year old Roland ‘Bud’ Wolfe, from Nebraska, bailed out of his Spitfire when its Rolls Royce Merlin engine overheated. He survived both the crash and the second World War to fly in Korea and Vietnam. Wolfe died in Florida in 1994 at the age of 76. The plane, however, plunged into a peat bog in Derry’s neighbouring county, Donegal, where it lay twenty feet underground for seventy years. Following a number of failed attempts by others, the wreckage was discovered in 2011 by aviation historian, Jonny McNee, and his daughter, Grace.


The Spitfire’s Engine.

This particular Spitfire was the first of 20 aircraft commissioned with a £100,000 donation from Canadian millionaire Willard Garfield Weston, during the Battle of Britain. Here’s what Mr. McNee had to say about his find; “This is the Holy Grail of Spitfires because of the tremendous history involved in it and the fact that it was the first Garfield Weston presentation plane. It has ‘Garfield Weston No 1’ written in 4-inch yellow letters down the side of the cockpit.” (All you aviation enthusiasts will understand the significance of this).

Another interesting exhibit at the museum is this cannon, from one of the ships of the Spanish Armada.



This large bronze cannon from the ship, La Trinidad Valencera, is dated 1556 and bears King Philip of Spain’s coat of arms. It sits on a beautifully crafted replica gun carriage. An original wheel in the images below was found covered in solidified sand and silt. These siege cannons, with such enormous carriages and wheels, give evidence that the main intent of the Spanish Armada was for a land invasion rather than a naval conflict.

King Philip gave the restoration of England to Catholicism as his reason for the invasion in 1588, but commercial and political objectives played a large part in it. Spain’s interests in the New World were increasingly under attack by the English and needed protection.

Although it was one of the most ambitious military undertakings in history, the Spanish Armada was also one of the greatest failures. The ships were not only driven away by the English navy but were blown off course and scattered by strong gales. Many were wrecked off the coasts of Ireland and Scotland with a loss of one third of the vessels and two thirds of the men. With 42 guns, La Trinidad Valencera was the fourth largest ship in the Armada. She eventually reached Kinnegoe Bay, County Donegal, where she remained afloat for two days before breaking up and sinking, in September 1588. On 20th February 1971, she was discovered 150 metres offshore and 10 metres underwater by divers Archie Jack and Paddy Stewart, members of the City of Derry Sub-Aqua Club.

Most of La Trinidad Valenceria’s crew and soldiers got safely to shore. When they tried to negotiate an honourable surrender to the local militia, which was under English command, 300 of the 450 shipwrecked men were massacred. Sadly, only half of the 150 who escaped finally reached Spain.


Thought I should end a Thursday Doors post with an image of a door – a red one, of course. 🙂 For some more doors of various shapes and colours, have a look at Norm’s blog and thanks so much for stopping by.


Posted in Britian, castles and ruins, Historical buildings, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 33 Comments

Thursday Doors – Secret Cargo


These Thursday Doors lead into the Tower museum in Derry, Northern Ireland. The Laurentic exhibition is on there at the moment and my granddaughter had just been on a school trip to see it. It must have been interesting if she came along for a second viewing.


25th January 2017 was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the HMS Laurentic by a German mine in Lough Swilly, county Donegal. The luxury liner was carrying, what was valued at the time, £5 million worth of gold. Sadly, 350 of the 500 crew drowned and they are commemorated in a memorial in a churchyard on the banks of Lough Swilly.


Image source; John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Public Domain.

99% of the gold was recovered by a British naval salvage team. But what happened to the remainder of the gold? The 1% still missing today is valued at approximately £2 million.

The HMS Laurentic was owned by the White Star Line, which was among the first of the shipping lines to fit out passenger ships with inexpensive accommodation for third-class passengers, along with berths for higher paying first and second class. On its last voyage the Laurentic was scheduled to deliver a very important cargo to Halifax, Nova Scotia, but at the time, the captain was unaware of what he was carrying. The secret cargo was a payment to America and Canada for supplying Britain with munitions and other machinery for the war effort. This was in the form of 43 tons of gold bullion, consisting of 3,211 bars. Today’s value would be in the region of £300 million. This last fatal voyage made the Laurentic famous, but not quiet as famous as other liners, such as the Lusitania and the Titanic.

Some of the items on display at the exhibition

Another interesting story associated with the Laurentic was its involvement in the capture of the murderer, Dr. Hawley Crippen, in July 1910. Having killed his wife, Dr Crippen fled with his mistress, Ethel Le Neve, to the port of Antwerp in Belgium, where they boarded the SS Montrose for Canada. They planned on crossing the border into the USA to begin a new life together. He traveled under the name of Robinson and Ethel posed as his teenage son. But they they were a bit too ‘friendly’ and their suspicious behaviour came to the attention of the captain. He sent a report off to Scotland Yard, making this the first time the new Marconi signalling device was used in a murder case. Chief Inspector Walter Dew, leading the investigation, gave chase by booking a passage on the fastest ship available, which happened to be – the Laurentic. Because of its speed compared to that of the older ship, he arrived ahead of them. Disguising himself as a river pilot, the inspector boarded the Montrose, arresting Crippen and his mistress. They were brought back to England to stand trial.

I’ll spare you the gory details of Mrs. Crippen’s untimely demise but if you’d like to read more, here’s the link on History Today.

It was lovely having you on board the blog today, why not sail on over to Norm’s for an interesting collection of Thursday Doors?

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Photo Challenge – Reflecting


The Erne River in County Cavan, Ireland.

In response to WordPress Daily Post photo challenge: Reflecting.

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Thursday Doors – Derry

In March we paid a visit to our family in Derry, Northern Ireland, and this time I made sure I took some photos of the Guildhall. The construction of this beautiful building began in 1887 and it opened in July 1890. It was damaged by fire in 1908 with only the clock tower surviving intact. The rest of the building was re-built and renovated after the fire and re-opened in 1912.


The many stained glass windows of the Guildhall recount the history of  Derry city from earliest times to the very recent past. *


This is just a small sample of the beautiful mosaic floor throughout the hall.


Here’s a few more shots of the building, including some nice ironwork.

We were in Cavan working on our little house and our daughter invited us to stay overnight with them in Derry. As we were only an hour and a half’s drive away – instead of the usual 6 hours – we said we’d love to. By that stage we had been knocking walls and clearing rubble for two days and felt a break was in order. On the Sunday, we all went into Derry city to visit the museum (next week I’ll put those photos up) and when the grandchildren were being brought home, our daughter suggested we stay on and have a look around an exhibition that they had already been to. Little did we know it was a ploy to keep us out of the house – there was something they needed to do before we got back.


Yes, it was our wedding anniversary and we had both forgotten all about it. In fact, it was our 40th. Once we had seen the exhibition (it was about the Spanish Armada) we had a quick cup of coffee and headed back to the family. I was feeling guilty about not spending time with them as we live so far away and don’t get to visit too often. Our granddaughter was in the middle of baking something and I offered to give her a hand but she said it was for a school project so must do it herself. I hung out in the kitchen with my daughter and granddaughter, not particularly interested in the rugby match being watched on tv by Mr. R. and our son-in-law in the sitting room.

How was I to know the girls were desperately trying to get me out of the kitchen so they could bake and ice that cake? After all, both Mr. R. and myself were oblivious to the fact that we were forty years married that day. My granddaughter eventually asked me to help her with some homework in the sitting room (while her mother iced the cake). I did wonder why she needed me to correct her spelling, as she had spellcheck on the laptop she was using. A little while later, the cake was brought into the room and we still didn’t realize what it was for – they actually had to tell us! That’s the effect a house renovation can have on you, imagine forgetting your 40th wedding anniversary. 😮

Source * Museum in Glass

Thanks for stopping by this week. For a great and varied selection of Thursday Doors check out Norm’s blog.

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Thursday Doors from Virginia


No, I haven’t taken a flight to America for this week’s Thursday Doors, unlike Virginia in the US, this town in county Cavan is a wee bit smaller. It does have nice red doors, though, and some lovely arches.

That one might be a bit too high up for me but here’s a red entrance that looks inviting.


There are lots of lovely stone buildings around the town and some of the old walls have been repaired and brought back to their former glory.

This post will have all you red door lovers drooling. I can’t wait to go back and find some more – they were everywhere.


But to avoid being biased, I’ve included a nice blue door, too.


Virginia in Cavan has a connection with ‘little people’ which is a nice follow-on from last week’s ‘fairy doors’ post. It was in Quilca House, not too far from the town, that Jonathan Swift, Irish writer and clergyman, wrote parts of the novel Gulliver’s Travels, and introduced the literary world to his six-inch tall Lilliputians. The book was a great success, and hasn’t been out of print since its first run. Much of the story-line points to historical events during an era of intense political turmoil in Swift’s lifetime. It is a classic of English literature and his best known full-length work. He claimed to have written Gulliver’s Travels;to vex the world rather than divert it“.

Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin in 1667. His father was an attorney who died just two months before his birth. Without a steady income, his mother struggled to provide for her newborn son, who was a sickly infant. It was later discovered that he suffered from Meniere’s Disease, a condition of the inner ear that causes nausea and hearing loss. Swift’s mother put him in the care of Godwin Swift, her late husband’s brother, who took care of his nephew’s education. He attended Trinity College from the age of 14 as an undergraduate and received a BA degree in 1686, then began studying for his Master’s. However, political unrest broke out in Ireland and his mother found a position for him in England as secretary to the English statesman, Sir William Temple, for whom he ran political errands for ten years. You can read more about the life of Jonathan Swift at He died in 1745 and was laid to rest next to his beloved Esther Johnson inside Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Here’s one last door before we leave the town of Virginia. I love how the bay windows mirror the roof of this house. Sorry the quality isn’t too good but when we passed the speed limit of 50 kph on leaving the town, Mr. R. put the foot down and the result was a slight blurring of my shot.


Why not pay a visit to Canada now, and see what kind of Thursday Doors Norm has posted on his blog? From there you can find doors from all over the world by following the blue ‘frog’ link.


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Thursday Doors and Nova Scotia


Why am I posting an image of trees on this week’s Thursday Doors? If you look closely, you’ll see strange decorations on some of those trunks.

These are ‘fairy’ doors, placed there by some children, a practice that has been going on for some years now. I posted about Glenbower Woods in Killeagh back in 2015, when I called it my Happy Place. On this visit, my daughter came along to take some photographs for a project she was working on as part of her Art course. Oh, there she is……


It seemed that every time I went to take a shot, she photo-bombed it while taking one of her own. Glenbower has that effect on you, it’s beauty and tranquility absorbing all your thoughts. The sound of a river running through the woods only adds to the peacefulness of the place. Oh, there she is again……


By now, you’re probably wondering what a woodland in Ireland has to do with a place in Canada. In 1786, a group of Irishmen in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) founded a society to provide relief to those reduced by ‘sickness, old age, shipwreck and other misfortunes,’ whether they be Catholic or Protestant. It was called The Charitable Irish Society of Halifax and its first President was Richard John Uniacke, who was born in Castletown, Glenbower Valley in 1753. In the 1980’s, the society celebrated 200 years continuous charitable works, honouring Richard Uniacke by erecting a plaque in the woods of his birthplace.

The Uniake family has a long connection with Killeagh parish and Glenbower. Samuel Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837) has this to say about it;  ‘Mount Uniacke, the seat of Norman Uniacke, Esq. It is an ancient family mansion, situated among mountains which have been brought into cultivation, and is surrounded by a grove of fine trees, and commands extensive views of the sea and the vale of Imokilly.’

Originally Roman Catholics, the Uniacke family suffered a lot of repression during the periods of Tudor and Cromwellian rule in Ireland. However, by the early 1700’s they had become staunch Protestants, adhering to the British crown. At the age of sixteen Richard John Uniacke was influenced by a priest who opened his eyes to the unjust treatment of Catholics. This did not go down too well with his Protestant family and he was sent to  Dublin to study law. While there, Richard joined the Irish nationalist movement, which sought greater political autonomy for Ireland. This caused more damage to his already fragile relationship with his father and his allowance was cut off. The young man refused to return home and as he was penniless abandoned his studies to seek his fortune elsewhere.

He arrived in Philadelphia in 1774 and formed a partnership with a trader from Nova Scotia, Moses Delesdernier. After a dangerous voyage they arrived at Hopewell Township where Delesdernier became an agent. In 1775, Uniacke married Delesdernier’s 12-year-old daughter, Martha Maria (yes, she was only twelve years old) and was apparently devoted to her until her death in 1803. They had six sons and six daughters.

Richard joined the American rebels in the Battle of Fort Cumberland in 1776. They terrorized those of the local population who were loyal to the British and while trying to commandeer supplies he was captured and sent as a prisoner to Halifax. He faced being charged with treason and if found guilty could have been hung but, possibly due to the fact some of the military officers in Halifax had been stationed with his brothers, he was released. Providing evidence for the crown also helped in sparing his life.

Some years after the American Revolution, Richard Uniacke became a member of the House of Assembly. As an abolitionist, he wanted to emancipate not only Catholics but also those who were still slaves in Nova Scotia. Having lost his first wife in 1803, he married Eliza Newton in 1808 and they had one son. Three of his sons were lawyers and one became a clergyman.

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography says this about him; ‘Contemporaries remembered Uniacke mostly for the sheer force of his character and his exuberance. He loved life, and family and friendships were essential to his existence. His was a personality of exaggerations and his judgements of men and events were sometimes clouded by raw emotion. He was ambitious for himself and his children, and although his ambitions were never entirely fulfilled, he achieved more than most men. Nowadays, Mount Uniacke Estate in Nova Scotia is a museum and open to the public.’ *

Richard John Uniacke died at Uniacke House, Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia in 1830 and had been an Attorney General for thirty-three years.

I’ll finish off this post with a photograph of a ‘proper’ door and a red one, at that. It was taken from the car on our way to Glenbower Woods.


If you’ve enjoyed this little bit of history (and the door photos) have a look at what Norm has shared about some more Irish-Canadian connections, on his Thursday Doors post.

Source *

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Thursday Doors


At the bottom of this very nondescript lane you’ll see an old stone arch and as this is a Thursday Doors post, I’ve taken photographs of a couple of doors on my way through the lane. There’s even a few fake windows thrown in for good measure – alongside the blue door.

Of course, it’s the oldest structure that often steals the show when you come across a mix of architecture from different eras, and that’s certainly the case down Quay Lane in Youghal (Yawl), County Cork.


The Water Gate (known by locals as Cromwell’s Arch) is a 19th century reconstruction of one of five medieval gates, set in the old town walls. 400 years ago, you would be looking at the sea through that arch. This particular gate was probably the most important because it controlled the sea trade of Youghal. The town’s medieval harbour was located just outside the Water Gate but was infilled in the mid 1700’s. The reason the gate is known locally as Cromwell’s Arch is because Oliver Cromwell left through it in May 1650, to board the frigate President, bound for Bristol.

He had arrived in Youghal in August of the previous year. His reason for being in Ireland was to quell a rebellion. Having decided to winter his army of 10,000 cavalry and foot soldiers in the town, Cromwell lodged at the old priory of St. John’s on North Main Street (pictured below). The arched doorway is still in its original state, just as it was when Cromwell walked through. So too, is the long, narrow window above it. The red and white door and window are much later additions as is the wooden door in the old arch.

After spending nine months fighting Irish rebels, Cromwell received news that Scottish loyalists were planning an invasion of England and he left Ireland through the Water Gate in Youghal, transferring his command to his son-in-law, Henry Ireton. Those Gaels (Irish and Scottish) certainly gave him a run for his money, didn’t they?

I hope you enjoyed your visit to medieval Youghal today. For more Thursday Doors of varying age and condition, hop on over to the blue ‘frog’ link on Norm’s blog and see what surprises await you.

Posted in castles and ruins, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 45 Comments

Thursday Doors – Remembering Titanic



This weekend marks the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and as I live only a short drive from where the ill-fated ship set sail for America (which took place on a Thursday from Cobh, County Cork) it’s only fitting that it should feature on this week’s Thursday Doors. The entrance in the photo above leads to a restaurant that looks out onto what’s left of Heartbreak Pier, the last place some of Titanic’s passengers touched dry land. The ship arrived in Queenstown (now called Cobh) in county Cork to pick up mail and 123 passengers, before setting out on her first trans-Atlantic voyage. There were over 2,000 passengers and crew on board as she left the harbour at 1.30 pm on Thursday 11 April 1912, bound for New York.

titanic experience cobh cork

Heartbreak Pier

The Titanic exhibition is housed in the old White Star Line office building, which looks much the same now as it did back then.


Of the 123 passengers who boarded from Cobh, three were first class, seven were second class and the remaining 113 were third class or steerage. Only 44 survived, ten of those being from Cork. When you receive your ticket for the guided tour you are given the name of one of the passengers who boarded Titanic from Cobh that day. At the end of the tour you find out whether or not you were among the survivors. The first time I took this tour, the name on my ticket was that of Katherine Buckley, aged 22, a young Irish woman from county Cork. You can find out what happened to her by following the link at the end of this post. This time my ticket belonged to Mary Canavan, a single woman aged 22.



She was one of nine children, a farmer’s daughter from County Mayo and embarked as a 3rd class passenger. Her ticket cost £7 and 15 shillings (approx. £700 in today’s money). Mary’s elder brother Patrick had emigrated to America the year before and she was to join him. She traveled in a group of fourteen men and women from her parish, Addergoole* in Mayo, but lost her life, along with two of her cousins, Patrick Canavan and James Flynn, when the ship went down. Only three of the group survived.

Katherine Buckley’s fate –  A Titanic Experience

If you sail on over to Norm’s blog you’ll find an interesting selection of international Thursday Doors by clicking the blue ‘frog’ link at the end of his post.

Source *


Posted in boats, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

Thursday Doors

Continuing on from last week’s Thursday Doors in Dublin, I have a question for you. What do vampires and Stephen’s Green have in common? Why should I be reminded of something that scared the life out of me in my teens – even in a black and white movie – on such a lovely sunny day? Okay, that was two questions. While you ponder over them, walk with me through the Fusiliers Arch that leads into the park.


Apparently modeled on the Arch of Titus in Rome, it was erected in 1907 and is dedicated to the men of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who fought and died in the Second Boer War (1899-1902). The names of 222 of them are inscribed on the underside of the arch.  Inside the park, spring flowers were in bloom everywhere and the grass was even dry enough to sit on. Click on any photo to view a larger image.

There are lots of monuments throughout Stephen’s Green park and one of them is the Famine Memorial by Irish sculptor Edward Delaney (1930–2009).


By now you must be wondering why on earth I mentioned vampires. Have a look at the next photograph, the Top Shop building in particular (with the horse and carriage standing in front of it).


In 1877, Bram Stoker (author of Dracula) lived above the shop at number 7, Stephen’s Green. It wasn’t a high street fashion store in his day, but a grocery and wine shop. Not too far away stands the Shelbourne Hotel, where in 1876 Bram Stoker and Henry Irving began a lifelong friendship. Irving was an English stage actor in Victorian times and is widely acknowledged to be one of the inspirations for Count Dracula. He was the first actor to be awarded a knighthood. You can see from the old photograph below how little Stoker’s old residence has changed. It’s on the left of the image. There was even a horse and carriage parked outside back then.

Image from Bram Stoker Estate website.

Follow the link if you would like to find out more about Bram Stoker’s Dublin

Thank you for your company on this stroll around Stephen’s Green. If you carry on over to Norm’s blog you’ll find another fine selection of Thursday Doors with a link at the end of his post that will transport you to various parts of the globe.

Posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, nature, Thursday Doors, Travel, victorian ireland, writers | Tagged , , , , , | 36 Comments

The Beauty of County Cork

I just had to share this video of the county I live in. It was posted online by Cork County Council and if you’ve been following my blog you might recognize some of the places featured, ‘Stone Mad’ in Kinsale and ‘Titanic’ in Cobh, among them. If you’re planning a trip to Ireland or if you live here and fancy a ‘staycation’ at home, this video will give you a taste of what’s on offer in Ireland’s largest county. Enjoy 🙂 Like Ireland Love Cork

More lovely views of Ireland at Aircam Ireland

For information on travel and tourism; County Cork

Posted in Ireland, nature, The Good Things in Life, Travel, videos | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments