New town; new morning; new photo subjects. Limerick is a town which appeared slightly larger, and slightly more traditional “city” than Galway. It was less designed for the tourist/college student and more of a “working” city. Nonetheless there is a lot to do there and it seems to me to be a city worth visiting and planning to spend a couple days. Of course, given the nature of our trip, I only had mornings and evenings there, so the idea was to make the best of it, for what I could find within walking distance of the Strand.
Like many older cities, Limerick is divided by a river; in this case the River Shannon. The Strand Hotel was on the northwestern bank of the river, and just across the bridge to the south, was the main “downtown” part of the city. We walked down there the first night and found a nice pub on the city canal, which connects the River Shannon from loop to loop, as it circles north of the city and back down again to the east. This morning, I walked back down for a daytime view, and found this image of a white walking bridge, crossing the canal. There appear to be a series of drops on the River Shannon, which, though they do not amount to real waterfalls, look like they would create serious havoc on boats. Hence, there are also some locks on the river. One is near the canal and the main auto bridge that crosses the river from the Strand over to the downtown. I think water, and particularly rivers, always make for photographic interest in and around cities.
From the distance (you can see it in the opening image off the river), you can see the tower of a castle. As I followed the river, I learned that what I was seeing was King John’s Castle. A number of our group remained in Limerick this day, and reported afterward that it is a very interesting and fun visit. I was there only during the early morning hours, and not much activity was happening (something I actually appreciate, when trying to find early light shots).
You never know what unusual, but perhaps serendipitous subjects may await you around the next corner. As I walked toward the castle, I came upon this pink, childrens’ bicycle up against the green fence and it drew my eye.
The previous day took its toll on some of our number. I headed back to the Strand to make the deadline for our tour for the day. This morning, we had about ½ a group on the bus. A number of our folks, it appeared, were ready for a break from long bus rides and just wanted some “r&r” in Limerick. From their various accounts, it sounds like they thoroughly enjoyed what the city had to offer. But we were off for our planned trip to The Rock of Cashel and Kilkenny Castle.
The Rock of Cashel is a grouping of medieval buildings on a very high vantage point, in the renowned, Tipperary, Ireland. It is almost impossible for an American not to start humming and/or blurt out that hackneyed phrase, “it’s a long way to Tipperary.” Our driver and guide informed us that the “Tipperary” of song, is a bar/brothel in Piccadilly, London and the song was reputedly sung by soldiers longing for “a pint” and the “sweetest” girl they knew. Wikipedia has a slightly different version of the story, noting it was a music hall song and one of the writers may well have hailed from Tipperary. Whichever story you want to believe, it was undoubtedly became a popular marching song for British Soldiers during WWI. As far as the “long way,” what I can tell you is that this week, on the bus, it seemed like a long way to everywhere we went!
But I digress….. The Rock of Cashel is where Brian Boru’ was crowned “High King” of Ireland – and apparently, where his descendants continued to rule for more than a century following his death at the Battle of Clontart. From a photographer’s perspective, the ruins are spectacular and photogenic, and the views of the Irish countryside, as far as the eye can see, are green and as illustrative of “Ireland” as I could imagine.
Following our morning at The Rock of Cashel, we headed further east, to Kilkenny. Importantly to me, Kilkenny is the site of the Smithwick’s Brewery (my beer of choice in Ireland). So, for lunch, before our visit to the castle, we found it obligatory to salute Kilkenny and Smithwick’s with a pint.
After lunch, we all met in front of the castle, where entered for a tour. The tour was mildly interesting, as were the interior rooms of the castle. But our visit to Bunratty Castle, the next day, would prove a much more interesting interior castle tour. The exterior, however, was another story. In my pre-trip envisioning, I thought surely I would bring home a “wall-hanger” of Kylemore Abbey, or some similar castle we saw along the way. The image that actually found its way to my office wall is the above image, with the steps leading up. I like the one with the fountain, also, but haven’t printed it.
And the shot from the castle roof, with the Smithwick’s brewery in the distance, just may be my favorite shot of the day. After the Kilkenny Castle tour, we headed back for the Strand, and our last night in Limerick, where we re-joined some other group members, compared stories, and sampled several new Irish Whiskeys, before turning in for the night.
Filed under: PHOTOGRAPHY | Tagged: Andy Richards, bridge, canal, color, Europe, Ireland, Kilkenny, Kilkenny Castle, King John's Castle, Light, LightCentric Photography, Limerick, locks, PHOTOGRAPHY, reflection, river, River Shannon, Rock of Cashel, Smithwicks, Tipperary, travel, water |