Monday, March 29, 2010

A Short Stay In Paradise

Last week I had the great pleasure of spending a couple of days in Drum, a beautiful location just outside the town of Boyle, County Roscommon. It was my work on a short film which took me to this magic place, its haunting ambience providing the perfect setting for the film's storyline.

 My overnight stay was in the magnificent Abbey House (above) which is just a five minute stroll to Boyle Town Centre. A large Victorian house set in the grounds of the 12th century Boyle Abbey, this B/B has everything to offer its visitor. If you are a lover of old world charm then this is the place for you! From the moment you walk into the hallway with its antique furnishings and decor you feel you've entered a time past, which for me, is like coming home.

The view from my room was a balm for the senses, calming, reassuring and most inspiring. My gratitude goes to my hosts, a lovely lady and gentleman who made me feel very welcome and who, on the morning of my departure, provided me with my glass of warm water with lemon slice and also topped up my bottled water.

I'd also like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the family who provided us with lunch on both days and dinner on the first evening. We were many in number and the lady of the house seemed not in the least bit phased by her huge catering task. Many thanks to her and her family.

Top Image: Entrance to film location.
Centre Image: Abbey House B/B, Boyle, County Roscommon.
Bottom Image: View from my B/B room window.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Progress Brings Its Changes - Not All Of Them Pretty

It was during a return visit last week to my old hometown of Ringsend, Dublin that I truly became aware of the ever changing village landscape. As I was not tied to time on this occasion I spent a leisurely few hours (camera phone in tow having forgotton to recharge the Canon!) sauntering down the avenues and alleyways that were once very much part of my childhood.

The most devastating change has to be to the view along the Pigeon House Road where once to your left hand side lay an uninterrupted view of the sea. Now above those blue waters stands a docklands, its giant cranes and massive stacks of freight containers dwarfing the coastguard station opposite which still houses several families. Also along that road I noticed the once magnificent house whose family I used to babysit for now lying derelict, black hoarding on its windows. Around the corner from that, my avenue where I lived for fifteen years has also fallen victim to the credit crunch with one of its properties now also lying abandoned, it too boarded up. Absolutely soul destroying to see that.

On a brighter note, Ringsend Park is still pretty much the same as I knew it except for the addition of an all-weather football pitch and other sports areas which I'm sure are very welcome facilities indeed. Mind you, the railings running parallel with the park could do with a coat of paint!

Below are some then and now photos all taken by me. Time, as the song goes, changes everything!

Left: Coastguard Station 2001. Right: Roof of Station barely visible 2010.

Left: Detached house, 2005. Right: Same house, derelict 2010.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Scare At Playtime! - Early 1960s

I know it was a time while I was still in primary school so that would have been pre-1963. My friend and I, always on the lookout for a bit of excitement on our way home, decided one day to visit the childrens' ward in the general hospital right next door to our school. As I loved minding young babies and toddlers I strongly suspect it was I who instigated the mischief, our visits continuing for some time.

On this particular day after we had played with the children who were well enough to be up and about and I had cuddled a lovely little baby boy one of us decided we should take a look in the place where they kept the dead people. We were so excited at what we might see! I'm not sure how we knew that the building was called a mortuary (probably from watching the tv series, "Dr. Kildare") but we recognised it when we saw the word over the door.

I clearly remember us cautiously walking into that strange room and seeing a body on the table covered with a white sheet. We stared for a moment then it happened! An arm fell down and you could see the hand hanging from beneath the sheet. Never had I been so terrified in all my short life! We screamed and ran as fast as our little legs could carry us vowing never to return. For a long time afterwards my hospital visits were scary times imagining a mummy-like creature lurking in the doorways of every corridor!

Above image of Baggot Street Hospital formerly known as Royal City of Dublin Hospital (next door to our school) via Wikipedia.