On Tuesday 22nd June, 2021 our local seat of government, the classic Parliament Building of Stormont, Belfast, was illuminated in blue, to mark the centenary of the first sitting of the Northern Ireland Parliament in 1921. I was commissioned to photograph the building, for publicity purposes, by Traditional Unionist Voice, one of the local political parties, whose initiative had led to this special commemoration event.Continue reading Stormont in Blue
Motivation and Inspiration
It’s encouraging to drive along a road and see some inspirational words on a wall. In Belfast, it makes a nice change from some of the darker, paramilitary or terrorist inspired murals. Ant when you are ‘getting on a bit’ like me, this wall on the Newtownards Road is particularly appropriate – a good incentive to keep going!
This area of Belfast is known as ‘Ballymacarrett’ – an ancient townland name, and the home of many of the old Belfast industries, most notably the famous Harland and Wolff Shipyard, Short Brothers aircraft factory, the Belfast Rope Works and the Scirocco Works.
The mural features everything that is good about East Belfast, its community and renown, including CS Lewis, born in East Belfast. Also included are a ballerina, Belfast City Hall, and a group of children playing in the street, a boy releasing a dove, symbolising peace.
The main text on the mural is:
You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.
The Martin Memorial Clock Tower – beloved monument or ‘a decrepit eyesore?’
Back in September, 2020, Janette and I did a drive around the Lecale District, an area of outstanding natural beauty, not too far from where we live in Co.Down. I did three blog posts about that area, and in the first of those pieces, https://bobmcevoy.co.uk/2020/09/01/the-lecale-district-1/ I mentioned Van Morrison’s song, “Coney Island.” (Is it really a song?), in which Mr Morrison, one of our native sons, mentions many of the local places of interest in this part of Northen Ireland. But one of the lines of the song intrigued me. For Mr Morrison writes of driving through Shrigley to take photographs before he travelled on down to Killyleagh.Continue reading Shrigley, Van Morrison and that Clock!
Ancient Engineering at Slidderyford, Co.Down
Between Dundrum and Newcastle, Co.Down is this ancient Dolmen, a strange stone structure that stands out against the skyline.
It is generally supposed that these stone structures mark burial grounds, probably from around 3000-4000 BC. Who built them, or how they were built is a mystery, it seems, but they occur all over Western Europe. Notice how the heaven top rock seems to fit into ‘sockets’ on the supporting rocks, and marvel at ancient engineering skills! To visit the Dolmen take the A2 road from Dundrum to Newcastle, and on reaching Murlough Nature Reserve turn onto Old Road, The Dolmen is on the left. Be aware though, that the tomb is sited on private land, which often is sowed out in crops, and to cross over to the monument would be trespass. It’s wise to take a medium range zoom lens if you want to photograph the Dolmen, and work from the road verge.
I visited the Dolmen on a bright afternoon, so conditions for photography were not optimal. I had to overexpose by around 2 stops to bring out some detail in the stones, which left the sky overexposed. I’d no tripod with me, so no opportunity for a series of shots for HDR processing.
The images above was made with the Fujifilm X-T2, F=180mm, f/8 @ 1/250th sec on ISO250.
Between Carryduff and Lisburn, with views across Belfast and the Lagan Valley lies the hamlet of Drumbo, with its historic Round Tower, now situated the graveyard of the Drumbo Presbyterian Church.
The tower is one of the oldest monastic monuments in Ireland, dating from around the early medieval period. It was around in AD1130 when records show that it was plundered by one Connor McLochlin.Continue reading Drumbo Round Tower
Ballynoe Railway Station.
Part of the Belfast and County Down Railway line from Downpatrick to Ardglass opened in 1892 and closed 16th January 1950.
Now only sheep can wait on the ghostly platform, for trains that never come.
Using a 35 year old Nikon Lens on a 1 year old Fujifilm Mirrorless Camera!
It’s rare to have open roads in Belfast on a Saturday, but today the roads were reasonably free of traffic – with people ‘self-isolating’ and ‘social distancing.’ But there was one traffic jam, and that was caused by the closure of an important route into and out of the city, the Sydenham By-Pass. This closure caused a stand-still traffic jam on the lower section of the Newtownards Road (Ballymacarret) – Just one single snarl up in the whole city and I was stuck in it.
As it happened I had a camera right beside me on the passenger seat of the car, so while the car was stationery, with the handbrake on and the engine stopped, I made a small number of exposures. Random images, of no relevance or importance.
Glasker Old Mill is on the road between Loughbrickland and Rathfriland in Co. Down. The likelihood is that the mill was once part of the extensive Irish Linen industry which thrived in that area in the 19th and early 20th Century.
I photographed it with my ‘baby’ – the Fujifilm X-T30 camera, fitted with the 18-55mm kit lens.
Just a little further down the road is a beautiful old phone box, set against an unattractive brick wall.
Thankfully, this is not a problem…
Kilwarlin Moravian Church and Thermopylae in Co. Down!
Kilwarlin Moravian Church was founded by John Cennick (He of Gracehill, Ballymena fame) in 1755.
Kilwarlin is described on some internet sites as a ‘small village near Hillsborough, Co.Down’. The truth is that it is scarcely that, rather a ribbon development of homes along a very narrow country road, not wide enough for two vehicles to pass, and accessible only with great care.
With a couple of hours to kill in Craigavon, I decided to make a photograph of each of the Craigavon Roundabouts – but then I’d second thoughts. After all, I’d only a couple of hours, not all day! So instead, I took a drive out to Gilford and Tullylish, and on the way back to Portadown, went to look at the Moyallen Quaker Meeting House. Here’s a few images…