Monday, October 31, 2011

Just a little note…

A witch and her cat

…to say hello. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve put the blog on hiatus for a little while. Too many other things on the go at the minute I’m afraid. Anyway, I couldn’t possibly let this - the most wonderful night of all the year - go by without popping in to wish you all the happiest Samhain’s Eve. I’ll be back again soon but until then, oíche mhaith.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pretty Paper Things

So I was planning on doing a wee catch-up post this evening, complete with my usual apologies for not stopping by in a while, but now that I’m here I just couldn’t be arsed. Sorry, but it’s been a long day and my poor wee brain can’t handle any more words. Instead I’m going to share some of this beautiful hand-cut paper art from White Paper Press. I haven’t posted these before have I? I thought I hadn’t but when I wrote those words there now I got a terrible sense of deja-vu… Apologies if I have posted them before.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

And the winners are…

Textured Tree Branches
(Random unrelated photo to brighten the post up.) 

Hello strangers! How’re you all doing? Once more I’ve set a new record for blog neglect, but at least I gave advanced warning about it this time. Anyway, I’m back now and I’ve plenty of posts (and possibly another giveaway) lined up for the month ahead. Which, it turns out, is October! I love October.

First things first though, time to announce the winners of my giveaway. Thank you so much to everyone who entered, and for all your kind words and wishes too. All went well with the op, I’m glad to report. But enough about that! Winners…

So I assigned everyone some numbers depending on the amount of entries they had in and then submitted that to that random number generator thingy. I have to say, everybody had at least two or three in there - there were 36 different people in with 106 entries. Not bad going, eh? The first number who came out won the first photo, the second number the second photo and third etc etc.  Ok, so here’s how it all ‘went down’, as they say:


And the first winner is…number 62 - Pabkins!
Moon and Trees and Stars

Next up we have number 82 - that’s Kristin!
Trees and Stars

And the third and final number out is 77 - the lovely Mademoiselle G!
Moon, Tree and Stars

Congratulations ladies, I’ll be contacting you soon to get your postal info. I actually feel really quite guilty now that I only had three prints to give away. I wanted everyone to win! As I mentioned earlier though, I may be holding another giveaway in the very near future. And this time it’ll be something from someone who knows what they’re doing, namely my very talented little sister and her boyfriend.  So check back soon for more details! Hopefully I’ll manage a post or two in the next week as well, I’ve no excuses this month.

Anyhow, thanks again to everyone who entered and I hope everyone’s doing well. Must get a good catch up with you nice blogging folk very soon!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Moons, trees, stars and a giveaway.

Moon and Trees and Stars

Oh look, what a surprise. Last time I checked in I said I’d be back in a couple of days and here I am over a week later wracked with guilt as usual. Ok, maybe ‘wracked’ is a little strong, but I do sort of feel as if I’ve been cheating on you guys with those floosies over on Tumblr and Twitter. Serial blog adulteress, that’s me.

So here I am with the proverbial bunch of flowers, hoping to earn some small iota of atonement for these weeks of neglect and excuses...  There I go with the drama again, but you get idea. Anyway, it's time for the previously promised giveaway!

Especially for my Blogger friends, I have one A4-size print* of the picture above and each of the two below to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post to be in with a chance of winning.

Trees and Stars
Moon, Tree and Stars

That’s three prizes, so three winners. Unless by some freak of chance someone gets picked out thrice. That’d be a bit heebie-jeebiesish.  Unlikely as it may be, it could happen, though, for I’m going to stick with what appears to be blogger tradition and allow extra entries. Just do any of the following:

- share a link to this giveaway on your own blog;
- follow this blog;
- follow me on Tumblr;
- follow me on Twitter;
- or add me as a contact on Flickr (alternatively, to be fair to those who don’t use Flickr, you can just tell me which of my photos over there is your favourite).

Shameless self-promotion, I know. But sure you can’t blame a girl for trying ;) Anyhow, in your comment let me know if you’ve done any of the above and for each one you’ll get an extra magic ticket in the random-number-generator hat.  And don't worry, all you lovely folk already following here will automatically get an extra entry. I realise a lot of you are already following me elsewhere on the web too, but I’m a bit scatter-brained about these things so don’t forget to remind me!

Now for the timeline. Since I’ve giving up fooling myself and accepted that I just don’t have as much time to blog these days as I used to, I’m going to leave this giveaway open for a little while. I’m due in for surgery in a couple of weeks too and, while I’m expecting it to go well and be back on my feet pretty sharpish, I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep. How does a month sound?

Ok, so I’ll leave it open until the end of September and on Saturday October 1st I’ll announce the winners. Thanks folks and best of luck to you all - though I know that’s a wee bit impossible. Believe me, if I had lots of money I’d send you all something :)

*The photos seen here may be slightly cropped in the printed version.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Days of happy nothingness.

the path under the sky
Seventeen days - that has to be a new uselessness record from me. Where-oh-where has the time been slipping away to… Ok, better not continue with that train of thought or I’ll end up sounding like my granny. So people, how the hell have you all been doing? I wish I had lots of riveting tales of adventure and excitement to fill you in on, but to be honest it feels like about five seconds since I last checked in here. I’ve literally been doing nothing. It’s been good nothing, though.

Anyway, to make up for my current bout of blog neglect I’m planning a little something for the week ahead. Yup folks, I’m going to host my first ever giveaway! It’s about time really, I’ve won so many lovely things from much-too-kind bloggers over the past while it’s about time I reciprocated the love. More details on that in the next couple of days. For now I’m going to leave you with some images from one of my favourite photographers on the net, LA gal Brooke Shaden.  Find many, many more of her hauntingly beautiful pictures here.

the world above
finding the road to neverland
the buoyancy in drowning
losing power in the wind

p.s. I forgot to mention that I’ve recently succumbed to the ways of the modern world and finally got myself a Twitter account. My user name is @Child_of_Danu, I’m in much need of new people to follow so stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Best. Greetings cards. Ever!

Don’t you agree?  They’re from Shop Sapling Press on Etsy in collaboration with Dear Blank, Please Bank. Check out the shop for more!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Joys of Local Journalism (or How I Discovered I Was Heir to the Throne of Camelot)

Local Man Arthur O'Neill

I mentioned a while back that I’d recently found a new job. Well I haven’t lost it yet, I’m glad to report. It’s up at my local newspaper, where I’ve worked on and off over the years. I love where I live and I love being a journalist so it’s pretty much perfect really. Especially when you get stories like the one I wrote last week; the one where I found out that not only was King Arthur actually an honest-to-god real-life person, but he was from Inishowen!  And there’s more - it turns out there’s even a chance I’m descended from him. You could be too! Seriously folks, the King Arthur.

Let me explain. According to new research by English historian Dane Pestano, Arthurian legend may very well have originated from a historical sixth-century High King of Ireland. Said king being Muircertach MacErca, who ruled from An Grianan and was the great-grandson of Niall of the Nine Hostages. For any of you  not familiar with him, Niall was a legendary Ulster king who was apparently quite the ladies’ man. Genetic studies have found that around 20% of males in the north of Ireland and south-west Scotland carry his Y-chromosome and it’s believed up to six million people in the world today could be descended from him. As I said, he must’ve got around a bit.

An Grianan- the original Camelot?

That means there’s probably a fair chunk of the population round these parts who are related to MacErca too. Until recently not much was known about him, but a few years back Mr Pestano uncovered a lost tale in an old manuscript which led him on his Arthurian adventure. In his short book, Dane explains how the life MacErca, who also ruled from Grianan, almost exactly mirrors that of the man the Welsh and Britons knew as Arthur. Drawing upon both historical record and old folktales, here are just some of the links he identifies:
  • MacErca was supposedly the first Christian king of Ireland and ruled at the same time as the mythical Arthur;
  • His name can be translated as ‘Arthur’ and his wife’s name mirrors that of Gwenevere when translated into Welsh;
  • As a child he was fostered by a driud;
  • He conquered Gaul and assumed sovereignty of Britain, The Saxons, Scotland, The Orkneys, and Denmark;
  • He was in possession of the Lia Fáil (the Stone of Destiny);
  • There was a Merlin-type character, the bishop Cairneach, who guided him in his conquests and who could apparently perform magical feats;
  • The idea of Morgan LeFey may also have originated here since there is one folktale which tells of a fairy woman who tried to seduce then murder MacErca;
  • Finally, according to legend MacErca succumbed to the symbolic ‘triple death’.
MacErca was also the grandson of Eoghan, whom Inishowen is named after, and he was the uncle of another famous local lad, St Colmcille (aka St Columba), who had the gift of prophecy and was a bit of an Irish Nostradamus.  I think the Glastonbury tourist board are going to have to review their brochures because if MacErca is indeed Arthur then his links to this area are incredible. When I was chatting to Dane on the phone about his work he said that Bettina over at Guarding Grianan Aileach may even have discovered the actual Round Table at the ring fort. How cool is that!

I think by now you lot know how much I love history and folklore, especially anything to do with Grianan, so you can imagine how excited I was about this story. I’m such a geek I was as thrilled working on it as someone else might’ve been if they’d gotten to interview their favourite actor or singer or something. Niall and Arthur are like celebrities to me :) 

 I think everyone at the paper thinks I’m a wee bit loopy for getting so excited about it, but I’m not just saying this - I think it’s the most fun I’ve ever had writing a story.  I even discovered a new favourite word, toppling ‘troglodyte’ from it’s long-held first place spot. It’s ‘Galfridian’, as in ‘pre-Galfridian’ meaning ‘existing before Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his famous twelfth century work on Arthur’.  Nice, isn’t it? The stories about MacErca are pre-Galfridian.

Dane’s introductory book, ‘King Arthur in Irish Pseudo-Historical Tradition’, is available to download or order here. It’ll soon be on Amazon etc too and I’ll add those links as soon as I get them. He plans to publish a full edition next year so watch this space.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Normal Service Has Resumed (I Hope)

So it turns out July ‘11 was my worst blogging month ever. Not only did I post very little indeed, but I’m only realising now how long it’s actually been since I called to some of your blogs. It’s going to take me all week catching up! Stick with me though, I will get there.

On top of that the bookmarked folder where I save the little bits and bobs I come across in my travels through cyberspace is bursting with stuff I didn’t get time to share. Plus, I’ve a couple of thank-you posts to make in the next couple of days, along with some very exciting news that, for reasons I shall reveal in good time, I have to keep back until tomorrow. At least I think it’s exciting news, those out there not as geeky as me probably won’t be inclined to agree with that particular adjective. Though something tells me you folk may very well be just as geeky ;)

Anyway! What I’m trying to say is that I’ve plenty of posts lined up for the coming days so hopefully I’ll be able to breakout of this post-a-week habit once and for all. *sigh* I miss my days as a daily blogger, so long ago now…

Right, to get started I’m going to begin offloading some these links in that aforementioned bookmarks folder, namely in the form of these slightly creepy but altogether utterly fantastic creations from Esther Verschoor. Ms Verschoor actually uses real animal skulls for her dolls which she sources from a local taxidermist - they all died of natural causes, don’t worry. Cute, wouldn’t you say? But in a dark sort of way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Aoibheann Inis Eoghain

 The Battery Field

Howdy folks! (‘Howdy’, a word I really should use more often.) How’re you all keeping this evening then? I took a little longer getting back to you than I’d planned, you can blame Tumblr for that one. It’s so much easier on the head to just click buttons and ogle pretty pictures than it is to sit down and write a post. Too easy really, the lazy person’s way to blog. But still, I think I’ve earned a little lazy time lately.

I seem to have taken on what feels like a million new endeavours all at once, including starting in a wonderful new job and finally getting back to learning to drive (yup, I’m a 29-year-old journalist who doesn’t have a full driving licence, that probably explains the difficulty I’ve had getting work!). And then there’s that other thing I’ve been doing which, now that I’m here, I feel a little reluctant revealing. I’ll explain why in a moment.

In my last post I mentioned I had exciting plans for the weekend. Well, my excitement was justified because it all went splendidly. You see, my friends, last Friday night saw the opening of my first ever photography exhibition! When I say ‘my’ I mean me and the rest of the local camera club I’m a member of. It’s being run as part of a local music and arts festival happening in my town at the moment.

Then, last night, we had an opening of another one. Yes another one! Sadly I couldn’t go because my old back trouble was playing up. But still, two exhibitions on the go at once? I would say I’m proud of myself, only the truth is I’m more than a little embarrassed about the whole thing.
I know I have a Flickr account and regularly share my photos here, but there’s something different about hanging them up on an actual wall in a proper exhibition and asking people to look at them. I feel like such a fake wannabe! Especially when you see the quality of work that’s hanging all around me up there - a talented bunch of lovable eejits, that camera club crew.

You’re all such a lovely bunch of bloggers who only ever have kind words of encouragement regarding these things so I know I shouldn’t feel so self-conscious telling you about the exhibition. I think it’s because I’m also aware that many of you are very talented artists and photographers, while I’m just a pretender with a point-and-shoot and Photoshop.  I’m always paranoid when I know people with a background in these things are looking at my work. (I even felt funny giving the prints to my aunt and uncle to mount since they’re professionals.)

Anyway, I know I’ve no doubt posted some of them on the blog before but the images in this post are the ones I submitted for display. I’ve said before that I hate posts without pictures and thought these were probably the most appropriate for this one.

I’ve another busy week ahead so I probably won’t be back on here again until Saturday or Sunday, which is when I hope to resume regular blogging again! That’ll include getting a proper visit to all my blog buddies; I popped by a lot of your places the last day but connection trouble and my increasing shortage of time meant I couldn’t leave many comments. I’ve a whole day set aside at the weekend to make up for that :)
Fairy Junction

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Northern (Irish) Lights


I just read over my last post and had a wee chuckle to myself. What a difference a week makes! So much for laid back summer evenings, I think this is the first night I’ve actually been in my house since I posted that.  It’s been hectic, but in a really good way; I’ve some exciting plans for the weekend ahead but I’ll tell you about them on Saturday. Which, incidentally, will be the next evening there’s even a hope of getting back on here.

Since I’m long overdue a nosy round all your blogs I’m not going to waste anymore time rambling on with my usual inane drivel. Instead I’m going to share some pictures of fair Inishowen at her majestic best. I came across these photos by accident on Flickr the other day and presumed they were taken in Scandinavia or somewhere, not just down the road! We do get to see the Northern Lights sometimes round here, but only every so often and then only if the clouds allow it.

Which, if you ask me, is what makes these images all the more fantastic. They were captured in March this year in Ballyliffin by photographer Mark Nolan. For many, many more of Mark’s beautiful images of the area check out is Flickr and webpage.






p.s. While I’m here I want to say a big thank-you-very-much to two amazingly generous bloggers - Evelyn at Through The Looking Glass and Carolyn at Littlegretel Dolls. I’ll explain more when I get back to proper blogging on Saturday but for now I just wanted to acknowledge their loveliness :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shades of Summer

Hello boys and girls. How’s everyone doing this evening then? It’s been a while, hasn’t it. Too long really. I think I needed a bit of a break after last week’s blog hopping siege; I don’t know about you lot but that carry on really took it out of me! Great fun though, well worth it. Anyhoo…

So it seems summer has finally arrived on these blustery shores. I’ve been spending my afternoons dandering and daydreaming, taking pictures and collecting sea shells - basically just making the most of the fine weather and my free time while I still have some (finally got myself a new job, woo hoo!). It’s been really rather lovely. I would share some snaps but I feel like I’ve been saturating this blog with my mediocre photos recently. Plus, there’s simply no way any of my own pictures could ever convey my present mood as beautifully as these:

The work of Canadian artist Elly MacKay, the images you see before you were created using hand cut painted paper and photographed in a miniature theatre. I just adore the light, airy feel to these fairytale-esque scenes. So fitting for how I feel right now, like walking on clouds made of marshmallows. Incidentally, you can find many more instances of Ms MacKay’s heart warming work at her aptly named Etsy shop, Theatre Clouds. Eye candy for little girls of all ages :)

p.s. I’ve only just discovered she has a Flickr page and a blog too, where you can find even more dreamy delights! Check them out here and here respectively.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Time For the Madness

Tea Party, Part I

I kept getting interrupted all afternoon so this post has taken much longer preparing than I anticipated. No matter, I’m here now and ready to party on down (dude)…

Tea Party, Part III

Tea Party, Part II

I have to give a big shout out in gratitude to my sister for sitting for the photos here. Hosting a tea party outside in the middle of the Irish summer wasn’t one of my most inspired ideas ever. There were other guests invited, but I could hardly fault them for not turning up considering the weather. Put very simply, it was raining. It’s always raining here. Even now when it’s not raining, it really is raining. It’s just not as noticeable.  Anyway, thanks so much missus! 

Tea Party, Part IV

 Tea Party, Part V

 We started off in the garden and later, when it looked like there might be a little respite from the rain gods, decided to move the shenanigans to the park. Sadly said rain gods were enjoying toying with us a little too much and gave us just enough time to sit down and poor a brew before opening the heavens on us.  Charlie was really starting to enjoy himself too!

All in all it was a brief but enjoyable sort of do. Definitely worth getting a little soggy for the sake of all those tasty treats! Mmm, Jammy Dodgers… I’d forgotten how nice these are dipped in tea so that the biscuit goes soggy and the jam is all chewy. I hope I have some left in the cupboard actually, I could do with a cuppa to accompany me on my imminent trip around the mayhem.

Well my friends, now that’s done I’m off to join in the rest of the festivities. Can’t wait to see what everyone’s come up with! First thing first, however. Kettle, on, now. 

Oh, and I almost forgot, thank you so much to Vanessa for being such a fantastic host!

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