In arigna, Off the beaten track. on August 15, 2012 at 9:28 am
The Miner’s Way is a network of paths once used by the workers as they made their way, on foot, to work in the coal mines at Arigna. They cover a distance of 62 miles with walks to suit all abilities.
Sunday was a showery day so not very good for walking. I really don’t like getting wet! We drove up to what we call The Top Road, which is the road above us in the valley, and parked at Glen Church. This little church which was built in 1912 is now sadly selmon used.
Symbols of devotion in the overgrown churchyard.
As we descended the grassy path to the old school we were met by some baffled looking black faced Sheep.
One of many closed abandoned schools in the area. A sign of rural depopulation. 40% of Ireland’s population now live in towns and cities.
Sad to see the building vandalised and full of sheep droppings. An old desk stands monument to the past pupils who were educated here. I wonder how many of them still live in the area? With lots of abandoned homesteads in the area I would’nt imagine too many do.
The plaque on the wall outside written in old Irish script reads: St. Maria Goretti National School. Only built in 1955. The area has seen monumental changes in those intervening years. Not all for the better I don’t think. But maybe I’m old fashioned and this is progress.
In crafts on February 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm
It’s a really cold day here in the valley today. The animals water buckets are frozen and the ground is hard as a rock. After doing the necessary outdoor chores, I like to work indoors on days like this. There are always projects to do in any old house so no need to be idle. Today’s project was to tile the concrete plinth which the solid fuel stove in the kitchen stands on. The stove was installed 3 years ago when we got rid of our oil heating so it was time to finish the job off.
The first job was to paint the concrete black. There was some old floor paint in the shed left over from a project in our old house. We are in the present house 10 years this year so the paint was pretty old. It did the job fine and dried quickly as the stove was lighting.
Rather than buy tiles we decided to make our own. There were some old slates lying around so Andy cut them to the required size with an angle grinder. I then cut out some really nice pictures from last year’s Earth Pathways Diary. Using diluted PVA glue I stuck them onto the clean slates. This is a technique called decoupage.
I get a present of the diary every year from my sister-in-law. It always has lovely images, poetry and short essays as well as being a diary. At the end of the year I cut out the pictures and use them for making cards and other projects. I love the picture above showing the cycle of the Celtic year…
and this one of the joyful Sheep. This went on the centre of the plinth. When the glue is dry the slates were varnished with 3 coats of quick-drying water based varnish.
The finished project looks pretty good and apart from tile adhesive and grout it cost nothing. Another project finished!
In arigna, Gardening, sustainable living on May 31, 2011 at 2:17 pm
At last the weather seems to be changing again. The strong winds have abated and rain showers are less frequent. From tomorrow, June 1st, the temperatures are set to increase and lots of sunshine is promised.
Birch is one of my favourite trees. I love how it’s graceful branches and sparse foliage allow the light through creating dappled shade beneath. The one which grows outside our back door has a different habit to the other Birches on our land. They usually grow very straight but this one has a weeping habit. Beautiful.
The leaves of Birch are diutetic, antiseptic and a tonic, an effective remedy for cystitis and other infections of the urinary system, cleansing the body by removing excess water.
In the polytunnels there is an abundance of produce, salad crops, Spring Onions, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Beetroot plus lots of herbs and edible flowers. I get tremendous joy from harvesting ingredients for our meals each day. The same joy is not to be had from browsing the supermarket shelves, especially as most of the produce is now from far off lands. Keeping the air miles low here in Arigna.
Delighted that Apples have set on this tree, Mrs. Perry, this is it’s first year to set fruit. The fruit is said to be dual-purpose, holding on the tree up to November. Don’t think these will last that long!
Looks like we will have Tayberries this year, this cross between Raspberry and Blackberry is delicious. It is easy to grow, we have it trailing along the fence. The fruit ripens from mid-July .
In arigna, Off the beaten track. on April 23, 2011 at 7:25 am
Since we moved here, it will be 9 years in September, we have often wondered if the remains of a building in our back field were once a dwelling. Well, yesterday our questions were answered. We were both outside working at about 4.30 when our neighbour Joe drove up our drive. He had visitors with him, his sister Mary and her husband visiting from Boston. Mary left Arigna 60 years ago at 18 years of age. She still has the old Arigna in her mind’s eye. A family called Glasheens once lived in the ruin which she remembered as “a fine house.” It was so nice to hear her talk of time’s past, when “no-one would be short of milk, if your cow was’nt calved yet your neighbours would be. Everyone helping each other with cow’s calving, saving the hay and sowing the potatoes and grain crops. On Christmas Eve I remember us children counting the candles in the windows of the valley. We could count about 70.” At that time there was no electricity and everyone put a big red candle in the window on Christmas Eve. Last night I went outside to see how many lights I could count, sad to say there was only 7 lights to be seen. Rural depopulation, the reality. I find it sad that people are leaving the countryside, leaving behind their connection with the land. Gone for many people is the connection between themselves, the land and the food that sustains them. The interconnectedness of living on the land in a functioning community. Despite being in America for 60 years Mary still felt the connections, strongly, remembering, enjoying the telling. She still has a love for it all, distance no object.
The stone steps above were made from floor slabs from the old house, if only they could tell a tale.The stones in this wall are also from the old house. They now have a new use, a new energy. I love stone, I think it adds character and warmth to a place. Even some of the new monstrous houses look a little less hostile in the environment if the are stone-faced. It has a mellowing effect, a fitting into the landscape and the earth from whence they came.
In arigna, Cooking, Gardening, Off the beaten track., sustainable living on April 7, 2011 at 7:47 am
Templetuohy in north Tipperary is the village I come from. Driving back home to Arigna on Tuesday took about 3 hours as usual. There are places and landmarks along the way that mark the journey. Athlone is the half way mark, another hour and a half to the familiar comfort of the warm welcoming kitchen, the cup of tea, the welcoming dogs, the loving welcome, at both ends of the journey.Lizzie (my Mother) is a gardener too. Unlike me she would not describe herself as a gardener. I always remember a vegetable garden, not from any idea of saving the planet but from economic necessity when we were children and money was scarce. Old habits die hard, 75 next birthday, 2 hip replacements and still there is a garden. The strawberry bed above, weeded and already with budding flowers will supply lots of fruit for jam, desserts and just enjoying fresh off the plant. The weekend desserts were strawberries and raspberries from the freezer, the last of 2010s crop.In the polytunnel there are lots of flowers on the early strawberries. These first fruits of the season will be relished with joy. Anticipation already building for the children. All sorts of receptacles are used for planting seeds into. Old biscuit tins, plastic containers are all saved and reused in the garden. Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are all grown from seed. There will be enough plants here for my brother’s garden too.
One of my favourite landmarks on the journey is this magnificient bronze sculpture. The Black Bull stands atop a stone wall beside the pub of the same name about 10 miles from Roscrea. A real attention grabber, I love it! I want one for the garden!
In arigna, Gardening, sustainable living on March 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm
Spring has arrived here in Arigna. Lots of growth on everything fills me with anticipation of the abundance of Summer. Despite the hard frosts of Winter we have lost very few plants.
Fevruary Orchid with Kale behind.
In the polytunnel the Winter salads have started to grow again. We even have edible flowers from the February Orchid, actually the whole plant is edible.Its botanical name is Orychophragmus violaceus and it is’nt an orchid at all but a brassica which is native to China. Sown in Summer and Autumn it provides mild but tasty leaves in the Spring. It has been providing leaves and flowers, always welcome at this time, since the first week in February.