Dún Laoghaire (Irish pronunciation: sometimes unofficially spelt using modern Irish orthography as Dún Laoire, is a suburban seaside town in County Dublin, Ireland. It is about twelve kilometres south of Dublin city centre. Dún Laoghaire is the county town of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown county and formerly a major port of entry from Great Britain. From 1821 to 1921 it was officially called “Kingstown”.
I live half an hour away (by bus) from Dún Laoghaire. So, instead of heading towards town this afternoon, I took the 46A bus in the opposite direction out there for a change. It was such a glorious day, and I’d also been promising myself to go to DL someday soon considering it was only a stones throw away. I didn’t have far to walk after getting off bus to find this very delicious scenic view.
When I arrived at the promenade area where the boats are kept, I instantaneously got a sudden sense of Déjà Vu. I reckoned it must have been triggered off from the time I first took the boat to England as a young teenager. I wouldn’t have been that very long out of Goldenbridge, after being involuntarily returned there from Switzerland some months prior to then. I went with Christine, a girl, who was also in the institution. Christine was one of the lucky privileged inmates to have been sent to the outside national /secondary school. So with me having gained outside knowledge of Continental Europe and her wisdom from having attended the outside school we were certainly a perfect institutional duo to venture off from this very sedate scenic harbour to the vast unknown expanses of the English world. We had only six pence between us.
I was also transported back to a sea-side, which I think, could have been either Dollymount or Sandymount strand. Am not sure which one exactly? Anyhow, I went to the strand frequently during the Summer months, as a child when out on licence from Goldenbridge industrial *school* to the Boyne host family. I can still smell the sea-weed and visualise the throngs of local day-trippers to the strand. It was not very far from Boyne St. I remember some few short years later hearing about a near neighbour of the Boyne’s who was accidentally drowned. He was a boy of twelve/fourteen years old, called Earl. It sent shockwaves through the close-knit community. The strand was a wild and glorious place. I remember lapping up the freedom from having been cooped up in an industrial *school*.
The smell of sea-weed would have brought back those memories. The strand I went to as a child would have had a similar strong sea-weed smell, and likewise with here one could get its waft for miles around.
There were starlings galore in the spot up above feeding on insects beneath the dried sea-weed. Every now and again they would fly off in formation into the air, and then hang out on nearby branches of thin delicate trees of sorts. I’m so thrilled with this one! It’s so funny! It appears as though the wee one with the mouth wide open is giving out yarns. I thought at first they were young pigeons because of the oil-slick colour. Oh, wait! Do I spot a downy plumage on the one with the yellow beak? if so, it could possibly be the offspring of the superior looking one?
Starling: Sturnus vulgaris (Latin name) – Druid (Irish name)
One of the commonest birds to visit the garden in winter and one of the loudest, starlings are capable of a variety of calls and are very talented mimics. Both male and female starlings can mimic human speech. They can also imitate the song of many other birds. Although common today their numbers have decreased somewhat due mainly to intensive farming methods that have reduced insect numbers on farms. They form large flocks in winter and feed in these flocks. This allows a greater protection. A thousand pairs of eyes see more than one pair! Also if a predator arrives the take off of such a large number of birds confuses the predator and may just help the starlings escape. Ploughed fields is a good place to see such a flock of starlings.
It looks like mother is exhausted listening to the rantings and has turned the other cheek.
Continuation: On starlings from RTÉ Radio One, Mooney Goes Wild, School Watch
Starlings feed mainly on insects, but will willingly visit your bird table and bird feeders. They can be very aggressive towards the smaller birds, the sparrows and tits and the large numbers of starlings visiting your garden often frightens away some of the smaller visitors. They also take a lot of plant foods, including soft fruits and seeds.
In 1949, a large group of starlings landed on the minute hand of Big Ben in London and actually stopped the clock! In 1960 a plane taking off from Logan Airport in Boston, America, crashed just after take off after flying into a flock of up to 20,000 starlings.
In 1890, a wealthy drug manufacturer, Eugene Schieffelin, released 60 starlings into Central Park, New York and another 40 in 1891. It is thought that he wanted to establish all the birds mentioned by Shakespeare to America. Unfortunately, the number of starlings has grown to excess of 200 million and at the expense to the native American species. Starlings have done very well by taking advantage of human settlements.
I was glad to have brought the Panasonic Lumix camera with inbuilt camera lens with me. I was thus able to truly test it out. It is by no means a professional camera, but rather an ideal one for family outings. It’s really good for close-ups of one’s immediate surroundings. Trust me though, to try to put it to the ultimate test. See: into the farthest distance where buildings meet the sea. Then look at next photo:.
This is a slightly more close-up one! If one looks beyond the sea into the far off centre distance one can see Martello Tower and the famous Forty Foot where people go swimming on Christmas day. Eileen Bastible-Kavanagh an artist relation of mine would have lived in the vicinity of Sandycove where MT is situated.
Wow! This one is even better again of the Martello Tower. I couldn’t believe my eyes that I had taken such a fantastic shot with my camera from such an enormous distance. Blimey, it even picked up the people out enjoying themselves in the sun. The houses could be private residences, as it looks like that to me?
Here’s another close-up view. I’m absolutely stunned to think that I was so far away and ended up with this clear picture.
This is a good one as well. It puts me in mind of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous film The Birds, except that these birds are small and the setting is different. Not threatening in any way.
The starlings are generally a highly social family. Most species associate in flocks of varying sizes throughout the year. A flock of starlings is called a murmuration. These flocks may include other species of starlings and sometimes species from other families. This sociality is particularly evident in the their roosting behaviour; in the non-breeding season some roosts can number in the thousands of birds.
Read more here at Wiki.
Yeah, I’m quite at home amongst the rocks, having spent an inordinate amount of time when walking amongst them from Battle to Hastings to St. Leonard’s and Bexhill, during my one year stay in East Sussex in the long distant past.
This is another phot that reminds me of the very strong pungent sea-weed aroma of long ago.
I saw a pink boat way out at sea. So I put camera to the test once again. The second result is what you see in the next photo.
Yeah, not bad at all. I just love the contrasting colours of the sea.
This was the final result. If I had a Canon 6000 I would have got the name of the boat. To the left there were a lot of yachts anchored. I asked a friendly young chap with a Canon 6000 with additional expensive lens, who was taking photos of Martello Tower why did he think the solitary was boat stuck out in the middle of the sea. He said that it was probably waiting for room at the bay, as it was very busy. I’m proud of the close-up shot of this very handsome ship. My cousin, Mary-Lou and her mother – originally from Southampton, as well as being horse-mad – are big-time into yachts. They’ve gone around the globe in same. I thought of them as I gazed out at the boats on the harbour, as the environment would have been to them a second home. Think Wales… if you look beyond the pale blue horizon.
Here is the harbour.
This facility must be a temporary haven for the life-boat folk.
The boys wanted a photo for their Facebook account, so when their friend took a photo with his iPhone, I too seized the moment. The young lad is pointing out to sea.
Judging from the current economical climate of the country, I do wonder will the lads above be going the same route as one of them is pointing towards – which happens to be Wales – as in all likelihood did their ancestors? I too took the boat in days of yore.
This is Stena Ferries departure home. There was not a stir about the place at all?
I enjoyed taking these photos. I hope too there are viewers out there who will like them?
As I was heading towards the 46A bus to take me to Donnybrook I saw this really lovely vintage jeep. It has not got an Irish registration. Perhaps it’s used for carrying boat gear?
To round off the photos I’ve added this one. It’s lovely to see the birds in their natural habitat. This starling looks as though it is a teenager shedding its baby feathers and taking on the mantle of an adult. I’m only speculating here, as I’m not a connoisseur on birds.
This is a similar one. I note how they blend in with their surroundings. They can so easily camouflage themselves against potential prey.
Continuation of RTÉ Radio One, Mooney Goes Wild, School Watch
In Ireland the starling is often referred to as the “stare”, especially for young starlings who do not yet have the glossy green and purple plumage. In fact, the adult’s striking beauty is often overlooked. Stare is in fact the diminutive form of starling. A group of starlings has many collective nouns, including “a constellation of starlings”, “a filth of starlings”, “a murmuration of starlings”, “a scourge of starlings”, and a “vulgarity of starlings”. In Ireland it was believed long ago that an ounce of starling dung, mixed with alum and white vitriol (Zinc sulphate) would cure afflictions ranging from ringworm to herpes!
Starlings build their nests in holes and under the eaves of buildings. The nest is made of straw and lined with moss and feathers. Four to seven eggs are laid and incubated for 13 days. The young fly after about 3 weeks. There are generally 2 broods from April to July.
And this last one of Stena Ferries, which was the first photo I took after arriving to Dún Laoghaire. One can travel to Holyhead on the HSS Stena Explorer Fastcraft from Dún Laoghaire with a ferry crossing to Holyhead from 120 minutes. I’ve travelled this route so many times in the past. It can be very overwhelming for first time travellers out of Ireland. Everywhere else in comparison seems so huge. It can be a wake-up call for unseasoned-travellers. Ireland is so tiny and one can become very insular and sheltered if one does not think about what lies beyond the blue horizon. This spot has a strong emigration history. I would recommend Dún Laoghaire and its environs to all visitors who come to the Emerald Isle. [My next port of call will be Bray, then on to the medieval Glendalough monastic sites. They’re only a short distance away in Co Wicklow].