Category Archives: Laois (Queen’s County)

Ossory Show 2016. Trucks

Ossory Show, 2016

Trucks and Truckers

The Ossory Show 2016 was a different event for me – here are some photos of the Truck Show section.

I’d never seen a ‘Truck Show’ before and I didn’t know what to expect.  It was really interesting as I stood on top of one of the garden beds and watched a bunch of trucks come up the road blowing their horns like as if they were all excited to have finally found the show.  I did hear at one point that a few of the trucks were off in Mountrath because they were lost, didn’t know where the show grounds were, and it was the arrival of this bunch of trucks that I am talking about. Unfortunately, I can’t show the excitement, what it felt like to watch them all arrive, photographing them as they drove in.

For me though, the nicest bit was when I ‘bumped’ in to Johnnie and Holly.  I didn’t know who they were, they were just two gorgeous children playing together or around the trucks.  The three of us sat and chatted and we talked about how children should not talk to adults and that even though I was taking their photo for them I couldn’t put that photo on the internet.  I told them that I’d get a copy of my photo to them.

Maybe I should make the title of this page – “Johnnie” :)

I kept photographing as I do, and then I saw this wee little truck, a ‘baby’ truck, parked between two grown up trucks and I thought ‘wow’.  Then, I learned that the little truck actually works, I think it has a wheelchair engine AND that it belongs to Johnnie.  Later, Seamus asked me if I would photograph the truckers receiving their cups and I said “No, problem” and ok, they had a professional photographer but that didn’t bother me because I was just taking photos.  I’d get a shot of the people who came first and second but not the person who came third because the professional would get all three people to stand with their backs to the crowd.  So, I took photos of the trophy recipients as they came off the stage.  These are all off the cuff photos and some of them are not that perfect.

As I was watching & photographing the ceremony I realised that Johnnie and his mother were standing beside me.  I told him Mam (Sandra) that I had photographed Johnnie and Holly and I gave her the name of my website and asked her to email me so that I could send her copies of those photos.

THEN, next thing, Johnnie was called up to the stage – his dad went with him and he was told he was being given an award BUT that the group did not have a trophy for him right now, they would get one to him.  I took photos.

I’m only getting the photos online now BUT the other night, Sandra emailed me and told me that Johnnie had received his trophy.  I asked her if I could have a copy of a photo of him with his trophy and she said that she would get  a photo of Johnnie, his truck and his trophy.

I have put the photo of Johnnie, his truck, his trophy and his Dad as my header photo here now.   To me, that photo speaks a million words. I hope any truckers who read this page, come to see these photos will agree with me.

It was a pleasure to photograph the trucks and truckers, it was a bigger pleasure to have met Johnnie and see his truck.  Shouldn’t say this, showed my son the lead photo of Johnnie, Truck, Trophy & Dad  tonight and he said “That’s the luckiest boy in the world”



Blacksmiths: Shoe Making

I’ve never in my life seen a blacksmith at work and I have to say it was fascinating, really interesting to watch this at the Threshing out in Knock.  I took so many photos and it has been difficult to cut them back and even at this I still have too many!

The ‘making’ of the shoe

and then, we have the horse being shoed.  There were two horses and their owners standing to the side while each shoe was made.

Capard House, Rosenallis, Co. Laois

Capard House “commands a panoramic view that extends eastwards to the Wicklow mountains.” This mansion was the former seat of the Pigott family and this family shares a common ancestry with the Pigotts baronets.  The construction of the house by John Pigott began in 1798 on the site of an earlier castellated house.  200 workers were employed.

Sheppard’s Irish Auction House, of Durrow, Laois are about to hold an auction out in Capard House of many of the antiques which are held in the house.  That auction of 1,157 lots (The John Farrington Collection) begins today at 11.00a.m. sharp.

Yesterday, returning from Tullamore, Offaly, I took the scenic route to Capard House to view some of this collection.  I think I took more photographs of fireplaces than the antiques!  I give names here to some of the collection.  If you find the catalogue online at Sheppard’s Irish Auction House if you click the link.

Some of the views you can see below were taken as I arrived at Capard house and some others as I was about to drive away when the weather had cleared up a bit.

Butter At Threshing, Co. Laois

What can I say when I have just put up images of a donkey churning butter?

We all know that butter has been churned by man and sold ‘forever’ don’t we?  The different ‘containers’ to churn butter, the shapes of the butter, the milk bottles, the cream containers.  It is a fine art in itself and is now recognised as being so.

There was a stall at the Threshing festival over in Knock the other day.  One of the men at the stall had come from Co. Clare, another from Co. Limerick and they go to festivals all over.

They were selling the butter they had made.  I didn’t buy any, it would have made it impossible to take photos if I had!  I bet it was lovely.

Donkey Churning Butter, Threshing, Co. Laois

Did you ever see a donkey churning butter? I never did before I went to the Threshing day at Knock, Laois last Sunday.  The day of Threshing and everything that went with it was organised to support Knock National School and it’s re-development.  A really wonderful day for all who attended!

There is little can be said about a donkey churning butter, except it involved work for the men who organised the exhibition and I wonder does anyone think of that?  I’d like to thank them for the please I got in watching this ‘event’ and for the education I received.

Photographs of Owls and Other Birds, Threshing, Co. Laois

Raven Haven Aviaries had a stall at the Threshing in Knock this year.

I’d never seen this group before.  They are listed as breeders and exhibitors of Native Birds and Birds of Prey and they go to places such as schools, field days, nursing homes, special needs, weddings, photo shoots and more.  This is a business so the visits are for a fee.

They take in injured birds of prey for rehabilitation and release and one of the things they do when they go to schools is teach children how these birds can be damaged by poison.  That’s something I hadn’t thought of to tell the truth, how birds can be damaged by poison!

Here are a few photos of the birds that they had in their stall on Sunday.  You’ll easily guess which bird caught my attention the most!  His eyes were incredible and he watched everything.  He is only 4 months old.  The ravens can talk!

Photographs of Hurley Making At Threshing, Knock, Co. Laois

I’ve only ever seen hurls being made as the Scarecrow festival in Kilkenny and it was or did look different to this.  This I think is the old fashioned way to make hurls.  There’s nothing I can say about this other than to show you the photos.

Photographs of Threshing, Knock, Co. Laois (Queen’s Co.)

The advertisement read “Knock Threshing & Road Run – on Josie Dayton’s farm” and it was run in aid of Knock School Building fund.  The fee or charge to get in was 5 Euro and I can promise you everyone and his mother would have had a wonderful day out.

I did!  First time I have ever been to an event like this.  I have seen some of the machinery at other events such as the Scarecrow Festival in Durrow, but I never saw the Threshing before.

I’m breaking the photographs I took down into separate pages because this morning, when I sat down I found that between two of my cameras  I have 400-500 photos and to try and put them all on one page would not do anyone any good.  I have birds, sticks, blacksmiths, tractors, cars, machinery and the Threshing just to name a few folders.  There is even a donkey.  I didn’t stay for the BBQ in the evening.

I got there around about 1 in the day, everything was just beginning to pack the field.  Unfortunately around about the time I began photographing the Threshing the rain had come in so some of these photos have bits of blurred areas where the camera lens got wet.  I was trying to keep it dry but wasn’t 100% successful.  Later, when the sun had come back out I was all wrapped up in the blacksmithing and by the time that finished my battery had had enough for the day so I couldn’t go back to the Threshing.

Blog: A Man, His Dog and Lord Castletown

It’s funny and if you don’t write, you’ll not understand this- you have to be in the mood to write.  The thoughts have to be with you, the feeling has to be there.

I wrote a bit about this incident on Facebook, just a bit.  The thing is between this meeting and the ten days or so after I have had some fantastic days.  I have met wonderful people.
On 27th August, 2015, I received an email from a man who is working in University College Dublin asking me if I had ever photographed the grave of Lord Castletown.  I checked and replied on the Friday telling him that I had his name in my index but would check my folders on Monday.

On the Sunday, I was driving down the road and slowed down to pass a man who had a dog walking in front of him. Just after I had passed the man, the dog stepped out in the road, turned himself round to face my car and I stopped driving.  The man caught up to me, I rolled down my window, said “Lovely dog” and he laughed and asked me what was wrong with my arm.  I was wearing a brace, so I told him.  We laughed – he asked if I was in a hurry and suggested I could pull over so we could have a chat.  Can’t say why – just in our few words, this man was very interesting.  I pulled over, we chatted.


Oscar the dog

Then, he says “Your mother” and I say “but I never gave you my name” – he replies “Your mother was Dr. Lyons” – and so she was.  As our conversation progressed, I told him that I transcribe gravestones and Mam used to tell me I was mad.  He said “You know about the Lord Castletown gravestones then don’t you?” I laughed and said “A man contacted me about them this week” isn’t that a coincidence?

I gave him my phone number and went off where I was on my way to.  Coming back later that evening I was thinking I hadn’t asked him his name – and then – there he was on the road again and I pulled up again.  This time, I got into his jeep and he drove me to the graveyard showed me exactly where the gravestone is, and I finally photographed Lord Castletown’s grave.

In the few weeks that followed, thanks to the meeting of this man and his dog, I was introduced to some information on the Second Baron Castletown (by another man I met in the last few weeks).  I had known nothing about Lord Castletown other than he had lived in this area and I have photographed Granstown Castle which belonged to him.  He was actually a very interesting man. Some of the following comes from an article published(18th–19th – Century History, 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2007), News, Volume 15.)

Lord Castletown kept a 14ft python in his rooms until it nearly killed a chambermaid!  He served as an ambulance worker for the Red Cross society in the Franco German war and working in a Typhus hospital.

The most interesting thing to me, is that he married Ursula Clare Emily St Leger (d. 1927), only child of the fourth Viscount Doneraile, in 1874.  She had an ancestor who was the only Irish Lady Freemason Mrs. Elizabeth Aldworth (nee St. Leger).

Years ago, I had ‘chased’ a box of books at an auction because in that box was a book all about the only lady Freemason!  I did manage to buy the box of books and have to say that while the ‘story’ was very interesting the book was not an antique or old book, it was a reasonably modern booklet.  I had been really very interested in Freemasonry.

Lord Castletown served in the 4th Battalion, Leinster Regiment, as lieutenant-colonel and honorary colonel.  He was decorated for his heroism in the Egyptian campaign and was a vigorous army recruiter for the first world war, for which he was too old to fight in.  He was High Sheriff of Queen’ County (Laois) in 1876, had a good relationship with his tenantry.

A friend of Douglas Hyde he gave financial assistance to the Gaelic League and formed the short-lived Celtic Association to foster Celtic culture.  Conversant with Irish, he learned the language on holidays in Connemara.

He died on the 29th May 1937, aged 88 and is buried in Killermogh, Ballacolla, Co. Laois.

The man who wrote making the enquiry about the gravestone wrote the following to me:
“this description in his autobiography Ego, describing his involvement with the Celtic League:

Mr. Fournier evolved the idea of having a granite stone divided into six nationalities, with the idea that wherever a meeting was held the stone should be put up, and when standing was emblematical of peaceful proceedings. Each piece had the initial letter of the country it belonged to. The stone now stands in front of my house at home, and will, I hope, be placed by my grave in Killermoogh churchyard.”

The ‘stone’ was made up of six blocks, however there are only 5 there now. The six members of the Celtic Association were Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Isle of Man and Cornwall. There is a letter to represent each country on each block and then on the side of each block there is ogham script.

This article while it is about Lord Castletown, it is probably more about the man and the dog because if I had not met that man I would simply have written back to the man who made the enquiry telling him that I did not have a photograph of this gravestone.  I knew nothing about Lord Castletown and the significance of these blocks would not have dawned on me.

Errill Village Photographs, Co. Laois

Errill is quite a pretty little village, blink twice though as you pass through it and you’ll miss it though! I’ve been to a wedding held in a marquee at the back of Dowlings pub and Dowlings was known as a place to hear traditional Irish music. I’ve also been over in the kitchen of the house late one night listening to a ‘session’ – that is Irish music being played by all and sundry.  It’s always interesting to watch musicians, they are always very care giving to the newbies and generally speaking very open to allowing strangers join their ‘session’.