All posts tagged Statue

  • An angel reaches

    IMG_20141012_102508

    An Angel reaches
    in morning fog.
    Silently, it calls;
    more silent this morning.

    A filter enhances
    atmospheres.

    Obscured and clarified,
    together.

  • Votive Offerings at St Brigid’s Well

    Whenever I’m in the Burren or the north-western part of Clare, I try to call by St Brigid’s Well near Liscannor. It is a wonderful site complete with a marvelous collection of votive offerings, for which it is known, in the grotto leading to the well.

    The vast collection of offerings which fill the grotto leading to the well.

    The vast collection of offerings which fill the grotto leading to the well.

    Votive offerings are beautiful objects each of which as an intention behind it. It has been left there for a particular reason by a person who firmly believes in the power of the place and the saint and the benefit of partaking in this custom. While some of the intentions may appear obvious, others relating to seemingly odd items are shrouded from everyone except the believer and the saint.

    The grotto spaces is crammed full of offerings, with every conceivable space being used to leave and insert items.

    The grotto spaces is crammed full of offerings, with every conceivable space being used to leave and insert items.

    Initial fascination with these objects, is replaced by curiosity, concern and speculation on their intentions. This is a rich material-based cultural practice, linked both to Catholicism and folk customs, but it is also people’s lives. Dreams, despairs, anxieties, losses and a host of deeply personal motives are materialised. Accordingly, regardless of your beliefs they and the place should be treated with respect.

    A small bible (wettened from the exposed spae above the well), with rosary beads inside, sits next to a whiskey bottle filled with some of the (presumably) well water.  The rest bwetween a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a cushion.

    A small bible (damp from the exposed space above the well), with rosary beads inside, sits next to a whiskey bottle filled with some of the (presumably) well water. The rest between a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a cushion.

    A collection of offerings hanging from the ceiling, including rosary beds, miraculous medals and a feather.

    A collection of offerings hanging from the ceiling, including rosary beds, miraculous medals and a feather.

    The rag tree which is over the well, with a selection of rags tied to the branches.

    The rag tree which is over the well, with a selection of rags tied to the branches.

  • Observing what is there at Kent Station

    Among the distinct features of Kent Station, Cork city’s train station, is this section of wall which is jam packed with so much stuff: functional and cultural, pragmatic and odd. My interest with this small space, which prompted me to take the photo, highlights the role of basic observation in not only research but in our daily lives.

    A side interior wall of Kent Station, Cork.

    A side interior wall of Kent Station, Cork.

    While the physical limits of a photo can sometimes be rather frustrating, in this case they actually frame the scene perfectly. These different objects have clear functions, many of which make sense in the context of a train station, but a still find it necessary to comment. On this patch of wall there is:

    • an internet kiosk (out-of-order) (modern-ish, but increasingly irrelevant with the rise of smartphones),
    • a public phone (an utter rarity with the growth in mobile phone ownership in the last 15 years, although their role in places such as trains stations ensures their presence for another while, until they’ll all be stored in museums, right next to the home phone section, complete with hall table),
    • a change machine (an object in a symbiotic relationship with the phone/kiosk),
    • a post box (a continuing strong feature of the Irish landscape testifying to the role of post and the letters),
    • a fire hose (seems a little high to reach in an emergency) and a poster outlining the ‘Public Evacuation Plan’ (although, I doubt many of the public actually check it out),
    • a wireless internet router (in many ways a direct challenge to the internet kiosk and even pay phone – and by implication the change machine)
    • a vending machine (when everything else is closed),
    • a statue of Our Lady/Blessed Virgin Mary – dubbed ‘Our Lady of Kent Station‘* by Eoin O’Mahoney (check out his excellent blog 53 Degrees) (the Marion statue is another prominent aspect of the Irish landscape; this statue, there since 1966, was on the opposite wall until renovations a few years ago saw it move across – indicated a recent intentional decision to retain this religious/cultural icon),
    • a security camera – the bottom of which is visible on the top left (a cog of the constant CCTV-based surveillance in which we lead our urban lives), and,
    • the arches and drain pipe (the Station is a pro-typical old train station in many ways, with high pitched roofs, long platforms and ornate red-bricked walls; although, the main platform is curved making it rather distinct).

    Although this wall-space is a noteworthy thing to write a short blogpost on, the greater point is the importance of observing the world around us. The world is generally filled with things ready to be noticed and appreciated. Observation was one of the primary skills emphasised in my geography undergraduate courses. It is in truly engaging with the world around us that we can understand it and be motivated to preserve, change or improve it, as required.

    A good example of this is in an episode of the podcast 99% Invisible (it explores architectural ideas in a very interesting and insightful way) which highlights the great many public staircases in California. It shows how these fascinating features are generally unknown and under-used; how they can be discovered and explored with enthusiasm; but also, how they can be blocked by private interests and re-opened by committed activists.

    Ultimately, while observation is an essential research tool, it is also a duty of the citizen more generally to be observant. Take in what is going on around you, be involved in the world. While the commuters, tourists and people of Cork pass by the wall-space the eclectic collection will remain, or maybe not, have you noticed?

    *For more photo’s of statues of Our Lady check out: Shooting Statues

  • St John’s Well, Newhall, Clare

    St. John’s Well, adjacent to the ruins of Killone Abbey, sits on the bank of Killone Lake. The well seems to have been linked to eye cures, being originally attributed to giving sight to a blind man. The main pattern day was 24th June; this would make sense as it is near the feast of St John (and the summer solstice). A old route from Ennis to the well, called the Rocky Road or the Pilgrim’s Road, was used by devotees – sections of it still remain.

    Further reading

    1937/38 Ennis N.S. Folklore Collection posting on St John’s Well

    Clare County Library, information on the St John’s Well