Happy New Year!

December 31, 2014

The blog has been a wee bit neglected over the past month or so but I was determined to bring you up to date before the year is out.

Christmas in Ireland was gloriously peaceful. The weather was calm. Suitably frosty but with a lovely clear, wintery light.

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

Of course, we had visits from the ducks

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

and swans (there are five in the family group. The others were feeling shy that morning)

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

The lake was like a millpond most days

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

We didn’t do very much. Laid out a few treasured Christmas decorations, like this John Ffrench Tree of Peace

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

Inspired by Peter Horne’s beautiful plaster casts (have a look at them at Pentreath & Hall), we made some plaster casts of oak, beech, birch and ivy leaves found around the cottage and hung them from a birch twig in lieu of a Christmas tree

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

We ate enough for a small army and worked off some of it with occasional excursions. Like to Fore Abbey

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

The site of seven wonders, in case you didn’t know. Water that flows uphill, a mill without a race, tree branches that won’t burn etc.

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

It’s a lovely atmospheric site, especially on a cold winter’s day with late afternoon sun

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

We also visited St Mel’s cathedral in Longford which was badly damaged in a fire on Christmas day 2009. It reopened this Christmas so we could admire the lovely handcrafted interior. I especially liked the Stations of the Cross carved from Bath stone by the sculptor Ken Thompson. The stylised scenes reference early Christian Irish art, as well as modernist design and each has a simple but vibrant colour palette

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

He has used allusive text on the panels rather than descriptive inscriptions. I love the unexpected elements, like this mouse who appears in a couple of the panels

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

Most of the time we took it easy and enjoyed our surroundings. 2014 has been a year of change for me. Here’s hoping that the coming year brings peace and prosperity to all of us.

Happy New Year!

New Year 2015 Swan Killinure Glasson Athlone Co Westmeath Ireland Lough Ree Fore Abbey Longford Cathedral John Ffrench Christmas Frosty

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