After the snow….

Don’t know what it’s been like in your part of the world, but here in Ireland we’ve been hit by what is for us a very unusual weather event, we tend to get very small amounts of snowfall during the winter months, and even at that it grinds the country to a halt 😉   But from last Wednesday we got hit by a much bigger event, snow for a few days that was very heavy at times and blizzard like, the meeting of a storm and a blizzard decided to dump as much as it could on our little green island, and the havoc caused was crazy, from the near Black Friday frantic scenes as people scrambled to buy sliced pans of bread, literally stripping delivery cages bare before they even made it to the shelves, yes for bread and milk, it wasn’t like the conditions were due to last weeks, a day or two.

But with snow drifts up to 10 feet high it certainly was causing problems, no public transport of any kind, flights in and out of the country completely wiped out, and people told to stay in their homes and not venture out. Well this is Monday night and the reality is most of it is all gone, a thaw for a day and a half and that’s it panic over, the sliced pans are no longer on Ebay for €1,000 😉

The birds weren’t too bothered, they still came to the garden to get their treats from the feeders or try their luck with the frozen ground. It’s all back to normalish now, a couple of days stuck in the house and people were going stir crazy, the supermarkets are still bare shelved, their distribution centers trying frantically to restock. In fairness the snowfall was more than double the previous records, so for her, a place that doesn’t have a reason to invest heavily in infrastructure or equipment for such an event if it only happens every 30 or 50 years, it wouldn’t be that prudent, but maybe when they add up the total cost it might be worth doing more.

Poor Blackbird scavenging around the garden in the snow.


But hey we are rolling into Spring now and it’s time to look forward to better weather, more trips, gigs and Festivals, it’s really lifting the spirits, which have honestly been a little low of late. We start this week with the HRH AOR Festival in Pwllheli, North Wales which I will be shooting at for the 4th year running, this year for my good friends at and will look forward to photographing and seeing some terrific bands and of course catching up with some wonderful friends along the way. This years bill includes headliners Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen), Night Ranger and Skid Row. This is always a great weekend, and handy to be an indoor Festival at this time of year with lots of facilities on-site.



Busy month of gigs ahead, still have Sepultura, Steven Wilson, Cannibal Corpse, Gary Numan, Maverick and Danny Vaughn & Dan Reed to come this month, and HRH Blues in April.the year is pretty full with some great and very varied stuff, going to try and get to shoot more shows.

Eclipse – HRH AOR 2015

Another plan this year is to try and get out and get some decent photographs of Butterflies, but natural homegrown ones and some more tropical ones at Butterfly Gardens around the country, will try my very best to get this done. And then onto our holiday in Donegal, more Wild Atlantic Way sights, a different part of Donegal, so we will get to see the beautiful Fanad Lighthouse  and area this time around.

Black Swallowtal with blue wings.

So bring it all on, lets hope it’s a great few months for us all and brigher weather brings brighter moods, with a lot of friends struggling through various illnesses at the moment, thoughts and prayers are with them all for speedy and full recoveries, and we all need to live life to the fullest while we have it, have fun out there.

Still dizzy, but we march onwards.

So time for a little update, and have to be honest I’ve be struggling a little, the dizzy spells have not disappeared, thankfully they are definitely fewer, which I’m thankful for. And while typing this I should be on my way in to see one of my favourite bands, the always wonderful Pat McManus Band, but will have to wait until the HRH Blues Festival to catch him again, it just would not be a smart play to go in and risk getting worse. But the guys really are wonderful live, Pat is without any doubt one of the most talented guitarists around today, such a passionate player and loves what he does.

PMB - Ramblin' Man Fair - 2016
PMB – Ramblin’ Man Fair – 2016


Having said that I’ve already been to 20% of the number of shows I managed to get to in the whole of 2017, and there a a couple of gigs on the cards for this week, so hopefully things will go to plan. WOW!!!! we are almost at the end of February then and rolling into the Festival Season, with HRH AOR VI first up, that’s going to be great. Particularly looking forward to seeing the brilliant Night Ranger again, absolutely blew me away last time at the same Festival back in 2015.


Lots of stuff going on the next few months, gigs, Festivals (shooting and reviewing a couple of those – yeah I know I said I wouldn’t do that much work anymore, but it’s not always easy to get Festival Reviewers, may be a bit lucky this year and have a friend taking some of the load). Then we have a family holiday, staying in the homeland, but can’t wait for that, and will finally get to pay a visit to the stunning Fanad Lighthouse in Co. Donegal. So I automatically think back to last year and getting to see another of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland at Loop Head, Co. Clare, will naturally bring the camera along again and see what we can get.

Loop Head. Co. Clare

For the rest of the weekend, will continue to work on some shots of our feathered friends in the back garden if the weather stands up, have some Album Reviews to work on and grab some rest in between. But we have to keep going, march onwards (to a tune or two of course) and keep trying to learn a few things as we go along. After I think I’ve improved enough with static birds it’s time to get to work on Birds in flight again, and that will probably require a replacement tripod, the endless spend of money continues 😉


Bloody dizzy spells, but doesn’t affect the Birds ;-)

Went into the garden earlier to get some air and try and clear my head a bit, but still having dizzy spells, since Tuesday so will have to take a trip to the Doctors if they don’t disappear, so didn’t do much for the head, but there were a lot of Birds buzzing around the place, and quite happy today with some of my photos. Right food and see if I’m ok to go out later. If you’d like to see some of the photos just click on the link below or either of the Photos and they will take you to the page 😉
Blue Tits and Robin’s are the order of the day today –
Robin – 11-02-2018

Lots of activity around today, which is really great to see, and a number of Robins just hanging around today, well until the Rescue Helicopter went flying overhead and everything scattered with the noise, the Thrush’s have yet to make an appearance today, nor the Collared Dove, but I’m sure they are around. Need to get a replacement Tripod quickly as handheld with the 70-200mm lens and the Extender weighs you down pretty quickly, but still pretty happy with the results, and know I can get a little clearer and better next time out.

Looking forward to our Family holiday back to Donegal in a few months, will get to check out the stunning Fanad Lighthouse and I’m sure there will be a lot of wildlife around both the bay where we are staying and the cliffs around the lighthouse itself. Assuming we are lucky with the weather of course. That aside, we are planning trips back to the Botanical Gardens and Dublin Zoo in the very near future, so lots coming up.

Blue Tit – 11-02-2018

Starting 2018 how we mean to continue.

On the way home from what I guess you could call my other job this evening, I was rushing to get home as I did want to try and catch some of the Football ( ManUtd – v- Everton ), I noticed the size and clarity of the moon this evening, well it is a Supermoon isn’t it, almost mesmerising, so the first thought was lets get home and get the camera out. Don’t think I have done it much justice here at all, but it’s going to be a busy week so hopefully an early night tonight and hoping even more that I can get some sleep and the little guy won’t be waking us up at 5:30 – well we can all hope for these things can’t we.


Tomorrow evening we are planning on taking in the Wild Lights Exhibition at Dublin Zoo, have heard lots of great things about it and many families that have loved seeing it, so hopefully the weather holds up and his lordship manages to stay awake and take it all in 😉   He loves bright coloured stuff, so should be right up his street. will bring along the camera if it’s permitted. Either way hopefully it will light up his happy little face and we’ll have a fun evening out.

Wild Lights – Dublin Zoo



Of course there’s work this week, which will more than likely be very busy kicking off the new year, and there’s a lot of other external obligations that will take up a lot of time this coming year, and have to always ensure that I don’t push it all too far and try and improve health wise over the next 12 months, it is very easy to try and do everything and run into a brick wall, but I’m also determined to do as much as I can with the camera and a lot of music, listening to or checking out live. To this end will be starting by shooting The Dedication show on Saturday at the Button Factory, some cracking bands on the bill once again and will be fun to catch up with some friends as always, that being followed up with the wonderful voice of Geoff Tate, with his band Operation Mindcrime, again playing the Button Factory and specially playing what is in my revolving top 3 albums of all time, ‘Operation Mindcrime’, should be a cracking show, the last acoustic Tour that Geoff did was very well received indeed and can’t wait for this one. The music on this album still creates tingles up and down my spine, and I have no doubt at all when the intro’s kick in the same will happen.




Not a bad way to kick things off with January normally being a quiet month, lets see how we get on and hopefully I’ll have some decent shots to add to the site and pass onto the guys.

How much have you planned for 2018 ? Are you mad ????? ;-)

Ok, back so quickly, yes but it suddenly hit me just how much I already have in my thoughts or actually organised for 2018. Current count is a total of 32 Gigs, of them 4 Festivals that I think are already organised, 6 Trips to the UK, and we haven’t even gotten things started yet. So the question comes flying at me again in big capitals –

ARE YOU MAD ????????

The answer is clearly yes, but hey, I’ve a lot to make up for, and I really want to get as much done this year as possible, as I think it may be the last year I can do much at all for a while. So lets throw caution to the wind and see how it goes. Really looking forward to it, lets keep the energy as high as possible and see where it takes us.

Today another one got added, the wonderful Pat McManus Band playing in Dublin in Feb. Hell Yeah !!!

The Pat McManus Band - DRC - 26-09-2014
Pat McManus – DRC – 26-09-2014


Marking achievements gets harder every year ?

Really it does, as we grow older and our circumstances change, along with the demands on our time from not only our work but also family or other external influences, it becomes harder to see what you have gotten done in a year.

Personally, well I would say on the Photography/Music front, less than I got done last year, but at the same time considering all that has changed in my life this year perhaps a lot more than I could have expected.

Attended at least 2 Gigs/Festivals a month (yes a significant drop on anything in the last 8 years – but still some awesome shows)

In reality I have only been able to shoot a few shows this year, and luckily also a number of Festivals, which helped a lot. But those I have done have been terrific to be at and even better to shoot, some of my favourite Artists, some from the Bucketlist that have been crossed off, and some for fun that really were that.

Reviews wise – well even with a few days to go I’m still trying to get over the 36 mark for albums, and perhaps only 10 Gigs/Festivals, again a noticeable drop on three or four years ago when I started Writing, but at the same time 3 per month isn’t all that shabby. It’s still an honour to cover Albums and Gigs for a number of Sites.

At the end of the day these are just figures and don’t mean a hell of a lot, but it’s always an easy way of seeing how busy you have been with other things. Perhaps not a fair comparison but in 2014 the figures were 69 Gigs/Festivals and 61 Reviews, and pretty much the same in 2015. perhaps they were the exceptions 😉

But there are many other things that have happened that can be marked as success stories, and even winning small battles should never be ignored.

Still 2017 has been a difficult one, and here’s to 2018 being a much better, happier and healthier year for us all.


The Wild Atlantic Way is another piece of Heaven.

The natural beauty of the Country you live in is often something that simply never enters your mind when you are younger, it bypasses you as the exploration of other parts of the World takes hold, or you simply haven’t taken the time to explore your own Countey, Island or even local area.

View over North Fhee, Turloughmore and Slieve Aughty in The Burren, Co. Clare. Ireland

This is quite true of me, as a child our family would have brought us to different parts of the Ireland (my Country of birth), but I don’t think as a child you really appreciate the sheer beauty that may be 1 hours drive from your bedroom. Having taken holidays/vacation in different parts of Europe, the US and Canada over the years since, it has only been the last few years that we have stayed on home soil, especially since the birth of our son 19 months.

Cliffs around Loop Head Peninsula, Co. Clare

Since then we have traveled around a lot of this Islands coastline, both North amd South, visiting places like the Giants Causeway and Malin Head and many stops around the Wild Atlantic Way and without doubt we can say that we are seeing so many different areas of stunning beauty, it’s a very liberating experience, so much so that we are already beginning to plan next years trip.



As for our son, well we will see if he develops the same appreciation, for now he is certainly experiencing different places, and he is not quite up to meeting different animals. Still to come this week is a trip to the Cliffs Of Moher and weather dependent visits to gardens, beaches and whatever else we can fit in.

An Emu we met at Moher Open Farm