Gougane Barra

Recently went for a walk with the family in Gougane Barra. It is the place where the famous River Lee begins its journey into Cork City and the location where St Finbarr built a monastery on the little island situated to the left of the lake. This was constructed during the times of Penal Law. One of the items within this law which was prohibited, was to celebrate Roman Catholic mass. Being so remote meant it was very popular with Irish Catholics who could celebrate mass with possibly less of a fear of being apprehended and punished for doing so.

When people ever visit cork i always say you should take a spin down to Gougan Barra. The scenery is suberb especially on a clear and sunny day. And it is a photographers dream for capturing beautiful shots with so many elements in one place.

What is really interesting is the forest walks. Now being with 6 children there is only so far you can venture. As what is always in the back of your mind when walking with kids is, how far you travel, it seems twice as long on the way back. Everyone is tired, looking for hiddybacks, plasters, water. You swear you were traveling through the Sahara. So taken the short distance we could travel I managed to capture some nice shots on the phone of the walk into the woods. I didn’t take any pictures of the lake or church. As I have done so many times in the past and with the chaos of walking with 6 kids all under 6, you can imagine you are pulled from pillar to post. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the walk as it was a lovely day and they love looking at trees and letting their imagination run riot of bears and wolves in the forest. Now myself and the wife may have had something to do with that, but its all part of exploring the woods as kids.

There are many native species of flaura and fauna and over 20 species of trees. Notably Scots pine, Japanese Larch, Sitka Spruce and Lodgepole Pine. On reading more on the woods i discovered that in 2014 the woods was temporarily closed to allow for the felling of over 16,000 trees mostly larches, infected with or susceptible to Phytophthora ramorum a pathogen responsible for Sudden Oak Death (Thank you wikipedia). Some of which you can see in the below picture.

If you ever manage to get to Cork in the south of Ireland I would definetly recommend a trip to Gougane Barra. I hope you enjoy the pictures of some of the trees and landscape.

Some sheep finding shelter, on the banks of the lake.
Inspecting a little waterfall.

Watering with Noah

So with my job being quite demanding time wise and with the birth of the newest addition to our family Maria, I have found it difficult the past while to get into a proper routine with my trees. But yesterday my son and I decided to go and give my trees a bit of TLC. So when I went investigating some of the wire on one or two of the trees Noah decided to jump right in and grab the watering can.

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After getting stuck in and getting more wet than the trees themselves we decided a smaller can would probably be more appropriate.

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And there we have it, now my little man is looking after my trees when im at work. Now my wife will have to listen to the two of us wanting to water the trees. Well done small man.

A look in HD at the Omiya Bonsai Village

Second video I am posting tonight from Youtube channels which I am subscribed to. It has been so long since i have been online, due to me starting a new job nearly two months ago and since starting it I have just been up the walls. My feet are starting to touch the ground again as I have been just crazy busy. I have been slowly getting back online and actually getting to look at my trees besides the rush watering i have been doing the past few weeks. Hopefully will be getting some photos of my trees up over the next few days and updates.

Anyway here is the video, one which i am intrigued by, I have heard a lot of the Omiya Village, and really enjoyed this video, and the hd is a bonus. Anyway enjoy

Autumn Leaves in Nikko

Another great video displaying the amazing landscape of Japan by Discover Nippon, and yet another video encouraging me to make the next family holiday to japan. Someday it will come.

March Club Meeting

Yet another month has passed, and another bonsai club meeting. We met in the usual place as we always do and had small enough numbers with 5. But all in all it didnt matter there was plenty of chat and craic about everything Bonsai.

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We then had a talk about everyones trees individually against are great backdrop. Will have to get a proper one for the next meeting and some decent lighting. I hear blue is the colour to go with 🙂

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Our First Club Workshop

Well Bonsai Christmas in Cork has passed for another few months. All the excitement packed away into the back off Phil’s van back up to Belfast. The build up to this workshop felt like it lasted forever, and of course the weekend just flew. There was so much anticipation on the run up the our workshop it was hard for it not to drag. But the wait was more than worth it.

Ian and Phil drove the long journey down from the Belfast to get us started on Friday night. The lads began with setting up the room with loads of bonsai goodies.

I have put up my own photos taken during the two days, and some from Ian, Ray, and Piotr. Hope ye dont mind lads 🙂

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Ian having a quiet moment to himself

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Phil sorting the tables

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Everything from trees, soil mix, pots, tools, wire and even bonsai magazines.

Then the club assembled for the start of two days of everything bonsai.

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I arrived late from work and didnt hear the end of it till i was going home on sat 🙂

What time do you call this?

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There was a critique on club members trees and a demonstration on a pine the lads brought down from the north.

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Mark and Peter look for styling options with the tree.

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After the pine was fully wired by Phil, we were asked for our own interpretation on what way the tree should be styled.

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We all got a chance to demonstrate our artistic side and draw what we thought, and stick it in the pot.

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Phil goes to work

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And shows us multitasking

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It turned out everyone had a different interpretation. Even the way the tree ended up none of us had before hand envisaged.

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Just to sit there listen was enough. I had a smile on my face that a slap of a pineapple wouldn’t remove. But the second day came where things were getting serious. Where we had to bring our own trees and work on them. This is a great way to learn new techniques and skills that are just difficult to read from a book. At first everyone introduced there tree and gave a brief history on it.

Marks Larch

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Peters 5 needle pine

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Rays Big Pine

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Matt’s Lonicera

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Piotrs Yew

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My Hinoki

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Than Ian and Phil looked over it and asked us what we wanted from the tree today. I must say there was such a variation of stuff it was great to get such a vast spread of trees in one room.

After the evaluation we sat at our benches and began to work. What a great experience.

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Ian and Mark working on Mark’s Larch

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Ray with the pine

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Phil just cant wait to bend this beauty

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Matt and Peter working hard

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Piotr grafting away with his yew

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Me with my chopped hinoki

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Group shot

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Ray with his pine

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Ian and Piotr

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I had decided to work on my hinoki cypress which i have been looking at on my bench for two years unknowing what to do with it. It didn’t take long before the lads gave me the encouragment i needed to start cutting.

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I cut a branch which i was determining to remove for two years in two seconds.

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The lads helped with decision on wiring and Ian got well involved, to the point i thought it was going in the back of the van to belfast as well 🙂 I was so impressed with the finished product. Even though its just the beginning of this trees life as a bonsai.

Some before and afters

Peters 5 needle pine before

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And After

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Matt’s Lonicera before

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And after

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My Hinoki Cypress before

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And after

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Piotr’s Yew before

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And after

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Ray’s Big Pine after

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Mark’s Larch after

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Everyone worked on one or more trees that day. And everyone came away with something. I must say i thought it was a great two days,and i must say a massive thank you to Ian and Phil for the long journey, and all the help and advice over the two days. Well done lads, you have just helped the bonsai addiction reach epidemic proportions for us down here in the Munster Bonsai Club.

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Autumn Colours in Kyoto

Yet another great film demonstrating the beauty of Kyoto in Autumn. Even at night time the trees are illuminated. Some day i will get to Kyoto. Roll on the euro millions 🙂

Gingko Tree Avenue in Tokyo

Thought this was another amazing video by Discover Nippon. The colour of the leaves are amazing. It almost looks like its snowing leaves, the way they are fall from the trees. Well worth a watch. Enjoy

Autumn in Korankei

Another amazing video which showcases the immense beauty Japan has to offer. The intense colours which these maples show is quite phenomenal. I believe Autumn may be the time to visit if you were going to Japan. Enjoy

Bad Weather for Bonsai

I had heard we were getting a bit of bad weather this evening but nothing to this extent. Over the past few hours pictures have emerged of the damage due to stormy conditions. I came home to find all my trees exactly where I left them. Not one turned over or fallen 🙂

So if you live in Ireland and have bonsai, make sure there secure and safe. And if you don’t just be careful. Here are some images today from Cork. Thankfully no one has been seriously injured.

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