Yesterday I took part in this protest against the extraordinarily ill-conceived and poorly thought out proposed 465 hectare salmon farm in the lee of the Aran Islands off of the West Coast of Ireland.
This farm poses a grave threat to the fragile ecosystem of the already much depleted salmon stocks of Ireland. I strongly believe that it is up to the people of Ireland to protect this habitat from the destruction which will be wrought if big business is allowed to exploit the fishing industry just like they did with the meat industry. Which has already suffered untold damage after the shame of the much publicised horse meat scandal.
The west of Ireland already continues to suffer the exploitation wrought by big business through the Corrib Gas Pipeline controversy. And so yet again it falls to people power to resist the destruction of our country in the face of politicians who don’t seem to give two fucks about selling our precious natural resources to the highest bidder, and to hell with the consequences for future generations.
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) is the Irish fisheries body that is supposed to protect Irish waters, yet it continuously misrepresents and withholds scientific data and lies to the Irish public about the well established risks posed by open water fish farms.
In order to avoid the obvious dangers of farmed salmon spreading lethal sea lice to our native wild salmon, the BIM proposes to use chemicals to kill parasites. Now it doesn’t take a genius to see the dangers of pumping yet more chemicals into our already damaged waters, yet the BIM doesn’t seem to be able to see the risks that anyone with half a brain can quite clearly perceive, and which scientific research has also proven beyond any reasonable doubt.
All that the BIM likes to shout about is the creation of jobs for the local economy. But I think that the Irish people have heard enough bullshit about job creation that never comes to pass from our politicians as they ravish our country to be rightly cynical about the chances of any actual new jobs ever transpiring.
When the fecal matter from millions of fish is washed into Irish seas, alongside parasites, chemicals, and god knows what else, and then goes on to ruin our pristine environment, kills our fishing industry, and damages our tourism industry beyond repair, then I’m quite certain that more jobs will be lost than could ever be created from such a deplorable misuse of our natural resources.
Local and national media as per usual seem to have little or no interest in reporting the dangers of this farm to the Irish people as well as largely ignoring this protest, and so I felt it that it was my duty to make my small contribution to making this a more widely discussed issue. The Irish Times reported about the protest yesterday here, yet they didn’t even deem the protest worthy of a photograph. The Galway independent reported about the protest here, and again didn’t bother adding a photograph of the protest and also reported that only 500 people attended the protest compared to the Irish Times report of 2,000 in attendance. Quite the discrepancy huh.
I’d say that the figure of 2,000 people was much closer to the mark, and I salute all those who arranged the protest, the few politicians who bothered to attend, the great speakers who spoke with such vigour, and each and every person who attended in order to assert their opposition to this wanton destruction of our local environment.
Fair play to all involved and let’s just hope that the people with the power to put a stop to this monstrous idea for a fish farm will start to listen to the will of the people before it’s too late.
Yesterday I had the (dis)pleasure of attending the Galway Races 2012 courtesy of a free ticket that I got from Galway.com, so that I could take a few photos of the happy day.
I have to admit that it remains somewhat of a mystery to me how the Galway Races is considered to be the highlight of the summer for so many Galwegians.
Yesterday was Lady’s Day at the races, which meant that I bore witness to many Irish women exposing far more of themselves than could ever possibly be considered visually alluring to anyone but the most fool hardy fans of flashes of Irish pasty skin overspilling ill fitting dresses. These uneasy style afficianodoes then todder along upon unfeasibly large heels, to which the wearer has clearly not had the chance to become accustomed to wearing before at such high-faluting fashionable occasions as the races. Or in fact ever, judging by the amount of stumbling style icons that I encountered throughout the day.
That’s not to say that there weren’t a few well attired beauties amongst the maelstrom of ill adorned ladies, which I’ve done my very best to take a few shots of, though these were admittedly few and far between. Taking photos amongst the heaving drunken masses is also one hell of a challenge, especially coupled with the incessant rain that we’ve been damned with all summer long here in Galway.
However, Galway’s stubbornly maritime climate didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of all that many weather beaten Irish punters, whose sunny dispositions I jealously witnessed and then dutifully tried to document.
The races also appear to me to be the most utterly elitist gathering of people that takes place in Galway. The rich take helicopters in and sit in reserved booths sipping champagne and being waited on hand and foot, whilst the rest of the plebs take a bus that progresses through the infamously egregious Galway traffic at slower than walking speed in order to painfully soldier onwards to the course. Once they have the pleasure of eventually arriving at the races, they can then que like mistreated cattle for half an hour to get a cheeseburger that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies, which is served alongside chips refried in dirty frying oil so many times that they now seem to have only a faint recollection of their time spent as a potato.
The taste of such culinary insults demands to be washed out by a pint of Guinness, which is served in a plastic cup that seems to magically evaporate to half its size on the sharp elbowed trip back to your square foot of standing position back outside in the rain.
A cantankerous young man I may well be, but I can think of a whole lot more fun ways to spend the day in Galway that doesn’t involve wringing every last cent out of my pocket for hospitality that could be bettered in Butlin’s holiday camp circa 1958.
And don’t get me started on those unfortunate race horses. I mean they say that they’re made for racing and that’s what they enjoy, but if that’s the case then why does it take up to ten men to man handle them in order to force them into a trap that they obviously have no wish to enter.
If forcing animals to do something they don’t want to do for our own enjoyment is considered a sport, then I think it’s about time I made my monkey tennis dreams a reality.
Anyways, here’s some of my photos of the day of people that seem to be having a lot more fun than I could ever possibly muster, and good luck to them, I certainly admire their unquenchably positive outlook!(in a way)
I’m now away for a quiet pint in the dark corner of an unassuming little pub far from the tourist trail, where I can escape the heaving throngs of these alien effervescent souls so hellbent on having fun, in order to wait for all these corporate sponsored summer festivities to draw to a close, so I can finally have my nice quiet miserable little city back.
Enjoy the rest of the races everyone else! Only 3 more days to go!
For today’s post I thought that I’d offer my own little celebration of one of Galway city’s greatest institutions- The Market at St Nicholas’s Church every weekend.
Every Saturday the prospect of the finest falafel I’ve yet found, a tantalising chicken teriyaki roll, a delicately spiced vegetarian madras, or some enjoyably fattening fresh donuts, is more than enough to convince me to cut my Saturday lie-in short in order to proceed to fill my belly and my shopping bag with some of the delectables found at the Galway Market.
Sunshine is far from guaranteed, and I can’t say that the prices are all that cheap in fairness, but by heck it sure is nice to have somewhere to go and buy a nice piece of fresh fish, some organic vegetables, and a few nice pieces of fruit to turn into something a little extra special in the kitchen later.
Here’s a few shots of some of the produce and crafts on display that I hope that you’ll enjoy alongside some photos of the dishes that I’ve prepared using food that I’ve found at the market.
A feast for the eyes awaits I hope….
Blooming at the market’s florist…
A nice set of buns…
Vegetarian Madras and chappati…a warming antidote to the Galwegian climate….
Though admittedly not terribly attractive, I can assure you that the fresh fish is quite delicious…
A sea of strawberries announces the onset of another dubious Irish “summer”…
Though at least the chillies are hot…
Free holes with all donuts…
I can’t vouch for the geographical accuracy of this jigsaw, but it sure does look nice…
This is what I do with a prawn when I get it back to my studio…
And here’s some of that fresh fruit looking quite zesty…
My own Heston Blumenthal inspired Lemon Sole atop Galway Bay Prawns in a creamy white sauce- a good recipe to do justice to the fine fresh fish that I obtained at the market…
My Gordon Ramsay inspired Pan Fried Sea Trout and Fricasseed potatoes doesn’t taste half bad either….
And finally there’s no finer way to embrace a rare glimpse of Irish sunshine by a barbequing a nice bit of steak from the market and piling it onto my own very special signature steak sandwich….
Well that’s about all I’ve got for you on the market I’m afraid, well done if you’ve managed to scroll down this far, I’m glad that I’ve managed to hold your attention. Let me know if you’ve got any queries about my photos or food, as I’m happy to share any of my recipes to anyone that’s interested (that is if anybody is interested).
Cheers for reading and hooray for the Galway Market; an example of capitalism at its least appalling, I’m sure you’ll agree.
As well as today’s picture I’d like to apologise to anybody who has had trouble accessing my site over the last couple of days. I ventured away from wordpress.com onto an Irish hosting site called letshost.ie for the last 2 days in the hope of creating my own website that I could customise to my own liking rather than relying on other people’s designs like I must do here all the time. Unfortunately, this was one hell of a frustrating experience due to letshost’s many deficencies in providing a reliable service to a web designing novice such as myself, as well as their ineptness in communicating with their clients in a sufficently speedy fashion. I’ve just spend 2 days banging my head against the wall questioning my own abilities to put up a basic website, only to find out that letshost were actually the ones in error by inadvertdly blocking my attempts to upload my webdesigns and constantly locking me out of my client area and web design panel on their site. In fairness to letshost.ie they have provided me with a refund very quickly(the second time that they’ve had to do so with me), but that’s not going to get back the last 48 hours of utter frustration(plus 3 weeks of tinkering) that have left me back at square one again trying to select a decent hosting service yet again, and still nowhere closer to having my own proper photography website. I think that I’ll just go with godaddy.com as they are half the price that I was paying with letshost.ie anyway, but its sure does seem a shame that it’s so hard to support an Irish company all the same. If anyone has any experience with any other webhosting services, either good or ill, then please let me know so I can make a more informed decision next time.
For now, back to the photography. It sure is a hell of a lot more fun than trying to design webpages.
Today Galway.com have kindly published some more of my shots from around Galway city. This time the photos are of the GTI Fashion Fiesta that I took a couple of nights ago in the Meyrick Hotel on Eyre Square where the next big things in fashion showcased their stylings and wares.
Shooting this kind of event was one hell of a challenge due to my own dislike of using flash photography and some pretty scant lighting provided by the ornate though not very useful chandelier lighting around the room.
I used primarily my canon 50mm f1.8 prime lens opened up wide with some pretty slow shutter speeds and I also relied on the occassional flashes of other photographers’ flash guns to light up the models.
The results are far from perfect, but I sure prefer them to the flat lighting that hotshoe flash photography usually provides at these kind of events.
Check out the shots here.
At certain times of the year in Galway, when the short wet days of winter and spring begin to give way to the long wet days of summer. Rare days of sunshine do occasionally occur that allow us Galwegians to imagine what it might be like to live in a country that actually experiences a significant rise in temperatures during the summertime.
To help enjoy the precious doses of vitamin D that such glimpses of sunlight provide to the inhabitants of Galway, there appears to be three main components that allow the proper enjoyment of any spring sunshine. Firstly, a can of warm beer, or a strong cider, seems essential to any outdoor activity that takes place under direct sunlight for any significant period of time. Secondly, one must always persevere to expose as much luminescent ivory white skin to as dangerous a level of uv exposure as humanly possible, this is in order to lend an alluringly exotic aspect to your appearance, which should endure until your skin stops peeling. Thirdly, there’s little or nothing that makes an Irish man or woman feel more alive than jumping from a significant height into a bracingly cold reservoir of water placed at a much lower height.
Thankfully, all these essential elements to a pleasurable day in the sun in Galway, and a whole lot more besides converge at Blackrock diving board every summer. It’s a great place to see hordes of salmon fleshed locals perform effervescent belly flops to jeers of derision from whooping masses of people, or to perform great acrobatic feats to the hushed cheers of begrudging onlookers.
Here’s my testament to the these brave souls who queue up come rain, hail, or shine,(well probably not the first two, but definitely when it’s sunny) in order to plunge into the icy depths of the Atlantic Ocean just for kicks. I don’t envy you, though I do tip my hat to your adrenaline seeking endeavours, and say cheers for the photos.