The St Patrick’s Day Parade 2013 in Blarney

St Patrick

Just a few photos from the short but colourful and noisy St Patrick’s Day Parade in Blarney this year. This parade proved more popular than other years as cars parked as far away as the park I live in. I don’t remember that ever happening before!

Well done to everyone who took part!


Aperture ƒ/7.1
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 179mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/250s

To home on the bike

To home on the bike

To say there are many motorbikes in Marrakesh is an understatement. We arrived at dusk and watched shell shocked as small motorbikes wove back and forth between traffic and around corners with little evident care for safety. As a pedestrian here you must have eyes in the back of your head!

With that sorted out and explained the picture above might not be too surprising and it’s a not an uncommon sight to see 3 people on a motorbike. It looks like three generations here: son leaning forward on the handlebars, mother driving and grandmother sitting on the passenger seat.

We haven’t seen any accidents yet but this old post from 2009 says accident rates are rising.

Aperture ƒ/7.1
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/100s

Hot Air Ballooning over Marrakech

Hot Air Ballooning over Marrakech

Yesterday brought the news that 19 tourists died in Egypt when their hot air balloon crashed. It almost made us rethink our activities today because we were planning to go up in a balloon here in Marrakech! The chance that our balloon would crash just because a balloon in Egypt crashed is minuscule. They’re unrelated events but I guess it was a reminder that the activity is not without risk. Many people did cancel their trips yesterday and our pilot thanked us for not doing the same.

It was a wonderful experience, spoiled slightly by the low hanging clouds but floating through the clouds was surreal for a few moments. Then the wind blew us towards Berber villages as we descended. People watched and children ran as we eventually came to ground. The wind had been carrying us towards the mountains and we’d pass above powerlines that snaked across the valley so the pilot took us down about 200 metres from those cables.

Definitely worth trying out!

Aperture ƒ/4
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 200
Shutter speed 1/1000s

Four legged Traffic in Marrakesh

Traffic in Marrakesh

I’m here in Marrakesh, Morocco with the rest of Polldaddy for a week. This photo of a man on a donkey and cart was taken on the streets of the medina during a lull in traffic. After driving here I’m quite certain you could handle driving anywhere as buses, cars, vans, motorbikes and bicycles jostle for the same space in often narrow streets!

Aperture ƒ/14
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/400s

El Puerto de Santa Maria: The snail seller

the snail seller

Anyone for snails or should I say escargot? A man selling snails wasn’t doing much business when we walked by in El Puerto de Santa Maria in Spain last March. I wasn’t going to sample any of his produce, have you tried snails? What do they taste of?

There’s a really interesting page on escargot on Wikipedia. Still won’t get me to eat them..

Snail shells have been found in archaeological excavations, indicating snails have been eaten since prehistoric times.[3][4] A number of archaeological sites around the Mediterranean have been excavated yielding physical evidence of culinary use of several species of snails used as escargot.[5] The Romans, in particular, are known to have considered escargot an elite food, as noted in the writings of Pliny. The edible species Otala lactea has been recovered from Volubilis in present-day Morocco.[6] This archaeological recovery is from an era of Roman Empire occupation of this provincial capital, which site was known to embody a very highly developed ancient civilization since its days as a Phoenician and Carthaginian colony.

Aperture ƒ/4.5
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 28mm
ISO 400
Shutter speed 1/160s

To Kiss the Blarney Stone

To Kiss the Blarney Stone

If you ever wondered where the Blarney Stone was just look up. This shot was taken from a balcony looking into the exposed interior of Blarney Castle. The people at the top of the building are standing around the Blarney Stone and it looks like there’s one brave soul yet to perform the deed. The other two are Castle employees.

You see, you have to lie flat on the stone walkway high above there and lean out backwards while holding on to two railings and then kiss the stone just below floor level. Don’t worry. There are bars below you. I’ve never heard of anyone falling to their death! One of those guys holds on to you while you kiss the Stone and the other takes a photo.

Aperture ƒ/6.3
Camera Canon EOS 40D
Focal length 21mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 1/100s