We were sent an invitation to the opening of LEYHO’s exhibition at the Olivier Cornet Gallery in Great Denmark St, Dublin. Tom was interested in WW1, and particularly The Battle of the Somme, as his Great Uncle Matt had fought and died there in 1916 as part of the 1st Battalion of Irish Rifles. His body is interred in the family grave plot and when the grave was opened for a funeral, the grave diggers found the remains of his body, with the bullet still lodged in the chest,
LEYHO’s graphic and emotional depiction of one of the bloodiest battles in history and its human consequences, told through an intimate and personal journey, is interwoven with the journeys of his great grand uncle, and so too the great grand uncle of the gallery owner, Olivier. Together they discussed how art, identity and history came together with their own family narratives.
A keen amateur star gazer, Tom has been gazing starward through his Meade telescopes since childhood. But where to gaze now? Even at the edges of the city, the light is encroaching so much as to make it difficult to see anything beyond the brightest stars.
We were reminded of a trip we took in 2005 to Queenstown, New Zealand, the highlight of which was an unscheduled drive outside the town. A small road lead us into the rural mountain darkness and the stars – and what stars! The image of our Milky Way arcing across the sky from horizon to horizon alive with millions upon millions of sparkling stars and iridescent dust clouds, visible with clarity and twinkling beauty to our wonder struck eyes will stay with us forever.
Bryan Espey talks about the International project to return our skies to darkness and the crucial benefits of the dark to our health, our quality of life, and our environment. He takes Tom on a walking trip to the dark side of the Dublin-Wicklow Mountains, where he could still see the heavens and a shining red surprise!
Terroir Whiskey from an Irish Biodynamic Farm
Tom spent many of his childhood summers on a dairy farm in Co Meath. Now, more than a generation later, the former dairy farm has been transformed into a leading organic farm, championing biodynamic principles. As part of a game-changer initiative, John McDonnell shares with Tom his journey to become a producer of artisan terroir whiskey barley. Shalvanstown is one of the first wave of farms to have a terroir style individually labelled whiskey made at Waterford Distilleries. On a bright summers day, with the blackberries just beginning to ripen and fields of sunflowers in full bloom, John entertained Tom and the kids and they came home with a gigantic bag of tiny sweet eating apples and purple stained fingers but an almost empty bowl of blackberries.
Lyn remembers the Overend sisters from her childhood and visits Airfield, their former family farm, now managed as an Educational Trust for future generations of Dubliners. Grainne Kelliher, the CEO of Airfield Trust, takes Lyn on a journey through taste and time, combining her international corporate business experience with her farming roots and passions for education, sustainable agriculture and organic food – grown on the farm and served in delicious dishes at Overends, the Airfield cafe-restaurant.
Every summer we long for the simple days of afternoon tea in the garden and the simple joy of sun, fresh flowers, good company and strawberry jam and cream. This summer was no exception, so we gathered our clan and created a feast that kept us sated past dinner.
The kids were keen to have their friends over and Lyn wanted a summer memory that would linger. We borrowed a projector, hung a sheet and made some yummy snacks (link here). The night was meant to be overcast, but the sun came out to glare on the screen! No matter, we watched the movie and the sun set half way through. The movie we planned to watch didn’t arrive in time, but we had fun with an old family favourite plus the guinea pigs and cat roaming the garden and a mass of kids and adults!
Already, the kids have asked if we can have another Movie Night next year.
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