Tag: Life

St Patrick’s day 2018

We did another trip to Ireland in March. Other than for seeing friends, celebrating St Patrick’s day, playing music and tasting whiskeys, my own personal goal was to escape snow and ice, and finally see some colour. The winter was terribly long with snow almost all the time, and during winters like that I feel like a prisoner in my house, because going out is so inconvenient and unpleasant. And my entire being long to see something else than white and grey.

Only two weeks before our trip though, came storm Emma along with the Beast from the East. Snow in West Cork, snow all over Ireland, and lots of it too. Imagine my distress! But Ireland eventually went back to normal with green fields. When we arrived to Dublin on the 16th of March the weather was good with 7 degrees, and driving south we met temperatures even nicer than that – West Cork greeted us with around 12 C.

Sadly, a mini beast came by and on St Patrick’s day morning, we had 3-4 C.. freezing cold but I was at least happy to see this outside the cottage that we rented..

Yes, cold and dull weather, but green fields! Colour! If you knew how much I miss colour during the long Swedish winter. We rented this cottage in Ardfield outside Clonakilty, and I highly recommend it if you visit these areas, don’t want to spend your money on a fancy hotel, and don’t want to eat out all the time. The same couple (one of them a musician we know) also owns this one. Ardfield is a lovely little village and offers a pub, a post office and lovely areas to go for walks. It is also very close to the beautiful Galley Head, as you can see on this first photo that I took from just up the hill from the cottages (if I remember correctly now):

As I’ve stated before, I need more peace and quiet in my life, and I can’t wait to live closer to the nature and see wide open spaces. When I saw this road I had the feeling of being in paradise.

Most of St Patrick’s day was spent in our second hometown, Clonakilty.

This is my husband and our friend Dena, fiddler and one of the proud owners of O’Donovan’s hotel. She and the other people at the hotel does a lot of good things for the town, like different charity events, music events and more. And of course, it’s a lovely hotel and bar – old fashioned but lovely. They have a nice and lively music session every week, gigs, and the front bar has Clonakilty’s best whiskey collection (at least if we talk about pubs!). Not to mention that they also own a well equipped Off Licence shop, a wine bar, and the nice little pub An Teach Beag.

The St Patrick’s day parade marches through the main street of course and it promotes local businesses, schools, organisations, events, activities and more. It was absolutely freezing that day and I did NOT envy people in the parade who – at least some of them – needed to be out in t-shirts etc. Still, it is always a beautiful parade and it brings tears to my eyes every time I see it because it makes so clear how many good things are going on there. Clonakilty is a very lively and vibrant little town, where people help each other and there are loads of local activities and things that help keep the town alive and keep it a good place.

The last photo shows a West Cork Rapid Response vehicle. West Cork is large, and has many very remote areas. West Cork Rapid Response is a charity organisation with volontary emergency service staff, that partner with and support the HSE National Ambulance Service. They are equipped to provide critical care support and advanced life support, and serve all of West Cork. It’s a fantastic organisation that saves lives and makes a difference for people out in the community. They are emergency service staff who do this in their free time – nobody is paid for doing it. Read more about them here: About West Cork Rapid Response and if you want to support them, you can donate here.

Note that I’m not paid by anyone to write this post… I simply have a passion for West Cork and Clonakilty, and will write more about the town soon.

I disappeared for a while

So what exactly is the best way to “relaunch” a blog that has been dead or inactive for a while?

My blog disappeared for a while, but I never planned to quit! The spring has been quite overwhelming, because of work related things (hello, GDPR) and health issues (hello, IBD), but I’ve also had good things going on. In the end of April I hosted a whiskey tasting in our whisky club – my first tasting for a larger audience. Then, after what seemed like the longest winter of my life, the month of May offered weather that we usually don’t even see in July – sunshine and 25+ C every day for an entire month (the summer weather in Sweden is usually very unstable). With that weather you don’t want to be inside with a computer more than necessary!

During the spring and early summer I’ve kept this site inactive because I had a plan to make it a “branding” site where I collect everything I do online, to keep it open for me to eventually use for work possibilities, and to put the blog elsewhere. I was unsure about whether or not it would fit in here, but decided eventually, with the help of my brilliant husband, that keeping the blog here would be the best thing to do.
I’ve done some cleaning up among blog posts, and I plan to continue sharing my photos and happenings here, and hopefully I will soon have more peace and quiet in life to also improve my writing.

We generally have lots of interesting plans and projects right now, which I’ll write about in a few days. I’ll also share some about our latest trip to Ireland – we were there for St Patrick’s day this year, and visited the Beara peninsula, the only West Cork peninsula we hadn’t visited. It was freezing cold that day but I took a few nice pictures – the landscape there is very different from the other peninsulas we’ve been to. I’ll try to collect the best photos and will be back soon with a post about it.

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I photographed a wedding

When I started getting into more focused photography, I was browsing the internet for photography blogs and photographer websites to get inspiration, and found that maybe 90% (if not more) were wedding photographers. And I said to myself that “I will never shoot weddings. Everyone else does it – how boring!”. And in addition, wedding photography requires so much of you. It’s that particular moment in people’s lives that just has to be perfect, you can’t fail on that one. And if that wasn’t all – weddings are almost always indoors with poor lighting. Sure, usually wedding photographers do a nice photoshoot outside in some pretty spot, alone with the couple. But – in my country you can NEVER trust the weather. Not even in June. It could be a brilliant day with sunshine and 20+ degrees, but it can also happens that it rains all day and the temperature goes down to 11 C.

Despite all this, last spring I was asked by a friend and lovely co-worker if I wanted to be her wedding photographer.
I wanted to say no because I didn’t feel competent enough, but at the same time it would be a private wedding with only the two of them, the priest and two witnesses. And the couple are both people I know and they are very nice, straightforward people. She also said that they would be so happy if I in particular did it. Who can say no to that?

I was very nervous and especially for the indoor photos and for the potential that I’d have to do the planned outdoor shots inside because of bad weather. The good thing with this was that I finally bought an external flash, which has been one of the best investments ever (except my Olympus camera, of course). Not that it’s a very fancy or expensive flash, but it does its job and is helping me a lot with taking good indoor photos. However, I had very little experience with flash photography, so many of the photos inside the church were not good at all. But we were lucky with good enough weather and could do the outdoor shots. The sun was very indecisive but hid behind clouds most of the time, except during lunch, and it was very windy. However, this was fantastic weather for being early June in Sweden!!

The couple had chosen a lovely location at the Vara plains, by a castle that is perhaps more like a mansion than like a castle but it has large surroundings with lots of greenery, and a beautiful garden.

Now afterwards I can see that there are many similar shots and that there are other different types of shots that I planned to take but didn’t because of nerves, my composition weren’t great, and many other things. But you know what? You have to start somewhere. This was my first ever on-request photoshoot, in a genre I don’t normally do, these people are friends of mine and I really had a good time doing this. And as long as they are happy, I am happy.

2017 in pictures

Although 2017 wasn’t a great year, it was an interesting year from a photography point of view. I upgraded big time to a very nice camera and I’ve been to many interesting places and have taken lots of photos. So take a deep breath and see my 2017 photo journey…

In the winter I usually don’t take a lot of photos because everything is dark and dull, and 2017 followed the same pattern. I actually joined an online photography course, but I quit after a month or so because every other homework task was about taking a photo “in a well lit place”, and surprise, in Northern Europe well lit places don’t exist between November and March. However, January is the month of the Burns supper, which is everything but dull. Good food, good whiskey, good music and nice people.

February must have been an incredibly boring month, because I can’t find one single photo taken then!! I’ve posted one on Instagram, and that is also from a whiskey tasting.. I don’t even have it anywhere else than on Instagram.
In March I must have still been in the photography class, because I’ve taken this picture that I know was for that class. I don’t remember what the theme or lesson was. But these are some wonderful instruments..

March is also the month of the local whisk(e)y fair, and it was there I fell in love with Smögen whisky, so much that now we’ve bought a private cask from them. We’re still waiting to get news that they’ve filled it with new make. But at least we have the certificate that we own one!

April is when things are getting more interesting also outside.

And in 2017 in April I went to Ireland to attend a whiskey workshop at the Midleton distillery. I’m very sad that I can’t found any photos from the coopering lesson, and there’s a risk I may have thrown them away by mistake when cleaning my photo collection..
However, the workshop was brilliant, and I got to taste the Midleton Dair Ghaelach for the first time, visited the enormous Midleton distillery warehouse area, and learned lots of interesting things about whiskey making.

In May we did something we had wanted to do for a long long time. Rather spontaneously we had decided to join a group trip to the isle of Islay, Scotland, the Mecca for lovers of peated whisky. It’s the home of Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig, to name a few. The trip included distillery visits and lovely cask tastings in the warehouses. The only thing I wish we could have had more time for was visit out to see more of the scenery, but it was a whisky trip, after all. 🙂

![](https://foto.susannem.com/images/scotland/islay/bruichladdich/5-may-bruichladdich-16.jpg

June is the month when Swedish people celebrate Midsummer. There are lots of different traditions but the only one that really interests me is the one of playing fiddle tunes in local traditional costumes. After the celebration some of us have a party at my aunt’s house, and continue the music there.

In June we also visited some of Orsa finnmark, the most interesting and beautiful area of Sweden. I’ll write more about it in a separate post eventually.

In June I also bought my new camera, and found my first zebra spider.

July is the month of photographing flowers.

In the beginning of August we went to a concert with the Swedish country singer Jill Johnson, very nice indeed! And what a surprise that I managed to get such good photos. It was such fun to take them.

In August we also went to Ireland. You’ve seen lots of photos already (and there are more to come!). This is from Oliver Plunkett street, Cork city.

In September I found the first spider since a long time, because for once, there was almost no wind.

I went to see friends out by the sea.

This year we didn’t go to Italy in the summer, but in October instead. We experienced everything from 1 degree C and snow..

..to nice autumn

..to around 25 degrees C or even more.

And we had the opportunity to join the family in harvesting olives.

We had the privelege to taste the brand new oil, which was absolutely fabulous. 🙂

In November we had the first snow, and I did a Dingle whiskey batch 1 photoshoot, while waiting for two bottles of batch 2 to arrive.

And finally december. We had a fabulous whiskey themed New Year’s party.

I wish you all a very happy 2018!!