Nettles and wild things on the Lagan

A stroll on the Lagan Towpath with Belfast buddies.

Belfast is a deadly town for culture, pints, brunch, markets and nature walks: the perfect city break!

Harsh Light in West Belfast

The Falls Road runs through West Belfast from Divis Street, in the city centre, to the suburbs.

There are murals representing socialism, protest and peace. Tourists roll by on foot, by bus and in black cab tours. The Divis Tower block of flats stands still. I found it intimidating in 2016 in broad daylight, I wouldn't like to have known this place during the Troubles.

Headspace in the Botanic Gardens

One of my shifts while volunteering at the First Fortnight festival took me to the National Botanic Gardens. The aroma was divine, even though not much is in bloom in January.

The balmy atmosphere in the Palm House warmed the cockles of my heart, as did the chats and bants with other volunteers and participants. The event was Co-Motion, where participants share songs that give them a lift, while taking a stroll around the park. What a beautiful way to spend a Sunday! I caught a duo deep in conversation passing a doorway - you'll spot them below.

There was also time for me to have a wander around by myself, with my camera. I am learning about mindfulness and feel that photography, for me, is just that - focusing your attention on the present moment. It is also about accepting how you are feeling, good or bad, in that moment. I'll try.

Modern day Markievicz

Today is Nollaig na mBan or 'Womens' Christmas' in Ireland, a day when traditionally men take over the household duties after the busy Christmas period, and women can put their feet up, or even better - go out and have the craic with the girls!

This is a day for the women of Ireland to have a breather, gather our thoughts and wonder what the new year has in store for us. How about equal rights as set out in our constitution? That'd be nice.

Here is a female member of the Defence Forces, shot on film and fairly roughly scanned to prove it!
I photographed her as she waited for the Easter 2016 parade to set off, near St. Stephen's Green in Dublin. I think she looks like a total hero, a Markievicz-like gun-toting kick-ass Irish woman.

There was probably more than one 'Markievicz', as in, there are probably a hell of a lot more kick-ass Irish women who don't get talked about. Herstory are on a mission to unveil those deadly women and their stories. I'm looking forward to checking out their activities this weekend as well as reading up on the many heroes they blog about.

"Countess Markievicz and Queen Maeve are household names but the truth is there are hundreds if not thousands of life stories that are equally fascinating and remarkable. One concept, hundreds of stories. One audience, the whole nation." - Herstory

A Classy Little Christmas

How good it feels to be starting afresh into a new year! I hope you enjoyed a restful Christmas time with loved ones from near and far, and got to take some time to celebrate, even if you were celebrating that 2016 is finally over and done.

I started my Christmas season in such an elegant manner, by attending the wonderful performance by the Dublin Gay Men's Chorus of their 'Silver Bells - It's Christmas Time in the City' concert at the Dublin Freemason's Hall.

The beautiful and moving performance was ably hosted by the vivacious Clelia Murphy. They also welcomed a special guest soloist, tenor Ross Scanlon

Suffice to say I did not keep it quite so classy as the holiday season went on...  

© Pearl Phelan

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