Temple Bar

Temple Bar

A sign outside the Temple Bar in Dublin’s Temple Bar district

So, I’ll admit that this post may be a bit confusing. I’ve posted images related to the Temple Bar located in the Temple Bar district of Dublin. And there isn’t a temple involved in anything that I’m going to discuss. However, there are two bars. Confused? Good. Let’s get on with the post, then.

The history of origin of the name for the district is a bit in question. There is no doubt that Sir William Temple was the provost of Trinity College in the 1600s and that his family owned a home and gardens in the area. However, there is also a district of the same name in London and it is equally likely the name was borrowed from its more famous cousin. To add to the confusion, there is a profusion of bars in the Temple Bar district including the aptly if non-creatively named Temple Bar.

No matter how the name was derived Temple Bar is a lively tourist district with cobbled streets, street performers, and the aforementioned abundance of bars, pubs, and nightclubs. It’s a lively place that can drift toward rowdy on a weekend summers night.

As it so happens, we were in town and in Temple Bar on one of those fair summer nights. It also happened to be one of the nights when Ed Sheeran was performing in his native Dublin in a sold-out Croke Park entertaining 80,000 or so fans. I think most of those concert goers were in Temple Bar before and certainly after the concert. It made for some interesting people watching to be sure.

I’ve posted a couple of images. Both were taken at one of the many bars in the district, The Temple Bar. The first is a macro shot of a plaque hanging on the exterior wall adjacent to the entrance. The plaque signifies excellence in dining or spirits. I just don’t recall which one at the moment. The second shot is of the bar itself or at least its exterior. It’s a pretty typical illustration of the bar in Irish life. Pubs and bars are not just places to drink but places to see, be seen, and socialize.

And in almost every pub we visited there was great live local music. I honestly don’t know how there are enough musicians in such a small country to fill all the pubs that advertise live music. But, there are and the evidence is to be heard as you walk through every town that we visited in Ireland. I’d love to chill out tonight by a warm fire and listen to some Irish folk music tonight. Alas, I’ll have to make do with a fire in my own fireplace and a playlist from iTunes. I’ll get by.

The Temple Bar

Located in the Temple Bar district of Dublin, the Temple Bar is one of many watering holes found there


Beacon Hill Red Door

Beacon Hill Red Door

A beautiful red door in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood

I’m a bit of an architectural photography geek. I don’t know if it’s symmetry or unique design or repetition that draws me in the most, but my eye is often caught by elements of architecture. Whether it is a famous architect like Frank Lloyd Wright or Frank Gehry or simply a beautiful building or element designed by someone I’ve never heard of, I tend to take a disproportionate number of images of architecture.

On our trip to Boston, I wanted to visit Beacon Hill. I’ve been in Boston numerous times, but somehow I had never been to the Beacon Hill neighborhood. So, my long-suffering daughter agreed to trudge up and down the hilly neighborhood for a couple of hours as we were on our way to explore other sights in Boston.

It’s not hard to realize why Beacon Hill is such an attractive community to live in. It’s as close-in to downtown Boston as you can be. The townhouses are historic and beautiful. The neighborhood is eminently walkable. Although the homes are very expensive, it would be the fulfillment of many people’s dreams to live there.

I had to be content with capturing some of the character and charm of the place with my camera. So, I focused on street scenes and architecture hoping to be able to convey some of the beauty that I was beholding. This shot is simple but it’s representative of Beacon Hill. This door was freshly painted demonstrating the owner’s commitment to keeping their home beautiful. The color scheme is simple but the red door contrasts beautifully with the black trim. I also love the intricate glass and metal work of the surround. I suspect that the entryway is only a precursor of the well-appointed, tastefully decorated interior of the home. I can only hope that I get an invitation to visit someday soon! In the meantime, I’ll just have to use my imagination and enjoy this lovely image. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

Robert Gould Shaw Memorial

A memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment on the edge of Boston Common commemorating the first black regiment to serve in the Civil War

As a son of the South I have a particular attachment to all matters pertaining to the American Civil War or, as it was referred to when I was a child, the Late Unpleasantness. There were some other more derogatory terms used to describe the war, but that is to be expected when your side is describing its own losing effort.

All that said, I’m an American first and a Southerner second. Truth be told I’m a child of God first and everything falls somewhere well behind. But, this is a photography blog and I’m getting to my point, so let’s move on now…

In addition to being a bit of a Civil War buff, my favorite type of literature is history. I love to hear the full details of historical accounts. Those details – even if imagined but informed – help me establish context. And context is very, very important to me.

So, when I first saw this memorial in Boston many years ago, I took it for the northern equivalent of a southern staple, the Civil War veteran being honored for his service. Only after watching the movie Glory and visiting the monument for a second time did I realize that this memorial is actually very special. For the people represented in this memorial are not your typical Civil War veterans. In fact, if this memorial were a painting it’s significance would be instantly obvious. But, since the memorial is cast in bronze, it’s not so easy to notice that the soldiers on foot are black and the officer on horseback is white.

In the movie, Edward Zwick does a masterful job telling the story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment, the first all-black regiment in the Civil War. Given that a central theme of the war was slavery and that Shaw was an abolitionist, the story of him training and leading a black regiment into battle is powerful. The actors portraying the black regiment (Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman among many other excellent African-American actors) only add to the visceral emotional reaction that the viewer gains knowing that these freed black men fight not only for their lives and their country but also for their race.

I still remember being emotionally wrung out after watching the movie and its powerful climax. I feel confident that you will have the same reaction if you’ve never had the privilege to watch the film. Hopefully this simple image will be the impetus for you to do so. Enjoy.

Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams

A statue of Samuel Adams adjacent to Boston’s Faneuil Hall

Just after school was over earlier this year, my daughter and I took a trip to Boston and New York. For each of our children I’ve taken a father/daughter or father/son trip with them after they turned sixteen. Taylor, hereinafter referred to as T-Hol, wanted to go the urban route. Her favorite place in the world is New York City. But, since she has been there a few times, she wanted to include another East Coast city in the trip. After much discussion and research we settled on Boston.

We stayed in the Back Bay and rode the T to various parts of the city. Of course, being a history freak, I wanted to walk the Freedom Trail again. T-Hol hadn’t been on it before. So, we took the better part of a day to explore Boston on foot via the Freedom Trail. It’s truly amazing to walk through America’s past and to be on the same streets that were trod by Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, Samuel Adams, and a whole host of other American patriots.

I was struck by this statue of Samuel Adams. I’m sure it’s been photographed hundreds of thousands of times, but framing the strong image of Adams against Faneuil Hall made for a very compelling image to my eye. I normally don’t like strong shadow, but for this image, the shadows seem to intensify the strength of Adams that seems to exude from his likeness. I hope you enjoy the image. And don’t miss the opportunity to connect with America’s past by walking the Freedom Trail the next time you are in Boston.

Twin Domes

Twin Domes

Two domes as viewed from the Forum in Rome, Italy

Strolling through the Forum in Rome on a beautiful spring day was a bit of a surreal experience. I’ve viewed images of ancient Rome for years and thought I had an idea of what the city would look like. But, I was wrong. I just wasn’t prepared for the immensity of the ancient city. Nor was I prepared for the beauty of the architecture and the size of it.

I suppose I knew that the Colosseum was huge. After all, the word colossal is either derived from it or describes it. But, the rest of the buildings along the Forum were also colossal. Or, at least what was left of some of those buildings was colossal. And the quantity of those ancient buildings was overwhelming as well.

I’m not as current on my ancient Roman history as I should be, but I do know that many of the buildings along the route have played many roles. Whether they began as temples, palaces of entertainment, shopping centers, churches, or government buildings, most have changed functions several times. As a Christian, it was a bit overwhelming to see edifices such as the Colosseum and the martyr’s prison that were once used in the persecution of Christians now exhibiting crosses and dedicated to the glory of God. To walk the same roads that were used by Julius Caesar, Peter, Paul, and countless other notable historical figures was a powerful experience. It’s easy enough to read historical accounts and imagine the surroundings for those events. It’s quite another experience to walk the same streets and see some of the same buildings as those people did.

This image was taken during that stroll. To be honest, I don’t even know what buildings these are. I was just struck with the similarity of the domes standing side by side. The blue sky behind the partly cloudy skies added to the beauty of the scene.

We didn’t have nearly enough time in Rome. I’m looking forward to returning one day and spending a proper amount of time exploring and enjoying the ancient city. Ciao.


Scenes from a Barcelona courtyard

Barcelona Courtyard 2

The courtyard of a Barcelona public building located in the Gothic quarter

One of my favorite activities while in Barcelona was to simply wander the streets and alleys soaking in the incredible architecture. The good news is that I saw some incredibly interesting architecture and novelties. The bad news is that I had my camera’s GPS turned off so I can’t tell you exactly where some of my images were captured. I do know that these images were taken in the courtyard of a public building located in the Gothic quarter.

I was out wandering before dinner one night when I stumbled into this place. It was two hours or so before sunset and their was a high overcast in the sky. The courtyard was constructed of warm limestone. The result was like a giant lighting soft box had been placed over the sun revealing the texture and tone of the stonework. Other people were just wandering in and out of the courtyard. I was frantically trying to capture as many angles as possible while the magnificent light lasted! These are a few of the images from that evening. I think they capture the feel of the light in that space that magical evening. Enjoy.

Barcelona Courtyard 3

The courtyard of a Barcelona public building located in the Gothic quarter

Barcelona Courtyard 1

The courtyard of a Barcelona public building located in the Gothic quarter