the ruined abbey of Howth, Ireland (friday foto finder: ruin)

During my trip to Dublin in May, I went on a little excursion to the seaside town of Howth with a friend. (A few other photos are posted here and here.) The town was beautiful, and the weather was perfect for a casual stroll. After we walked along the harbor, we decided to head up into one of the townhouse-lined roads that cut into the hillside. We could see glimpses of a ruin here and there between the rooftops.

It was quite striking looking, but there wasn’t any obvious way to get up there. (At least not obvious from the street. Probably people with maps and/or guidebooks could find the way obvious. But it was more of an adventure to explore without these things.)

Soon enough, we came across this intriguing little stairway that climbed through a narrow canyon-like space between some stone walls. There were no signs that said where they led. On the other hand, there were also no signs that told us not to go that way.

The stairs led up to another road, or perhaps another bend of the same winding road, up higher on the hill. And a quick walk led to an overlook and entrance to the ruins and cemetery.

It was quite a beautiful and dramatic place to wander and photograph.

The moral of the story: Climb any intriguing stairways that are not marked with signs telling you not to.

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “ruin,” which gave me a nice opening to share these photos. To see what other ruins have been discovered, pay a visit to the fff blog!

photos of a burned-out mill (friday foto finder: factory)

In this part of New England, the textile industry once dominated. In the towns around where I live can be seen many an old mill. Many of the mills are now abandoned, others have been converted to new uses. This particular mill was once a yarn mill, but in recent decades had been converted to space for dozens of small businesses. About 6 years ago, the whole mill complex was largely destroyed in a fire. The fire started in the middle of the night, so happily there were no casualties. But the businesses were destroyed, and many lost their jobs and livelihood. (It particularly saddens me to think of the many artists who had studios in the mill, who undoubtedly lost years worth of artwork.)

All these years later, the mill is still a burned-out shell. Much of the debris and rubble was cleared out, but large sections of the structures still stand. Here are some photos that I’ve taken on a few different occasions over the past year.

The smoke stack has been converted into a cell phone tower. I vaguely remember that this happened after the fire.

The shell of the rather ostentatious columned façade.

A sign on the fence remaining from before the fire: “No smoking beyond this point.”

I find it a bit eerie to see that remnants of the landscaping survived the fire. Here are some ornamental trees and a hydrangea bush, in their late fall but otherwise healthy states.

I found the striped shadows of these exposed rafters to be quite striking.

A different angle on those shadows, and zoomed in a bit. (Hence the graininess.)

The façade does look very imposing against the fiery colors of a dramatic sunset.

This week’s foto finder challenge was to share photos on the theme of “factory.” To see what other sorts of factories others have found, pay a visit to the fff blog.
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