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Wexford Town

I hit Wexford this time just as the, somewhat pre-emptively titled, Sásta Festival was winding up. The images below are from the final hours of the Festival and the Morning After.

Sásta Festival 2013

I spotted this Euroflag in the distance from the car driving into town. My addiction kicked in immediately. I figured there was a 50/50 chance it was upside down. So when I went out walking, I made a beeline for this end of the Festival and ...

... sure enough, it was. I pointed it out to the guy, who was initially incredulous, and told me the stars were in the middle. He thought I was having him on until he had a closer look. I told him, now that he knew, he would never do that again. But, besides, from now on, he would aways notice if this flag was flying upside down. I had passed on my affliction. There were now at least two of us on this island.

The next major attraction was the concert, booming along the Quay. The group was a rock band from Galway called The Cabin Collective, three members of which had previously been with The Saw Doctors. They were a good rock band. Shake your bones with good vibrations. Some individual shots below.

And the view from the B&C sound cabin. And what a cabin.

Massive desk fed into the giant speakers hanging from the gantries on either side of the stage. Marvellous stuff.

And a quick look around at just some of the rides and amusements on the quayside.

The Morning After

The most striking difference the morning after was the complete absence of the massive stage that hosted the concert. I had actually gone for a walk around 10pm the previous night and found the guys dismantling the stage. Unbelievable. The side speaker gantries were taken apart like Meccano and the parts put into a van. The basic stage itself, including the roof, all folded up into a trailer which was eventually towed away by another van into which all the sound and other equipment had been carefully packed.

A few other sad bits, not yet taken apart, were left on the quay. The merrygoround turned out to have started its existence in Rhyl, a popular holiday resort on the north coast of Wales. A beautiful piece of Victorian equipment.

These dodgems may well have been Dutch but the name over the arena is now truncated. Interestingly the British and Americans call them dodgems, as far as I know, while we always called them bumpers. Different folks different strokes.

The illustrations are reminiscent of old movie posters.

There was a minimum height restriction for passengers on these bumpers. Never saw that before.

Some penny postcard types here, though these look a lot less innocent and much more realistic than those on the postcards I remember from my tender youth.

Just in case you don't get the message from the small scale illustration above, I have reproduced images of the four plus one ladies in greater magnification below.

Other 2013 Stuff

I'd have my doubts about the Irish in this sign. My own instinct would be Stáisiún Uí Annracháin.

However, there is no denying the appeal of this ultra-modern intercity train, flanked by two warnings from the age of steam.

This sign not only has some crap Irish (as in Wesward Moving Gate) but also has the name of the town spelled in two different ways. Does anyone ever proof this stuff and does nobody read it after it goes up. I fear the answer to both questions, not just in this case, is NO.

This is not exactly Free Derry but it is certainly enough to distract a driver into the drink.

What a relief. A nice piece of historic photography from at least one of my favourite old photographers with acknowledgement to one of my favourite institutions. I'm told there are plans for more of these along the quayside. Great stuff.

He might be Toni but Trappatoni?

Bull Ring 2013

I really find this a fantastic statue and, though I have covered it extensively in the main Wexford section, I can't resist taking photos of it.

Were this a movie, the shot above would be every director's nightmare. But it is not, and it serves as a useful image to bring up the contrast between pikes and drones. Pikes are face to face. Drones are more like the old B Specials shooting from behind the bushes.

Nicky Rackard 2013

This statue to Nicky Rackard, one of the alltime hurling greats, was unveiled in Selskar Square in March 2012. It depicts him on the point of unleashing a Rackard Special at the opponent's goal.

There seems to be two ways to spell his name. Widipedia has "Nicky", the Enniscorthy Guardian has both "Nicky" and "Nickey" in the same article, so take your pick.

More General Stuff 2013

Some further general stuff which will be integrated into the main Wexford page in due course.

You could look on this 1825 notice as the the commercialisation of Irish culture/dancing. Your cert is only valid for one year and to renew it you either have to undergo an annual test or, in exceptional circumstances, you may be allowed renew it for a fee of thirty guineas sent to the examiner. I'm not sure if this is a spoof notice, but it does refer to Mr White's Hotel, and the examiner is a John White, and the notice is displayed in the current White's Hotel.

While on the subject of Irish dancing, there was a "feis" going on in this hotel on Sunday. I thought I had seen it all, but the abomination of wee tots dressed and made and wigged up to look like entrants in a USA junior "beauty" contest was too much to take. And they were supposed to be here for the dancing. Slams Riverdance back into medieval history. Disgusting.

While we're on the subject of White's Hotel, this is Nemo, boyfriend of Dorie, and you can look but not touch their watery abode.

And outside the hotel, an enterprising lady busdriver has persuaded the contracters who are cleaning the outside windows of the Hotel, to give her bus a free shower. The cleaner tells me the water in his spray is ionised and so attracts the dirt. If you were to drink it, it would take all the good out of you.

Another Westgate cock-up

I made a point of taking this. It has been there a long time but who knows in this fast changing world. There are other Guinness signs in the main Wexford page, and, of course, past Guinness ads generally have a whole history of their own.

This is a strange one. Somebody, at some time, clearly went to the trouble of erecting this monument, but there is no indication on the site of what is is about. You would think that in this town, which aggressively markets its history, there would be plaques crawling out of anything with a whiff of the past off it. Following enquiries in a nearby shop, the purchase of a book, and further enquiries in the local library, I now know that it commemorates a British soldier who died in 1793 defending Wexford Town against a mob of riotous Irish rabble. Maybe that's why there is no plaque. Nothing to celebrate. Nothing to see here. Move along now.

In its anonymity, it shares a fate with the birthplace of Oscar Wilde's mother (Speranza) at the Bull Ring, where the old rectory was situated. No plaque there either.

On closer inspection of the obelisk, it is clear that there was a pretty long inscription on it originally, but weathering has made it undecipherable. No doubt a bit of local history research could turn up the text of the original.

This bookmaker's, just across the road from the obelisk, is the building where the wounded soldier actually died.

Check out more detail here.

For those interested in public troughs and fountains, this was the last watering hole for cattle being brought into town, either to market or for shipping abroad. The inscription reads: Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association.

This one caught my eye because nowadays newsagent is usually one word. The idea that everthing in the shop was manufactured locally also stretched my credulity, until the thought struck me that the qualification might apply to some local artisan subsection of the shop going under the specific moniker of The Wexford Shop.

As in other towns, in the current economic climate, many shops are boarded up or abandoned. This one is a particularly dramatic illustration of one business on the point of either being buried, or, perhaps, having a serious makeover.

And finally, for now, some more bilingual chaos. Who's allowed in, and when. Were there still vehicular Irish monoglots in the area, it seems to me they would get the worst of the deal.

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