Here is a new little blog of mine.

I have always loved history and art. Reading about it, listening to classical music, visiting galleries and museums, exploring historic sites, watching classic films… just immersing myself in it. The arts give my life so much joy. It reflects all the beauty and wonders this world has to offer.

So in this space I thought I’d share with you some of the beauty, history, art and culture that I discover on my adventures. And I hope it gives you some happiness too.

J xx

Featured post

The Bleeding Horse.

​Dating back to the seventeenth century, the Bleeding Horse in Dublin was once located at the junction of two highways leading out of the city. Notably mentioned in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, the present building dates from 1871. There are two likely explanations of the name; it possibly originates from a horse suffering from the “staggers” that was bled by a farrier at the inn, or perhaps from an incident during the Battle of Rathmines in 1649, when a wounded horse fled the battle.

Tullyhogue Fort.

​Tullyhogue Fort, from Irish meaning ‘mound of the young’, is an ancient ceremonial site just outside of Cookstown, County Tyrone. Although the date of its construction is unknown, in the later medieval period it was used as the inauguration site of the O’Neill dynasty chieftains. Hugh O’Neill’s inauguration in 1593 was the last held at the fort. Originally a large boulder known as Leac na Rí (‘the flagstone of the kings’) stood outside the fort. By the 16th century it had been incorporated into a ceremonial chair by placing three slabs around it. In 1602 during the Nine Years War, Lord Mountjoy leader of the English forces smashed the stone to symbolise the end of the O’Neill’s power.

We Will Remember Them.

Marking the anniversary of the landing of troops at Gallipoli in 1915 during the First World War, Anzac Day is the day on which we remember all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in war. 416,809 Australian men enlisted in World War One, of whom more than 60,000 were killed. Two of my first cousins three-times removed, died in the service of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Arthur Moore Hogan enlisted on March 1st 1916 aged thirty-six. A private in the 21st Battalion AIF (Australian Infantry Force), when he sailed from Melbourne on the HMAT Ayrshire he left behind his wife and four year old son. While fighting in France he was killed on the morning of July 4th 1918 during the Battle of Hamel. The Red Cross letter to his wife Grace, described that he was killed instantly by a machine gun bullet to the heart. Only four months later on November 11th, Armistice was signed. He was buried in the Australian Military Cemetery ‘Villers Bretonneux’ France.

“An affectionate husband and father. He lived like he died – for others.”


On the night of August 6th 1914, the day after Britain’s declaration of war on Germany, the New Zealand Government received a telegram from London requesting that they seize the wireless station on the island of Upolu, part of Imperial Germany’s protectorate of German Samoa. On the 15th 1,413 men, primarily volunteers drawn from the Auckland and Wellington Military Districts, departed New Zealand; among them was the twenty-one year old George Reginald Hogan. Although Germany refused to officially surrender, after landing on August 29th the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces were able to occupy the islands without facing any resistance.


George returned to New Zealand in 1915, but on January 8th 1916 he embarked for France. The Battle of Flers-Courcelette, part of the Somme offensive, was launched on September 15th. Lasting one week, it was the first use of tank warfare. It also marked the debut of New Zealand Forces at the Somme Battlefield. George Reginald Hogan was killed on the first day of fighting and was buried in the Danzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, France.

Lest We Forget.

george reginald newspaper

Drum Manor.

The Drum Manor Forest Park is located close to Cookstown in central Northern Ireland, and contains a large lake, a number of small garden, a newly installed playground and, most fascinating by far, the remains of the historical estate including the manor ruins. The estate was purchased from a private owner by the Forest Service in 1964 and opened to the public six years later.

Originally called Oaklands, it was built in 1829 for Major William Stewart Richardson-Brady. In 1869, his daughter and heiress to the estate, Augusta Liviscount Richardson-Brady and her second husband Henry James Stuart-Richardson, Viscount Stewart, remodelled the manor in the Tudor Revival style. The family’s coat of arms is still visible on the house ruins. Completed to the designs of architect William Hastings, it included the addition of a four-storey tower, which survives to this day. It was at this time that it was renamed Drum Manor. By the 1970s the house was semi-derelict and in 1975 the interior of the manor was demolished to create and open-air Japanese garden in the ruins.

The grounds and ruins are certainly an intriguing area to explore, however it is a shame that there is no historical interpretation present to impart the sites interesting and enthralling past.

The Wellbrook Beetling Mill.

Located just outside of Cookstown on the River Ballinderry, the Wellbrook Beetling Mill is the last surviving water-driven beetling mill in Northern Ireland. Beetling refers to the final stage of the linen-making process which involves pounding the cloth with water-powered wooden hammers or beetles. This hammering tightens the weave, giving the cloth a smooth sheen. Beetling was gradually phased out and replaced by calendaring which uses hard pressure rollers, however unlike beetling this process does not remain for the cloths’ lifetime.

Situated alongside the river in a wooded glen, the picturesque mill was built by the Black family in c.1760, and is now a National Trust museum. The whitewashed two-storey structure once housed seven beetling engines, two remain in working order and demonstrations can be seen of the linen-making process during the summer months.

St. Patrick’s Day.

​🍀🍀🍀 Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 🍀🍀🍀

I find it very difficult to understand why my great, great, great grandparents decided to leave Ireland and take their five young boys on the six week long ship journey to the otherside of the world in 1864. They must have expected to find a much better place to call home in Australia. However, the boys were taken away from their parents and placed in a dreadful industrial school, and within three years their mother Charlotte and the youngest son had died. In spite of this, my great, great grandfather Francis (who went blind in his 30s from a childhood injury) went on to become a skilled chair weaver, and a loving husband and father to a daughter, Charlotte. Every St. Patricks Day, Francis would always wear something green to tease his wife Rosina, who would exclaim that we aren’t Catholic! I will always be so proud of my Irish Hogan ancestors and so thankful for the sacrifices they made. 

(Photograph of Philip and Charlotte Hogan with their eldest son Francis taken c.1858 in Dublin)

Traffic Lights.

On this day in 1868 the first traffic lights were installed, outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Resembling railway signals, they used semaphore arms and were illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps. Although it was said to be successful at controlling traffic, it exploded less than a month later, as a result of a leak in one of the gas lines underneath the sidewalk, injuring or killing the policeman who was operating it.

Madame Tussaud.

Marie Tussaud, French sculptor and founder of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London, was born on this day in 1761. During the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror Tussaud was arrested as a royal sympathizer. Her head was shaved in preparation for her execution by guillotine, fortunately she was released. She was then employed to make death masks of many of the revolution’s famous victims including Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Marat and Robespierre. Her death masks were paraded through the streets of Paris as symbols of the revolutionary.

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