Saturday 16 May 2015

Mark Knopfler, Dublin 15.5.15

Every couple of years I look forward to going along to a concert by, who in my opinion, is one of the musical greats. Ex-Dire Straits front-man, Mark Knopfler is on tour again, and just for a change this year, we opted to see him at the 3 Arena in Dublin. There are those who, with just the mention of his name give a snigger and say 'I don't like Dire Straits'. Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, but to those I say, move on, take a listen to his music today. Whilst he still plays some of the greats from the DS days, he proves his status as a multi-talented musician with his latest music - a fantastic mix of rock blended with very traditional beautiful instrumental sounds and melodies, all expertly woven together with the life-observational lyrics of his songs.

Fiddles and flutes, uilleann pipes and double bass, keyboards and guitars, all have a place on the Mark Knopfler stage. This man knows his music, and has written for films and other iconic singers, including Tina Turner.

There are many guitars putting in an appearance over the course of the night including one which has become the most recognised of all, the Resonator style O, (shown above) and as seen on the Brothers in Arms album cover, released 30 years ago, almost to the day on 13th May 1985.

This is a man with his musicians, who together,  put on a performance that oozes passion for music. No need for a warm-up support act, they just come on stage and play and play, and for over two and a half hours non-stop. Fabulous!

This time, as my 'off-duty' camera, I was putting an Olympus OM-D E-M10 + 14-42mm kit lens through its paces, apart from the shot below which was on my old-going-into-retirement G12.

National Style O Resonator Guitars were made between 1930 and 1941. Nickel plated onto a brass base, Hawaiian-style scenes were sand blasted onto the polished body. It is understood that Marks particular guitar dates from 1937.

Sunday 10 May 2015

Lusitania Centenary Commemoration, Cobh

Young Irish seaman stands silently in front of the
Lusitania Memorial

At 2.12pm on 7th May 1915 the RMS Lusitana sank off the coast of Ireland, after being hit by a torpedo from a German submarine, with the loss of 1,198 lives. Many of the survivors were brought ashore to what was then called Queenstown.

On Thursday 7th May 2015 a special day of commemoration was held in the town - now called Cobh, with the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins attending a special Commemoration Ceremony, centered around the Lusitania Memorial, and remembering the tragic events of 100 years ago.

The morning began with a Commemoration Mass in St Colman's Cathedral, where the ladies of the Cobh Animation Team were on hand to welcome and guide the visitors into the cathedral. Many of those attending this special mass were relatives of those who were lost in the tragedy.

This was followed by the unveiling of glass headstones at the graves of the Lusitania victims.

Meanwhile, down on the promenade, preparations were under way for the start of the main commemoration ceremony.

Large crowds had gathered, and all opportunities were taken to find a vantage point, whilst awaiting the arrival of Irish President Michael D. Higgins.

Following the raising of the standard, the President walked the inspection of the Guard of Honour.

With this part of the ceremony concluded, the official party moved to the main stage on the promenade, where the President went on to make his speech

Speeches were also made by officials from both the Port of Cork and Cunard, followed by a hymn and at 2.12pm the time that the Lusitania was hit by the torpedo, the Cunard, Queen Victoria sounded her whistle. She was alongside at Cobh having brought around 100 relatives of Lusitania victims to this special commemoration event.

Following the minutes silence, attention was brought back to the Lusitania Memorial, where wreath laying took place.

During the wreath laying ceremony, the President clearly had to contain his emotions for a moment. With the main ceremony now over, it was time for meeting the press for interviews and chatting to the gathered crowd before being whisked away in his official car.


The Lusitania Memorial in Cobh, stands as a reminder to all those who lost their lives in this tragedy, and what was also a pivotal point of the First World War. With the loss of American lives, it was said to be the deciding factor for America to join the war.

As an aside to this whole event, I was contacted by my very first school friend, after having seen a couple of these images which I had posted on social media. She told me that her great grandfather, who came from North Wales, had been one of the fortunate ones to survive the sinking of the Lusitania. Story has it that he had tired of his merchant seaman role as a fireman at sea with Cunard, and went to join the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, only to die four months later at the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915.