Posted by: marthabernie | September 21, 2014


When most people think of Ireland, they think of green rolling hills.  Well, there is plenty of that type of landscape, but there are also mountains and dramatic coastlines.  In  2006 I spent a few days driving around County Donegal, and I was amazed at the number of mountains and the beautiful cliffs and old fortifications along the coast.  Donegal is a funny shaped place and you no more than drive through a mountain than you hit a valley filled with sheep and old ruins.  Then you drive a little further and hit the coast again.  There are several bays and “loughs” (lakes) in Donegal, and no matter where you go in this county, water is never far away!

The photo above was taken along the northern coast and what you don’t see is the Atlantic Ocean that was between the cliff and the jutting rock in front of it where the old fort or castle stood.  It appeared to have been there for centuries, so I wondered how people got across  from one to the other.  Perhaps they took a boat from some other location and then scaled the jutting rock formation to stand guard in that tower.  I don’t know, but obviously the people who lived here during the Middle Ages did not have easy transportation getting from one place to another.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 21, 2014

NEAR SUNDANCE, UTAH – One of My Favorite Photos

In 2005, we went to Salt Lake City for a few days.  We drove the long way around to Sundance, and it was a beautiful route because the cottonwoods were still dropping their leaves.  I took this with what was then a new SONY digital camera.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 21, 2014

Shepherds pie. Comfort Sunday

An idea for Sunday dinner!

Shepherds pie. Comfort Sunday.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 21, 2014

TRAMORE, County Waterford, Ireland – August 15, 2012 Storm

I have posted the above photo before, but I am repeating it so you can see the contrast between the day I was in Tramore, County Waterford, on 5 April 2012, and 15 August, 2012.  They had a dreary, wet summer in Ireland in 2012, but the storm that hit the Waterford Coast was worse than any winter storm in local memory.  That’s the thing about Ireland…you just never know about the weather, and in April I heard more than one person comment about the beautiful “summer” weather (all of 65 degrees and no wind).  They hoped “that this is not the only summer we get!”  These balmy dry days lasted about ten days, and that was it.  They  had some sunshine here and there that summer, but not much.  See photos below for another look at the Tramore coastline!

Posted by: marthabernie | September 20, 2014

Quick toad in the hole

There is nothing like English or Irish sausages, and this recipe is a great way to use them in a breakfast dish.  The author was using up Austrian sausages, but you get the idea.  The batter is a basic Yorkshire pudding batter but just about any light batter will work.  Have a look!

Quick toad in the hole.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 20, 2014


This photo was taken in January, 2004, on the road between Kilkenny and Dublin.  It had been raining off and on all day and this rainbow appeared as we headed back to the capitol.  It was starting to fade by the time I parked the car and jumped out, but it’s interesting the way the base of the rainbow appears to be sprouting from the top of the trees in the distance.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 19, 2014


This is my grandmother, Inez McMenus Shank, when she was about two years old (1883).   This photo was copied from a tintype.  Her parents had seven surviving children.  A first baby boy died at birth.  A daughter, Sarah, died at age two in the 1870’s.  Another baby boy born a year after Inez also died at birth.

Inez’ older sister (Aunt Annie whom I refer to often here on my blog) was named Matilda Anna Laura after her father’s three youngest sisters, Matilda, Hannah and Laura McMenus.  When Inez came along thirteen years after Annie, the parents decided to give her just one name, and as far as I know, no one in the family was named Inez, so it was unusual to go outside the usual naming patterns of the day.

The photo below is Inez when she was 16 years old (1897).  I believe she had met my grandfather at this stage, but his father wanted them to wait to marry until Inez was 18 and his son, Joseph Eli Shank, 21 years old.  They did wait and were married late in 1899.

The story of how they met is sweet.  Since most churches could not afford to have a full-time minister, clergymen rode a circuit and often did not visit a particular church  more than once every month.  Everyone gathered each Sunday but it was a treat to have an actual minister present.  Young men often visited other churches, ostensibly to hear the uplifting sermon  by the visiting clergyman, but I suspect it was also a way to meet girls outside their immediate neighborhood!  So my grandfather left his home church near Long Lane in Dallas County and visited the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Phillipsburg, Laclede County, Missouri.  He told my mother years later that he first saw Inez standing under the tree next to the church and immediately knew that she was the one for him.  The last time I visited Phillipsburg, the tree was still standing next to the church–old and venerable.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 19, 2014


My Irish farmyard (County Carlow) photos have also been popular, so here are a couple more.  That is the same brook and gate I posted in an earlier photo, this time I was standing further up the road to get the geese in the photo.

Below are the swans which nest very close to the gate, just a little to the left and behind one of the older buildings.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 19, 2014

Saturday night curry

If you like curry, check this out!

Saturday night curry.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 18, 2014


I’ve only been to Kinsale the one time, so I know this photo was taken in November, 1993 when I visited this wonderful little town.  It was overcast when I went out to shoot this photo, but you can see some blue sky reflected off the glass smooth water in the lower portion of the image.  I must revisit this town soon.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 18, 2014

LONESOME HILL SCHOOL Circa 1900 – near Phillipsburg, MO

This is another photo that was given to me by a cousin in 2000.  It shows the teacher and students at the Lonesome Hill School near Phillipsburg, Laclede County, Missouri.  That is my great uncle, Jode McMenus, standing in the middle of the back row, holding a switch of some sort.  He taught school for several years before he went into business running a general store in Rader, MO.  I have inserted a cropped and enlarged scan of him below.

Also below is another cropped and enlarged scan of the student standing immediately to the right of Jode.  I believe it is Margaret Moore who was the grandmother of the cousin who gave me this photo.  She was always known as Aunt Mag and she married Jode’s brother, John McMenus, a few years after this photo was taken.

The little girl in the front row, 6th from the right end is holding a slate which says Lonesome Hill.  There is something written above which I cannot read, probably the date.  The little boy on the left end of the front row is holding a slate which says, “BEST BOY IN SCHOOL.”

Here is Jode.

Here is Aunt Mag.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 17, 2014

Macapuno Soft Candy Balls

I think this sounds like a good holiday candy to try:

Macapuno Soft Candy Balls.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 17, 2014

LA TIMES TRAVEL SECTION – Sunday, September 16, 2012 – Revisited

It’s been two years since this was published in the Los Angeles Times.  See below.===================Over the years, I have submitted several photos to the Los Angeles Times Travel Section, hoping they would publish in the Your Scene Editor’s Choice feature of the Sunday edition.  I submitted this one two weeks ago, and in a couple of days they contacted me to publish it!  You can also post travel photos to the online edition, so maybe I will try that with some of my more “serious” photos.  As of Sunday night, when you click on the Travel section of the LA Times’ website, it comes up as the Your Scene photo on the main page.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 17, 2014


I’ve written about Temple House in County Sligo before…specifically when I posted the photo of the two donkeys who put their heads in the car window while I was snapping photos.  Well, I submitted that photo to the L.A. Time travel section about a week ago, and they contacted me this week, it is going to run on Sunday, September 16th!

Here is a photo I took while lounging at the back of the house one June afternoon.  The weather wasn’t bad, though the light kept changing, as it always does in Ireland as the clouds roll in and out again.  The sheep are grazing around the ruins of an ancient castle built by the Knights Templar in the 13th Century.  It’s a wonderful place to walk and explore!  The ruins are at the edge of a small lake where guests can fish etc.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 16, 2014


This photo shows the entire Phillipsbirg, Missouri School in about 1910.  Phillipsburg is located about ten miles south of Lebanon, the County seat for Laclede County.  At the time this photo was taken, Phillipsburg had a population of about 500 and was a train stop on the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway line.  (The locals called it “The Frisco”).

There are at least three McMenus cousins in the photo, and there maybe other cousins in families where the McMenus girls married and surnames became McFarland, Tucker, etc.

The first cropped, enlarged scan below shows Loreta McMenus in the upper left with the pigtails sticking straight out.  In the lower right of this image is her cousin, Francie McMenus, also with pigtails and in the dark dress with the locket around her neck.  Loreta was the daughter of iIllie and Minnie (Brasier) McMenus.  Francie was the daughter of John and Margaret (Moore) McMenus.  They all lives in Phillipsburg.

The next enlarged image shows Leo McMenus wearing the hat.  He was Loreta’s elder brother and was the son of Willie and Minnie McMenus.

Francie’s sister, Reba, should have been in this photo.  There is one girl who looks a little like her (middle in the white dress leaning toward the girl in the dark dress) but I am not so sure it is her.  Maybe she was ill the day this photo was taken.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 16, 2014

Cherry Tomato, Rosemary and Red Onion Fougasse

Take a look at this recipe….

Cherry Tomato, Rosemary and Red Onion Fougasse.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 14, 2014

Peach Tart

Peaches are still available here in California, but they are not as good as the ones we had in July.  I have a lot frozen to use up over the next few weeks.

Peach Tart.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 14, 2014


This is similar to an earlier post but decided to put this photo up since it is one of my favorites without the rainbow on the right.  This is a lovely idyllic spot outside the town of Westport, County Mayo, Ireland right on The Quays.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 13, 2014

THE QUAYS – Westport, County Mayo, Ireland

This photo was taken in 2005 with a Kodak Advantix 35 mm camera.  It shows the buildings on The Quays in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland.  I used this funny little camera for a few years in addition to a SONY digital, though I still used the Canon AE-1 off and on also.  The Advantix was an interesting camera because you could print in three ways…regular 4 x 6 print, larger 4 x 7 print, or a long panoramic print.

This shows The Quays with Clew Bay and the Atlantic Ocean behind me.  The last building on the left is Cinnamon Wharf, which used to be a warehouse but is now luxury apartments.  Westport House is off to the left behind the trees.  Notice the looming black clouds in the upper right of the photo.  In Mayo, it rains a lot.  It’s like the NW of the US.  By the time I got back to Cinnamon Wharf and took the next photo, the storm had come and gone.  You can see the remnants of the water on the ground and the air is crystal clear.  It shows The Quays looking toward Clew Bay and the Atlantic from Cinnamon Wharf.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 12, 2014

McMANUS Surname

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, one side of my mother’s family springs from Lawrence McManus of North Carolina. Lawrence came to America from County Fermanagh, Ireland.   As his children moved north and west into pioneer territories where there were no schools already established, schooling was sketchy and spelling became phonetic in many instances.  In our branch of the family, McManus became McMenus.

The scan above shows the McManus coat of arms from Ireland.  This family was first found in County Roscommon, which is part of the Republic of Ireland.  They held a family seat there from ancient times.

The name is sometimes thought to be Norse in origin, but in fact, it is as thoroughly Irish as any ancient Gaelic name. In the modern Irish language, McManus is MacMaghnuis, i.e. son of Magnus.  In Latin, Magnus means “Great”.  As a Christian name, Magnus came from northern Euope, but its combination with Mac as a surname originated in Ireland.

There are two different ancient persons Magnus whose descendants took the name MacMaghnuis.  The first line descends from Maghnus who died in 1181.  He was the son of Turlough O’Connor, the King of Connacht, and he was seated in the parish of Kilronan, County Roscommon.

The second is a distinguished Fermanagh family (Northern Ireland today), who lived on the shores of Lough Erne.  The island of Belle Isle in that lake was formerly called Ballymacmanus.  These McManus descendants are a branch of the Maguire family.

Today the name is most prevalent in Fermanagh still, with Tyrone, the county next to Fermanagh, and Roscommon running close seconds.  It is the second most common name in Fermanagh but does not appear in such great numbers in any other county.  It is one of the few surnames from which the prefix Mac or Mc has not been removed.  However, in Northern Ireland, is it sometimes disguised under the English variation Moyne.

A famous Irish MacManus in history was Terence Bellew MacManus (1811-1860).  He hailed from County Fermanagh and fought beside William Smith O’Brien and other Fenians at Ballingarry in the Young Irelander Rebellion in 1848.  He was sentenced to death and transported to Australia, but escaped and went to America.  At his death in San Francisco, his body was returned to Dublin where his funeral was the occasion of the greatest Fenian demonstration ever seen.  He is buried at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.

The coat of arms did not represent a family name but rather an individual man.  However, the one that comes up most frequently for McManus today is the one above which shows a Celtic griffin on the background of green with the three crescent moons above.  The griffin is a symbol of dualtiy, part eagle and part lion.  It balances both good and bad.  The griffin is also known to represent nobility, gentleness and justice.  They are often seen on ancient stone tombstones as the guardians and protectors of life and remain loyal in their protection even in the afterlife.  It is considered a very strong symbol.  The three crescent moons could represent three months or three daughters.  There is another coat of arms which has wild boars on it and is thought to be from a different sept (clan) of the McManus family.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 12, 2014


I took this photo a few years ago in County Carlow, Ireland.  It’s the brook you have to cross to get to the farmyard where my friends live.  I have never been there in winter or early spring, but I am told that the brook rises to the point where you have to have four wheel drive to get across it.  An idyllic spot.   Note the blooming gorse on the other side of the gate.  There are swans that nest a few yards to the left.  Click on the image for a larger view.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 12, 2014

Corn and Tomato Soup – no cream

A recipe to try when the weather gets cool…though no chance of that happening here in L.A. any time soon:

Corn and Tomato Soup – no cream.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 11, 2014

Little green stars

This is a great photo:P

Little green stars.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 11, 2014


This photo of my father, Ray J. Marlin, was taken near Conway, Missouri in 1933.  He was 20 at the time and was working as a farm hand.  I have often wondered what happened to the gun belt and holster!  He married my mother in February, 1934 and by 1935, they had driven across the Dust Bowl to California.  I didn’t come across this photo until long after my father died, and I wish I had been able to ask him questions…what I do know is that he had a life long interest in the Old West and cowboys, which apparently started when he was young!

Posted by: marthabernie | September 11, 2014


I cannot tell you exactly where I took this photo in County Donegal in 2006.  I only know I had driven up through a pass and was not too far from Donegal town.  This church ruins fascinates me still as it looks in great condition except for the absence of windows and roof.  I am sure there is a story there!

Posted by: marthabernie | September 11, 2014


I got this recipe in the 1960’s from someone I knew at the time who lived in Ohio.  It’s great as a quick breakfast pastry because the dough can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days.


1 pkg dry yeast

1/4 cup very warm water (not hot)

4 cups sifted flour

1 cup (2 sticks) buter or margarine, melted

1 cup sugar & 1 teaspoon cinnamon, mixed.

1 cup sour cream

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle yeast into warm water, stir until dissolved.  Combine flour, butter, sour cream, eggs, salt & vanilla in a large bowl.  Stir in dissolved yeast; beat until smooth.  Cover with a damp cloth.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.

Combine sugar & cinnamon.  Sprinkle on board.  Roll dough into rectangle about 15 x 18 inches; turn so both sides are coated to prevent sticking.  Fold over three times, as you would a letter.  Roll into rectangle 1/4 inch thick using up all the sugar.  Cut into strips 1 x 4 inches.  Twist and place on greased baking sheet.

Bake 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly brown.



Posted by: marthabernie | September 10, 2014


Here is another photo of the boats and swans near Greystones, County Wicklow, Ireland

Posted by: marthabernie | September 10, 2014

Shiitake , petit pois & spud curry

An interesting curry:

Shiitake , petit pois & spud curry.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 9, 2014

ALFRED MAY HOME – Stevensville, Montana

When my great aunt Anna Faulkner and family moved to Stevensville, Montana in 1906, she took a job as housekeeper/cook in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred May.  I know little about them except from the handful of photographs taken during the time Aunt Annie worked for them.  The photo above is their home, which I am told is still standing in Stevensville.  The photo below shows Mr. and Mrs. May on the left with two of their children and the family dog, Aunt Annie the short woman in the middle, her husband, Lon Faulkner next to her wearing the hat, and then an unknown couple on the right.  The originals of these photos have gone to the historical museum in Stevensville, along with other items I have donated.  These photos were taken about 1907-08.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 9, 2014


This photo was taken in November, 1993 on the Dingle Peninsula.  I was staying in a B&B where Julia Roberts had stayed when she threw over Keifer Sutherland and ran off to Ireland with Jason Patric.  It put the tiny town on the map, so to speak.

Dingle is a small, charming place where there are lots of colorful pubs, restaurants and shops.  During the 16th Century, it was a main trading port for the English.  I was not driving a car on this trip, but I wanted to see the Blasket Islands, so I took a bus out to a palce where there were only a few houses, one pub and a pottery shop/cafe.  The bus driver told me he would be back in four hours and that I could always go into the pub if I got cold, hungry or tired.

Well, I walked around for a couple of hours, took many, many photographs and then returned to the pub, thinking I would have some lunch.  It was closed, so I walked off in another direction where I had seen signs for the pottery shop/cafe.  I had some lunch once I got there and struck up a conversation with the woman behind the counter.  She advised that the owners of the pub were off to Dublin for a few days and that the pub would probably not be open until the evening when the barman turned up.

By now it was getting a little chilly…there is nothing like the wind off the Atlantic Coast of Ireland, and I took some great photos of the wind blowing the sea foam up onto the tops of the cliffs.  If I had had another day or two, I might have talked someone into taking a boat ride out to the Blasket Islands, but since it was November, the tourist season was over and the locals were not advertising this service.  The word Blasket probably comes from the Norse word meaning “dangerous place.”  These islands were inhabited until 1953 by people who only spoke the Irish language.  Interestingly enough, a lot of these people relocated to Springfield, Massachusetts.  I have not had the time to research the reason for this, but I am sure there is one.  Others stayed on the Dingle Peninsula.  The islands are sometimes referred to as “next parish America” since they extend to the very western-most point of Ireland.

The bus came along a little while later and took me back to Dingle.  The sun had come out by this time and the bus driver stopped in a couple of places…unbidden… so I could get more photographs of the spectacular landscapes.  That’s the way the Irish are, especially the ones who encounter a lot of American tourists!   When I got back to the B&B that afternoon, I decided I would attempt driving on my next trip over…it didn’t seem too difficult once you got outside Dublin.  It took a few years before I finally tried it with cousins (in 2000), but I have not looked back since!

Posted by: marthabernie | September 9, 2014

Savoury Flapjacks

Take a look at this link.  Flapjacks are not pancakes in this case!

Savoury Flapjacks.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 8, 2014


This photo was taken along the coast southwest of Westport, County Mayo, Ireland.  Mayo is an interesting county because its coastline is so different as you travel from the north near the Ceide Fields around to Achill Island and Westport and then down near the Galway border.  There are rolling hills along the beaches as you see here, but there are also dramatic cliffs and spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.  More photos when I find them.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 8, 2014

Lime meringue cupcakes

Lime meringue cupcakes.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 7, 2014

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Cookies.

Posted by: marthabernie | September 7, 2014


This is Bullock Harbor in the village of Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland.  While it wasn’t a completely clear day, it was clear enough to see across Dublin Bay to Howth Head.  The little white building to the right is where the fisherman store their gear, and sometimes you can buy fresh fish right there and carry them home for supper.

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