Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wexford Sights (X)




Johnstown Castle, near Wexford Town, is noted for (among other things) the several peacocks that wander its ground, calling hoarsely in their melancholic way and largely ignoring the slack-jawed yokels like me gawping at them. The above photos completely fail to capture the astonishing, iridescent ultramarine of their throats, a glorious colour that I could stare at all day. The bottom photo is of the comparatively duller female (which still has that extraordinary green in its neck). An amusing anecdote relating to these noble birds: a few years back, when Wexford's opera house was being renovated, the opera festival was held in Johnstown Castle; some of the performances were enlivened when the peacocks decided to join in, adding their own plaintive squawks to the proceedings and no doubt annoying the more serious opera lovers! Considering the ego and vanity of the average opera singer, it was a match made in (comedy) heaven. And, unrelated to all that but suggested by the name, here's an interesting song:

7 comments:

jams o donnell said...

I would have loved to hear a cuet between peacock and coloratura!

Sean Jeating said...

Incredible, D.E.! Only about two or three weeks ago I scanned some photos I took of a peacock.
I could not remember where I had taken them 25 years ago, but house wall and windows of your second make me almost sure: Johnstown Castle it was, and the peacock perhaps even an ancestor of yours.

Glorious anecdote! And so fitting, considering certain attitudes of certain opera stars and their ardent worshippers.

Claudia said...

WOW! What a splendid bird. It's so regal! Your photos are excellent. I've never seen a peacock. When I was young, I had a hat with a peacock feather. It was very stylish. Now I wonder if they kill the birds for the feathers.

That song is really out of the ordinary.

A Doubtful Egg said...

Jams: Me too!

Sean: It's certainly possible. There were at least three males and several hens wandering around yesterday, so it would be astounding if they hadn't bred. I didn't see any peacock chicks, though, although I did see, on one of the lakes, a mother duck and her ducklings out for a swim (sadly too far away to photograph!)

Claudia: They are such beautiful creatures, and in Johnstown Castle they come within a couple of feet of you (I kept my distance, as I wondered about their temperament!). And Annette Peacock is a little-known but intriguing jazz-rock performer, with a lot of stuff available to sample on YouTube...

Stan said...

Lovely photos, Doubtful. It's years since I saw a peacock. They have such shockingly colourful feathers. I don't know anything about their temperament, but I like the idea of being able to pet them!

A Doubtful Egg said...

If they're anything like the other large birds I've come in contact with (such as geese and swans) then I'd keep my distance! Especially when there are females about. I once had a near-miss with a male swan in Carlow, who behaved in a very menacing fashion because he was protecting his female, who was nesting in the centre of the lake.

Stan said...

Even when they're not being protective of anything, swans pose a modest threat. A couple of years ago I was feeding a ring of them with Nutty Doorsteps, and one of them snapped at a slice in my hand, biting my hand in the process. It didn't hurt, but it smarted a little, and I can imagine the experience being quite shocking for a child.