New York St Patrick’s Day Parade 2014 in Retrospect

New York St Patty's Day Parade with Irish and American flags

New York St Patty’s Day Parade with Irish and American flags

Happy St Patrick’s Day to everyone around the world today! This day last year I was in New York for St Patty’s Day as they call it over there. It was absolutely freezing. I could barely feel my fingers when using my camera that day! These are some of my favourite images, which I wanted to share in retrospect. That day I experienced one of the world’s largest and most famous parades.

Marching Brass Band Musicians pause to take a breath between tunes

Marching Brass Band Musicians pause to take a breath between tunes

By pure chance I met lots of Irish Americans including from the Donegal Association of New York, who had emigrated from small seaside townlands such as Kildoney in Donegal, only a few miles from my family farm in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, Ireland. Of course, in the typical Irish way…they knew my father! Like me, he’s a very friendly guy.

Joseph Duelk Jr. (John) of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, New York

Joseph Duelk Jr. (John) of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, New York

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you have a great St Patrick’s Day and if you’re in New York you might still be able to make it to see the parade in person. If not, you can always watch it in the comfort of your own home via links on the NBC New York website.

Lambeg Drummer, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Orange County New York

Lambeg Drummer, Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Orange County New York

New York State Troopers

New York State Troopers

B.J. Murphy Irish American New York State Trooper

B.J. Murphy Irish American New York State Trooper

Irish American families sporting traditional Irish Aran knitwear jumpers

Irish American families sporting traditional Irish Aran knitwear jumpers

Irish American NYC Fire Department (FDNY) Piper

Irish American NYC Fire Department (FDNY) Piper

Me posing proudly with my neighbours from home, the President and Past Presidents of the New York Donegal Association - some of them new my father of course!

Me posing proudly with my neighbours from my homeland in Ireland, the President and Past Presidents of the New York Donegal Association – typically they new my father of course!

The beautiful Greek waitress who charmingly served me endless refills of coffee to allow me to warm up

The beautiful Greek waitress who charmingly served me endless refills of coffee to allow me to warm up

A retired Japanese Ad Man I met whilst warming up in a cafe

A retired Japanese Ad Man I met whilst warming up in a cafe

Brandon Stanton, the man behind the wonderful photography project Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton, the man behind the wonderful photography project Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York

Brandon Stanton – Humans of New York

Irish Dancer in traditional costume

Irish Dancer in traditional costume

Irish Dancer

“When Irish eyes are smiling!” as the song goes!

US Coast Guard

US Coast Guard

Dillon Irish American US Coast Guard

Dillon Irish American US Coast Guard

Brandon Stanton "having mighty Craic" with a Piper

Brandon Stanton “having mighty Craic” with a Piper

Brandon Stanton "having mighty Craic" with a Piper

Brandon Stanton “having mighty Craic” with a Piper

Knights of Columbus Piper I

Knights of Columbus Piper 

Knights of Columbus Piper II

Knights of Columbus Drummer

The NYPD who I had great craic with both in Brooklyn and Manhattan!

The NYPD who I had also had great “Craic” with both in Brooklyn and Manhattan!

 

 

 

 

 

The Pure Genius of Plume

Dan McMahon, the Genius behind Plumemudguard

Dan McMahon, Brooklyn, USA

I ride a beautiful 30yr old vintage Raleigh racing bicycle and like many others who ride beautiful bikes, mudguards are an ongoing subject of conversation. Stylish bike lovers often don’t want an ugly mudguard on their streamlined fashionable mode of two wheeled transport…..and living in London where it rains fairly regularly makes this a logistical challenge! It was just that which inspired Dan McMahon (pictured above), when he was studying at Camberwell College of Arts, part of University of the Arts London and riding around London having to choose between getting wet or defacing his bike. Dan decided to try and find a design led answer to this challenge and after years of research, planning, a kickstarter.com crowd funding campaign and blood, sweat and tears of course….PlumeMudguard was born! Plume is the world’s first recoiling bicycle mudguard.

Sleek, stylish, minimal Plume

Sleek, stylish, minimal Plume

It was when working for Chelsea College of Arts myself, I recently received our staff newsletter and spotted a story about Dan and his product being shortlisted for the 2014 Design of the Year. Finally, someone had invented a sleek utilitarian and yet stylish product to match my needs, and the needs of tens of thousands of riders around the world. I signed up for the Plume newsletter to find out when it would next be in stock. I was hooked!

Plume recoiled

Plume recoiled with it’s added reflector

Then I spotted that Plume was based in London and Brooklyn. I happened to be heading to Brooklyn soon after to visit friends so I got in touch with Dan to catch up with him and his awesome Plume. He was coming back from some travel the day before I left Brooklyn but we managed to cross paths a few hours before I flew back to London. It was great to meet the creative mind behind a product which I honestly believe is a little stroke of genius!

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As I truly believe in this product and feel the world should know too…I want to spread the “Gospel of Plume” so tell all your friends and feel free to re-blog or share this because if those who read it are half as excited about Plume as I am then they will be joyous of your sharing!

Dan McMahon, Brooklyn, USA

Dan McMahon, Brooklyn, USA

See Plume in 2014 Design of the Year exhibition in London until August and get in line for 2014’s hottest new product. And if you see this man….please shake his hand…for he has changed the cycle industry forever…Ride On Dan McMahon.

Nell Bryden – A Pure Legend of a Woman

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I first met Nell Bryden years ago when she played at WuFest @ Dr Wu’s Bar in Leeds, organised by our mutual friend and superwoman Emma Tate nee McPartland whose wedding I had the pleasure of shooting a few years after. From the moment I first saw and heard Nell perform I knew there was just something about her. Nell and I met at Wufest a few years running when she was over from New York and we would have our annual catch up sitting by the mesmerising silver ball fountain sculpture on Calls Landing near the river Aire. A year would have gone by and we would hear each others news on life, love and lots more.

Time passed and for various reasons we didn’t cross paths both being busy in our own lives. I was out of the country a few times when Nell played Leeds again, although I was aware she had been making waves in the UK music scene with six playlisted singles on BBC Radio 2. The Irish broadcasting legend Sir Terry Wogan is a big fan! So when I was searching gig listings in London recently and found Nell was playing the Roundhouse in Camden, I was super excited to catch up with an old friend. Then I read news of Nell’s experience with battle with hair loss through alopecia which was detailed in her feature in the Daily Mail.

Nell full life story can be read here. It really is a truly unique and wonderful story showing how life shapes people. Through being a highly sociable person I meet a lot of folk and I feel very lucky to have happened upon such a talented strong and inspirational human being. Nell grew up on Brooklyn and was there when the 9/11 attack devastated her home city of New York. It took her a long time to write about it but when she did she really did! Every time I listen to this track Sirens it brings me close to tears. In my opinion President Barack Obama should have this song as the unofficial national anthem of the United States of America…what would fit better for a nation who are pushing to improve themselves and stay strong in times of uncertainty?

Nell is starting her new tour in May so don’t miss out if you get the chance the voice of this Pure Legend of a Woman.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon Nell.