Campervan Capers

In God's Country.. out and about in Sligo.

It's official. I'm having a thing with Sligo. God’s country, that what they call it. It’s the resting place of WB yeats and Queen Maebh and the home of the majestic BenBulben.

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You know when a place all of a sudden starts popping up on your radar? Kinda like when you change your car and then all of a sudden you notice the amount of that kind of car on the road. They were always there, you just weren't aware…

Anyway… consider me aware.

In the town of Sligo, we visited the Model gallery, dined in the towns Italian Quarter and shopped in the Cat and Moon, home of beautifully crafted, quirky and imaginative gifts, all handmade in Ireland. I bought some beautiful celtic earrings from jeweller and proprietor Martina Hamilton.

So I’ve visited the Market in Rathcormack and the People's Market in Strandhill. What a fertile hubs of creative activity! There’s a cosy coffee shop in Rathcormack, and a funky little van-turned-coffee-hut, in Strandhill, both serving great brews, always an important consideration in my choice of where to hang out. There's a liveliness and ease I love about farmers markets. I love to potter around while buskers provide the soundtrack to my weekend meander.

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The old stone farm building in Rathcormack houses the studios of artists, potters, woodturners and sculptures. There's a cavernous antique shop and of course the weekly farmers market every saturday from 10-5. 

There’s also a curiously fascinating resident maker called the Wickerman, Francis Presley. 

Why is he fascinating? I don't know, I’ve yet to even talk to him but he’s built all these charming authentic huts, roundhouses and wicker arches behind the market. Maybe it’s the use of natural material as fodder. Real earthy…I like that. It appeals to the wildness in me.

Did I ever tell you I believe in a former life I was a forest creature? I have a deep affinity with woodlands. 

If there's one thing I love and have missed since moving to our little haven (in the woods like, hello!... I still can't get over it), it's farmers markets.

Except for that one time I made and sold fresh popcorn at markets and fairs as a summer job, I've always taken the role of market go-er.

Last weekend, I decided to revisit my younger market trader days, join the gang and take a stall!

I LOVED IT! I had a fantastic day, chatting to customers and other vendors as we sold our wares.

I hope to make a regular occurrence of it... I'm thinking this is a good space for me.

I'll keep you posted on what's happening as it develops... Sign up to my blog's mailing list If you don't want to miss anything.

(I've yet to set up a newsletter mailing list... not a small feat for someone who struggles with organising time!) 

 

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Always, Amanda

xoxo

A Lesson in Passion

Saturday. 5am start & breakfast on the road. We arrived at cookstown, stalked the circuit & with minutes to go, blagged our way into the 2nd paddock.

First, we sat in a ditch, then leaned on a fence for a while. Moving on, we climbed scaffolding before finally finding our sweet spot.. Which just happened to be by a pub on the roadside. We met some boys from York and enjoyed the stories of their racing trips to Ireland and beyond. They knew Killaloe... Actually, it turned out they knew us... or at least they knew us from serving the bars in Killaloe. We enjoyed a few pints in the sun, soaking up the atmosphere, the camaraderie, the craic.

 

For me it's a carnival for the senses... my nose learning to detect two stroke oil on a breeze, and inside the crowded bar, subtly savouring the intimate scents of well worn and much loved leathers. The roaring surround sound of revved up engines, pushed to the edge, sensed not only through the ears, but through the core... Some place between belly and chest just rumbles with defiant energy, admiration, respect.

Michael Dunlop... Legend.  I will cherish this photo forever :)

And the riders, those crazy b's... fierce, focused, fixated. They entertain and inspire by pushing limits, pushing each other, pushing themselves... Some injured, some broken, some defeated, but today, thank god, all alive... In the truest sense of the word..

It must be the most alive you can feel when all that stands between you and your hearse this day is a single mistake.. Anyone's mistake.

It's a lesson in madness.. A lesson in courage, but most of all, it's a lesson in passion... And after all... Isn't that what makes life worth living?

Guy Martin signing his autobiography for Terry

 

Introduced to it by Terry, I'm a recent follower of road racing and I'm fascinated by the mindset of these racers. If you'd like to learn more about Road Racing: Click my links below (See, I've made it real easy for ya! :))

On Board action with Michael Dunlop and Guy Martin (Youtube)

Tourist Trophy, Isle of Man (TT) The real heroes  (Youtube)

Road, The (Docu) Movie, tells the amazing story of the Dunlop Men. Narrated by Liam Neeson (New release...I'm going to see this tomorrow, I can't wait!)

Closer to The Edge (Docu) Movie featuring Guy Martin, John McGuinness & the Isle of Man TT

 

Always, Amanda xx

 

 

Tucked away, in the hills of the Dingle Peninsula

... Our little family now sitting by the fire resting.

 

We wore ted out in the Atlantic, he entertained us with his water retriever strategy, adapting it from lake to ocean & we laughed at how he negotiated the waves in pursuit of his beloved ball.

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And we just stood on the sand, cheering him on, taking it all in, the sight, the smell and the visceral sound of surf, rattling sea pebbles ashore. 

Ah, Life is good!

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Ballydavid, Dingle Penninsula, Co Kerry Ireland ~ Easter 2014 

Always, Amanda xx

 

Doolin, the Apocalypse & Bar-eavement

I really love day trippin' around Ireland. There are so many characters and traditions and everywhere you go, there's a little madness weaved into the fabric of life here. This weekend we decided on Sunday to take a trip to the west coast of Clare. We were a bit tender from the night before.. Having decided to 'stay in', myself and Terry ended up having a two person party, complete with mosh pit. We'd have been better off going out.  So to avoid a day of hungover idleness, we each grabbed a few essentials, hopped into '75' (Our campervan) and took off for the coast.

You know it's summer in Ireland when the rain gets warmer...

We weren't 20 minutes on the road and the apocalypse descended. I could hardly see for the rain, but we did what all true Irish people do (when we can't say 'shur at least it's not raining').. we rolled out the 'shur what else would we be doin on a day like it?'. The answer to that is usually the high stool, by the way. Rain is a great excuse for the drink.

Fist stop was Spanish Point and the Armada Hotel (Check it out here) where we feasted on Lamb Shank overlooking the wild Atlantic way. We then took Ted to the beach where we played ball in the surf, watched the distant rain crossing the horizon and got acquainted with a curious little beagle who seemed to be the  'one dog, local beach welcome committee'.

On leaving Spanish Point, we headed for St Anthony's Caravan park in Doolin and Ironically, couldn't find it.. We reckoned if St Anthony couldn't be found, there must have been good reason. So we settled for Nagle's and parked up between two walls, affording us some shelter should the floods arrive. We heard they were building an arc on the pier nearby, so we were positioned well either way. We stuck on our box set of 'Only Fools and Horses' and laughed with Rodney and Del Boy while we sat out the Storm.

Lovely Jubly....

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The stages of BAReavement...

After a short walk to nearby Doolin, we landed into a mighty session in the famous Gus O Connors Pub. We discovered to our delight (as we live in the arsehole of internet blackspot) they had FREE WIFI and we happily began checking in and reporting our whereabouts on Facebook before being admonished by a local who reminded us we were there to converse, not surf. :) He was right. We put the phones away and gave ourselves to 'handy chat' with our imbibing neighbours. They soon reached that horrible first phase of bareavement... ' ambivalent decision to go home' (denial) and took turns facilitating each other through the next 3 phases, which by the way are bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance. The depression phase was skilfully suppressed by the older Gentleman with a spontaneous verse of 'Finnegans Wake' on his way to the bar; he was a pro, I could tell.

The rest of the night featured a stunning performance of this beautiful song from a Luke Kelly voice twin. Followed by a random and somewhat disturbing appearance from the set dancing 'Straw Boys' from Kilnaboy. I have no idea what that was about, it was an unexpected experience... I emerged from the loo and stepped into what looked like a scene from the 'Wizard of Oz'... and me without my ruby slippers, oh my! I captured some video, though I can't seem to upload it, they were all masked and dressed like scarecrows. Hmmm. Apparently it's an Irish wedding tradition (I had never heard of it). It's supposed to bring luck and wealth to the marrying couple. What do you think, would you not feel weirded out dancing with a bale of hay?

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Phantom Toxic Arse Man

Something else we unfortunately captured that night was the cyclical, septic, arse end of some phantom's digestive misfortune. We spent the night trying to identify the culprit by a process of elimination, but it must have been pro-night on the bar stools because not a single sign of shame did we see on the faces of our chosen contenders for the 'throne'. I couldn't help but hope that whoever he was, he was going home to an empty bed and if not, that the missus had the foresight to at least sleep in a gas mask. Ugh...Rotten!

Always, Amanda xx