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Eco Adventures Wild Atlantic Way

Cosy socks from Conn O Mara Shop in Clifden

If you’re looking for a unique holiday that offers eco fun, food and friendship then may I suggest the following!

Camping at Clifden Eco Campsite with shopping and dining in Clifden followed by a trip to nearby Inisbofin for a walk back through time and wonderful food.

My good Pal Linda and I set off for my first ever camping trip to celebrate my 47th birthday two weeks ago. First of all, having never been camping apart from out my back garden once or twice, I had to buy a tent that would keep me dry and warm without breaking the bank as we were on a budget. Life is a budget! Now, Linda is an experienced camper, and a mountain guide (and a mountain rescue volunteer – isn’t she cool?!!) so she had all the other bits for cooking etc and advised me on getting a small tent to start, to see if I liked camping. Wise words as I, having delved into the incredibly HUGE world of camping and tents had fallen for the new style Vango Airbeam tents, which still interest me but for a beginner it is wise to buy a regular tent.. So, I bought myself an Inis 200 (two man tent) online from The Outdoor Store for approx 65 Euro. 

Our loose Itinerary ( thank you Linda) was as follows:

Sunday: Arrive and set up tents, then go for a stroll to Omey Island with birthday dinner afterwards in Clifden.

Monday:  Camp breakfast then go to Inisbofin and spend the day there returning for takeaway and some bubbly. 

Tuesday: Camp breakfast, walk on Diamond Hill, head home after lunch in Clifden. 

So that was the plan… lol – Do you recall that there was a ‘bit of a storm’ that weekend?… more to follow on that later…

Well, we did make it down in good time for Sunday and decided to have a stroll around the town before heading out to Clifden Eco Beach Campsite  (whom you may recall we met in 2014 on our EcoTour ). We popped into the ConnOMara shop and met Leo, one half of the couple owned business, who’s wife designs and creates the fabulous merchandise featuring the character Conn O’Mara! I have discovered that I have a sock fetish I think – and so purchased some gorgeously girlie woolly socks!

We headed out to Clifden Eco Beach Campsite and met Tatjana and Kris who gave us a lovely spot right in front of the water – I was a teeny bit nervous as I have a bit of a fear of the water but Kris assured me not to worry. We set up our tents and headed off for a walk across the coastline to Omey Island – where they were holding Bingo on the beach! There were cars and tractors all in attendance and when someone got Bingo they all beeped madly! It was a real Fr Ted moment I tell Ya! 

The Campsite was really busy and the guys were saying they had the busiest late season ever as Irish people discovered camping! Recommend it for families and it is dog friendly too  

It was a lovely walk albeit with both my biggest fears surrounding me – water and cattle – but very enjoyable. That evening we drove into Clifden for my birthday dinner at EJ Kings Bar and Restaurant. The food was really good and the place was busy enough with Covid restrictions in place etc.  Early to bed then as we were up to get the ferry in the morning. 

We were incredibly lucky with the weather the next morning as the sun was shining and it was a warm day. We cooked up our brekkie before setting off to Cleggan Pier – a short 15 minute drive from the campsite – to get the ferry to Inisbofin. There are carparks with attendants who will ask how long you are visiting the island for – some people go for an overnight stay etc – and you can thus leave your car in Cleggan for the duration at a small fee. 

It was really busy with a lot of tourists waiting to get on board. We all had our masks on and disinfected our hands etc before we boarded. A calm sea made for a pleasurable journey across – took about 30-40 minutes and we landed.

Linda is an old hand at these trips so she had me ready to depart as soon as she figured which gate they were gonna use to let us out (lol) so we were first off and headed to the left from the ferry to begin our island stroll.

We realised we were a tad hungry though so decided to stop outside a hotel up the road a bit and have tea and scones – we got a table by the sea – the views were so incredible – and enjoyed our little break before the masses arrived. Then off we set, powered up with delicious home baked jammy scones.

Inisbofin is a really peaceful island, living there must be difficult especially without tourism. We did speak to a few of the locals who said that there had been a debate on the island whether to allow tourists or not what with Covid and it had been decided to do so although all were not happy with that choice. Understandably so.

On the other hand many were happy to see tourists as this was their only form of income and they really needed to make the most of these windows of potential sales. One thing is for sure – everybody has (finally) realised the potential and value of a good e-commerce site to bring in business whatever the world may throw at you. 

We walked for about 3 hours before returning to the starting point and decided to forgo our takeaway in favour of having a bite to eat at The Beach Hotel and Restaurant before the ferry departed in another hour.

What a pleasant surprise- the food was REALLY REALLY delicious and the staff lovely , despite being rushed off their feet.  One I would recommend for sure! 

There was much amusement as a farmer delivered a couple of sheep to be taken by boat to the mainland – not a sight you see every day! 

Once the ferry arrived again around 5pm we headed back to the mainland to the campsite – where we were informed about an impending storm…

Tatjana and Kris had mentioned to us earlier in the day about high winds expected that evening – they suggested we make sure the tents were very well pegged down using sand pegs – (which you can buy there, 6 for a tenner I think) but assured us that we should be ok with the car beside us to break the wind and as our tents were quite low they should be fine too. It turned out to be Storm Francis that arrived that night..

When we arrived back from Insibofin Linda and I had a nap in our respective tents, then, later on that evening after refreshing, we prepared for the high winds.. I must admit I felt much safer once I had put in the sand pegs as they really made the tent feel stable in the sand. We had some snacks and a bottle of bubbly which we opened which may have helped our lack of concern for blowing away in the night  

Off to bed and so it began.. The wind began to howl and every scary movie I had ever seen or even imagined that involved sea creatures gliding up from the murky waters began to fill my brain as I lay in my tent – unable to see what was going on outside and feeling the wind begin to creep to the nape of my neck inside the tent.. This was my second (ever) night camping. Admittedly it was pretty exciting too and around 10pm we heard Kris outside as he was checking if we were ok and was happy to report that our tents looked like they would be fine. And our tents were – amazingly fine! 

At around 3am (neither of us had fallen asleep yet – the NOISE of the wind was like being in an airplane engine) – I heard Linda shouting at me – “Roz I am getting into the car!” EEK- Just me left in the tent by the sea in a storm – NO WAY! I gathered my blanket and raced out to join her. There we could see all the flashlights of everyone as they were securing or – on occasion chasing – their tents. One family whom I had met earlier no longer had a tent and were all packed into their jeep- well, I did suggest he needed to make it sturdier at the time.. ho hum. 

It was quite an experience and after about an hour things were slightly less manic so we both headed back into our still standing tents and (finally) fell fast asleep. 

Needless to say the following morning – in the rain – we decided to skip Diamond mountain and instead just pack up and head home…  

All in all though, a great Eco Adventure on the Wild Atlantic Way

Enjoy Leitrim Video Launched

“Come to Leitrim – It could change your life!” says Michael Harding in a beautiful new video launched today showcasing Leitrim as a place to visit, enjoy, explore and experience but also as an invigorating and vibrant place to live and work.

The video was created by Edwina Guckian of Dreoilín Productions along with artists Michael Harding, Eleanor Shanley, Seamus O Rourke and Charlie McGettigan who each share their thoughts and values of what makes this county such a treasure. 

“The piece is a very honest, artistic response to our diverse county. Each of us involved are very passionate about our home and promote it across the world wherever we are performing. And it is when we are on the other side of the world we really feel the draw of Leitrim calling us home.” – Edwina Guckian

It’s not until you slow down and take the time to explore it that you really see Leitrim’s hidden treasures. The land, the water, the people, the communities, the towns and villages, the lilt of our language, the music, song and dance, the easy pace of life, the welcome; we tried to capture it all and show the world the wealth of what Leitrim gives us and how lucky we are to live here. What we have is very special. As Seamus O Rourke said, In Leitrim you’re allowed to breathe, and be the better for being yourself.”

“This video articulates the wonderful way of life in Leitrim; in nature, in landscape, in environment and people. It goes hard in hand with sustainable tourism which is one of the most important elements of our economy, supporting local employment, food producers, farmers and the hardworking Leitrim business owners.  We want to share the message that Leitrim is a wonderful and safe place to visit, work and live.” – Joe Dolan of The Bush Hotel.

We are calling on the people of Leitrim, near and far and those that have visited us from across the world to share this video on their social media using the hashtag #EnjoyLeitrim 

Bumblebee Flower Farm Open Day 16th August 2020

OPen Day at Bumblebee Flower Farm

Are you interested in learning about bee friendly flowers you can grow at home, incredible food created from your own produce or taste how incredibly delicious & versatile snails are! Then get along to Bumblebee Flower Farms’ Open Day on the 16th August 2020.

Includes a tour, a talk with Mags, tastings of edible produce created by Eddie Attwell as well as more tastings and talk from Eva and Eoin from Gaelic Escargot. A lovely opportunity to share and meet like-minded folks in beautiful West Cork!

To Book or Find Out More Click Here >>

Irelands Ancient Feast 2020

Irelands Ancient Feast Eco Active Social
Irelands Ancient Feast

This year’s ‘Feast’ HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Dine Like A Druid on this Seaweed, Coastal and Hedgerow Wild Food Forage & Feast.

Join The Sea Gardener as we forage for wild food on land and shore and enjoy the foods eaten by the earliest settler’s on the Waterford Coast. Learn how to identify edibles and gather wild food as we forage for seaweed and wild plants to be enjoyed as part of our cook up.
We’ll enjoy wild foods such as Blackberries, Haws, Orache, Knotweed, Sea purslane, Sea Beet/Wild mushroom/Hazelnut tarts; Periwinkles, Raw Fraughan and Hazelnut Cake, Haw Jelly, Hedgerow Jam and Wild mushrooms amongst others, all washed down with Yarrow tea, Dandelion Root Coffee, Beech Noyeau, Local Metalman Ale and Elderflower Cordial!

 

 

The self-organizing capacity of our world.

The paragraphs that really caught my attention are below as it reinforces my own beliefs and is the reason behind why we created this online platform:
“life wants to happen as a community and we are all part of it.”
“We live in a universe that is alive, creative, and experimenting all the time to discover what’s possible. We are rediscovering our interconnectedness; there are no isolated individuals in the natural world. Life seeks to affiliate with other life, and as it does that it makes more possibilities available, it makes more diversity possible”.

Kilrane Art Gallery is a Gem

kilrane art gallery

Well myself and my sister were passing recently and saw the proprietor, Patrick O’Reilly, outside preparing for reopening after Covid so we stopped and got out to have a chat. WHAT A GEM!
“Opened in 2018 and located in the village of Kilrane, Co. Wexford, The Kilrane Gallery is a space where Irish based artists, designers and makers can exhibit and sell their work. I have assembled a wonderful group of creatives and together we have established this beautiful space” – Patrick O’Reilly

Secret Valley Wildlife Park Need Your Help!

secret valley wildlife park need your help

It has now been over 7 weeks since we closed our gates to the public on the 17th of March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has now started to take it’s toll. As a small wildlife park, which receives no government funding, we rely on entrance fees, school tours and our education workshops as our main sources of income.

We have managed to continue to give our animals the best possible care up to this point through online pre-ticket sales and animal sponsorship’s. Unfortunately this is no longer enough and we are asking for your help.