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Hi all, Happy New Year to all and best wishes for 2017.  Thanks for being part of the journey so far.  This year I am going to Jazz th...

Friday, 30 September 2016

Castlecomer Craft Yard, Kilkenny

Where: Castlecomer Discovery Park and Craft Yard
Why: I came here a few years ago with my sister. Its lovely as the craft yard is full of studios with artists so there is jewellery, pottery, sweet shop and lots of other crafts. I was really impressed with it and so I decided to do a feature on my blog in case there are people not aware of it. My nephew came here on a school tour and liked it too.
What: Woodland adventure park and craft yard with coal mining museum.

 Whats there: There are woodland walks, the craftyard, cafe, elf and fairy village, playground , ziplines, treetop adventure walks. climbing wall, orienteering and boating, coal mining museum.
 How: I drove to Kilkenny city and then followed the N28. The park is just as you head out of the town of Castlecomer.
How much: You have to pay for parking. I brought an apple muffin which was delicious and a coffee in the cafe for a few euros too. They do hot meals but I came after 4 and so they had stopped serving it was only tea and coffee.
Pro: The range of amenities here is amazing. It was the former Castlecomer Demense and some of it was a coal mine. Its such a wonderful rejuvenation of the area and a great attraction. I love the craft yard and the woodland walks.
Cons: My camera had some issues with light balance and so its a pro that I am going back to cover the park
in more detail but a con that the pictures are all over
exposed so most cannot be shared. Sorry and that is
why some are in black and white too.
Experience: I had a lovely time here. I loved the trails through the forest. There are signs of mining evident still. I think its a wonderful amenity for the people of Castlecomer and surrounding areas. I love to see that local artists are being supported too. It was a great idea and well done to all. There are ducks and swans on the lake, the fairy and elf village is so cute as well. They hold events throughout the year so if you are planning a trip to Kilkenny and are looking for a family friendly place to go check out the website.

History: The Discovery Park now stands on the site of the Wandesforte Estate. The family came from England and were originally from around Yorkshire. The first member Christopher arrived in Ireland in 1636 and was granted the Estate at Castlecomer as well as the title of Master of the Rolls, Lord Chief Justice and later Lord Deputy of Ireland.  The family were responsible for opening and working the coal seams in the area. The area lies along the Leinster Coalfield which stretches from Laois to Carlow. His son also Christopher was a Baron and his grandson was given the title of Baron Wandesforte and Viscount Castlecomer by Queen Anne. Later, the family married into the Butlers of Ormonde in Kilkenny and the title followed the Ormonde family.

By 1780 the mine was leased out to mining companies who ran the operations and employed local men to work in the mine. Charles Harward Butler-Clarke-Southwell- Wandesforde took a great interest in the mining on the estate as well as the welfare of the workers.The family accrued a great fortune over time from the coal fields on their land.  He is said to have helped some of them emigrate and also assisted with rent reductions. He was succeed by his daughter Sarah and her husband John Prior. Her grandson inherited the estate, namely Richard Henry he took control of the mines and invested in them to modernise them.

Castlecomer House no longer stands. The Craft Yard is situated in the former farm yard and stables. The former kitchen garden is now home to a herd of Deer. The mines closed in 1969.

Whats local: 

More infromation: 
Discovery Park Website

Note: some of the studios in the craft yard are free so if you are an artist in the local area why not contact them. It would be great to see more artists working from here. 

 Hope you enjoyed reading.
You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
Facebook: @catmc
Twitter: @forrealllemail
Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com
 If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :)
 Link to shop 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Blog of the Week: Your Positive Oasis

If you are not having a good day. I have just the ticket for you. Its a blog called your positive oasis. I love this. Its fully of positive and uplifting posts as well as well being posts. I am so happy to see someone do a blog like this as its interesting and also no negativity.

I really enjoyed reading how pain and our emotions go hand in hand.  Our bodies are so much more powerful then we realise sometimes. There are inspirational  quotes my favourite is:
“Mind your thoughts, as they become your words. Mind your words, as they become your actions. Mind your actions, as they become you.”- Buddha

There are also quizzes such as what colour is your aura? Mine is blue!! So I am You are kind and loyal, with a calm, collected personality. While you may have a fear of what is next, or where you are going in life. Just trust yourself. Although you cannot base all of your decisions on it, your intuition is very strong. A blue aura signifies that you are very sensitive to the world around you, and also that have a certain willingness to help others. Awwh. Powered by Playbuzz. 

I also did this eye test will determine the kind of person you are: I am a perfectionist!!
You are a perfectionist. According to this eye test, you are very sharp and you pay close attention to detail. You like to succeed and you work extremely hard to achieve your goals. You hate failure, which is why you’re so attentive. You never want to miss something important and possibly make a mistake.

This is what my guardian angel is trying to tell me: 
Your guardian angel watches over you and sees your free spirit, wanderlust, and enthusiasm for life. You have important dreams that are at risk of being forgotten and your guardian angel wants to prevent you from getting stuck. Like a river that flows over the land, when one path becomes blocked you must change course or you will become stale. You will benefit from breaking your patterns and pushing your limits.

Let me know about your quiz results. Hope you enjoy this site as much as I do and well done to Damien Thomas the owner on it.

For more information:
Your Positive Oasis

Hope you enjoyed reading.
You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
 Facebook: @catmc
Twitter: @forrealllemail
Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com
If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :)
 Link to shop 

Monday, 26 September 2016

Inspiration Maya Angelou

Just do right - that is what Maya asks. People will know you and add your prayers to your life. Live your life in a way that you do not regret- Maya Angelou .I just think its beautiful something we can all aspire to. Its how I want to move through my life as much as possible. I have been tested. I know its hard as people do not always do right by you in your life or by the people you love either. One of my friends said recently some people are good and some people just are not. I always wonder about that. If I argue with someone it plays on my mind. I feel bad about it. So how can some people knowingly do wrong and rest peacefully? 

Maya is an inspiration in many ways its not just this quote she was a poet, activist and memoir writer. Her life has amazing variety and was certainly full from working with Malcom X and Martin Luther King to being an actor, writer and director. She had her fair share of dark times and from it she seemed have amazing wisdom and perception. As a female she is a wonderful role model. I read her book I know why the Caged Bird Sings. Her life was not the easiest but I love her attitude towards it one of her quotes is You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. What amazing strength. 

I want to read more of her autiobiographies and get a better understanding of this amazing lady. Its not just her view on the world its also her writing. She was amazing eloquent. The more I researched her for this blog the more quotes I found which made my admiration of this lady increase immensely. 

Rainbow in the Clouds  the video is linked below is what made me have an ah ha moment start writing about her. I love this view of life. Be the rainbow in someone else's cloud.

More information:
Love liberates 

Some more quotes I love from this wonderful lady. I hope you feel inspired too. 

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”

― Maya AngelouCelebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” 
― Maya Angelou
I think we are all butterflies and as we move through life we change. I having one of those periods now and its like I have found my wings but I am flying wonky!!!

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass.” 
― Maya Angelou

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” 
― Maya Angelou
Me too :)

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” 
― Maya Angelou

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.” 
― Maya Angelou

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” 
― Maya Angelou

“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?” 
― Maya Angelou

“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” 
― Maya Angelou

“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I'll rise!” 
― Maya Angelou

“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” 
― Maya Angelou

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” 
― Maya Angelou
So true!

“If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning 'Good morning' at total strangers.” 
― Maya Angelou

“We need much less than we think we need.” 
― Maya Angelou

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” 
― Maya Angelou

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Westport Harbour , Co Mayo

Former 18th century mill now converted into a hotel and shopping complex

Craogh Patrick and Clew Bay

Love this picture

Where: Westport Harbour, Westport.
 Why: I came here many moons ago with a former boyfriend and we stayed in the Atlantic Coast Hotel at the time. I remember having the most amazing meal there and that it was beautiful. So finally made it back there. I came to Westport a few years ago with my parents and they brought me to see Achill but it was just a flying visit.
 What: Harbour overlooking Clew Bay with views of Croagh Patrick.

 Whats there: Along the harbour front there is a hotel, a few pubs, photo studio as well as a gift shop ans newaagent. Its a lovely walk to the end of the pier. As you are walking down there are also boats that will take you out angling or else for a cruise of the bay (check times locally as subject to tides and weather).

  How: I drove from Galway I took N17 to Claremorris, then N60 to Castlebar and finally N5 to Westport.

How much: It was free I went to the Creel for a lovely chocolate chip cookie. It was one of the those buttery crumbly ones delicious and a coffee to go for my ramble. Recommend here and staff are lovely too.

Westport is so friendly all the locals salute you so you just feel so welcome. I had wonderful weather when I was there too and so it just added to it. Its so stunningly beautiful here if you get the weather. Loved seeing all the different boats along the pier. Its changed a bit from what I remember in a good way and there seems to be much more of a buzz around the place.
Clew Bay Cruises 
Pros: Views of Croagh Patrick and Clew Bay nothing not to love. Also, that there is so much on offer from Clew Bay Archaelogical Trail to the Westport train tour. This area is right beside Westport House too which will be my next blog on Westport. There is alot to do and see and its beautiful here.

  Cons: For me there was nothing.I loved it I went on a day trip but I have already booked to go back for a few days.

History: Tradition has it that Clew Bay has 365 islands. One for every day of the year. The biggest island is Clare Island and is still inhabited. It is possible to get a ferry to it see Clare Island Ferry . Most of the islands are not inhabited. The islands are drumlins which are partly drowned. They were formed during the last Ice Age by glaciers. The drumlins are shaped like steep sided hills. A number of the drumlins lie completely submerged under the sea. The drumlins were formed by glacial sediment. The area is of interest to geologists as well as bird watchers and anyone with an interest in wildlife. The drumlin landscape support a wide variety of habitats which are protected. The area is a mico climate and supports rare flora and fauna as well as winter waterfowl.

History also tells of the pirate queen Grace O'Malley she apparently tolled every boat and was a chieftain in the area. She had quite the reputation and was feared everywhere at sea. Truth or legend tells it that she went to London to deal personally with Queen Elizabeth I at Greenwich Castle when her sons and half brothers were taken captive by the English Governor of Connacht . They came to an agreement that The Governor would be removed and Grace would stop supporting the Irish Lord's rebellions against English rule. The meeting was conducted in Latin as Grace had no English and Elizabeth had no Irish. She was considered educated, formidable and very competent. She was also wealthy and inherited land from her mother, a shipping business from her father as well as property and holdings from her first husband. She is a well documented 16th century figure in Irish History and is also sometimes known as The Sea Queen of Connacht. Her family are closely connected to Westport House. I love it when I find a strong women in history.
Clew Bay drumlins
Local attractions: 
Westport Photo Walk
Westport House (Blog coming soon)  

Clew Bay Heritage Centre 
Clew Bay Heritage Trail 
Photos by Jessica on The Quay 
The Helm Bar, Restaurant and Accommodation 
Westport Coast Hotel 
Custom House Studio Art Gallery 
Westport Train Tour 
Lady Helen Sea Angling 

More information
Westport Harbour
The Harbour Mill - self catering accommodation 

 Hope you enjoyed reading.
You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
Facebook: @catmc
Twitter: @forrealllemail
Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com
If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :)
 Link to shop https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/Forrealll?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Online Shops Post

So its all getting so exciting around here.

Firstly, I launched an Etsy shop. So far I only have digital downloads over here. They are priced around 6 euros. Let me know if you think this is a bad  or good price point. I am really new to all of this so its a bit of a learning curve for sure. I only have a few prints up as just want to see how it goes. I also wanted to add more products which led me to the second shop.

I found Spreadshirt so I uploaded some designs and they can do everything from hoodies to t-shirts, mugs, phone cases. You can also take my prints and use them over there to design something else there is loads to choose from in the product range. I was really impressed by it. So you can visit the shop here I will be uploading new designs but managed to do 30 or so today so not bad at all for a days work. What I am trying to do is take my photos and put a spin of Irish wit on some of them as much as possible

Finally, I got so into designing I found another Irish company so I added 5 designs here.

  1. Ladies stop and smell the roses T-Shirt  from 15 euros 
  2. Girls Little flower T-Shirt  from 10 euros 
  3. Mens T-Shirt with caption there is always one black sheep from 15 euros 
  4. Trick or Treat T-Shirt with witch image for girls aged 3-15 from 15 euros 
  5. Happy Halloween with Bat image for boys aged 3-15 from 15 euros
The Halloween T-Shirts are not my images but I love the bat and the witch! 

Now back to creating some lovely blogs for you all.

I hope you enjoy these and if you buy anything that its something you love and is of value to you too.
Its so satisfying seeing them all come together in a shop I am so proud and so thrilled to be able to share with you all.

If there is something you would like to see please let me know as it would be my pleasure to help.

Hope you enjoyed reading.
You can follow me and my adventures on instagram at catmc07
 Facebook: @catmc
Twitter: @forrealllemail
 Email: forrealllemail@gmail.com
If you like you can subscribe in side bar on main site. Feel free to share. :)

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Morans The Weir, KIlcolgan, Galway

Where: Morans the Weir
Why: Legendary oyster cottage with gorgeous seafood.
What: Cottage owned for generations by the same family and renowned for seafood and drink.
Whats there:  I love it here. Its a little bit out of the way but its so famous you never know who you would meet! Especially during race week in Galway. I know a guy who always comes here when he is in Ireland. He simply thinks this place is the best end of! Lily Allen has been spotted and other celebrities too. The cottage itself is a typical Irish cottage full of nooks and crannies but go through to the bar and you will find the restaurant.
How: I drove from Galway towards Kilcolgan and followed the signs.
How much:  Around 15 euros. I love the crabmeat brown bread sandwich and tea. They also do a good chowder and goats cheese salad for starter. I have yet to try Oysters. I know, I know I need to get on it!!!
I went again recently for some chowder and tea. Its just lovely here. I pay for my own meals and none of my posts are sponsored so in future going to add my receipts so you can see exactly what I got.

Pros: The cottage is so cute and a traditional thatched cottage, its out in the middle of the country close to a pier. Picture is below its much better when the tide is in. There are loads of birds and wildlife from herons to swans. Its nice for a walk after your dinner or drink. Its also a really nice place for a date or something like that. The inside is cosy with a fire and so if the weather is bad you can just enjoy the atmosphere and good food inside. I really enjoyed my time here.You can also sit outside and take in the views. The chowder is a 7th generation recipe as well.

Cons:  The road is a bit narrow leading to the cottage, take it easy.
History: I never really knew the history but I have to say I am so impressed. Morans has been in the hands of the same family for 7 generations. The business was established by Daniel Moran in 1790. At the time the area around the pier was prosperous and busy with lots of boats. The traditional Galway vessel brought turf from Connemara and seaweed from the Aran Island's to fertilise the land. The area was busy with local farmers coming to get both turf and seaweed. They would stop off at the pub for a drink. During the 1940's with the arrival of the car and lorries, turf was transported on land. The sea trade began to decline and the port and pub suffered as a result. In 1966 Morans decided to serve seafood and has become renowned for its fine food.
Whats local: 
After my lunch I took a ramble. I do not know if this is a right of way or if I am trespassing but I walked up past the pier and followed a lane.  Someone let me know if I was trespassing but its lovely. There is so many birds in the area herons and wildlife. Its really quiet and peaceful too. Pictures are below the weather was a bit dull so some do not do it justice. But its really pretty. 

Tyrone House (I believe). Its abandoned  and was burned but looks amazing and haunting over the landscape. 

Further information: 
Morans Website 
Kilcolgan Castle in the Distance 
Autumn hedges with blackberries

Friday, 23 September 2016

Clarinbridge Co Galway

Where: Clarinbridge 
Why: Some diary of a slow runner runs, walks etc. 
What: Small village in Galway. Famed home to the Galway Oyster Festival each September. 
Whats there:  Heritage trail in the town, pubs, restaurants and also shopping.  
How: I drove from Galway so I just took the N18 towards Limerick. 
How much: Free. 
Experience and History: I think Clarinbridge is a pretty little village and there is actually a lot in it. So this is a little photo walk around it. Its somewhere I go to have a walk from time to time. 

Famous spot for oysters and home of the Oyster Festival each September which started in 1954. It is named after the man who first sold Oysters in the area and has had more then a few famous clientle though the doors.  Its a really cozy old world theme pub as well so just the ticket as the winter draws in. The pub is a protected building and was built around 1850. I love thatched roofs. 

They have pretty much everything from apple tress to  every flower imaginable. This is set in its own complex with free carparking and Meadows and Barne on site. So you can get a bit for house and garden at the same time. Yes the fish and the terrapins are real and in an indoor pond! The garden centre is celebrating the birthday of the online store so if you check locally I think I saw some discounts. Correct as of Sept 2016.  

I always think its such a lovely building especially the bell tower. This picture is taken from the back of the church. The church was built in 1938 and so it is relatively modern. 

I think over the past few years Coillte have upped its game massively. There are so many beautiful outdoor forest trails in Ireland now. The major pity is that people are dumping at the entrance of this one. I really wish people would appreciate what a beautiful country we have and look after it.  In any case this place is so lovely there is a smell of pine in the forest. The trail is relatively flat so suitable for most people. The forest once formed part of the Reddington Estate there is a gravel trail and also some mud trails through the forest. Its not greatly mapped out so I would stick to the gravel trail if you do not know it well. You can go through the mud trails and it will lead you onto to the former Reddington Estate. 

Kilcornan House 

It now forms part of the Brothers of Charity but was once home to the Reddingtons who were the local landords. It now serves as a training centre with people with disabilities. There is houses and a swimming pool on site etc. The Reddingtons were responsible for the design of the village. Kilcornan House stands on the site of a former castle built circa 16th century. The Reddingtons buillt Kilcornan House in 1830. Most of the estate is now disused as new codes of practice have come into use where people with disabilities are integrated into the local community. I think its a pity to see this building and the estate not be used as it has massive potential. 

Church on Kilcornan House Grounds 
Its not open to the public sadly. Its a single cell church and was built in 1600. The building is also protected.

Also on the grounds of Kilcornan House  

Village Green 

The village green is the site of the local market day each September. The green is enclosed by stone walls and inside the green there is a beautiful imposing celtic cross commemorating Sir Thomas Reddington. It is thought that the village green was laid out in 1875. A plague inside the main gate tells how Christopher Reddington established a market there in 1817. There is also a plague at the village green depicting places of note in the village and local area. 

Clarin River

The bridge over the River Clarin is also a protected structure. It was built in 1760. The village derives its name from this bridge. 

Pro: Really pretty village and is kept well. There is a lot here even for a short stop too. 
Cons: Traffic sometimes if you hit it on a Friday evening its a bit of a bottleneck. 
Whats local:
More information: 
Market Day, Clarinbridge