The Wild Atlantic Wayfarer Exhibition

Great crowd - photo by Eilish McGowan

The Wild Atlantic Wayfarer exhibition was opened last night at the Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo and will run until September 27th. I have mixed emotions about it all. Firstly I hardly ever print any of my images so to see 36 of them hanging on the walls of such a well-known building was very exciting. I don’t have a clue about hanging but the wonderful Catherine with the help of Sarah did a wonderful job. Secondly the whole experience to get the images was like an epic journey; I met so many wonderful people, tried so many new adventures, saw so many places I’d never been to before and I laughed!! More than I’ve ever laughed in my life, it was an amazing time so I’m very sad to say goodbye to that. I also discovered that I’m quite a tough cookie and that I’ll certainly give anything a go. After all how do you know what you will enjoy if you don’t try it. Sadly I’ve realised I’m not going to be out there with the tow-in surfers but I’m pretty good at leaping off a cliff into the sea!

Ian from LookWest, me and Peter Wilcock

I was over-whelmed by the amount of people who turned up to the opening last night. I’m also over-whelmed by the team I’ve had behind me, they have been such a support and I couldn’t have done any of this without them. Firstly the Hawk’s Well who invited me to have this exhibition and Lookwest for coming on board and supporting me. My good friend Heidi who came up with the whole idea. The many activity providers who put up with me, some of them will never be able to hear properly after I screamed so loudly during some of the adventures! Catherine who was there every step of the way. Core Concepts – poor old Frank must have had a hernia every time he saw me walk through the door – but shop local folks, I’d never had got the kind of service from anywhere else.

Food

Berenice Cooks who did the wonderful catering, Osta for the lovely quiche, Wine Buff Sligo for the wine, Hearts Desire for the coffee, Eithna’s by the Sea for the seaweed pesto, Eala Bhan for the pate and caramalised onion marmalade. Fiona and Brendan for picking everything up and being such stars, Abbie for the wonderful poster and invitations. Ian from Lookwest/WDC for a great speech, Peter Wilcock the famous photographer for opening the exhibition and a brilliant speech. Of course my wonderful family who have just been amazing throughout all of this and I’d be lost without them.

Andy and I - photo by Lucy

Thanks again to everyone who came along and to Life According to Lucy for taking pics on the night.

Discovering Derry

Wayfarer Yesterday Jono and I took a bus trip. Since I started my Wild Atlantic Wayfarer project Jono has been telling me about the machine on Bus Eireann – the Wayfarer machine, so it seemed only right I should get a photo of it. Now I have to admit bus trips were something else I was scared of – mainly because I’m not the best passenger in the world, I was pleasantly surprised though because I found the bus very comfortable and really enjoyed not driving for a chance. I wasn’t so keen on the lady behind me reciting the rosary on the way up though and almost clonking me over the head with her rosary beads. On the way back we had the Tesco Value version of Nathan Carter, as a fella with too much alcohol in his system decided to serenade the whole bus all the way home! The Peace Bridge with the Guildhall I love exploring new places so visiting Derry was great. I had been there before when I was expecting Lucy – so that was almost 20 years ago! We were just there for a few hours so I tried to cram in as many things as I could. Jono has been to Derry before so he showed me the Peace Bridge and the Guildhall. Both I’d recommend to visitors to go and see. I would love to be in Derry at night to take photos of the river and the bridge, I’d say that would be very special. Guildhall Organ The Guildhall is a really beautiful building, it houses the fabulous organ above, which we heard being played. It’s also home to the Mayor’s Parlour and there is an exhibition running. It’s free admission too so well worth a visit. There is a water feature outside but it wasn’t on yesterday which was a shame. Craft village I stumbled across a great little craft village. It was tucked away just off the main street. The flowers in the picture above are all made of felt – what a clever idea. Not only are there lovely shops, knitted bikes and a cafe there’s also a thatched cottage. So this is definitely worth a visit. You can find out about the village here. Thatched cottage in the craft village I wanted to find out more about Derry so I went on a walking tour of the city. It was very interesting and this is a must do thing if you are visiting Derry. The tours run four times a day and cost £4 which includes tea or coffee. John the tour guide John was our tour guide, he was great, he told us so many things and had a great sense of humour and a twinkle in his eye. He took us onto the walls of the city and explained all about the troubles, the history of Derry/Londonderry. He told it all in a very interesting way. City tours The only downside for me was that there were such a big crowd in our group it was quite hard to hear and when I got closer to John I felt a bit claustrophobic because of all the people around me, but that might just be me. It’s still worth going on though. Free Derry To find out more about a City Tour you can click here. You don’t need to pre-book, just turn up and they are very easy to find, just outside Level 4 of the Foyleside Shopping Centre – another place you must visit. Walking on the walls So that was my few hours in Derry. I really want to go back again to find out more about this beautiful, historic city. In fact there’s a lot of Ireland and Northern Ireland that I’ve yet to explore. You can see the rest of my Derry photos here.

Sligo Summer Festival Announces new acts on line up

Wheatus
Sligo Summer Festival has just added some amazing new acts to their bill for the weekend of August 7 & 8th.
Already announced headliners Boney M (Fri) and Wheatus (Sat) will be joined be Irish festival favourites Attention Bebe and Interskalactic as well as local stars INDIAN,  Peter Mooney, Dean Gurrie and Charlie Foxtrot.
bebe
Attention Bebe are a phenomenal 16 piece band who rip up all the best tracks from the 90’s and rebuild/rearrange them into more than they ever were. Complete with Brass and String sections, Attention Bébé are the ultimate party band and we wait to see will they start heir infamous conga line around the car park!! If there was ever a party band to get you in the mood for headliners, Boney M, it’s these guys!
Interskalactic
Described by Ryan Tubridy as, “the future of Ska in Ireland”, Interskalactic are an amazing 10+ piece band who have delighted fans at every venue and festival in the country. Playing traditional, old school, first wave, big band Jamaican Ska, these guys will have the whole car park buzzing just before Wheatus take to the stage.
It’s all about that party feeling, with the freedom of breaking orbit & going intergalactic with what was then, a new Music called SKA! Presenting booster rocket rumbles from the likes of “The Skatalites” & “Byron Lee & The Dragonaires”, to warp driven escapades by “Prince Buster”, “The Blues Busters” & “Toots & The Maytals”, Interskalactic are boldly going where no Ska band has gone before!
As always, the Summer Festival has local talent on display and this year will be no different. Peter Mooney will bring his one man show with guitar and loop pedal on hand to deliver another epic live set. Everyone who sees Peter, uses two words to describe him “Ed Sheeran”! This guy is an amazing talent and will no doubt kick-start Fridays proceedings with a bang.
Dean Gurrie
Dean Gurrie will bring his full band to this years festival and will be showcasing his fabulous array of original material which has earned him rave reviews for Hot Press and the likes in the last year.
Indian
Indian are expected to draw a large crowd of their loyal fans on the Friday night. It will be the first time this legendary rock group grace the Summer Festival stage and if their recent sell out Sligo shows in the last few years are anything to go by, people will be asking for more at the end!
Charlie Foxtrot are one of the freshest young rock acts to come out of Sligo in the last few years. With some members coming from families steeped in Sligo music, these guys are set for a bright future and they should help you blow the cobwebs off as they start proceedings on the Saturday!
 
There are still more acts to be announced. Be sure to check out Sligo Summer Festival on Facebook for updates. Gates open at 5pm each day. There is a €3 voluntary donation on the gate for over 16’s each day and music runs til 11pm approx but get in early as it is expected to fill up early each night like previous years.

Rathcroghan Visitor Centre

Rathcroghan Visitor Centre

As part of my Wild Atlantic Wayfarer I paid a visit to the Rathcroghan Visitor Centre in County Roscommon. The centre is modern and welcoming with interpretive rooms, a gift shop and what looked like a great cafe. If you visit when Mike is there he will tell you all about the place and it’s clear that he is passionate and enthusiastic about the vast history in Rathcroghan.

Rathcroghan

Rathcroghan Visitor Centre has focused on interpreting human interaction in Roscommon and Ireland through all the phases of Irish Archaeology. Rathcroghan boasts evidence of Ireland’s first farmers (4000 B.C-2500 B.C) through to the early modern period, when it served as an inauguration site for O’Conor chieftains.

There are two films that are shown in the centre so not only will you find out all about the various monument types located at Rathcroghan, you will also find out about the Cattle Raid of Cooley (The Táin). What struck me most was the life story of Queen Maeve, now I knew a bit about her before but on watching one of the films I found out she was killed by a piece of cheese! Strange but possibly true!

Sheep

As is usually the case I picked  the only day of the week to visit when there are no tours of the sites around the centre taking place but it was fine because Mike told me where to go and I went off exploring by myself. Well I say by myself but there were a few onlookers.

Exploring the monuments

I would really have liked to go inside Oweynagat Cave or the ‘Cave of Cats’  which is located at Rathcroghan but this is only done with a tour guide. The cave is said to be the entrance to the ‘other world’ and the home of Halloween, where all the creatures and spirits used to come from. I really hope to see inside it one day.

Tulsk statue

So that was my day in Rathcroghan, a very interesting place and well worth a visit. Thanks to Mike for his help. You can find out more about the visitor centre here.

In the press

Woman's Way

Well it’s been an exciting week so far. Not only have I been jumping into the Atlantic again, which is now my favourite hobby – who’d have thought it! My Wild Atlantic Wayfarer project has been featured in the press. Firstly Woman’s Way did a big feature about it and on the same day I picked up the Sligo Champion and there I was again.

Sligo Champion

It’s not long now until the exhibition opens at the Hawk’s Well Theatre. Lovely Abbie from Iníon Veigh designed my poster, which I’m delighted with. I’m just doing the final bits in preparation for the big day. I really need to get my hair done and I’d love to get my nails done too now that I’m told I’m not allowed to wear a wet suit and flippers for the opening night!

exhibition poster

Hopefully I’ll see some of you on the night.

Into the sea

Walking to the waves

The most exciting thing I’ve done as part of my Wild Atlantic Wayfarer project is coasteering, for those who don’t know it’s jumping from rocks into the sea, climbing back out again, playing in the waves and having a wonderful time in the sea! It was the one thing I said I would never do at the beginning of all my adventures and when I first met Mark from Wave Sweeper I was a bag of nerves, so much so I could barely speak, apart from saying I wasn’t going to do it.

Splash

So my first attempt at coasteering was on my wonderful trip in Erris and with the encouragement of Mark I loved it and conquered my fears of the sea and heights. Today it was time to try Mullaghmore for a coasteering adventure, there was a group of us and we had an amazing time. The highest jump I did was around 6 metres, I’ve found if you just do it and don’t think about it you’ll be fine. You can read my previous blog about coasteering in Erris here.

Relaxing in the rock pool

I loved every minute of it and can’t wait to go back again. I’m even getting the hang of putting on a wetsuit! We were sitting on the rocks looking at Benbulben and Classiebawn Castle, what a wonderful way to spend a day. I feel a bit like Cinderella though because I left my shoes behind….that’s a great excuse to go back again and I can’t wait! Thanks once again Mark for helping me discover my adventurous side and for all your support and encouragement. You can find Wave Sweeper here.