The blog provides a lot of opportunities for me, sometimes it’s adventures, sometimes it’s experiences and sometimes it’s meeting special people. Today I met a very special person.
This weekend was spent celebrating St. Patrick. On Friday I went to Dublin for the parade – more about that in another post. Yesterday was spent mainly eating cake – I can’t think of a better way to celebrate anything!
As part of my Wild Atlantic Wayfarer project with LookWest and the Hawk’s Well Theatre I paid a visit to Zipit Forest Adventures in Lough Key Forest Park, Boyle, Co. Roscommon. Zipit is a forest adventure company specialising in adventurous trail courses in the treetops.
I must admit I was nervous. I’m not great with heights but part of this project is me challenging myself to do things I wouldn’t normally do and stepping out of my comfort zone. When you arrive at Zipit you get harnessed up and go as a group with an instructor to the initiation course. Hazel was our instructor and she explained everything we had to do for each different part of the course. You are always clipped on to a circuit at all times, so you are completely safe. We all had a turn of the initiation course (I have a head like a sieve so Hazel had to remind me of what I was meant to be doing). All the others in my group headed for the higher courses but I stuck to the green course (which is the easiest).
There are no photos of me – which is probably just as well! It brought back a lot of memories of my time in the Venture Scouts where I would have been climbing trees, potholing, rock climbing and abseiling. Somewhere along the way I got scared of heights…probably when I almost fell when I was caving. I did think after coasteering that my fear of heights were gone, but they aren’t.
I did manage to complete the green course, which for me is a major achievement. It wasn’t very high off the ground but it was still quite scary walking along a tightrope. I actually loved the zip wire part of it though and would love to try more of that. I’m just not great walking on moving things. I was with a group of boy scouts, they flew through the circuit and it was so funny being encouraged by an 8-year-old!
It was great to see so many families and people of all ages enjoying the various courses. The place was filled with laughter and of course Tarzan sounds! One of the courses even involves you cycling across a wooden bridge!
You can try as many of the courses as you like when you are there (depending on your age and height), so you could spend the whole day there. Lough Key is a great place too with lots of other activities going on and it’s perfect for a family day out or even for camping.
Sincere thanks to Zipit Forest Adventures for letting me come along and try out this great adventure. I had a great time! There are also courses located in Cork and Dublin – you can find out all about them here.
Today I took the train from Sligo to Boyle. I’m researching my new project which will involve different forms of transport. More about that in the coming weeks. There were a group of nuns on the train, I didn’t think anything of it until they started reciting the rosary! I mean I know they are nuns but I was a bit surprised. In between their prayers they started singing! At this point I thought I was in a re-make of the Sound of Music…either that or I thought the migraine tablets I had taken had some kind of hallucinogenic effect on me. I was just waiting for Julie Andrews or the Von Trapps to appear.
So that was my spiritual journey. Thanks Majella for the blog title 😉
I had a nice look around Boyle. There are some great charity shops there. I noticed a new coffee shop (or one I hadn’t seen before) so I decided to have lunch there. It was a fabulous Waldorf Salad (no sign of Basil Fawlty though), the service was great and the staff were really friendly so I’ll call back again. It’s called Open Table – so be sure to check it out.
So that was my day. It’s been a bit of a strange week…I’m wondering what will happen next! I’m also wondering where the nuns were going!
I went to Boyle yesterday for the Bank of Ireland expo. On the way I managed to stop and take a photo of the waterfall that is along the N4. I’ve often wanted to stop but never had a chance before, I had the gorillapod so I put the camera on it to stop me jogging the camera.
After the waterfall I headed to the Ardcarne Garden Centre and the Garden Cafe. I was runner-up in a ‘Haiku’ (poem) competition on the Garden Cafe’s Facebook page and I won cake. So I had cake for breakfast…it was banana and caramel upside down cake and was just gorgeous! In my defense there was fruit in it so it’s healthy 😉
The cafe is a lovely place with friendly staff and a roaring fire…what more could you want.
After my lovely cake and three mugs of tea I went into the garden centre. I was delighted to see Snowball still in the midst of things. He’s the resident garden centre cat and is so friendly and a great model 🙂
The garden centre have beautiful plants, gifts, seeds, bulbs and all kinds of everything. I loved the orchids and the double primroses. Both the cafe and garden centre have various events taking place throughout the year so it’s well worth keeping an eye on their Facebook pages.
Now on to Boyle. It was a great idea to have the expo and show people what is on offer in Boyle. I didn’t get to the event on Friday which was about the businesses in the town and Dermot Bannon (Room to Improve) was there (I’d have liked to have met him). I had too much wine on Friday though so couldn’t drive anywhere…you can read why on Lucy’s blog.
Saturday’s expo was held in King House, Boyle, which is also home to the Farmer’s Market, which takes place every Saturday from 10am-2pm. There were several community groups there and Boyle certainly seems to be a great town as far as community spirit goes.
I’m not well up on sports but I gather the lads above (in the DCU tops) were in the D.C.U Sigerson Cup team.
I loved the model railway that the Boyle Men’s Shed made. I really hope they get their new premises soon as it’s a brilliant project.
I also loved looking at the wonderful photos and slide show from the Boyle Camera Club. As I was looking at them one of the members came up to talk to me. It was Tony Murphy, I had to stop myself ‘fan girling’, he is an amazing photographer and what gobsmacked me was he knew who I was when I told him my name!! I’m always doubting myself so for a photographer of his calibre to have heard of me just made my day. I’m thinking about going along to the next camera club meeting, I’d love to learn more and am always looking for inspiration.
I also frightened the bejaysus out of myself in King House, especially in the cells down in the basement. I wasn’t too bad until I went to touch one of the cell doors and this voice started shouting ‘Let me out!’ It was, of course, a recording but I still legged it out of there as quickly as I could!
So that was my day in Boyle. The rest of my photos are here.
So apart from all the events I’ve blogged about life goes on as normal – whatever normal is. I had to got to Boyle so I got to see my friend Kate which was lovely as always. While I was there I bumped into Sean who has this fantastic website about Boyle, if you want to know the news or events around Boyle that’s the site to check. The photo above was taken in Boyle, I love this photo (one of the few I take that I actually like). After Boyle I went to the Sligo Folk Park – a blog will follow when I edit the photos.
On Sunday we went to the Northside Centre to have a stall at a car boot sale, it was so bad I’m not even going to bother typing about it but Lucy has done a great blog about it here.
Yesterday I had my first harvest from the greenhouse…yes I know it’s a bit sad that it’s only one strawberry but I’m delighted with it! I had to split it three ways and we all agreed it was the sweetest strawberry we’ve ever had. I hope I grow a few more now, next year I have my sights set on supplying Wimbledon 😉
I got to see A Common Ground this week as part of the Cairde Festival. It was a musical collaboration featuring the two diverse musical worlds of Sligo Baroque Orchestra and African Soukous band, Tropicana Musica. It was really something special, I’m a huge fan of Steve Wickham so it was wonderful to be able to take some photos.