Diary, health

I can see clearly now…

I’ve had a bit of trouble with my eyes in the last few months. They’ve been burning and really sore so I asked around for recommendations and a few people suggested Mulreany Guckian Opticians so I booked an eye test and I have to say I was so impressed!

From start to finish the ladies couldn’t have been more helpful. I knew I had a traumatic cataract on my right eye, I was told at a hospital appointment. I reckon I was dropped on my head as a kid! I was told at a previous appointment that I had a cataract on my other eye too and I have to say I was paranoid about that. So Lisa, who did my eye test, was really thorough and told me that there is nothing to worry about…phew.

I had all kinds of tests including an amazing OCT 3D scan done of my eyes (which is done as an optional extra). This is really useful as it gives a clear view of the retina. It was so interesting seeing a 3D image of my eyes, apparently my eyes are really healthy which is fantastic news. Lisa suggested eye drops to help with my painful eyes and also suggested some sunglasses with my lens in that I need (I’m short-sighted).

I found with the last two opticians I went to that I was encouraged to get reading glasses even though I never wear them. In fact one of the very well known opticians told me at my age I would need them. There was none of that with Mulreany Guckian, I wasn’t pressured into anything and I felt that I was listened to.

Today I picked up my new prescription sunglasses and oh my goodness I can’t begin to tell you the relief I’ve had already. The burning, sensitive, eyes feel soothed, it’s like having a comfy blanket. I just have to ignore the fact I feel a bit like Bono!

If you are in Sligo and need an eye test I’d really recommend Mulreany Guckian and this isn’t a sponsor post in case anyone is wondering, you can find them here.

events, health and well being

More than a feeling

I went along to the Mamogs Pregnancy and Family Wellness Day today in the Sligo Park Hotel…and before you ask I’m not pregnant! It sounded like a great day with a lot of interesting speakers and it was a great event.

I listened to John G Coaching speak and I was really interested in what he had to say. He was explaining how we go through a range of emotions throughout the course of a day and what is important is how we deal with them.

We might blame our circumstances or certain people and places on having a negative impact on us when really the feelings are all in our heads. So John helps people ‘get out their heads’ and look at the bigger picture.

He was reminding us of when we were younger, we might have had a teddy/blanket etc that we were attached to…and the emotions we got from it; love, security, happiness. The item was no more than material, or fluff, so the emotion was coming from within us.

As we get older we might find ourselves saying we’ll be happier if we ‘just’ had more money, a bigger car, a bigger house. If we get these things we are often looking for the next big thing. So instead of looking to material things to fulfil our lives we need to look within ourselves and work out how to make ourselves feel better and deal with our emotions.

I’m probably not explaining myself very well but if you get a chance do go and hear John speak, it was really interesting, and well done Mamogs on a great day.


Community Spirit in Coolaney

Yesterday was an exciting day in Coolaney village when the judges for the IPB Pride of Place Awards came to visit. Coolaney was one of two Sligo places nominated and it was a real community effort. There was the butcher, the bakers and the candlestick makers…OK maybe not the latter but certainly the rest.

I’ve lived in Coolaney for almost 28 years, in fact all the time that I’ve lived in Ireland. There’s no other place I’d like to live. We have a beautiful scenic village, lots of different groups to be a part of and a great community spirit. There’s always a friendly smile and a cheery hello.

You can take part in singing, drawing, football, cycling and that’s just to name a few. The Coolaney Tidy Towns have won awards for over 20 years, the ICA have been in operation for over 50 years and Mary told us and the judges all about their lovely organisation in the fantastic event yesterday.

There was Irish music, Irish dancing – including a dance down by the river – an actual, real, Riverdance! There was gospel singing, afternoon tea, Italian food, cup cakes, sandwiches and so many smiling volunteers.

“The purpose of the competition is to acknowledge the work being done every day by communities all over the island of Ireland. Since the competition commenced our judges have met hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom are proud of their place. The competition is based on communities demonstrating directly to the judges their pride in their place by oral presentation, exhibitions of community activities and culture and a tour of the area highlighting the aspects of which they are particularly proud. It is also important that the community demonstrates real partnership with their local council and shows that all sectors of the community are included.”

Hopefully our village showed the judges that we are an inclusive community, there really is something for everyone. It’s only going to get better with the new Mountain Bike Centre and the new Community Cafe which are planned for next year. So fingers crossed for the winners announcement and even if we don’t win I was proud to be a part of it.


Waxing lyrical

I’ve wanted to try encaustic art for ages and today I got that chance. Poilin McGowan, who is a talented artist, has recently opened the Open Door Gallery and Studio in Rathcormac alongside fellow artist Tanis Gordon Smith.

Poilin had a beginners encaustic art class so I jumped at the chance to have a go and I absolutely loved it. Encaustic art is wax art, you melt the wax and make pictures…I’m sure there is a more technical term for it but you know me.

What I loved about this was the element of surprise, because I’m a beginner I had no clue of what the finished result was going to look like. Poilin makes it look so easy and I really like her way of teaching, she’s very calm which makes everyone else calm.

After Poilin gave us a demo off we went to our work stations, we had our own areas complete with an encaustic iron, what looked like a soldering iron with various attachments and a heat gun.

I churned out a lot of pictures, I realised I didn’t put enough wax on the first few but I got better as the morning went on. There was something very relaxing about being in the shadow of Benbulben, looking at the rain hitting the pavement outside, and watching the wax morph into something interesting.

We were all so engrossed in the class that we didn’t even stop for a break. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable classes I’ve been too and of course now I really want an encaustic kit!

Poilin helped with this one – you can tell.

If you are interested in ‘fast’ art I’d really recommend this workshop, it’s brilliant.

photos, sligo

Keeping it local


This year I’ve made a conscience effort to try to keep my business locally. The calendars, as you know, contain photos all taken in County Sligo. So in taking the photos I’ve had to put petrol in my car and quite often had lunch or coffee where ever I’ve happened to be. All supporting local businesses.

Printfix in Sligo printed the calendars for me. I’m delighted with the quality and the service. From my first meeting with Caitriona, complete with a cuppa, to the finished result she has gone above and beyond my expectations.

From grabbing the calendars from them and running down the hill to deliver them to Liber and the Yeats Memorial Building. From buying the envelopes to post overseas in Clever Office or Sligo Office Suppies. Withdrawing the money from Sligo Credit Union, heading to the post office to post them. It’s all done locally.

Even selling on Etsy – I can sit at my kitchen table with my doggos at my feet and manage my customers. There’s a big shift now for remote working and I can see why. It makes life so much easier, I can fit in Jono’s appointments around much easier and work when I want to work.

If you are interested in finding out more about Grow remote and the event they have at the end of September you can click here.

photos, Travel

Following the sun

I woke up at 5am yesterday morning and I was wide away so off I headed exploring…although this time I did wait until after 6am because I really don’t like walking in the dark.

I was going to head up Knocknarea but to be honest my legs haven’t recovered from the Glencar walk yet so I wanted to go a bit easier on myself. So as I was driving I decided to follow the sun and it took me to Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery.

Carrowmore is one of the oldest cemeteries in Ireland and is the largest one. It was magical watching the sun rise over these ancient stones and wondering about life as it would have been all those years ago.

It was the beginning of a very special day and I do feel that times are changing. The birds were singing and throughout the day I noticed more butterflies than I’d noticed for the whole of the summer. I also noticed white feathers, hundreds of them. Where ever I walked a feather was near. I found it very reassuring, like someone was watching out for me and telling me they were near.

I love these early mornings. Greeting the day before the rest of the world wakes up. Enjoying the silence and happy seeing life through my lens. I hope you like the photos.