Thursday, 21 October 2010

'Forty Shades of Green'

our ferry which bore us in comfort from Holyhead to Dublin port

Memories: all in the mind. The summer months since we returned from Ireland have been so busy that my promised 'Irish Journal' has been on the back-burner, until meeting again some of the people from the Caravan Writers' Guild with whom we shared that marvellous journey prompted me to continue. In essence, I was back with our motor home, boarding the Stena Line ferry (so quick and easy, so smooth a crossing, free WiFi; and so simple the disembarkation when we arrived in Dublin port). Approaching the Irish coast, I am looking again for THAT GREEN - a green peculiar to Ireland that I remembered from previous holidays - but it's evening and instead I am captivated by the misty blues, greys and purples of the Wicklow Mountains, silhoutted against the pearl of an early evening sky.

our fellow journalists are a friendly crowd and soon made us feel welcome (for this was our first CWG trip) - soon we were all sitting down to a bring-and-share supper - but another time, we must remember to take a folding table as well as chairs

That week in June had been jam-packed with activities and places to visit; some organised, others of our own choosing. I'll not forget the superb campsite and the hospitality of Edward & Nuala Allen at their award-winning Moat Farm, nor the camaraderie of fellow journalists, welcoming us as soon as we arrived. Nor meeting the marketing director of the Irish Caravan & Camping Council, Norah Heraty, and talking to her about those 'forty shades of green' that I had determined would be the title of a piece I had been asked to write about the tour. It subsequently appeared in the CWG magazine, 'In Touch'.

And I'll never forget being given the opportunity to visit an organic Irish smallholding specially arranged for me because I had expressed an interest in gardens; discovering what makes a place alive - the people and what they do.
early on a damp morning with clouds scudding across the backdrop of the Wicklows (I posted about this organic smallholding on my 'gardening' blog, post dated 14th June, 2010)

Then touring Dublin in the rain and drinking my first Guinness at the Dublin brewery, tramping through the wholesale market, riding on a tour bus, and shopping for fabric because I wanted something of Eire in the journal I was constructing; our three days in Eire went by in a whirl of discovery.

drinking Guinness at roof-top level - a pub in the sky at the brewery (the 'Gravity Bar' from which can can enjoy a 360-degree view of the Dublin skyline)

We headed north, over the border, for Strangford Lough, Belfast and Antrim for the second part of the visit (which will be outlined in my next post) but returned south to Eire for our last night in preparation for catching the return ferry from Dublin port back to Holyhead. By then we were on our own and I planned to write about the Boyne river and the battle of 1690 which still holds such implications for Ireland in the present day. For some reason, I forgot to take a photo of the actual site - we had stopped for a motorhome picnic - or perhaps it was because by then we were experiencing a little more of the soft, gentle Irish rain. So instead, I am including another photo taken in the Wicklow Mountains which hold their own magic and are beautiful rain or shine.

Blessington Lakes with the Wicklows in the background

Mind-mapping, remembering, is so different to reality; processing my notes so often puts a different perspective on what we have done and where we have been. Talking again to Norah only last week at the 2010 International Caravan & Motorhome Show in Birmingham, we realised just why we must go back. For out of the blue, she says she is sending me a book on Irish gardens (it's evidently in French, but no matter). I can't wait; we check our guide to Irish camping parks - I am planning already! To be let loose in gardens beyond these shores will be blissful enough, in Irish gardens I can see that words will flow; I'll be snap-happy, whilst creating poem-spills.

Raymond says he wants to visit County Donegal; I likewise, but also the Achill Islands (Co.Mayo), for I recently discovered my great, great grandfather was posted there as a coastguard sometime in the 1800s. Nora asks if we would cover Westport house and gardens; she has marked it in the book, which has now arrived. I discover there is a caravan site within the park; and it's not that far from the Achills. I'll have to persuade Raymond that Co.Mayo rather then Co.Donegal should be our next Irish destination! Now when shall I book the ferry?


  1. How wonderful for you to get some travel time in, and for sharing, as I would love to visit Ireland some time.
    I have posted a garden oddity on my blog I thought you in particular would like. Do take a look.

  2. Absolutely beautiful! I would love to visit Ireland one day and drink my first Guinness. I did not know there were so many shades of green!

  3. you have rekindled my desire to visit Ireland once more and to see those forty shades again.

    I think my husband had a relative on Achill, I think he said that their phone number was Achill one!