Sligo walking Trials

Dunneill River Walk – Dromore West Co. Sligo

Dunneill River walk is situated in the small village of Dromore West on the main road to Sligo.  The entrance to the lovely river walk is to the lef, leaving the village from Ballina side.  You can park up along the main road (make sure to pop your wing mirrors in) or you can park in the village of Dromore West.  The river walk is a short fenced off walk that runs along the river.  Once you come to a gate you can continue on down along a back road on to  Ballygilcash Bridge and cross over to another part of the walk which leads you to Donaghintaine Bridge.  We stopped here but you can continue on towards Easkey or go in a loop back to Dromore West. The Dunneill River walk is part of a loop walk.  The part we did took us about an hour as we stopped looked around took our time and the kids loved all the bridges and littler waterfalls along the way.

The entire Dunneill river walk is fenced off on both sides and there is gates at each end, so it was lovely and safe for the kids to run along and explore knowing they were safe.  Where the river walk ends and you continue walking to the bridges there is lots of historical finds to stop and take in.  Most buggies would fit along the paths, its all stony so i wouldn’t say scooters would be good but bikes would be OK.  My kids also loved all the animals they spotted along the way and the entire walk they where entertained.  We really enjoyed this walk, its short but long enough to tire the kids out.

The Break down

  • Distance; 3 km 
  • Paths; narrow all fenced off some cross overs on back roads
  • Type; river and field
  • Walking boots/shoes advised
blanemore forest walk

Blanemore Forest Archaeological Walk – Moygownagh Co. Mayo

This walk is a hidden gem in the heart of Mayo a true explore and investigate kind of walk.  The kids will have an adventure discovering the paths and walking through the tall tress and wild paths.  The 4.8 km walk on wooded paths, gravel, boardwalk and forest is an exploration of a the West of Ireland’s charm that we all hear about but now a days find it difficult to find.

As we drove to the forest I was slightly skeptical that my husband had the directions correct, we turned off the main road continued on into the countryside the roads got windier narrower and when the grass started to appear done the center of the road the looks started.  Hubby reassured me we we’re going the right way, once we passed through Moygownagh village the end was near litterly as the Forest walk is at the end of a long boggy road.  The drive alone is an adventure but a good one I promise and it’s well sign posted.

Like many walks in Mayo what lies beneath is there to discover, as you walk the paths evidence of the early farmers from near 6000 years ago can be spotted throughout the forest.  Keep an eye out for the woodland creatures and flowers and fauna along the way.  Our favorite was the eye catching red mushrooms; red elf caps.  Make sure to bring a picnic and once you get to the lake you’ll find benches and an amazing view to enjoy your lunch by.  The lake is roughly half way and a good stop off for the kids to refuel.  I wouldn’t advise bringing bikes or scooters for the kids just lots of drinks and snacks and they’ll have a ball.

There is a good map to get to the walk  click here 

The Break down

  • Distance; 4,8 km
  • Paths; rough, boarded and gravel
  • Type; Woodland
  • please note its important to stick to the paths on this walk as it is quiet boggy off path

 

 

 

 

 

Children’s Events – Ballina Salmon Festival

Children’s Events, Ballina Salmon Festival                    
                                        
With the weather heating up a little and the snow drops popping up the plans for the upcoming summer are beginning to start.  With two busy children who are always asking “what are we doing today, Mammy?” I’m always on the lookout for events taking place and keeping in mind things we did last year.  One date I’ll definitely have in the diary is the Ballina Salmon Festival, Children’s Events.  My two kids had a ball last year, every day there was different fun, engaging and activity packed events.  From paid workshops to many many free events the choice was endless.  All the events where well run, professional and I knew and felt my children were safe.  Children are to the for front of what the events were about,  all involved were happy to help and encourage the children to get the most out of the events. 


Each event we attended had its unique theme from learning Martial Arts, Fun & Splash , Dance workshop to Drumming workshops the possibilities where endless.  My sons favourite activity  was the Reeling in the Year’s Workshop, with The Jackie Clarke Collection.  Little Red Head got to amerce himself in the excitement of a newsroom setting where he created a newspaper, cutting pasting and writing.  He came out buzzing with all that was from years gone by, and he continued his newspaper at home making sure it was accurate.   Mini Miss enjoyed the fabulous Birds of Prey on the infamous Heritage Day, but her favourite event was the Disco in the Stephenites sports ground, where she boogied for hours meet up with her friends, made new friends and her favourite part, came home with a massive goody bag filled with treats and gifts. 

For me while I did enjoy my children’s favourite events, I’ve got to say my favourite was running around the picturesque Belleek Woods, at the Pirate Treasure Hunt. We looked for clues and made sure there were no pirates lurking around.  Little Red Head and Mini Miss got so involved and ran the length of the woods without even realizing, always a plus for Mammy; tired happy children equal happy Mammy.  Like many of the Children’s events there were drinks and treats at the end of the event.  I feel I need to say here that many of these events where free but always came with goodies. 

While the Mardi Gras isn’t on the Children’s Event  calendar it is well worth keeping the children awake for, what’s one late night . . .  For the past two years my then 3 and 5 year old loved the parade and last year they loved it even more.  As the anticipation build “Mammy will it be as good as last year?”  It didn’t disappoint I love seeing the look of wonder and pure happiness on my children’s faces. 

We all know that once the children finish up school towards the end of June we will be scurrying to find things to keep our kids busy.  
The Ballina Salmon Festival is a must, for the Children’s Event, I would advise on popping into the tourist office to book the workshops as they do fill up fast, but as mentioned  there is many free events and this year I don’t doubt that the Children’s Events calendar is going to fun filled and exciting.

Keel Beautiful Keel

Cars packed we’ve narrowed down a laundry basket full of toys and a box full of toys to two neat backs packs.

 Tent  – check
Sleeping bags – check
sun cream  – check
midgie spray – check
And we’re off, but where to?  It being the June bank holiday and you not being able to book camp sites in advance the frantic phone calls start, but alas if we can make it to Achill before 1 o’clock we are guaranteed a spot,     GO GO GO . . .
We arrive and the wrestle with the tent begins it only takes us half an hour to put it up, hubby is next to useless, note for next time just put it up alone I’d have it done in half the time.  No pegs don’t go in that way there suppose to hold the guide wires; quay lots of sighing!  The “help” also from the 3 and 5 year old was truly invaluable ; quay more sighing and added heavy breathing.  Once all is up and our home for the next two days is sorted I take a step back and take in Keel Sandybanks Caravan and Camping Park ; stunning truly stunning. I’m Irish and I take for granted how beautiful Ireland is there’s beach, mountains, green, lakes, sand dunes oh and a circus tent around me breath taking!
       

I was quickly taken out of my tranquil state with request to head to the beach so swim suits on and off we went.  I kid you not but the water was warm, I’m still investing in a wet suit but I was refreshed from my dip in the ocean. Mini Miss and Little Red Head loved it jumping over waves and chancing them to the shore.  Tired out for the whole of five minuets we headed back for food, which featured alot on our camping trip.
We headed on this trip on a very tight budget we spent €42 for camping for two nights then for the food I raided the cupboards at home and filled my many many little containers with food.  I brought our camping stove and on the first night we had spag bol which I cooked at home the previous day and the second evening we had burgers and sausages.  For lunch we had sambos and yogurts and through out the day we had the usual snacks and lots of fruit.  As a treat on one of the days the kids got chicken nuggets, outside the camp side there was a chip van and myself and hubby got soup and of course there was the ice cream van.  In total we spent €30 on food/snacks while in Achill.
Sandybanks Caravan and Camping Park itself is an excellent facility clean welcoming great access to the beach and lots to do there.  On the Saturday night I went over to the toilet blocks and one of the soap dispensers was empty and I thought to myself ‘ah that wouldn’t be filled now for the rest of the weekend’ well I ate my words the following morning, soap dispenser was full again and at no stage were the toilets dirty but they were always busy.  The kitchen facilities were very good fridge filled to the brim but you’ll always have that bins were always clean and the kitchen itself clean and tidy.  We didn’t use the showers as there was an outdoor one just at the gate when you came in from the beach, but I sneaked a peak a few times and they were always clean.  There was a great entertainment room for the kids catering for baby to teen.  My two had great fun playing the air hockey at only €1 a game and chilling out watching the movie on the tv and of course no trip away would be complete without a playground my two had hours of fun here.
There favorite place was still the beach . . . 

Fresh air is great for the soul and great for putting the kids to sleep, one of my favorite things on camp was chilling at night with hubby playing card and having a drink you just cant beat sitting in the outdoors being eaten by the midgets and having a laugh over my lack of my ability to play 21.  On a serious note we found the citronella sticks great for keeping the midgies away.
Nothing but Class all the way – Rosa in a plastic cup
#classybird
On our last night I introduced the kids and hubby to smores, they had more fun making them than eating them . . .
I love camping and as many of you know I’m a Girl Guide and I’m camping since I was a tot with my Mam when she was a Guide.  Sharing these experiences with my hubby and kids is something money can’t buy, I can’t wait for more camping adventures and we’ll definitely be back to Keel, Achill as there is so much we didn’t do kayaking on the lake, visit the new aquarium go on the many walk and so much more.
All packed up and time for home

No, I dont have two beautiful Girls!

No, I don’t have two beautiful Girls!

Why is it so important to people that my beautiful, intelligent, funny, talkative four year boy fit into the norm, of the short back and sides.  There isn’t a week that goes by that my son doesn’t get called a girl.  It just cannot be a case of mistaken identity as while he may have amazing long red hair he still dresses like a “boy”.  Dark runners or blue wellies, a monster coat, jeans and his t-shirts are usual some sort of super hero or prehistoric animal. 
When I correct the person and say “no he’s a boy”, the things that have being said to me just get better every time; ‘oh you usually only see girls with red hair, oh really, it’s the hair, sure it so hard to tell these days’. Just typing those few is boiling my blood, it shouldn’t matter so much that I don’t cut my sons hair.  It gives him character it looks brilliant on him and while his hair doesn’t make him it just adds to his character.
We live in a world were different is still frowned upon, no strike that it’s the country we live in, Ireland is still full of the crowd followers the hush hushes what will the neighbours say?  So my boy has long hair until he tells me he wants to cut it, it stays.  We had the conversation last week, but he told me he likes his hair and that John (his uncle) has long hair, so he not cutting his hair.  Why did the topic of cutting his hair come up someone had said it to him about having long hair, he’s four butt out world let kids be kids express themselves, long, short, red, blue, yellow hair does it matter, no!  As long as the child is happy, fed, watered and loved.
I don’t have two beautiful girls, I have one beautiful boy and one beautiful girl.

Just as I sat down to type this I came across this video Little girl cuts long gorgeous hair, why? it brought tears to my eyes, it made me thankful for my children, and the little girl in the video is so special.  There is a message in this to all those who look for the norm and judge me and my child.  Hair is hair but to some it is life or death and can mean a lot, be thankful for what you have get on with life and keep your comments to yourself.