A Pretty Lady Plans The Garden

Sligo-  Travel brings a sense of uncontrolled euphoria coupled with a sweet smile from the unknown.  It is an addiction that leaves you lost, as many do.  Fortunately, I don’t know of any serious health issues that come with a natural influx of dopamine, except coming down from it I suppose.   It is a good thing that The Sun Also Rises.

Home becomes just a feeling.  I find that growing a garden grounds me.  You start with the soil, rich and complete.  Well, it is a good idea to lay down some seaweed as the professionals have come to know.  Carney’s very own Bug Hotel reminds me of all the small creatures that gardeners need.

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Last year I took on a large plot to which I am forever grateful.  Potatoes, onions, garlic, kale, spinach and two raspberry bushes brought a sense of confidence to my we personality, riddled with guilt.  IMG_8550.JPG

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Now, I will start growing just what I like.  Not to say potatoes aren’t a joy in their floury, buttery, creamy goodness, they totally are! especially when shared between neighbors, but they require more space.  I have moved house and a quaint timber planter awaits.  I decided what to plant but we will see if my brown thumbs can make it green.

Finished Girl on A Train by Paula Hawkins and I must say it was crazier than I.  However, I do love Emily Blunt and I recommend watching A Quiet Place which did give me quite a thrill.

 

 

When God Says I Love You

Mullaghmore, An Mullach Mór– A spring day greets us with a full day of sunshine along the Wild Atlantic Way. There is a strand nearby that is a protected use area, a sharehold for farmers. I walk through the green pasture, up over the dunes and to my surprise a man walks up to me, completely nude. I never knew how to get here, but I’ve always wanted to go.

“Hello!”

“Hi,” I reply, wishing I too was naked.

I big smile.

A lovely day to see a middle aged man romping around the beach, like a dog playing in the surf. I admit, I had done research on this topic months ago but when it comes to my adventures, I’d rather stumble upon them versus forcing it, as this tactic always implodes (although I still do it sometimes). The beach, like many along the north west coast is isolated, underpopulated and serves as medicine for my soul.

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Continuing along, the nude dude seems to be away from his compatriots who keep to themselves down by the rocky bits.

A true wild man, away from his pack.

I once read that people with ADD or hyperactivity serve their tribe because they go beyond the boundaries, to explore the world and then report back what they see.

I worry that I will impinge on these free spirits by taking photos, so I try not to point. I won’t say that I didn’t get completely naked and go for a dip but I will say, I’m from Florida and it’s still March. I wander down the beach and back to climb the highest dune.

Yer man kept appearing like those arcade games where you have to hit the weasel. There he was lounging in the tall grass. He was so thrilled with himself, legs outstretched, hands tucked neatly behind his head, smiling into the sun.

Don’t swim here because it is very dangerous, but we know you will, so take this ring buoy, please don’t call for the helicopter, we told you so.IMG_3614

You missed my St.Patrick’s Day post because sharing is hard, it is still here. And if you want to see Mullaghmore on a normal day (the clothed beach) when it is dangerous/my writing was much worse, go here.

Listening to Gavin James “Bitter Pill” LOUD because it is the perfect segue for anyone trying to get over a piece of themselves and because he sounds like Hozier but with short hair.

Still alive and well in me Granny Flat.

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Connacht Gold

Sligo- When I was a schoolgirl, an Irishman stared into me and asked,

“Haley, can you tell someone you love them with your eyes?” I stared right back into him with a gentle reply,

“Yes, you can.”

It was unlikely that I had kept up with the readings he assigned but I knew something about the character of Hester Prynne.  It was my wild eyes and not my wit that got me through a vast amount of formal education.  I revel in my unlearning.

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8 jaars ago

For St Patrick’s I decided to honour the Queen of Connacht with a we hill walk.

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Benbulben from Knocknarea

The north west of Ireland has a dense concentration of megaliths.  These can include dolmens, cairns or burial grounds. Bones, tools, white quartz and beads are often found during the excavations of these sacred sites.

I walk the 40 minutes up to see the Queen, who was said to be married many times.

These could be actual marriages or ritual weddings wherein kings would symbolically marry the “one who intoxicates and brings great joy,” Maev, Meadhbh, Méabh, medu, mead, St.Patrick’s Day, male dominated debauchery, nuns marrying Jesus- see where this is going?

Anywho, I am no historian.

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I make it to the top and around the cairn (this is one of three potential burial sites so it may just be a pile of lucky rocks, who.knows.) I find myself walking down the path into Maev’s Forest.  On a previous night walk up Benbulben a fella told me that the English cut down all the trees here.

So now, you will find these little pockets where the people have attempted regrowth and they are called forests.

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Once down the opposite side I continue into the village of Strandhill. When you use google maps here, hitchhiking time is estimated which I find hilarious and quite comforting now that I am far from my car.

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I arrive at Hangar 1 of the old airport, The Strandill Markt. There I meet my friend Sarah of the Black Sheep Bakery with Larry her mascot. We are friends at our day jobs wherein I go to her and complain, she laughs and then we drink tea.

I stop by the Sushi Sisters serving it up to the hipsters of Sligo.  I enjoy seeing the movement of a country, refining simplicity and up for anything.  With my father’s words buzzing in my brain I continue on my way.

He has always told me to follow my heart.  Recently he has added “and stay attractive.”

I will take a holistic approach to this advice as it serves me best.  He sends me a selfie from a ski lift in Taos.

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Queen Maev by JC Leyendecker

Whatsapp has informed me that it will save all of my voice recordings to my Gmail account. Why? My data footprint will now consist of an 80/20 blend of appropriate and inappropriate images, epic anti-intellectual monologues and a blog about the possibility of being me.

As always thank you for your time, continue wasting it, and read this week’s poem.

Slieve League and Silver Strand

Co Donegal, Ireland- When I got news that my baby sister was headed to Ireland to kick off her Eurotrip Birthday Party… I had a panic attack.  Where will we go, what will we see, just how many ounces of Instagram gold will.she.mine.

I spoke with my brother who just welcomed his own baby girl into this magnificent world and he said, “you know you’re going to have to do everything she says, go everywhere she wants and be happy about it.”  I am glad he understands the female psyche.  As she runs on rad daydreams and DMs from her hometown squad I knew the pressure was on.

It was this big.

Catching up on GirlTalk

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She had fucking brilliant weather.  So I didn’t have to do what I normally do when people visit me in Ireland and it rains, which is, “Pssttt! you are in Ireland.” As far as viewing nature’s bounty, the possibilities are endless in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries, rain or shine.  My sister sent me “The Plan” in a Whatsapp a few weeks before her arrival and it goes as follows.  See the Donegal Mountains (easy from ma backyard bishes!!) No really, but we ventured up to Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) for a closer look.

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Number 2! Climb Benbulben.  I climbed the bad boy a few weeks before, in preparation of her demands with the Sligo Leitrim Mountain Rescue Team.  Follow me! I know the way AND I know who to call when my lungs collapse due to a profuse cigarette smoking habit.  Nummer drie, Giant’s Causeway– holy shit, houses of the holy, hold my half-moon press, this had a lot of anticipation riding on it.  And, finally visit Enniskillen Castle aka McGuire’s Castle to reclaim our lands!

The Fiesta was loaded up.  My pack with peanuts and dark chocolate, a thermos of tea and dear sweet baby sister brought all of my CDs…from highschool.  Yes, Dave Matthews Band and Haley’s Mega Mix 3000 on repeat.  From the looks of it I had really mastered Napster and those songs took me right back…to listening to Neil Young and eating lunch alone while everyone else was (insert rude backstabbing comment.)  Those were the days!

Here we are at the highest sea cliffs in Europe.

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So happy though, seriously, that she came to visit the Northwest of Ireland which is truly astonishing, wild and perfect for two crazy sisters that couldn’t be more different (except that we both like the XX).


We stopped for a breather and a Smithwick’s at the Rusty Mackerel where the bartender promptly poo-pooed our next stop: Giant’s Causeway.  “It is underwhelming” he informed, go to Silver Strand.  We gulped the rest of our beer and started on an improptu adventure to…Hawaii.

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Seriously, no filter, just my awesome photog skiilz and again, the amazing weather.  Really, who would have guessed this was Ireland?  One hundred and seventy one steps down to the beach and three decades worth of anxiety blown away in this easy, breezy, fucking beautiful, my sister- the cover girl.

It was actually quite crowded for a typical stop along the Wild Atlantic Way.  We weren’t the only ones cashing in on the nice weather.

Cheers to Emily and Happy Birthday! I hope you cherish your last years in your 20s and see that your 30s might not be so bad.  That will be it for sunshine, until next year people! Ta!

 

 

 

Garden Guru Over Here! JK!

Co Sligo, Ireland- First timer (in Ireland that is)! But, leave it to nature and sha-zam! This mother will grow you some pretty sweet goods.  I started the season with all the fervor and excitement after being held captive by the bleak and blustery winter.  But once the sun came out, I wanted to do as much sightseeing as possible.

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Silver Strand, Malinbeg

Even with minimal effort sans the big digging extravaganza in the beginning, I have been eating fresh spinach, radish, snap peas, Swiss chard and kale for a good bit of the summer along with lots of Guinness because we all need balance right?

I sniffed the garlic and onions in the garden for weeks.  Finally, after 6 months, I have harvested them. Their sweet/pungent/armpitty fragrance slaps you right in the face once you enter the messy storage shed where they will dry out and I’ll eventually braid ’em up.

Once I harvest the rest of the potatoes for storage, I will put my beds to bed for winter and plan for next year.  I hope to share more of my sister’s visit for my next post as she brought with her a week’s worth of Florida sunshine and it was basically phenomenal.

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Isn’t she the sweetest- Tullan Strand

 

 

First Point- Wild Atlantic Way

Co Donegal, Ireland- Malin Point, the most northerly point of the Ireland, marks the beginning of the Wild Atlantic Way.  In the northwest region of the country and rural Ireland in general it is extremely dark, unpolluted and perfect for star gazing on a clear night.  Officially launched in 2014, the Wild Atlantic Way is a 1700 mile (2750 km) stretch of interconnected roadways that is as distinct as it is transcendental.

IMG_0015If you find yourself traveling down the winding lanes of the Wild Atlantic Way do yourself a favor and turn off the GPS.  The route is well marked, besides, getting lost is a hallmark of any great adventure.

 

 

I walked along the marble pathways to marvel at the crashing waves along the jagged cliffs.  In the distance, the sandy beach of Five Finger Strand surrounded me and the green countryside was sprinkled with sheep.  Only a few people at this point, a less crowded vista know as Bamba’s Crown.

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Aurora sightings are most prevalent during the months of September/October and March/April.  You can follow @Aurora_ireland on twitter for up to date Aurora alerts, sightings and browse some sweet pics taken along the Wild Atlantic Way.

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I will continue to make my way along the Wild Atlantic Way.  Happy travels!

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Gaasperplas Park and Wild Camping

Amsterdan, Netherlands- Once we got our van legs (and officially became house-less) we started our journey into the unknown.  We had to part with some of our fav items.  To think everything I owned was going to fit in the van was quite freeing.  My materialistic nature was hit hard. But once I started living for the day instead of acquiring merch for my apartment, I was launched into a more self reliant, carefree state.

 

The first few nights we didn’t go far, but we did go wild!  Wild camping is simple…kinda. Find a place, park your van or pop your tent and sleep there.   Amsterdam is full of parks and green space that isn’t necessarily meant for wild camping but also not especially banning it…yet  Part of this experience was learning a bit of civil disobedience.  That night, hanging out in the same clothes I had worn the day before, I ate my veggies and for the first time in my life I didn’t have a plan.GaasperplasAfter a lifetime of being told what to do, where to go, how to be etc. by friends, family, the government and society as a whole, I began to manage myself. Sometimes we follow the rules so blindly, without questioning why or how they came to be or who is proclaiming them.   Although uncomfortable, putting myself in a position of unknown outcomes helped build my confidence and acquire new strategies for accepting the world as it is, while simultaneously striving for positive change and real freedom.

 

I discovered some awesome aspects of my life that I was too busy to notice before.  Being a good caretaker for Rolfie and providing him with more exercise and a better quality of life was something that gave me so much joy!  I rediscovered oil painting, crochet and writing.  I began to renegotiate the idea of waiting for “The Golden Years” to pursue interests.  Put off living a full life now so you live your dream when your arthritic episodes are almost as frequent as your hemorrhoid flares!

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Prior to this, my pursuit of happiness had devolved into the pursuit of cash, buying “experiences” or things and showing them off.  Sounds dumb, but even after 30 years, I had yet to realize this was happening to me apart from relating to song lyrics and being drawn to some shitty wall art I thought about buying from TJ Maxx.  IMG_6011

Shortly after noticing the odometer was in kilometers per hour and not miles, I  began to let go of the idea that having money equates to an ability to navigate life.  It is hard to describe the excitement and anxiety, isolation and connectedness I felt with each night’s new destination.  I was finally humbled by life, on the beach, with a beer and my best friend.