Home from the Holidays :-(

 

It’s just one of those things in life, a bitter sweet day for most, your holiday (vacation) is over on you return home, you are leaving what has hopefully been a really great experience with family or friends and returning to the reality of life, while at the same time you quite often look forward to getting back to your own home, your own bed and more familiar surroundings for the little one. It’s a little bit of a struggle both ways…..we started the week with a pretty nice view and it was just a taste of what was to come, in a beautiful Apartment with lovely hosts, would definitely stay again.

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Bunlin Studio Apartment – Golan, Millford, Co. Donegal

 

For us, it’s been a really terrific week away, we have no covered two thirds of the Wild Atlantic Way around the Donegal area and just have one section to work out way though, and we’ve already started planning that, will then look at where else we can hit on the other sections around the coastline, there are so many places to check out it’s great. This time around we took some time up around the Fanad Peninsula across to Dunfnaghy and Falcarragh, which turned out to be a great base to travel around from, small town but lovely and quiet, only 16km to the stunning Glenveagh National Park and the same in a different direction to the very interesting Ards Forrest Park which contains parkland and beach in one location.

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Ards Forrest Park – Co. Donegal
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Bloody Foreland – Co. Donegal

There are just so many stunning viewing points around the hills and mountains in the areas, you are always a short drive away from one, so just take a look around and pick a route, some of the viewing points are a little more difficult to get to than others, the road up to and down from Horn Head for example can be a little hairy, but the view’s are hard to beat, it can get a little windy up there, so just don’t take any unnecessary risks taking photos or looking around. Or indeed Fanad Head Lighthouse which is another of the Great Irish Lighthouses around our rugged coastline.

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Fanad Head Lighthouse – Co. Donegal

 

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Horn Head – Co. Donegal

There are also a number of places to see animals of all shapes and sizes, parks, farms, a mini-zoo, lots of options. On this trip we discovered Oakfield Park in Raphoe a short distance outside of Letterkenny, have to say there’s still pieces of it being developed and added to, but it’s a really beautiful spot, with a lovely Train Ride that goes all the way around the lower part of the property.

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The Longsleeper at Oakfield Park

We always take in a trip to Tropical World in Letterkenny when in the area, the little guy takes in more as we go around each time we go, so that’s pretty cool and I always love a walk around the Butterfly Garden which is much busy with Butterflies this year. Staying so near to Glenveagh it would have been a crime not to get up there and sample the beauty of the area, the shot at the top of the page is from there, and it was another well spent day, the little guy even high fived the shuttle bus driver when we got back to the Visitor Center, not something he would have done had he not been in good form after a day of great views, lots of birdies (and a scone in the cafe of course).

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Common Chaffinch – Glenveagh National Park

 

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Great Mormon at Tropical World’s Butterfly Garden.

 

:Honestly these have been just a few of the many memories we created this week in the North West of Ireland, weather wise, bit of a mixed bag, but only really had to change our plans one day when we couldn’t bring the wee man out in howling wind and rain, but we were very lucky to have a few days of sun early in the season, lots more to come when I get a bit of time to go through the photos. On the downward side didn’t manage to get very much done this week, hoped to get some writing finished off, all that despite waking each morning between 5:30 and 6:15 – hard to force yourself when you are getting overtired, maybe that’s what this wise old owl would say 😉

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Snowy Owl at Tropical World in Letterkenny

It always comes down to time….

Doesn’t seem to matter what you are trying to do, work, home, hobbies it really does all come down to a matter of what time you have available to you and how you manage to split it up. As I type this I’m actually on a Family holiday, and for some bizarre reason I woke up on the dot of 5:00am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I’m watching a glorious sunny morning develop, working on some Photos from the HRH Blues 4 Festival a couple of weeks back (almost there) and posting a quick update here. Going to head out to the back garden of our base here in Donegal shortly and see if there are any Birdies up and about, have seen some Robbin’s and Coal Tits already through the windows so hopefully there will be.

 

Writing hasn’t been working at all the last week or so, but I think the fog may be clearing from my mind now, with some luck when the little guy has gone to bed this evening I’ll be able to get stuck into finish off the reviews tonight, and get somewhat back on track. Not going to touch any of the photos I take this week until we get home at the weekend, so I guess I’m already borrowing time from next week, it’s what a lot of us end up doing these days to try and fit things in. Too hard to catch up with things though and eventually something gives and in reality that will pretty much always be your hobbies, it’s easy enough for me to take a camera out in the garden and try to catch the birds flying around or feeding, but it’s another 30 minutes or an hour our of a day, then editing the photos is another hour, I think I just need to start organising time better.

 

Today, it’s all about getting out and enjoying the break, off to Glenveagh National Park, in Donegal, a beautiful spot no matter what the weather, but if it holds up as it is now it should be a terrific trip, wish us well, the little guy wasn’t crazy about the beach yesterday, a little too brights with the strong sun, but he had fun travelling around as he always does, we paid a visit to the beautiful Fanad Lighthouse yesterday,  Would love to head back there sometime, it’s a lovely spot. Once again we are taking in a piece of the stunning Wild Atlantic Way, do visit if you ever get a chance and plan a trip following part of the Irish Coastline.

 

Right, out into the sun (although it’s cold right now I’m sure) and we shall see what we manage to see out there………..enjoy your day where you are ………

Marking achievements gets harder every year ?

Really it does, as we grow older and our circumstances change, along with the demands on our time from not only our work but also family or other external influences, it becomes harder to see what you have gotten done in a year.

Personally, well I would say on the Photography/Music front, less than I got done last year, but at the same time considering all that has changed in my life this year perhaps a lot more than I could have expected.

Attended at least 2 Gigs/Festivals a month (yes a significant drop on anything in the last 8 years – but still some awesome shows)

In reality I have only been able to shoot a few shows this year, and luckily also a number of Festivals, which helped a lot. But those I have done have been terrific to be at and even better to shoot, some of my favourite Artists, some from the Bucketlist that have been crossed off, and some for fun that really were that.

Reviews wise – well even with a few days to go I’m still trying to get over the 36 mark for albums, and perhaps only 10 Gigs/Festivals, again a noticeable drop on three or four years ago when I started Writing, but at the same time 3 per month isn’t all that shabby. It’s still an honour to cover Albums and Gigs for a number of Sites.

At the end of the day these are just figures and don’t mean a hell of a lot, but it’s always an easy way of seeing how busy you have been with other things. Perhaps not a fair comparison but in 2014 the figures were 69 Gigs/Festivals and 61 Reviews, and pretty much the same in 2015. perhaps they were the exceptions 😉

But there are many other things that have happened that can be marked as success stories, and even winning small battles should never be ignored.

Still 2017 has been a difficult one, and here’s to 2018 being a much better, happier and healthier year for us all.

 

The Wild Atlantic Way is another piece of Heaven.

The natural beauty of the Country you live in is often something that simply never enters your mind when you are younger, it bypasses you as the exploration of other parts of the World takes hold, or you simply haven’t taken the time to explore your own Countey, Island or even local area.

View over North Fhee, Turloughmore and Slieve Aughty in The Burren, Co. Clare. Ireland

This is quite true of me, as a child our family would have brought us to different parts of the Ireland (my Country of birth), but I don’t think as a child you really appreciate the sheer beauty that may be 1 hours drive from your bedroom. Having taken holidays/vacation in different parts of Europe, the US and Canada over the years since, it has only been the last few years that we have stayed on home soil, especially since the birth of our son 19 months.

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Cliffs around Loop Head Peninsula, Co. Clare

Since then we have traveled around a lot of this Islands coastline, both North amd South, visiting places like the Giants Causeway and Malin Head and many stops around the Wild Atlantic Way and without doubt we can say that we are seeing so many different areas of stunning beauty, it’s a very liberating experience, so much so that we are already beginning to plan next years trip.

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As for our son, well we will see if he develops the same appreciation, for now he is certainly experiencing different places, and he is not quite up to meeting different animals. Still to come this week is a trip to the Cliffs Of Moher and weather dependent visits to gardens, beaches and whatever else we can fit in.

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An Emu we met at Moher Open Farm