Monday, 26 September 2016

What we did last summer.

Hello! I have been away from this space for so long it does seem like a novelty to be blogging again. Thank you so much for those of you who popped in while I was away and encouraged me to get back! I can't tell you how much that means. The last few months have been very very busy but thank-fully the last couple of weeks of August signaled a long slow decent into a lovely summery laziness. But where did September come from - I can't believe it is nearly finished? The weather here has been so lovely it has been a little shocking to be plunged back into the Monday to Friday school routine and feeling the season turn away from the sun and into Autumn.

So, the big news is I finished and passed my degree with a respectable BSc 2:1 which is a higher second-class honours. I finished my last paper on the 31st May and didn't get the results till the 7th July and I can tell you, the waiting was excruciating! By the end I was crippled with compulsive email, Facebook and course site checking and updating, so the relief was palatable. It is indeed a pity that I did not finish my degree when I was 24 instead of 44 but there we are, I would not be the person I am now if not for the choices I made. Better late than ever eh? I am going up to Belfast in October for the degree ceremony and cannot wait to get all decked up in the cap and gown and be presented with my degree from the 'Graduate Presenter' and whoever else represents the Open University at these events. I know it is all rather silly but nevertheless I feel compelled to have my five minutes of swishing around like a proper academic and get my photo taken in a stupid hat. The kids are super exited about it especially as we will be staying in a hotel and seeing the Egyptian mummies at the Ulster Museum. I'm going to have a celebratory pint in The Crown. I think I have earned it.

So it is sad to say goodbye to the summer - but we did have fun. We...

Celebrated Aunty Momo's beautiful wedding. Congratulations M &S!!!xxx

Gave the kids their first festival experience at Vantastival 2016.

These guys below are the brilliant Candlelit Tales. This month, 28th & 29th  they are in the Stag's Head in Dublin (re)telling some of our classic Irish myths and legends for the Autumn with their own brand of charismatic delivery and musicianship

Vantastival was held at the gorgeous Beaulieu House and is a sweet little boutique festival which is very family orientated. We particularly loved all the kids events in the magical walled garden.

'Discovered' the stunning Lough Ramon, Co Cavan. There were no filters used on these photos, everything really was that colour on that perfect summers day.

At last we found ourselves on the Wild Atlantic Way in amazing Co Donegal. Now, in the past I have been guilty of completely ignoring this part of Ireland in favour of the more famous, perhaps more touristy spots like Galway and West Cork but as the late great Ian Bank's remarked in The Crow Road, "Sometimes things only come to you gradually." Inexplicably, the fates have conspired to raise Donegal from a dim consciousness of a remote unknown northernmost county that hangs off the edge of Northern Ireland into a gripping obsession. Donegal is really a state apart, it remains part of the historical and legendary province of Ulster but politically partitioned from the UK entity that is Northern Ireland and geographically detached from it's own political 'home' the Republic of Ireland. 

Unfortunately Donegal you are also the home of the national embarrassment and country music treasure that is Daniel O'Donnell! Daniel is, I would admit is a somewhat unique performer who appeals to a very particular demographic and was celebrated for hosting an annual massive tea party for all his fans at his Co Donegal home. His relationship with his fans was brilliantly and hilariously parodied in the sublime Father Ted episode, The Night of the Nearly Dead.  Donegal was just not that appealing. Anyway, I digress, however for almost a year, for some reason this place has been following me around, friends have been sharing pictures of glorious deserted beaches all over social media all in Donegal, By accident, I stumbled across Sharon Blackie's beautiful writing especially 'Falling into the land's dreaming'In between all that the news was full of  the next Star Wars being filmed on Malin Head, the highest point of Ireland and Charles and Camilla popped over for the weekend.

Then, I was researching material for a short story idea and wikied up the gorgeous Glebe House, home of the celebrated English artist Derek Hill (who also tutored Prince Charles) and just in time for my birthday I heard Maggie O'Farrell talking about her inspirations for her latest book 'This must be the Place' and that was it! Of course we just had to go exploring. It was too spooky not too! Here is a smallish (self-indulgent) snapshot of what we found there:

Narin Beach.

I could live here.

Glenveagh National Park:

Glebe House

Wee Library at Glebe House. This place is one of the must see places in the county for art lovers, interior designers/historians and people who just love atmospheric houses. The website does give a good flavour of the riches contained in the house. E who appointed herself camera woman for the day was given special permission to take some photos of the interior -usually completely and utterly forbidden-but was so over-awed by the whole experience she did take a single frame! (Much to my chagrin.)

Slieve League Cliffs

Foothills of Slieve League.

Have you ever been to a place for the first time and it has felt like coming home? This is what this holiday felt like. Maybe it has something to do with those soft Northern accents, maybe something about the quiet friendliness and easy hospitality of the people. I don't know but I hope that I will be back very soon. I have a hopeful plan. To this end you can now find me on Instagram @linnetinoriel and chuckle at my amateurish attempts to get to grips with that platform.
Thanks for staying with me till the end, I hope I shall be back here very soon too. Take care and have a great week. xxx


  1. It's so good to see you back and what a fabulous set of photos of glorious places. Many congrats on your degree, a fantastic accomplishment. Interesting about Donegal, something more to be explored there for you I think. Xx

  2. Your post is a perfect marriage of culture and natural beauty. Very uplifting! oh and congrats on finishing your degree.


    1. Thanks Jean - 'tis lovely to see you back blogging also. How is your house hunting going? xx

  3. I am having such trouble with my computer and then washed my phone with a load of wash !
    I keep missing your posts....
    So happy I found this one. Beautiful photos. I am in love.

    Congratulations on your degree !
    cheers, parsnip

  4. Oh Parsnip, so sorry i am just seeing your message now. I have not been using my computer to access blogger, just my phone which means I have not been viewing the site properly. I hope your computer/phone troubles are all sorted out by now. Thank you for popping in. Love to you and The Hamish! xx