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August 14th 2008
Published: August 14th 2008
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mountain bikingmountain bikingmountain biking

Ross and the boys
6th August
We are now in Ireland and what a beautiful place this is. The boys are extremely happy. Paddy takes us on adventures to the beach - swimming and gathering kaimoana. When we come home Barbara has the table laden with food. Shepherd Pie, tomato soup, sausages, jam tarts, treacle tarts, roast chicken with all the trimmings and don’t forget the mussels says Blake. They’re at a gaelic football training at the moment. Paddy and Barbara are down the road trying to get the escaped donkeys home.
Since our last blob we have spent more time in Scotland, travelled to Northern Ireland, broken down and then moved to Sligo, Ireland.
We stayed with Colin and Mags in Peebles and had a fantastic time. Our first day was spent playing in a stream catching fish. The children (Ross, Katie and Emma and the brothers) only came back up to the adults when they were hungry. The next day Ross and Colin took the boys and Gareth mountain biking. Mags, Blake the girls and I went and had hot chocolate in the old court house which is now a cafe. Anton and Mason now want to live in Peebles. The mountain biking
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Anton's tree
is amazing and all on their doorstep. Anton and a tree got to know each other fairly well. His ear was pretty bruised and he left a piece of skin in Peebles.
From Peebles to Edinburgh. No pictures of this because the battery on the camera was flat. The festival was just beginning so there were people everywhere. The kids loved the street entertainers. Blake got to poke his tongue out at a statue, the black angel poked his tongue at Blake so he responded in kind. The castle is still one of the most impressive things I’ve seen. Went to the Grass Market and wandered around. Hussel and bussel then home to the camping ground. We’ve now worked out that the kids can only really cope with two maybe three sight seeings things in cities. There is simply to many people for them to cope with. They will walk for miles around beaches, rivers and woods but not in cities.
We left Edinburgh and headed for Cairnryan where we were catching a ferry to Larne, Northern Ireland. On our way we saw a sign for a castle which was part of the Scotland Trust which we can get into
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Fantastic time had here.
free. We needed to stop for lunch so we went there for a picnic. What a find. It was a country park - beaches, woods, gardens, deer and a castle. We all went swimming in the sea - much to everyones astonishment. Gareth told us to pretend it was warm which is hard to do when your brain is freezing. The castle was beautiful - still like the owners had it. Blake couldn’t understand why anyone would give it away. The place is huge though. The walled garden was beautiful. Mason took alot of photos. That night Blake said “I know why they gave it away Mum - it’s to far to walk’. It was definitely a huge piece of property.
On to Northern Ireland. What an amazing place. Alot of new buildings going up. We followed the coastal causeway. Visited Carrick - de- ? where the swing bridge was built by fisherman to help them get to a fantastic salmon fishing spot. A long way down!! Thousands upon thousands of people there. Then onto the Giants Causeway - that is one of the most incredibles things I have ever seen. Blake had it right - he said it’s like
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Dribble castle scottish style.
a huge playground. The boys jumped from perfect rock to perfect rock. Mason took alot of photos here as well. Got lost and found a lovely camp ground for the night.

The next day was to be walking through the Roe Valley but unfortunately Hugo started making a funny banging noise which we simply couldn’t ignored so we stopped. I went and knocked on a door looking for some help and a telephone. But the fiat place said they couldn’t help and didn’t know where I’d get help. Went back to Gareth - told him the news. He went back to the house and used the phone again - he got hold of a mechanic that would come out and see. Several bacon butties and lots of last card games later the lovely lady from the house we called from came out. She rang back fiat and said that they should help because it’s a fiat that has broken down. 10 minutes later a mechanic turned up. Fixed the belt so we could drive to their work shop and then 1 hour later we were ready to go. We went back to the couple that helped us. She had
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The best use of our National Heritage Card.
made fresh scones for the boys - covered them in cream and fresh strawberries. She gave them to the boys who inhaled them. So she brought out more. What fantastic people. Beautiful scones as well. Blake couldn’t finish his fourth one.
We got to Barbara and Paddys at around 8 o’clock that night. Rather late and really please to be there. Got the boys to bed late. After a good sleep in the batteries restored we went inside. Barbara had melon, blueberries, cereal, bacon and eggs, tea and toast. The boys thought they had walked into heaven. Walking on the beach was a necessity after such a breakfast. The boys even went swimming in the sea. That afternoon we went and collected mussels and oysters from the bay. Blakes favourite part was eating all the mussels. Into bed on time tonight much to Anton’s and Mason’s horror.

12th August
The next day Paddy was wet and windy but we had to get out after another morning of bacon, eggs and sausages. Went to a place called Aughris Head and walked along the cliffs - and up one. The wind was so stong that it would hold you up. Then
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Our walk along the cliffs head first into the wind.
onto a pub for lunch and guiness. A tiny little pub right on the beach front. Sea food chowder - delicious. Home for a nap. Life is extremely good.

Friday was another adventure but this time into the tombs of carowkeel. It is the site of a stoneage age village and their burial sight. We clambered down several cliffs and walked around this ancient site. You could see where their houses were. Then onto the tombs which were on the opposite ridge. We crawled in. There is simply nothing this old in New Zealand. The heather was all in flower around the tombs and the view was amazing. The boys jumped, climbed and ran. Lots of fresh air. That afternoon Sarah, Paddy and Barbara’s daughter, her husband Mark and friend Hannah came to stay as well.
Before breakfast on Saturday we all went to Dunmoran beach for a walk and swim - building up for the cooked brekkie. It was absolutely freezing. Anton’s legs went bright red and it took my hands along time to change from white back to their normal pale pink. That afternoon the boys went up to a farm went is being farmed pretty much
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A lovely lunch in an Irish Pub
like it was 100 years ago. Mason gave the owner, Bridget alot of money making ideas - much to her interest.

Sunday was a wooden boat race at a gorgeous bay then onto Steedah a fantastic surf beach. Had to get a little organised that afternoon because we were leaving the next day. Onto Belmullet to a fair which Paddy and Barbara had a stall at. Paddy making pots and Barbara weaving. What a terrific time we had. Ate potato cakes over a peat fire. Tasted red wine - Irish tasting is a full glass, felt making, bull rush weaving, fudge .......... The people around Ireland are great - they all love teasing the boys and because the boys don’t really understand what they are saying they not quick enough with a response. From here we went onto Augness near Ballycroy. Barbara’s brother-in-law lives in this remote part of ireland. It’s pretty much a house in the middle of a bog. The earth moves as you walk on it. He’s a composer and the Greenland cultural ambassador. An amazing man. He showed the boys alot of the artifacts from Greenland - and here we were somewhere in ireland.
Tonight
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The stoneage village in Carrowkeel
we’re in Corrofin, Co. Clare. It’s raining and cold. Ireland does seem to be alot about rain. But that’s ok because Hugo’s warm and comfortable. Saw some amazing scenery today - loughs and sea, mountains and rocks. Having Hugo makes things so easy. We stopped on the side of the Doo Lough (good eh) and cooked lunch and made a coffee. Bought a cake in Belmulett which is a solid fruit cake made with guiness. Ate that and had coffee sitting on the banks of the lough. All the boys are into carving now. We’ve bought them a hammer and chisel. Mason’s looking for gold I think. So he sat on the sides of the lough chiseling away. Would love to see the sun before we leave Ireland but if we don’t it doesn’t matter.

14th August
Sitting in a cafe in Fishguard Wales. Drinking hot chocolates and catching up on administration stuff. All very happy and healthy. Only just fitting into our clothes after our fantastic time in Ireland. Heading off to St Davids for two nights. Hopefully Wales will be about sun and not the ran.

Saw off Ireland in style last night. We decided to
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Caught pinching peas.
go to a pub called Sky to the Ground which was recommended in the Lonely Planet. We went in travelling clothes (2 days old) with jandals. The pub serves meals upstairs in 'Heaven' - but its not pub standard rather 5 star. They let us in though. Delicious meal. Had real kids food.

Looking forward to Wales - heading to France on the 20th of August. Hopefully we'll get back to the blog before we leave.



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Sligo Bay

Mason with a lobster net.
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Dessert

Wild raspberries in lough inchoquin.
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Ashes

Waterford Crystal tour - an excellent tour. Mason wants to be a glass blower now.


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