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The joys of rural Ireland: 3 videos; snippets of wildlife, farm life, & seaside life 

From the interactions via Vibrant Ireland I know many of you feel that rural Ireland is special. All the amazingly varied shades of green (did you know the human eye can see more shades in green than any other colour?), the abundant rainbows, the animals & the landscape speak to us in a manner that manages to both relax and invigorate.

we see the most shades of colour in green

Lately I’ve started recording some videos; I generally share them on the Vibrant Ireland & Travel Facebook page first (do give it a Like if you haven’t already, thanks!) Here are a few recent clips featuring some delights of the Irish countryside: wildlife in the form of playful Pine Martens, farm life in a modern horse round-up (see if you can spot the rainbows), and seaside life along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way on Loop Head peninsula in county Clare. I hope you enjoy!

Elusive Pine Martens, playing! Video:

“The pine marten is considered one of the rarest and most elusive wildlife species in Ireland. Once common throughout the country, by the 20th century the species had become extinct from the majority of Ireland, surviving only in a few isolated and fragmented populations mainly in the west.” Read more of the information on Pine Martens at  I have been lucky enough to see them a few times this summer, especially this pair here. I think they may be youngsters? Any pine marten experts reading that may know, do tell, thank you! One recent morning we were thrilled to see them playing jump & hide on our wall! Here’s the video clip:

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Irish Rainbow by Vibrant Ireland

Look up! there are plenty of rainbows in Ireland 🙂


Farm Life: horses & rainbows! Video:

Come to Ireland and chances are you’ll see a rainbow at some point. This past week has seen plenty as the weather does its characteristic frequent changes from sunshine to showers to sunshine again. Along our country laneways, under a rainbow filled sky, horses were being moved from one field to another a few miles down the road. Can you spot the rainbows in the video? They are more vivid in person, so when in Ireland, keep your eye on the sky 🙂


Seaside Life; Wild Atlantic Way video:

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way route stretches for 2,500 kilometers along the western side of the country. Lots of you know of the Cliffs of Moher along the route, but did you know that Loop Head has stunning sea cliffs too? And it is very much less crowded than the Cliffs of Moher. If you enjoy getting off the massive tourist-bus track, you won’t go wrong spending time exploring the Loop Head peninsula. Maybe even take the plunge into the sea as these kids & adults did near the natural Bridge of Ross! We brought our dog Jessie along, but she preferred to watch the waves rather than swim. Jessie also wanted to go see the Holy Well on Loop Head, but her big Rottweiler chest was too wide to pass through the gap in the rocks! This photo was taken right after she nearly got stuck– the incident was funny after I got over the moment of panic that she was permanently wedged in!

Jessie wanted to go see the Holy Well on Loop Head, but was too wide to pass through the gap in the rocks. took this right after she nearly got stuck-- was funny after I got over a moment of panic that she was permanently wedged in!

Jessie & Loop Head holy well rocks

This was my first visit to Loop Head, but I’m certainly coming back to explore its wild & wonderful natural life and scenery in the different seasons. Plus, you can go dolphin watching!

TIP: We loved Kilbaha Gallery & Crafts; do stop there for a browse and lovely coffee & cake or bit of lunch. Be warned you will likely be tempted if you love books on the areas you visit- I had to restrain myself; so many with beautiful photos, about the local flora & fauna, history and so on. I was very good and just got one book this trip..and one print from a local artist..and one…well, you get my drift! 😀 The gals there are so very nice, and you can get a flavour for the welcome & friendliness and over on their Facebook page, where you can also check with them if you’ve any questions about opening times as this can vary with the seasons.


Petal when found, about 4kg

Petal (She’s not really keen on the camera, as you can see from her expression!)

Here is the lovely little rescued dog Petal; found by Terry as she was running around scavenging for food by the N7 a few days ago.(NOTE: this post was 1st written at beginning of September 2010, & I’ve added updates below, too)

She is skin & bone, & has a hairline fracture of one hip & a slight hip dysplasia on the other, but she is a loving, friendly, trusting little girl. She is about 3 yrs old, looks like some class of terrier l mixed with a King Charles. We love her already.

Terry took her to the local vet to check her for a microchip & get her looked over. He registered her as found with the local vet & the ISPCA, (as well as calling to the local houses- tho ‘ if she was owned by someone there and let to run & starve like that, they don’t deserve a pet!) I’ve checked local and national lost & found websites, but she is not listed as lost. If she was, she’d have been lost a while to be in the extremely thin state she’s in now, so I checked to over 6 months back. That was heartbreaking- so many pets lost or stolen; most not resolved.

If she is someone’s genuinely lost pet, of course we will return her, but as you can imagine, we love her & want very much to keep her. About a month ago, our very 1st dog, Shep, died. We, and our other 2 dogs were heartbroken. Now Petal is here, and she fits in wonderfully. We even know how to care for her while her hip mends, as Shep had broken his not long after we adopted him, too. (We think it was sheepdog vs vehicle. He got out one morning at our old house, and being a dyed in the wool car chaser before we adopted him,  he must have had a chase… Thankfully, with time, neutering, & better fencing that activity ceased!) He was a true gentleman, and his loss is keenly felt.

Shep on a snowy walk

So now Petal is with us, and she is a true lady. She knows we are trying to help, & never growls or snaps, even when we unknowingly jostled her sore hip, or when the vet had to position her on the xray table and it was a bit painful for her. When Terry found her a song with the refrain ”you are my angel” was playing on the radio. And she  is a wee angel- full of snuggles&  kisses.

I hope to post photos and updates as she fattens up and recovers.


Petal UPDATE a few weeks later:

Here’s Petal on the far right, waiting while doggie dinners are being prepped. She started out at 4kg when we found her, & now she is closing in on 5. The vet says we should aim for about 8kg. She’s a quick learner; watching our other dogs & picking up that the canine toilet is outdoors only, and that begging while human alpha male & female are eating is not allowed. Petal learned even more quickly that snuggling on the couch & sleeping in the bed with us IS allowed! :)Our little family feels complete again!

 Next Petal UPDATE:


 Petal is nearly 6kg now!

Petal is nearly 6kg now! The lovely, gentle, Petal is with us several weeks now, and she is really doing well. She’s put on about 2kg- that’s 50% of her original body weight when found!

Her hip is not bothering her, and the horrible abscess she had healed up well with lots of cleaning (by our other dog Pinenut- we nearly had to put a big head collar/satellite dish on HIM as well as on her in order to control excessive licking,) & antibiotics. Now, God love her, she’s in heat! I wonder if it may have been the returning health/weight gain that may have brought that on. Our other 2 are fixed, so a female in heat is new to us. She would like Pinenut to be her man, but he’s not really up to the job ;) Spaying is certainly on the cards for her after this is over.

Pinenut is not so interested in girls!

Petal, loves a pet!

She loves going for a stroll, but even in places when we can let the others loose to run, we now have to keep her on lead like this- no puppies are wanted! We want her to fatten up, but not that way!

Petal UPDATE 2014

Petal dog 2014 kitchen table!

Petal 2014 on the kitchen table!

Petal now LOVES the camera! She is fluffy & happy, and at a healthy weight of around 8kg she’s fond of an ol’ photo.  If you follow Vibrant Ireland on social media, you see her starring in some pics now and again,–probably even more than our other dogs, as she is such a ham for the camera. Here she is cheekily basking in the sun on the kitchen table, and in some other pics below, too.

Note: if you are in the south Kilkenny area & would like to adopt a pet, check out the Inistioge Puppy Rescue– we got our wonderful Rottweiler, Jessie, there.

The Kilkenny Trail Festival  is a month long extravaganza of fun throughout the county.

The Kilkenny Trail Festival is a month long extravaganza of fun throughout the county.

 Walk, toddle, cycle, stroll, you can even hike or roll!

The Kilkenny Trails Festival is on throughout the 1st  to the 29th of September 2013.

There is something on the agenda for everyone; all ages and all fitness levels, as well as food lovers, history lovers, dog lovers, craft lovers, & of course nature lovers!

Although… in order to make the little rhyme I may have stretched the truth on one thing. You probably won’t really roll- unless it is on any wee waves on the canoe trip. Or, perhaps on the Heritage Train tour…hmm.. you know, I’ve not really stretched the truth at all 🙂

There is a massive amount on, and what I love about the Kilkenny Trails Festival is that the events are not just on in Kilkenny City. With activities on throughout the county, you get that extra incentive to go experience Kilkenny’s gorgeous countryside & charming villages.

As there are so many, I’m not even going to try to list all the events,but I do want to point out a few happening in our lovely area, Graiguenamanagh:

There will be a Moonlit Walk up Brandon Hill on Friday, 20 Sept, leaving the Boathouse 6.30pm. Free. You need to have a good level of fitness for this walk.

There is a Guided Cycle on the Barrow towpath Sat, 7 Sept, 11-noon. Adults & kids 9yrs up. Free.

A longer Guided Cycle from St. Mullins to Graiguenamanagh, Sat 21 Sept, 11am-1pm. Includes tea & scones at Waterside Guesthouse. Adults €15, Children (9+) €10

The Canadian Canoeing runs Sundays 8, 15, & 22 Sept at 10am & 2pm. Depending on river conditions they may either go on the river Nore, or  the river Barrow (which flows in Graiguenamanagh.) Adults €20 & kids from 4+€15. €59 Family

Love this Dog Walk event in aid of KSPCA at Kilkenny Trails Festival

Love this Dog Walk event in aid of KSPCA at Kilkenny Trails Festival


I’d like to share one more event which is also close to my heart– the Dog Walk in Aid of KSPCA. It is on in the Castlecomer Discovery Park (tip- the Jarrow Cafe there is very tasty if you are hungry after) on Sat 28 Sept. It runs from 10.30am to 1.30pm, with mini clinics for nail clipping, animal welfare & more. Free, but I imagine donations will be very welcome.

For details & booking of these & all the other events on at Kilkenny Trails Festival, go to 

Click here to see more on Graiguenamanagh

We have 4 wonderful rescued/adopted dogs. To see our littlest dog, Petal’s story, click here. If you ever are considering getting a pet, we hope you will consider adopting from your local shelter/pound/rescue. The animals will thank you 🙂

Enjoy the Kilkenny Trails Festival!


Percy, the Jerpoint Park  tour guide dog leads the way.

Percy, the Jerpoint Park tour guide dog leads the way.

One of the friendliest fellas you’ll ever meet, Percy loves people! He accompanies his very interesting human, Joe, as they lead the guided tour of the Lost Town of Jerpoint, in rural county Kilkenny. Over 800 years old, this lost town is also home to the grave of St. Nicholas! I’ll be writing a post up on it in future, but til then I’ll just say that if you enjoy history, mystery, or enchanting scenery- go! And give Percy a hug for us 🙂 For more information, their website is

Petal is a rescued CKC & terrier mix. She loves morning laptime

Petal is a rescued CKC & terrier mix. She loves morning laptime

Today’s photo is a gentle wake up one– perfect if you had too much fun at a Norish Festival gig last night!

This is our rescued dog, Petal. (1 of our 4!) She’s a King Charles & terrier cross- an educated guess, as Terry found her- severely underweight & neglected. She’s a real sweetheart. You can read her story here.

Ireland has an unwanted dog problem, which is worse now due to the recession. Adopting a dog or volunteering with a rescue is so rewarding; I highly recommend it. You can find out a bit more about organizations we work with over on the About page .

Remember- if YOU’ve a nice photo you’d like to share on Photo of the Day, let me know- comment, tweet, or email me!

Mrs Meaney's traditional cottage museum, shop, & cafeSADLY, THIS IS NOW CLOSED

Beauty, History, & Yum! Mrs Meaney’s Traditional Cottage 

September’s sunshine has been a welcome joy after the wettest & cloudiest summer in Ireland for many a year. Last weekend we got out & enjoyed it at a real hidden gem- Mrs Meaney’s Traditional Cottage Museum at the gorgeous, special, Ballilogue Clochan.
Now open on weekends ( not year-round; check their website/ring them) serving very nice lunch, and tea, coffee & cakes (rose butter sponge is our fav), the cottage is a joy, lovingly restored under the guidance of Pat McCarthy who had great affection for the late Mrs Meaney.
Her cottage is part of the clochan, often translated as ‘farm town’- a traditional small group of homes, farms & even little shops clustered together in the Irish countryside. Mrs Meaney’s cottage dates back to the 1700s, and is a treasure well worth seeking out, regardless of the tasty weekend cakes & coffee!
Mrs. Meaney's Traditional Cottage Museum
the fabulous old hearth in Mrs Meaney’s- still works!
Mrs. Meaney's Traditional Cottage Museum
the stairs to the sleeping loft now display crafts
I should add a disclaimer here– we used to live in one of the old stone barns in the Clochan, and my husband was the project manager & general labourer for the renovation of the main Inn building- another set of old stone barns. We’ve seen the love & care that has gone in to the development of the whole Ballilogue Clochan, and think it is a really special place to stay over in if you can’t get enough of the charm of the clochan! The Inn is fabulous; a wonderful mix of the traditional and modern, and of course Pat & Mark are fantastic hosts. Lots of the jams & such for sale in the shop are made from their garden, as well as in the cooking for the Inn.
Mrs Meaney’s Cottage, Ireland

Out to the Golden Fields

After cups of very good coffee, slices of  sinfully good chocolate cake, & a jar of locally sourced & made Ballilogue honey, you might want to hit the great outdoors and burn off some calories. The whole Ballilogue/Graiguenamanagh/Inistioge area is perfect for strolling or being even more active, with walks, hills, and rivers galore.
We collected our four dogs from home, and headed out to a hilltop field for a bit of fun (see video, below) under the warm September sunshine. September is a brilliant month to visit Ireland/staycation in Ireland as the weather is often at its best, lots of festivals are on, but crowds are less. Here in Graiguenamanagh, for example, the Town of Books festival is on [14-15 Sept 2013], &  [9-15 Sept 2013] the Waterford Harvest festival is on- just a half hour drive away.
Here’s where the Ballilogue Clochan is located:

View Larger Map

We had a great bit of craic playing with our dogs in the fields, take a wee minute & have a watch. Enjoy! 😉
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