Inis Mór

I was on Inis Mór to do a half marathon for Temple Street Childrens Hospital. I felt it only right to seperate the two and give the island a post to itself.

Getting to the island can be done in a few ways but our journey started on the Friday from Aer arann airport in Galway and this audio with Nick McGivney describes the check in procedures.

In a little 9 seater plane I sat in the co – pilot seat as we took a highly recommended Aer Arann plane journey to Inis Mór which takes about 15 minutes. The tail end of this video shows Inis Mór airport. Surprisingly it’s quite a busy one.

I took this video from outside the Ard Einne guesthouse. What is of interest if you look closely, is the amount of walls on the island. They are simply amazing if nothing else for the fact that the stones so loosely sit on top of each other and if slightly touched will fall off. However the extremes of weather couldn’t do so, hard as they may try. Clodagh tells me the reason they don’t fall is because the wind blows through them.

The island itself is the largest of the Arann Islands and sits about 13km off the coast of Galway. It measures about 14km x 3.8km. It is considered a Gaeltacht island [irish speaking] and hosts a population of about 800 people. There are a few varied spellings to its name but I prefer Inis Mór as it seems to be the one used locally.

Wikipedia explains:

Prior to the 20th century, the island was more commonly called Aranmore, or as Árainn na Naomh (Irish: Árainn Mhór) (i.e. “Great Aran”) in English; from the traditional Irish name, leading to confusion with Arranmore, County Donegal. The Irish word Árainn means “long ridge” which is an apt description for the island. The name Inishmore was invented by the British Ordnance Survey in the mid-19th century. The new name is grammatically incorrect in Irish: because inis “island” is a feminine noun, a following adjective must be lenited, so the expected name would be Inis Mhór. Árainn is still the official Irish name.

The boat journey became the choice of return transport… this short video explains why

Lasting about 45 minutes the sailing was a journey I was glad to take.

I loved Inis Mór. The people are so very friendly, extremely kind and very much part of the reason I would go back. Whilst I did run, jog, walk crawl an approximate 20 km of the island I did only have a short stay. The islands beaches and views are just beautiful and the easiest way to get around these it seems is to hire a bike or to take a horse and cart trip. Of the places I did get to I can highly recommend:

Of use for travelling and information is:

If anyone has any further information on Inis Mór or lives there it would be great to here from you.

And as Clodagh would like to say:

Go mbeireadh muid beo an bhlian seo chugainn – May we be alive this time next year!

A Closer Look At The Moon, The Stars & Saturn

I had heard that todays moon was supposed to be the brightest for a long time. So on Sunday night [today as I write] when my good friend Philip text me to come down and look at some stars.I did.

What resulted was nothing short of, for me, quite phenomenol.

The above image was taken with my iPhone4 through Philips telescope, a Nexstar 11. I also asked Philip about the brightest moon, [in the second audio piece] what is actually known as super perigee.


For the sake of the blog post, his is what the moon looked like last night, normal view.

The audio, images and video went out on real time on twitter, audioboo and youtube as we found the various stars we didn’t expect to see. This second audio piece is very different from the intended, first audio.


We delved and adjusted a little deeper and found this to be the best image of the moons surface.

But for the craic, Philip decided to see if we could find Saturn. Considering what we had to hand, the images aren’t world class by any means… but then I’d never seen saturn or the moon with my own two eyes before.

We did record it on video, it’s not the greatest but what can I say… it’s not half bad either.

I felt a little audio was necessary to close and just to explain what to me is something very, very new. But also something extremely interesting.


This is the equipment we used.The red box [image 2] can be programmed to automatically track a particular star, planet or cluster and is about the size of a remote control for a tv. It’s in red [like a photograpgy darkroom] so as not to affect your night vision.

Interested and want to find out more. Already into astronomy and know were one can find out more, just leave a comment below. Big thanks to Phil. We had some tea and jam scones after 😉

Why is this on my garden blog ? In short, any body who stands in a garden, in the great outdoors that late at night deserves… well… there you go… 😉

I Enjoyed that.

Multyfarnham Country Fair – April 17th 2011

The Multyfarnham Country Fair takes place Sunday 17th April 2011.


The audio is with thanks to Anne O’Hara of Mornington House who has featured on the garden blog before and also on the garden radio show.

Not to be confused with The Multyfarnham Field Day, there will be a stall raising funds for the Community Hospice but otherwise it’s all private enterprise.

Never heard of Multyfarnham before ?

Multyfarnhamor in Irish – Muilte Farannáin, meaning Farannain’s mills is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland I have ever visited. The town first came up on my radar whilst I was studying horticulture in Kildalton [Piltown, Co. Kilkenny]. Multyfarnham had an agricultural college and in the pre-google-able days of old, there weren’t [even fewer today] too many of them about.

I was thinking to myself that some may read fondly this post, in the sense that it may be nice to go to the Country Fair, but they may also be thinking would it fill or be worth a day trip there ?

Wikipedia tells me this much which may just change your mind for the better:

The Irish Franciscan friars (O.F.M.) still maintain a presence in the ancient monastery here which was founded in 1268. During the Tudor reconquest of Ireland (the Nine years War) it was raided six times and twice burnt out by the Crown forces battling the forces of the ‘Irish of Meath’. In 1646, there were 30 friars in residence here. By the middle of era of the Penal Laws there were as few as seven friars, five of whom were of advanced age. The church was unroofed from 1651 and remained so until to 1827. In 1839 a new friary was rebuilt in the grounds. The Franciscan College, Multyfarnham was opened in 1899. There were four pupils enrolled for the first year. This school later became an recognised Agricultural College in 1956, and continued to teach until 2003.

Around the picturesque monastery grounds, among the lawns, around the church and the college buildings, there are 14 elaborate life size Stations of the Cross. This is a focal point for special devotions. It is regarded as one of the finest outdoor shrines in Ireland, and draws many tourists. The college is now used as an educational and seminar centre. It also hosts an arts centre.

Multyfarnham railway station opened on 8 November 1855 and finally closed on 17 June 1963. [It is now a private dwelling]

I like the picture Anne O’Hara paints in the audio. It makes me want to drop by and have afternoon tea and burn peat in the summer time whilst leaning over a half door in an arron sweater. The funny thing is, some talk about promoting Ireland and our greatest assets. Ireland for me was always about being in Dublin [for example] and finding or even better knowing, when your company didn’t, that The Winding Stair Bookshop also had really great coffee. It was knowing the best trad session is in Ballyboughal and knowing it is worth the journey. More than that and to quote Anne:

It was when the community came together…. and you do it for the fair rather than on an ongoing commercial basis

To the bit as to why it appears on the gardeners weblog, like I said before if this encourages you to see a little of Ireland and its great outdoors. Maybe you might just ask Anne how she makes her chutneys. Put that into a calculator and press the square root button. The answer of which will necessitate the planting of an apple tree 😉  Maybe you might just pop by and see Mornington House & gardens. If you do… be sure and tell Anne and Warwick I said hello.

That reminds me…. been too long since I was at Locke’s Distillery ahem… of course I mean Tullynally Castle Gardens 😉

Onion – Planting Season Has Just Begun

On Sunday I arrived back to find a little parcel of onion sets – and some garlic sets – both of the same family [allium] anyway, had been dropped at my door.

I’ve spoke here about onions and garlic before, but for me its massively important as it marks the start of the growing and planting season. Some say that

…it must be too cold to be doing anything in the garden

I say take this advice at your very own peril. If, you wish to have some produce within the next couple of weeks then now – as versus in hindsight is the time to start spending 20 minutes or so in the great outdoors.

And you really can’t get anything simpler to start with. I’ve planted mine in large window boxes and tubs and dropped them at the back door of my house.

How Do You Do It…?

  • Last week [as the podcast would have told you… 😉 ] I cleaned out my planters.
  • I replaced just the top 6 inches of compost and added in some new stuff
  • Give the soil a light firm down and even it out
  • [image 1 above left] Place out your sets just so you can see them laid out…
  • Happy ?
  • make a hole to the left of it with your finger tip
  • Then tip each your onion set in so its just below surface level
  • And brush some soil over to cover them in
  • I didnt water the soil – but if you must, do so before you pop your sets in
  • easy peezy chalky cheezy
  • any hassles just leave a comment
  • About 6 inches apart for both garlic and onions

And now all you have to do is wait….

Why did I plant mine in pots ? Honestly, most people I know do it this way because they haven’t and aren’t going to turn their entire gardens to allotments and become farmers. If you only want to spend 20 minutes in the garden then this should be right up your street.

Remember about 10 should be enough for a large window box.

Like I said above, the same rules apply for garlic. And they are, in very simple terms, just sisters from the same family.

In a couple of weeks you should be doing a bit of this… 😀

No Rushes Makes St. Brigid[s] Cross ?

A phone call came to me this morning from Mary a good friend and coincidentally my very first client.

We’re supposed to be making St Brigids Crosses with the children on Sunday and we simply can’t find a supply of rushes. We have a lady who will be showing the children how to… but we just have no rushes to make them with…

Religious or not, knowing how to make a St Brigids Cross is, to me a definitive I was born pre 1980 therefore I am Irish [that makes me smile] type statement 😉 One friend I spoke to told me…..

knowing what the St. Brigids cross is, is like knowing what Atlantic 252 was… at least it was for me in 80’s Ireland anyways

Without dwelling on it too much….  It is suggested the frost has had an adverse affect on stocks. For now Mary needs our help.

  • needs a decent supply.
  • willing to buy them.
  • based in North Dublin.
  • doesn’t have the time to go pick them herself.
  • needs to know as soon as possible that she can have them.
  • As in this week
  • enough for about 50-60 crosses

image and more information courtesy wikipedia

Any information, help or suggestions [anything at all] ?

  • leave a comment below
  • email

UPDATE 3rd February 2011:

I got this email in from Mary

Sunday went very well. Our PP blessed the crosses made from pipecleaners and the older folks nearly killed each other to get at them. The younger children were happy to try
and make their own with the art straws I had. 45 gone in about 2 minutes! We had just four proper crosses made with the few reeds we had and we decorated the altar with those.