Lough Ramor is a beautiful lake near Virginia County Cavan.
I was there initially at Lough Ramor camping but I have chosen, in blogging terms, to keep the camping seperate from the actual lake via an entirely seperate post.
The fishing people will be much better versed than I in what it is good for but many boats and many methods were spoke about in how to best get ones rewards from a days outing.
Other than fishing, not so much water sports but canoeing and paddling boats were a regular fixture during my time there. I however chose to walk the peripherals and enjoy what it is I should and did admire.
Wikipedia tells me that it is a large natural lake of around 800 hectares, that Lough Ramor has been designated in 2011 by the EC as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and also
Lough Ramor is a partly wooded wetland site, a haven for many species of wildlife both resident and migratory. Available recorded history indicates that nearly half of the 170 acres (0.69 km2) of Deerpark woodland was once oak woodland, the timber being used for building and agricultural purposes. During the seventeenth century it was reported that early Virginia settlers had to transport their building timber from west Cavan and Fermanagh. The early nineteenth century saw extensive tree planting of ash, elm, oak, larch, spruce and Scots pine. In recent times additional broad leaf varieties were planted including sycamore.
The most recent site study conducted by the Government Department of the Environment describes the Lough Ramor area as a hollow in the Silurian strata that covers most of eastern County Cavan. Lough Ramor is a very shallow lake with a pH of 7.5 and a maximum depth of six metres. The water is nutritionally poor but is periodically enriched, resulting in algal blooms. Being situated on a different rock type than other Cavan lakes it differs also in appearance. Much of the shore has semi-natural woodland of alder, willows and hazel. The stands near Virginia were originally planted.
The August Bank Holiday weekend is looming quicker that you might actually realise and there is a mild buzz in the air as suggestions and possible destinations are dissected, travel plans are made and lists of not to forgets are concocted and overly examined. Of course one could book into the El Fancy Dan hotel for some pampering and what not but in case you didn’t already know, it seems that camping in Ireland may just be the new rock und roll.
Mary….?! where did you leave the….. did you actually put the tent pegs in the car….? Well they should be there then, shouldn’t they….. shouldn’t they ?
Some may shudder at the thought of the potential chilly night and the fact that the neighbours, now just two sheets away can hear every air movement and whisper. But unless you own the Partridge Family bus, there was and always will be an element of egg shell trampling with any family holiday. It is, with hindsight what makes them fond memories.
In favour of the properly roofed accommodation brigade is the reality that our hotel prices are cheaper than we have ever seen them before and most recently we have seen Irish Value Added Tax on restaurants dropped to nine per cent encouraging us all to eat out… well, in, if you know what I mean.
In the camping camp, it doesn’t bode so well as the media pundits continue to report the usual economic related tag-lines as potential reasons for the camping resurgence. But it is of them that use the RTE Prime Time misnomers, that I wonder. I wonder if they have ever actually camped, more than once. The naysayers aside, I personally wouldn’t swap cooking and sleeping Al Fresco for the world.
I almost forgot to add the fact that Irish weather is just a little unpredictable.
The reality is I’m proud to boast, that we do live in such a beautiful little country. But I’m still wondering why and what it is about this element of the Irish great outdoors that makes so many others want to sleep in a tent.
According to Camping Ireland, figures from the Central Statistics Office show Irish people made 309,000 camping trips at home in 2009. They also noted the Irish Caravan and Camping council who said that altogether, Irish people and foreign tourists spent 2.4 million nights on Irish campsites in 2009, contributing €96m to the local economy. And figures are rising….
But why, you may be asking, is the Dublin gardener yabbing on about camping in this weeks article.
Gardener. There. I said it. Gar-Den-Er. Gar-Den. Get back to the garden, ye big Donegan head the ball…..
There is a point where, lets say in cooking, were one must cross over into the gardeners world and at the very least understand where and how the food is produced, grown and developed. One must as some point, get their hands dirty, even be it just fresh herbs. From this gardeners perspective, I’ll go back to the reasons and thinking behind the non-gardeners group I set up two years ago.
How does one encourage the next generation to become interested in gardening….?
The answer, in part, is quite simple. Step one ? One needs for the people to be outside first. And there in lies the key. Because, when one goes camping one doesn’t stay inside the tent for forty days and forty nights. One is outside, in the great outdoors and one develops a feeling, almost an understanding, not of how all the elements work, more how to work in tandem with them.
That may sound a bit silly, but every male will tell you there is an art to picking the perfect place to pitch for the night. It is a primary trait, followed in no particular order by mans preprogrammed function to source food and water.
My wry wit aside, the last place I went camping in was sited just by Lough Ennell. Surrounded entirely by woodland and right beside a stunning lake. So picturesque, at the time in audio, I wondered if in fact it was the most beautiful place on earth. Eamonn O’Malley, the sites owner told me how after weekends he wanders through the woods to do the various checks and tidy-ups. He explained how visiting children and their imaginations rearrange minute segments of the woodland in such varying guises en route to making their own fun. He commented how, even with the advances in technology how the game consoles are so quickly forgotten.
In Lough Key, near Boyle in Co. Roscommon where I stayed last year the campsite was set within the forest. My friend George and his family travelled with mine and similar to, within hours of arrival the elder son  had laid and rearranged some branches and stumps now known as furniture. The invisible living room was of course where one went to listen to the invisible radio. On one occasion I forgot to use the door and walked through an invisible wall.
There is a point where gardening and camping meet and appreciation for what surrounds takes reign. The fruits of recently made elder flower champagne for example were tasted just this week and no longer I should admit do I see this plant as a weed. Quite the opposite. Three weeks ago, I was thought how to eat a nettle leaf and I in return explained how when my hair goes wavy it is based on the theories behind the old hydrometers. It is how I predict that it is going to rain.
For the next generation, the nations schools have seen gardening become part of their everyday playground, at home, community gardens are becoming as logic as a hall door and plant life is something we are all beginning to instinctively watch out for.
Wonderlandn 1 an imaginary land of marvels or wonders. 2 an actual place of great or strange beauty
Outdoorsn2 the world outside or far away from buildings; the open air
More than that again, our children are being thought about biodiversity. A thinking that encourages one, in short, to leave piles of leaves and logs, to plant flowers and food to encourage bees, bats and bird life. It is a thinking that in any space allows an appreciation for the older, newer and the fallen members of the tree family. But, what if you were surrounded by it….
No matter how I describe and no matter how I enjoy it…. the great outdoors, in Ireland for me, is simply amazing. In my mind and in my eyes the only thing that changes is the size and shape of the garden, one in which I am privelidged to be allowed enjoy.
If ever there was a camping gadget essential I had to recommend to any type of outdoors enthusiast, the MSR [Mountain Safety Research] PocketRocket™ and Titan™ kettle that I bought maybe about 7 years ago is at the top of the list. Without question one of the best investments I have ever made.
I originally bought it when I used to travel Ireland a lot on my own. Put simply, it meant a cuppa whenever I felt like it and wherever. Since then the pocketrocket™ and titan™ kettle have been on every camping and great outdoors trip I’ve made. As a by the way, it says it’s a kettle… it’s also a big mug, a decent bowl and a small pot in one.
Of recent years they were there when the electricity went and in a world gone festival where it’s a long way to your car and the coffee can be weak it’s even done Electric Picnic. For the size of it, you’d be surprised how many times it’s finished cooking the dinner when all of the shops are closed and one runs out of gas for the big stove. Of course it has also been road tested in the wilds whilst I was landscaping in Donegal when the cuppa was most welcome until the rains eased off.
The stats below tell a better story, but above all, it is tiny and pretty much unbreakable. The gas cannister fits in the kettle and the kettle fits in your pocket. I can’t remember how much they cost now – if anyone knows you might just leave a comment.
The PocketRocket stove tied with the MSR WhisperLite stove as Backpacker Magazine Readers’ choice for the best camping stove in 2005.
The Titan™ Kettle stats:
Ultralight titanium: Weighs just 4.2 oz. (118 g).
Compact: 0.85-liter capacity
Also: tight-fitting lid and drip-free spout for smooth, easy pouring.
Alpinist Magazine Mountain Standards pick 2005 for “the best gear available today.” Titan Cookware is so light it “feels like it’s not even in there when it’s in your pack.”
The reason why these two pieces of MSR kit are with me still today is pretty easy when you read the story of Neil Anderson, Jim Lea and John Burroughs that are Cascade Designs. There is nothing that I love more than a man who’s been there making something for a man who’s going there.
I noted the video above on Facebook and tagged MSR, as one does. I got this email from MSR
Dear Peter Donegan,
I apologize, however Mountain Safety Research recently had to remove a video post that you added to our Facebook wall. We really appreciate your enthusiasm for MSR products and for your participation, however we would remind you to review our instructions and warnings for your own safety when using any of our stove products:
All of our stoves are for outdoor use only and the PocketRocket instructions specifically state:
CARBON MONOXIDE HAZARD
This stove can produce carbon monoxide, which has no odor.
Using it in an enclosed space can kill you.
Never use this stove in an enclosed space such as a camper, tent, vestible, car, or home.
The Scouts motto when I was growing up was Bí Ullaimh – Be Prepared. Family camping is something very different and not really about pushing the barriers to the extreme. More than anything it’s about the adventure outdoors together. And if you go to the places I’ve been camping, you realise just how beautiful this country is and the stunning landscape that sits right on our doorstep. Lough Ennell was and is a prime example of that.
The following for me, are five camping essentials that pretty much make life in the great outdoors just that little bit easier. They also didn’t really warrant an entire blog post to themselves.
I hope this list helps. You can also leave a comment below if you think I’ve missed out on anything.
1. The Sealey Booster Pack
You may be a little surprised to see a booster pack, capable of jump starting my jeep as my no.1 but their is serious logic in this.
Away for a bank holiday weekend lets say, the car sits stationary whilst acting as a power source for kids torches, or very simply the car is nowhere near your tent….
The Sealey booster pack comes with a cigarette lighter socket, which means it can recharge torches, lamps and as you can see here telephones. It weighs a bit, so it may not be one for the festival camper. I think I paid over 100 euro’s for this one. They can be got cheaper in some supermarkets, but do so at your own peril. I’ve already recycled one of lesser quality.
Whenever I go camping the food for the day is made in advance and usually a mixture of cold salads and what not from the garden. The trouble with Irish weather is that it may well be great sunshine starting out, as the food cooks slowly in the back of the car – but when you get there and it’s raining and the kids are staaaaaarving…. The front pocket fits the knife, fork and spoon set and the lining is leak proof.
3. Double Action Hand Pump
Once again the no battery rule applies here and sure no-one likes them old foot pumps. But this baby is a real piece of basic principled essential camping kit.
For me it will do an air bed [which I personally dislike] in around 3/4 minutes. But the other side is it doubles up as a bellows, that assuming your place of camping allows barbeque’s or/ and fires. Outside of that, it comes with every connection possible so great for arm bands, or anything inflatable for that matter. It also does the reverse and deflates. Others seem to like the fact that I also use it to gently blows spiders out of the tent without hurting them.
4. First Aid Kit
Not the most exciting bit of camping gear I’ll admit….but definitely of the most important.
I think I paid around €30 for this first aid kit. The big tip on this is to overstock on the large plasters. More than not it has been used by others that camped near me too many times. And please for your own sake, make sure it is the last thing you put in the car, next to the food. Which means it is also first out.
5. Stanley Flask
I bought this pretty much unbreakable Stanley flask around 3 years ago. It cost a few bob [about €30] but a bit like my booster pack above – I prefer to but once and buy well.
It is the coffee on arrival after the tent has gone up, but far more important, flasks keep things warm as well as cold and as happened June bank holiday weekend just gone when temperatures hit 25 Celsius plus, it meant there was milk – that hadn’t been cooked – for breakfast the next morning. This extremely durable beauty comes with a 15 year warranty for good reason.
NB: I have always tried to buy as local as possible. In this, I found it difficult to make this list from Irish made. If you do know of any do let me know or/ and leave a comment below.
That aside, I like the slogan over this camping store.
This is the Gelert wind up lamp. I bought it in Millets camping shop in Mary Street. Not costing over €20, that I remember [I’m open to correction on this…. I lost the receipt so couldn’t double check], it is a pretty genius piece of what I now call one of my camping essentials.
I have another LED type light that I’ll review later but, this wins top marks for a few reasons.
I love the two light level settings. Really important when camping and considering others inside and outside of your tent. More than that it’s light enough that doesn’t wake a one year old by being too bright.
The big reason I like it so much, is the fact that one always forgets the batteries or leaves the light on overnight. In this case it doesn’t matter. I also left this outside over night in the rain for the craic, something that always happens with torches. It was grand the next day. It’s also quite durable and light wieght.
For this Irish camper it scores 10/ 10.
This is the lamp demo during the day. Recorded July 4th.
This is the lamp at night time. Recorded June 12th.
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