armistice day sligo

Call-Out for Volunteers to participate in Armistice Day Memorial in Sligo

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11th to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.

An estimated 5000 men from Sligo, (or of immediate Sligo origin) were volunteers during the Great War. Building on war records research by Sligo historian Simone Hickey currently details 602 of these men lost their lives during the conflict or subsequently because of the injuries they suffered. Five civilians including two women also perished.

Sligo’s Blue Raincoat Theatre company is now seeking men and women to join in their silent procession through Sligo town on November 11th. It will be a non-political event, no emblems, and non-militaristic in nature, a dignified community remembrance for the first time of 602 young men who were lost to Sligo in the First World War, 100 years on from the final moment of that conflict. Each participant in the walk will represent an individual casualty on the day. Women and men are welcome to walk.

How To Participate:

If you can take part the process is simple. Register at The Factory Performance Space on Saturday, November 10th from 10am – 6pm. You will be given the name and some historic details of the soldier you will represent on the walk, as well as a costume, and costume advice.

More on the Blue Raincoat Theatre Facebook Page

strandhill moments

Wild Atlantic Surf Village Open for Business this Winter

Strandhill, known to many as a home to Wild Atlantic surfing, continues to thrive throughout the winter season. With great midweek and weekend deals available on accommodation, and a busy calendar of winter events and creative happenings; the Northwestern surf village is firmly declaring it is open for business for Winter 2018.

As part of the on-going #StrandhillMoments tourism campaign to promote the usually quieter shoulder months of the year, a new video has been released this week. Commissioned by the Strandhill Tourist Development Association, the video highlights a weekend getaway to Strandhill featuring all there is to experience and enjoy in the village.

Though Winter may not always be considered a time to visit the Northwest of Ireland, there are still plenty of seasonal activities and adventures for all to enjoy; from walking trails over Knocknarea mountain or around the coast of the Strandhill/Coolera Peninsula, toasty VOYA seaweed baths, live music gigs throughout the week in local pubs and bars, and bustling local cafes and restaurants to enjoy. For the more experienced surfer, some of the best waves hit the Northwest during winter months.

Accommodation Offers: Four-star Strandhill Lodge & Suites have two-nights with a VOYA Seaweed Bath for €199pp sharing, or two nights with an evening dinner at the Venue Bar & Restaurant for €199pp sharing.

Shells Cafe: the ever-popular beachfront cafe, which opens throughout the year, runs winter supper clubs led by chef Myles Lamberth with dates set for December 6th, 7th and 14th, tickets are €45pp.

Christmas Markets: this year’s Christmas Market dates have been announced by Strandhill People’s Market running December 2nd, 9th, 14th, 16th, 21st and 23rd with Sundays open from 11-4pm and Fridays from 5 – 9pm. Expect to find great Christmas gifts and the best in street food vendors.

Live Music: The Strand Bar, The Venue and The Dunes host weekly music nights featuring local musicians, trad sessions and visiting guests.

Sligo Surf Experience Surf School: Operated by surfing champion Seamus McGoldrick, the surf school is one of few operating throughout winter for the first time with weekend classes available, and mid-week sessions by appointment. Lessons start at €35pp for group bookings.

Salt & Soul Yoga Studio: The purpose-built yoga studio run weekly classes, workshops and retreats throughout the winter months. Upcoming events include workshops on Yoga for Stress & Anxiety on November 9th and December 14th and Sunday evening Soundbath Meditations on November 18th and December 9th.

Weekend Brunch: The Draft House Gastro Pub and newly opened Stoked Restaurant have announced new winter weekend brunch menus for the winter months.

For more information and to plan your stay in Strandhill this Winter, visit  www.gostrandhill.com  or follow @GoStrandhill on Twitter/Instagram.

top things to do in galway

Top 10 Things to do in Co Galway

A large county with attitude to match, Galway has too much to offer; this incredible county and its city are some of the most visited places in Ireland. So given the incredible wealth of things to do in both city and county we have split this list in two.

In this list, you will find our top 10 things to do in County Galway; this stunning large county of beautiful coastline, islands, culture and craic.aran islands

1. Escape to an Island

For those looking to go remote, Galway has an incredible selection of islands to visit; some of Ireland’s most diverse and beautiful.

The Aran Islands

The three Aran Islands, Inis Mór Island (Big Island), Inis Meáin Island (Middle island) and Inis Oírr Island (East island) are situated at the mouth of Galway Bay. They are famous for their geological formation, historical monuments and their Gaeltacht heritage. The Irish language is still spoken here.

Each of the Aran Islands offers something unique in terms of landscape, culture and heritage. More than anything the best experiences are the ones that involve interactions with hardy souls who live on these islands year round.

Accessible via a short ferry trip from Ros a Mhíl, the three ruggedly beautiful Aran Islands feature ancient ruins of churches and monuments, as well as extremely hospitable locals. Visiting the islands is like stepping back into a time before globalization and commercialization

inis mor

Inis Mór

Inis Mór:

Without doubt a visit to iconic Dún Aonghasa is a must-do for any visitor to the Aran Islands. This extraordinary stone fort stands guard over Inis Mór with its three massive drystone walls that run right up to sheer drops to the ocean below. Situated on the edge of a cliff at a height of 100 meters above the Atlantic on Inis Mór island, it consists of a series of concentric circular walls, the innermost, the citadel, enclosing an area of approximately 50 meters in diameter. The relentless Atlantic Ocean has been hammering away at the cliff face since 1100BC when the first fort constructions were built at Dun Aengus, and the fort is now half eaten by the sea. Believed to be up to 2000 years old, Dún Aonghasa is a world heritage site and one of Ireland’s most visited attractions and as a result one of its most vulnerable.

Inis Meain:

The Aran Islands have long drawn creative and literary types to its inspiring landscape and rich cultural environment. None more so than Inis Méain now famous for being home to the world-renowned author JM Synge who spent five summers here over a century ago.

At the west end of the island, Synge’s Chair is a viewpoint at the edge of a limestone cliff. Take time out here to exhale and drink the wild beauty of the atlantic’s might like the famous author once did.

Inis Meáin’s scenery is breathtaking, with a jagged coastline of rugged cliffs, stunning beaches and fields boredered with the stunning geometry of old stone walls.

While on Inis Meáin we especially recommend a visit to Inis Méain Knitwear and the Inis Meáin Restaurant and Suites. One of Ireland’s most in demand luxury guest accommodation.
Inis Bofin:

Inis Bo Finne (Island of the White Cow) lies seven miles off Galway’s coast and was the winner of the ‘Best Island Holiday’ in the 2013 ‘Irish Times Best Place to Holiday’ competition. It is a magical island, with safe, sandy beaches, rocky inlets, a ruined castle, a weekly market in the summertime, a charming museum of island life and a range of places to stay, from hotels to hostels. This summer it even had a cafe on a double decker bus!

It may be home to just 200 souls, but Inisbofin’s pubs, hotels and locals all contribute to its legendary status as a magical destination. inishbofin.com.

2. Get off the Grid in Connemara National Park:

Immediately southeast of Letterfrack, Connemara National Park spans 2957 dramatic hectares of bog, mountains, heath and woodlands. The park encloses a number of the Twelve Bens including Bencullagh, Benbrack and Benbaun

There are three main walking routes throughout the park each one offering spectacular scenery and wildlife with every step.

Of the six national parks of Ireland, Connemara may well be the most beautiful. The park is noted for its diverse range of birds, which has led to it being described as a bird watcher’s paradise. There are also numerous ancient megalithic and neolithic burial mounds and tombs, which offer a glimpse into Ireland’s prehistoric period. connemaranationalpark.ie

sky road

Sky Road

3. Journey along one of Ireland’s most scenic routes 

The Sky Road is a 20km (12 mile) jaw-droppingly scenic loop route near Clifden in the wonderful Connemara, Co Galway. Part of the Wild Atlantic Way scenic drive along Ireland’s west coast, the Sky Road peninsula juts out into the Atlantic against the backdrop of the 12 Bens Mountain Range.

Along with the Inagh Valley scenic drive south of Leenane, the Sky Road in Clifden is one of the top tourist attractions in the entire Connemara region. Very few places in Ireland can match the rugged beauty and range of scenery that can be seen from the Sky Road. The route is well signposted from Clifden and easy to find. connemara.net/the-sky-road/

misunderstood heron

Misunderstood Heron

4. Visit an Award-Winning Food Truck on an Irish Fjord:

The Misunderstood Heron is a food truck that sits on the edge of stunning Killary Harbour in north Connemara, looking out on one of only three fjords in Ireland. Sitting in the grounds of Killary Adventure Centre, the outdoor picnic benches and the wooden cladded truck blend beautifully into its environment.

We can vouch that the coffee alone is worth the stunning drive into Killary Harbour for. Winner of a Georgina Campbell award in 2018, just get there before it sells out!

Misunderstood Heron, Kilary Adventure Centre. facebook.com/MisunderstoodHeron

kylemore abbey

5. Visit Ireland’s Most Romantic Castle – Kylemore Abbey:

Known as Ireland’s most romantic Castle, Kylemore Abbey, located in Connemara, Co. Galway is the No.1 tourist attraction in the West of Ireland.

When Mitchell Henry and his wife Margaret travelled to Connemara in the 1850s they fell in love with the region. Mitchell returned in the 1860s and purchased the estate of Kylemore and built a splendid castle as an gift for his wife.

Home to the Benedictine Nuns since 1920, Kylemore has been renowned as a place of spirituality and education ever since.  Perfect for a family day out and easily accessible from Galway or Mayo, Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden offers visitors scenic photographic opportunities as well as woodland walks, garden tours, fascinating history, beautiful architecture, ample shopping in the craft shop and tempting homemade delights in the restaurant and tea rooms. kylemoreabbey.com

6. Shuck some oysters at Moran’s Oyster Cottage

Some of County Galway’s finest seafood, including lobster in season, is served in this atmospheric thatched pub and restaurant, set in a quiet cove. Moran’s Oyster Cottage dates back almost 300 years. Today, Moran’s is run by Michael Moran, the seventh generation of the Moran family in the business. It is renowned the world over for its excellent seafood which attracts people from the five continents, and is open all year round.
Moran’s serves smoked salmon, crab, prawns, crab claws, Galway Bay oysters and lobster all day. moranstheweir.com

Thoor Ballylee

7. Discover the Yeats Connection

Thoor Ballylee, the  fourteenth-century Hiberno-Norman tower in Gort, was once described by Seamus Heaney as the most important building in Ireland, due to its close association with his fellow Nobel Laureate for literature, W.B.Yeats. The tower has recently re-opened again after flooding, and coincides with the launch of the inaugural Yeats Exhibition.

In an idyllic setting by a stream, this 16th-century Norman tower was the summer home of WB Yeats from 1921 to 1929 and was the inspiration for one of his best-known works, The Tower. yeatsthoorballylee.org

8. Cleachtaigh an Gaeilge in an award-winning cultural retreat:

Cnoc Suain is a rural retreat in Spiddal that gives visitors an insight into Irish culture and traditions in a genuine way. Founded and lovingly run by husband and wife team Charlie and Dearbhaill (who is a native of the area), the 200-acre retreat offers an immersion in Irish culture, past and present, in a richly diverse bog landscape. There are 17th century cottages, perfect for an idyllic break; the field room, which hosts music (Dearbhaill is an accomplished musician), song and dance as part of the cultural experience of Cnoc Suain, all situated in luxuriant bog beauty. cnocsuain.com

brigit's garden

Brigit’s Garden

9. Escape the City in a Natural Playground Sanctuary

Brigit’s Garden takes you on a magical journey into the heart of Celtic heritage and mythology, making it one of the truly outstanding places to visit in the West of Ireland. The award-winning Celtic Gardens are widely regarded as one of the most spectacular in Ireland, set within 11 acres of native woodland & wildflower meadows. In addition to the Celtic Gardens, visitors can enjoy the nature trail, an ancient ring fort (fairy fort), thatched roundhouse and crannog, and the calendar sundial, the largest in Ireland.

Brigit’s Garden is very family-friendly with a kids’ discovery trail, a natural playground and lots of opportunities to explore. Brigit’s Garden is located in Roscahill at the gateway to Connemara, between Moycullen and Oughterard. It is well signposted from the N59 main road,  just a 20-minute drive north of Galway city. brigitsgarden.ie

gurteen beach

10: Experience Caribbean Beaches in Ireland

County Galway has some of the world’s most stunning beaches with white sand and crystal clear waters akin to many a Caribbean beach on a sunny day.

Just a short drive from Roundstone village lies Dogs Bay, one of the most spectacularly beautiful beaches in the world.
Dogs Bay is a horseshoe-shaped bay with more than a mile long stretch of white sandy beach. It backs on to Gurteen Bay, and together they form a tombolo which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Equally stunning is Coral Strand near Ballyconneely. The coral sand is, in fact, is in fact detached red calcified seaweed, maërl or otherwise known as coralline algae which form the beach and feels like fine gravel underfoot. Coral Strand is a stunning location for swimming, kayaking, snorkelling and exploring. connemara.net/beaches

Have we missed something? Let us know!

easkey britton

Big wave surfer launches new film shot in Donegal

 

Fusing cold water surfing, dance & poetry, Rossnowlagh native Easkey Britton explores a synodic month from a female perspective in a new award-winning film, shot in Donegal, that she has just launched online.

‘A Lunar Cycle’ takes us on an emotive journey through the places in-between, where instability reigns supreme. Embracing the imperfections as we connect with ourselves and the environment around us. Our connection to the sea and natural cycles is at the heart of this stunning visual journey through water and landscape.

A short film, directed by Andrew Kaineder, that explores themes not yet visited in surf films – fusing coldwater surfing, dance, poetry, prose and natural cycles of the body and nature, capturing my sea connection in winter in Donegal on the North West coast of Ireland.

On the film, Britton commented ‘In a society that rewards ‘busyness’ I think understanding the influence of cycles becomes even more important. We all have them, men and women. We’re living beings influenced by our environment and are affected by the cycles of night and day, the moon, the seasons, the tides… As women, we are gifted with an internal cycle, our menstrual cycle – if we’d only been taught how to better listen to our bodies. Our body tells us when it’s time to act and when it’s time to rest.’

‘I’m beginning to develop a greater awareness of my cycle, and this is what I explore & creatively give expression in A Lunar Cycle. This awareness helps me reconnect with my body in nature, understand my own inner ebb and flow, the high cost of being always ‘on’ in a society that fosters a toxic relationship with time, and the equally important need for stillness and reflection.’

Behind the scenes

‘As part of the film-making process, charting my menstrual cycle alongside my experience of surfing this last winter was profoundly powerful. I began to notice when and how the outer seascape might mirror my inner cycle. In making the film, I discovered how to give this creative expression combining surfing, body movement and poetry. A Lunar Cycle allowed me to explore what it would be like to let the energy of the different phases of my cycle express itself through how I surf.’, Easkey Britton

Quotes from Reviewers

Lunar Cycle is STUNNING! Really powerful, creative, compelling. Beautiful.

– Ruairi McKiernan, Founder SpunOut youth org, Host Love and Courage podcast, Presidential appointee to Ireland’s Council of State

This piece of work speaks to my soul. It’s utterly delicious, real, visceral, raw, strong, wild, equal in its masculine and feminine energies and captures the waves of the lunar cycle with great power. Stunning work.

Susie Q – Irish indie musician, co-founder A Lust for Life

I had shivers down my spine watching it. It’s stunning and I took so much from it. We are all on a journey and I personally am trying to tap into my own natural rhythms and the rhythms of nature around me after ignoring them both for many years.

I love what you say about letting go. The ebb and flow of life are necessary and it’s important to acknowledge both.

– Kathy Donaghy, journalist

This film is amazing! It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

– Margaret Seelie, editor/ publisher Other Side of Surfing Press

Winner Best Short Film – Shoreshots Surf Film Festival 2018

Film Credits:

Directed by Andrew Kaineder
Starring Easkey Britton
Produced by Matt Smith
Written and voiced by Easkey Britton
Music and Sound by Joseph Franklin / Onic Studio
Additional footage by Chris McClean and Clem Mcinerny

Special thanks to Tom and all the crew at Finisterre & Iain Miller from Unique Ascent.

More about Easkey at easkeybritton.com

Photo Credit: ANDREW KAINEDER / @Kaineder

Top 10 Things to Do in County Mayo

County Mayo has mountains and sea; pristine beaches, stunning landscapes and some of the proudest people you will ever meet.

When we asked for your favourite things to do in Mayo; the response was overwhelming.

With ancient sites, picture-perfect beaches, plunging mountainsides, and unspoiled wilderness, it’s the perfect place to visit or live in.

1. Climb a Mountain:

Not just any mountain of course. One of Ireland and Mayo’s most famous landmarks, Croagh Patrick is located just outside of the beautiful and vibrant town of Westport and is known as the place where St. Patrick spent 40 days and 40 nights praying and fasting during his years in Ireland.

County Mayo’s third Highest mountain, Croagh Patrick is known by some as Irelands Holy and Sacred mountain and is perhaps the most famous and certainly one of the most climbed of Ireland’s mountains with up to 1 million people climbing the majestic peak of Croagh Patrick each year.

Generally, it is best to climb in Spring, Summer, and Autumn (March-October). Occasional showers blow in over the bay so raingear is advisable. Croagh Patrick rises to a height of 2510 feet/765m above sea level.

Normally, it takes about two hours for the average person to reach the summit, and one and a half hours to descend. croagh-patrick.comcroagh patrick

2. Visit ‘The Best Place to Go Wild in Ireland’.

The mountain-rippled barony of Erris is undoubtedly off the beaten track.

Stretching from Ballycroy National Park to the Mullet Peninsula, it is covered with blanket bog for its two thirds and has white sandy beaches, wind-swept coasts, and stunning cliffs.

Erris is a real heaven for surfers, walkers and all enthusiasts for sea-sports. On the other hand families will find ideal beaches where children can play safely and have a swim in the clear and crystal water or have fantastic boat trips and maritime adventures. visiterris.ieballycroynationalpark.ie

Mayo Top 10

Doonamo Point, Erris. Photo: Christian McLeod via Ireland’s Content Pool

3. Get an Adrenalin Fix

County Mayo is bursting with adrenalin-filled activity options. With its rugged coastline, mountains and seas, it has long attracted fresh-air heads seeking to push the boundaries of adventure activities.

Our pick includes:

  • Coasteering in Erris with Wavesweeper Sea Adventures; a family-run soft adventure company based on the Erris Peninsula in North West Mayo. wavesweeperseaadventures.com
  • Ask anybody about adventure activities in Mayo and they will know Francois at Pure Magic in Achill. So if you want to try kitesurfing, SUPing, or a whole host of other adrenalin filled options, check out Pure Magic on stunning Achill Island. puremagic.ie/achillsurfing mayo

4. Get Stuffed

Mayo is a foodie lover’s dream. With a burgeoning food-produce industry (check out Achill Sea Salt for starters) and a wealth of formal and informal food establishments, there is something for every palate.

Our readers have highly recommended checking out Jack Fenn’s Courtyard Café in the courtyard of the stunning Belleek Castle in Ballina. belleekcastle.com

Also always worth a detour to Castlebar; Café Rua’s cafe and separate deli are family-run, award-winning foodie destination that entirely lives up to the hype! caferua.com

5. Visit Ireland’s Largest Island

Achill Island: Ireland’s largest island is arguably our most beautiful. You could spend weeks exploring the pristine beaches of Keem Bay, surfing at Keel beach or snorkeling at Keem (via @kevlsmith on Instagram)achill island

6. Spend a week in Westport; ‘Ireland’s Best Place to Live’

Westport town has long been synonymous with being one of Ireland’s best holiday destinations. In 2012 The Irish Times awarded it the prestigious accolade of also being the ‘Best Place to Live’

From the culture of Westport House & Clew Bay Heritage Centre to cliff jumping into the wild Atlantic and all things in between, such as, soaking in the atmosphere of the bars & restaurants, cycling the Great Western Greenway or tracing the footsteps of our Patron Saint to the top of the Holy Mountain, Croagh Patrick. destinationwestport.com

7. Visit a Field System older than the Pyramids:

There are few places in Ireland where the feeling of being surrounded by the truly ancient is more profound than at the Céide Fields in Belderrig, Co. Mayo, home of the oldest known field system in the world.

Located along dramatic 360-foot high cliffs and looking straight out onto the Atlantic Ocean, the Céide Fields (or Achaidh Chéide meaning “flat-topped hill fields”) is a remarkable neolithic site first discovered in the 1930s. museumsofmayo.com/ceide.htm 

8. Explore Mayo’s ‘Camelot’

Continually named among the world’s best hotels, Ashford Castle reached world fame in 2017 when it became the wedding venue of choice for Rory McIlroy and his fiancée.

Situated on grounds covering 350 acres, Ashford Castle overlooks the beautiful Lough Corrib in Cong, County Mayo. While the room rates might be a little steep for some, exploring Cong and the grounds of the castle offer a truly magical, majestic experience. ashfordcastle.comashford castle

9. Get Gobsmacked at Downpatrick Head and Dún Briste:

Downpatrick Head is a majestic heritage site found about 5km north of Ballycastle village.

Jutting out into the ocean and rising almost 40m above the waves, it provides unparalleled views of the Atlantic, including the unique collection of islands known as the Staggs of Broadhaven.

You can also spot the nearby Dún Briste sea stack, with its different coloured layers of rock and nesting seabirds. dunbriste.com
downpatrick head

10. Experience a bygone way of life at the National Museum of Ireland Country Life

A visit to the National Museum of Ireland Country Life is a great day out for the whole family, with plenty to see and do for everyone.

Home to the national collection of objects representing the traditional way of life in Ireland since 1850, the National Museum of Country Life is set in modern exhibition galleries in the spectacular grounds of Turlough Park House and surrounded by magnificent gardens and lake. As well as the Museum Galleries and the 19th-century Victorian Gothic house, the extensive grounds of Turlough Park feature gardens, woodland walks, a river and lake all overlooked by an ancient round tower. museum.ie/en/intro/country-life

BONUS TIP

11. Visit a Lost Valley

We couldn’t finish at ten; there were too many good ones to leave out. This one is definitely a hidden gem.

The Doolough Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys in Ireland. The area is bogland which is uninhabited except for the intrepid sheep who seem quite content to have it to themselves.

Poignantly it is also home to a memorial of the Great Famine;. The memorial itself is a plain stone cross engraved with the words ‘Doolough Tragedy 1849’. A yearly walk is held along this route in memory of the Doolough dead and to highlight the starvation of the world’s poor still today. loveconnemara.com/item/doo-lough-valley/
doolough valley

Other Insider’s Tips:

  • Visit the Nephin Whiskey Emporium in Lahardane on Lough Conn
  • “Louisburgh for surfing and fishing. Mweelrea for mountain top views. Wild camping at Silver Strand. Cliff diving at old head and coasteering at Clare Island.” – Nora Gibbons.
  • Blogger Val Robus recommends glamping at Belmullet Coast Guard Station. This was voted one of the Top 50 places to stay along Ireland’s coastline by The Irish Times.

 

A huge thanks to all contributors. If you think we have missed something from this list please let us know info@lookwest.ie

 

 

 

Marble Beach, Donegal

Best West of Ireland Heatwave photos

The summer of 2018 is the summer that keeps on giving. We can’t keep up with the amount of Caribbean-esque shots we have seen of the stunning beaches we have right across the West of Ireland.

Is anybody feeling a little bit smug about where they live now?

Here are our top Insta picks from the heatwave so far.

With the current forecast, we think we will have to do Round Two next week. If you would like your shots to be included, please tag us @lookwestie and include #lookwest on your shots!

Co Clare:

Hands down one of the best #cliffsofmoher shots we have soon. There are over 400,000 on Instagram so that is quite an achievement @reeyco

Co Galway:

Where do we start with Galway? The shots from SeaFest alone could feel a whole article. Then those Connemara beach shots!!

Seriously though how stunning is this shot of Lettergesh Beach in Connemara?

Having all the bants in Salthill!

With thanks to @kokine009 for #repost: “☀When it’s summer in Galway ☀”

A post shared by Barnacles Hostels (@barnacleshostels) on

 

This one is an old Red Bull shot from Poll na bPéist, couldn’t not include it!

Connemara

A post shared by Aidan Maguire (@aidanjmaguire) on

Co Mayo:

Baywatch eat your heart out!

Wowza, having all the craic in Louisburgh!

Co Leitrim:

Zen-est sheep in Ireland award goes to?

Co Roscommon:

Blogger Magnumlady nails the Gaelic Chieftain at sunset.

Gaelic Chieftain sunset #roscommon #Ireland #irish #heatwave #statue #sculpture

A post shared by Val (@magnumlady) on

Co Sligo:

Sligo photographer Mark Capilitan seems to have the work-life balance nailed. Follow his feed for lots more stunning shots!

If it wasn’t for the beach & kayak, you’d think this water was a swimming pool!!

A post shared by Mark Capilitan (@markcap_photo) on

Its gonna be another one of those weeks 🌞🌞🌞

A post shared by Mark Capilitan (@markcap_photo) on

 Beautiful children at sunset shot from John Keating in Sligo.

Co Donegal:

South African photographer Ian Mitchinson’s feed is always a stunning feast of adventure shots from the North West. This Bundoran shot is a cracker!

 

Featured Image: Marble Hill Beach, Co Donegal via Ireland’s Content Pool

shells cafe cookbook

Iconic Sligo surf café launches its new Good Vibes Cookbook.

Inspired by travel, surfing and a healthy outdoors lifestyle, the Good Vibes Cookbook is the latest publication by the authors of the Surf Café Cookbook and Surf Café Living. Packed with delicious, nutritious recipes using ‘clean’ foods, it beckons you to enjoy vibrant, tasty dishes that are good for you.

Based on the West Coast of Ireland, authors Jane and Myles are behind the successful surfside café, Shells, in Strandhill. Here they have tried and tested all the recipes in the book, to bring you the best locally-produced, easy-to-make food. Having travelled the world in search of surf, foodie delights and diverse cultures, this book brings together a variety of influences from their global travels and their lifestyle at home in Ireland.

shells cafe cookbookYou’ll find the pages stuffed with nourishing, mouth-watering recipes that will enrich your diet and make you feel great. Wake up to energising snacks such as the Super Green ‘Superman’ Smoothie, Buddha Breakfast Bowl, Ricotta Hotcakes and Coconut Butter Coffee. Learn how to create amazing dishes like Asian Slaw, Pea and Trout Salad, Slow Poached Coconut Chicken and Hazelnut Lamb Koftas. Feed your sweet tooth with healthy Elderflower and Raspberry Cake, Deliciously Decadent Doughnuts and Vegan Chocolate Ice-cream.

This will encourage you to spend more time in the kitchen, fuel your body the right way and ensure that you feel the good vibes every time you flick through the pages of gorgeous recipes in this cookbook.

From this book, you will be inspired to live a more fulfilled life packed with great food, outdoor living and a taste of the ocean. Get the good vibes!

shells cookbookAbout the Shells Café Team

Food and the outdoors are Jane and Myles Lamberth’s great passions.

Myles learnt his cookery skills in unique locations around the world: he’s cooked on campfires in Africa while river guiding, been a chef at exclusive chalets in the French Alps, and worked for a top catering company in the US where he cooked for musicians like Annie Lennox, The Gypsy Kings and even Snoop Dogg. Jane, meanwhile, began her career in marketing but her love of travel soon took her away from the city to destinations that offered surf or snow.

They met in 2004, whilst working at the prestigious 5-star Headland Hotel in Cornwall. They spent their summers by the sea and winters in the Alps, before eventually putting down some permanent roots in Strandhill, on the beautiful coast of northwest Ireland, where they opened Shells Café in 2010 and they haven’t looked back since. Ireland’s Atlantic coast is fast becoming one of Europe’s top destinations for surfers with some of the best waves in the world and it’s the perfect place for Jane and Myles to create great food and live the outdoor lifestyle they love. The restaurant quickly gained a loyal following and in April 2014 they won the Best Casual Restaurant Award at the regional final of the Irish Restaurant Awards.

In 2012 Jane and Myles decided to write a book about their experiences, and so The Surf Café Cookbook was born (also published by Orca Publications). It has since been a runaway success. Jane and Myles received glowing reviews and have subsequently made appearances on James Nesbitt’s Ireland (ITV), Ireland AM (TV3) and Nationwide (RTE). Their next book Surf Cafe Living (2014) aimed at home dining with family and friends. Nowadays Jane and Myles have young Arlo in their lives but it hasn’t slowed them down at all and they continue to travel the world being inspired by great food. The result of which is their new book Good Vibes Cookbook out worldwide on 1st July.

More at ShellsCafe.com

strandhill

Ambitious New Tourism Campaign set to Extend Tourism Season for Strandhill

From some of the hippest eateries in the West to some of the most inspiring landscapes and walking trails, surf breaks, and seaweed baths, Strandhill is a surf mecca along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

With a busy tourism season throughout the summer, the local Strandhill Community Development has leveraged funding from the government’s Town and Village Renewal Scheme to support an integrated tourism marketing campaign to extend the tourism season, and encourage return visits in Autumn to the Strandhill and Coolera Peninsula.

The new campaign was launched at a Swell Sligo training event earlier in June. The breakfast event took place in Strandhill Golf Club with a packed line-up of speakers on sustainable tourism, digital marketing, and PR.

Speakers included Cillian Murphy of Loop Head Tourism and Lisa Regan from Galway’s West End who both spoke about sustainable tourism in the West of Ireland.

The campaign is set to extend the tourism season into Autumn, as well as increasing the length of bed-nights per person and spend per head by initially targeting young families and social energisers – two tourism audiences who want action-packed days as well as fun-filled nights.

strandhill

Adopting three strategic thrusts for the marketing of Strandhill this summer, the initiative includes an integrated marketing campaign to share all the inspiring moments of the day from dawn to dusk using the hashtag #StrandhillMoments on social media, incentivising return visits in Autumn, and enhancing the delivery of the overall tourism message to include heritage assets like Carrowmore Megalithic Tombs, walking trails on Knocknarea and Killaspugbrone, as well as the well known activities of surfing and water sports.

The campaign includes a revamp of the tourism website GoStrandhill.com, featuring an interactive map with attractions and local businesses, Strandhill package deals and featured itineraries for families and groups, as well as marketing, training and mentoring support for local tourism businesses.

Commenting on the launch, Cllr Sinead Maguire said, “This is a unique example of the community coming together to promote our local businesses. It is based on the premise of one supports the other and all will benefit, at the heart of this campaign is a wish to have a comprehensive campaign for the peninsula as a whole. We are incredibly fortunate with the array of tourism opportunities we have on offer from beach to mountain to one of the most significant archaeological sites in Western Europe and we as a community were delighted to get the opportunity to promote them.”

strandhill

Strandhill Beach. Photographer: Mike Searle

A team of local creative professionals was commissioned to work on the campaign; a new media bank of photos has been commissioned and will be available to support the campaign through online channels and in print media. A new series of promotional videos have also been created and will be released across the Summer and Autumn months.

An overarching goal of the campaign is also to promote responsible and sustainable tourism development while safeguarding the unique culture, heritage and biodiversity of the peninsula through cooperation with all stakeholders in the wider community.

The campaign will also tie in with Failte Ireland’s promotion of the Northwest coastline as the Surf Coast along the Wild Atlantic Way, and the new tourism strategy launched by Sligo Tourism recently.

For further information on the campaign, see gostrandhill.com or follow the hashtag online #StrandhillMoments

Shore Shots

Over 300 outdoor enthusiasts and surfers visit Sligo for the sixth edition of Shore Shots Surf Festival

Over 300 surfers, outdoor enthusiasts and movie buffs made their way to Sligo last weekend for the sixth edition of Shore Shots Surf Festival. Originally held in Dublin for three years, the event now hosts the majority of the content in The Model theatre with a number of fringe events taking place around the town centre and in Strandhill.

 The event, which is now renowned as one of the biggest gathering of surfers in Europe, began on Friday night with a book launch from Donegal native Barry Britton who had correlated over four decades of work in time for the festival.  Music on night one was provided by Jim Carbin & Acoustic Breaks, while inside the cinema festival goers got a chance to see the European premiere of the new Laird Hamilton movie ‘Take Every Wave.’

On Saturday the festival played host to a surf market, talks from some of Europe’s best outdoor photographers including George Karbus, Tim Burrow, and Ian Mitchinson. In the cinema theatre Sligo native Gearoid McDaid introduced his new movie ‘Misery Loves Company’ to a packed audience, while Easkey Britton took home the top prize for her new movie ‘ A Lunar Cycle’, which will now be showcased at the festivals partner event in Vienna next month.  Derry born musician Keith Harkin, who has made a name for himself in the States, flew back for the festival and put on a three hour show in Connolly’s bar as a fringe event to the public before Seamie O’Dowd showcased his Rory Gallagher style show on stage in 5th on Teeling.

Sunday morning of the festival coincided with ‘Earth Day’ and so begun with a beach clean at Strandhill in conjunction with Clean Coasts and a marram grass planting session with climate action officer Gary Tyrrell. As a reward everybody who took part was treated to brunch in The Strand Bar courtesy of festival sponsor Tullamore Dew. Back in the model theatre festival goers attended an ‘Earth Day’ panel discussion on single use plastics pollution in our oceans and attended movies including ‘Smog of the Sea’ and ‘A Plastic Ocean’.

Festival organiser Allan Mulrooney commented “Our attendees traveled from all over Ireland including Cork, Clare, Waterford and Dublin. We also had people travel from the UK, France, Portugal, Germany and a small few from the States which is fantastic.  When we surveyed them on site, it seems 60% had never been to Sligo before. Saturday was a beautiful day with fun waves and sunshine so we’re delighted our guests saw the North West in all its glory. The event was a huge success and we believe it’s the perfect fit for Sligo to showcase the work-life balance, the outdoor lifestyle and the world class waves on our doorstep”. Allan also added that more needs to be done to help small festivals progress and grow in Sligo with no funding, organisational help or structure in place to support grassroots initiatives. “We believe our festival has great value for Sligo and the North West and with more support could grow into an event that attracts three thousand or more in years to come. This structure needs to come from within the local council and tourism board if we wish to see our events grow to attract more beds nights and increase tourist spend here.”

For more on Shore Shots visit shoreshots.ie

Image Credits: Johnny Frazer

 

shopify galway

Shopify – A New World of Job Opportunities for the West of Ireland

With the advent of better broadband and an increasing demand for flexible working options, companies are looking at the potential of remote working for staff.

This is good news for the West of Ireland, with more and more people looking to escape the M50 and work in the West, the potential to work remotely for a large company with great career options is very appealing.

working from home

Shopify in the West

One such company offering just this is Shopify. Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce firm headquartered in Ottawa. It develops software for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. It was originally founded after its owners wrote software for their online snowboard store. The platform is currently used by more than 600,000 merchants who transact more than $34bn in sales volume.

Shopify now employs a large team in Ireland; most of whom are based in the West. All Shopify staff work from home; there is no Shopify office.

Shopify staff are located across the Western Region; with Galway centralised as its hub city. There are already some clusters of staff in towns like Carrick on Shannon, County Leitrim and Boyle, County Roscommon. They also have staff in Sligo, Donegal, Clare and obviously a large cohort in Galway. Staff do get to meet though; Shopify hosts monthly social meet-ups, mostly in Galway but events have also taken place in Sligo and other areas.

We spoke to the Luke Cassidy who works in Talent Acquisition at Shopify, to understand how this works and what their expansion plans are for the West of Ireland.

‘We’ve grown our team 300% over the last few years; from a small team that started in Galway in 2015. The majority of Shopifolk are based on the West coast. The team primarily works in support roles.’

Looking West

galway cityWhen asked why Shopify chose to base their team primarily in the West, Cassidy is effusive in his positivity on the benefits. ‘As soon as we felt the entrepreneurial energy of Galway City, we felt at home. At Shopify, we saw the opportunity to tap into the diverse and skilled workforce, and have a positive impact on the city as a whole.’

Luke also emphasises the importance of the cultural strength of Galway; ‘Galway is a cultural hub with an amazingly inclusive, innovative and engaged population. From Eyre Square to Spanish Arch, and everything in between  illustrated that the passion, spirit and heartbeat of the city is palpable.’

Shopify is a Canadian company and considers itself to be the world’s biggest start-up. They see a very strong cultural alignment between their company’s ethos and the West of Ireland culture; they are champions of diversity.

Remote Work Doesn’t Mean Isolation

Working remotely takes a certain amount of discipline and whether Shopify are recruiting for a customer service role or a more techie position, skills like problem-solving and the ability to think independently are key.

While you’ll get all the benefits of working from home, but with a solid structure. Staff work in set shifts, typically between 7am – 3pm or 10 am – 6 pm. And although you’ll be working remotely-  you won’t be lonely. “We schedule by team, so when you are working your whole support network are online too,” Luke explains.

And you’ll also get plenty of opportunities to meet your team members face-to-face. “There are meet-ups happening organically and then once a month we have a team meet-up.”

Meet The Team:

shopify team

Luke Cassidy and Veronica Patton of Shopify

Veronica Patton is a ‘Support Onboarding Trainer’ working with Shopify. She divides her time between Galway City and her native home in Donegal. We spoke with Veronica to get an insight into her experience of remote working for Shopify.

What did you do before you worked for Shopify?

‘I worked in many different areas before Shopify. My background was in Town Planning and most of my experience was in that field. I was a Heritage Officer for a local authority, then a tourist advisor for a while. Directly before Shopify, I was working for a distribution company in the West.

How did you find your job?

‘I was introduced to Shopify in April 2015 when a recruitment agency I had used before got in touch with me and told me about an exciting Canadian company that was looking to hire people in the Galway area. I didn’t really have any commerce or IT experience but the mission and values of the company drew me in. .

I also really enjoyed the interview process, from the “Life Story” interview to the technical interview (aptly called the Gauntlet!) I can honestly say that my life has changed for the better since joining Shopify.

I joined as a Customer Success Guru and loved every minute of it. I had never learned so much in any role previously. It was challenging work, but thanks to an amazing team, I was able to embrace the change and excel. I spent over a year as a Guru, then moved into the Squad Lead role and now a Support Trainer.’

What are the pros and cons of remote working?

‘One of the biggest pros for me has been the flexibility it has offered. I can work in Galway until 4pm on a Monday, hop in the car after work and drive to Donegal and work from there for a few days without it impacting my role. I have been able to spend more time with my family and friends than I ever did in any previous role. I can work from my home office or meet up with colleagues where we work together for the day.

I’ve noticed such a difference in my work-life balance. You have more time to spend doing the things you enjoy rather than sitting in traffic trying to get home. You’ll also save money on work clothes. Remote working makes you more proactive and independent – which has definitely helped me both inside and outside of work.’

remote working

So are there any negatives to remote working?

Veronica struggles to find any large negatives in her experience of remote working. ‘Personally, I find it hard to think of too many cons of remote working. I have definitely found more pros than cons, it has had a such a positive impact on my life.

It can sometimes be easy to continue working past your scheduled finishing time or opening the laptop on a weekend to check something else but you end up reading emails. It’s important to be aware of these kind of habits. You’re not really getting proper downtime if you are constantly on. Luckily Shopify has resources in place to help with this. Teams have daily check-ins as well as weekly meetings with your team lead – both are so supportive and always offer great advice. We also have allowances to support your mental and physical health, which let me expense the running shoes I had been looking to buy for months and help inspire me to be active. I’ve also tried my hand at a few meditation classes for the first time! Communication is different on a remote team, we mostly communicate via our internal chat (Slack) or by using video call.’

A huge thanks to Luke and Veronica from Shopify for sharing these insights with us. If you like the sound of a role in Shopify, the good news is they are hiring!

Shopify Roles Open Now:

Customer Success Guru Role (Fluent in German)

For more info, visit shopify.com/careers/