This photo was taken by our airbnb guest last week…. check out Enrique’s Facebook page for some amazing photos : Quique Aparicio Fotografía
We really love this one of our handsome girl, Winnie.
Our neighbourhood is not a natural tourist destination, nor is it promoted as a tourist destination. It is quite a hidden gem… almost a secret gem. So we are delighted to receive the guests who do come our way.
We have met some really lovely people… as has been said so often by guests “we came as strangers and left as friends”. Perhaps, it is our listing, our reviews, or our location that attracts like-minded people! We’ve had people from all parts of the world come stay, and many the lively conversation that’s been had over the kitchen table at dinner.
We often wish we could both persuade more people to come, and persuade those who do come to stay for longer. The #MagicalMidlands has so much to offer – magnificent historical destinations; activities like cycling, hiking, fishing and walking; and, of course, beautiful scenery.
We like to think that by being hosts we are helping our community, bringing tourists to this wonderful part of Ireland, boosting the local economy just a little bit… and, of course, introducing guests to the ‘social dancing’ on Friday nights – always a big hit.
If you are planning a trip to middle Ireland, do stay a while.
We are delighted and thankful that bookings have started to come in for this year. And, now Minister Heather Humphries, has launched a new Action Plan for Rural Ireland that promises a 12% increase in tourism for 2017…. well, we’ll see…..
As St. Patrick’s Day will give us a long weekend this year, we thought we’d do a special offer to encourage you all to come and visit the #MagicalMidlands. As we are quite remote, we give guests the option of joining us in the kitchen for dinner. You will see from our listing that we’re not bad cooks, so good food is guaranteed!
There you go folks…. 2 rooms available…. who’s coming?
Since we started hosting on AirBnB we’ve come across the strangest (well to us) allergies and food dislikes. I never knew people could be allergic to oranges?
Sometimes it can be a challenge to come up with interesting dishes that exclude ingredients that we would take for granted. Imagine not using onions…. at all?
This past summer we had a family stay with us, where one member was allergic to dairy, egg and nuts. Fine you say, BUT, they had a birthday during their stay. Two adults (adult birthday), and 2 children (child allergic)…. so my challenge was to come up with a cake that everyone could eat and enjoy.
God bless ‘google’.
This cake then became a life saver again last week, when I was asked to bring dessert to a house with a similar allergy problem. I think, but am not sure, that this would also actually qualify as ‘vegan’… maybe someone out there could tell me?
The amounts are a little odd, as the original recipe from Allrecipes in Australia was in cups. So here’s my translation.
Heat oven to 180 deg. Centigrade.
Line a 30 cm cake tin with parchment paper
Sieve the dry ingredients together. Make 3 wells in the mixture, adding oil, vinegar and vanilla essence into separate wells.
Add water and mix really well.
Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes.
I iced the finished cake with a sugar and lemon juice mix…. literally mixing icing sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice together until I had the right consistency.
We’re not big chocolate cake fans here… but this has been a hit with us and everyone we served it to.
Oh I was so very organised yesterday. I was really.
We had an AirBnB guest arriving, but I started the day way ahead on the preparations. I even had time to stop and have coffee and a chat with a neighbour. Things were still okay….. I usually aim to have the house ready by 2 pm… giving us time to have a shower, and deal with anything else that might happen before a 4 pm arrival.
By 3 pm… a bit behind schedule, but hey, I’m organised and everything is okay, I finally get to the shower. Clean clothes on… time for some quick checking of emails, etc.
Our guest had messaged that he would be with us before dark.
Alfie gets into shower about 4.30 pm.
By 5 pm…. all hell had broken out! Why do these things happen when you have clean clothes on???
The dogs started barking furiously. I thought it was our guest arriving.
No. No. No. Silly me.
I looked out the window to see our pigs in our neighbours field. Aaargh! This is taking ‘free range pork‘ to a whole new level.
Quick donning of wellies, grab a feed bucket and try to tempt them back to our side of the fence. Of course they were having none of it…. they’d just broken out via the orchard so had bellies full of apples.
An hour and a half later – mist falling, darkness falling and by the way, there is no time for a toilet break…. and yes, I really needed to go – we had to abandoned all attempts to get them back. We’d managed to tempt Ginger back. She ate some grain while we continued to tried to convince Perky to return to the fold. Then Ginger decided it was much more fun to join Perky running about with cattle.
Seriously pigs are the worst!
By 6.30…. shopping still had to be done, dinner still had to be cooked, and guest had not arrived yet (strange).
At 7 pm…. I get a message while in supermarket…. I am at Lissatunny and cannot find you. Well, that’s not surprising as it is 45 minutes south of us!!!!
Many phone calls later, and a meet up in the village and our guest finally got here at about 8 pm.
Oh, and the nice clean clothes I’d put on a few hours earlier were filthy!!!!
Summer 2016 has been our third summer of hosting on AirBnB, and has, in fact, been quite different to previous years.
Our guests have typically been mainly from the USA, however, this year our guests were mostly European – mostly either German or English.
We did have a chat with those US guests who did come to stay, about ‘why’ Americans weren’t travelling. We thought it might be because of the election. However, they said that a lot of Americans are worried about terrorist attacks in Europe and this is why they are not travelling. We haven’t had the chance to travel this year, but I do wonder do Irish people consider terrorist attacks when travelling in Europe?
Perhaps one of the most interesting conversations I had with guests was based around food! Are you surprised?
The conversation is particularly pertinent when you read the results of a survey carried out by Failte Ireland:
Well guys if food is ‘part of the overall experience’ we, as a nation, need to step up to the plate quite a bit to cater for vegetarians! Yes, can you believe it, here I am living on a farm where we produce free range pork products and I am asking the Irish nation to improve their vegetarian offerings.
Our guests, a young German couple with their 4 year old son, spent a fortnight travelling around Ireland, staying in B&B’s and eating out. (Yes, it does surprise us that vegetarians choose to stay with us.) When I asked what was the vegetarian ‘choice’ like on their travels …. the answer….. soup, pasta or chips.
Come on folks, you can do better than this.
For dinner I made Parmigiana with our own aubergines which they totally enjoyed. My homemade granola and our own eggs for breakfast the next morning were also a big hit. It was the first time they had been offered eggs for breakfast.
I don’t have a huge repertoire of vegetarian options…. but I can certainly do better than soup, pasta or chips! I am sure others could to.
Continuing with how busy this summer has been….
Despite a very slow start on our bookings via AirBnB, once May arrived bookings started to come quick and fast. And, in fact, kept coming right through to last week.
Now all has gone quiet, but hopefully it will pick up again.
In previous years our guests have been predominantly from US and Canada, but this year visitors have been mainly from Europe, with the occasional Australian or American thrown in too.
Initially I thought that maybe Americans were not travelling because it is an election year, but having discussed it with those who did visit, it seems Americans are afraid of terrorism attacks in Europe.
Isn’t it strange how perspectives can be so diverse? From here looking on, we’d probably think going to a nightclub or a shopping mall in US could be more dangerous than visiting a city in Europe. As I say, all about perspective.
As always we have met such lovely people. Sometimes within minutes of people arriving you feel like you’ve just met an ‘old friend’. We’ve had some great evenings of chat and banter sitting around the kitchen table.
Friday night guests are usually treated to a visit to Lorrha GAA Club for the social dancing… always a great night…. sometimes a bit of a culture shock for guests.
Thank you so much to all the lovely guests who took time out of their vacation, or the busy lives when they got home to post reviews…. they are very much appreciated. This one from an Irish guest won our hearts though.
As bookings were so slow to come in via AirBnB – which has more to do with North Tipperary not being a ‘tourist destination’ than anything else – we decided to look at some of the other platforms out there. Did you know that there are so many?
We recently had our first booking via Homestay. I had forgotten that we had even registered on there back in 2013! It has taken 3 years for us to get a booking… however, it was worth the wait, again we met a lovely couple from Ballymena.
Other platforms include TripAdviser, Wimdu and Flipkey.
Have you ever used any of these platforms? Which are your favourites?
And, as always, we’d be forever grateful if you can share or recommend us to travelling family and friends.
life just gets in the way!
I do feel the blog has been so neglected lately. However, when I stop and think I don’t know where I found time to write before. Do you ever feel you are living on a merry-go-round? I seem to just be jumping from one thing to the other, and at times, feel that absolutely nothing has been achieved.
Having said all that, since I last wrote about Harry’s demise, we have been busy.
We’ve got a new pup. He’s 3 months old!! I’d forgotten about the chewing, the peeing, the boundless energy. It was probably just as well I’d forgotten as we’d probably not have agreed to have one. He is a pet though, and he is helping Winnie get over the loss of her brother. Ross has been with us three weeks…. and he now knows two words…. his name and ‘NO!’
The weather has been absolutely amazing for the time of year. Three weeks of sunshine with temperatures up to 25 degrees C!!! We didn’t know what to do with ourselves…. and then the rain returned with a vengeance.
We’ve had a busy few weeks with AirBnB guests. Once again meeting lovely people from US, Switzerland, Germany, England and Ireland. In fact the next couple of weeks are going to be really really busy with guests which is great…. but there is still room for more 🙂
We did manage to take a day off and take a trip up to Bloom (the major Irish Garden and Food Show).
This was the most ‘realistic’ garden of all.
I loved the wild abandon of the flowers and colours in this garden.
Other news…. our muscovy duck, Mollie, is sitting on eggs, and one of our hens, Mona, is sitting on eggs too… so fingers and toes crossed for lots of cute baby chicks and ducks soon.
The polytunnel despite bouts of neglect is coming along nicely. We are now harvesting strawberries, herbs and courgettes.
The outside vegetable garden is growing well…. the past two days of rain is really encouraging the weeds though.
I’ve been experimenting with some new recipes too which I hope to share with you soon. I promise!
How’s life with you?