Posts Tagged ‘redwood’

How have you all been?  Has your summer been good?

We’ve had a crazy busy time here in Redwood. In May, and even into June, I was convinced that we would have a very quiet bed and breakfast season.  BUT suddenly it all kicked off, bookings came rushing in.  And while it was all a bit manic for a time, we are extremely grateful to all who came and stayed.

It was fun to meet so many wonderful people.

Our guests came from all corners of the world.  This year we had our first guests from Norway, Romania and Finland.  We love hearing about the home lives of folks, and why they make the decision to come to Ireland.

Earlier in the year we had been contemplating renovating an old farmhand cottage, but in the end decided that that there was too much red tape and expenditure.  Instead we’ve converted what used to be my ‘study’ and is now what we refer to as the Library Room.  This has been the most popular room of this season.  It also means that we can now accommodate six people at once.

The Library Room

We’ve had some ‘hairy’ and some funny moments over the past few months.

  • Lots of guests had to be roped into sheepherding duties. We’ve the two greatest escape artists ever this year, no matter which field we put them in they find a way out.  We do our best to provide an ‘authentic’ experience!
  • There were the guests who requested an early book in… then never showed up at all ….. not a happy camper that day.
  • Then guests who arrived with their cocker spaniel … without warning us! Thankfully, I was outside on their arrival and was able to (almost) roar at them to put dog on lead before he spotted the hens!
  • The guests who did so much shopping on their trip, they needed an extra suitcase… we were able to donate a suitcase to the cause!  Did you know charity shops won’t take suitcases???
  • Lots of guests have given us unexpected gifts…. homegrown chillies from their garden in Canada, a beautiful plate from Cincinnati, wine, maple syrup… I reckon they know us well even before they arrive!
  • I got quite a few opportunities to practice my French.
  • We had our first ‘kosher’ guests… we like challenges.
  • We had many boys and girls who were willing to throw sticks endlessly and tire Ross out… can they come back soon, please, he needs more running about??
  • We had the guest who asked if there were sheets on the bed???
  • And the one who brought his own toilet paper???

As the season slows down, we still have bookings between now and Christmas, and even have had a booking for next year (from a guest that stayed this year)!

Fingers and toes crossed for a good 2020.

Maybe you might decide to come stay in 2020?

Read Full Post »

It’s on the bucket list.  In fact it has been on the bucket list for way too long.

I want to go up in a hot air balloon.  That is all.

I stood in awe for hours a couple of weeks ago as the Irish Hot Air Balloon Championships were held in Birr.  I was fascinated watching the weather along with them, waiting to hear if it was going to be a ‘Fly’ or ‘No Fly’ decision.  It was all quite technical but fascinating at the same time.

We were lucky that Monday evening was a beautiful evening, the winds were right, so it was a ‘FLY’ decision. We dropped everything and raced into Birr.

Aren’t they just magical?

There was a very enthusiastic chap who jumped out and parachuted back down!

And then I was lucky enough to be able to capture them on an early morning flight rom our kitchen.

Early morning flight over Tipperary countryside.


Early morning flight in the mist.

Someday that bucket list ‘tick’ will be marked.

Read Full Post »

Regular readers here will know that we’ve spent a lot of time walking the bog recently in search of Harry – without any luck I have to say.

For those who’ve never been to a bog, our Irish boglands are very special. The peat bogs make up 5% of this island of ours.  Peat is made up of the partially decomposed remains of dead plants. As these plants decay a layer of ‘bog’ is formed.  The process takes hundreds of years.

The bogs are home to many rare plants and animals.

Here in Redwood we are surrounded by a few different bogs, the biggest being Redwood bog.  While bogs in one sense are a little bleak and eerie, they do hold their own beauty.

Redwood Bog

In recent years, the harvesting of peat has been stopped or restricted in many raised bogs.  Harvesting, however, in our bogs still continues, with the major activity happening in June and July.

Boglands are special areas of conservation, with the Irish Peatland Conservation Council do amazing work in this area.  And we have been proud to assist them over the years.

The diversity of plantlife on the bog is amazing. The last day we walked the bog the gorse was in full bloom, the heather was just starting to bloom as were the bull rushes.

Imagine our horror when we saw this down on the trackway to the bog?


Someone (and I have to presume it is local) has been going down there and chopping trees for firewood, and also using the area as a general dump! What kind of people are out there?  They really have no respect at all.




To further incense me I read today that our newly formed government has decided that we don’t need a Department devoted to the Environment???  What kind of twats are they?

Does anyone at all care about our land?  It is not a finite source.  People are destroying it.

Do you care?  If so you might like to sign this petition to reverse the government decision to abolish the Dept. of the Environment.



Read Full Post »

Friday Photo

As the storms continue to batter us, and the rain has turned the landscape a very dull brown colour, I thought a photo of the house in summer with the sun blazing down and all windows and doors opened should brighten our hearts!

Happy New Year!


Read Full Post »

Friday Photo

The floods on our road have finally receded but they’ve left major craters behind.  These are the 2 biggest but there are about 10 others.

Read Full Post »

Here in Ireland we love a good old festival or fete.  And right now we are in the height of the season for them.  Yes, it is supposed to be summertime.  So despite the fact that temperatures are barely above 12 degrees Celsius and we still have ground frost at night…. it is supposed to be summertime!!!

And summertime signals festivals in every town and village across the country. There are festivals to suit every taste – music, gardens, agriculture, quirky ones,and some decidedly odd ones – you will surely find one to suit your taste.


However, can I issue a little word of warning to festival organisers?

Guys, rethink your entry fees.  Seriously!

We’ve chatted about it here at Redwood, and thought you know if they charge us €20 each in, we have to drive to the destination (and fuel is so expensive right now), so say €50 for fuel, then you may have to pay for parking too, and you want to eat when you get there…. it has quickly mounted up to over €100 for 2 people to have a bit of a day out.  Not bad you might say.

Aaah… but think of all those stall holders in at the festival.  We’ve been there, done that in a previous life.  The stall holder has paid dearly (usually) for the privilege of taking a stand, has travelled to the show, perhaps has to pay for accommodation if they are too far from home, may have to pay for extra staff, and they need to eat too.

So folks, they need us to spend money when we are there.  They NEED us to buy from them to make it worth their while to have attended the show.

But we’ve already spent €100 quid to get there.  Our spending power is now diminished.

I can’t even imagine the cost for families going to such events, and kids wanting to purchase stuff.  It must be a nightmare for parents.

I thought it was just us who thought like this, but I’ve recently seen blog posts about it, and yesterday I spoke with a neighbour who just abandoned plans to attend a show in Wexford because of the costs involved.

To event organisers….. there has to be a better way.  We understand your need to make money, but don’t be so greedy.  Perhaps a lower entry fee, and you might get more people attending?  Have a think about it.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this?

Read Full Post »

Trying to take photographs in today’s deluge was not fun!  However, these shone through 🙂



Read Full Post »

Spring time sunset in Redwood

Springtime Sunset

Springtime Sunset

Read Full Post »

We’ve had an absolutely hectic time here in Redwood for the past 10 days.  I’ve been away to Dublin to do some minding of nieces and nephews, and then we’ve had some of my family and some of Alfie’s family come to stay.  All good fun.

In honour of such visitors we actually managed to take a day off on Wednesday, and went to Limerick to visit King John’s Castle.

I grew up in Limerick.  Spent the first 16 years of my life there.  I have many memories of those years, but one, in particular, which relates to King John’s Castle, was walking (always walking) over to my Nana’s every single Sunday afternoon. My Nana lived just down the road from the Castle.

In those days the Castle was completely off limits.  It was locked up and no-one was allowed inside.

Thomond Bridge

Thomond Bridge

Despite crossing over Thomond Bridge and seeing the Castle every Sunday, I really didn’t know much about the history.

Let me tell you if you get the opportunity to visit…. you simply must go.  Millions of euro have been spent on the restoration, creating a wonderful interactive experience, and every penny has been well spent.  800 years of history is told in such an interesting and creative way… needless to say I was particularly interested in the ‘food history’.

The Normans brought us a varied diet

The Normans brought us a varied diet

This would certainly encourage obeisance :)

This would certainly encourage obedience 🙂

The Menu

We liked that pork and bacon featured on the menu!

However, there is so much to the exhibition…. the lives of the people through the ages, the battles…. something to enthral everyone of every age.

Isn't this model amazing?

Isn’t this model amazing?

You can go right up to the top of the towers, which gave amazing views in every direction.  Those folks back in the 13th century must have already known the phrase ‘location, location, location’!  Look at that view.


There is another story to go with this photo.  See those houses on the left…. when I was a little girl I swear I saw Santa and his reindeer land on the roofs of those houses (Nana’s house was on the other side of the river)…. we had to rush home immediately!!!

However, back to King John’s Castle…  as an Irish person visiting the Castle we really were proud of how it has been developed.  Despite it being a dreary October afternoon, there were quite a few tourists about, all of whom seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the experience.  There were four adults in our group.  We each came away with different aspects having impressed us, and had a lively discussion in the car on the way home, on the lives of the folks who used to live in the Castle.

Be sure to get there 🙂


Read Full Post »

Moving to Tipperary

We have just celebrated 11 years here in Redwood.  Let me say it seems like only yesterday, and at the same time, it seems like we’ve been here forever!

Photo from the sales brochure

Of course thoughts drifted back to that moving day – 10th October 2003 – what a day it was.

Have any of you ever moved house?  It is a nightmare.

We’d been packing boxes in Dublin from July.  Anything we didn’t use regularly was packed and carefully labelled.  As the ‘moving’ day drew closer the packing grew more frenetic.

Our original day to move was 18th October, but with about 2 weeks to go, we were asked could we bring the date forward.  For the life of me I cannot remember why.

I called our solicitor and asked could we do this?  She spoke to the solicitor for this house who agreed.

Then, wait for it…. on the afternoon of 9th October – THE DAY BEFORE WE MOVE – the solicitor at this end, decides it doesn’t suit to ‘close’ the house the next day!  At this stage all our worldly goods were already on board the removal truck.  I am standing in an empty house on the verge of tears.

Thank goodness, I had a decent solicitor at my end who worked tirelessly to get it sorted…. and an hour later we are back on track.

We had a relaxing and pleasant evening at my sister’s house.  Early meeting with my solicitor next morning, sign papers and by mid-day we were on the road to Tipperary.

We got to Birr at 2 pm, as arranged, to collect keys from the vendor’s solicitor.

This is where the fun starts.

He refused point blank to give me the keys!  Said the money wouldn’t be in the bank til Monday, so I could not have keys til then.

I will never ever forget the rudeness of that man.  We spent the afternoon pacing the streets of Birr, not knowing a single person in the town, making frantic calls back to Dublin to our own solicitor.

The ignorant solicitor finally agreed to meet with me for handover of keys at 5 p.m., then changed his mind again!  This is where I totally lost the plot!

There were other people in the reception area of his office.  I was polite to them and apologised to them for the scene I was about to cause, but I completely lost the rag with this ignorant man!

I had now been waiting to meet with him for a simple hand-over of keys for 3 hours, I was justified in ranting.

He gave me the keys eventually – almost threw them at me, and made some very nasty remarks in the process.

By the time we got to the house – the poor removal guys had been sitting here for 4 hours waiting to unload!  And they still had to do the return drive to Dublin.  It was easily 7 o’clock before they were able to head off.

Buddy - black and white dog

We had also had our dog, Buddy, cooped up in the car with us for all this time (with occasional walks around the streets of Birr)…. what does he do when we bring him into the house…. you’re right he immediately did what boy dogs do…. a good way to christen our new house!!!!

Thankfully, I have never come across that man again, nor would I wish to, as I’m not sure I could be polite.




Read Full Post »

Older Posts »