Cycling the Great Western Greenway in Connemara, Ireland

sheep on greenway

Over the weekend while my parents were visiting, we took a trip to the west of Ireland. The weather for their visit was a little wet and grey, but on Sunday morning we woke up to serious sunshine that was not even in the forecast! We were thrilled since we had planned to cycle 30 kilometers from Achill Island to Newport on the Great Western Greenway. It would not have been nearly such an amazing day if it had been raining!  great western greenway

Michael organised with Clew Bay Bike Hire to meet in Newport, take their shuttle to Achill Island, and then cycle the 30 kilometres back to the car. I could go on and on about how incredible the views were, but I think you’ll get the picture from the photographs. Ocean, mountains, sheep, how could you not have fun?!  great western greenway 2

greenway path

The path is really well maintained and well marked, so there’s no getting lost at all. It’s early in the season, so we were the only people on the trail for the first half of the journey which was so nice. There were parts that were uphill, but the second half was mostly downhill. It was certainly a long cycle, but that just meant more fish and chips for lunch afterward!

I should also mention that all four of us were well able for the cycle, if a little wobbly with sore seats by the end! My dad cycles 40 miles at a time and judges a good ride by how big the hills are, but Michael and I don’t cycle more than a half mile most days. And my mom isn’t so sporty but we’re thinking this cycle might have turned her – next time she’s back she’ll be decked out in all the spandex cycling gear!  peat piles connemara

Lots of piles of peat along the path! I don’t love the smell of it burning, but I love the look of a whole pile of it!  emily connemara greenway

greenway slanty

I took a few photos without lifting the camera to my eye ( I couldn’t really take a photo if I wasn’t stopped – I’m not that steady!), but I really liked this slanty one!  greenway sheep

Sadly, this was the only baby sheep I saw on the whole journey. But he was a cute little guy! Connemara sheep have black heads and black legs that look like they’re wearing stockings! And they weren’t too nervous having us cycle by them – the ones on the road barely moved out of the way for us!  connemara gorse and sky

The gorse was in bloom so a lot of the path smelled like coconut. It was pretty heavenly!

All in all, we’re now big fans of the Great Western Greenway, but we’d really suggest the Achill to Mulranny leg at the very least. It’s by far more scenic and wild!

 

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To the Loo! Four Spots in Dublin for a Bathroom Break

bathrooms in dublin

Ages ago, my friend Ursula suggested that I write a post advising visitors on the best places to stop for a bathroom break while walking around Dublin. I completely forgot about the idea until last week when I was in the city centre three days in a row and found myself in need of a bathroom break – three days in a row! Sometimes you just can’t wait!

So, without further oversharing, here are four places you can sneak in a bathroom break while you’re out and about in Dublin. And I’d love to hear your suggestions – I’m always looking to expand my bathroom map of the city – just in case!

Pearse Street Train Station – Train station bathrooms are usually a little terrifying, but as train station bathrooms go, Pearse Street is pretty okay. Not all train stations in Dublin have bathrooms, and of those that do, I certainly wouldn’t recommend all of them! But Pearse is a good option in a pinch.

Powerscourt Centre – I think everyone should go to the Powerscourt Centre anyway (check out Article and A. Rubanesque for sure), so you may as well take advantage of the bathroom break opportunity! The bathrooms are on the top floor, right next to the Design Loft Market.

Museums – Almost all of the museums in Dublin are free and their bathrooms are clean. For research purposes, I stopped into the Chester Beatty Library to check out their facilities. Neat, clean and a full length mirror (see above photo). And right next to the sweet little gift shop. Just keep in mind that museums in Dublin are closed on Mondays!

Brown Thomas – I’m sure Brown Thomas wouldn’t really love that I’m suggesting this, but you can walk right into Brown Thomas, swoop up the elevators to the top floor, and use their fancy bathrooms. You know what? A man with a top hat will even open the front door for you! Trust me, they’ll never know.

Any other spots that are good for a quick bathroom break? Maybe skip the details though!

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Away to the West

sheep connemara

I found more sheep! We took my parents west to Limerick and Connemara over the weekend and I can’t wait to tell you about our adventures. In the meantime, I’m spending this Monday soaking up the last of their company before they head back to the States tomorrow morning. We’re heading to our favorite chipper and the local pub tonight!

 

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Extreme(adura) Architecture

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In a Pinterest rabbit hole moment, I happened upon this house. Isn’t it incredible? It also happens to be located in Extremadura, Spain, which seems so fitting as the architecture is just extremely cool! (I had to google Extremadura – it’s right next to Portugal and two hours from Madrid, not bad at all!) Also, it looks like summer in Extremadura and I am so ready for blue skies and open windows!  5866fd3eb2955e958873fd58afa44b1f I just love the way everything opens up. Michael would probably freak out since he is especially delicious to biting bugs, but I’m slightly fixated on wide open spaces lately. Just let me out of the house without having to bundle up!

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Lost Forest Jewellery / Dublin Door Pendants

DublinDoors2x If you’ve been hanging around From China Village for more than twenty minutes, you’ll know two things. One, I love Dublin doors. And two, I love when Irish makers do clever things. Well, Lost Forest Jewellery’s line of Dublin Door Pendants combines both of those great things. Gillian Corcoran, the creative genius behind Lost Forest Jewellery has come up with the coolest way to showcase Dublin doors. Each pendant is a colorful illustrated Georgian door that belonged to one of our famous authors or artists – and it comes with an illustrated bookmark of that person and a little poem about what to expect when you step across their threshold. So incredibly creative.  DublinDoors

Each pendant is a hand-drawn Georgian door that Gillian then individually paints so the fanlight above the door shimmers when it catches the light. The pendants are filled with eco-resin, and you can see Gillian’s creative process on her website. It’s so cool!  DublinDoors2  Even more fun? Gillian is a twin – and you might remember her sister, Rachel, from this post about her illustrations. Isn’t it fun to think about such a creative pair of twins?

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In Season / March Blooms

magnolia 1

A week ago, Michael and I went to a wedding in County Clare at Dromoland Castle. Somehow I managed to forget to snap any photos of the centuries old castle, but I did catch these insanely bright and giant magnolia blossoms. Aren’t they insane against the grey of the stone castle?

magnolias 2

For the record, I didn’t edit the saturation of these at all. They came straight out of the camera with that incredible pink.

magnolias 3 magnolias 4 Anything blooming in your neck of the woods? My poor family is still buried in snow back in Maine! Luckily my parents are on their way here tomorrow! I just can’t wait to show them all our signs of spring.

In Season is part of a monthly series exploring what’s in bloom in Ireland. February might surprise you!

 

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A Cosy Night In with Debenhams

coco cosy night

 

 

{Coco helping model that cool stag’s head cushion that’s been added to our living room}

A few weeks ago, in the depths of winter when I was starting to lose hope that the sun would ever come out again, Debenhams sent me an email asking if they could send me a few bits for a cosy night in. That sounded like an altogether super idea, considering there was a stretch in February where you could have gotten blown away just walking down the street. Staying in was particularly appealing when we were having stretches of sideways rain, when no umbrella or rain jacket could save you.  mike holding tea

Michael’s basketball season is ending this weekend, so we’re looking forward to spending a few more evenings each week together. During the basketball season he trains two nights a week and referees another night, usually coaches another few nights and then plays a match at the weekends, sometimes across the country. Needless to say evenings together during basketball season are few and far between!  football cosy night

So we were happy enough when Debenhams sent over a few bits to make one evening extra cosy. Have you seen cuter cookies?! They’re from a company called Biscuiteers in the UK, hand iced by artists into a little tea pot and candle! And speaking of tea pots, I finally feel Irish now that we have one in the house, after more than five years here! When we have guests we can now offer them a proper pot of tea instead of very gauche cups!  emily tea

Thanks, Debenhams for making our evening even cosier! Here’s to more, hopefully with less football on the television!

This post includes affiliate links. Debenhams compensated me for this post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

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No One is Safe / A Blogger Truth

friends modeling on blog

I think my friends and family have realized, probably long ago, that no one is really safe. Sooner or later, you’re going to get a text from me asking if you can model boutonnieres, or a phone call asking to be a pretend home-owner for a house shoot I’m styling, or even a Whatsapp asking if I can borrow your face for a beauty shoot! It’s definitely a blogger trait to rope in anyone who’s willing, but I love being able to bring my family and friends into what I do.

So, thank you to everyone who’s agreed to model for my various projects! And clockwise from top left, Angie, Charlie, Naomi (and baby Elsie!), and (repeatedly) Michael!

 

 

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Four Irish Makers on Poppytalk

irish makers on poppytalk

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Monday, I wrote a post about four awesome Irish creative companies over on Poppytalk. Have a look!

 

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The Best Thing about Ireland in the Springtime

lambs x2 Little leaping baby lambs are the best thing about Ireland in the springtime. Hands down. lambs x3

And they may also have been to blame for my erratic highway driving this weekend.  lambs pregnant sheep field sheep

So cute, right?! They’re so mini!

 

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