Still not fully sure of Lily’s capabilities for long journeys we decided to break the back of the trip to Kerry by enjoying a night in
The Apple Farm campsite near Cahir, Co. Tipperary. We love natural looking campsites surrounded by trees with a good mix of informal and formal spaces and this is one of those sites – plus you are given a free bottle of fresh apple juice with every booking – you can’t go wrong! Of course being a cider fan I had to try their new label – Con’s Cider. It was perhaps a little too sweet for my liking – I am more of a dry cider fan but a treat all the same. There were no shortage of vintage campervans at the Apple Farm and pretty soon a beautiful dark blue Volkswagen T25 pulled up along side us shortly followed by a beige Type 2 bay. The couple in the T25 had their two children on tow and had travelled all the way from Austria in their van – now thats dedication!
Cahir Castle & The Swiss Cottage
We pulled up at the
Cahir Castle car park on what must have been one of the hottest days of the year. We are generally not used of sleep inducing heat here in Ireland so a castle with its thick walled coolness was a welcome sight. Not far from Cahir Castle is the gorgeous Swiss Cottage – the pastoral cottage ‘orné’ for the owners of the castle. The stunning house was recently rescued from ruin and now its undulating thatch and ornate interiors have been restored to a beautiful standard. Access to the cottage is through the cave like underground servants entrance that was cut up through the rock, I love getting the feel of the upstairs, downstairs of the time. I’d highly recommend the Swiss Cottage tour to anyone in the area.
Dinner time at the Apple Farm
Back at the farm after a long day of exploration in the heat we joyfully popped the top and settled down to a gorgeous Mediterranean Vegetable Spaghetti from
Deliciously Ella. We use Kelkin spaghetti – it is easily the best gluten free pasta (although Marks and Spencers & Tesco do a pretty good job too). Phil has mastered the art of the Gluten Free pasta so we now have al dente pasta that would make an Italian jealous. Sitting in the blazing sunset through the mature trees, sipping Con’s Cider by citronella candle, we knew we had made the right decision with Lily and glimpsed the future of our time on the road – exhausting, exhilarating and utterly unforgettable.
Emly Community Gardens
Enroute home I spotted a sign for a community garden in a tiny village called
Emly and had to stop. I am not sure what made me want to stop but nothing prepared me for the stunning gardens that wound their way around the parish church. Neither of us are religious but gardens and nature come as close to worship as I get. Here we encountered The Butterfly Garden to the front of the church – a riot of bright and beautiful wildflowers to encourage butterflies and birds to feast. Slightly behind that is a bird sanctuary, a tree enclosed space with insect and bird houses and feeders. To the rear of the church are the stunning themed Four Seasons Gardens with flowers and statues representing each time of the year.
What a stunning use of a space that is normally just green grass with the single purpose of being constantly manicured and off limits. This church’s grounds have been transformed into a welcoming, inspiring and nourishing community garden for everyone to enjoy. I’ve never before encountered a village like Emly – if more villages followed in their footsteps, perhaps they could slow the rate of decline and revive the spirit of local community and celebration.
The rest of the road home was a little uninspiring as is so often the case when taking to the motorways but we need not have worried as my hometown of Ballybunion had put on a sunset light show for us. Welcome home.
Graffiti Granada Cave House Doorway Sacromonte Cave house Sacromonte A comment on excessive consumption Pink Rose Granada Sacromonte House Cactus fruit close up Road to the gypsy cave houses in Sacromonte Sacromonte cave houses Graffiti in Realejo Granada Islamic outdoor lanterns in a Carmen garden Beautiful flower filled fountain in Albayzin Islamic architecture in the Albayzin – the lattice effect protected privacy while allowing air and the ability to see out. One of the few remaining Islamic walkways between houses – most were removed by the Catholic rulers to prevent insurgence Flamenco performance at Plaza del Carmen for Cruz de Mayo Flamenco sisters It is a huge tradition to dress up for any festivals in your flamenco dress – a lovely shared tradition between mothers and daughters. Cute little flamenco girl struggling to stand still for a photo Cross at Bib Rambla – Cruz de Mayo Once a huge area of markets the new grand bazaar of Granada is more of a tourist haunt but worth a walk through. Another of the the crosses for Cruz de Mayo in the courtyard of the Grand Bazaar Beautiful Islamic architecture in this doorway in the Albaycin Flowerpots and rooftops Granada Rooftop view of Granada from Albaycin The cross at Iglesia de San Miguel Bajo for Cruz de Mayo The Iglesia de San Miguel Bajo church in Granada Salamander graffiti on the ground The beautiful flowers pop with colour over the white walls and against the blue skies of Granada This little guy is all dressed up for the occasion – a mini flamenco dancer Fantastic flamenco gypsy musicians busking at San Nicolas Mirador Fantastic flamenco gypsy musicians busking at San Nicolas Mirador The beautiful snowy backdrop of the Sierra Nevada against the blue sky really sets off the Alhambra The beautiful snowy backdrop of the Sierra Nevada against the blue sky really sets off the Alhambra The streets were full of people on the monday on a mission to find the ornate crosses for Cruz de Mayo Bunny Graffiti in Sacramonte Most vistas in Granada afford a view of the Alhambra like this pretty backstreet in the Albaycin Pretty rundown buildings in the Albaycin area of Granada Poppy bursting with color One of the ornate crosses for Cruz de Mayo. This one was located at Plaza del Carmen in the city center and had a stage in front of it for entertainment. A group of mini flamengo girls holding hands in Granada The beautiful courtyard of the Iglesia de Santo Domingo in Realejo, Granada A family all dressed up for Cruz de Mayo in their flamenco finest. Technology takes control – clever graffiti at Realejo, Granada Baby in the green on the side of a house at Realejo, Granada Hello Sun – graffiti in Realejo, Granada Graffiti of a young boy on Calle Vistillas de los Angeles A mono tone portrait of guitarist Joe Strummer at Joe Strummer Plaza in Granada Joe Strummer Plaza My daily salad from local ingredients in Granada Oversized to share falafel plate on Sonnenalee – a good introduction to Berlin Incredibly tasty curry in a little vegetarian street food place down near Urban Spree Orla at Mauer park under the blossoms Ruperts Kitchen Orchestra giving us the funk Brilliant drummers getting the crowd dancing The crowds gathered for the karaoke at Mauer Park Phil at Karaoke Typical Berliner Style Tightrope walking Graffiti at Mauer Park Graffiti at Mauer Park Graffiti artist at work Twirl time – dog wants part of the action Fishing trawler coming home in a mist of hungry seagulls hoping for a meal We spotted lots of wildlife that we had never seen before on the tour like this shiney green beetle! Phil enjoying the views over Mizen Head The view down over Barleycove beach Coastal view from Mizen Head The most southern point of Ireland – Mizen Head view. Clear for miles at Mizen Head Sculptures of the passtimes of the lighthouse keepers – this one of an artist Daisys blowing in the wind A church window at Union Hall, Cork. Soup and gluten free rolls for lunch on a park bench On a sunny day there is nothing like a Bulmers, sitting outside at Mary Anns in Castletownsend. All caught up in Ivy at the harbour at Castletownsend. This is a sculpturs studio – imagine how beautiful a location that is! An honesty system in place for organic apples on a window ledge. Take an apple leave 50c A butterfly survey’s Castletownsend pier You’d be hard pushed to know that this was the West of Cork and not the Medeterranean! Phil overlooking the harbour at Castletownsend A flutter of butterflies at Castletownsend, Co. Cork. Clearest waters I’d seen in a long time at Castletownsend in Cork. Our first view of Castletownsend from Lily the van Gorgeous cottage at the old river crossing at Inishannon. Variety of black and green beans at Rohu’s Country Market in Innishannnon Fresh vegetables lined up at Rohu’s Country Market Orange Rose Rohu’s country market, Innishannon, Co. Cork Cambium plants at the Kinsale Farmers Market The manshion house cottage at Kinsale Irish Cottage near Kinsale Red hot pokers at Kinsale Some of the spoils of our day at the farmers market in Kinsale The spoils of our farmers market exploration at Kinsale. View out over the Old Head of Kinsale The Old Head Of Kinsale Herbacious border sculpture of a dancer This plant’s milkshake brought all the bees to the yard! The beautiful castle house at Blarney Castle A bee and a butterfuly battle it out for pollination Wooden Mushroom Sculpture Bee landing on blue flower Beautiful colours of the castor oil leaf at the medicinal gardens at Blarney Castle Keep people away from the opium plant! The famous Blarney castle Beautiful twin anemones at Ballymacoda in East Cork Just hanging around A very suspicious looking lizard eyes me up at Fota Wildlife Park King of his castle – or glass case at Fota Wildlife Park Kids can get up close with the ducks and birds at the pond and feed them proper bird food at Fota Wildlife Park Carnivore bumper sticker The beautifully named Love in the Mist or Nigella Damascena I don’t know if this fella would scare anyone but he looked great To cure any colds The bright red velvet sage Delicious fresh from the garden Raspberry ice lolly A bright afternoon sky over Whitepoint harbour in Cobh Delicious pasta pesto with olives and grated cheese at Whitepoint, Cobh A beautiful wooded area out beyond Whitepoint in Cobh Fisherman at Whitepoint in Cobh The beautiful and unexpeced flower filled Penny Lane in Cobh, Co. Cork Cobh Town, Co. Cork Usually behind the camera – a little dubious at being photographed! The beautiful flowers and dark skies over Cobh Town Park Striking ships anchor at Whitepoint, Cobh The serene view out over the harbour at Whitepoint in Cobh Beautiful red rose by an old stone wall at St. Mary’s Collegiate Gardens New Zealand Flax at St. Mary’s Collegiate Church Graveyard A rather forloan looking angel tied up on the main street in Youghal There were so many of these extremely steep steps in Youghal – you’d be fit living here! We were delighted to get this space looking right out over the entire harbour while stil being in the center of the town Fancy your chances as on the high seas – this little boat was for sale. Stunning sunset over Ballybunion castle Summer 2014 Gothic window in the community center at Emly, Co. Tipperary Rock shrub growing out of the stonework on a wall in Emly, Co. Tipperary The Four Seasons Garden that surrounds the church is the beautiful little village of Emly in Tipperary. Beautiful Borage in the sunlight – one of Ireland’s most beautiful wildflowers. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about this purple Buddleja at the Four Seasons Garden in Emly, Tipperary Bright pink Poppy flower blowing in the wind at the Butterfly Garden in Emly, Co Tipperary The Emly Heritage Trail – planted around the church in Emly, Co. Tipperary. Lily the camper and a Type 2 bay camped out under a jetstream at The Apple Farm campsite in Tipperary Ella’s Mediterranean Vegetable Spaghetti with Con’s Irish Cider – fresh from The Apple Farm campsite trees. Gorgeous evening with gorgeous food and drink. I can never resist the burst of light at sunset through Lily’s windows. The apples on the trees at The Apple Farm campsite – you can wander through the fields of apples and fruits – a stunning place to camp. Bee just hanging out on a flower A view of one of the windows under the eaves with a rose in the foreground at the Swiss Cottage in Tipperary The sunlight streaming through Cahir Castle window and the sunburnt leaves that have grown up around it. The sunlight streaming through Cahir Castle window and the sunburnt leaves that have grown up around it. Orla walking down the medieval spiral stone staircase at Cahir Castle in Tipperary Beautiful long window with tiny panes of glass at Cahir Castle in Tipperary Colourful murial at East Side Gallery Berlin Orla and Phil at the Berlin Wall at East Side Gallery View of the controversial developement at the East Side Gallery in Berlin Gorgeous colourful murial on the removed section of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery A closeup look at Berliner Dom Cathedral in Berlin The fantastic bar Luzia in Kreuzberg, Berlin The Berlin historical museum at dusk with the TV tower in the background. The fallen soldiers memorial in Berlin Berliner Dom Cathedral in Berlin with the TV tower in the background The Brandenburg Gate by night in Berlin Delicious Chai Latte at The Bowl Restaurant in Friedrichshain Skater Park down a back alley in Friedrichshain in Berlin Phil having a delicious Glüwein with Amaretto at the Christmas Markets The tower at the center of the Alexanderplatz Christmas Market with a bar underneath. The Alexanderplatz World Clock surrounded by the beautiful christmas markets. One of the most beloved carachters of East Berlin – a chain of shops dedicated to Ampelmann Some of the men, women and children killed trying to cross the Berlin Wall from the East to the West. A view of the ‘Death Zone’ from the viewing platform at Bernauer Strasse taken at dusk. A view of Zoologischer Gardens Christmas Market at night – another beautiful market, unfortunately it started to rain while we visited so we didn’t get the full effect! Our cosy apartment from AirBnB for the city break in Berlin Giving you an idea of the scale of the Jewish Holocost Memorial – and also a typical touristy photo of Orla in the monument. A view of the stunning Jewish Holocost Memorial in Berlin with the German Flag and the Reichstag in the background. Beautiful tribute sculpture to the rebel carpenter Georg Elser who tried unsuccessfully to assasinate Hitler. Display at the local crats market at Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market I took this photo late in the afternoon, just as the light was falling at Bernauer Strasse. Without the crowds of tourists the site of this holocost memorial is sombre and fitting. Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most beautiful markets in Berlin. Nestled between the ancient buildings it is smaller than most but exemplifys the best of what Berlin’s christmas markets have to offer. Don’t miss the stunning local crafts tent. Rosemary & potato cheesy bake Medieval Buildings with beautiful flower cascades Easy skelleton rider Metallic blue splitty Tailgate picnic at the carshow Speed duck Mustang Sally Trim vintage car show Red Bay VW Campervan Its chow time – Rosemary & Potato bake “Baking” under the grill Add the cheese Add the white sauce Beautiful Bective Abbey Flagstones at Bective Abbey Ornate pillars at Bective Abbey Bective Abbey Door at Trim Clear engravings at Newgrange The passage tunnel at Knowth A beautiful Cranes Bill Phil overlooking the Boyne Valley Orla at Knowth Beautiful outhouses & Flowers Phil at the entrance to Newgrange Curious robin greeting us outside Newgrange Beautiful cottage from Lily The ruined church at Loughcrew Gardens Alice & Wonderland at Loughcrew Gardens – Who Are You! The mad hatter overlooking Loughcrew Gardens Fairie in a tree Beautiful misty flower Bee incoming at Loughcrew Gardens Phil approaching Loughcrew Cairns Engravings inside Loughcrew Carins Phil inside the chamber of Loughcrew Cairn L Flower huddles inside an exposed cairn at Lougcrew Jedward the teeny tiny dog Minty the donkey Lily the van Edward & Dominic Dominic with his goat Dominic & his rabbit Curious shetland pony inspecting the van Sorrow Statue at Pere Lachaise Shakesphere & Co Bookshop Fallen leaves in a park in Paris Lights at night in Paris The burning tree in Paris The Notre Dame Christmas in Paris My first view of the Eiffel Tower Hanging out by the river Sorrow Statue at Pere Lachaise Frozen Crysanthemum Treat time at Nespresso Posing at Swarovski Crystal That oaked smoked salmen Stained Glass Window at Pere Lachaise Heathers Weeping Steps Sillouette Spice market in Paris Profusion Berries Oscar Wildes Grave Butterfly Book Art Medici Fountain Pigeon at the Jardin du Luxemourg Sunset leaving Paris Cafe Bvd de Magenta Paris Whiskey Hangover breakfast! #vanlife High Cross & Roundtower at Monasterboice Monasterboice high cross engravings Flower power at Slane Village Lily at Slane Castle Slane Castle Bee on Cornflower Slane Castle Stables Phil hiding behind raspberry bushes Blueberries ripening Chicken with attitude Frog on the farm Our first pitch with Lily #vanlife