My world, your world, our world.

STOP…Have you ever stopped to think about what we are all doing to our planet, the world in which we live, the world in which future generations hope to live?

It worries me; really worries me and it makes me sad to think we are deliberately destroying the land we live in.  I say deliberately because I see so much waste around me that could so easily be avoided, I see fly tipping in our beautiful countryside, I see rubbish strewn across our towns and our beauty spots disfigured because people can’t be bothered to carry their rubbish home with them or to the nearest bin!

People are starving in this world, yet in the UK alone we throw away £13bn of food each year. 7.3 million tonnes of food could have been eaten in 2015 but wasn’t because of Best Before and Use By dates.  We have become so obsessed with these dates and why?  Have we forgotten that years ago there were no such thing and people used their eyes and noses to tell them if something was edible or not.  I don’t remember too many people dying from drinking milk that was a few days old or eating a piece of moldy cheese or bread (isn’t that where penicillin originated from?).

We have become over cautious, not just in our food, but in general.  We think we will get sick if we don’t have super clean houses and perfect food, when in actual fact we are putting our lives at risk by being too clean.  Yes of course there are some types of bacteria that can make you sick such as Salmonella and E. coli, but in general a few germs won’t kill us and can actually strengthen our immune system.

Want to avoid food waste?  Follow these easy steps:-

  • Do a weekly menu, allowing children to have a say.  That way they are more likely to eat the food you buy and cook.
  • Before going food shopping, make a list, then check your fridge and cupboards to see if you have all the ingredients you need to make your meals.
  • Cook from scratch, much cheaper and easier than you think, try Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals. It is much healthier, fewer calories and better for your children.
  • Try this website for hints, tips and recipes Love Food, Hate Waste.
  • Use the food that’s in your freezer, rather than keep adding to it. This is where a weekly menu comes in as you are better organised.

It’s not just food waste though, is it?  What about our use of plastics? In 1950 plastic was virtually unheard of, but now it pollutes every corner of our world.  We produce over 300 million tonnes of the stuff every year and because it takes so long to degrade, we are going to be stuck with it for millions of years to come.  Plastic is extremely hard to get rid of as it has to be incinerated which pollutes air, land and water and exposes workers to toxic chemicals including carcinogens.

Reduce your use of plastic as follows:-

  • Carry reusable shopping bags.  There are plenty of tiny ones you can pop into your handbag or pocket.
  • Avoid buying bottled water.  Buy yourself a refillable water bottle and if you really don’t like tap water, get a filter jug for your fridge.
  • Use reusable containers for your lunch instead of wrapping food in cling film.
  • If you really want to go plastic free, then check out this website.  Not sure I could even go this far!

Move on to water wastage.  Is wasting water a problem? Yes of course it is as less than 1% of the world’s water is freshwater and available for us to consume.  We take water for granted and assume it will always be there, but do we realise there are many ways we can save water or do we even care?  Some may think what difference will it make if a single person starts taking action while others don’t even realize how much water they are wasting every day.

Here are 8 points where you can save our precious water:-

  • Turn off the tap while cleaning your teeth.  This is by far the most common habit that people have, leading to wastage of water. Brushing is a daily activity that no-one skips doing and if every-one develops the habit of never leaving the tap running then a lot of water can be conserved.  Teach your children this from a young age and it won’t develop into a habit.
  • Leaky taps are very common in every household, but can waste up to 200 gallons of water in a single day! Google or YouTube will show you how to change a washer.  It is not expensive or difficult, do it today.
  • Shaving.  Again turn off the tap, pop in the plug and use the water in the sink to rinse your razor.  Gentlemen, please remember to wash out the sink afterwards.  (It is a pet hate of all women – a hairy sink!)
  • Choose a shower rather than a bath.  It uses less water and especially if you use a timer for those people who take ages, 10 minutes is sufficient for anyone.
  • Don’t use a sprinkler for your garden.  Luckily we don’t have that problem in Ireland.
  • Washing your car.  A luxury rather than a necessity, wash it less often.
  • Washing dishes by hand apparently takes so much more water.  So buy yourself a dishwasher, you will also save time 😉
  • Flushing the toilet.  Not necessary every single time, but I think people in general would have an issue with this one!

We need to start somewhere and where better than to Reduce, reuse and recycle.

Follow the green guide to find out how.

Although the environment is something I think about all the time, what prompted me to do a blog on waste was a recent public display in Palma, Spain.  The following photos were taken from the display, so I hope you can read them as there was a lot of glare from the screens.

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We all need to take responsibility for our actions and if this blog has got one person thinking about reducing their carbon footprint then I have succeeded.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.

Mahatma Gandhi

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Road Trip – day 6

Day 6 – Thursday 13th July

This was a very special as my BFF Rosemary came down from Trim on the Aircoach to join Marguerite and I in Cork.  The three of us spent the morning in Cobh , a town on an island in Cork harbour.

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Cobh, previously known as Queenstown was the last port of call for the Titanic  in 1912 as it set sail from here to Southhampton on its fateful maiden voyage. There is a heritage centre here which explores how Cobh became the embarkation point during Irelands mass emigration period.

We then drove out to Fota House and Gardens where we had lunch in the courtyard garden while basking in the most glorious summer weather. Fota House is a beautiful regency style country house restored and conserved by the Irish Heritage Trust sent in extensive grounds which inclde an arboretum and a Victorian farmyard garden. This place would be ideal for a family day out and has no cover charge on entry.

Rosemary and I finally said our goodbyes to Marguerite before continuing up through Ireland on our way back to Trim.

We stopped at Cashel on our way up just to get some photos of the Rock of Cashel a large 13th century cathedral and round tower which stands proudly on a hill overlooking the town of Cashel.  In the grounds surrounding The Rock stands the desolate ruins of Hore Abbey a cistercian monastery originally founded by the Benedictine monks in 1266.

 

Road Trip – day 7

Day 7 – Friday 14th July

I knew my holiday was over when I arrived at the Durkan Kibbutz in Trim! 🤣🤣🤣

I was put to work on the Bog in Balivor, packing sods of turf into bags, loading them into a wheelbarrow and stacking them into a van. But that wasn’t the end of it….oh no, on arrival back at the house they had to be unloaded, stacked ‘neatly and properly’ along the side wall, before being covered over with plastic to keep them dry, ready for the winter. 😕😲

 

Joking aside, it was a pleasure to be able to help and as a thank you I got to bring a few bags home with me.  Not bad for an hour’s work 😁😉 Turf by the way is used in place of or alongside coal or logs in a fire.

Conclusion:

I have been asked many times which part of the trip I enjoyed the most but to be honest I thoroughly enjoyed all of it. The Ring of Kerry is a must for everyone’s bucket list with the Dingle peninsula a maga for hikers and cyclists alike. If you do go make sure you have a fully functioning camera or mobile with you as you will want to take loads of photos.  Having said that, no photograph could EVER capture the beauty and essence of this place; it needs to be seen to be believed!

I also enjoyed the freedom of travelling on my own with just my dog for company.

I hope you enjoyed this blog and will follow me for other stories.

 

Road Trip – day 5

Day 5 – Wednesday 12th July

This was the only  day I actually planned, the rest were all just ‘go with the flow’!

So day 5 started from Glenbeigh, to Kells, to Cahersiveen, to Waterville , to Derrynane , to Caherdaniel , to Castlecove , to Gleesk Pier , to Sneem, to Molls Gap , to Killarney to Cork! Yes seriously…all in one day (268km) along the Ring of Kerry.

What a fantastic drive around the Ring of Kerry…I cannot emphasise enough about how stunning the landscape is here and no photo could EVER capture the beauty.   If you haven’t already done this trip then you need to go.

Gleesk Pier was the jewel in the crown as it was off the beaten track and not a soul in sight as I travelled up and down narrow mountain roads hoping I wouldn’t meet another car! The only thing I did meet were mountain sheep and although there were 2 other cars parked at the pier I never saw a soul!

The number of tour buses and tourists along the way, although of benefit to the economy were distracting and irritating to say the least. I cannot believe how popular Ireland has become. I’m also delighted as it is a great ‘wee’ island.

In between Sneem and Molls Gap there is an excellent cafe (for want of a better word) called The Strawberry Field Pancake Cottage.  This was a highlight for me and I almost thought I had missed it.  It is hard to miss though as it is painted in a very bright, mustard yellow with red doors and windows.  It has a beautiful outside seating area, but inside is a treasure trove of paintings, gifts etc.  The menu is mainly pancakes as the name suggests and they are totally fresh, made to order and are delicious.  I indulged in both a savoury and a sweet…🙈🙊.  Lunch and dinner was my excuse lol! 😉

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I finally arrived in Donoughmore, just outside Cork to spend the night with my friend Marguerite and as it was a beautiful evening we took a drive to Kinsale where we dandered along the quaint, colourful streets before finding a pub (the Blue Haven) to chill and have a Guinness while listening to a two-piece band singing Van Morrison  covers.

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Road Trip – day 4

Day 4 – Tuesday 11th July

Headed of to Killarney this morning to meet up with a friend from Cork. We met up in Killarney town then took  a drive out to Torc Waterfall  a waterfall based at the foot of the Torc mountain about 5 miles outside Killarney and encompassed in the Killarney National Park

We then headed to Muckross House  a 19th century mansion in Killarney National Park.

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We had a delicious  lunch in the restaurant before taking a trip out across the lakes of Killarney in a motor boat to Dinis cafe for a coffee. I would highly recommend the boat trip as at only €10 per person it was well worth it. Be warned though if it is a wet day (which is 90% of the time) you will get soaked as these are open boats!! And you will of course have to wear the beautiful orange jacket that you are offered 😉😅

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Thunder thoroughly enjoyed her boat trip despite her earlier reservations about stepping aboard.

En route back to my base in Glenbeigh I stopped off at Glencar which is a nature lover’s paradise. It is situated just above Caragh Lake and river, beside Lickeen Wood

Road Trip – day 3

Day 3 – Monday 10th July

I was told there was a beautiful beach in Glenbeigh so this morning Thunder and I took a drive out through the village and found Rossbeigh , a blue flag beach just 1.6km from Glenbeigh. We were not disappointed, a 4 mile stretch of sand and sand dunes awaited us and with the tide well out we were free to walk.  The weather wasn’t the best, but it’s Ireland so a raincoat and shorts is a must! Shorts are easier as you don’t have wet trousers sticking to your legs.

We  walked for miles enjoying the peace and tranquillity as there were few people about. The weather cleared and the sun came out briefly and then the horses appeared….wow!

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What  an experience to canter along a stunning beach with the wind in your hair and the spray of the sea on your face. 🐎🐴

After our walk we drove to Tralee , a town in Co Kerry famous for the Rose of Tralee  Festival. Driving through I was surprised to see a windmill (having just come back from Amsterdam). It is called Blennerville Windmill  and was built by Sir Rowland Blennerhassett in 1800 whom the village  of Blennerville is named after.

Back on the Ring of Kerry again I headed off into the hills, rallying round the narrow roads, finally stopping on top of one of the mountains where I cooked lunch ‘Bear Grylls’  style.

Heading back to Glenbeigh I stopped at the Kerry Bog Village , another tourist attraction along the way. This is a replica of a typical village showing how people  lived and worked in Ireland  in the 18th-19th century and how they suffered during the Famine and were evicted from their homes.  Many left Ireland for foreign lands never to arrive at their destinations! A very real but horrific part of Irish history.

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Road Trip – day 2

Day 2: Sunday 9th July

The weather this morning was looking grand as they say in Ireland so I decided to head around the coast to Dingle. Dingle is as far west as you can go in Ireland and is a colourful fishing port with a cosmopolitan style marina.

It was packed with tour buses and tourists galore when I arrived, all clambering to find the best spot for a photo opportunity!  📸📽

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The Dingle peninsula  itself is a beautiful area with a wild rugged coastline of steep cliffs and sandy beaches, where the mountains roll down into the sea (a bit like Newcastle and the Mournes)!

Did you know?

  • Dingle Bay is home to Fungie, a fully grown male bottlenose dolphin known for interacting with humans.
  • Ryan’s Daughter ‘ was filmed on the Dingle peninsula.
  • Dingle is the only town on the Dingle peninsula.

Anyway moving on, we travelled around the Ring of Kerry  stopping at various points of interest including ‘the Lios’. The Lios is basically a “Fairy Fort” or a ringfort and anyone who believes in the fairies  would not dare to alter them! Legend has it that anyone who enters a Lios  between the hours of 1.00 and 5.00 in the morning would not leave the Lios alive! Thankfully I was there in the afternoon…phew!

While we were there, there were several sheep and a horse that took a particular interest in Thunder. I must say she was very well behaved and didn’t frighten them…I think they scared the cr*p out of her though! 🤣🤣

We also visited an ancient Celtic stone settlement along the Slea Head drive from Dingle.  This was a really interesting piece of history which showed the dwelling places of 5 families. It consisted of 5 circles where the families lived, stored their food and hid from enemies. The ancient Druids performed rituals here including human sacrifice 😨 until they slowly converted to Christianity.

This is part of Slea Head Drive on the Dingle Peninsula in South West Ireland. Slea Head Drive  is one stunning drive with loads of photo opportunities along the way including Coumeenoole beach.

It’s as well Ireland isn’t  guaranteed ‘summer’ weather otherwise  you wouldn’t be able to move on this beach for tourists!

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