Suits you sir!

Ah the Irish Summer! Well so far this year we cannot complain too much. Most primary schools will finish up this week so expect a turn for the miserable in no short time. This year, however, I am uber-prepared. I have a list of things to do, I’ve sorted the toys and with quiet optimism I have purchased* a pair of children’s wetsuits from Puddleducks. I say quiet optimism because, while I hope to hit the beach, I am presuming it will be cold enough to require said wetsuits. About 3 years ago I bought a wetsuit for Himself so that he could “enjoy” surfing when visiting friends in Donegal even in November. Either the wetsuit or male bravado enabled him to stay in the water for up to 3 hours while myself and the other surf wag chased children up and down the beach purely for the purposes of keeping us all warm. We soon realised after one weekend in Donegal when the kids were paddling with their Puddleducks raincoats on and nothing else (I kid you not!) that wetsuits were a no-brainer for the Irish weather.

Last year we holidayed in lovely Lahinch. (I never did rustle up the energy to post about the lovely holiday we had there. We rented a holiday home in Ballyellery from Trident Holiday Homes. Photo on right was the view from the cottage on one of the truly Irish days 🙂 Ask me if you need more details.) Lahinch is a major surf destination so Himself and some of our friends had a great time. Yet again I missed an opportunity to surf as I was pregnant and too bloody tired even though I wasn’t so far gone. The weather was only okay at the time and we looked at wetsuits in the surf shops in town. The available range wasn’t great in Lahinch and even the second hand ones were pricy so we left it. However there were a number of days where we had to quit the beach as children’s lips turned blue!

I sent a tweet to Puddleducks earlier this year asking them if they were planning to stock wetsuits ever and Aedan replied to me that they were researching the options. A while later Suzanne contacted me and said they were sourcing two different types of wetsuits from suppliers and would I like to try them out. We opted for the full length suits in XSmall and Small. They have since launched a range of different beach products including these suits, a shorty version and various UV suits and beach shoes.

Due to the fact that their father has a wetsuit the Nippers were already favourably inclined. Considering the pair of them had to date refused to even put a two in the water we were concerned that it would be money badly spent regardless. Well the Nippers seemed to think that these suits would make them invincible and Nipper 2.0 even had great plans to go bodyboarding! (Where does he get these ideas!) Their first outing was literally a wash out which involved a real Irish picnic in the car before putting on all our raingear for a walk and some sandcastling in the rain on the beach. Our next outing was on one of the hottest days in this recent hot spell. My sister and I rustled the two of them up after school and headed for Sandycove. While I wouldn’t recommend Sandycove for a hot day, even midweek it was jammed, it was perfect to get the boys in the water in their suits. It’s a very calm inlet which helped them get over any reservations they might have had.

They played happily for the 2.5 hours that we were there in and out of the water. No blue lips and we are saving a fortune in suncream! The suits are great and a good fit with some growing space in them. The Nippers are very different shapes and both at the smaller end of the scale for their age. You can see from the photos that the limbs require a little turning up. Nipper 1.0 is whip thin and so we managed to pull the suit onto him no bother. Nipper 2.0 still has some of his baby fat (he recently turned 4) so we struggled a fair bit to get him into his. Let me put it like this: a child who was disinclined to put on their suit would win that particular battle! That would be my only issue with the XSmall size – it doesn’t seem to allow for the fact that a child that age might be likely to have a little more pudge. Add neoprene, however stretchy, to the mix and there’s a bit of heave ho-ing. But they were both very easy to remove and because of their size far easier to rinse than an adults. In fact I rinsed them in the sink and there is no way you would fit even a small adult suit into a sink.

We subsequently spent an afternoon on Curracloe strand in Co. Wexford which was far less sheltered and there was a stiff breeze that day. Again they played very happily in and out of the water although Nipper 2.0’s courage failed him somewhat. (Who’s talking about bodyboarding now, eh?!) Of course, I put them all to shame by swimming in plain ol’ togs. Due to the ongoing fluctuations in my body weight over the last 8 years there has been no point in getting a wetsuit for myself!

At €35.99 for the suits I think they are well worth it. They seem to be well made (I’m not expert) and include all the features you would expect on a wetsuit: tight ankles and cuffs and a turtle neck with adjustable fastener. The zip is sturdy with a strap for closing and it tucks away neatly. All the tech specs are included in the Puddleducks listing. Look at it like this: on an overcast day you might decide that the beach is just too cold for the kids so you go to the swimming pool. In Lahinch last year that notched up €21.00 for 3 of us. Alternatively if you compare it to the cost of suncream at circa €10.00 per bottle which may get wiped off as soon as it’s on it’s also a far longer lasting bargain. I also really believe it’s the way forward for holidaying in Ireland. I’m the only family member who doesn’t have a suit but I noticed in Lahinch last year that most of the families were all kitted out in them and many of them were not surfing at all, just swimming.

*Disclosure: I received these suits at cost-price from Puddleducks.

My own private photoblog tour

Originally uploaded by anmhor

As part of the annual Irish Blog Awards a photo tour is usually organised. I didn’t make the official tour but went for an invigorating walk in glorious sunshine with the Corkonian Architect. It was truly gorgeous and all the photos were taken with my Nokia E51 because I left my camera in the house.

However this walk involved a very strange synchronicity. The architect never told me where we were going and when we arrived, I exclaimed, “I’ve been here before!” But the strangest thing about it is that while I get very few comments on my blog, I got one once about Nohoval Cove which is where she had brought me! Isn’t that an amazing coinkydink?

Croc na gCearc

In the forest on the way to the top of Carrigmaclear, Co. TipperaryEnglish below

Bhí deireadh seachtaine den chéad scoth agam i measc mo dhlúthchairde le déanaí. Bhí grúpa de haonar déag taghtha le chéile chun seanchara linn a seoladh i dtreo a pósadh a bheidh ar siúl i mí Lúnasa. D’eagraigh a péire bridesmaids agus na mná ar fad craic, ceoil, bia agus deoch do chách agus bhain na circ ar fad an-taitneamh go deo as an deireadh seachtaine ar fad. Bhí bia úr, blasta agus galánta againn déanta don chuid is mó ag Bittersweet Food Company: Seafood Bouillabaisse followed by Cress, Pear and Pecan salad and finished off with Karen’s signature chocolate fondant with creme fraiche and mixed berries. I hate to admit it but her chocolate fondant is better than my chocolate fudge cake. Agus neart cocktails déanta ag na Cocktail Queens!

Tá gach seans ann go mbeadh muid tar éis taitnimh a bhaint as an deireadh seachtaine cuma cá háit a rabhamar ach níl aon ceist faoin rud gur chuir an teach a roghnaigh na bridesmaids go mór mór leis an deireadh seachtaine. Croc an Óir i Mullinahone, Tiobráid Árainn a bhí ann agus má tá slua ban ann a bhfuil taithí acu ar “self-catering accomodation” (Bear with me I’ve an Irish Language spell checker that i not as bilingual as I am) is muidinne iad. Is dócha go bhfuil saoire caite againn in iostais féinfhreastail ar a laghad i ngach cúige in Éireann agus gach seans i ngach contae chósta in iarthair na tíre agus níl ann amhras go b’é seo an áit is deise. B’fhéidir nach bhfuil sé díreach chomh pictiúrtha ach cinnte tá siad níos saoire ná títhe Landmark ach leis an áiseanna céanna. Miasniteoir (great word!), meaisín níocháin agus triomadóir. Bhí sciana géara ann (annamh go leor in iostais féinfhreastail), bhí seomra codlata le en suite a bhí oiriúnach do chathaoir rotha agus dhá seomra folctha eile. Bhí spás a dhóthain do aonar déag agus bhí a teaichín beag féin ag bean amháin. Agus do na ceoltóirí atá ag léamh: tá seomra ceoil ann freisin. Chuamar ar siúlóid álainn ar an Sathairn agus lean roinnt dúinn ar aghaidh chomh fada le barr Carraig mo chliar. Bhí an radharc anseo gleoite ar fad.

Is léir go ndeachaigh muidinne i bhfeidhm ar úinéir an tí freisin mar dúirt sé an méad seo i r-phost le ceann de na bridesmaids:

“Many thanks for your kind words in the guest book. My Mother met the bus driver’s wife yesterday and she told her how impressed he was by you all. His previous experiences with hen parties had not been so positive. Tell the girls they left a good impression in Tipperary.”

Makes us sound kinda boring… he did call us girls though. Hooya! And I didn’t need his invitation to know I’ll be going back to Croc an Óir.

The view from CarrigmaclearHad the best weekend last weekend when 11 of my friends got together to send off one of our best friends before she gets married in August. Her two bridesmaids organised with a little help from her friends a great weekend of music, fun, food and cocktails. Amazing, tasty, fresh and elegant food from the Bittersweet Food Company: Seafood Bouillabaisse followed by Cress, Pear and Pecan salad and finished off with Karen’s signature chocolate fondant with creme fraiche and mixed berries. I hate to admit it but her chocolate fondant is better than my chocolate fudge cake. And plentiful cocktails from the Cocktail Queens!

Chances are we would have enjoyed ourselves no matter where we were but there’s no question that the accommodation that the bridesmaids chose definitely added to the weekend. We stayed in Croc an Óir in Mullinahone, Tipperary and if there was ever a group of women who know their self-catering accommodation we are them. We must have stayed in holiday homes in certainly every province of Ireland and quite probably every coastal county in the West. Maybe not as picturesque as Landmark houses but definitely cheaper and with all the same facilities: a dishwasher, a washing machine AND tumble dryer. One bedroom had an ensuite that was wheelchair accessible. (Actually the only negative thing I’d say is that this room also had an unneccesary skylight with no shade so we were woken at the crack of dawn. Definitely not good after all those cocktails.) There were two other bathrooms and one of the ladies had a little house all to herself. And for the musicians reading this: there’s even a music room. We went for a fun walk on Saturday and some of us carried on right to the very top of Carrigmaclear where we were awarded with stunning views and history.

As the quote above testifies we obviously made an impression on the owner as well!


From autumn

An dóigh le aon duine eile go bhfuil sé aisteach go bhfuil an rós seo faoi bhláth i mo gháirdín chúil i mí na samhna? Bhí ionadh orm mo rós cróga a fheiceáil ag caitheamh amach ceithre úrscoth leochaileach timpeall seachtain ó shin, díreach ag an am céanna gur éirigh sé fuar, fuar, fuar. Ach de réir dealramh níl sé chomh aisteach sin. Tá rósanna faoi bhláth lár-gheimhridh luaite minic go leor in amhránaíocht!