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Irish Equality

Irish Equality

‘Standing up for what is right will allow others to stand with us and to bask in the sunshine of Happiness.’ – Me, just now

You may read this, you may gleam over it or maybe you won’t see it at all because you’ve chosen to ignore me on your newsfeed.  In some ways I don’t blame you, especially over the last few weeks with the litany of posts/reposts (on facebook) relating to Marriage Equality and the Yes side.

It’s 2 days to the Marriage Equality Referendum in Ireland.  And I’m voting Yes.  Without a shadow of doubt, I’m voting yes.  I’ve a chance here to describe my childhood.  But right now who cares about the wonderfully happy times and equally miserable ones.  I have my own story, as do you.  You don’t need to know it.

Right now we need to focus on Our Story.  We have chance to make history and mold the future for the happiness of all.  Read the information, don’t go on my post.  Don’t go by anyone’s article or opinion on TV debates.  Go and get the information you need yourself and know the facts.  Then and only then can you be safe to know you’re making the right decision for all, not just for you. (though the link at the end is a good place to start).  Go out and vote.  Deep in my heart I want you to vote Yes.   I need you to vote Yes.  But it will rest in your hands on the day.

Our great nation have spread ourselves across the world and contributed remarkably to the success of other countries.  It’s time to take that greatness back to our own land once more.    We may be a small island but the referendum will be loud for all the world to hear.   And we should be heard for doing what is right and good for all us.

It will be a Monumental Moment in Irish history alone, the first country to have Marriage Equality voted by the people into our Constitution.  That is something profound and something to marvel at and most of all to be proud of.  A strong and empowering message will be echoed around this planet and will have originated with us.  And we can stand nobly, ‘We did this’.

When results are announced this Saturday, you may not cry a little.  I think I will however.  I’m not ashamed to admit that.  Whatever way it swings, I’m just hoping the tear will be for joy. Change the future and see the world not as it is but as it should be.

PS It’s my birthday on 22nd May also and I’m off work.  I’m offering lifts to and from Polling stations if anyone needs one or wants to have a car pool poll party.  Especially in my locale #votermotor

#marref #yesequality

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/marriage-referendum-q-a-what-you-need-to-know-1.2212840

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I went for a walk a few weeks back with Laura H. If you don’t know, Woodhaven is home to two Lauras. Laura H is a native of Mullingar so as part of our march she took me along the Canal Line. I haven’t been to that part of the Canal before though have driven past it many times. At one point there’s a lock and you can sometimes see barges moored on sunny days during the summer.

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En route, we stopped off at an old turnstile. ‘Welcome to Paradise’, uttered Laura. I slipped through the gate and the area opened up to a path with overshadowing trees. In the distance was the green lawn at the back of Mullingar Cathedral.

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Paradise, as it was called, was where Laura, Richie and other friends of yore would get together, during their youth when drinking underage. It was the practical place to provide the cover from prying adult eyes. I could see the nostalgia on Laura’s face. I envied and remembered times from my kidulthood. I didn’t really do the underage drinking thing. I was too much of a ‘goody two shoes’ to veer from my parent’s advice or ‘we’d be really disappointed if you….’ line that would put all the guilt in the world on me. I was one of few in my family that obeyed. But that doesn’t mean I was a total ‘angel’. I think I was 17 when I drank alcohol properly. It never appealed to me much before that. My friends would be doing the same as Laura and Richie were in Paradise, hiding away from adult binoculars, fearful to be snared by a parent but fearless in their young social interactions.

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I’m sure we had a care in the world back then, but remembering it now, it doesn’t feel like we ever did. Those days are well gone. You know that phrase, ‘Youth is wasted on the Young’. I know it’s clichéd but how true is that? The funniest thing about it is, it’s always someone older that says it and always the younger person to completely not understand it. There’s no point in trying to explain it them, it will never sink in. It never sank in with me.

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It’s Gay Pride Week in Dublin this week, so we thought we’d add our touch to the festivities and bring a bit of pride to Woodhaven.

Richie took this first. He thought the tree would frame the photo better. Isn’t he getting an eye for detail?

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The week culminates in the Gay Pride Parade this coming saturday, which has a new route and destination in Merrion Square. Should be good day for all, as usual. For more info go to Dublin Pride

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I just re-discovered some photos on my phone that I was meaning to blog about. There were a lot and I found it difficult to exclude some.

Richie and I went to a local supplier of poultry to see what species they had. Richie is considering getting some chickens to give the ducks some extra company. Though since we fenced them into their own area, he’s missing their presence around the rest of the garden! I, for one, am not missing the duck plop everywhere. If I’m honest with myself, I do kind of miss seeing them trail around the side of the house or out to the back field. But it’s for their own safety that they’re behind the electric fence. Before we get any chickens, some decisions need to be made about the continual company of poultry in Woodhaven.

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Anyway that didn’t stop us from visiting C&B Poultry near the village of Fore, Westmeath. It’s not far from Mullingar. The village is also home to Fore Abbey. More on that a little later.

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C&B have a wide range of species and it’s clear that they keep their set up, clean and functioning like clockwork. From speaking with C&B, it was also clear they have a passion for poultry and they want their hens/roosters to go to good homes.

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We arrived at the right time. The outbuilding was a hive of chirping and cheeping young chicks. Most of which huddled together in packs and mostly under the heat lamps.

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Spot the duckling with the chicks. He was runt and shunned by the other ducks.
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I can’t remember all the specie names, that was Richie’s job. But there were a multitude, all very beautiful.

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Some were very strange, but at the same time very cute. This baldy one was unexpectedly hot to the touch and extremely docile.

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C&B seem to be doing a great job and all their animals were really content and happy. Though I think I would be, if I had views like these.

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As I said earlier, the ruins of Fore Abbey are also adjacent to the village. It was my first and only time there. We weren’t expecting to stop off but it was too lovely a day not to and my interests had perked up.

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The Abbey dates back to the 13th Century but most of it is from the 15th Century. It’s so surprising when buildings (or partial ruins) can last that long. The road to fore goes by the abbey on one side and then on the other side is the church, overlooked by a stony hill.
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The abbey used to be home to over 300 Benedictine monks. I wonder what life was truly like for them, in the 15th Century. How did people tolerate our winters without central heating or insulation? And though Fore is not that remote, back then it must’ve been. I could go into St. Feichin and the Seven Wonders of Fore Abbey but I think I’ll allow you to investigate that further or possibly use it as an excuse to actually go visit it. Don’t forget that there is a small visitor centre and café and also 2 charming pubs in the village. We managed to have a cold Guinness on the rare hot day.

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I’ll leave you with the rest of the photos.

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And finally the gruesome sight of a dead crow. It’s horrible and ugly and gorgeous and real. Some say the abbey is haunted by the hooded monk. I wonder did he have part to play in this. 20120622-140127.jpg

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Mullingar had its fair share of events the past June Bank Holiday weekend. This included the annual Mullingar Fayre and a Carnival in Belvedere House. The June Bank Holiday seems to be the time for towns and villages hold events. There was a lot going on all over Ireland. It must’ve been hard for neighbouring places to compete.

Richie and I spent most of our time in the garden, tidying it up as best we could and also emptying two sheds and filling a skip. We’re busy making ready for some summer parties.

For breaks, we left Woodhaven to catch a movie, or whatever, but we also found time on Saturday morning to make a further trip to Kilbeggan and Tyrrellspass.

Kilbeggan had its annual Knighthood Festival. Oh its events, we attended their Country Food and Craft Fair. Kilbeggan is a charming small town and home to Kilbeggan Distillery. The fair was held in the main square and the people banded together well to deliver a fine and distinguished fair.

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There were a lot of fresh foods and excellent crafts available. Fresh veg to knitted scarves. Without sounding insulting, there was an air of Father Ted to the whole event but I think this made it all the more appealing.

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Maybe it was this guy in his box, knocking out the Dolly Parton tunes and occasionally interrupting the crowd to welcome them to Kilbeggan. I laughed but also enjoyed his comedic commentary.

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The whole town seemed involved, from all ages. The women here were obviously great friends and well done to them for selling their handy work.

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Of course, no fair would be complete without a few animals.

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Richie fell in love with these little guys. And who wouldn’t! I was tempted to take one home myself. I’m sure they would’ve lived happily together with our ducks.

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We left with homemade cupcakes, well done Val. Yum.

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We headed to Tyrrellspass after that. This is home to Tyrrellspass Castle and, like Kilbeggan, is as pretty as it is loveable. In fact, I wonder if the town towns have some rivalry. A friend of ours is starting ‘Creative Kids…With Cara’, in a newly opened store there.

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The store is called the Grocery. It was a quaint little store but with a lot of character and attraction. There are a lot of shops opening with Old World Charm attached to them, with hints of modern twists. Is the recession getting people more crafty, more into DIY, GIY (Grow It Yourself), more interested in home cooking and more magnetised to these types of shops and what they offer. They market on the old country village shop, like The Grocery. Thankfully the Grocery has reasonable prices.

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We picked up these for €3.50.

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Other similar places, shadow the price with the draw and pull of the products that appear, and for the most part are, homemade or local. I’m not trying to wound such shops. I go to them and love them as well. I’m just making it aware that I’m not stupid to the marketing. I love the marketing. I’m like a moth to a flame for this kinda stuff. I have an interest in products and items like this and so must a lot of other people, otherwise places like this wouldn’t be open.

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Getting back to the Grocery though. The most excellent things, after the reasonable price, is that all of the products, especially the food and drink are local or from Ireland. That’s one gold star. It also gets a gold star for the enthusiasm and welcoming attitude of the proprietor and staff. And a another final, hefty star for its space upstairs. On weekends, it becomes a workshop heaven, hosting Basket weaving classes, art classes, amongst many other classes and also to one I’ve touched on already, Creative Kids…with Cara. As you can see from the flyer above, Cara offers truly unique crafty and creative classes. I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at the hula-hoop rugs.

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I can’t end this post without referring to one particular other thing about Tyrrellspass. Check out this shop. It’s an old school Newspaper shop. I didn’t think they still existed. The shop is as wide as the doors and has racks of newspapers and magazine. Gorgeous.

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It was my birthday last week and i arranged to meet my best friend Paul and his boyfriend Mark. Ireland has been in the grip of a glorious spell of hot weather, that is set to continue into the next week. So rather than just visit the guys at their home we met up with them, in a hidden gem, just north of Dublin in county Meath. It’s very close to the town of Ashbourne and it’s called New Barn Farm.

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I learned of this splendiferous place through word of mouth from other friends, Paddy and Elaine. They often go for lunch and bring their 1 year daughter with them. And who wouldn’t bring their kids. Not only does Newbarn Farm have the Donkey Shed restaurant but it also has an Open Farm, which is complimentary to all restaurant patrons.

You couldn’t have a Donkey Shed restaurant without a real life mule somewhere.
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As I’ve said, we only had breakfast but if that’s anything to go by then lunch and dinner must be a real treat as well.

3 of us ordered the French Toast, with Crème Fraîche, maple syrup and berries, and all 3 of agreed that it was the best we have ever had.

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Richie had the full Irish breakfast. He loved it and I can substantiate, from stealing the odd bite, that it was delicious too.

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Mark was hungrier than the rest of us, so he grabbed the omelette. Yum, and as you can see he made short work of the french toast. Notice the empty plate.

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I can see why it’s a great place to bring your family but as an adult I even enjoyed the stroll around the open farm and taking in all the animals.

Of course Richie was immediately drawn to anything fowl.
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This guy I assumed would be lazy in the midday sun.
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It didn’t stop him from getting up to shove his snout into the lens.
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From a distance, it looked like she had an orange smile.
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All the animals were eager for the green shoots they couldn’t reach.
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Don’t think I’ve finished yet. What else would you expect to have in a farm? Well it wouldn’t be a farm without a farmers market. That’s right. Newbarn also sell produce, most of which is from the actual farm or locally sourced, where available.

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Looks like someone needed some shade to cool off.
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Mark couldn’t help picking up some fresh food items.

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I’ve lived most of my life in Finglas, and it practically borders county Meath. I’ve driven by New Barn Farm many times and never knew it existed. I’m delighted to have found it and delighted to be able to pass its secret to whoever reads this. I can guarantee you will fall in love with it.

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As some of you know, Mullingar is home to 3 very beautiful lakes. Lough Owel, Lough Ennell and Lough Derravargh. I’ve mentioned Ennel before in a previous post, but this one is dedicated to Owel, pronounced Uu-well, not Owl.

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Owel is a deep lake, that’s popular with fishermen and anglers. It has fresh springs erupting from the lake bed, which can cause a bit of current and the odd whirlpool (from what I’ve heard).

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You can rent a motor, sail or row boat at Doolans Boat Hire. Richie and I have taken a boat out once or twice and went out to Church Island. This is the only island on the lake and houses the ruins of an old Church. It’s really quite tranquil there. You feel like you’re away from the world.

I’ve got to mention also, that it’s popular with swimmers too; having diving boards at one particular point.

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With 3 lakes, it would be a good opportunity for Westmeath tourism to have water sports on one of them. They used to be available but were stopped due to pollution and disturbance to the lake. I guess that’s understandable. Neither lake has many inlets to restrict the jet-skis to one area, and limit their affect on the lake and fish that live in it. However, not all water sports disturb. Nearby Lough Lene has wind surfing. This would be an option, along with other similar sports, including kayaking.

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Regardless, Owel is a fantastic lake and worth visiting. We made our way out to Magee Point yesterday. The train tracks run right by the lake here and during the summer people can be found sunbathing on the small patch of sloped concrete, the ultimate sun trap.

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