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3.07.2015 Friday – #mywexford Guinness Book of Records

3 July: Here is a fact that always surprises me that so few people in Wexford know – one of the most iconic international publication of lists – The Guinness Book of Records – started off in Castlebridge in Wexford! Simple really – two men could not agree after a bit of bird hunting in The Slobs on which was the fastest European bird – was it the Golden Plover or the Grouse. In order to sort the bet – Sir Beaver (MD of Guinness in 1951 at the time) commissioned The McWhirter brothers – fact finders of note in Fleet Street London – to provide the answer (I’ll leave for you to research the result). He recognised that many people must have daily arguments about similar bits of trivia – Often made even more important over a pint or two – And from there stems the Guinness Book of Records.

The irony is that in this time of Google and simple answers to anything – now more than ever people are interested in records – and wouldn’t it be nice if we could have this little nugget grow into something global like a possible Guinness Records Theme park (the highest roller coaster, the deepest dip, with artists and local crafts maybe creating artistic interpretations of records) or maybe even just replicas or actual Irish record holding memorabilia… I let your imagination add to that!

Failing all that – the park in front of it is clean, well maintained, and there is a spot or two where an easy picnic can be held and watch the passing parade – Castlebridge is a busy spot that we all speed through on the coast road – but really worth a stop – even if just to pause for a short while and look at the old house/conservatory and imagine an era not too long ago of such intricate beauty and esteem.

I digress – this little walk and sojourn was at the end of a most enjoyable end of season dinner with the lovely friends and members of the Wexford Toastmasters Club at the Yard Restaurant in Wexford Town. Here’s hoping for an exciting 4th of July!

PLEASE can someone restore this beautiful structure?
PLEASE can someone restore this beautiful structure?
A hint of former glory behind the trees!
A hint of former glory behind the trees!
Imagine if this all and to be restored to former glory?
Imagine if this all and to be restored to former glory?
Posted in #mywexford

2.07.2015 Thursday – #mywexford

July 2: Quad Attack!  Follow link for all details!

My first - but not the last time Quadding
My first – but not the last time Quadding

I was meant to quickly pop into this spot for a few minutes on my way to Dublin this afternoon – needless to say – thanks to the exceptional hospitality of Ailing and John Cullen at Quad Attack just outside Clonroche – The Big Smoke had to get skipped! (Sorry Orlaith)

Well, thanks to Una O’Dowd for the suggestion at the last minute – but can I say just what a brilliant time I had! Imagine arriving in just a suit after work – with a day’s work behind you – and then being strapped into some protective gear, put on a quad bike – simple instructions and safety – and we were off! I did not know what to expect – and after a few tentative first minutes – I was in heaven.

As it was a sunny and dry day – the surrounds reminded me a bit of Farms in South Africa – but there is mud, water, rocks, crevices – and the list goes on! If anyone told me I could enjoy something like this as much as I did – I’d never believe it and I can highly recommend it for everyone.

What I also liked, is that even though they close at 6pm – that is not official, and they are very flexible with times and open to staying open if there is a need till up to 9pm! VERY FEW attractions or entities in wexford can say the same – so well done to John and Aisling for that.

As it was – there was a Spanish Language group that arrived – and besides the quad bikes (they also service and sell Yamahas) – They opened the doors to the Crazy Corral for lots of Sumo, Bouncy, Bungie and Rodeo fun! Teenage kids were all having a blast and lots of laughs! I would never have on my now even thought of this – if not recommended – and will be sure to tell all and sundry about this great discovery (although John informed me that they have been there for almost 20 years)

Seems they cater for just about anything and anyone – can easily accommodate on short notice – and favourable priced. So perfect for tourists as well as locals – and fund for the entire family from 6 years up.

Behind barn doors...
Behind barn doors…
Fun for all ages - great for Tourists, Team Building and list goes on
Fun for all ages – great for Tourists, Team Building and list goes on

 

Posted in #mywexford

1.07.2015 Wednesday – #mywexford

 

July 1: Let the quest begin!

Besides one brief visit to Croke Park for a disastrous match many years ago – I blush to confess, but I have never been to any hurling match, not even to speak of practice. So I was delighted to spend my first day in Oilgate/Glenbrien pitch watching an U6 training session. Words like Ambidextrous, Dedication, Excitement, Tough and Resilient are just a few that springs to mind if I think of the hour I spent there.

Now it has to be said – thanks to the wonderful input of Wexford GAA I am happy to say that there is almost a match every night at around 7.30pm in the local clubs – and I encourage anyone with even a passing interest or curiosity to attend.

It’s easy to find the clubs on most Map Apps, and I am sure a quick question to any one of the locals will point you int he right direction.

The skills – and especially seeing how honed they are even between the ages of U6 and U8 are quickly noted, and even if just for the fresh air – truly wonderful day out.

So I do pose the question – why can’t Wexford Park have a weekly match there that we can advertise for tourism? Or can Wexford GAA maybe see promoting the club matches as a tourism entity – to show people what the next “1996 champs” might look like? I wish to thanks Brian for the invite – and Conall and Patrick for posing with me (even though they would not come an inch closer – and a hug was out of the question!)

Here’s hoping to many more Hurling outings in the years to come – and for those folks who are involved – remember – some of us don’t have small kids, or are not members of a parish – so please do extend a hand and invite to anyone showing a passing curiosity to spread the word!

Conall & Patrick showing support!
Conall & Patrick showing support!
Posted in An Trek Fada

Day 10 – R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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When I was walking through Stamullen which now feels like months ago, I walked past a school, and the kids were on their lunch break. It was a beautiful sunny day and they were all playing outside.

I had taken my earphones out as you do when entering a populated area (An Trek Fada etiquette 101), so could hear what was being said by the kids. There were about 6 girls huddled near the football nets. First they pointed, then one put her hand over her mouth, and then they started commenting on me, my attire, my size and the list goes on…. Just loud enough for me to hear. And yes, their intent was very much for me to hear them.

I remember feeling very sad, not for what they were alluding to, but purely because of the lack of respect, no matter how silly my attire, or the size of my frame, they had for me as an adult. I was even sadder as they clearly could not differentiate from the fact that I expected them to laugh with me, not at me, and that how much more blessed I was than them for being so comfortable in my skin.

Fast forward to today which was a day of true blessings. I had people really respond today, and wishing me well, and honking horns, and a day that was like Ravel’s Bolero… A slow exercise in crescendo which ended in a bang.

I had this lady stop along the way who had just heard me on SE Radio, and wanted to thank me when she saw me walking, as she and her daughter suspect that her granddaughter might have an eating disorder, and that through my interview they now had the name of BodyWhys, and would follow it up from there. And I thought to myself – wow, if just this one person gets help, then every step has been completely worth it.

But then, alas, my euphoria got dampened right at the end, when just as I was about to finish on the Clough Roundabout, two young women in a SUV came to the roundabout. The one actually held her hand over her eyes, as she “embarrassedly looked away” and the other who was driving and her were giggling and laughing at me.

This time I could not resist, and gave them the one finger in equal juvenile manner.

Why, do you ask, did I resort to such a childish reaction? Instinct!

How sad that even at an older age, these women could not see that they were more embarrassing themselves with their insecurity at not being able to have a bit of a laugh with me, than at me…. and again, that word respect. They did not even have the common decency like so many to at least ignore my absurdity, rather than try and ridicule it.

How very difficult must it be for young people with issues in this world of little respect and trust to speak up when in pain, distress or trouble -when at the core they believe what they see – being bullied and ridiculed?

I did not let this insignificant happening get me down, but I do feel a genuine and heart wrenching concern tonight for those who are not able to shrug things like this off…. and who resort to self harm of so many kinds to make the hurt go away, rather than embrace their uniqueness and speak up.

Respect.

Posted in An Trek Fada

Day 9 – What shin?

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Part of the wonders of this journey is that I am a most unlikely poster child for anything physical! Built like a brick shithouse, I’m more the type of person you want in a drunken arm wrestling contest than a marathon walk, but in that lies the humour in itself – so let me continue.

I had NO idea I had shins. I have heard of them – but in my anatomy class there are two legs, two arms, a body, a head and various bits that fit together and work in oblivious harmony to keep me alive.

When I was till a smoker I sure did know where my lungs were, and due to my genetics, I, nor anybody else for that matter had any problem finding my arse, but as for the finer details that makes up this “temple” that is me – shins? Never!

In the spirit of body consciousness, I was rather disappointed at the age of around 13 when I looked in the mirror and realised that I was not deemed to be the next Ms South Africa. I was soon told “You are a handsome young woman who turns a neat ankle” (Transcribed means you are not exactly an oil painting, but some one will have you, and put a bit of a heel on those long flat feet of yours, and you have slim ankles for a big girl)

This is all still grand – but no-one ever said to you – “God, what a fine shin you have!”

Well let me tell you – I have a left shin alright, and as someone who has experienced childbirth, I can now quite vociferously describe what a shin splint is . (I apologise for those not having gone through childbirth without pain killers – but hopefully my description will give you much to look forward to).

Imagine will you a small 5 cent size hole about 2 inches above your foot, along that bone at the bottom of your leg, in the front that is barely covered with skin. This hole is unknown to you, as it is bone – but you do not realise that hundreds of little nerves, vessels, muscles and ligaments make that leg go forward and backwards, and can even cause you to walk long distances. Now imagine a tennis ball has mysteriously found it’s way behind that hole, and has decided during said long walk that it does NOT want to be part of your body at certain times, and no matter how much tape you put on it, it WILL try to get out.

No warning, no explanation…. false sense of quiet and rest before it makes it’s next assault. Sound familiar? And then the longer the walking, the more frequent it becomes.

The beauty of all this? Just like childbirth, by the end of the day you’re sense of achievement outweighs the pain, and by the next day it is a long and distant memory, and you do it all again thanks to a bit of TLC and a good doctor.

Four more days to keep putting my best shin forward!

Posted in An Trek Fada

-2 Days – Wet! Wet! Wet!

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It’s official on 4 apps…. 70-80% chance of rain on Monday! Well, as a wise man once said, there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.

Enter the full on Transparent Mac. Belt, pockets… The works. It is now taken out and aired in advance.

I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed, as dry weather would obviously make the first day that little easier, but hey! It’s all for a good cause.

That said, keep those donations coming in… It’s now a case of wet and lost dignity for a great unsung charity that is BodyWhys Ireland, but that affects almost everyone at some level!

See the DONATE HERE! At the top of the page and Just do It!

You know I will!

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Posted in An Trek Fada

-7 Days

The Official Logo for An Trek Fada proudly designed and sponsored by Fleur Creative - thanks Mandy as always!
The Official Logo for An Trek Fada proudly designed and sponsored by Fleur Creative – thanks Mandy as always!

Today in a week’s time I will be standing at the steps of the Titanic Centre ready to embark on my journey back home to Wexford.

Right now I am scared of failing, and am thinking how much more I have to do before I can set off.

It is my intention to take you on this journey with me, but as with all things, there are only so many hours in the day, and until the walking is the only thing I have to do, then my posts will be brief. That should relieve those that know if a blog was a spoken word I would never stop talking!

Yesterday I successfully finished my longest training walk yet – 23km – and am in remarkably good shape today, bar maybe highlighting that my feet must not be forgotten.