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Posted by heatherloughlin on March 11, 2014 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (235)

Luckily, things have moved on since 'caravanageddon' and it's beggining to feel like a distant memory.  The birds are singing, flying things are flying and spring is springing up everywhere. Even the pet rabbit decided to escape today, to have a bit of springy fun with a wild rabbit. I Googled 'gestation period rabbit' and it said 31 days. OK, so I'm familiar with the term "breeding like rabbits" ... but 31 days ?! That's no time at all !  We may have to give away free rabbits with every caravan rental.


Ah yes, SPRING don't ya just love it.


Because the weather has been so nice we took the opportunity today to fix the rips in the green roof of our workshop building. It's all done now and the roof is ready for planting with wildflowers. I can officially say that we're now back on track and all of the storm damage is fixed (except for a few fallen trees which kindly fell over to provide us with wood for bonfires for y'all to sing around).


So, here's Tom on the roof today.... working...looking like he means business.

And here's me.... "working".

And here's the obligatory dog photo.


We're also making good progress with the caravans and will be having a 'big reveal' soon!


Until then, enjoy the sunshine and keep an eye on your rabbit.

Nature, are you calling me?

Posted by heatherloughlin on January 29, 2014 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (62)

Today we’re talking toilets, or lack thereof when camping.


My first thoughts when I’m going to be somewhere remote or ‘off grid’, are “will there be any toilets?”, “will I have to use a hole in the ground?”, “what do I do with that sawdust/woodchip?” and "will people be able to see my ankles when I sit on the toilet? (err, that last one might be a bit weird).



Well, fear not. Caravantasia is all about Glamping. This is glamourous camping, not just regular camping.


Over the last few weeks we had a bunch of little sheds delivered. These sheds are soon to be converted into separate Ladies and Gents toilets and showers. Yes, you heard that right – real showers with hot water and proper toilets that flush. Sure, it’ll be almost like being at home…. only in the middle of a field.


The hot water will be heated via solar panels which will be on the roof of the train station* (this may sound a little odd if you’ve not been following the blog, but don’t worry about it, really, it’s fine). The lights will all be solar powered too, so you can carry out your ablutions with a clear conscience.


Here are the sheds... with obligatory appearance from the dog.


***DISCLAIMER**** Swarovski Crystal toilets may not be provided in all sheds. They may on occasion be substituted with gold plated, fine porcelain or regular ceramic ones.


The Mother and the Watcher

Posted by heatherloughlin on January 21, 2014 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (2984)

Ok, no puns this week. I’m all punned-out. Punless. Devoid of pun.


If you’ve been following us on Facebook you’ll know that over the last few weeks we’ve been having a sculpture carved as a sort of centrepiece for the site. Here it is, finished…. (*drum roll*)…. “The Mother and the Watcher”.


 Impressive huh? It was carved from a 14 foot horse chestnut log by the ridiculously talented Richie Clarke We liked the idea of having a ‘guardian’ figure to watch over the ringfort, so asked Richie to come up with something that would suit. He’s a fountain of knowledge when it comes to Irish mythology, so we were curious to see what he’d suggest. We weren’t disappointed.


The carving has two sides – the MOTHER, called ‘Danu’ who is one of the most important figures in Irish mythology, a ‘mother earth’ figure if you like. The other side is THE WATCHER, a dude called ‘Bile’ (pronounced Bee-leh), who was Danu’s lover. I’ll reproduce the full story of their relationship at the bottom of this post, as told by Richie, because he tells it much better than me.


It’s been fun watching the sculpture appear over the weeks. Well, apart from a curious time over Christmas when we were left with Danu and her pair of (unfinished) ginormous boobs staring at us every time we went for a walk. She became affectionately known as ‘Pammy’ for a while, until Richie returned after Christmas and gave her a pair of ‘Mammy’ boobs instead. Phew.




 Boob-talk aside, Tom and I are thrilled with the finished piece and are delighted to have such a stunning work of art as part of Caravantasia. I especially like the way that THE WATCHER’S eyes follow you as you’re walking past him.




If you’d like to try your hand at creating something similar (albeit on a slightly smaller scale). Richie will be running wood carving courses here in the summer. If you send an email to me at [email protected]  I’ll pop your name on the waiting list and keep you updated as to dates etc. In the meantime, if you’d like to know a bit more about the technicalities of carving a sculpture like this, Richie has some more details on his Facebook page. Well worth a look…


Here’s the full story of the meaning of the sculpture. A love story of sorts:


DANU was the one of the most important deities of Irish mythology and was "the mother" of the famous Tuatha De Dannan, which is old Gaelic for " children of DANU". She represents fertility, strength, beauty and love. DANU had a male consort named BILE (pronounced bee- leh) . Legend has it that DANU was upset by lost spirits of her people, unable to make their way to the Celtic Spirit World, or Underworld. She implored her lover BILE , to take spiritual form as a magical Oak tree and to "watch" and "guide" her people's spirit's to safety.

BILE agreed reluctantly because of his love for DANU, to sentence himself to this task forever, provided that, on the first day of summer every year, he could take human form again and couple with his lover DANU.

This day later became known as BELTAINE, which is one of the major Celtic festivals. The sculpture shows DANU (the mother) as a strong, heavily pregnant mother to the Tuatha. She is fertile, loving and fearless! In her navel is the Irish Trinity Knot which represents the elements........ earth... Air.......water. Also it represents mind........body...……..spirit.

She is linked to The Watcher both physically and spiritually as she created him in his altered state.The Watcher is shown gazing intently into the far distance. He is watching and waiting to guide the lost souls of his lover's people to rest......


Wood you believe it?

Posted by heatherloughlin on January 9, 2014 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (68)

Sorry, I seem to have got into the habit of using puns for blog titles… but if you think I’m going to stop now, you’re barking up the wrong tree.


Anyhooo…. Thought you might like to see our latest progress with the campsite. Our little wooden building on stilts is now structurally complete and just needs a few finishing touches ... like handrails and planting up of the green roof.  This is the building where all manner of fun things will happen – from workshops to hooleys and anything and everything in between. We’ve yet to think of a name for it. My Aunty suggested ‘The Hive’ which I think is pretty good.


It's built entirely from wood and the lighting and power will be solar. I'll put up a few internal pics soon - the inside smells blooming lovely and it feels like you're in a tree house. Tom and I are currently inventing rows to have with each other so that one of us can storm off and say "I'm moving to the wooden house... so there!".


Here’s how it evolved:












As you will see from the photos, the build was overseen by Honey the dog. She's pretty happy with result.



 I'll leave you with a sneaky peek of another work in progress. It's also made from wood and is about 11ft tall... Oooh, what can it be, she teases.... all will be revealed soon....





Tis nothing but a folly!

Posted by heatherloughlin on November 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (60)



As part of our planning permission for Caravantasia, we have permisison for seven 'follies', but we have to agree the design and specification of them with the Council before we go ahead and build them.


I looked up the definition of a FOLLY (see above). The things we have planned are not that costly, and are not towers or mock gothic ruins, so I'm more inclined to agree with the first definition... "Lack of good sense; foolishness" Hmmmmm.


There is also a quote by George Bernard Shaw that goes “Folly is the direct pursuit of happiness and beauty”. I think I prefer him to the Oxford English Dictionary. Yes, we'll stick with George instead.


Anyhow, our first 'folly' incorporates a train station.... in the middle of a field...... going nowhere.... but incorporating a few fun elements that will either make people say "ooooh!", "Wow!", "Huh?" or "WTF??".



So, we duly submitted our plans to the Council and got a letter back from them this week confirming that we're good to go.


Say what you like about the planning system, but we have got permission IN WRITING to build a train station, with no train, in the middle of a field in Tipperary! How cool is that?


Wait till they see what Folly #2 is going to be.....

Honey I shrunk the Caravantasia : THE SEQUEL

Posted by heatherloughlin on October 28, 2013 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (664)

Ta da... Caravantasia is complete! Finished. DONE!

Ok, well ,not really, but the minature version is ready, should there be any minature humans out there who would like to stay in one.


I am now feeling the need to acquire some minature figures to show them off to their full potential, but I fear I could end up with the whole of the upstairs of the house being taken over by a minature scale model of Caravantasia, with added beaches, mountain ranges, ski slopes etc.... I probably have more constructive things to be doing right now?

Hmm... we'll see.



Of course I had to do one up as a 'Caravantasia brand' caravan.....


Here is a pic of the 'creative process' (?). Eat your heart out, Banksy.




Meanwhile, back in the workshop where the regular sized caravans are being refurbished, we have started the respray on our smallest caravan (i.e. regular caravan, but small... not at a toy one).  Here she is after her first coat of paint.


Here's a rough sketch showing the intended colour scheme. We have named her "The Atom" on account of her small size and she's being renovated in a nice bright style inside, with a nod to the atomic era of the late 50's and early 60s. Hoping to have her all finished in the next few weeks so will post some 'Before and After" pics then.







Honey I shrunk the Caravantasia

Posted by heatherloughlin on October 17, 2013 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (154)

Tom and I now have quite well defined (traditional) roles when it comes to restoring a caravan. Tom paints things and generally does stuff that involves the use of power tools. I make curtains, wallpaper, upholster and make things look pretty. To even things out a bit in the equality stakes, we both do A LOT of cleaning.


Because Tom has been mainly occupied with working on getting the campsite ready for the last few weeks, work on the caravan restoration has been slow. I'm now waiting for him to do his man-work on the caravans before I can continue with the beautification side of things.


So, to keep myself occupied, I have acquired a minature version of Caravantasia!  I picked these up on ebay for significantly less than the cost of a full sized vintage caravan and am going to restore them in line with the big versions.


Mint versions of these caravans in their original boxes sell for up to €100 - €200 (I know!) and I'm probably committing some sort of crime in the world of mini vintage caravanning by painting over their original colours, but hey, what the hell.


Watch this space... to get them fully renovated it may take me all of.... ooh, lets see...... a couple of hours.



"A Good Hare Day"

Posted by heatherloughlin on October 3, 2013 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (66)

Look what arrived in our driveway a few days ago! It’s an 8ft moon gazing hare, carved out of a tree trunk by our very talented friend, Richie Clarke…. using a chainsaw. I have a thing about hares anyway, but this particular hare is especially deserving of adoration. I just love him!




If you were at the Ploughing Championships last week you may have seen Richie doing some chainsaw carving at the Husqvarna stand. Along with the hare, he made some other pieces, including this rather cool Wizardly type fella, called ‘Ole Husky’.




 Not sure where in Caravantasia the hare will be living yet, but for the time-being we’re enjoying having him in the driveway and watching visitors do a double-take when they see him.  

You can see more of Richie’s work on his facebook page.


photo by Dairmuid Doran





All roads lead to... a caravan?

Posted by heatherloughlin on September 22, 2013 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (60)


We’ve had a busy few weeks here at Caravantasia. Work has started on the campsite roads and paths and we’ve gone from this…..

To this....

To this..... (see, we even managed to turn up the intensity on the sun!).


We now have the pitches in place for the caravans and we’re really pleased with each of the locations – they are nice and secluded and each one is under the shade of a tree or two, or three.


The dogs are delighted that they don’t have to wear their wellies when they go for a walk now – nice clean feet for everyone!


Next step is putting in the solar powered showers and toilets......





Field of Dreams... and Trees!

Posted by heatherloughlin on August 21, 2013 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (4)

Caravantasia is all about vintage caravans (more about them in a blog coming soon). But what use is a vintage caravan if you don’t have a lovely spot to enjoy it in?


By spring 2014 we hope to have 6 vintage caravans ready for guests. The caravans will be in a place on our farm that we call the ‘tree field’. Before we even started building our house here 10 years ago, we planted this field with native trees… mainly oak, ash, alder, birch and hazel. This was probably a bit of a crazy decision by farming standards (i.e. it meant we were losing land and making no money), but our house is heated with solar and timber, so we thought a few more trees might be handy for firewood for the future. And, well, we just like trees.



Fast forward 10 years and we’ve ended up with a beautiful little oasis of trees, wildflowers, birds and butterflies. I’m glad we knew nothing about farming back then, or we might not have ended up with such a dreamy little place.


So, when we conjured up the idea of Caravantasia, we knew that this would be the perfect spot. Each of the caravans will be in its open private spot, tucked between the trees and with its own decking area to sit out and enjoy the silence.


For the last few days there’s been an army of locals on site driving diggers, scooping up soil, laying stone pathways and putting down the hardstanding areas for the caravans in the tree field. It looks different now, but in a good way. Luckily we’ve not had to chop down any of the trees, so it’s still our same lovely spot…. with paths.


I’ll tell you a bit more about the farm and the caravans soon and some of the things we have planned….