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Buck and Wilma Forever

Posted by heatherloughlin on May 17, 2016 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (232)

You see, I came across this white rabbit and followed him down a hole and ended up involved in all kinds of shenanigans. And THAT’s why I haven’t blogged in so long.

So, before I get arrested for crimes against blogging (not to mention all of that dodgy stuff that happened in Wonderland), I’ll just move swiftly on shall I and we’ll say no more about it?

Caravantasia’s 2016 season has started with a bang. Tom has been putting in lots of hours in the workshop to finish our two new caravans for this season and I’ve been sewing up a storm making curtains and re-upholstering cushions.

The first of the caravans is called the “Sylva”. She was made in the West of Ireland in the 60s and was owned by the same family in Galway from new. The lady we bought it from was the daughter of its original owner and told us about the family holidays they enjoyed in it as kids, sleeping two adults and up to six children (gulp!). At Caravantasia she’ll be rented out as a more spacious 4 berth!

Unfortunately, time hasn’t been kind to this old caravan and we had to completely strip her back and replace all of the internal walls and framework. I suspect it may have been easier just to build a new caravan, but she’s a rare old Dame so we wanted to give her a bit of respect. We’re just putting back all of the fixtures and fittings and will have all of the soft furnishings, pictures, nick-nacks and other bits of prettification in her by the weekend. She’ll be a little 1960s palace.

Next up is “Wilma”. She’s a CI Cadet and was a very popular caravan in the 1970s. She’s being furnished in a slightly headache-inducing 1970s colour scheme, but a little toned down to make sure guests actually get some sleep.

She’s called Wilma because Tom’s first crush was on Wilma from 70s TV programme “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century”. This probably had a lot to do with all of those lycra space costumes. I had a massive crush on Buck, but Buck is a weird name for a caravan and sounds a bit rude. I will leave you with a photo of the dazzling duo and will be back much sooner with pics of the newly unveiled caravans.

Oh Buck…… *sighs*………..such 70’s perfection….. :


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Drum roll.... Caravantasia is OPEN!

Posted by heatherloughlin on July 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (740)

Phew, what a week it's been. We've had a small army of people here for the last week, helping us with the final push to get the site ready for the opening event, OUT OF THE WOODS, a day of tree-related events hosted on behalf of the Tipperary Green Business Network. 

It's been hard work... there have been long days, late nights and a few unexpected things to keep us on our toes (such as escapee cows and magotty sheep) but there's also been a huge amount of craic. Loads of the stuff.  

So, at around 10:30 on Saturday 19th July, Caravantasia was declared officially open, with the ding a ling of a bell...

Wesley Seery started the day off with a presentation and demonstration about how to make charcoal. He also bought charcoal along for the barbeque. There was lots of fire and smoke (mainly smoke) and lets face it, who doesn't love a bit fire.

The process takes several hours, but we checked the barrel this morning and it was full of perfect charcoal. There are very few people in Ireland making charcoal from native Irish wood (most of it comes from China, Argentina etc), so it was great to be having locally produced food cooked on locally produced charcoal. Wes is from Mayo, which isn't exactly local, but we'll let that one pass ;-)  


Richie Clarke ( was next up, he'd arrived a couple of days prior to the event to make a start on a sculpture that he would finish on the day. He gave a talk on how he approaches carving, both with the chainsaw and hand tools and shared how he gets his inspiration for his work. The carving of a fox was finished by the end of the day and the result was pretty impressive. The sculpture will be going to a private house near Clonmel.


Honey the dog checked out the Health & Safety arrangements for the day.... yes, beside the guy with the chainsaw looks like the perfect place to sleep. Of course. 



Next up, Liam from Woodelo had brought along a couple of his wooden bicycles and explained how they're made. I hadn't seen these before and wasn't sure what to expect, but was really impressed. They are quite beautiful, and really light.



Gary Dalton from Ecoworks (and source of pure entertainment) had brought along his mobile pizza oven and explained how to make one of these as a permanent feature in your home - using two different techniques. Some people got stuck in and got their hands dirty plastering the oven with clay.

Jim Dunne from Dunnes Sawmills showed how hurleys are made from the butt of an ash tree. He also very kindly supplied us with some beautifully made benches for the day. And if you're reading this, Jim, we have our eye on that lovely gate. 


PJ and Molly cooked a barbeque lunch, with organic lamb and beef burgers supplied by Sheepwalk farm, which were totally delish. Some of the salads were supplied by Aimsir Bia, a community organic food growing group in Cashel.  



We had some of the caravans on site for our guests to have a look at. Some are finished whilst others will be complete in the next few weeks. We also brought along a 1960's caravan that we've not started work on yet... to show a kind of a 'before and after'.



It was a nice dry morning with sunny spells so everyone had the chance to wander around the site, the farm and the ringfort.

And then, out of nowhere... the rain came. Not just rain, but a torrential downpour of biblical proportions. The type that gets you soaked in seconds.




But, hey, we live in Ireland. It rains. We just cope with that sort of stuff don't we... it's only water, right? and we're all waterproof?  

Having said that, I think Madeline and Bill from Peg's Cottage deserve some sort of award for keeping smiling despite getting caught in the middle of a field during the downpour.  Luckily, the last few talks of the day could be done inside, in our 'Green House'. First up we had Peter Cowman talking about "Eco-building on a shoestring", a really interesting talk about building affordable homes that respect and come from the land they're built on.



Next, Peter's wife, Alanna Moore, talked about 'Sensitive Permaculture'. Alanna is a master dowser (finding water and energy using a pedulum). 


After this, Sean Farrell from Cloncannon Biofarm talked about "Biodiversity and Trees'. Sean has a wealth of knowledge about ecology and has his own organic farm which is open for visits.

Wrapping up the day, there was a raffle which members of the Tipperary Green Business Network had provided.

If you were there on the day, thank you for coming and we hope you enjoyed the day. We're really grateful for everyone's support.  

So, I guess that's it.... CARAVANTASIA is OPEN. Woohoo!

Thank you so much to our wonderful friends, neighbours and family who've got us this far and the new friends we've made along the way. You know who you are and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Every single person who's worked on bringing Caravantasia to life has brought a little bit of their own energy and uniqueness to the site and I think it's this wonderful mix of people that's made this site so special.

So, y'all ... if you 'get' what we're trying to do here, hop onboard the Caravantasia train and let's have some fun...... ..............


Heather & Tom x


Posted by heatherloughlin on April 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (92)


There's been a lot of talk on this blog about progress with the campsite, but what about the caravans? WHERE ARE THE CARVANS, huh?


Well, most of them are residing in our workshop and are in various stages of renovation. Here you go..........




Yesterday we brought the littlest caravan to the Caravantasia site (the one on the right in the pic below) to make some room in the workshop. All of the fixing and painting is finished on this one so she is the first of our rentals to leave the workshop.   You might say that this was the first step in putting the 'caravans' into the Caravantasia... literally.






The site is really starting to take shape now - the solar panels, toilets and showers have all been plumbed in and next week the decking is being built for each caravan pitch.  


The best thing is that the trees all have that lovely fuzzy green haze that says that summer is on it's way. Bring it on!


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.



An ode to the 70's caravan....

Posted by heatherloughlin on August 15, 2013 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (103)

Now I’m not criticising the modern caravan, but 1970’s, caravans were just ‘different’. They had groove. They had a MOJO.


Our first caravan was a 1976 Cotswold Windrush, a classic of its time, top-of-the-range, handbuilt, solid and comfortable. Here she is, after a bit of restoration and a shiny new paint job.

...and a touch of 1970's wallpaper....


 There's a modest amount of space for food, a large cocktail cabinet, and a wine bottle holder. Here’s the cocktail cabinet...


Another feature is a seating area that turns into a huge comfy bed. Like HUGE. I’d call it Super Mega King Size, if such a classification exists. With tiger cushions.... Grrrrrr.  


So, I have to come to the conclusion that 70s caravanning was all about having enough room to stash your alcohol and making sure you had a good place to crash after a night of partying?


Ah yes, the 70’s… it was all about the groove….