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If you play with fire you're gonna get burnt...

Posted by heatherloughlin on November 26, 2013 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (100)

.... but if you play with matchsticks you can make all manner of wonderous things. Allow me to explain....


In addition to random train stations and oversized mushrooms, we also intend to have some useful things at Caravantasia (yes really, I promise).


One quite important thing is to have a nice private outdoor area for each caravan where our guests can sit out with a glass of wine or beer in their hand and listen to the sound of the birds and feel the warmth of sun on their happy faces.... because it's always sunny here. ALWAYS.


So, the next step in the build is the construction of decking areas for the caravans. They will look sort of like the one in the photo below, only a bit bigger and not made from matchsticks.



I will probably just make the rest of Caravantasia out of matchsticks whilst the carpenter is doing some real work. It will save me having to go outside in the cold to take photos of the progress.


I will leave you with a picture of a matchstick butterfly.... made by someone a little more acomplished than I am at the whole matchstick art thing...

Tis nothing but a folly!

Posted by heatherloughlin on November 12, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (23)



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 (441)

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 (44)

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 (19)

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 (19)


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......





Lovely day for an Electric Picnic!

Posted by heatherloughlin on September 3, 2013 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (54)

We are back from a fantastic few days at the Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co Laois.

For the last few years we’ve been running stone carving workshops at the Picnic, as part of the GREENCRAFTS area. It’s a lovely area that provides a chill-out from the hustle and bustle of the main arena, where people can come and have a go at things like carving wood, weaving willow, making rope, felting, or even having a go on a bicycle powered forge. Here was our pitch this year (a caravan, of course!)


Vintage caravans are certainly making their mark on events these days. There’s even a whole stage made from caravans. We saw Elvis there last year (I swear it was him).


Source: Collins Photo Agency



Some of the crafters that we work with at the Picnic will be helping us to create the Caravantasia campsite…. putting a bit of originality and fun into the place and working with us to offer workshops and events for our visitors. It’s an exciting time and we’re looking forward to creating a little bit of magic here in Tipperary.


Field of Dreams... and Trees!

Posted by heatherloughlin on August 21, 2013 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

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….



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

Posted by heatherloughlin on August 15, 2013 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (26)

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….








There's something in the air...

Posted by heatherloughlin on August 13, 2013 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (39)

The sheep have begun to get curious... the chickens have stopped in their tracks... and the dogs are totally convinced.... SOMETHING'S GOING ON.


"I keep hearing the male human say 'Caravantasia'" said sheep No. 8, "C A R A V A N T A S I A !   He says.... all the time".


"Something to do with vintage caravans, I heard" said sheep No. 3.


"Actually" said Skip the dog, "It's a new development here on our farm in Tipperary. The humans are converting our field of trees into an exclusive glamping site. Other humans will come and stay in one of six beautifully renovated vintage caravans that will all be nestled amongst the trees in their own private area. While they're here they can choose to do a range of activities including craft and music workshops. The whole site will be hired out for groups of friends and relatives to have their own private festival".  (Skip is a clever dog who listens a lot).


"That sounds like soooooo MUCH FUN!!" said Honey the dog.


"What's a caravan?" said sheep No.8. "Can I eat it?".