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The Final Countdown

Posted by heatherloughlin on July 2, 2014 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (257)

Eeek! There's nothing like a countdown clock to focus the mind. There are now 16 days left till our opening event "Out of the Woods" and we're busy getting the site ready for the day. Life has become a hectic whirlwind of random actvities such as wallpapering a caravan in the middle of a field, climbing onto a roof with a hose to water plants and tiling garden sheds. Random, yes, but good fun too. Here's a few pics: 

"The Atom" - all finished now and ready for her new curtains and cushions

Watering the roof of the Green House - the wildflowers were becoming a little parched in the sun

Of course it's a well known fact that all work and no play is bad for the soul.....sometimes you have to take a bit of time out to enjoy the surroundings. The caravan decks have become my go-to place for a spot of relaxation (the tables and chairs for the decks are being deleivered next week, hence the rather laid-back angle of the photo below).  We've left the areas around the decks untouched and a bit overgrown because it's such a good wildlife haven and we think that most people would prefer to share their space with the birds and bees?  


Today, my random tasks will include sewing a set of curtains for a shed and making a garden for an 8ft wooden hare to live in.... as you do. 

Tick tock... 

The Pink Green House

Posted by heatherloughlin on May 13, 2014 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (131)

For a while we've been thinking about what to call the wooden building on stilts that will be our workshop / communal building / place where all manner of fun things happen. "Workshop" sounds too much like "Work" (bleuh) and "Communal" sounds too much like a commune and brings to mind weird religious cults (or is that just me).


I'm not sure how it happened, but the little wooden building on stilts is now called "The Green House". It's green because it's built from wood and will be solar powered, not because it will be used to grow fruits and vegetables in. And just to confuse you even more, we painted the inside walls pink!  It's subtle though, I promise.... just enough to take away the white glare.


Carpenter extraordinare, Richie Clarke, has been back with us to help finish off the ceiling in the Green House and build the decks for the caravans. We've also had a few friends visit lately and the rule there is that you generally get a paint brush shoved in your hand on arrival in return for B&B. It has been much appreciated.. thank you Cath, Glen and John for the help with painting and sanding the insides of the Green House and thank you Emma for helping us plant some more trees around it.


Here's a few pics of building that finally has a name..... .


The porch...

The ceiling being put in place...

Hazel hand rails around the porch...

View from the front window.....



Green seedlings growing on the green roof of the green house...




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!


Too Posh to Flush

Posted by heatherloughlin on April 2, 2014 at 3:50 PM Comments comments (93)

Hello! Would you like to take a peek at the work in progress on our campsite loos? Of course you would!


May I introduce Carvantasia’s mens loo…. Ta da! They are not finished, obviously, but they're beginning to start their transformation from boring old garden sheds to posh loos.


Toilet (wall)paper



The theme will be a mens barbers shop (loosely) and the wallpaper has a bit of a retro vibe. I definitely see Magnum P.I. in there, plus Burt Reynolds, Walter White (before the hair loss) and Freddie Mercury. I think my husband, Tom, is in there too but he doesn’t have a moustache so I’m probably hallucinating due to excessive use of wallpaper paste (Tom, if you’re reading this, don’t be getting any facial hair-related ideas).



Walter White, what are you doing in my toilet?



The ladies loo will be a more girlie affair altogether, featuring flamingos. Because… well, why would you not put flamingos in your toilet?



Sneaky pic of Tom for head/wallpaper comparison purposes, plus flamingos




We will also have a separate Ladies loo, shower and washroom and the same for the guys. No themes have been set in stone yet, so if you have any ideas we’d love to hear them!



Skip: "Flamingos?... I HATE flamingos".




Oh my, your fascinator is fascinating!

Posted by heatherloughlin on March 25, 2014 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (87)

We have a new ‘thing’ taking shape in Caravantasia. It’s a living willow sculpture that we’ve nick-named “The Fascinator” because it looks like it’s got a quirky little pretend hat on it. It has a little entrance in to the middle of it so that people can walk inside it.


The idea is that it will eventually all fuse together as it grows and become..... well, fascinating, of course.  


It’s being made by the lovely Hanna from Barnabaun Basketry using willow from our farm. Hanna has carved (woven?) herself a reputuation as an accomplished basket maker and has branched out (sorry) into living willow sculptures. She runs basket making and creative willow courses too.


Hanna, starting the central piece of the 'hat'


Hanna is a joy to have around. We only met her recently through the Tipperary Green Business Network but feel like we’ve known her for ages. When she visits, I don’t even feel the need to pretend that the house is usually tidier than it is... and that it just looks this way because of some natural disaster.... you know, tornadoes and that sort of thing.



The structure took shape really quickly. Tom helped with some of the willow cutting and acted as Hanna’s “beautiful assistant”.

Skip the dog helped by trying to pull out each bit of willow to make sure Hannah was doing it properly.


Tom - "Beautiful assistant"


Skip - "Quality Assurance Officer/Security Guard/Pain in the Ass"


The 'hat' is positioned on the uprights


It's looking good isn't it! Will post a few more pics when it’s finished in a few weeks time.  It will hopefully have some leaves on it soon too, if spring would ever just hurry up and arrive properly.





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.


Posted by heatherloughlin on February 17, 2014 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (62)

Introducing...... CARAVAN-AGEDDON*

(*Like the disaster movie Armageddon, but with caravans instead of meteors and a deceased chicken instead of a deceased Bruce Willis).




I like to keep these blog posts upbeat and positive, because Caravantasia is all about fun and good times,  but I guess life sometimes conspires against us.  


Caravantasia took a major battering in the storm last Wednesday. I have never witnessed a storm like it and I’m sad to say that the site has suffered a lot of damage. Most of this was a result of things still being in-construction. We have trees down, sheds knocked off their bases, the roof of the solar panel structure is gone and the roof of the communal building is damaged. Our own house has a hole in the roof and fallen trees resulted in a squashed chicken coop, shed, fencing and a squashed chicken (R.I.P chicken).



We were without power/water for 48 hours, which was interesting. We stared at each other in the candlelight and made cups of tea by heating up water in a tin can on an open fire (mmmm… smokey tea). It was kind of like camping in our own house. Does camping in your own house qualify as ‘glamping?’ I suspect not.


Thankfully, only one of the caravans was out in the storm. It ended up lodged in a hedgerow but after we’d fished it out we were able to move into it for a while and enjoy non smokey cups of tea.


We’re getting back to normal now. Power, phones, internet and water are all back and the clear-up has started.


The damage will be a bit of a set-back, but it could have been a lot worse.


In the spirit of all good disaster movies, we will prevail….! Caravantasia will be mended, we will open in June as planned, and may just save the world in the process. Halleluiah.


Until then, we have a lot of this sort of thing to be doing.....




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....