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“What’s a Loonyoula?”, he asked…

This is the first question I asked Pam and Mark O’Loughlin Doyle as they stood gaping, open mouthed, at my obvious incomprehension. They had just asked me, “Can you make a gold loonyoula in glass for us?” To be fair, the term did stir some long-since dormant neurons of mine into half opening an eye of recognition. The word is actually - and everyone reading this will be nodding sagely while facially expressing their pity and disdain at my appalling lack of general knowledge – “lunula” (the fact that it’s pronounced phonetically as ‘loon-you-la’ and NOT ‘loonoola’ is, at this point, entirely academic). That scintilla of forgotten knowledge was to play a very significant part in my glassmaking for the...

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From glass artist to alpaca shepherd and back, in a day

Connemara is well known for its abundance of sheep, both in the fields and on the roads.  No trip out west is complete without at least a photo or two of a sheep taking a stroll down the middle of the N59.  But did you know we also have extremely photogenic alpacas?  Better yet, you can take them for a stroll, or even book an alpaca yoga session! Three weeks ago Wendy and Tasha visited Curraghduff Alpaca Farm in Oughterard. Run by Ruth and Stuart Newton, this newly opened farm is home to 15 alpacas, 3 dogs, and a flock of chickens. One of the activities on offer is an alpaca walk.  This consists of a one hour walk on the farm, with...

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'Falling in Love With Ireland'

Sometimes love is a grower. This year Connemara Blue has made some great new friends. Meet Greg, Ann and Simon from California. Their special relationship with the West of Ireland has been steadily growing over the last few years.   Greg and Ann discovered Connemara Blue about four years ago on a day trip from Cornamona in the Gaeltacht. They loved the shop and on this occasion they bought a ‘Mannin Bay’ suncatcher. Over the years, the Connemara Blue Team have all got to know these guys and this year, they actually came to stay in Connemara for five weeks.   Back at home, Ann is a pre-school Director / Owner and ex-military Greg is a key figure in the...

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King's Paper Shop, Polystyrene Peanuts and Pole Dancing

They say that smell is the most evocative of all the senses. I have this confirmed to me every time I set foot inside King’s Paper Shop in Main Street, Clifden. Once inside, and as I begin to inhale the heady aroma of newsprint, without fail my life rewinds instantly to family holidays in North Wales when I was five or six years old. Our family vacations usually came around just once a year in summer, and were invariably spent at the seaside somewhere in Wales. While the place might have varied from year to year – and sometimes not - there was always at least one annual constant. Every such location had a beach shop. This was the one...

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Operation 'Let's Get Spooked Up'

Operation Let's Get Spooked Up (a tale about a man turning to the dark side)   Can you ever be too old to get ‘in the spirit?’ Apparently not…   For the first time ever, Halloween has broomstick landed at Connemara Blue. And it’s well and truly landed. The significance of this will not be clear to anyone apart from those who know Ben Crow really well, and I mean really well. As his daughter, I feel suitably qualified to comment.   Up until now, Halloween has always been dismissed domestically as a nuisance that happens every year. It’s a time to close the doors and hide in the hope that no trick or treat shenanigans should interrupt the evening’s televisual...

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