For the first week of our holiday we were staying in Clifden, county Galway. The
first day was warm and sunny so we all headed off to the beach. We stayed there all
day. The sea was clear, warm and turquoise blue. John and Jess went fishing in the
Canadian but there were no fish in the area. Quigley followed them in a sit on top.
They visited a small, offshore island where John collected some winkles to eat. It
could have been coincidence but people were ill for the next few days.
The next day it rained. We went to explore the town of Clifden, everyone stocking
up on food. The rain stopped later in the day so we headed off to another beach where
some people found some offshore surf. Tom got smashed on the rocks. Molly, Emma and
Beth played on the beach.
The next day we drove for miles and miles across slow, windy roads in search of white
water. We got to Spiddle. After finding no more than a stream going under a bridge,
but with good views of the Arran islands, we retraced some of our steps to find a
coral beach. Very painful on the feet, but bathed in bright sunshine. A fantastic
afternoon wash had by all. Nearly everyone went in the sea. No fish were caught –
another failed fishing trip. We returned to the sight for a curry supper.
John decided we would go looking further north, in leenaune, for whitewater. The
river was narrow and with little water. There were also rocks sticking out at head
height. The Quigleys split off to visit friends in the area and we all met up for
lunch next to a silage store. We headed to a beach where the afternoon was spent
swimming and getting covered in sand.
The next day some of the group went pony trekking along the beach near ballyconneely.
Annika and Andy set off early to get there by bike. We headed to the beach where
some swam in the sea and some went to find rocks and surf. We had views of the mweel
rea mountains. We had smoked fish for tea – mackerel and salmon, made in Quigleys
On Friday we were all rudely awakened to notice the Plants collapsible awning had
lived up to its name. Everyone noticed, except Andy, who was still asleep. All hands
on deck and the awning was quickly dismantled. While the weather was fine, the Quigleys
awning was taken down in a coordinated, controlled fashion. The party walked into
Clifden in search of food and Guinness. We failed to find acceptably priced fast
food so all went to a restaurant. Annika sung puff the magic dragon. Quigley spent
the rest evening wondering why his midge net would not stay away from his face.
We spent the second week staying in Rathdrum, county Wicklow. We all arrived in the
afternoon to a packed, muddy and puddle-filled campsite. We went on an evening paddle
down the Avonmore, which we could access from the campsite. It was a grade 2/3 section
of the river. Quigley swam trying to surf a cushion wave.
The next day we got up at seven and ran a different section of the Avonmore, down
to the campsite. We were driven to the get in at Clara bridge by Annika. Quigley
forgot his helmet and had to go back for it. Or was he just trying to get out of
paddling? It was similar to the section we did the night before. After the paddle,
the Plants packed up and drove off home. We went to Arklow where we found a fantastic
shopping centre. It was enjoyed by all except Annika and John. Even Quigley found
some poor quality grouting to amuse himself with.
On Monday we drove around until we decided to run yet another section of the Avonmore.
There were lots of rocks. We got down to a hideous section called Jackson rapids.
Everyone was suddenly very quiet. Fortunately, a group of locals came round the corner
and covered safety giving most of the group the opportunity to have a go at running
the drop. Quigley swam.
On Tuesday the Quigleys got dragged off to the worlds naffest day out. The Stopfords
ran a river….
The next day we went to Wicklow and found the world famous Black Rock Castle. Typical
Irish castle – not many walls and cannons on the outside.
On Thursday we drove around looking at rivers but eventually settled for the Avonmore,
this time starting slightly higher up and portaging Jackson rapids. Quigley swam.
The day after we all went up to Bray, stayed there for a bit then drove back. Some
messed about in the river. In the evening we all went for a meal out down at the
meeting of the waters.