Mary Crowley writes Contemporary Irish Literature. Author of A Sweet Smell of Strawberries and Under a Dark Cloud . Her fictional work generally focusses on strong emotional relationships and family conflict, adding intrigue and humour, with a sprinkle of hope but most of all heart.

BUY NOW
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Under-Dark-Cloud-Mary-Crowley-ebook/dp/B07VGNP3MS
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweet-Smell-Strawberries-Mary-Crowley-ebook/dp/B07FHYMVCZ

Mary lives in County Waterford, on the South East Coast of Ireland, with her husband and three children. Having worked as a Dental nurse and Dental Health Educator for many years she decided to follow her dream of writing and went on to study creative writing and journalism. With several short story publications in magazines and winner of a short story competition, Mary is currently working on her third novel along with writing for a local newspaper and freelancing.

post

Waterford Connections – Val Doonican

Over centuries Ireland has been renowned for producing famous names throughout history.  Nestled in the south east of the country, Waterford city and County can proudly lay claim to famous names from musicians to actors, academics, authors and many more talents.  Once a month, I will be featuring a famous personality whose roots are from Waterford City or County in a feature called Waterford Connections. 

This month Waterford Connections recognises the talent of Val Doonican

Born Michael Valentine Doonican in Waterford, on 3rd February 1927, to parents John and Agnes (née Kavanagh). Val was the youngest of eight children, from a musical family and went on to play in a school band at the age of six.  Sadly, Val’s father died in 1941 when he was a teenager, which meant he had to leave behind his education at De La Salle College, to work in a factory. But with the help and determination of his siblings, Val continued to pursue his musical interests.  He entertained at fetes with a friend, Bruce Clarke, who played the piano and guitar. In 1947, the two had their first professional engagement, playing in Courtown Harbour, Co Wexford. 

This was the beginning of a glimmering career as the pair soon featured on Irish radio, played in theatres and dance halls.  Val began to feel the need to progress his career and became a member of the Four Ramblers which took him to England for a regular spot on the BBC radio series Riders of the Range. He wrote the music and stayed with them for ten years. Also, a regular performer at US air force bases, he evolved with another career change and went on to join a concert tour where he met his future wife Lynnette Rae.

They married in 1962 and had two daughters. It was on that tour that his solo act also emerged. At a cast party everyone had to do a turn, so Val borrowed a Spanish guitar, perched on a stool and sang an Irish song. He was asked if he’d ever considered doing something of the sort on radio or TV. He sang and played through two decades of his own TV show, spanning more than 60 years in show business.

Facts about Val Doonican

  • In June 2011, he was awarded “Freedom of the City of Waterford” by the Mayor, alongside Brendan Bowyer.
  • During the 60s, he had five top 10 hits: Walk Tall (1964), The Special Years (1965), Elusive Butterfly (1966), What Would I Be (1966) and If the Whole World Stopped Loving (1967).
  • His TV show, The Val Doonican Show, which began in 1965, was the launchpad for other rising stars.
  • His records sold in the millions, having recorded more than 50 albums, including Val Doonican Rocks, But Gently (1967), with which he was the first Irish artist to enter the UK albums charts – and he released a video, Songs From My Sketch Book (1990).
  • He made three Royal Variety Show appearances, won awards including BBC television personality of the year in 1966, and wrote two volumes of autobiography, The Special Years (1980) and Walking Tall (1985). In later years he concentrated more on golf, sketching and painting watercolours, although he continued touring until retirement in 2009.
  • He appeared on the Late Late show, broadcast on 10th March 1979, where he told Gay Byrne about meeting his hero Bing Crosby at a celebrity golfing event in the Gleneagles in Scotland. Astonished that Bing recognised him and shook his hand.
  • In 1970 he was chosen for TV’s, This is Your Life. The organisers asked his wife Lynnette how they could be sure to catch him.  “On the golf course,” she assured them. “Organise an attractive game of golf with people he likes to play with, and come hail, rain or snow, he’ll be there.”
  • He and Lynnette were married for 54 years, until he died peacefully in a nursing home in Buckinghamshire with his family by his side.
  • Val Doonican was famous for his knitwear and rocking chair.

Val Doonican – RIP – A famous Waterford Connection to be proud of.

Next month’s Waterford connection is Dr Lawrence Reynolds, Poet Laureate to the Irish Brigade

Waterford Connections – Brendan Bowyer

Over centuries Ireland has been renowned for producing famous names throughout history, resulting in some of the greatest musical talent gracing stages and televisions screens.  Nestled in the south east of the country, Waterford city and County can proudly lay claim to famous names such as musicians, actors, academics, authors and many more talents.  Once a month, I will be featuring a famous personality whose roots are from Waterford City or County in a special feature called Waterford Connections. 

It will come as no surprise that this article will kick off with one of the greatest, and likely the most well-known celebrity to come from Waterford city, Brendan Bowyer. 

Brendan Bowyer

Brendan was Born in Bailey’s New Street, Waterford city on 12th October 1938 and went on to become a legend in his own right. Kicking off his singing career with the Waterford Royal Showband, the first band to top the Irish charts, going on to take Great Britain and America by storm.

Brendan and the Royal Showband had six number one hits, the most famous being ‘The Hucklebuck,’ which went platinum internationally.    Visit Waterford Treasures Medieval Museum to see the hucklebuck shoes on display.  http://www.waterfordtreasures.com/bishops-palace/whats-inside/hucklebuck-shoes

The Royal Showband went on to become the most popular showband to ever come out of Ireland.  Voted No.1 Modern Dance Band in Great Britain and having The Beatles open as support band to their show in the Pavilion Theatre in Lodge Lane, Liverpool during their tour of Great Britain in the 60’s.

The band then went on to make a movie called “The One Nighters” which received an award at the Cork Film Festival in 1963.

Elvis Presley

Brendan and the Royal showband did not stop there, travelling across the Atlantic to America where they have become legendary in Las Vegas. Particularly Brendan himself, his idol “The King,” Elvis Presley, went to see him perform. Not many people can say their idol has done this!! It doesn’t stop there because Elvis had been so impressed by Brendan’s performance of “You Gave Me a Mountain,” that he later recorded the song himself and included it in his own programme.

In the early seventies, Brendan parted ways with the Royal Showband but remained living in Las Vegas with his family.  He went on to form another band called “The Big Eight,” taking Las Vegas by storm, performing in the Stardust throughout the seventies.

Brendan never forgot his native country and regularly returned to perform gigs, sometimes with his daughter Aisling.  He also remained a loyal Deise man, never forgetting Waterford he visited on several occasions over the years.  In 2011, he was awarded Freedom of the City of Waterford.  Sadly, Brendan died earlier this year on 28th May 2020.  He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Stella, their children, and grandchildren.

Brendan Bowyer

A Legend

Brendan’s fame and longevity far surpassed the bands he performed in becoming a legend in the showband era with his gyrating hips and exciting performances bringing a revolution to Irish ballrooms and dancehalls. 

Irish Showbands

Brendan and the Royal showband began what was to become an Irish phenomenon by moving away from traditional music and orchestras, performing upbeat music with the aim to get people dancing.  They wore tailored suits and the line-up of a showband usually consisted of singer, lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and a brass section of saxophone, trumpet, and trombone. From the late 50’s right through to the early 70’s showbands travelled throughout Ireland playing in ballrooms and dancehalls.

Once such local ballroom which hosted big names in showbands in the 50’s and 60’s is the Atlantic Ballroom in Tramore. 

In the 70’s The Atlantic Ballroom hosted the famous band, Thin Lizzie amongst other big names.  Sadly, as trends changed the Atlantic closed its doors as a music venue in 1978 where it then gained a licence to become a gaming arcade which it still is until the present day.

Next Month’s Waterford Connection  –  Val Doonican

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Thrillers John W. Howell, #FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #ContemporaryIrish Mary Crowley

Thank you to the wonderful Sally Cronin for including me in this feature. Am honoured to be alongside great talent.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet John W. Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His…

View original post 1,472 more words

Keeping Fit with Smovey and Staying Safe at Home

Coronavirus (Covid19) is taking over our planet, and we are all affected by the worry of what lies ahead for the future, along with taking every precaution possible to stay safe at home. 

Saying that, we are also trying to fill our days constructively from the safety and Comfort of Our Homes.  One vital part of daily life is to keep active by exercising, this is not only important for fitness levels but for our mental health. Keeping fit during this pandemic however, can have restrictions of space for some, especially those who are cocooning.  There is also the factor of not being able to do rigorous workouts because of health restrictions. So, how do you overcome these hurdles?

At the beginning of the year, I joined vibro-slim and before doing the course, I’d assumed smovey exercise was only for people with Parkinson’s Disease, however I have found this a very diversified form of exercise which can be done from the comfort of your home without needing space.

Because April is Parkinson’s Month, I’d like to discuss what Parkinson’s Disease is and how exercising with Smovey is of benefit, before opening up to how it can benefit all of us in general, and not only through these difficult times.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition which affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. People with PD may experience:

  • Tremor, mainly at rest and described as pill rolling tremor in hands. Other forms of tremor are possible
  • Bradykinesia
  • Limb rigidity
  • Gait and balance problems

The cause of PD remains largely unknown. Although there is no cure, treatment options vary and include medications and surgery. While Parkinson’s itself is not fatal, disease complications can be serious.

It is possible to have a good to great quality of life with PD. Working with your doctor and following recommended therapies, are essential in successfully treating symptoms by using dopaminergic medications.

In addition to movement-related (“motor”) symptoms, Parkinson’s symptoms may be unrelated to movement (“non-motor”). People with PD are often more impacted by their non-motor symptoms than motor symptoms. Examples of non-motor symptoms include: apathy, depression, constipation, sleep disorders, loss of sense of smell, cognitive impairment.

How does regular exercise benefit people with Parkinson’s?

  • Doing regular exercise can slow the progression of symptoms
  • Exercise can help manage physical symptoms
  • Help with sleep problems, fatigue, mood and mental health

Research has shown, exercise can be as important as medication to help control and Manage symptoms.

How does exercising with Smovey meet the requirements of exercise needed for a person with PD?

Smovey is a low pact exercise of vibration therapy which can help:

  • Reduce joint pain
  • Improve circulation
  • Alleviate stress
  • Boost metabolism
  • Reduce back pain

Clients with Parkinson’s as well as Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Autism using smovey-med have given personal testimonials https://www.smoveyhealth.com/smovey-parkinsons-testimonials and reported back how regular exercise with smovey has benefited them. Listed below are some of the improvements they have benefited from.

  • Improved Balance
  • Improved co-ordination
  • Improved mobility
  • Improved Strength
  • Increased circulation
  • Increased energy
  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduce inflammation

How exercising with Smovey can benefit YOU!!

For a start you will benefit from any of the above listed that may apply, along with increased fitness levels, energy and flexibility, stress relief (which in these uncertain times is paramount).

About Smovey

Smovey provides a dynamic upper body workout that gets you fit while burning calories and stabilising your back and spine.  Each Smovey ring weighs 1LB and includes four metal balls that run freely inside the hollow plastic tubes.

How Does it Work?

Swinging the Smovey rings moves the balls inside creating a varying resistance that is dynamically adjusted based on your strength and condition and how vigorously you swing them.

The movement of the balls also creates a vibration, which is transmitted through the handles of the Smovey rings to the palms of the hand.

The vibration acts on the meridians in your palms harmonizing the flow of Qi (energy) throughout the body, providing an exceptional healing effect while working out, leaving you relaxed and revitalized.

Based on the size and ease of use, smovey exercise can be done in the comfort of your home, or even out in the garden.  For those who are not cocooning and have the advantage of being able to go for a daily walk, using the smovey while walking boosts upper body workout as well. And once we are through this pandemic, and we will be, it’s worth joining one of the smovey classes where you will not only get a good workout but make wonderful new friends.  So, stay safe and stay fit!!

For further information on Smovey visit https://www.smoveyhealth.com

Or contact:  tel:+353858525766   Email: admin@smoveyhealth.com

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #FamilySaga – Under a Dark Cloud by Mary Crowley

Delighted with this fantastic review of Under a Dark Cloud from Sally Cronin.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share my review for Under a Dark Cloud by  Irish author Mary Crowley

About the book

Under a Dark Cloud is a grippingly emotional story of shattered dreams, haunting nightmares and bitter memories. Kelly Henderson wants reprieve to emerge from Under the Dark Cloud that shrouds her life.

Kelly Henderson returns to Bunreen, a small town nestled in the South East of Ireland, weeks after her husband’s tragic death, wanting to re-establish a relationship with her mother and sister. However, as the taxi approaches her old home, she is harshly reminded of the night her mother Lorraine banished her to live with her father in Scotland, when she was only fifteen years of age.

Kelly’s’ heart is heavy and her grief raw, but she must keep strong as she soon discovers there are more secrets within the family. While Lorraine’s indifference to her pain gives renewed determination to…

View original post 816 more words

Lighting a Flame of Well-being

The pathway to losing weight and gaining “self-love” can seem daunting. It needn’t be!!!   

I was delighted to be part of the first group taking part in a course called, Vibro-slim with smoveyhealth and am happy to share my experience. Having never been to a slimming class before, I didn’t know what to expect on the first night.  Initial impression was the positive atmosphere, this is attributable to the coaches running the course. 

Irene Treacy is a qualified yoga and meditation teacher, licenced practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, who has been working with health and fitness professionals across Ireland and UK.  Irene put together, along with Nutritionist Jackie Crowley and smovey-med. trainer Allie Crowe, an eight-week course called Vibro-slim. Vibro-slim is unique, as the course does not solely focus on weight loss, but aims to boost self-confidence, fitness levels and overall mindfulness.

There were ten of us starting the course, each eager to embrace change. The first evening made up of weigh in, measurements taken, photographs then nutrition discussion:

Nutritionist Jackie spoke about food nutrients, choosing the right size portions and right foods to fuel our bodies healthily and gave a suggested meal plan. There was no mention of the word Calories! To my delight.

Group discussion followed: Everything said in the room stays in the room – Each member of the group spoke about personal goals.

Exercise with smovey

https://www.smoveyhealth.com

These are handheld with 4 steel balls inside and when swung create vibrations. This is a low impact exercise, where the vibrations travel into your body and help, balance, coordination, core strength and muscle toning.

This was followed by breathing technique, which as Irene explained is important for:

  • Helps you relax, lowering harmful effects of stress
  • Lowers heart rate
  • Helps lower blood pressure
  • Helps cope with symptoms of post-traumatic stress
  • Improves core muscle stability

The evening finished with Mediation. Wow wasn’t expecting this but, it was amazing, so relaxing. This part of the course really puts into perspective mindfulness and looking after our well-being.

Over the weeks, my opinion has not changed from the first evening.  The course structure has continued offered support, become a place and time each week solely for myself where I concentrate on my mind and body. The nutrition discussions are very informative, and we are all getting a lot from them. Each discussion has covered aspects such as eating for better digestion, boosting our immune system, benefits of getting the right vitamins and what foods contain them.  Healthy skin, hair and nails.  The group discussions have allowed us to seek advice about foods, help each other if there is a bad week and struggles. Again, the feeling among the group is positive, mindful of each other, along with the safety that emanates among us. No one has dropped out of the course, which is an indication of its success.

The exercises with the smovey vary every week, and there is the option of using the smovey-power for those who feel they want to take the training up a notch.  I tried, but it was a case of walking before I could run. However, others in the group were more successful in using them.  Halfway through the course, Irene suggested taking up another form of exercise along with the smovey, this is to give variation and is an excellent idea. 

The breathing and mediation each week to end the sessions, reminds us to take time for ourselves and is an absolute bonus part of the course.

Other aspects of the course are:

  • Being given the use of smovey for the duration of the course to bring home.
  •  Being able to log onto the website and have access to the exercises to do at home, as well as all the nutrition notes, recipes, and suggested food plans, along with the mediation to do at home.
  • There is also a private Facebook page, to post and interact throughout the week. (This is only for group members of the course, no one outside of the group can see posts.
  • After the eight-week course there is the opportunity to keep meeting each week for weight check, discussion and smovey exercise. (Additional cost €10 per session).

Like anything, you will get out of this course what you are willing to put in, as in your own commitment.  The course structure is there, as is the support.

To sum up, how this group did. Everyone has lost weight. Personally, I’m delighted with the changes and gained so much more from Vibro-slim than weight loss, which I am pleased about too.

Motivation to exercise – Love the fact, I can use the smovey easily any time of the day, curbing the urge for craving snacks and giving an energy boost instead.  I have tried fitness classes in the past and found the endurance too harsh for me, whereas these give a more forgiving workout.  The vibration of the smovey through the palms of your hands harmonising, providing a healing effect.  I am no longer out of breath and struggling when going for a walk, an achievement to be proud of. Another improvement I have noticed is my balance has significantly improved since using the smovey for exercising.

Feel healthier – Making changes to my food intake has increased energy levels (as does the exercising). I no longer feel bloated and sluggish after meals. A new appreciation of certain foods and discovering new recipes.

Mindfulness and Self-awareness – The mediation gives you grounding, feeling less stressed and giving a capability to deal with life situations more calmly.

Above all, I gained self-confidence and the incentive to look after my body and mind. It is easy to hurtle down a steep incline of self-destruction and not realise it.  Taking control and being part of a group where you feel supported will give the ability to become fitter, healthier, happier, and able to fit into that dress you always dreamed of being able to wear.

A supportive group of positive women will light an eternal flame of well-being, and that is what being part of the Vibro-slim course is about.

Setting the Scene -Ireland’s beauty inspiring fiction

#contemporaryfiction #Castleoakshotel #limerick #Ireland

As a person who spends a lot of time travelling every inch of Ireland due to my family’s involvement in various sporting events. I have taken inspiration from charming settings such as the coastline of Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way. The setting for A Sweet Smell of Strawberries perfect for Kilmer Cove, and Elysian Farm where the Connolly’s live. As well as featuring my home county of Waterford as the setting for Under a Dark Cloud

For the past ten years or so, we have travelled to UL (University of Limerick), mainly for swimming events but also for triathlons. In all those years, I simply parked the van in the car park, attended the event and returned home on the same day. Last week however, we booked into the Castle Oaks Hotel and stayed overnight, since my daughter was competing in a two day event with Irish Water safety.

The Castle Oaks Hotel on the outskirts of Limerick is an absolute gem. Beautiful setting, stunning inside and out, and the staff were very friendly. We were made feel like royalty, words cannot express enough how lovely our stay was. So much so, our only disappointment being, we had to rush back to UL early the next morning and could not hang around to make the most of the facilities. We will definitely return though.

The pictures above speak for themselves. Although the hotel is a fantastic setting for a wedding, it is also lovely place to stay like we did. With walks and a swimming pool making an ideal retreat to relax in.

Like I said, I’ve never stopped long enough to take much notice of Limerick, I’m ashamed to admit. Apart from travelling to UL several times a year, my husband worked in Adare Manor nearly twenty years ago. So, with this in mind, it would only be fair to give a mention to this part of Ireland in my next novel “Voices in the Water” which will be released in 2021.

Voices in the Water

Nikki Hannon, a junior doctor in The Glasgow Royal Infirmary, receives devastating news. Her sister Beth has tragically died in an accident which upon investigation is ruled as suicide. Nikki immediately returns to Ireland to comfort her devastated parents, and attend the funeral.

Beth had moved to Ballyfarraig with her fiancé Ryan, her dream to live and raise a family in a seaside town. She’d been excited about a new job and had been planning her wedding, so why would she end her life? How come Ryan, her childhood sweetheart did not return to Limerick with her body to lay his fiancée to rest?

After returning to Glasgow, Nikki is haunted by these questions and the circumstances surrounding her sister’s death, unconvinced it was suicide. She and Beth had been close, had spoken on the phone or texted almost every day. If Beth had been having problems, she would have known. Nikki returns to Ireland determined to find out the truth, but the truth is not always what we want to hear, as she uncovers heart-breaking secrets about Beth’s life.

Due to be Released 2021

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Family #Drama A Sweet Smell of Strawberries by Mary Crowley

I am thrilled to have received this fantastic review of A Sweet Smell of Strawberries. This story derived from a particularly heartrending incident which sat heavy in my heart due to my own son competing in cycling and having endured a couple of incidences himself whilst out training, which thankfully were not life threatening. The reason for the setting in Donegal, due to our yearly trip to compete in the Errigal youth cycling tour. A beautiful part of Ireland and the world, which I highly recommend visiting.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

My review this week is for Mary Crowley for A Sweet Smell of Strawberries, her first novel, which is a wonderful read, set on the west coast of Ireland.

About the book

Imagine, a warm summer’s morning with the Sweet Smell of Strawberries wafting through the air, tantalising your senses….

For Sarah Connolly, this invokes beautiful memories of her son Jack. A talented athlete destined to represent Ireland in the Olympics and loved by everyone who knew him. While out training early one morning, the sixteen-year-old was killed when Desmond Shanahan lost control of his car. Jack’s death crushing Sarah, as her only child, he was the very essence of her life.

Losing a child in tragic circumstances, leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, a sense of unjust…..

Now, five years after the tragedy, Desmond’s early release from prison leaves Sarah feeling let down by the justice…

View original post 630 more words

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #IrishFiction Under a Dark Cloud by Mary Crawley

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to welcome Irish author Mary Crowley to the Cafe and Bookstore with her latest book Under a Dark Cloud

About the book

Under a Dark Cloud is a grippingly emotional story of shattered dreams, haunting nightmares and bitter memories. Kelly Henderson wants reprieve to emerge from Under the Dark Cloud that shrouds her life.

Kelly Henderson returns to Bunreen, a small town nestled in the South East of Ireland, weeks after her husband’s tragic death, wanting to re-establish a relationship with her mother and sister. However, as the taxi approaches her old home, she is harshly reminded of the night her mother Lorraine banished her to live with her father in Scotland, when she was only fifteen years of age.

Kelly’s’ heart is heavy and her grief raw, but she must keep strong as she soon discovers there are more secrets within the family. While Lorraine’s indifference to her…

View original post 643 more words

Eurocycles Junior Tour of Ireland 2019

Fast paced, corkscrew hills and plenty of banter along the way!!

The dust has settled, and the van is unpacked after a hard but wonderful life experience, six days spent supporting my son Steven Crowley and his teammates from Comeragh Cycling Club, Miceál Hayes, Niall Hogan, Luke Griffin, Ciaran Frisby and James O’Shea at the Eurocycles, Eurobaby Junior Tour of Ireland held in Co Clare.

67403561_404515073491096_7850980456496365568_n

I better start with explaining a bit about the tour so you will get a better picture, not that I am an expert on the specifics, so this is all coming from a parent’s point of view.  The Junior tour is a six-day international cycling race for under 18’s, which as far as I’m aware the criteria is to be aged between 16 to 18 depending on where the cyclist’s birthday lands by the end of the year. (Again, showing my lack of insight on the logistics). The race is traditionally held in Ennis Co. Clare and is in its sixth consecutive year, whilst our riders competed for the first time. Though not the first team from Comeragh CC to enter this event as they have had teams entered over the past three years. This year there were 140 riders competing coming from Europe, England, Scotland and even a couple of teams over from America to mention but a few. There are six gruelling stages for the riders to complete ranging from 48 km loops to 127km with steep hills and inclines to contend with, depending on the course and the stage, with the final stage being a very fast loop around Ennis.  While the first stage took place on the Tuesday, I did not join my family for the fun until Wednesday evening so came in on the third stage.

The day comprised of roll out from Tracey’s Hotel, driving the van out to a spot to watch the cyclists pass where we acquainted with a lovely couple who had travelled over from California with their son. They opted to follow us to the next viable place to watch the riders since we were classed as having better local knowledge than they had. Our co-pilot and navigator Katie brought us around some pretty narrow and winding shortcuts, but the van held her own and did us proud, our new American friends declaring the drive as Awesome and like a Disney ride. Our next stop we handed the riders bottles of water, all in good spirts and looking fresh considering the miles they had already covered and the hills they were climbing at the time.

67264564_502877650518110_5796611914222010368_n

Then it was a race for us parents to find a viable road leading to the finish line before the riders themselves, no speed limits broken!!  However, we were stuck in a queue of traffic, everyone with the same agenda, though this is not what was causing the build-up it was the tour buses trying to get around the very sharp bends, still this did not dampen the good humour only added to the euphoria as we made it just in time to watch our riders sprint for the finish line.
Each stage being pretty much a repeat of this with early rises (on my holidays!!!) and late to bed for the parents and technical team which brings me to mention the behind the scenes work that goes into this event. The riders themselves will have been training and preparing for months but they are not alone and could not compete without the support they get from the club, this comes in the form of Colm Dillon, team manager and mechanic, driving the support car for the riders. Soigneur Cian Power, and logistics co-ordinator Sinead Power. Although this may now sound like an Oscars speech, I cannot omit to mention Pat Power and Aaron Dillon who were also present supporting the riders and giving them valuable advice from their own experience in racing. 66794830_408164663379228_8933452707763585024_n

The cyclists’ siblings, the lovely sisters’ who navigated, supported, took photographs and videos, handed out water, got squirted with water and never once complained. Would you believe they are only twelve years of age all three of them, so they definitely deserve a mention Katie Crowley, Hannah Hayes and Amy Hogan. Well done ladies you did your brothers proud.

 

Although by day we did not get much time to explore and enjoy the wonderful views and landscape of Clare, we did get to walk around Dromoland Castle since we were staying at the Dromoland Inn, and yes I was tempted to stick in this picture and lead you to believe we stayed at the Castle itself but somehow, I don’t think you’d have been convinced!!66801832_424523311480887_1718553360161832960_n

 

 

 

 

There is not much left for me to say about these crazy six days, only it was not only an experience of a lifetime for the riders themselves who did us very proud, three of them from here in Tramore, but an experience for the supporting parents and siblings and the grandparents who travelled up from Tramore to see the races, giving something to reminisce over in years to come.

 

Here are a couple of videos taken on stage 5 and 6