Visit to Renville Park & playground in Oranmore

Hello readers,

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend. It’s the start of a long weekend here and I took the kids and a few of their friends to Renville Park/playground in Oranmore yesterday. As it is the furthest away playground from where we live, we call it the “far away playground”. I was a bit apprehensive to head there with 5 boys (my own kids, two other 12 year old and a neighbour), but as it turns out it was all plain sailing. Pity I didn’t know about the little catering truck in front of the walled garden, I could have had a cup of tea whilst the kids were playing hide and seek 🙂  ( Note to self, bring my purse from the car next time ) Here are a few pictures of our trip.

picture of the boys and me in the car

There is a beautiful view from the parking lot, overlooking the Marina.

view over the Marina in RenvilleThe 5 boys on their way!5 boys on their way to the walled garden

We stopped off at the fitness equipment, they had great fun on all the equipment. I am hoping they’ll add equipment like that in Coole Park, it would be a nice activity to do.

Rueben on some of the fitness equipment

Image of the playground in the walled garden at Renville Park, Oranmore

Picture of Walled Garden Playground Renville Oranmore

So it looks like that pre- teens still enjoy playing hide-and-seek!

Hide and seek at Renville Park, Oranmore

The day started very wet, but by the time we arrived it was sunny( with some clouds) and apart from a short shower, we couldn’t have picked a better day to go to the “far away play ground”.

Today, Sunday, I ventured to cycle the Monastic Cycle tour,starting from Gort. Come back tomorrow to read my write up. All I can say now, I can barely walk !!!!

Have a great weekend, wherever you are!





Athastours – Small business interview West of Ireland

Hello Readers,

Time for a new interview! If you are new to my blog, I have been interviewing small businesses in the West of Ireland since 2016. Check out all the interviews I have done to date. The last interview  was with An Mheital Rothar, Galway’s Community Bike shop and excited the present my newest interview with Gary Casey from Athastour walking tours in Galway.  I was walking around Spanish Arch in Galway City, and just as I walked under the Arch I saw Gary, so I thought I’d go over and say hello!

So how does this interview work, and how can you get interviewed?
I have learned that people aren’t responding to email anymore, and have gotten most of my completed questionnaires via Facebook or Twitter. The interview exists out of a number of questions that are stored in the cloud via Google docs.  I then send a link , the interviewee clicks on the link, enters the answers to the questions and the beauty is there is no need to send documents over email. I love it! I then review the questions, ask for clarifications if needed, and then publish. So if you are up for a close-up 🙂 of your business/startup in the West of Ireland, please drop me an email here or connect me with on my Workinglivingtravellinginireland Facebook Page or Twitter. I do read my email! And remember, the more you put in, the more you get out of it. Please share this interview, as I’d like to start a small movement to highlight the brilliant businesses in the West of Ireland!

Tell us a bit about yourself & where you are located in the West of Ireland.
My name is Gary Casey, 40, from Galway. I run Athas Tours guided walks of Galway city.

Picture of Gary Casey of Athas Walkingtours Galway

Picture of Spanish Arch Galway City

Can you provide me with a description of your business?
Athas Tours provided individuals and groups the opportunity to walk around and see all the main Galway city sights in a fun and energetic way. I am a sole trader at the moment and do the tours myself.

How long have you been in business? In this business? In other businesses?How did you get started in this business?
I have been in business since February 2017 in this business. I did a course on setting up a business and decided to follow through on this idea.

Is this your full time job, a hobby or a bit of both?
It is a bit of both, not quite full-time yet, but hopefully soon.

How did you get the background and skills necessary to run this type of business?
I have seen how well-run Galway is as a tourist city. The most necessary skill is telling a story with a bit of wit attached and I think I can manage that!

How do the social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments impact your business?
They all have a bearing on it. Economic tourism is the key i.e. keeping the tourist economy competitive. The rest are secondary to this. Keep Joe Tourist interested by not ripping him off and giving him value for his notes.

Do you know who your competitors are?
I know very well who they are the buggers. Seriously, I think they compliment me and vice versa. Room for all.

How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business? Where can people find you?

Youtube: https:/

I market via social media but try to keep costs down as Facebook etc can be expensive.

Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
I am just going week on week. I hope to be able to expand enough to eventually get a minibus and expand to driving tours.

Do you plan to compete in the global market place? If yes, how? If no, why not?
I would love to but have not thought it fully through.

How has technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
It is really everything, just as in every other business.

What do you love about the area you live in/do business in?
It is life itself. A flaneurs dream. People of all walks of life mixing in Galway’s tiny medieval streets, all searching for answers to questions asked forever.

Whom do you seek advice from for your business/ do you meet up with other business owners? If so, where?
I have talked to several historians and online is an invaluable source of opinion.

Can you describe your customers?
Anybody is a potential customer. I just need to make them believe!

Why do your customers select you over your competitors?

What are the biggest challenges for running this business?
Karma and cashflow.

What keeps you going, when the chips are down?
Questionnaires from nice people I meet on the streets.

Do you support local charities? If so which is your favourite charity and why?
Yes and I fundraise. I have collected for the GRCC and GAA.

Anything special things planned for 2017?
Lots but I won’t share just yet!

Any tips for someone who is thinking of starting their own business?
DON’T OVERTHINK. As Nike and Arnold say, Just Do It.

What did you learn from this interview?
That questions lead to answers and sometimes more questions. Life is a big circle. That is good. Never let it get too square or triangular.

Just a quick reminder, please share this interview, as I’d like to start a small movement to highlight the brilliant businesses in the West of Ireland!  If you would like to be next, please drop me an email to and I’ll be in touch.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook!

Thanks for reading & sharing & commenting!


Lost in Dutch Translation : Clocks and bells

Hi all,

A few days ago I published a post about an interesting Easter fact in Belgium. The article referred to flying Easter Clocks, and I remember whilst writing the post, I hesitated a few times whether I needed to use the word clock or use the word bell. It looks like it is a case of lost in translation! Just to elaborate, in case you didn’t read the article, in Belgium it is the bells that hang in the clock tower of a church that carry the Easter Eggs they picked up in Rome and then drop them in Belgium.

It was one of my Belgian friends on Facebook that asked me if I meant to write bells instead of clocks . I checked the word of Clocktower ( a tower that has clocks and bells. He  came back with the word belltower, ie a tower that has bells, but no clocks. I then realized I made a mistake.

Now why would I use the word clock instead of bell?

To translate the word clock into Dutch, it’s horloge or uurwerk ( hourwork being a very literal translation), To translate the English word bell into Dutch is…. klok. (It’s not entirely consistent, as  a doorbell is not called a deurklok, it is called a deurbel.  So it  looks like we have a  great example of a homonym, meaning a word that sounds the same, but have a very different meaning.

I am a very visual thinker, so for me the word “clock” ( not knowing in what language you are talking to me), I will think about :

Example of a bell

Ask an English speaker what they associate with clock, and you will probably see this :

Image of a clock

So instead of Easter-bunny-brings-eggs-or-is-it-the-Easter-clocks, it should have read

Easter Bunny brings eggs, or is it the flying Easter bells?

Below image shows you how the bells get wings, so they can fly to Rome and back.

Flying Bells containing Easter Eggs

I know, it’s wicked!!



Easter Bunny brings eggs, or is it the Easter Clocks?

Hello all,

Happy Easter to all my readers! Easter is celebrated around Ireland this weekend! The kids have been off school for a week now, and have another week to go! Typically you can participate in an Easter Egg Hunt ( I recommend the one at Kylemore Abbey), where rabbits hide Easter eggs in the garden or around the house. Wikipedia gives you a thorough overview of the origins and history of Easter. It also touches on the tradition of chocolate eggs, and how the Easter Bunny brings the eggs or?

As I am from Belgium, I grew up with a very different tradition. It was only when I moved to Ireland, I came to realize that my Easter Eggs came from a very different source… Can you guess??

Well, my Easter Eggs came from flying church clocks ! What ??? If you didn’t grow up with this, this sounds mad, but to me ( and any other Belgian native) this is very normal. Who said Belgians were boring!!

So the story goes that on holy Thursday eve ( Maundy Thursday, in Belgium it’s called White Thursday- the day Christ had his last supper – okay, I had to Google this ), the church clocks./bells ( see image above) don’t chime  until Easter, as the church bells are en route to pick up Easter Eggs in Rome. Once they are loaded up, they fly back to Belgium, drop the eggs ( packaged if it’s wet !) in gardens  all over Belgium ( or inside if you don’t have a garden). Once they have done their job, the church bells start chiming again.

As a child at school, I would colour Church bells, decorate eggs, and be slightly afraid to walk outside, as you might just get hit by an Easter egg!

Easter Clocks flying back to Belgium

Unlike the Easter eggs in Ireland, they don’t tend to be packaged, they are loose ( or smaller ones foil wrapped), and you’d have dark chocolate, white chocolate and milk chocolate eggs.. My favourite was always the white chocolate eggs filled with chocolate pralines in them.. yummie… Not to deprive you from any of these, Amazon will gladly send you out these goodies. If you click on them, and were to decide to order them, I get a very small fee.

If you haven’t got your Easter eggs by now, you are not entirely out of luck, as if there are any left after tomorrow( when all shops are closed) you might get your hands on some heavily discounted ones..








Do you know “The” Galway Girl song?

Hello all,

I have been meaning to write about this for a good while, and as I heard that Ed Sheeran might be in town( ie Galway  city) I thought I’d give you a  bit of a rundown of this story. ( More about  the link with Ed Sheeran  in a minute).

So it all started with this song, written by Steve Earl (2002), an American visiting Galway. The song has a simple storyline in which the singer meets a girl while walking in Galway. They have a brief liaison but she leaves him “with a broken heart and a ticket home”. Below are the lyrics. It’s a very popular song, and you’ll regularly hear it on the radio and of course in the pub:)


Well, I took a stroll on the old long walk
Of a day -I-ay-I-ay
I met a little girl and we stopped to talk
Of a fine soft day -I-ay-I-ay
And I ask you, friend, what’s a fella to do
Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
And I knew right then I’d be takin’ a whirl
‘Round the Salthill Prom with a Galway girl

We were halfway there when the rain came down
Of a day -I-ay-I-ay
And she asked me up to her flat downtown
Of a fine soft day -I-ay-I-ay
And I ask you, friend, what’s a fella to do
Cause her hair was black and her eyes were blue
So I took her hand and I gave her a twirl
And I lost my heart to a Galway girl
When I woke up I was all alone
With a broken heart and a ticket home
And I ask you now, tell me what would you do
If her hair was black and her eyes were blue
I’ve traveled around I’ve been all over this world
Boys I ain’t never seen nothin’ like a Galway girl

The next version is the (until now) most popular version :

There is  a version of this song I really enjoy, it is sang by the Thai Tims.

Earlier this year in March , Ed Sheeran released his version of Galway Girl, and he nearly broke Spotify,as it became the most streamed album in the first week of release.

Apparently Ed Sheeran is in town today to film for his new album, I wonder who will feature in it.. I wonder if these girls succeed to get his attention!

If you are one of the lucky people to meet him, enjoy his company,