All Aboard The Eco Tour!

Eco Tour of Ireland Day 1

Rock Farm Slane
Rock Farm Slane Eco Accommodation, Organic Farm, Conference Centre - 2014 Eco Tour Ireland with Roz Kelly EcoActiveSocial

Rocking out at Rock Farm Slane!

Sunday 21st September 2014
And so my journey began…Day one of my ‘Digital Dame Goes Wild’ Eco Tour of Ireland. I had picked up my Opel Mocca S vehicle kindly sponsored by local car dealers Ferrybank Motors based in Wexford the day before so Sunday was just about packing then off I set! (I think I packed for every possible weather scenario!!)
I had to do a quick pitstop at my twin sisters’ place in Dublin to borrow a super groovy sleeping bag (those scenarios again) and was on my way.

Rock Farm Slane Eco Accommodation, Organic Farm, Conference Centre - 2014 Eco Tour Ireland with Roz Kelly EcoActiveSocial
Rock Farm Slane Eco Accommodation, Organic Farm, Conference Centre - 2014 Eco Tour Ireland with Roz Kelly EcoActiveSocial
Rock Farm Slane Eco Accommodation, Organic Farm, Conference Centre - 2014 Eco Tour Ireland with Roz Kelly EcoActiveSocial

First Stop: Rock Farm Slane

Everybody has heard of Slane – Slane concerts, Slane castle, ‘I Love Slane’ Tee-shirts in the 80’s… This however, was my very first time to visit Slane and as I began my descent into the picturesque village of Slane I knew I had arrived somewhere special.

Steeped in history and awash with folklore entering Slane takes you back in time – it seems to hit a deep rooted nerve within your very being. Following my (relatively) trusty Google Map Lady – we shall call her Grace – I turned off to the left just before the bridge to head up to the Rock Farm Slane Campsite.

Carina met me at the campsite carpark and, as I marvelled at the many pheasants, she put my bags into a wheelbarrow and off we set.

Carina has a wonderful gift of making you feel at home and relaxed almost immediately so we decided that coffee was probably the next most important consideration at that point. We chatted amicably whilst brewing a cup then sat on the rustic styled yet warmly inviting outdoor veranda as she ran through a short bio of Rock Farm Slane and what it means to her, hubby Alex and their 3 gorgeous children.

Gold Certified Eco Tourism 

Rock Farm Slane is a Gold Certified Eco Tourism Business that offers a unique eco friendly accommodation experience with a choice of Glamping yurts and shepherd huts that can accommodate couples, families and small groups as well as Weddings when extra bell tents can be erected.

I was again reminded of the historic Crannogs of Ireland past, these days however there is a lot more luxury thrown in! Comfortable beds, easy to light stoves and an outdoor hot tub to sip champagne in under a blanket of stars .. should that be your want 🙂

My accommodation for the night was a shepherds hut located close to the main communal area to ease any fears I may have had about sleeping there alone.

Electric Bike Tour with Carina Rock Farm Slane

Electric Bike Tours

We set out on electric bikes for a whirlwind tour of Slane. Rock Farm Slane have a number of electric bikes that they hire out to residents or groups looking to experience something different without breaking into too much of a sweat.

I am now a major electric bike fan!! (as you know I have begun this tour to get back out from behind my desk and boy did these bikes help me get back into the rhythm and up that hill!)

Carinas’ local knowledge is indepth and she shares her knowledge enthusiastically with lots of facts and folklore about the past.

After the tour I explored the Glamping site and made myself a hot chocolate then sat on the swing under the huge oak tree as I imagined the battles of the past that had taken place so close by this peaceful serene hideaway.


Rock Farm Slane Eco Accommodation, Organic Farm, Conference Centre - 2014 Eco Tour Ireland with Roz Kelly EcoActiveSocial

As I prepared for bed it was time to try the on-site compost loo – I found using the compost loo totally fine and it really makes you wonder about the amount of waste we process in such an inefficient & expensive manner when a compost loo is so simple.

Rock Farm Slane Eco Accommodation, Organic Farm, Conference Centre - 2014 Eco Tour Ireland with Roz Kelly EcoActiveSocial

Living in the country as I do, the silence of the Shepherds Hut was no bother although I imagine with other people staying in the site you would feel more relaxed. I had lit my stove earlier and my hut was roasting! I had to open the door for a while, guess my fire lighting skills are improving!

In the morning I was greeted by a large hare loping through the grounds and lots of bemused looks from the pheasants. The showers are not only beautifully decorated but also very nice and HOT! – something I had worried a little about- after all there’s nothing like a good shower to set you up for the day.

It was a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend checking them out especially for a family getaway, romantic break or hen party. Carina’s husband Alex is currently setting up a  whiskey distillery so if you’re really nice he just might give you a tasting!

For contact details and social media links to Rock Farm Slane Click Here >>

2014 Ecotour sponsored by Ferrybank Motors Wexford
2014 Ecotour Sponsored By Ferrybank Motors, Co Wexford

Eco Tour Itinerary

Eco Tour Itinerary:

My 2 week ecotour journey around Ireland:

Click for interactive mapSunday 21 September Rock Farm Slane, Co Meath
Autumn Equinox gathering on 21st September. Glamping stayover
Monday 22 September Lough Bishop House, Co Meath
Organic Farm & BB – Tour and stayover – local attractions : Mullaghmeen Forest, Celtic Roots Studio (bog oak sculptures),Tullynally Castle and Gardens
Tuesday 23 September – Boyne Valley Activities – Co Meath
Trim base Kayaking and Archery base,& Athboy center High Ropes Course and Team Building in a forest.
Tuesday Night 23 September- Rathbeggan Lakes Co Meath
Stayover – visit their award winning allotments
Wednesday 24th September – The Three Towers /Slieve Aughty, Loughrea, Galway
Eco House and Organic Kitchen – maybe visit Portumna Castle too
Thursday 25 Sept – Leitrim Landscapes – Tawny Lust Lodge
Stayover – cover their Big Day Out Drimshanbo
Friday 26th September – Sup For All, StrandHill walk, Seaweed Bath
Stand Up Paddling, Strandhill walk, Voya Seaweed Bath
Saturday 27th September – GlassHouse Studio, Westport, Mayo
Stained & Fused Glass Workshop Tour
Saturday Evening 27th September – Actons Beachside Eco Campsite, Clifden, Galway
Eco Camping by the sea, Clifden fireworks festival that night.
Sunday 28th September – Fanore, Clare
Aloha Surf School: Pop by to visit Pete of Aloha Surf School
Adventure Burren: Pop by to catch up with Christy from Adventure Burren
Monday 29th September – Burren Perfumery, Carron, Clare
Natural and organic cosmetics made in the heart of the Burren – tour
Monday 29th September – Crann Og Eco, Gort, Galway
Organic Farm Hols, Eco Cabins and Yurts, Woodland Walks etc. (afternoon & eve)
Tuesday 30th September – Gortbrack Organic Farm
Gortbrack Organic Farm
Tralee bay Wetlands & Nature Reserve
Visit their Interactive Wildlife Exhibition, Guided Nature Boat Tours.
Blueberry Hill Farm Sneem, Kerry

Family Fun Farm plus Courses on Farm skills and craft courses

Pod Páirc Top of the Rock & Walking Centre, Drimoleague, Cork
Lake walks, nature trails and pod accommodation ETA 4.30pm Stayover
Wednesday 01st October – Into the wild 
Meetup with Frank from Into The Wild Survival

Eco Tour of Ireland Day 2

Holy (Moiled) Cow! Lough Bishop House, WestMeath

I am discovering that despite my long term belief that I am great at directions my sat nav (Grace), whilst useful is not to be relied upon! Or perhaps I should clarify – the broadband signal that ensures she tells me each turn to take can drop suddenly, thereby resulting in a never ending circular trip.

Thankfully we still have the art of conversation to fall back on so when I was approximately 1.5 minutes away from Lough Bishop House but somehow missing it for the second time, I rang Christopher who gave the the final required step.

It turns out that the broadband had dropped at a ‘Turn Left’ step and thus the confusion.

Lough Bishop House : Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast in Westmeath

Lough Bishop House is a welcoming farmhouse BandB located in Westmeath and run by Husband and Wife team Christopher and Helen Kelly.
A working Organic Farm, Lough Bishop House attracts clientele from all over the world looking for a bit of peace and quiet and to experience a working farm holiday break. They produce their own honey, make freshly pressed Apple juice and serve freshly laid BLUE hen eggs enjoyed by the delighted guests as part of their breakfast menu. For the fowl lovers amongst you the blue eggs are laid by their Aracauna and Cream Legbar hens. I can also vouch for Helens’ freshly baked bread smothered in their delicious honey!

But that’s not all to  be that’s to be enjoyed at Lough Bishop House.
I had the unique pleasure of a off-road quadbike trip with Christopher driving and myself and Helen sitting like the ladies we are in the trailer behind along with her very cute dogs who joined us! We were taken around the farm where we met their Derrynagarra Irish Moiled Cattle, one of whom has since delivered a baby calf!

 This is especially good news as the Irish Moiled is still on the Rare Breeds Survival Trusts’ (RBST) Risk Watchlist.

The Irish Moiled is the rarest of the surviving domestic livestock native to Northern Ireland. They are a hornless (polled) breed that will produce hornless young when mixed with other breeds. This prevents the need to remove horns at all, a common requirement in commercial farming.

Helen has a huge passion for horses and breeds Irish Draught Horses, one of whom was also in foal at the time of our visit. The Irish Draught Horse developed as a working horse on Irish farms and is native to Ireland. After our spin around the farm I headed upstairs to my tastefully decorated room with lots of interesting art paintings to admire en route!
Whilst I very much enjoyed my Shepherds Hut experience at Rock Farm Slane yesterday the knowledge that there were other people in the same building as me tonight was comforting! Helen and Christopher invited me to join them for dinner which I happily did and the food was delicious as much of it was sourced directly from the garden. We had a good laugh as we chatted about eco tourism, the internet, and Ireland in general.

As a farm holiday or simply a break away from the normal hustle and bustle of city life I can highly recommend Lough Bishop House Bed and Breakfast with such welcoming hosts Christopher and Helen Kelly in beautiful surroundings.
Lough Bishop House will be hosting some exciting new events over the coming months so do keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates!

For contact details and social media links to Lough Bishop House Click Here >>

Listen to our ‘Cuppa Tae’ Chat below…

EcoTour Kindly Sponsored By

Ferrybank Motors Wexford Sponsor Eco Tour Ireland

Eco Tour of Ireland Day 3

Boyne Valley Activities Tuesday 23rd September 2014

As I negotiated my way from Lough Bishop House through the diversion at Delvin to Athboy I suddenly realised that I was being beeped at! Who knew me in Athboy I wondered?

James Murray  of that’s who! James had obviously been checking out our photos and had recognised the Opel Mokka S kindly sponsored for our trip by Ferrybank Motors, Wexford and beeped me to follow him to the first of their two centres.

Boyne Valley Activities are based, as the name suggests, along the Boyne River Valley with a base in Trim, Co Meath and just outside Athboy at Drewstown House also. They run a number of activities to suit various ages and levels including their 10 meter tree canopy challenge course set deep in woodlands.

Two of James’ instructors (Gav and Fergal) were on hand to give us a taste of this high ropes course which is quite challenging thus all participants must first make it up the climbing wall before they are allowed to continue. You can view videos of the lads completing the course in no time at all and flying down the zip wire on our YouTube Channel here >>.

I am not a great swimmer – actually I would not call myself a swimmer at all as I cannot go out of my depth. So James had a tough job to convince me to get into a canoe with him to sample the beauty of his medieval tour.

But convince me he did and we hopped (rather ungainly on my part) into a reassuringly large Canadian Canoe (specially brought out for scaredy cats like me!) and as we travelled up river he pointed out the various and many castles and ruins along the riverbank.

He has a deep local knowledge which he continuously improves and is a natural storyteller – now I know where the two Irish phrases ‘P*** Poor ‘ and ‘Hasn’t a bucket to p*** in’ come from! (Apparently people used to sell their pee as a cleaning agent..I’ll leave it up to James to fill you in)

This is a really relaxing and unique way to see the heritage of the area and also perfect for wildlife lovers like myself.

Boyne Valley Activities is run by both James Murray and Dara Llewellyn  and they cater for school tours, corporate groups, team building days and individuals interested in trying out Kayaking, White Water Rafting, Archery & High Ropes in a safe and controlled environment.

For contact details and social media links to Boyne Valley Activities Click Here >>

EcoTour Kindly Sponsored By

Ferrybank Motors Wexford Sponsor Eco Tour Ireland

Eco Tour of Ireland Day 3 Part Two

Rathbeggan Allotments

UPDATE 2023 – Now

Oh yes there is a part two of Day 3 of my Eco Tour!
I simply couldn’t leave out my good friend Dave Robinson who kindly lent me their self catering apartment at Rathbeggan lakes for the night!

When I last visited Rathbeggan they had just begun their allotments – they have since won numerous awards for them so I thought I’d share some pictures with you of the fabulously unique ‘marks’ that the allotment owners put on their patches!

EcoTour Kindly Sponsored By

Ferrybank Motors Wexford Sponsor Eco Tour Ireland

Eco Tour of Ireland Day 4

The Three Towers Eco House & Organic Kitchen at Slieve Aughty Centre

On Wednesday 24th September I finally left magical Meath and headed West to Loughrea, Co Galway to meet Jenny Cooper part of the amazing team at Slieve Aughty Centre, an Eco guesthouse, activity centre and organic kitchen created by Dutch Mother and Daughter team Esther and Merel Zyderlaan.

Having seen some images on their website beforehand I was expecting a Morroccan influence in the decor but such creativity and attention to detail in the furnishings was still mind blowing when I got there.

Opulence, Intricacy, Creativity, Magical..These are the words that spring to mind when trying to describe the interiors at Slieve Aughty Centre.

I met with Jenny Cooper who manages the marketing and day to day administration of the eco house and she gave me a grand tour of the setting.

 Slieve Aughty Centre is much more than an eco friendly place to stay – it offers information on guided and self guided walks in the areas with a nature hut open to the public and full of information and maps of the forest trails.

They run regular events such as creative workshops both for adults and children – their art room is amazing – I want one!

It’s a popular venue for childrens’ birthday parties where they can let their imaginations run wild and take home something that they have made and decorated themselves.

Slieve Aughty Centre grow as much of their own produce as possible – all organically, and what they don’t grow they outsource from local organic producers.

While I was there I met some lovely German girls who are on a working holiday whereby they work 4 hours a day Monday to Friday in return for affordable accommodation, great food and of course the opportunity to enjoy horse trekking, walking, attend workshops etc.

The ethos at Slieve Aughty Centre is to mix and mingle thus visitors are encouraged to sit together at mealtimes and get to know one another.

Of course if anyone prefers to eat alone that’s fine too but just think of the potential new friends you could have made!

Weddings and celebrations are also very popular at Slieve Aughty Centre with couples tying the knot in their personally decorated pergola, surrounded by friends and family and usually ending up around the campfire till the morning light!

The rooms all have verandas with many of them linking to one another so that friends (both old and new) can join up for a relaxing glass of wine in the evening or enjoy an organic breakfast in the morning!

Visitors can pop by anytime for a coffee or join them for their buffet lunch at 2pm and dinner at 7pm. It is best to book in advance as they cater for the expected to avoid food waste so do give them a bit of notice especially if there is a group of you planning to visit.

Anyone can avail of their guided walks plus as they have a permit to use the surrounding Coillte woodlands which they use for the Slieve Aughty Horse Treks, local horseriders can also avail of this.

Slieve Aughty Centre has 9 bedrooms all uniquely furnished and two Eco Cabins so they can accommodate up to 32 people sharing. Their Weddings are usually intimate affairs and accommodate 70 for a sit down meal in their fabulous dining hall with extra space for the after party in the garden.

If you’re in the area why not pop in for a look and enjoy a coffee or a cup of tea on the veranda. You’ll wonder why you never visited before!!

For contact details and social media links to Slieve Aughty Centre click here >>

Listen to our ‘Cuppa Tae’ Chat below…

EcoTour Kindly Sponsored By

Ferrybank Motors Wexford Sponsor Eco Tour Ireland

Eco Tour Of Ireland Day 5

A Big Day Out in Leitrim

Big Days Out In Leitrim

Meeting at the beautiful Lough Allen Hotel just outside Drumshambo in North Leitrim Nuala Mc Nulty of Leitrim Landscapes,Eileen Gibbons of Electric Bike Trails and Adrienne Diamond of Adventure Gently Guided Canoe Tours were busy facilitating a large corporate group from Kellogs who were experiencing a fun Big day Out In Leitrim encompassing a guided walk, electric bike tour and a canoeing trip.

Once the group had finished up and were heading off to enjoy the hotels’ sauna and hot tub I got a chance to have a quick chat with this collaborative eco tourism group who told me a bit about what they can offer either individually or together..

Have a listen below…

Leitrim Landscapes Guided Walks,  Electric Bike Trails and Adventure Gently Guided Canoe Tours have come together to offer you that special day out.

As guides with all the local knowledge we have selected three magnificent locations in Leitrim to bring you on a magical trip, surrounded by nature in a really fun relaxed atmosphere.

Here’s what we have in store for your BIG DAY OUT:

Normally activities start 11am  and  finish up about 4pm. Bring a packed lunch.

A nature walk – 1 hour ..PLUS A guided canoe trip – 1.5 hours …..PLUS A tour on electric bikes – 1 hour

You get to experience the beauty of the Leitrim landscape on foot, on water and from the saddle.

Phone Eileen on 0877386439 to book your BIG DAY OUT!

BIG DAY OUT EVENTS can be organised for 10 or more people

Eco Tour Day 5 Evening

Tawny Lust Lodge Eco Cabin, Leitrim

Tawny Lust Lodge - Eco Cabin - Co Leitrim

Have you ever arrived in a place and immediately felt at home?

Tawny Lust Lodge welcomes you with a sense of calm and familiarity.

Run by Nuala Mc Nulty, Tawny Lust Lodge is set in a spectacular setting with mountainous  views that will take your breath away. Nuala is an active member and promoter of ecotourism locally, collaborating with other guides and eco businesses in the area to create tour packages such as the ‘Big Day Out In Leitrim.’

Nuala also works with two local guides (Tina and Rob) who can offer visitors to Tawny Lust Lodge guided foraging and plant identification walks in the local surrounds. Nuala has put together a number of self guided walking maps for those who prefer to explore on their own.

The eco cabin accommodation itself comprises of a self catering kitchen cum living room with cooker, washing machine, fridge etc and an en suite bedroom – I can vouch for it being a super comfy bed!

Whilst there is a small tv provided there really is no need as the living room windows are enormous and the view so spectacular you simply won’t want to watch the telly!

An outside decking area with table and chairs provides a peaceful and secluded area to sip your morning coffee and let nature infuse your being.

Nuala is a mine of information so if you want her to give you suggestions just ask- at the same time she completely respects your privacy and will leave you alone too.  I was also delighted to discover that she had great broadband allowing me to catch up on blogging the night I stayed there.

Click here for Contact Details for Tawnylust Lodge >>

Listen to our ‘Cuppa Tae’ Chat with Tawny Lust Lodge below…

EcoTour Kindly Sponsored By

Ferrybank Motors Wexford Sponsor Eco Tour Ireland