House Concert for Sr. Cait

Aug 20th 2018 – It would seem there is little connection between the foothill of the Ox Mountains and the foothills of the high Andes, but there one. Sr Cait Wims, a native of Coolaney, currently works as a missionary in Mache in Peru. The landscape around Mache, while five times higher than the highest point in the Ox Mountains, is similar in some respects; rural, green and with a simple agricultural tradition but the region’s isolation and poverty shows a stark contrast.

Cait says of her time in Peru: “In 1984, our then Superior asked four of us to begin a Mission in Peru.  In September of that year, we set out for the unknown land. I feel so blessed for that invitation and for the years God has given me to serve among the Peruvian people. Their hospitality, warm welcome and ability to interpret my Spanish are amazing. I have shared dinner with a family and tears ran down my face as I saw the father peel the nicest potatoes for me, place them on my plate and give me the best cup in the house.”

The Coolaney native goes on to talk about her role as a Mercy Missionary Sister: “We Sisters move from place to place within a country, from country to country, and while each one adds her own flavour to her Ministry, all are called to live the Mercy Charism, which is to serve the poor, the sick and uneducated.”

Cait, who had been in Peru for 34 years, speaks of her experiences there with great passion: “Since 2003, I am living in the Andes. First in northern Peru, in Pacaipampa and now in Mache. The simplicity and the profundity of the faith and lives of the farming communities are challenging. I feel not only privileged, but also blessed by God to have been given the gift to share my life with the people of Peru.  They have transformed my vision of who a missionary is and who a Sister of Mercy is called to be.”

A benefit night for Sr Cait Wims (Peru), in the form of a House Concert, is talking place on Friday 24th of August at Moy River Folk Club in Cloonacool (Moy River B&B). The Demolition String Band from the US will provide the entertainment (Bluegrass and country) on the night with support by local singer, Lana Moore. Spaces at the South Sligo venue are limited and seats go on a first come, first served basis. Those interested in donating to the fund can still do so even if they do not attend the concert. Booking is essential; 087 2512030.

The funds raised are earmarked for an educational fund administered Cait’s Order in Peru and go in particular to fund poor students who are given a scholarship for a university education. Cait continues: “My work is mainly in the area of Education, both formal and informal, with adults and youth. I am a member of the team that accompanies the Youth community here in Mache. They are wonderful young people, secondary school students, full of creativity and hope and are always resourceful to solve the many problems that we confront. Here, in Mache we have a Third Level Institute. It has two areas: Agricultural Science and Accountancy. We are so blessed and many rural communities would wish to have the same. Since, many students have the intellectual ability/wish to study other careers, we Sisters of Mercy offer some scholarships.”

Sr. Cait Wims finishes by describing her adopted home in Peru and how she feels so humbled to be there: “As I sit and watch the inexpressible beauty of the sunset or enjoy a walk in the Andes at 3,200meters, I see young children or a mother with a child on her back bringing home two or three animals, be they sheep or cattle. Usually one of these animals is ear marked to buy the school supplies for the children. However, if a member of the family becomes ill or any unexpected situation arises, then education falls to the bottom of the list.”

Chicken Feed

Chickens are fun, colourful and productive and who wouldn’t want them… and they are among our best attractions here at Moy River B&B. Many people have booked to stay with us just because of the gals!

Here in Ireland we call them hens, not chucks or chickens or eggers, just hens! Whatever you call them they are the easiest stock you can keep and of course they give so much in return for the little it takes to keep them; bed and breakfast! If a hen has a dry place to roost, is safe from the fox and has enough to eat, she will do the rest.

We have nine hens and a rooster. We get eggs most months of the year and in summers we always have one or two hens who settle into the work of raising a family. The chickens, the babies or the ‘little biddies’ are so cute in the summer and within six months are mature enough to start laying and become the replacements for the next year.

The old-fashioned breeds have all the style, size, shape and colour. They are not such great layers but are homely and usually fit right in. The modern hybrids are great layers but tend to look plain. Luckily, some cool cat somewhere came up with the idea of hybrids that look old-fashioned! These birds have all kinds of fancy names like Bluebells and Blackrocks but they look lovely and lay like the clappers. These are the type we have a present. Our new crop will be a mixture of these hens and a local ‘country boy’ rooster that we got from a neighbour.

The upshot of the ruction is that we have the eggs for our breakfasts – pancakes, scrambled egg & smoked salmon or sunny side up; there is no limit as to what you can do with the humble egg! No two eggs are the same shape or size or colour and some even have two yokes. All of this just adds to the variety and the comical nature of keeping your very own flock of hens. Hon the girls!

Nebraska to Cloonacool

Recently I watched the movie, Nebraska. It’s a great movie on many levels; it’s a nice father and son, road trip story better than most but what makes it stand apart is that it is filmed in black and white. You can watch this movie with the sound off and photographically, its stunning! It inspired me to make this short video, Sligo – Black and White.

The thing about black and white images is that even before you look at the content, you get an atmospheric overview. As a photographer, I used to love colour and at times saw black and white as old fashioned. Not anymore; if photography is an art form, then black and white is art and then some.

The images in this video where all taken in colour but where chosen for this project because they transferred well to black and white, sometimes in a subtle way, sometimes with contrast. The piece is about Sligo and all the images are local, people and places. Rural life, tradition and landscape are the themes because for me these things define Sligo, especially rural Sligo. I see little separation between Queen Meadhbh and Harry McGowan, between Appalachian Music and an Ox Mountain cottage, between disused railways and new growth. County Sligo is a many splendid place and its charms need to be sung, and in keeping with this little project; photographed and developed! I hope this video helps in that regard.

 

The music on the video, Down by the Sally Gardens, is of course a Sligo tune and is played here by Austrian classical flutist, Karin Leitner. Yet another connection with this piece sees Karin Leitner play a House Concert here at Moy River Folk Club in Cloonacool on September 28th next.

See Sligo – Black and White here.

A Nice Review

Now and again things just happen – nice things and this review we received recently is one of those… nice things.

Alana and Chris arrived to us from LA… on their honeymoon! Both people are in the health & fitness business back in the States.  They have a nice website that explains a bit about that, www.hungryandfit.com. They stayed for just one night but it seemed like a week – and for all the right reasons.

After their return home they posted a really nice review on their own website about their stay here at Moy River. Read the complete review here.

House Concerts

Moy River Folk Club is a performance space at Moy River B&B. We host House Concerts from time to time, offering audience a close-up and intimate experience with local, national and international artists.

Our kitchen and living room space holds about 45 people. It’s too good a space not to use. It was designed for parties in the first place, long before the B&B idea came along. Like most things, we started not knowing how it might work but with a vision of how we would like it to be. It has worked and audiences love it; its homely while the entertainment is highly professional. Artists such as Charlie McGettigan, Kieran Goss, Tommy Sands and Mick Hanly have charmed audiences here and have given us very positive feedback on their experience. In addition to that we have had Mama & Fyrmoon, a bluegrass group from Switzerland, as well as a few homegrown gigs featuring the best local talent in our community. We also hosted a charity concert in support of a school and Rita and I support in Kenya. 

As part of the process, we offer the various artists accommodation in the B&B but we generally have a room or two left if you ever want to attend a concert and also stay to enjoy the complete Moy River experience. It will also allow you to breakfast with the stars!

Keep an eye on our  Facebook page for details of up-coming events or ask to be added to our mailing list. If you would like to perform at the Club, call us on 087 2512030.

Our Garden Birds

We do our best to make our garden as nice a place as possible for garden birds. Their colour and character add so much to our surroundings here at Moy River.

We had a service man call to us on some business a few years ago and before he left told us very excitedly about ‘an unusual bird’ he had just seen outside. He described the bird enough for us to be able to tell him it was a Goldfinch. While the Goldfinch is not unusual, it is indeed very colourful.

Robin protecting his dinner!

Golfinches are great; if you get one, you get a few as they travel in flocks. They deserted us for a year or two however but we later found out there was a few reasons for this. The very cold winters of 2009 and 2010 was severs on all garden birds and that was a reason but another reason was that these lads are fussy enough about what they eat. In an effort to attract the Goldfinches back we researched what they like best and we discovered it was… nyjer seed. Nyjer seed resembles small grains of wild rice and is highly desirable by many finches for its high fat and protein content. Nyjer has another name, thistle, which sometimes alarms people. Many people think they will be growing thistle weeds in their garden if they offer this seed. On the contrary, nyjer is not a thistle at all. It’s the seed of the nyjer plant native to Ethiopia.

 

Shy Blue Tit.

You will have gathered that the Goldfinch is our favourite but every garden bird has something unique to offer. The robin is special and loves nothing more that a simple baked potato. Mind you he hates sharing and despite his sacred reputation, he has a temper like a Philistine! The Siskin is selfish and will beat off all-comers from the peanut feeder. The Blue Tit is shy while the Coal Tit is clever beyond imagination and the Great Tit is… well just great! Chaffinches tend to stay on the ground and are happy with the crumbs from the table above. We have Wrens and Tree Creepers as well but they tend to be the minimalists in the world of garden birds; they live on little and don’t give away many secrets!

Coal Tit taking the shortest route to the food!

Our grounds are geared for wildlife in general and birds in particular. We leave wild areas for natural food sources and safety in summer and we hang a few nest boxes so that we can enjoy the goings on in spring. We avoid cats! The average cat kills 300 garden birds each year and as we all know, there is no such thing as an ‘average’ cat!

Rather selfishly, we have placed our two bird tables close enough for us to enjoy from inside the house. One is outside the kitchen window while our guests get to enjoy the one we located just outside the dining room.

 

 

A New Year – 2017

2016 was another great year here at Moy River B&B with lots of visitors and new friends being made. We were a little busier than your first year so thank you all for that. 

2016 was special for a few reasons; it was of course a great year of celebration for Ireland as we commemorated 100 years since the 1916 rebellion. We got a few of the flags of the time and gave them some air during the year. It was also a time of celebration here in our own community of Cloonacool with the local GAA club celebrating 100 years in existence as well. That was a real fun time with the whole community coming together to enjoy looking back on past glories and great sports personalities from the locality. Even the weather came out to salute.

dsc_5762Speaking of the weather, it was not a good summer. Oh boy, when May was over, that was it. It was wet and cold throughout and at times we felt so sorry for our visitors. However, by now we have learned that people who visit Ireland in the summer seldom come here for the weather. Sometimes, what we call bad weather is just Irish weather to our guests and it just seems to add to their Irish adventure!

I know we lost many great stars of stage, screen and studio in 2016 but the one that seemed to be felt most here in Sligo was the loss of Leonard Cohen. His great concerts held at Lissadell a few years ago will live long in the memory. I think a little piece of of Sligo died with Leonard Cohen.

dsc_5463As I write, our winter weather is doing what our summer didn’t do. We have little enough rain, not much cold and with a small stretch in the days, our laying hens are feeling that spring is in the air. One way of another, this will be a short winter and if it is, then summer and a new season of guests and visitors is just around the corner. Welcome!

Moy River Birds

We are located at the headwaters of the river Moy in Cloonacool. Every stream that runs by our door is a small tributary to the river which eventually reaches the sea near Ballina in County Mayo. Any day you can spend a few minutes along the streams or the river itself, you will see lots of wildlife, especially birds. The following colourful characters are usually on display. 

Dipper A short-tailed, plump bird with a low, whirring flight. When perched on a rock it habitually bobs up and down and frequently cocks its tail. Its white throat and breast contrasts with its dark body plumage. It is remarkable in its method of walking into and under water in search of food. Shown above.

wagtailGrey Wagtail The grey wagtail is more colourful than its name suggests with slate grey upper parts and distinctive lemon yellow under-tail. Its tail is noticeably longer than those of pied and yellow wagtails. They have gradually increased their range in the past 150 years and in the UK have expanded into the English lowlands from the northern and western uplands.

Kingfisher Kingfishers are small unmistakable bright blue andkingfisher orange birds of slow moving or still water. They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the water’s surface.
They are a vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses. Kingfishers are amber listed because of their unfavourable conservation status in Europe.

moorhenMoorhen (known locally as Waterhen) Moorhens are blackish with a red and yellow beak and long, green legs. Seen closer-up, they have a dark brown back and wings and a more bluish-black belly, with white stripes on the flanks.

 

Ref: The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) 

Flags of the World

We feel there is something quite spectacular about a flag; national pride, a sense of occasion, celebration or in our case, a welcome for the weary traveler.

29-DSC_5079When we started Moy River B&B back in 2014, we put our sign at end of our drive and it helped to highlight our entrance. It was however just on one side and the other side looked a bit lonesome, without colour. We had the idea to raise our own national flag and so we started with one flagpole. We then had the idea to start a collection of flags, to welcome our guests and so followed two more flagpoles. Since then we have built quite a collection of flags and use them every day to welcome our guests from all over the globe.

1-DSC_1341By now we have almost 30 different flag to fly as occasions or visitors demand. Some have even been replaced, our German flag gets more use than any other followed by the French tricolour, and so our Irish weather has taken its toll on the bright colours. By now we even have guests that send us their national flag on their return home if we didn’t have it for them on arrival. We will then have it for the next guest that arrives from The Netherlands or Scotland. If we have family or friends going abroad to exotic climes, we always include a flag request.

2-DSC_1092We now have family connections of our own in France and Canada and so this winter during the quiet midweeks, those two flags will fly and will serve yet another purpose. This one for ourselves – reminding us of loved ones far away from home.

Thankfully, we have plenty of wind here in Ireland to show all flags at their very best!

 

 

Recommendations & Awards

Awarded the Magic Stickers!

We were delighted at the end of 2015 to get notice from TripAdvisor that because of our consistent quality reviews they would be including us on their Recommended list!

Needless to say, after just a year in business, we were delighted with the accolade. It’s a simple process really; the reviews build and eventually you get the email!

1-DSC_2317A Recommended by TripAdvisor sticker is now up there beside our door bell to welcome all who arrive. This recommendation was followed soon afterwards with a Guest Review Award from our friends in Booking.com; “We’re trilled to see that your guests have acknowledged your hard work by giving you a review score worthy of a Guest Review Award. Your reward is a symbol of excellence”

Just now it’s mid February and there are signs of spring everywhere. Our Irish climate gives us so many changes each year; everything from dark winter landscapes to the long cool days of June to the golden crunch of autumn. Our B&B friends, old and new as well as those we have yet to discover, are always welcome to come to enjoy the seasons at Moy River in Cloonacool, Co Sligo!

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A very special word of thanks to all those who came to stay and took the time to give us such great reviews; this is your award as well!