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1st August 2005


Carnac is the biggest megalithic site in Europe it stretches over 4km and comprises of over 4000 standing stones also in the surrounding landscape there are many Dolmens and tumulii. It also has a small town centre with some interesting shops, the Celtic culture is very strong here as in the rest of Britany. The site is fenced off to allow the regrowth of the many plants which have been trodden on by tourists, and only opens to the public during the winter months so more time to be spent here......

 

Kerzerho is a megalithic site just outside the village of Erdeven which is our first camping stop.The stones here are very impressive as are the dolmens at Crucono, Kerbihouarde, and Mane Croch.

 

 

 

 

Painting on underside of cap stone                          Dolmen at Kerbihouarde

 

 

 

 

 

Kerzerho alignments

 

We take the 10k walk about the site and enjoy the laneways ,gather some acorns for later use and of course make our own path on the way back through some thick scrub,but made it in the end Molly was relieved to be back in the cool tigin.The village itself was lovely and as it happened there was a market there in the evening time.We bought some tourin bread and a bottle of home made Cider for the tea , yes these ciders and breads will be missed when we return to Ireland . The village also has an area reserved for Campervans complete with water and sewage facilities.,and also like everywhere we've been here, it's very quiet at nights. We are also close to the seaside and and thats where we off to in the mornin

 

2ndAugust

The sun is shining and the day is ideal for taking a bit of sunshine, that is after a long lazy breakfast.. The beach is 5k long and after a nice walk across an area previously a bunker site we come across a quiet stretch of sandy beach ideal, but lying here thoughts of the people that inhabited the bunkers come , one can only imagine the lives these people lived here in these small concrere huts, possibly waiting for death. The negativity of the place is quiet tangible

 

 

Time for reflection                                   Birds eye view

 

 

Beach with private pool for Molly

Anyway, four hours later it's time to suss out accomodation for the festival, and its a move to Lorient city there are 4500 musicians coming, so tent space is very scarce. We decide to try the Municipal camping grounds about 4k outside Lorient it is a two star site and perfect for us and as luck would have it we reserve 10 days here, (we checked out after four days as we never made it back to camp).So now its a day of taking it easy before the festival, there are a few bits needing doing to the tigin so onward..but soon we discover the Galway Inn an Irish pub owned and run by Padraig from Galway , a great spot no televisions blaring it's better than Ireland...A French television chanel are coming tonight to do a piece for the news tomorrow so its a night for a sessiun . It turns out mighty players from France, Ireland and Canada all together, magic..it appears the festival has started a bit early.

 

 

5th August

The 34th Lorient interceltic festival started officially tonight at 9pm, the place has been transformed with tents and stalls of all descriptions, there are bands playing outside most of the public houses . Sessions are going on in the Galway Inn, and the Quay St. bar and other venues about town. There is also a formal thing happening with the usual commercial trappings 

 .On the right of this picture is Padraig, the Owner of the Galway Inn and Quay St. bar in Lorient with barman Gerard.

Right Dickie Deegan a pipe player with Seamus Ennis at heart .He has a great many tunes written out note for note as Ennis would have played them a lot of work he was also great company...

 

                                                                                                             Oh the Easter Snow

The Galway Inn where it must be said,we spent a lot of time mainly due to the 4am extensions, is a real oasis. The most authentic irish pub you are likely to find, Friendly staff, good guinness what more could you ask..ah yes and great music

 

This French woman really got into the swing of things..lets just say she added something diffrent

Brian was one of the first people we made friends with he's from Dublin and of the brazen head

Oh la la..if music be the food of love...play on

 

 

The days of the festival move along quickly, A few hours each day is spent on the beach, we are now able to upload from an internet cafe .

 

On one of these drives we got this picture of poodle power we have seen many small dogs in baskets some with wire cages to keep them from jumping ship

 

Still the music goes on there are French Irish Scotish Bretons English and Russian in this group picture

                                                                                  Harpist brings a touch of magic to session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a great many stalls here selling a large variety of handmade goods of leather and timber Also there are artists painting, with many mediums including aerosol spray paints.Men making clogs, Smoking fish, Musical Instrument makers ,flutes fiddles, the Breton pipes and the Bombardier. The selection of foods are amazing, breads seafood.and the wines..

 

 

 

 

 

The stalls are arranged in rows along the Harbour there are many including this one for old type undergarments and bed clothes





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More music, each night is

diffrent as people come and go. It's what makes playing music such a nice thing to do

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just like Rush on a Sunday afternoon

 

 

This pipe band really got the crowd going and could be heard for quiet a distance away!!

 

 

 

Samuel a mighty Breton boxplayer

 

 

 

Samuel with his G-C melodeon

 

 

 





 

 One of the sessions, included here are Dave and Jane from Dumfries and Dickie Deegan all of whom have a wonderful feel for the Music , we surely hope to meet again perhaps in Scotland or North county Dublin . It's really was nice to play with musicians with such a grasp of where the music lives, A real treat for me, the only Irish musician in this session...  the Lorient sky as we head off for the few tunes
  My great friend for many years Johnny Connolly The finest melodeon player and Gentleman ..True friends are rare
 
Old friends and New enjoy the tunes
 

11th August 2005

 

We're off again with heads full of music, to rest up at a nearby beach before the journey back to Paris. It has been a great festival and hopefully next year we will return to it, possibly after a tour of the central regions of France. I have recorded many tunes here enough to keep me occupied for the next while. Click here for a small mp3 file up here as a sample of the craic

 

Every age represented here like steps of stairs very colourful and marching with pride in their traditional costumes. Great to see thier own identity still holds firm in the climate of multicultural change.

August 14th

 

We have been staying in the very beautiful village of Erdeven, enjoying the sunshine on a great beach, and we are close to Carnac, Auray, and Lorient. Here it is the village Fete with a musical procession to the local castle grounds. Later we join them for some local cider and to watch Bretagne dancers, molly loves France as chien are welcome everywhere. Last week she was invited into the Galway Inn where she revelled in the attention. A different chien now to the shy thing that left Ireland six months ago. U go girl.....

17th August

We are reluctant to leave Britany, but need to head towards Paris for Jimmy's trip home to play some tunes for his friend Ray's surprise birthday party on the 20th. First we stop off in Auray, another of the beautiful small towns in this region. The pictures speak for themselves.

 

 

 

 

Auray

right

 

 

               Recognise that plait                                 Auray harbour

 

Inspiring Ideas

 

Time out the French way

 

Jazz Blues.... mighty

 

We keep the driving to the cool of the evening as the temperatures are in the 30's every day. We made good headway on the motorway, but be warned..... it costs about 20cent per km for the toll. Then we head cross country to find a train station that will take us directly to Charles de Gaul airport. We know from Bronadh's visit that there is no facility to park the Tigin there. We make an overnight stop in Milly le Foret. Next morning we head for the tourist office where a young staff member with no english, left no stone unturned to meet our needs including booking me into a campsite as near to the station as possible while Jimmy is away. We find shop assistants too, (while no one here speaks english) are so friendly helpful and encouraging, and our french is improving by the day. We arrived back at the tigin and a french man pulled up in his car to inquire if we had any Irish telephone cards as he is a collector of same. We don't use phone cards, but he gave us a gift of a bottle of wine and invited us to come eat at his house the following day, we declined as we had ground to cover. What a pity... we will make contact again. More and more we are astounded by the friendliness of people and will be sad to leave France. But our tickets are booked for the ferry and we will arrive in Rosslare on September 1st.

 20th August

We spent yesterday becoming familiar with the area of Masse Palaiseau, as we are in the suburbs of Paris and I hope not to get lost when looking for the campsite. I still haven't mastered mapreading after six months in Europe, so I do most of the driving while Jimmy navigates, he can tell if there is a bad bend ahead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I read it and can get us within 10 miles I feel that's good going, right?


Today we took the train across Paris to the Airport, which was a great success, 1hr (to be recommended). The return journey(alone), then the drive to the campsite in Villiers-sur-Orge, Le beau village campsite( which took 30mins ) just as successful. I had trouble with a lock in the Tigin and the staff stood on their heads to assist me, there is no end to the generousity of the people, I am probably sounding like the needle is stuck butttttttt!

It is a small campsite with a river running along beside it. An ideal place for walks and playtime for me and Molly, who needs security?

 

                                                                      Poser

Paris

All the colours of the rainbow

Well Jimmy's back and guess what? there we are, one month later and we're back in Paris. We were not able to resist just another visit before heading north towards the ferry. We had a few beret's to buy, with a french night theme in mind for a ceili at home !!!!!!. So we thought we would stop off to smile at "Mona". We are now masters of the art of the Metro and arrive underneath the Louvre museum, and as luck would have it, the Louvre closes on Tuesdays! yea right I hear you say, but sure enough that's the truth. So we spent a leisurely day strolling around town like old Parisiennes, who knew exactly where to go. We visited the Dali gallery, not as exciting as expected

 

 

 

 

  wandered around the Place du Tertre where artists were painting and selling their work. You could also have your portrait drawn, wine and dine in any one of the restaurants surrounding the square. The waiters here dress with a difference.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Strolling around like a Parisienne, this place is bustling with tourists. Signs ofAutumn are visable, with rustling leaves to remind us that our time here, like the summer is drawing in. We arrived with the onset of Spring, now the Harvest is almost complete, crops are being saved, the apples and sweetcorn almost ripe it's time to prepare for the new season ahead and the trip to Eire.

 
 
 
 
These pictures taken as we head north will remind us of the physical attraction of this region within France. We have been here over 2mths and have just touched on the area north and north west of Paris. We feel connected to the land which is similar to Ireland and to the people despite the language which is not a barrier. Beighamid arais.............
 
Typical cottage
 
 
Good 'ol Renault 4
 
 
 
Wind Power
 
 

Not afraid of colour
 
 
Blooms aplenty
 
                                                              Simplicity

 

We saw lots of reminders of the war as our journey took us into Normandy. Not sure if this guy has been hanging around since then.

 The landing at Utah beach has a plaque and this hardware on view. The weather is in the mid 30's so its off to the beach for a week before heading home. We found the perfect place, a really quiet beach with sand as far as the eye can see. It is a very suitable place to stay, and the people are really friendly. The man who empties the bins and is the president of a committee that caretake the beach, asked us to sign a visitors book. The mayor likes to get feedback from visitors who come to the beach. 
We walked the beach for hours each day, dipping in and out of the water, which was like a hot bath. Molly realised that she can swim, which was great as now she was joining us, jumping and swimming through the waves. Seals were basking in the sunshine on sandbanks when the tide was out, and numerous types of birds were feeding in and out of the water. We found some shells suitable to make earings, beautiful colours but they were very scarce. 
We took a trip to Cherburg to book Molly into a vet to prepare her for inspection both getting on and off the Ferry. It is a small city with some nice shops. There are four prisons built in the bay, built by the Americans after the war. They look like castles in the water but are not used now. So alas the time has come to leave. It is difficult to leave this beautiful place and this wonderful weather, but the excitment of going home after six months is also beconing. A few anxious moments while we wait for Molly's parers to be checked at the Ferry port. But the precautions we took before leaving Ireland and then in France have paid off and we are on board and on our way. We were allowed to leave Molly in the Tigin instead of putting her in the cage on board. This was a bonus for us all as 18hrs in a cage was not a pleasent prospect. 
Eighteen hours later and we were all glad to be on terra ferme, the crossing was rough during the night and cabin fever was setting in. First off the ship, a quick stop to the vet, all is in order with Molly's passport and papers and we are on the road. Ah! the road, it's back to driving on the left, so we put a post-it on the dash to remind us as we did six months ago when we arrived in Rotterdam. We meet up with family members who are all delighted to see us. Soon it feels like only yesterday since we left. We head into the west for a while to plan our next journey.....to be continued.

  

 
 
10th October

 

 

We are home six weeks and Jimmy has begun a very interesting course in Sustainable Living, which will be our road for the future. He has also done a workshop in natural paint making. We spent a weekend in the woods in Co.Clare where Jimmy learned the art of Tipi making, I learned Basket Weaving, Bronadh joined us and spent her time Silversmithing. There was such a range of courses to choose from, and we will go back in the spring to learn more new skills.

 Where to next !!!! Italy

 

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