Thursday, December 27, 2007

Well before you know it, Christmas is over, but we have had a great time. We went to a Japanese themed party at Gortbrack Farm just before Christmas, and everyone did a Japanese dish, from soup to salads, from sushi to tempura ( and of course a little sake! ) A great evening and had a good chat with Claire, Thomas and Ryan who are now looking after Manna, the organic fruit and veg store in Tralee. Claire and Thomas has just bought some land near to us so will be growing some of the vegetables for the shop there. The following night we were round at our frind Biddys place, yoga teacher and shaitsu massage practitioneer extraordinare! Superb fish curry, and lovely company - we felt spoilt going out two nights in a row.
Christmas Day was spent opening a few presents for Caitlin, and she did have loads, before visiting our friends Brendan and Carina, with their two; Bey, and baby Hazel. Then off to Mark and Lauras place for a fantastic Christmas dinner, with their little one Padma ( Caitlins best friend ) and Laura's mum, Philomena, and sister Elaine. We all had a great time, the food was gorgeous, and again, the best company! Phil and Clodagh popped in later, with their kids, so we caught up with what was happening with them. Phils now looking after the food at the Seven Hogs: Rachel was there the other night for a sample of the menus, and we've had guests in tonight who went there and they were saying how good it was. Then Mark and I went windsurfing on St. Stephens Day at Stradbally - heavy going after all that Christmas lunch, and the waves were mast high at times, so a good workout!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We wanted to wish all of our friends, and all of the guests who stayed with us in 2007 a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The photo is from the snow we had last year - no sign of a white Christmas this time!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seems like Caitlin is becoming more aware of how she looks. She's been fooling us into thinking she spends most of the night asleep, when in fact she is devoting much of her time to her hair do. She seems to be working her way towards a full on Amy Winehouse beehive....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Haven't had much time to update the blog lately, but its a wet and windy evening, so here goes! The weather had been pretty good for a long time, and then we had our first frost of the year at the end of November, but only a light one. It does mean the end of the courgettes, and the tomatos in the polytunnel have just about finished - just a few left which was handy as we had a few guests in at the weekend. The weather has now got really windy, had a few good sessions windsurfing, but a couple of days have just been too much! We had a forecast for 30 foot swell last weekend - I don't think it turned out to be quite that much but it was really impressive standing at Brandon Point and watching the waves below. Next weekend could be mad, with 55 knot winds forecast...the cat won't be happy....

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An interesting couple of days, poor Caitlin has had croup, something we hadn't really come across before, but the symptoms are a nasty cough, which sounds like a seal barking! It's a bit alarming, but it didn't take her long to shake it off: she's much better now....
Went off for a windsurfing trip yesterday with good friend Colin down to Coolmain in County Cork. Its a nice spot with rolling waves onto a sandy bay. Wind was a bit onshore, but strong all afternoon, and decent waves for jumping. It's just got colder over the last couple of days, and went out for a while today at Dumps. One of the lads said the temperature gauge in his car said 3 degrees in one of the squalls that went through, and after that it was still around 8 degrees in a Northerly wind: that's pretty cold for around here!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Just managed to get five minutes to catch up, so wanted to say congratulations to Carina and Brendan on their new arrival, Hazel. She was born on 8th November, and was 9lbs! All doing well, so that's great news.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Did a trip around the Ring of Kerry today, stopping for a picnic in Reenagross Park in Kenmare. Had the place to ourselves, and sat in the sun by the waters edge. I still can't believe we're in November as the sun was really warm. Had a wander around Kenmare and stopped at the Bread Crumb Bakery for a couple of treats - lovely baking! The views were fantastic all around the peninsula, with the autumn colours of the trees and the sun on the sea. I did have a quick windsurf yesterday afternoon at Shitties on the Maharees, and although the air felt cool in a Nortwesterly, the sea is still warm ( well, by Irish standards! )
John from over the road brought us some lamb as an early Christmas present, so lamb chops for tea, which were excellent!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A busy few days, here! Had some lovely visitors from near Nantes, Karine and Damien, who stayed for a couple of nights, and then it was Halloween, so we went down to Les and Paulines house in the village. They always have a party, and the kids from Camp drop in for trick or treat, with a few of their parents in tow! There's a few people in the village we only recognize if they have green paint on their faces, or witches costumes. It was a great night and Caitlin loved running round with the other kids. Pauline laid on a fine spread as well.

I went and helped out Ian up at Gortbrack Organic Farm the other day, finishing the haybarn, and getting things ready for a film show for the Kerry Film Festival. He shows a film each year in one of his big polytunnels, always a good atmosphere. Rachel went along to see another film in Siamsa Tire for the festival which she really enjoyed as well.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Said cheerio to Tim, Abi and Merryn last night, they're off home after a good couple of weeks. The windsurfing wasn't epic, but they got out quite a lot, and we had fun on Sunday, just having a blast on flat water and trying some tricks. I think the excitement was all too much for Caitlin: she had a Halloween party in the morning, then was charging around with Merryn all evening, and wasn't too well last night!! Too many Halloween treats......

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So, after about two hours, some sore fingers and a lot of bad language, the trampoline was constructed, and Caitlin was straight on it! She really enjoyed bouncing around, and also wants you to get on with her. The other big news is that Rachel has had a bit of a trim - for the first time since I've known her she has relatively short hair, but I think she's finding it a bit draughty!
We went round to see Tim and Abi for dinner, a really good evening, lovely food, and it was great to have someone else do the cooking ; )

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Indian Summer continues! The weather has been great, and although it rained early this morning its bright and sunny again now. We went along to Olivier and Maja's barbeque in Kilcummin on Saturday night to celebrate them running their Food Artisans business for 10 years, a great night. They do smoked cheeses, fish and meat, and laid on a great feast. It was a real multinational affair, lots of Oliviers French friends and relatives there, and of course the Rugby world cup was on, with England beating France - what a result!
More guests in for the weekend, Margaret, Bill, Vikki, and Art from California and Salt Lake City, lovely people. They had a fantastic time, and enjoyed a night out in Dingle for a meal and traditional Irish music ( in three pubs ! ) and got to see the Dingle peninsula at its best. I'm off to put together Caitlins new trampoline now, so she'll be over the moon.....literally...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Busy night last night for bed and breakfast with three guys from Spain in, and also Tony and Jane visiting from Portsmouth. They were sitting relaxing in front of the fire when we heard 'crikey!' as the cat walked in to join them. I don't think they'd seen such a Maine Coon before, and he does weigh about 20lbs. Tony is a garden designer and is just about to get cracking on a woodland garden next to the Air Museum at Tangmere, near Chichester. We'll have to visit next time we're in England. He's currently updating his website but its got a nice photo of him getting presented with the gold medal for one of his show gardens from Tommy Walsh.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Our friends from Plymouth, Tim, Abi and Merryn arrived on Tuesday for a couple of weeks windsurfing, surfing and generally relaxing. They're staying in the cottage near Fermoyle where we went for the BBQ a short while ago. There was a bit of wind today so Tim was out while Abi and little Merryn ( well, she's grown a lot since we saw them last ) were playing on the beach. Rachel and Caitlin went to Tralee for a swim. They do an organised parent and toddler class, and Caitlin was having a ball, splashing and kicking - a future Olympic swimmer!
We're also pretty busy this weekend with the B&B. Chris Stacey from Footfalls walking holidays has brought a small group over to walk the Dingle Way, so they're just chilling out here before hitting the trail tomorrow. Then we're busy right through the weekend, which is great for October. I must also say thanks to Laura who went out and got loads of mussels from near Cloghane for dinner yesterday - dee-licious!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

We're still getting a few guests in, and the weather has been holding for them - still sunny and warm! We've had vistors from Munich, Germany and Sonoma, California, also from New Zealand and England.

Rachel was busy in the garden getting some vegetables for the local Harvest Festival tomorrow. We have that to look forward to, and also there's the last Vintage Rally of the season in Blennerville. There's usually a steam engine hooked up to a threshing machine, and a load of vintage tractors, engines and cars. Next week they're having a food festival in Dingle so that will be worth a look too.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another hot and sunny weekend, it doesn't seem like the end of September at all. Our neighbour John has just had a guy in to cut down some of his hedges and trees. He used a JCB with a massive spinning, toothed disk on the back which just ripped through everything. A mighty machine ! I've been helping clear the wood to go on our wood burner. I've taken the larger stuff away, and the smaller branches have been put back into the hedge. It's now impenetrable, so not only will it keep the sheep out, but will be great for any birds and animals. We're well stocked up for the winter which is really satisfying.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Went to Dingle today, and had a look around the town. It's really nice at this time of year, not too busy, and we've been really lucky with the weather in September: lots of warm, sunny days. We then went on to have a look at the oratory at Gallarus, which is an amazing structure, about 1300 years old and just built of stone, and completely dry inside. Caitlin had a good run around, and then we went further around the Slea Head drive to Brandon Creek where the water was clear as a bell. Then back home to cook up some more tomato soup!

Friday, September 21, 2007

You know when they talk about growing vegetables and they say 'heavy cropper'? I've just been to the polytunnel and picked another 2kg of tomatos! They're called Harlequin, and are like a small plum tomato, great flavour, and apart from having them with salads, we must have had five or six huge bagfuls like this. We've been making soups and roasting them for pizzas and casseroles, as well as giving them to guests with cooked breakfast. They're still ripening as well !

Thursday, September 20, 2007

We've had good timing with our visitors and the weather. Rachels relatives have just gone home after having a lovely stay, and they had great weather all the time, with just one showery morning. Now everyone has gone home we have a week or so free before more B&B guests arrive, and luckily the wind has been blowing! I've been out windsurfing a few times, with really good waveriding sessions at Dumps on starboard tack, and Stradbally on port, so no complaints. Well, I say no complaints, but unfortunately Mark got hit by a massive gust, then a wave, and his boom caught him in the face - tooth went straight through, just above the chin. Said he felt like he'd done ten rounds with Tyson, but two stitches and a couple of days later he was back on the water!
Had a nice surprise yesterday when Brendan from down the road brought us a big box of lamb, by way of payment for keeping his sheep in our field sometimes: good lad ! There's a beautiful leg of lamb in the oven right now, smells delicious so better sign off....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Really busy for the last few days! We have had our friends Ali and John to stay and the weather has been great - an Indian summer. They were celebrating their second wedding anniversary, and it was also Rachels birthday, so we went to the Maharees, and Rachel went horseriding on the beach. The horse looked like it should have been pulling a milk float, but it did go when you wanted it to ! She had such a big smile on her face....
We've also had a lovely couple from Idar-Oberstein in Southwest Germany staying for a week, Kerstin and Markus. They actually got engaged out here, so that was fantastic. Kerstin designs jewellery which is really unique, and has a website called - we will miss them, so will have to visit them soon. They also have Maine Coons, and had seen Samsons picture on the internet, so wanted to stay here and meet him! We've also had guests from Malta, which was a first, and last night Rachels aunt and uncle, Julie and Robert, arrived with her grandparents, Doreen and Jim. It was great to see them all, so we'll be showing them around properly today.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What a great day! The Dingle Peninsula is always a little quieter once the kids are back at school, but the weather is often lovely in September. Today was hot and sunny, with just some cloud over the mountains, so we took Caitlin up to Banna beach, where there is a play area at the Leisure Club, then back to base where we have guests from New Zealand, Germany, and America ( but working in Togo. ) Everyone had a good day, and then we had a call from friends who were having a barbecue on the beach - freshly caught lobster, crab, mackerel, and mussels, with some salad from our garden - it doesn't get any better than that ! Caitlin and Padma were having a ball: the wanted to be dragged along the beach in a kayak, and kept shouting 'More, more!' and were wanting to go faster and faster.... not so good after home made Banoffee pie....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Just had a great few days with Nicky and Steve who I used to work with at BT a few years ago. This was their first time to visit us in Ireland, and although the weather wasn't perfect they still had a good time: they did the Slea Head drive, the Ring of Kerry and then were having a look at the Burren before returning to Shannon for their flight home. It was really nice to catch up and spend some time talking. Also managed to squeeze in a couple of hours windsurfing at Dumps: it was a bit onshore, but the swell was logo high and some nice waves coming through. There were a handful of people trying to pitch their tents, which wasn't much fun with all the wind. Calm today though, and the forecast looks good for a few days - at last!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Had a really nice email from Kate and Andrea who stayed for a couple of nights last week. They just wanted to say thanks for organising a trek along the beach at Brandon Bay, just near Castlegregory. They loved every minute, and had great weather as well. I think that Rachel now wants to go with her sister as they are keen horsewomen! They've been having some lessons in Milltown, so probably want to show off their skills....

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Never a dull moment in the country - was just serving up breakfast when there was a knock at the door: it was Les who has his donkeys in the field next door. He asked if we knew anyone with a goat, as there one in his field and it was chasing the donkeys! It may belong to one of Brendans brothers: he has a few of his sheep in our field, so he's going to check the fella out soon. A couple of Brendans brothers turned up later and took him away, but it turns out he wasn't theirs. He didn't want to go either, I think he was enjoying the donkeys company after all. They're going to hang on to him until we can find the owner. Nice beard though!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Well, it's August Bank Holiday weekend, so everyone is busy, and of course the weather is not great ! Friday was very windy, and pretty wet in the evenng, so managed to get out windsurfing for a couple of hours with Mark at Stradbally. Overpowered on a 4.1m sail, but great fun. Saw another small sunfish and loads of razorbills, as well as the most spectacular rainbow towards Castlegregory.

Had a full house of guests last night, with Colin and Christine from Belfast, then Mick, and Lorraine, and their daughters Rebecca and Felicity from Glasgow. They had been over to Donegal for a wedding and travelled all the way to us yesterday. Everyone had seen this blog so Rebecca and Felicity came up with some names for the new ducks, Polly and Molly, which was just perfect - thanks, girls !

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Forgot to add that we have just got three more ducks, and they've all settled in without any aggravation. We now have seven ducks and one happy drake.....we even got seven eggs yesterday, amazing ! Just got to come up with some names for them, Rachel thinks the one at the front should be called Motley !

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Well, just said goodbye to Markus, Jan and Marie from Blieskastel, Germany. They'd been staying with us for eight nights and this was their second visit to Moan Laur. Really great to see them again, and Markus was keen to practice his English, whilst I was trying to pick up some German ( not easy ! ) He was really pleased as he learnt the meaning of 'muffin top' just to add to 'bingo wings' which he learnt last that what they mean by a cultural exchange ? They enjoyed their stay, and managed to do a little fishing, and caught two mackerel, which was better than last years one ! Cooked 'em up for dinner along with some that a local guy had caught, and even filleted for them - delicious ! We now have a couple from Bayonne, just outside Biarritz staying, Benjamin and Anna, a really nice couple. Benjamin is a mad keen surfer, and was hoping to catch some surf in Brandon Bay or Inch, but the last few days have been really calm. He went and checked out Garrywilliam point anyway, but no action, so was telling me about his trip to some islands near Indonesia - sounded awesome, and he showed me some pictures of sweet waves. Maybe one day....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Had some guys down from Dublin on Saturday night who were doing Harness racing in Camp: this is where the horses trot pulling a small cart around a grass or dirt track. They were saying that a lot of races were off as the weather was bad, and this was their first trip to Camp. They also travelled across to Wales to race, but they've got bad flooding in England and Wales: watched the news, and it looks terrible with towns cut off right across the country. The weather here hasn't been great but we've had sun and showers, and at least we haven't got floods !

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Well, it was Caitlins second birthday today, can't believe how fast the last two years have gone. We we're looking back through our visitors book last night and seeing who stayed at that time. I remember cooking dinner for two Dutch guests when Rachels Mum and Dad came to see us just a couple of days after Caitlin was born. It was such a rush we all sat down to dinner together and Rachels Mum kept us all entertained! The weather today was not great but Caitlin had a small party, so we had Laura with Padma, Carina with Bey, Donna with Shona, and Rachels sister Corinne to visit - I don't think I've ever seen Caitlin so excited! First thing this morning she opened one present which was two pairs of shorts and a t-shirt, and she was trying to get one of our guests to put the shorts on ! Everyone had a great time, and it's now peace and quiet again......

Friday, July 13, 2007

Took delivery of our new car today, courtesy of our good friend Graham, who drove over from Derbyshire in his MG ZS as he is waiting for his new Jag ! He's a real MG enthusiast and has owned a number over the years, including this one which was one of the last to be produced by MG Rover. He's involved in the Chesterfield MG Club, organising thier rallies, which are always well attended. gives you their details.We're just waiting for them to descend on the Dingle Peninsula one day ! Just hope we have enough room to put them all up......

Monday, July 9, 2007

Been getting pretty busy with the B&B - lots of enquiries and bookings and lots of guests from around the world ! South Africa, Germany, Holland, Ireland and England. We had a guy whose company was doing a lot of work in the biomimetics area, who was fascinating to talk to - loads of interesting projects, and I'll post more when I get the link to his website.

Had a few days of good weather, so the fruit and vegetables are doing quite well now, and even had a bit more wind for a couple of windsurfing sessions., and hopefully more today ! Rachel has been for a couple of horseridings sessions at a nice stables in nearby Milltown: she reckons the instructors are very good.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

At last managed to get out windsurfing a couple of times this week. It's been blowing from the North, so went out at Dumps ( on the Maharees just near Castlegregory ) on Sunday and Monday. Sunday was pretty flat with light winds, but was out yesterday on a 4.7 metre with a few nice ramps for jumping. Water was warm as well !

Monday, June 18, 2007

Great days fishing yesterday ! Went out on our friend Mark's boat from Brandon Pier and to a spot called Sauce Creek, then around the area. Plenty of Mackerel, and Pollock, along with a selection of Cod, Coley, Conger Eel, a Dab, a Red Gurnard and a Spider Crab! Some divers were also out from the Maharees, and they had spotted a basking shark near us - unfortunately we didn't spot it, but we did see a Sun Fish, with its fin sticking out of the water. It's good to see such a selection of fish, and the water was so clear and clean.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A really hot and sunny weekend and have been helping our friend Ian build a hay/cow/donkey shed at Gortbrack, his organic farm just outside Tralee. He wanted a roof on in case there were showers and he could get some hay under cover. Job done ! Back home now as we're expecting more guests that have been walking the Dingle Way. We had four Dutch guys stay last night who were having a great time: they seemed to be laughing constantly, so it was nice having them stay.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

View of the front of our Bed and Breakfast, Moan Laur

Lovely sunny day today, so a day out in Killarney, then back home and an evenings walk along Fermoyle strand. Have just started putting some of our B&B and other photos on Flickr, so keep an eye out for more. Had some lovely guests stay last night from Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC, Fred and Audrey Henning. We had a trip there a couple of years ago, so we knew roughly where they were from. I think we've had more Canadian guests than any other nationality this year !

Monday, June 4, 2007

Lovely sunny day today, so out in the Organic garden. The polytunnel is starting to look really good: tomatos, cucumbers, borlotti beans all growing well, with the first signs of actual courgettes and pumpkins. Had a few broad beans and potatos which were delicious !

Friday, June 1, 2007

Hmm, trouble with foxes....there aren't too many round here as we're in the middle of sheep farming country, but unfortunately we've lost two of our ducks in the last couple of weeks. We're now left with one drake and four ducks: Maurice, Lilly, Billy, Dilly and Daffy. At least we're still getting three eggs or so a day for the B&B guests. They usually roam around all of the garden and down to the stream at the bottom, but now we're keeping them closer to the house. Anyway, they still seem blissfully ignorant!
Sorry to see old Friends Brian McDowell, his wife Jenny, and kids Bay and Flynn heading back to England after four months of sampling the high life in Ireland. They'll be back soon, probably when there's a good windsurfing forecast ! Look out for Brians tales of their experiences in Boards magazine, or look at He's also got a blog as well - - full of good stuff !

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Moan Laur Bed and Breakfast

Hi, welcome to our blog for Moan Laur B&B. We're on the South West Coast of Ireland, on the Dingle Peninsula, just near a small village called Camp. Our name is taken from Moan Laur, one of the mountains in the range we see from our cottage - it means 'middle of the peat' in Gaelic, as they still cut turf for burning nearby. We're situated just off of the N86 between Tralee and Dingle, and it's a great spot. We're close to the Dingle Way, and to all the beaches along Brandon Bay ( Castlegregory ), and Inch. All are known for their great windsurfing and surfing, horseriding and we're close to many golf courses.

We've been here for 3 1/2 years now, and have set up an organic fruit and vegetable garden, and home for our free range ducks !

More to follow soon...

Ian and Rachel Smith

T +353 66 9158957

Moan Laur

Slieve East


County Kerry


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