I am trying realllly hard to stay on top of things (work, revising for my A-Levels and blogging) so please bare with me, I know these posts aren’t the best but they’re all I can give you at the mo.It is becoming suuuuuper difficult to find something to write about on here considering all aspects of my social life have completely jumped out the window. All I do these days is type up sociology notes and cry (not literally but we’re getting there).
However, that being said, I do manage to squeeze in some things that I deem as ‘blog worthy’. For example, on May Day (the 1st of May if you don’t call it that where you live) I went on my annual trip to Shane’s Castle.
Let’s have a lil’ history lesson. No one knows the exact date and time that the castle was built, but according to history (ohh get me) James I settled the castle and estate upon Shane McBrian O’Neill and this is probs where it got its name. Parts of the castle were built by the same man who built Buckingham Palace, which is pretty cool. Blah, blah, blah, years gone by and all that’s left is the ruins of the castle and the old family cemetery. The land is currently occupied by Lord O’Neill (whom I’ve been told isn’t a very nice person and has a house big enough to hold 7 of mines- I’ve seen the house and can confirm this) and every year he allows there to be a steam rally on his 800 acres of farmland and 1000 acres of woodland… how generous of him. I do believe that this is the only time of the year in which the public have access to the whole grounds, I think the gardens are the only part open all year round.
Ever since I was a tiny tot, my family have been attending this event every single year, religiously. When I was younger, I was entranced. It was always sunny and bright, my sister and I would climb trees while Mammy and Daddy set up the picnic. When I was around 13 I thought I was faaar too cool for this malarkey, I lost a few great years at Shane’s Castle because of this mentality. Now that I’m a mature 18 year old (can you call yourself a mature 18 year old?) I have fallen back in love with the steam rally and I look forward to it every year.
This year I didn’t think I was going to make it. The night before the steam rally I attended a 12 hour rave. I didn’t go for the full 12 hours, just 10 (remember me saying I was a mature 18 year old? hahaha). I thought I would be too hungover to go to Shane’s Castle, but I woke up the next day at 7am bright as a button. I drove home, showered, redid my makeup and was ready and willing to hit the road!
The reason we go to Shane’s Castle every year is my Daddy. He loves all things old and vintage, always has and always will. I guess that’s where I get my appreciation for older things from. He loves buying rundown, broken, on the brink of being scrapped cars. He restores them and sells them on. It’s his passion and he’s really bloody good at it. The last car he restored was a Porsche. Don’t ask what kind because I honestly couldn’t tell you. This year we took this car to the show to see if we could get a few offers on it. We didn’t, but it was kinda fun rolling up in a Porsche anyway, even if you feel like you’re laying on the ground and your brother is being squished into unimaginable positions in the back seat.
There is looooads of things to do at the show. There are literally food stands every where you look: burger stands, hotdog stands, sweet stands, dinky doughnut stands, pizza stands, BBQ stands… you’re really spoilt for choice. Because we always pack a picnic, we don’t use these stands (apart from the dinky doughnuts, they’re amazeeee!!) There is a fun area with rides and bouncy castles for children to play on. There are so many different stalls selling so many different things (there’s an amazing stall that sells clothes for dogs and I get so annoyed every time I see it because my dog is not one of those ones that like to sit in a cute sweater).
At the very edge of the field is the craft tent, where you can sample (or buy but I usually just take the freebies) homemade curry, so many baked good, jam and other sweet treats. They also sell unique jewellery, clothes, walking sticks and other random stuff. In particular, there is an old woman there who sells homemade fudge and caramel. Daddy always buys something for Granny and Mammy here and I always have to get my favourite Sea Salt and Caramel (I only get it once a year so no guilt attached).
There is a section dedicated to all the vintage cars (some aren’t vintage and are really cool, like this Jurassic Park truck) and a whole separate section for the tractors. Daddy likes the tractors the best so we usually spend a good bit of time strolling around looking at them.
There is always a wee petting zoo (I do mean wee, it is tiny and there are only about 6 different kinds of animals but it’s still hella cute) and each animal has their own lil’ sign with their name on it.
Up at the steam trains (which is the noisiest part of the whole show) you can get a ride on a trailer pulled by one of the vintage trains that still work. Or, if you’re like me, you can go to the bar and buy your Dad a beer (for some reason he was really touched by this), your bother a Fanta orange, yourself a pure orange juice and your dog a bottle of water. We took our drinks over to the ruins of the castle and found a nice, shaded spot under a tree to chill for a bit.
You have to take the long route out of the Castle grounds (where you can see Lord O’Neill’s house) and there is usually a lot of traffic so it’s a slow process. We sat with the radio off, just talking a pile of rubbish and having a bit of fun. Daddy told us the story of Shane’s Castle and the O’Neill family (which he tells every year and I never get tired of hearing). And of course, it wouldn’t be Shane’s Castle if I didn’t fall asleep on the way home (even if I’m in the loudest car ever).
Although it’s so important that I hit the books and get my study game on, I have to remember that it’s equally (if not, more) important to make time for my family. My exams only take up a small fraction of my life, but my family are there forever.
Do you have any family traditions/days out? Has anyone ever been to Shane’s Castle?
Until next time…