Christmas day swim

by Alison, 29/12/2013

What better way to earn your Christmas dinner then taking a very quick dip in the freezing cold Irish sea? 

Mince pies

by Alison, 22/12/2013

Finally, I have finished work and I am free for the holidays :) It's been a nutty month, definitely silly season in work and the last week of storms provided plenty of entertainment. Trying to catch all the leaks and make it from the car to our gate without the sea spray soaking you has been a challenge some days. If you haven't seen them yet check out Ollie's last post for some crazy photos of our last week. Here's a couple that have also appeared on our instagram in the last week.

The Wild West Coast

by Ollie, 20/12/2013

It's that time of year again.
That time when ferocious winds and swell batter the house. Sunshine gets exchanged for rain, hail and darkness about every 15 minutes. 
It's when Met √Čireann declares status red and Christmas trees go flying through the streets that you realize you're better off to batten the hatches, dig in with hot whiskeys, mince pies and a big old roaring fire and give out about the weather. It is an endless source of conversation, especially here in Ireland where we have lots of weather.

Christmas cribs

by  Alison, 16/12/2013

On Friday evening, we did something that as a couple we have only ever done once before. We went to church. The Catholic church in Liscannor, a village 10 minutes drive away from us, to be precise.


by Ollie, 12/12/2013

A while ago we mentioned that Phillip Morrison was going to hold an exhibition of some of his work in Dublin.
Seeing as we mentioned the exhibition I thought I may as well go and actually see it for myself. So, consequently, I made the journey to Dublin.

Winter warmer

by Alison, 08/12/2013

Summer holidays mean lot of things to a lot of people. For some people its lying in and knowing that the whole day, in fact the whole week is yours, for others its rising early and making the most of every moment. Whatever your preference, one thing most people have in common is that their summer holidays, take place in the summer.

A journey to the Middle East, home again.

by Ollie

Lahinch, 04/12/2013

A welcome kiss from Alison spelled the end of my journey to the Middle East. Finally I'm home again.
It took just about six weeks to sail from Moerdijk in the Netherlands to Dubai and only six hours to fly back home again.

The Morrison Gallery

by Alison  and  Ollie, 01/12/2013

Phillip Morrison is a Welsh born artist with a small gallery in the centre of Lahinch. We first got to know Philip while we were browsing his shop for presents and  enjoying the warm colours and gorgeous images that can brighten up any misty wet day. Ollie gave me our first print within a couple of months of moving into Lahinch and we now have three hanging proudly on the wall.

A journey to the Middle East, sailing through pirate infested waters.

by Ollie

Dubai, 26 november 2013

When we left the Suez Canal behind us, sailing was smooth again. We were sailing close to shore and the mountains on our starboard side were blocking the wind blowing in from the Sahara for us.

A journey to the Middle East, passing through the Suez Canal

by Ollie

19 November 2013, somewhere in the Persian Gulf

Malta turned out to be a very welcome break from all the rolling and pitching during the journey. We stopped there for two and a half days.

Paddle out in memory of Tom Buckley

by Alison, 19/11/2013

This weekend we said a final goodbye to Tom. Tom and Rose Buckley opened Lahinch Surf Shop in 1989. It was the first surf shop in Ireland. This small business has changed the face of the town and the lives of many people for the past 24years. Tom played a pivotal role in creating the surfing community in Lahinch. Aside from running the surf shop, Tom resurrected the West Coast Surf Club and provided encouragement, advice and friendship to every surfer who has walked through the shop doors. 

Pumpkin pie

by Alison, 16/11/2013 

Definitely the last pumpkin recipe. I have no more pumpkins and thankfully (for your sakes) neither does Supervalu.  Pumpkin pie is one of those recipes that has also made me go, 'Really?'. Like carrot cake, when I first heard about it I was uncertain. A sweet vegetable dessert. It sounded like a waste of good pastry. However post-Halloween, I had an abundance of pumpkins so it was time to experiment. 

The Food Temple- Pumpkin and roast chestnut soup

by Alison, 11/11/2013

The Food Temple was a lovely vegetarian restaurant we stumbled upon in Lisbon. I really do mean stumbled upon. We decided to take a wander and ended up in an area called Martim Moniz. We strolled up some alleys, avoided some others and were intrigued when we came across a small courtyard, with tables laid outside, a brightly lit doorway and a lovely smell. I later learned this is one of the few areas to survive the 1755 earthquake. You really get a sense of time standing still. The lanes are only wide enough to walk down and at night the old streets lamps make the cobbles glow.

Brandon Bay Surf Classic 2013

by Alison, 07/11/2013

Short days and long evenings mean that you have to pack any surf time or vitamin D into the weekends. Over the last bank holiday I was lucky enough to hop on the ferry and go to Kerry for the Brandon Bay Surf Classic. 


by Alison, 04/11/2013

Last Tuesday I got to Skype Ollie  and well there was a surprise awaiting me. Gone was my boyfriend and hello Mustachio Man. Having been sailing through some pretty rough seas, shaving was an after thought until he reached the calm port of Valletta, Malta. Then being the joker he is, he decided to have a bit of fun with me, hence the tache. Turns out the joke was on him because after I adjusted (well actually I might have to see him face to face for that), I asked him was he going to do Movember.

Happy Halloween

by Alison, 31/10/2013

Just a quick 'bread' (it's pretty much cake) recipe thats very common this time of year in Ireland.  Like many of the Halloween traditions, this was another way of foretelling what the next year would bring for each individual. I can only ever remember finding the money (symbolising wealth / good luck) or the ring (symbolising marriage) as a kid, but after looking at a couple of recipes, traditionally there was also the pea (meaning you would not marry), the cloth (symbolising poverty/ bad luck) and the stick (symbolising an unhappy marriage). Whatever your fortune, it's a pretty tasty tradition. 

A journey to the Middle East; an odyssey with Cronus

by Ollie, 30/10/2013

A goodbye kiss from Alison at Shannon airport was the start of a long travel towards Qatar. 
The plane was bringing me to Holland where the mighty Cronus was waiting. The Cronus is a sturdy and powerful little tugboat of 32 by 13 meters and a crew of six. She is oddly square shaped, even for a tugboat, but that makes her ideal for assisting big dredgers, which is basically all she does.

Portuguese food.

by Alison, 28/10/2013

So today I was woken at 5.45am to a text announcing Ollie was sailing by Tunisia and tomorrow he will be in Malta. Normally I'd be pissed to be woken this early on a bank holiday but today it had me smiling. Generally when Ollie is away, he works on projects either in a port or near enough to land to mean, that he is able to text or call. However because he is on a proper sea voyage, communication at the minute is more haphazard. He often only has access to a satellite email service, so I've mainly been getting location updates. It was only last Thursday that he was sailing by Lisbon and a getting a very different view of the city we both liked so much.

Coastal Lisbon and beyond

by Alison 24/10/2013

It turns out the hostel we picked was a great location if you want to surf, see the coast and experience Lisbon. The actual reason for picking it was it's proximity to Carcavelos beach, the main contest site for the women's world tour event

Lisbon city

by Alison, 21/10/2013

Our trip to Portugal was booked at the last minute. As I mentioned in our last post, the reason for choosing this area was to catch the final event of the women's world surfing tour. Staying so close to Lisbon was just an added bonus.

We want Moore

by Alison, 17/10/2013

So two weeks ago, I packed our board-bag and suitcase, drove to Dublin to meet Ollie and the next day we hopped on a plane to Portugal. We stayed in Caxias, an area just outside Lisbon. The purpose of the trip, if holidays can have a purpose, was to see the final event of the woman's world championship tour. This years world tour had eight events. The final event of the season was held between Carcavelos and Praia de Guincho, Portugal.

Sailing to Qatar

by Ollie

Lahinch, 13 oct. 2013

Having only been back a few days from a week long holiday in Portugal (more on that to follow), work is calling again.
Tomorrow I'll be flying out to Holland where the boat is waiting for me. On Tuesday we will be sailing out of the port of Moerdijk to Doha in Qatar.
A trip that is promising to be a bit of an adventure!

Whoopie pie

by Alison, 09/10/2013

Whoopie pies. I first saw these on an old Masterchef episode about a month ago. They looked good, but then again, so does most chocolate cake in my eyes. I thought nothing more about them, until I was heading to a friends for dinner and I wanted to bring something sweet for dessert. I wandered into a bakery in Ennis and there they were again, Whoopie pies. Now that they were right in front of me, I was curious and had to try them. 

Blackberry gin

by Alison, 06/10/2013

This is our second attempt at making anything alcoholic. Early in the summer, before we started the blog, we had a disastrous attempt at making cider. Ollie grated pounds of apples before getting called to the boat. I stirred it every day for a week, and  then somehow managed to strain a very heavy enamel bucket of cider through a very tiny piece of muslin. After decanting into bottles, I waited for Ollie to come back so we could taste it together. I am so glad that I did. The cider was awful. It would have been terrible to decide whether to tell him immediately or to wait and let him see for himself. I'm still not sure if it was something in the process we did wrong, whether the bottles didn't seal right and it went bad or if the recipe just wasn't to our taste. 

Culture Night 2013- Dublin

by Alison, 02/10/2013

September 20th 2013, was Culture Night. Culture night, is the one evening in the year when the museums, galleries, theatres and buildings of note open their doors and welcome people in for free. There are live performances, street art and walking tours. The city comes alive as people wander the streets, sometimes with an agenda to get to that must see location, sometimes drifting with the crowd and taking in whatever they happen upon.

Blackberry and apple jam

by Alison, 29/09/2013

Another day. Another challenge. Recently, I added a new skill to my cooking armory, jam making. 

I grew up in a house-hold where it was an annual event as children to visit our cousins and go fruit picking. Needless to say, we were not the most effective task force. Thankfully we could always buy extra. At the end of the day the car boot was laden with long flat boxes, stacked full of punnets of raspberries, strawberries and occasionally logan berries.

Doug Allen- Life behind the lens

by Alison, 26/09/2013

Last week I spent an evening listening to tales of the Arctic and Antarctic and taking in the breath-taking scenery that exist in these frosty zones. Unfortunately Ollie had to go back to the boat and was unable to join me. Prior to the talk I knew very little about Doug Allen, but I had been inspired and awed by his work for many years. Often without realising it was his. Doug Allen is best known for his work with David Attenborough to produce (in my opinion) some of the greatest wild-life documentaries. I may be a little bit biased though. I have grown up watching the BBC and to me, wild-life documentaries are the BBC. 

World Rhino Day 2013

by Alison, 22/09/2013

World Rhino Day. I had never heard about this before Friday afternoon.However  having been in South Africa this year and seeing these amazing animals I just wanted to mark the day. 

There are plenty of problems in the world and this may seem like a small one but it struck a cord with me. These animals are big, beautiful and ever since I saw Sally the rhinoceros in Dublin Zoo as a child I thought they were gorgeous. Today they are disappearing at a drastic rate as they are brutally and savagely poached for their horns. 

Blackberry and apple crumble

by Alison, 21/09/2013

I love blackberry picking and I have been looking forward to it ever since a friend posted on our Facebook page asking me, if I had any suggestions for her glut of blackberries. I was surprised that someone would think that I might have some tasty ideas. I feel as if I received a lot more inspiration from her then I gave. 

The Flags

by Ollie, 17/09/2013

I don't know if any of you have the same problem, but after having surfed a board for about a year and a half I tend to get bored with it and start looking for a new one.
A new board was definitely overdue. 

Lahinch longboard competition 2013

by Alison, 12/09/2013

Last weekend was the 10th anniversary of the Lahinch longboard competition. A time for everybody to dust off the old logs, remember surfings roots and that once upon a time it was all about gliding and sliding with the wave. While the competition is fierce (everybody wants a chance to win the beautiful Cequential board, that is handmade for the competition every year), there is always a good atmosphere around the event. 


by Ollie, 08/09/2013

Not too long ago we visited one of our favourite traveling destinations:


Ireland's biggest island is a stiff 4 to 5 hour drive from Clare but well worth the journey.  
Perched on Ireland's western fringe, it's rugged, it's wild, it's beautiful.

A very Dutch affair- Part 2

by Alison, 05/09/2013

So heading to the wedding I wasn't sure what to expect. My questions prior to the event yielded little information, as Ollie had never been to a Dutch wedding and was just as in the dark as I was. I wanted to know what happens, how they are different from an Irish wedding and being a typical girl, what was I supposed to wear. 

A very Dutch affair- Part 1

by Alison, 01/09/2013

So just before we finally got this blog up and on its feet, we spent a long weekend in Holland. After a brief walk around Amsterdam, we made our way to Willemstad (Ollie's hometown). The next day we were off to Baarle Naussue to celebrate Ollie's brother  wedding. The final day was spent recovering from the party and soaking in the sunshine. 

Autumn sessions

by Alison, 29/08/2013

You can feel it in the air, summer is drawing to a close. The long summer nights are leaving us for another year and waking up to a dawn session will soon feel like a sleep in. 

A photographic tour of County Clare

by Ollie, 25/08/2013

Eighteen years it has been since the last heat wave in Clare and sixteen years since the Clare hurlers brought home the All-Ireland championship.
This year we might get both, we've had the heat wave and the hurlers are in the final. 
We're not into the Gaelic Games at all to be honest, we prefer the beautiful game of rugby union, but the hurlers reaching the final is the biggest news in years in the county. It's all happening in Clare.
Time to put this County of ours in the spotlight.

Hazelnut and almond cake with lemon drizzle

by Alison, 21/08/2013

This cake is adapted from a recipe I learned while attending the Dublin Cookery School, courtesy of my mum. It was her birthday and she generously decided that she would like to spend the day with all of us, so we packed our aprons and headed off for a day of middle eastern cooking.

Farmers market

by Alison, 18/08/2013

We had decided to go camping this weekend. Our last outing had given us the bug. Though this time we wanted to be a bit more adventurous and had been hoping to hike a little way into the Connemara mountains. We had the tent, back-packs, sleeping bags and our new sleeping mats, the only thing that was letting us down was the weather. Having been promised another heat wave by the New Zealand weather Nostradamus, we had high hopes for a dry weekend. However Met Eireann and Magicseaweed continued to undermine these hopes throughout the week, with forecasts deteriorating as the weekend drew closer.

Rhubarb and whiskey pudding

by Alison, 14/08/2013

On the August Bank Holiday we visited Strandhill and as I mentioned we got to eat in Shells Cafe.

Surfing Easkey

By Ollie, 11/08/2013

In our last post, Strandhill surf festival 2013, we promised some photos of when we were surfing Easkey.
This was during the Easkey Open, the second leg on the Irish surfing tour.

Strandhill Surf Festival 2013

by Alison, 07/08/2013

Strandhill is a small town in Co. Sligo on the North-west coast of Ireland. Last weekend, Sligo Surf Club, hosted the Co.Sligo Open as part of the Irish Senior Surfing Tour. This was the third out of four events on the tour. The first was in Portrush in March which we unfortunately didn't make (due to the perfect waves that were right on our doorstep) and the second was in Easkey which we did (post to follow).

Green-house- Part 2

By Alison and Ollie, 04/08/2013

As we mentioned in Green-House part 1, we would like to get a bit more technical on how we are growing our plants.

Green-house- Part 1

By Alison and Ollie, 01/08/2013

We moved into our current apartment in Jan 2012 and by the summer it was still lacking personality.  After a visit to Holland, we were inspired to bring a little bit of green into our own home. 

Hot and spicy fish burritos

by Alison and Ollie, 28/07/2013

For the last two summers Ollie and I have been cultivating our own little patch of green. However when I say patch, I mean our shelves, window ledges and curtain rails. While we do have a balcony, the prevailing winds, salt and occasional ocean waves battering our windows make it an inhospitable place for most edible plants. So in the spring we turn our living area into a green-house (more on that to follow).

Fishy, fishy

By Alison, 28/07/2013

So we have been working hard this weekend and soon we will have our first food post

However we just wanted to share some images of an unexpected guest who seemed to be enjoying his own organically grown, sustainably caught fish supper.

Our house, in the middle of the sea

by Alison and Ollie, 24/07/2013

Sometimes you don't need to go very far, to feel like you are on your holidays. This weekend Ollie and I, packed up Betty (our little blue Yaris) with our surf boards and camping gear. We didn't travel more then 40 minutes away from home but that only added to the charm.

All eggs, one basket

by Alison, 21/07/2013

Today I start something, which for me feels strange. I am starting to participate in social media. I do not mean that I have avoided social media. However writing this blog, I feel that I am moving from observing to sharing. 

To share with friends and family who are near and far and with all those generous people who have inspired me in my hobbies.

Originally I was going to blog alone but seeing as Ollie is often on one side or the other of my photographs, eats my cakes, shares the waves (with the occasional drop-in) and joins in the travels where possible, it seemed more fun to invite him along.

So welcome to Gorse and Coconuts- here Ollie and I will try to share our surf tales, cooking endeavors and  travel ventures.