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“I am never alone wherever I am. The air itself supplies me with a century of love. When I breathe in, I am breathing in the laughter, tears, victories, passions, thoughts, memories, existence, joys, moments, and the hues of the sunlight on many tones of skin; I am breathing in the same air that was exhaled by many before me. The air that bore them life. And so how can I ever say that I am alone?”  ~ C. JoyBell C.

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Last month I ventured out to the largest of the Aran Islands, Inis Mór, with my friend Cara and her faithful companion; Tashi. We travelled bright and early in the morning via the port of Rossaveal, Connemara. There was a fresh breeze as we sailed across calm waters of Galway bay. We sat snug on board the ferry with Tashi and the other visitors,  sharing stories of adventures past.

Once we landed on the island, we sipped coffee and nibbled on scones on the sun drenched decking of Pier House BB. We then explored the gorgeous island with our four legged companion in tow. The day was such that I can only properly describe it as ‘perfect’. I mean that in every sense of the word; the sky was blue – not a cloud in sight, the sun was shining, no rain and no wind! PERFECT.

We decided to climb to Dún Aonghasa, the remains of an expansive fort perched on the edge of a vertical cliff; a breathtaking 300 ft above the sea. Dún Aonghasa is believed to been built and occupied originally in the Iron Age, although there was habitation at the site earlier, in the Bronze Age. Cara sure knows Aran well and her history lessons made the adventure even more enjoyable. It was like having a tour guide with me the whole way! Perhaps the most striking feature of Dún Aonghasa which she pointed out to me were the menacing rows of sharp stones, up to 5 ft in height which surrounded the fort walls. These were set into the bedrock at an angle to impale an invading army.

Once we reached the top, the sight was expansive and amazing. Not another soul around for miles, we were alone. Alone in this magical place. I took off my shoes straight away, barefoot is how I wanted to feel this moment. The feeling of grounding is immense when your standing upon a 300ft cliff, sturdy and calm.

No wind, blue skies, seagulls flying over head and waves crashing below. The warm sun bathed my bare, pale shoulders. I payed salute the sun here, barefoot and smiling. We lay on our bellies and gazed over the side of cliff, we meet interesting visitors and took lots of photographs. Cara lead us in a blessing, taking time to acknowledge the power, beauty and grace of the place we had come to visit. The beauty was everywhere, the universe was talking.

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Me shooting, Tashi posing! Thanks Cara <3

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Summer is here, the sunshine is making the odd appearance in the West of Ireland. I have created a new FREE Desktop & Phone Wallpaper from one of my favorite images I shot while out on Inis Mór on the Aran Islands a few weeks ago. Inis Mór is the largest of the Aran Islands. The day was perfect, the company was perfect, the island was perfect, full blogpost with photos to come soon!

The shot used in this wallpaper is the view as you look out over the Dun Aonghus cliffs out to the Atlantic Ocean.  Dún Aoughus is the most famous of several prehistoric forts on the Aran Islands. It lies on Inis Mór, at the edge of a 100 metre high cliff. The view from the edge is truly spectacular and breathtaking.

If you would like to download the FREE desktop wallpaper, then just click here, download and enjoy. If you fancy the phone wallpaper, then click here and set to your background.

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Everyday is a new beginning.

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At the end of May, Into The West Blogger Network celebrated our 2nd birthday! Eighty bloggers, digital influencers, brands and speakers all came together at the Connacht Hotel for what was my favorite event yet! With the rise of blogging and blogger events in Ireland, I love that Into The West Blogger Network is still going strong with the original idea and that everything is always pulled off in such style!

The Connacht Hotel is where we run #itwbnBlogSchool so we knew it would be a perfect pairing for our #itwbnBloggerEvent birthday bash! Louise and her team seriously wowed us with their attention to detail on the day! The room looks so beautiful in lime green and magenta, as per the Into The West Blogger Network branding. The balloons, the table settings, the glitter confetti and yummy sweets on the tables were all the little touches that set the Connacht Hotel apart on the day! This, in my opinion is what is needed when planning a big event, a fantastic hotel team to work with.

IMG_5754On the day, bloggers were welcomed on the red carpet to a reception hosted by Galway company Juicy Lucy! Jennie & Karena, two sisters from the west of Ireland began juicing about 9 years ago, and quickly realised the benefits of drinking raw cold-pressed juice and decided to share it with the world! We had the most fantastic brands join us also on the day, including McCambridges Galway who were sampling their wonderful hampers and homemade goods. They treated us to savory breakfast bites and made us our very own branded chocolate bars too!

Lookwest.ie joined us also and were talking to us about their tours and upcoming events. Studio 53 is Galways hottest new workout HQ! Studio 53 put the fun back into fitness with their unique range of alternative fitness classes catered for all levels of ability, including Hatha Yoga, Pole Fitness, Flexibility Training and Strengthening & Conditioning. My fave gals from Siren & Soul joined us with their range of gorgeous costume jewellery, check it out here!! The girls have been with us since the very start of ITWBN so to be able to have them bring their own business to the birthday ment so much. Check out SeraJay’s blog here too – one of my faves!

Biteclub4 Biteclub5Biteclub8I had met the fab girls from the Cool Bean Company at the Food Tech Start Up weekend recently so I loved having them at our event. These girls are such inspiring young business women! Sarah’s from Cork and Isolde’s from Tipp and they both live in Dublin. They share a love for food and more importantly they both love beans! They have an epic website and fantastic branding too which I just adore!!

We had the award winning milliner Suzie Mahony with her stunning range of hats and head pieces with us too! With over 10 years millinery experience Suzie has designed headwear for ladies throughout Ireland and abroad for weddings and races. Wedding Hat Supplier of the Year Winner 2011 and 2012. Hatty Award Winner in both 2008 and 2012. Her hats have adorned many ‘Best Dressed’ Winners. For the complete elegant finish to your ensemble, have a creation dyed to match by Suzie at her studio.

Of course, the fab Cat from Solaris Botanicals joined us for her fourth event! Solaris are a family business established by husband and wife: Joerg and Karin Mueller, two qualified Medical Herbalists. Solaris specialises in the blending and preparation of International Award winning Whole-Leaf Organic Teas. Solaris Tea are super blogger friendly and love to get involved with us and our events. We had Captain Tortue with exhibiting her range of clothing from Clothes Party For You which were super! Lastly we had the gals from Wigs At Bellissimo with their range of wigs and services!

Our speakers on the day were bringing serious #GirlPower! First we had Olivia Collins of Food PR. Olivia is the queen of the Food PR in Ireland. FoodPR.ie combine a love of marketing, social media, PR with their love of food and the food and drinks industry which means they are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to promoting the brands they work with. She spoke to us all about the relationships between PR companies and bloggers. This insightful talk really opened up the conversation about the do’s & Don’ts of working with PR companies!

Biteclub3We had the amazing and very inspiring Nikki Bradley speaking. Nikki is a public speaker who draws on her own life experiences to engage her audience. Nikki’s life has not been, what you would call, ‘normal’. Diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at sixteen and the receiver of a second hip replacement at the age of twenty six, Nikki has been on a truly unique journey. This lady is truly the most inspiring people I have ever heard speak, she really puts things into perspective and has a wonderful presence too. She blew me away with her attitude to life, her words and her presence.

Lastly we had local entrepreneur and business owner Gill Carroll spoke on “Stepping up, leaning in, taking action, striving for it and owning your own story”. Gill core values are Connection, Contribution, Leadership and Playfulness. When she shows up with all 4 of these you will get the best version of this lady. Gill put all these values to good use when she opened the doors of 37 West 3 years ago, declaring to Galway that Healthy is The New Sexy she has since gone on to open 56 Central in the heart of Galway City where she has combined her love of art, food and connecting people to create an amazing space for the city. 

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This year, the ITWBN Swag bag – which at this point are pretty famous, did not disappoint! There was Boots No7 products, the fab Ultrapure Laboratories, vouchers from The Body Shop, products from Thalgo Ireland, little post of locally made mustard from the Lodge Barna, Cool Beans, Blank Canvas Brushes, Wet N Wild blushers and pallets, vouchers for dance/pole lessons from Studio53, Essential Oils from Irish Health Hour, Propercorn, Wicked Granola and jewellery from Flea Style Market.

Im so proud of the network and what Sinead & I have created. I absolutely love being able to help bloggers connect, grow, network and be that support they need, it fills me with joy. Into The West Blogger Network has become so much more than just a blogger group. Its become so much more –  friendships, networking, great nights out, wonderful events and connections. Even the online group is very strong and driven, I just love that everyone is there to read each others blogs and help each other out with questions.

Thank you to the Connacht staff, Louise & her team. From the room decor to the food and our red carpet, they did an amazing job! Thank you to all the bloggers who attended the birthday and indeed support Into The West Blogger Network year round! What an amazing new bunch of people we have blogging in Ireland! I just LOVED meeting and chatting with every single one of you! You are the reason Into The West Blogger Network is here – without you all it just wouldnt be.

So as to end the day in true  style we retired to the front patio of the hotel for cocktails. The rain quickly followed us there so we moved into the Solo Bar for a drink and a few ITWBN chats. Im excited for all the mini events we have planned over the summer and cant wait for the next #itwbnBloggerEvent.

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Every month, I look to the next month and say to myself ‘next month will be quieter, I’ll have more freetime’  – This actually couldnt be further from the truth!! April was a great month in what has been a tough year so far. Some great things happened for me! My lil brother came to visit me, I managed to fit in about 5 events, I spoke at 2!! The sunshine arrived in Galway and I got some of my creative mojo back! (It wasnt gone anywhere, it was just hibernating).

Together with some friends, I coordinated a huge charity fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis Galway too which raised €4k for the Cysitic Fibrosis Galway Hospital Project which we were delighted with! There were meetings, events, dinners, roadtrips and manicures too! The year is changing for the better and things are looking up. Plans are being made and ideas are sparking!! So, without further wait, heres is what April looked like according to my iPhone..

April

  1. I’ve been on that nail painting trip recently!! I also had my first ever manicure at Bellissimo Galway pamper evening which you can read all about here.
  2. Lots of restaurants were visited in April. First up – my favorite vegetarian place in Galway – The Lighthouse Cafe. Seriously CHECK IT OUT!
  3. Was invited to the grand relaunch of Lifestyle Sports Galway with Sinéad. Hanging out with the Connacht Rugby lads and lusting over colourful gym gear and trainers!! Oh yes – #lssgalway
  4. Hanging with my girl LoveJoules at the Galway Saturday Market is one of my fav things!! Its our very  ‘Carrie Bradshaw and Co.’, girly hangout! It means everything to me to hang with my friends. Nothing else matters!
  5. Some nice graff spotted in Galway on a gorgeous sunny day! Art by Finbar24/7
  6. Restaurant no.2 – my new fave Asian place in Galway is NEO on the Docks. Spent time here reminiscing about Thailand and all my summer adventures while crying into my Tofu Pad Thai.. Serious spot though, check it out!!
  7. Restaurant no.3 (this isnt a food blog, I promise!!) is The Skeff Pub. With the Family, we dinned on the sizzling prawns and a pint – Heaven!!
  8. Sunny weather ment walks around the city!! #fromwhereIstand
  9. My Style

April2

  1. With the fantastic panel of speakers I was on at the Galway Startup Weekend FoodTech – Read all about it here.
  2. Spoke at the Shine Adventure Eventfor entrepreneurs too!
  3. Restaurant no.4 (I have a problem I know!!) is the Gaslight Brasserie at the Meyrick Hotel. The Gaslight is a bright and airy casual dining space where you can escape the hustle and bustle and enjoy a working lunch or a catch up with friends over great tasting coffee.
  4. This is a very special piece of art created by a friend of mine, artist Paddy Darcy of a friend, DJ and cool friend of ours that passed away. This art holds a special place in the hearts of some of my closest friends here in Galway and beyond. RIP Steve Concannon
  5. We held a cool event here at the SuperPixelLabs! A coolest co-working office space in Galway!
  6. Restaurant no.5 (I dont cook okay?!) is Mullberrys in Barna. Their food is delish, the pricing is extremely reasonable and the service is fantastic!! Fast becoming the best place to find me of a Friday evening..

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Find and follow my adventures on Instagram at @saibhegan

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