Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy, Northern Ireland

Words fail me right now as I visit the newly opened Seamus Heaney Homeplace in his homeland of Bellaghy, Northern Ireland. A moving experience that captures not only the great Irish poet’s work, but also his extraordinary life as a family man. Here is his daughter, Catherine Heaney, talking about how she feels about its opening, the details of which were run by the family meticulously and with great sensitivity. And it shows. If you love poetry, and Heaney, don’t come to Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland without coming here.

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Secret Adventures

The element of surprise becomes more elusive with age. Social media hasn’t done much to help that either with every event, personal or professional, publicised from nascence ad nauseum. Which is why the new initiative, Secret Adventures, is so refreshing. You know a certain amount of what you are signing up for in advance, be it a kayaking, hiking or swimming, as well as the city, or the nearest station, but the exact location is left to your imagination until the last minute. My secret adventure in London was a treat.

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A gloriously unhasty retreat

There are times when we all need to retreat. To rest, to reflect and to recover. But often we don’t take the time, or make the time, to do so. I have always been slightly envious of meditating and yoga bunny friends who can tap into this ability to ‘just be’. I never seem to have the patience, and my ‘retreats’ are usually more in the form of hiking, biking or swimming. Or just diving  – into a bottle of wine. All of which are great, but actually usually lead to a stimulation of the brain or senses when sometimes, I just need to switch them off completely.

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Watching Jersey grow, the green way

I smiled at the irony of a man in a Panama hat, accompanied by a woman swathed in silk scarves, stopping their convertible vintage sports car to give way to our Number 1 bus as it left Liberation Station in St. Helier. I was taking the green way across Jersey,  travelling by bus, bike and boot power,  not only to discover its eco-friendliness, but also to allow myself a holiday where I truly slowed down. Some might say this is also a vintage approach to travelling, but  with the emphasis on green rather than glam in my case.

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