Four Acorns go camping and boating in Cavan / Quatre graines de chêne sous la tente et à la rame

There was a stillness about this weekend of camping in Cavan, as if time had slowed down a little, to let us pause and catch our breath for a while.

Which is exactly what I needed, after a couple of taxing weeks.

I wanted to throw away my phone. I wanted to stop adulting. I wanted to get away from it all.

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes.
Including you.

Well, Cavan was a revelation. I had been looking forward to this long weekend break at Row Campsite, outside Killeshandra, Co Cavan. Yet these three days of back-to-basics camping surpassed my expectations.

This is a remote campsite set on the shore of Lough Oughter, as the end of a winding back road that soon turns into a narrow country lane with grass growing in the middle of it. In the sultry heat of that Saturday afternoon, the thick blooming hedgerows and rolling green fields seemed to be growing in front of our very eyes. 


Ce weekend de camping dans le comté de Cavan a été marqué par le calme, comme si le temps lui-même avait ralenti sa course pour nous laisser reprendre haleine.

Exactement ce dont j’avais besoin après plusieurs semaines éreintantes.

Tout fonctionne mieux après avoir été débranché pendant quelques minutes.
Toi y compris.

Cavan a été une révélation. J’attendais avec impatience cette escapade à Row Campsite, près de Killeshandra, Co Cavan. Ces trois jours de camping nature ont réussi à dépasser toutes mes attentes.

Row Campsite est un terrain de camping à la ferme, au milieu de nulle part, au bout d’une petite route tortueuse qui se termine en allée étroite avec une herbe drue qui pousse au milieu. Dans la moiteur de ce samedi après-midi, les haies vives épaisses, en pleine floraison, et les prés verdoyants semblaient pousser à vue d’œil.

lough-oughter-tent-row-campsite

Cavan is the beautiful land of lakes in the middle of Ireland.
A place to get away from it all – but not that far away.

This Is Cavan

Cavan displays the same lush greens and undulating countryside as neighbouring Co Meath, only for its numerous lakes that remain out of sight for the profuse vegetation. This midland county sometimes appears to be more water than land.

One look at the map confirms that Lough Oughter is a lake system on the River Erne, rather than a single, clearly delineated body of water.


Cavan est le pays des lacs au milieu de l’Irlande.
Un lieu où s’éloigner de tout – sans aller trop loin.

This Is Cavan

Cavan arbore les mêmes verts luxuriants et champs onduleux que le comté voisin de Meath, si ce n’est pour sa myriade de lacs à peine visibles à travers la végétation foisonnante. Cavan semble parfois plus eau que terre.

Un coup d’œil sur la carte suffit à confirmer que Lough Oughter est un système de lacs, plutôt qu’un plan d’eau continu et clairement délimité.

Row Campsite Cavan

For the 5th year in a row, we went camping for the June bank holiday weekend – Meath in 2014; Down in 2015; Wexford in 2016; Tipperary in 2017.

This year I asked the acorns to choose between Louth and Cavan. They picked Row Campsite as soon as they heard the word “boat”.

Arriving on Saturday afternoon, Brian and I pitched our family tent on a field of soft grass by Lough Oughter. Less than a dozen other tents were already there.

The sky was grey, the air still, and the humidity stifling – when the first of several rain showers started, it was still too warm to wear a rain jacket.

You know it’s summer in Ireland when the rain gets warmer.

Hal Roach

A tiny frog hopped around the car wheels. The acorns immediately went looking for more in the tall grass on the edge of the field. They were welcomed by more dragonflies than they could wield their nets at.

It turns out they were actually Irish damselflies (Coenagrion lunulatum). 

The telescopic handles of their cheap nets soon broke, but that didn’t stop them from chasing dragonflies and butterflies through the weekend, to observe them before gently releasing them.


Row Campsite

Pour la cinquième année consécutive, nous sommes allés camper pour le long weekend de début juin (en Irlande, le premier lundi de juin est toujours férié) : Meath en 2014 ; Down en 2015 ; Wexford en 2016 ; Tipperary en 2017.

Cette année, j’avais demandé aux graines de chêne de choisir entre deux campings, entre Louth et Cavan. Ils optèrent pour Row Campsite dès qu’ils entendirent le mot “bateau”.

A notre arrivée samedi après-midi, Brian et moi avons planté notre tente familiale sur un pré d’herbe douce et épaisse au bord de Lough Oughter. Une dizaine d’autres tentes étaient déjà là.

Le ciel était gris, l’air immobile et l’humidité étouffante. Quand la première de plusieurs averses commença, il faisait trop chaud pour enfiler un imperméable. 

On sait que c’est l’été en Irlande quand la pluie se réchauffe.

Hal Roach

Une grenouille minuscule sautillait autour des roues de la voiture. Munis de leurs filets à papillons, les graines de chêne partirent en chercher d’autres dans les hautes herbes au bord du pré. Ils y furent accueillis par des dizaines de libellules bleues. 

Il s’agissait en réalité d’agrions à lunule (Coenagrion lunulatum, ou Irish damselfly en anglais).

Les manches téléscopiques de leurs filets se cassèrent bien vite, mais cela ne les empêcha pas de chasser les papillons et les libellules pendant le restant du weekend, pour les observer avant de les relâcher délicatement.

 

With the tent pitched, the acorns soon donned their swimwear and made for the warm and shallow water of Lough Oughter.

Wading in. Splashing. Pond dipping. Fishing.
Squirrel tried out the fishing rod he got for his birthday only a few days prior, while Jedi got to use Brian’s.


Une fois la tente plantée, les graines de chêne enfilèrent leurs maillots de bain et allèrent immédiatement se baigner dans les eaux peu profondes de Lough Oughter.

Pataugeant. Eclaboussant. Pêchant.
Ecureuil essaya pour la première fois la canne à pêche qu’il avait reçue pour son anniversaire quelques jours auparavant, tandis que Jedi utilisait celle de Brian.

lough-oughter-boy-wading-in-row-campsitelough-oughter-child-lake-wading lough-oughter-children-water-play lough-oughter-child-splash-water lough-oughter-children-pond-dipping-row-campsite lough-oughter-three-children-pond-dipping-row-campsite lough-oughter-children-fishing-row-campsite lough-oughter-row-campsite-boy-fishing lough-oughter-boy-fishing-row-campsite lough-oughter-father-son-fishing-row-campsite

There is a reason her nickname is Mermaid – during our three days of camping in Cavan, she spent more time in the water than on dry land.


Voilà pourquoi on la surnomme Sirène : pendant ces trois jours de camping en Cavan, elle a passé plus de temps dans l’eau que sur la terre ferme.

lough-oughter-girl-water-reflection lough-oughter-girl-water-reflection

In typical Irish fashion, the rain stopped for good soon after our traditional camping dinner of pasta with courgettes, tomatoes and olives, and the day ended late, very late, with marshmallows toasted over the campfire.


De façon toute irlandaise, la pluie s’arrêta pour de bon une fois terminé notre repas traditionnel de pâtes “canaille” (aux courgettes, tomates et olives noires), que nous avons dû prendre dans la tente. La journée se termina tard, très tard, avec des chamallows grillés au feu de camp.

Related / Similaire  Four Acorns go camping / Quatre graines de chêne sous la toile

campfire-firepit-marshmallow-roasting-smores

Row row row your boat ♫

Messing about in boats, all kinds of boats, started soon after breakfast, as the day turned decidedly summery. The sun was indeed so piercing through the humid air that every passing cloud felt like a welcome relief.

There are two row boats and a sit-on-top kayak freely available to campers at Row Campsite. All sat in one of the row boats, we went for a midday jaunt around the lake. This is when we realised that life jackets are indeed superfluous in this really shallow part of Lough Oughter.

The acorns all tried their hand at rowing, which turned out harder than it looks!


Bateau sur l’eau, la rivière, la rivière ♫

Tout de suite après le petit déjeuner, les graines de chêne voulurent partir en bateau. Le temps tournait à l’été. Le soleil était si perçant dans l’air humide que chaque passage nuageux apportait quelques secondes de répit bienvenu.

Row Campsite met deux barques et un kayak à la disposition des campeurs. Tous assis dans un des bateaux à rames, nous sommes partis pour une petite balade sur le lac. Cette partie de Lough Ougher s’avéra si peu profonde que les gilets de survie étaient inutiles.

Les graines de chêne prirent leur tour aux rames – plus difficile qu’il y paraît !

This was the big revelation of this weekend of camping in Cavan – the acorns love playing in and on the water.

While the boys seem to have inherited Brian’s love of fishing (he had to set up and fix the rods too many times to keep count!), kayaking is what floats Mermaid’s boat. As soon as the kayak became available, she happily paddled away, soon getting the hang of it. 

Other campers had left two kayaks on the shore, which were unknowingly borrowed for more water fun.


Et ce fut la grande révélation de ce weekend de camping en Cavan : les graines de chêne adorent jouer sur l’eau autant que dans l’eau.

Tandis que les garçons semblent avoir hérité le goût pour la pêche de Brian (il a dû préparer et réparer les cannes à pêche trop souvent pour compter !), Sirène s’est découvert une passion pour le kayak. Dès qu’il fut libre, elle s’y installa et commença à pagayer, prenant rapidement le coup de main.

D’autres campeurs avaient laissé deux kayaks sur le rivage, que les graines de chêne empruntèrent pour savourer les plaisirs de l’eau à plusieurs.

Jedi, on the other hand, enjoyed rowing the most, although fishing was never far from his mind.


Jedi, en revanche, a préféré de loin les bateaux à rames, souvent pour aller pêcher au milieu du lac. Seul ou accompagné.

 

Have you read La Belle Sauvage? This new book by Philip Pullman (author of bestselling trilogy His Dark Materials) tells the epic adventure of 11-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his beloved canoe, called La Belle Sauvage.

Jedi’s fascination with boats is nothing new, but this book, which I also read on his recommendation, certainly fired his imagination. So when he took me out on Lough Oughter in the campsite’s rowing boat, I couldn’t help wondering which streams his mind was drifting along.

The boat rides forward where the line slants back.
The oars in their locks go round and round.

Setting
Seamus Heaney


Avez-vous lu La Belle Sauvage ? Ce nouveau roman de Philip Pullman, auteur de la célèbre trilogie A la Croisée des Mondes, raconte les aventures épiques de Malcolm, un garçon de 11 ans, dans son canoë baptisé La Belle Sauvage.

La fascination de Jedi pour les bateaux n’a rien de nouveau, mais ce livre, que j’ai aussi lu sur sa recommandation, a certainement enflammé son imagination. Aussi quand il m’a emmenée en barque pour une balade sur Lough Oughter, nul doute que ses pensées flottaient au long de quelque fleuve impétueux.

The boat glided forward on the watery mirror, one sky above and one sky below.
My feet trailed in the balmy water at the prow, as the oars rippled the glistening surface in a rhythmical splash.
The stillness of this moment in nature was nearly audible.
Listen…


Le bateau glissait sans bruit sur le miroir d’eau, entre un ciel en haut et un ciel en bas.
Mes pieds traînaient dans l’eau douce à la proue, comme les rames froissaient la surface luisante en un clapotis cadencé.
Le calme absolu de ce moment de nature était presque audible.
Ecoute… 

 

Marshmallows and badminton

 After dinner and before toasting marshmallows on the fire, the acorns played several hotly contested games of badminton with the children camping beside us. All of them but Pebbles, who fell asleep on his chair long before the marshmallows were ready!

There is now talk in our house about buying a canoe, or a kayak, or a simple row boat. But there is one thing that we have already invested in after this decisive camping weekend – a badminton set!


Chamallows et badminton

Après le repas du soir et avant de faire griller des chamallows au feu de camp, les graines de chêne jouèrent quelques parties endiablées de badminton avec les enfants de la tente voisine. Tous sauf Caillou, qui s’endormit sur sa chaise bien avant que les chamallows soient prêts !

Et c’est ainsi que nous sommes rentrés le lendemain en discutant la possibilité d’acheter un bateau, rien que ça ! Canoë, kayak ou simple barque, notre cœur balance. 

Mais il y a une chose que nous avons déjà achetée depuis ce weekend mémorable de camping : des raquettes de badminton !

Practical information

Row Campsite
Derries Lower
Killeshandra
Co Cavan
Tel. +353 087 402 8238

Row Campsite is a small back-to-basics (rural and quiet – no street lights, no passing traffic, no pavements) campsite situated in Killeshandra, Co Cavan, and run by farmer Sean and Teresa Reilly.

4 electrical hook-ups for caravans/motorhomes situated on the beautiful shoreline overlooking the lough, and 11 grass tent pitches. The facilities, located beside Sean and Teresa’s house, are on the small side but spotlessly clean. The farmhouse has a fully-equipped campers’ kitchen. 

2 row boats and 1 sit-on-top kayak for hire with adult and child life jackets available.

We paid €40 for 2 nights, which is the price for a 4-person tent (even though there is 6 of us), and the boats and kayak were available free of charge.


Infos pratiques

Row Campsite est un petit camping tout simple, rural et tranquille : pas d’éclairage public, ni circulation. Il est situé sur la ferme de Sean et Teresa Reilly, près de Killeshandra, Co Cavan.

4 emplacements avec prise électrique pour les caravanes/camping-cars, situés au bord du lac, et 11 emplacements en herbe pour des tentes. Les sanitaires, situés à côté de la maison de Sean et Teresa, sont petits mais impeccablement propres. L’ancienne maison de ferme abrite une cuisine tout équipée.

2 barques à rames et un kayak sont disponibles à la location, ainsi que des gilets de sauvetage pour adulte et enfant.

Nous avons payé €40 pour 2 nuitées, ce qui est le tarif pour une tente de 4 personnes (bien que nous soyons six), et les bateaux et le kayak étaient disponibles gratuitement.

 

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links. Should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on one of them, I may receive a small commission and your purchase will help support this site.


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16 Responses to “Four Acorns go camping and boating in Cavan / Quatre graines de chêne sous la tente et à la rame

  • Your posts always make life look so idyllic and this one more than most. that welcome Irish summer air came just at the right time for your camping trip. the boot looks a huge success and a real feature for the kids. I love the damselflies, we have the same ones on our lakes at Coombe Mill, they are so hard to capture as they never stay still, your photo is wonderful. All the photos tell of a brilliant back to nature weekend, I love all the boating and your lovely tent lit up at night with fairy lights.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  • What a wonderful trip with so many different things to do from boating to dragonflies to toasting marshmallows. Simple pleasures – and good weather! #CountryKids

  • This looks like a positively idyllic trip! A perfect place to unplug and get back to basics for a few days. I love that they had boats available for you, so fun. #CountryKids

  • What a wonderful way to spend a weekend. I love the photos of your acorns paddling in the water and enjoying getting out on the rowing boat too. I love seeing dragonflies and damselflies as well – it sounds like your acorns had a lot of fun catching and releasing them. #countrykids

  • Wow. I think I could so do with this. I think unplugging for a few days is probably what I need. And it looks so amazing for the kids. My boys love nothing better than being in the water like your Mermaid so def think it would be great. They also love toasting marshmallows!

  • This sounds delightful and so relaxing. It’s great to escaoe to nature for a while a recouperate. It’s good for the soul. #countrykids

  • Love that the children worked together to paddle the boat. I have memories of going round in circles on boats too. #CountryKids

  • This sounds like such good old-fashioned wild-kids fun yet it shouldn’t be, it should be what all kids experience, even if just once a year on holiday. What a staggering trip! I love the quote about the rain getting warmer in an Irish summer! I love everything about this post. Your children are going to adore you forever for providing such a varied and invigorating life for them. I’m available for adoption any time… #Adventurecalling

  • I LOVE that boat! I totally feel the need to escape somewhere soon and stop adulting for a bit! We have been camping at a festival in May but technically I was working there as a photographer so I couldn’t fully switch off. It looks fantastic. Sarah #adventurecalling

  • Anonymous
    1 year ago

    Oh wow, wow, wow. I want to be there now! How gorgeous. I haven’t visited this part of the world despite having family in Ireland. It is on my bucket list now! #adventurecalling

  • Looks like absolute perfection Annette. Curious if the kids caught anything after all the splashing about? We usually find that where we swim, the fish usually don’t! Ha! Craving the toasted marshmallows and open evening air. Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles

  • great trip for sure. something my boy would enjoy in a few years time:) #farawayfiles

  • Your party lights add a touch of glamour to your perfect camp setting. What fun!

  • Oh what a fabulous weekend, Annette! We love messing about on the water too and the boys and I are reading the wonderful La Belle Sauvage for our milk-and-story book at the moment. We’re big fans of unplugging too so this all sounds like an ideal way to spend a few days recharging our own batteries. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  • I would love to stop adulting for a week or two now and again and this looks like the perfect place to do it. The fact that you can paddle, fish, row and chase dragonflies makes it sound and look idyllic. Thanks for joining us on #adventurecalling we open again for new posts in the morning.

  • What a beautiful campsite, we really want to get rid of some of the gear we seem to have accumulated and try out some more back to basics camping. It’s such a great way to take a break from modern life and reset and recharge. It looks like you all had so much fun, you’ve definitely got to get a boat now! Thanks for sharing with us #AdventureCalling

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