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Secret Cinema in Sligo

Tuesday 4 September 2012
Photograph from the good folks at Rennafix.

One of the good things about living where I do is the cool events that are held throughout the year. People say that Leitrim is boring, but a small population doesn't equate to dullness. If anything, a lack of amenities just means that we make our own fun.

The people who live here are artistic, creative and enthusiastic. I'm not including myself in this, by the way - I'm lazy, bitter and slow moving. Like a pissed off koala bear.

So it's just as well that no one else is. Throughout the year there are so many little festivals, gigs and parties that put the big cities to shame.

Last weekend was the first Adventurefest in Sligo. Held in memory of a local action man, Paul Rennick, who died last year in Australia, the festival is a celebration of the outdoors, action and laughter.

There were lake swims, paddle sessions and mountain biking. But as I am the pissed off koala bear, I opted for the Secret Cinema night.

On Friday, we met at Slish Wood to walk to an undisclosed location where an outdoor cinema had been set up. We really didn't know too much about the evening, which was a bit of a challenge to someone like me. I like to PLAN. I like to know where I'm going, where the toilets will be and how long it will take.

We thought the walk would take an hour or so. There were cyclists meeting later on to bike to the screen, so we thought the stroll would take 90 minutes, tops, so we would all arrive at the same time.

Well, the stroll? Was a hike. A gorgeous hike, taking in part of the Sligo Way, over mountain tops and through the forests. It took over three hours. And the last hour? Was in the pitch black.

The last portion of the hike involved this conversation, on a loop -

Me: It's pretty dark now.
Dee: This is ridiculous.
Me: It's really dark now.
Dee: This is ridiculous.
Me: It's proper dark now.
Dee: This is ridiculous.

Seriously, pissed off koala.

But we weren't really annoyed. The only time I was aggrieved is when we arrived into thick forestry, and I realised that we could have been pretending we were in Lost for that WHOLE TIME. You won't believe me when I say that the Sligo mountains look incredibly like Hawaii in some places, but they do. A real lost opportunity.

When we got to the cinema, we saw it was set up in a small, sheltered enclosure which reminded me a little of the Body and Soul stage at the Electric Picnic. Only more woodlandy. It was a small space, and the cyclists were nice and comfortable. We headed up a little rock face, and perched our asses on some mossy rocks before breaking open a bottle of wine, and devouring a pasta salad I'd made.

The screen was a bedsheet, tied to a tree, and it rippled in the wind. The movie was Cool Runnings, which was an awesome choice.

Most importantly, I didn't slip from my seat. My position meant that if I had moved an inch in the wrong direction, I would have ended up sliding down a sheer drop onto the heads of those sitting below.

It reminded me of the time I was in a farmhouse in the Perpignan mountains, and I climbed to the top of a 100ft waterfall. Showing off a little, I walked to the edge of the top rock, to prove that I could sit on the perch. As I reached the rim I slipped. Luckily, I landed on my ass and grabbed on to some shrubbery to stop me flying over to a definite death. Then I cried for a long time.

But no tears this time. Just a good movie and a great evening.


  1. That night has been one of the most incredible adventures so far in ireland...I felt so amazed throughout the entire journey. Pissed off koala? Hell yeah, lol. lovin your blog by the way! Keep it up :)

  2. Wow I hadn't heard about this festival at all!! I moved back to Sligo, tail between my legs, after graduating from my Masters and working as a waitress for 7 months. I have to say, I've really re-discovered home, and how many great people there are in Sligo and now I don't want to leave, but alas, no work...

    1. It seemed to just come around at the last minute, I only heard about it two days before! It was great though.
      The work thing does indeed suck. What kind of thing are you looking for?

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