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Lakeside Living in Lovely Leitrim

Friday, 26 July 2013

A few weeks ago, we were blessed with a gorgeous heat wave. If you're living outside of Ireland, you're probably asking

"A heatwave? In July? Isn't that just called summer?"

Well, no, you smug ignoramus. We never get an extended period of heat and sunshine. Sometimes there's a couple of days when it's not terrible, exactly. On those days, everyone drops what they're doing and runs to the coast. It's like Paris in August - the streets are empty, and you can't get anything done. 

This is pretty much what happened for those glorious few weeks of sunshine. But while everyone in Leitrim and Sligo headed to the beaches, I set up camp by the lakes. 

There were a few reasons for this. My friend wanted to bring her annoying dog, which wouldn't have worked on a crowded beach. Also, she doesn't like sand, so the grass and jetties were perfect. Finally, they were pretty much just around the corner, saving a good forty minute drive. 

There are other reasons too. The relative privacy around the lake fronts means privacy (cough-topless-cough) and peace and quiet. During that spell, Sligo's beaches were rammers. We pretty much had the lakes to ourselves. Also, the water is warmer and calmer for swimming (though still to be respected - see safety tips below). 

I often get asked why I live in Leitrim. It's pretty annoying, actually. The question is always asked in an accusatory tone, like "Why on earth do you live that backwater?"

In order to answer that question, I'll let these pictures do the talking. 

A wee boat speeds past the Lake Isle of Innisfree. We
actually forgot that jetties were needed by boats, so were quite
surprised when this one pulled up to our sunbathing patch.


Our private jetty at Carrigeencor. It's quite important that you hum the theme to Dawson's
Creek whenever you are on a lake. 
A donkey cools off in Carrigeencor. The concrete you can see is the start of a jetty - perfect
for swimming off from.

The sun sets at Carrigeencor

Some Sunday Paper Magazine style tips for lakeside living

Dinner Picnics
Most time at the lakes was spent catching the evening sun. We'd head off at around 5pm or 6pm, and pitch up on a jetty for some swimming and sunbathing. But I can never, ever forgo dinner. Ever. A great dinner picnic was the sesame noodles below (recipe here) It's basically cold noodles with a tahini/shoyu dressing, shredded cabbage and carrot, and plenty of sesame seeds. It's the business. We also took cherries, almonds and melon, which is so Lauren Conrad I can barely stand it.



Refreshments
I'll say this just in case you're a bit dim - don't drink before you go in the water. I'm serious - DON'T DRINK BEFORE YOU GO IN THE WATER. It's unbelievably dangerous. Go for a swim, dry off and enjoy a sundowner. But don't then get back in the water. 

Seriously. 

If you promise me you won't, then I'll tell you my summer cocktail recipe. We mixed these up lakeside - vodka from a thermos with lots of lemon and lime, mixed with sparkling water. A particularly hipster tip - use jam jars. And enjoy once you've COME OUT OF THE WATER AND YOU'RE NOT GETTING BACK IN. 

Sunscreen
Wear sunscreen. Seriously. If you don't believe me, listen to the Baz Luhrman song and sob dramatically because it reminds you of being 12 years old. 

Be Careful
There have been so many tragedies in Irish waters over the last few weeks. And it's heartbreaking. Water is a force to be reckoned with, and conditions can change in a heartbeat. We are blessed to have some amazing waters around us, but you can never be too careful when you're enjoying them. For advice for how to stay safe in the water, see www.safetyonthewater.ie

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