The Road Less Travelled in the Hazelwood………

When we take the dogs for walk, we tend to try for places where they won’t annoy other people. That may sound a bit strange, but we like to let them run free where possible, and there are a lot of people who are wary of dogs.

We can’t guarantee that Missie won’t jump on the next child she sees or that Alfie won’t disappear like a rocket up the track to herd up the family ahead of us ( no matter how much training we have done). We’re very aware that every dog owner has a responsibility to be in control of their animals at all times, so in an attempt to preempt any issues, we keep them on leads where there are loads of people round and then let them loose off track through the woods or sand-hills.

One of our current walks is through the Hazelwood Demesne, about 5km outside Sligo. There are a series of walks here starting at Half-moon Bay, and stretching along the shores of Lough Gill.

Hazelwood was the seat of the Wynne family who owned the house and most of the surrounding lands for 300 years.  The Wynnes were a very important Sligo family and included members of parliament and High Sherrifs within their ranks. However in recent years the house has lain empty.
A factory was built on the grounds of Hazelwood House in the early 1970s for the Italian nylon manufacturer Snia. This factory closed down in 1982 and the premises were sold to Korean company Saehan Media which made video tapes at the plant for 15 years until 2006. Recently the entire site has been bought by Dublin entrepreneur David Raethorne and a new future secured as a tourist attraction and whiskey distillery!
Val has written a piece on the house in her blog Magnumlady.

We tend to head through the forest instead of along the waters edge.

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Halfway through the forest we cut through the woods to the edge of the factory grounds. We never go through the grounds as it is clearly sign-posted as private property. There is no path as such, but it is walkable.

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The dogs love it as they just play chase through the trees. No need for fancy obstacles courses here! And we obviously are not the first to come this way as we found the Sligo version of the sword in the stone: the knife in the tree!

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And when finally get through the woods, the view along the Garavogue River towards Dooney Rock and Benbulben are stunning.

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Heading in the direction of Sligo  brings you to a very strange little building. It’s at the back gate to the old factory and I’ve been told that it was a pump house. I presume that the pump house was used to pump pressurised water into the factory as a source of energy. If anyone knows the hos and whys I would love to hear.

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You can continue on, but it leads to the side entrance of the House. There is a barbed wire fence across the end of the lane so we don’t go there. We come back along the shoreline part of the way, before cutting onto the track we started on. It’s a lovely walk at anytime of the day, but on Saturdays you might get to spot the local rowing club at play.
There used to be a collection of wooden art here when I first came to Sligo in 1991. Sadly the toadstools are the only remaining piece that I can find

*Sections of this route cross Coillte property, for up to date information on diversions/closures due to tree felling, please visit www.coillteoutdoors.ie

After the time out…….

I haven’t been here much in the last year…….. actually that’s an understatement; I wrote one piece in 2014 and that was that!

After Snook died, there was a lot of grief and anger inside me. Not at Snook or the world, but at myself. I had missed so many days out with Bob, Snook and Skip because I spent so much time in Facebook on the laptop or phone. There was always a comment to look at or an ‘interesting’ post to read… I missed out on precious moments.
So I made a decision that that would not be the case with the new pups. I decided that I was going to take them for walks on the beach or in the woods, or spend time in the garden and that I would reduce the amount of time spent on the laptop.
I may have overdid it slightly……….

Anyway another year has arrived and so I’m going to try for a bit of balance. Walk the dogs and blog a bit as well.

Any of you that followed me purely for viking related and wool topics may be a bit disappointed as Bob and I don’t seem to be doing as much as we did. Bob is still busy making swords and the like, but I seem to have lost my wool dying mojo. It’s still there but honestly I would much prefer to walk the dogs or work in the garden than dye wool. But we shall see where that goes………..

So I mentioned the new pups. And I guess I better introduce them to you as they will probably feature here from time to time.

I explained about Indie in the previous post. He has turned into a smashing dog. He has a great personality and is very affectionate. He’s grown a lot in the year and we love him to bits.

IndieHe is also completely water mad and loves to swim. Typical Labrador!!

IndieNext to arrive was Missie. She’s a collie/lab X with who knows what else in the mix, and she arrived in February last year. Another rescue dog, she had been found abandoned on a street when she only five or six weeks old. She was so tiny, but she too has grown quite a bit in the year. She’s smaller than Indie, but that doesn’t stop her from ruling the roost at home!

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Last to arrive was Alfie. He ‘appeared’ outside our house during the Fleadh last year. His dew claws had been removed and he was really skinny. He stayed here for a while but had to go when Missie came into heat. So Sligo Animal Rescue put him into kennels and tried to rehome him. But as winter approached he needed somewhere warmer and so we took him back as a foster. But before we knew it, he had wriggled his way into our hearts and we ended up adopting him as well!! But he’s a real sweetie and he’s here to stay. He’s a collie/whippet X with two speeds, fast and flat out so getting photos of him is pretty difficult!!

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So we’ll see where we go from here. You might find that posts are more about where we go with the dogs and what we do in the garden, but I hope you enjoy it, x.