Ardara is famous for its music festivals & there are plenty of visitors, as but unlike many other places the town doesnt organise itself around tourists, it's a thriving community for visitors to enjoy rather than a tourist attraction.
The Grannies were keen to visit Eddie Doherty as they had heard that Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex in the City) buys tweed from him. Eddie is one of the last independent hand loom weavers in Ireland, his tiny shop is a treasure of colourful handwoven tweed & he was busy at his loom in the back of the shop when we arrived.
He told us how the village market used to sell everything local weavers needed, sheep, raw wool, home spun wool and weaved cloth. Sadly the old home based skills are disappearing & when he stops, handmade tweed will be even rarer in the area. For such a tiny shop Eddie has a global reputation and people from all around the world buy his tweed.
Although there is a village cafe the Grannies were invited to have a cup of tea with 82 year old Jack Maguire who has born in his parents village drapers shop. After worked in London for 40 years he has returned to the village house he was born in. One of his many stories was the time when Dylan Thomas came to live near the village. Thomas was trying to escape the pressures of fame & his manager was trying to control his excessive drinking. Unfortunately he found a farmer with an illicite potcheen stil after which he disappeared from the village leaving a trail of debts.
Lunch was at Nancy's pub/restaurant, one of Ireland's treasures that people travel from all over the country to enjoy It's run by Charlie McHugh a fabulous character & a classic old world publican who is the seventh generation owner of Nancy's. He puts the longevity of Nancy's down to good food, good beer but just as importantly a traditional welcome & one that makes people feel like they are regulars after a few minutes.
They are famous for their oysters & their unique take on seafood chowder, which is more like a spicy broth without cream - almost worth visiting just to taste it. Its comes with local potatoes which can thicken a snack into a filling meal.
There are several artists in & around the village & the Grannies spent the afternoon as culture vultures while I sampled the Guinness.