Today I had the pleasure of a day out with my brother Patrick Reid of Wicklow Willow. Setting out from Athy in county Kildare at 6am, I made my way up into the beautiful Wicklow mountains and into Larragh. My only stop on the road was to briefly take in the snow speckled scenery as I traversed the Wicklow Gap and to have a look at the Ballinagee river as it flows under the Ballinagee bridge before joining the Kings river. The mountains here contained the remains of the weekends snow with Carrignagunneen high above me and buried deep in the white stuff. Picking up Paddy in Laragh, we continued to the Vartry Resevoir and then onto Newcastle. Here we spent the day harvesting willow for basket making. Depending on the size needed, two people can usually harvest up to 1000 in about 4 hours. However, today we were also collecting larger willow poles for fencing and structure making. This is a much more time consuming process as the poles need to be stripped of all side shoots and branches. In total, we collected approximately 800 rods & poles and took all the daylight hours to complete the work. This evening after the two very hungry bellies were fed and watered, we set about making some traditional Irish willow baskets. Paddy is a master of the art and I like to think of myself as the apprentice. As the baskets began to take shape, two bottle of Aldi's fine Rioja kept us company.
The work is now done, my basket is complete and the fire is blazing. Paddy is about to open another bottle!!
PS if you'd like to try you hand at basket making, check out www.wicklowwillow.ie
About Oscar & Cliff
This is the blog of Oscar the boat dog and his human, Cliff Reid. Oscar and Cliff own and operate BoatTrips.ie and this is a diary of setting the company up and the adventures they are having messing about on boats, river and anything else.