Bon jour Monsieur
Comma cava ?
I was listening to this conversation while settling down on the breakfast table in one corner of the inhouse restaurant of this small lodge. Though I was still in my own world trying to remember the places that I need to visit today with my wife and daughter, i glanced around to get hold of the person who is speaking French.
The ‘madame’ was wearing a blue jeans and a black top with her hair waving to the mild winds. She was swiftly moving from one table to another, getting into small conversations while clearing the table. I could judge that many of them are regular customers in this resort.
Mornings can be tricky depending upon how your day starts, especially when you are traveling with your 3 year old. As soon as I heard these conversations, quickly exchanged a smile with my wife and got an affirmative nod from her. This was indeed a very soothing sight for us parents, the one which gives an assurance that any requests from your kiddo can be put forth and managed without much trouble.
Catherine, the French Madame, did pay a visit to our table as well to exchange the morning greetings & assured us that we can get whatever is required for the kid. I was still not sure if she was a waitress or a part time employee, as she was hands on with all the hotel chores.
It was only during the evening dinner , I realised that the photo of a female athlete hanging on the wall of the restaurant had a very stark resemblance to Catherine. I was curious to clarify my doubt and didn’t have to wait much longer. I could see her moving around to oversee the requests of customers in the crowded restaurant. Europe has a habit of finishing the dinner before 8 pm & I was still stuck to the typical 10 pm dinner. By the time we finished our dinner , most of the restaurant was empty.
I got the answer from Catherine itself. She replied with a smile for my question & said “Oh yes, that pic over the fire place, it’s me”.
Kite-Surfing is one of the extreme/adventure sports which you don’t get to see in abundance. It is an amalgamation of wind speed, water movements & the wanderer inside you, who is ready to travel miles to experience something adventurous. I was thrilled to hear the story of the co-founder of Ireland’s first Kite-Surfing school – “The Pure Magic”.
Catherine Etienne & Francois Colussi , owners of Pure Magic , Ireland’s first dedicated Kite Surfing shop had two things in common. Both of the business partners had a passion for adventure sports & they hailed from Brittany, France.
Francois, a mechanical engineer, who moved to Dublin Ireland to complete his masters was always keen to go behind his passion : Adventure Sports. During the same period , Catherine joined her college in Dublin and then moved to Spain to work. Francois convinced her that there is a scope for water sports in Dublin, Ireland. She left her job in Spain and joined Francois. This led to the starting of ‘Pure Magic’ in 2006 : Ireland’s first dedicated Kite Surfing Shop & School.
In one of their trips to Achill Island, the western most island of Ireland, to conduct a Kite Surfing session, they realised that there is a dearth of proper lodging facilities in the island. Achill Island is a great place for Kite Surfing.
With the help of one of their friends, they managed to initially rent out a lodge which was closed for 4 years. It was completely renovated and opened up for public in 2010. It is now 9 years since the opening of Pure Magic Hotel in Achill Island & the founders are indeed surfing in the right direction & have taken ownership of the place as well. Pure Magic in Achill Island has 11 rooms which can accommodate approximately 35 people. The complete lodge has been decorated with elements of water sports, especially Kite Surfing. They have regular Kite Surfing sessions happening at the lake and the beach near by during the summer period.
Kite Surfing specialists compete with each other in recording the highest jump. The latest record as per Catherine was somewhere around 28 metres, which was set in Cape Town by a Kite Surfing specialist. As per her the kite surfing sport also has developed over the last 14 years. The equipments available now along with the Technology & Gadgets makes it a safer sport compared to a decade ago. Woo Sport App is used by surfers to record & boast their achievements. As per Woo stats , the latest record stands at 32 metres set by Maarten Haeger. Pure Magic lodge has a small library which includes books about Kite Surfing as well. I managed to learn about some of the brands of Kites used by the experts : Cabrinha, Slingshot, Ozone, Flysurfer and Madame’s favourite F-One.
Pure Magic Watersports school and shop is in Clontarf, Dublin with Kite-Surfing lessons happening in Dollymount & Sutton beaches.
The list of people who have done the Kite-Surfing with the Pure Magic crew includes CEOs from the Silicon Valley as well. The latest trend is to have meetings or conferences in off beat places & try your hand on something adventurous as well.
The bonus for people staying at Pure Magic is the chance to savor the awesome food prepared by the French Chef. The pizzas of Pure Magic is famous and you will find it difficult to find a table in the restaurant if you don’t have a prior booking.
It is not easy to control the kite with the wind calling the shots , but these people from Pure Magic make it look like a casual walk in the park.
It is the pure passion for the Sport which brought them together to open the Kite Surfing shop, school in Dublin & then the lodge in Achill Island. I asked Catherine about their expansion plans and was a bit surprised (but happy) with her reply. They are not planning to expand in the near future. She said that it is not about just making money, but it’s about the passion of teaching & imparting the experience of water sports to customers. So they are very clear about their focus area: to give great experience for each & every customer.
“Follow your Passion, everything else will Follow you”
Details about this ‘Pure Magic’:-
Non smoking place. Advantage of having owners who are into sports. They understand the importance of keeping the butt away.
Pure Magic,Achill Island, County Mayo (300 kms from Dublin). It is a great drive from one end of Ireland to this part (Dublin to Achill). Awesome roads with scenic view. A great ‘long weekend’ destination from Dublin.
Teresa is the person in charge and she is always ready to extend all possible help with a big smile. A jovial personality with a magical touch.
Parking Space: Free open parking available across the road in front of the lodge.
Kids play area is good with a doll house and a hammock. You can also visit the beach near by and keep the kids busy with building sand castles.
Breakfast : Basic spread
Rooms : Neat , clean & have a touch of ocean element everywhere. If you are going with kids who love bunk beds , then this is definitely the place.
Kite Surfing, Paddle boating, cave visits, yoga sessions, etc. can be booked with them. If this not your cup of tea, then enjoy a local Mayo Red beer & read a novel sitting beneath the Magic tree overlooking the mountain on one side and lake on the other side.
Must try: Pizzas and Garlic bread