Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Cristina, born of an Italian father and a Finnish mother, living not far from the sea in one of Tuscany’s most spectacular regions. That little girl was me! It is my love for the sea that forms my earliest memories, a fast-forward collage of sun-kissed fun with family and friends on the Maremma coastline. That fascination still beats strong in my heart to this day.
Time passed, I grew up and fell in love with an Irishman. As we raised our two boys, we sought to make new memories on the coastlines of Ireland – quite different than Italy, to be sure, but no less breathtaking… This country, overflowing with windswept flora, wild and unspoilt coasts, rugged cliffs, and a heartland rich and lush with rolling green hills, all came to inspire me in unexpected ways. I embarked on a journey of artistic discovery, mastered new techniques with a variety of media and found an abundance of natural resources all around me, most importantly the dizzying variety of seashells on my beloved coastlines.
And thus, Naturally Quirky was born!
My travels around the island of Ireland have allowed me to accumulate an enormous collection of shells and corals, which inspire the unique compositions in my artwork. Each piece is unique in style and design, pieced together one by one at my studio in the Dublin mountains, animated by the forests, flora and fauna of my adopted home. In what feels like a happy twist of fate, I have built a life that perfectly combines the love I have for my family, mother nature and the sea all at once.
In this blog, I hope to share with you some of the fascinating places I discover as I crisscross this island searching for new and inspirational places. One special place that seriously impressed me was Omey Island and the Claddaghduff Road in the Wild Atlantic Way, Connemara. I first explored the area with a friend in the summer of 2020 and we both fell in love its rocky outcrops and playful bottlenose dolphins. Thanks in part to inspiring conservationists like Kris and Tatiana of the Clifden Eco Beach Camping & Caravanning Park, this remote and untouched paradise will be preserved and protected for generations to come. They first started developing this stretch of coastline into an ecological park in 2010 and later completed an intensive training program with Ecotourism Ireland (now Sustainable Travel Ireland). With both their sustainable practices and their carbon neutrality officially certified, Kris and Tatiana are thrilled to share their slice of paradise with the wider world.
The campsite is located on a unique ecological coastal habitat known as Machair and is considered an area of scientific interest because of its fascinating geology – Olmey strand is home to some of the best examples of volcanic rock outcrops in Europe. Add to that the Blueway Space next door, which is home to the Bottlenose Dolphins that frequent visitors the shores of the Wild Atlantic Way. Kris and Tatiana are not only committed to preserving their environment, they are also great ambassadors for the benefits of camping! Their campsite is a great place to discover camping’s ability to nourish and relax the soul, to impact mental and physical well-being, and to educate old and young about our fragile environment.
After what has been a very difficult year for everyone, I find dreaming of visiting this magical place can help me make it through the day. Maybe it can help you too! I feel very blessed to have discovered this spectacular place and delighted to share it with all my followers.