Family Breaks Clare

Clare is a county that has been ingrained in my brain as a place of fun, sea, sand and holidays as we were brought to this beautiful county time and time again as a child. I still love to make a trip here when I can as I always feel the minute you go over the border cars slow down and the relaxed way of life embraces you.

When we think “Family Breaks Clare“, the first thing that usually comes to mind is surfing in Lahinch, Aillwee Caves and The Cliffs of Mohar but if that was not enough there is so much more in this county such as:

  • Irish Seaweed Safari – The Irish Seaweed Safari is an experience not to be missed! Join the 4th generation Seaweed Foragers and enjoy the spectacular shore walk from the rugged coastline of Caherush meandering along the shoreline enjoying nostalgic views looking out on Spanish Point Bay along with the spectacular Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.
  • Trip to Aran Islands -Sail to the Aran Islands or Cruise under the Cliffs of Moher ! Daily sailings to the Aran Islands from Doolin. Visit the spectacular Dún Aengus fort on Inis Mor, get away from it all on Inis Meain or take a quick trip to the smallest one – the beautiful island of Inis Oirr. Or take a Cruise under the Cliffs of Moher. Admire the scale and majestic beauty of the Cliffs of Moher on a 1 hour voyage of discovery.
  • Bunratty Castle – Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is a must on your itinerary to Ireland. This is your chance to experience a window on Ireland’s past and explore the acclaimed 15th century Bunratty Castle and the 19th century Bunratty Folk Park.

family breaks clare

  • Explore the Burren – The Burren National Park is located in the southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Park land was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren: Limestone Pavement, Calcareous grassland, Hazel scrub, Ash/hazel woodland, Turloughs, Lakes, Petrifying springs, cliffs and Fen
  • Cliff Coastal Walk – Beyond the grounds of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience you can now explore a new 20km coastal walking trail in Clare which will bring you along one of the most outstanding landscapes of Ireland. From LIscannor and Hags Head in the south, along by the majestic Cliffs of Moher and to Doolin in the North, with views over Aill Na Searrach, the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. The trail follows the line of the cliffs and passes through the grounds of the visitor centre. The trail starts on road from Liscannor where you will witness theamazing views of the Cliffs, the famous Aran Islands, Kerry mountains, Galway Bay, O’Briens Tower and the thousands of seabirds make the Cliffs a magical place. Talking telescopes are dotted along the paths as you go.
  • Caving – Doolin Cave is home to the Great Stalactite. At 7.3 metres (23feet) it is the longest free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. The Great Stalactite, suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier, is truly astounding. Visitors can hardly believe that it was formed from a single drop of water over thousands of years. Extend the adventure from underground to over ground following a charming Farmland Nature Trail that takes a looped walk around the cave setting.
  • Dolphin Watching – On the western seaboard of Ireland there are places where the distinction between land and sea is blurred. The west Clare peninsula in County Clare, guarding the northern shore of the Shannon estuary is one such place. The Shannon estuary is home to Ireland’s only resident group of bottlenose dolphins. Over 100 dolphins have been identified using the estuary at different times; calves are born each year and are usually encountered.
  • Rock Climbing – The Burren climbing area is beautiful, with amazing cliffs and spectacular views and climbing instruction for all levels.  With a large number of indoor climbing walls developing around the country, there is an increasing interest in trying it out on the real thing.

family breaks clare

I think we all know Clare can boost of her nature credentials and stunning beauty but it is also a place rich in culture as around every corner there is a trad festival or trad music nights to enjoy. It is a place where you can bring children to enjoy these fabulous sounds and events often with live music during the day. While my children don’t normally see the inside of a pub from one end of the year to the next I love to bring them in to see a session and Clare is the perfect spot to do so. Some of the great pubs renowned for their sessions would be:

  • Gus O’Connors Pub, Doolin
  • The Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna
  • Brogan’s Bar, Ennis
  • Vaaughan’s Pub, Kilfernora

The most famous Trad festival in Clare has to be Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy taking place every year on the first year of July. It is a week-long summer school of Irish traditional music, song and dance, incorporating tuition, lectures, recitals, concerts and céilithe. Thousands decend on the small town of Milltown Malbay every year and it is a mecca of traditional players from across the globe.

family breaks clare

The long, mild afternoons at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy are devoted to lectures on the various aspects of Irish traditional music heritage and its connections with mainland Europe and North America. There are recitals each evening showcasing the instruments taught at the school, performances in traditional song and dance, and céilithe nightly. The serious work of tuition is complemented by the festival atmosphere in hotels, pubs and on the streets, as students, locals and visitors celebrate Irish traditional music. It’s simply perfect for lovers of music, history, and the craic agus ceol. If you enjoy trad music and are looking for something different look not further than this as one of the top family breaks Clare.

When looking for places to stay you will have plenty of choice for the family in the following hotels never mind all the camp sites available:

So when you are thinking about your next break away there is something for everyone in Clare and that’s I would consider family breaks Clare to one of the best.

 

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas

When looking for inspiration for Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas you simply make clues about ordinary indoor objects. Since your home may have more than one of some of these objects, the kids may have to check out more than one location before they find the next clue. That makes the game last longer, gives them more exercise and adds to the fun. We have prepared some ready made clues for you or use as inspiration to create your own.

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas

  1. I have four legs, but I don’t have feet.
    I come in handy when it’s time to eat. – Kitchen or dining table
  2. My job is to put an end to sleep,
    Which I do with music, a buzz or a beep. – Alarm clock
  3. For fast heating or cooking, I am tops.
    And, oh, that good smell when my popcorn pops! – Microwave
  4. Flour and sugar and coffee and tea,
    I keep these handy but hard to see. – Kitchen canisters
  5. I can take you to places you’ve never seen,
    But first type your password in on my screen. – Computer
  6. I’m loaded and unloaded, but I’m not a truck.
    Having a helper like me is a great piece of luck. – Dishwasher
  7. I rain on you when you need a scrub.
    I’m very much like my friend the tub. – Shower
  8. I make it possible to have fresh food.
    Everyone agrees, I’m one cool dude. – Fridge
  9. Watching your favorites is lots of fun.
    But don’t watch too much! Kids need to run. – TV
  10. I never get angry but I do get hot.
    I’m the perfect place for a pan or a pot. – Cooker
  11. It’s my job to give all your clothes a tumble,
    Which I do while making a bit of a rumble. – Tumble Dryer
  12. I have a handle and also a lock.
    Visitors and delivery men may give me a knock. – Front Door
  13. I’m one part chair and one part bed.
    Up with your feet and down with your head. – Recliner
  14. I take your clothes for quite a spin.
    But first they get wet. That’s how I begin. – Washing Machine
  15. I’m filled with feathers or other soft fluff.
    To sleep without me can be quite tough. – Pillow
  16. Turn me on and I’ll give you a light.
    I’m used some in the daytime but mostly at night. – Light Switch
  17. A story, they say, can take you away,
    But a book still needs a place to stay. – Book Shelf
  18. I have drawers and also a nice flat top.
    For homework I’m helpful — Keep working. Don’t stop! – Desk
  19. I’m hungry! I’m hungry! Please feed me a slice.
    I’ll spit it back out all brown and nice. – Toaster
  20. I’m not a selfie, but I do show faces.
    Find me in bathrooms and a few other places. – Mirror
  21. Adults like it when they first wake
    And at other times when they need a break.  – kettle/Coffee Machine
  22. Most every day, you step on me.
    All I require is a bend of your knee. – Stairs
  23. I’m paper, but I’m not used for writing a letter.
    The spot by your potty suits me much better!  – Toilet Paper
  24. I have hands but no arms and also a face.
    And my hands always move at the same steady pace. – Clock
  25. The more I dry, the wetter I get.
    A little one can be used for soaking up sweat. – Towel
  26. I’m never wicked, but I do have a wick.
    I come in all sizes, from skinny to thick. – Candle

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas

Make one set of clues for every player, each clue leading to the next one and, finally, to the treasure. Seal them in envelopes marked with a clue number (i.e., 2/7, or “two of seven”); this will help the treasure hunters keep track. Whoever solves the clues first and finds the treasure is the winner. You don’t have to go mad with a prize, simply an IOU for a movie(another of the rainy day activities for kids), maybe a cache of coins (regular or chocolate) or my favourite, no chores today/free pass for dishwasher duties are all cause for more fun in your home. You could also have your kids play as a team to solve the clues—and uncover the treasure—together. This works better when you have younger ones or if they have been fighting earlier…..

Clue

Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas for Younger Kids

If you kids are too young to read you can create another type of treasure hunt by taking pictures of odd nooks and crannies or objects as above in your home. Print out the pictures and place them as you would any other clues.

Camping in Waterford

Camping in Waterford

Clonea in Co. Waterford is home to one of the many fantastic blue flag beaches of the sunny south East with brilliant watersport activities available all summer and if that’s not enough it recently became a gateway to the Deise Greenway. Casey’s Caravan & Camping Park has always been know as a very well run family park overlooking the beach so we made it our mission to check it out this Summer and see why Camping in Waterford is so popular!

 

 

Clonea Park Playground 6There was plenty to do onsite for the kids with a games room, toddler play area (spotlessly clean), outdoor toddler play area, crazy golf, daily kids club, large and well equipped playground and plenty of other children to have fun with. However, our kids only visited the games Clonea Park Playground 4room and kids club once as they were having too much fun selling their homemade crafts, baking and anything else they could get their hands on at the Marrakech style market stalls outside the playground. This seems to be a yearly phenomenon synonymous with Casey’s Caravan & Camping Park and a cause for great excitement among the younger folk. Many children arrive with their crafts ready to set up their stall before the tent is even unpacked and I loved the spirit of entrepreneurship as well as the maths lesson it gave them!

Camping in Waterford

Clonea Park 6Now the one thing I noticed since I last visited Dungarvan and Clonea was that every second person seems to be walking with a bike or cycling one and that is a result of the completion of The Deise Greenway. There is a 4 Km route that will take you into the bustling town of Dungarvan and a brilliant playground or why not head the other way towards Waterford. The Greenway offers fantastic little distractions as you enjoy the Clonea Park Playarea 1picturesque countryside namely a little playground, bridges, tunnels and road crossings!! Most days we went for a cycle if we could drag everyone away from the park. Bikes are allowed onsite also so from early morning the kids were outdoors and cycling which seems to be the second favourite thing to do on site, second only to the wheeling and dealing!!!

Clonea Park Toilets 2The facilities were just as fantastic as the atmosphere on site and were spotlessly clean. I even commented to a friend one day that I walked in on the toilets been cleaned three times in one day! There were more than enough showers, toilets, wash basins and best of all a room with a baby bath and changing facilities. There were no dark corners hiding creepy crawlies or wet muddy cold floors in the showers and you could see your reflection in the tiles!!!

Clonea Laundry RoomThe camper’s kitchen was not to be scoffed at either with its washing facilities and two large chest freezers to avail of and all in immaculate condition. Next door was the laundry room with irons, washing machines and dryers. All in all you will find it hard to beat these facilities and we were informed that next year they are adding two family shower rooms to make it easier for families to wash together. It is easy to see that this park is run by a family who are very conscious of parents’ needs and with a passion for camping themselves!

Clonea Playroom 2My favourite part of the park was the toddlers play area as it was the perfect place to go with a book as Lonan (15 months) pottered around the play kitchen and all its paraphernalia and I was not a bit bothered about germs. You could clearly see the area was cleaned daily and there was not even a spec of scum never mind dust! This was a perfect indoor activity with little ones when there were rain showers about.

IMG_6121So there is all this fun to be had and we have not even mentioned the gorgeous beach on the doorstep! The beaches in this part of the country are gorgeous and one of the reasons why Camping in Waterford is so popular. The sandy beach of Clonea was the best playground of all and seemed also to be popular with some of our fellow campers for fishing but best of all it’s a watersport haven and you can hire equipment and wetsuits on the beach. Waveworld not only provide many water activities but they also run a kids camp for the month of July and August and you can sign the kids up for as little or many days as you like with offers for a full week. This is a must as children of all skills and abilities are brought together to have fun in the water with the enthusiastic team and believe me all fears and insecurities will quickly disappear while they burn their energy in a most positive way! This activity can be enjoyed in all weathers and there was an excellent variety of beach games, and water activities including kayaking and banana boats. I even noticed some adults hiring kayaks for a relaxing break while the kids were busy at kids camp!!! For more information on Waveworld click here!

Clonea Tent 1We had friends also on site and the common theme amongst us all was the safety of the site. Not only were fellow campers very aware of the children cycling and playing around but the owners have a strict policy of absolute quietness after 11pm and before 8am as well as respecting your neighbours. You have to swipe to get in or out and with security on site we felt very safe and looked after. We were comfortable giving the children scope to roam more freely and this in a way was a great opportunity to teach them responsibilities. Speaking of responsibilities the kids also enjoyed completing the task of collecting water, taking rubbish to the bins and next year they will be promoted to wash up I think!!

Clonea Gamesroom 1Camping is not only great fun for all the family but on a site like this when the kids are having too much fun to do anything else, mums and dads have nothing else to do but sit down, relax, have a chat and most of all chill!!

I could go on about all the activities around the area but really there is no need as you won’t want to venture to far with the beach, Greenway and park itself. To find out more about Casey’s Caravan and Camping Park in Clonea click here!

 

 

 

Clonea Park 7      IMG_6116

 

 

Loulou’s World – Fairy Activites Cork

Fairy Activities in CorkFor all budding fairies looking for exciting and creative fairy activities in Cork, Loulou’s World in Cobh offers an enchanting and playful afternoon of fun! We could not wait to be invited to a party so in true fairy princess style we ( my sister and friends) book a fairy party for no special reason for six children to while away a summer’s afternoon talking fairys and doing art and crafts.

Fairy Activities in CorkLoulou’s World is as amazing as you can imagine and will capture the children’s imagination instantly as you enter through a retail fairy shop and down into hidden back room like a fairy adventure before discovering a colourful room full of glitter and sparkles!!

Fairy Activities in CorkLoulou herself was enchanting with all the characteristic of a true fairy and she entertained the children from the moment they arrived. We spent the afternoon making many fairy crafts and she had patience and enthusiasm in abundance. Even Thomas (the only boy fairy in tow) had as much fun as the girls. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon so don’t wait for a party why not gather a group of friends, bring some takeaway coffee as you will enjoy it Fairy Activities in Corkjust as much and book in a group. For a group of six we were charged €15 per child and they came away with fairy doors, washing lines and much more! It is a great place for parties and Loulou does not just offer fairy activities in Cork but also does Jewellery workshops for adults and children so why not discover your creative side or this could make a fun party for an older children or young teenager!

Fairy Activities in Cork Fairy Activities in Cork

The Giant’s Causeway and the Causeway Coast

Inspired by the enchanting folklore and tales of natural beauty, The Giant’s Causeway was one of the reasons why we decided to visit Northern Ireland. Saoirse had learnt about it in school this year and had relayed all to Thomas so when we mentioned The Giant’s causeway their imaginations went into overdrive!

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Just about 10 minutes from Carrick-On – Rede Rope Bridge is The Giant’s Causeway, renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, it is the only World Heritage Site in N Ireland. We took a guided tour which to approx 30 minutes from the centre to the stones while we listened to a very friendly and most interesting guide.

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Unfortunately it began to rain when we were out on the stones but luckily they have a bus service constantly running from the centre to the stones and back again so we hoped on this. This is a great service also it you have young kids who after the walk and exploring the various paths of interest may be too tired for the walk back to the centre. The Giant’s Causeway is made up of 3 promontories – the Little Causeway (1st feature the walker meets), the Middle Causeway (better known as the ‘Honeycomb’) – which has spectacularly precise hexagonal features, followed by the The Grand Causeway. In this immediate area, evocative place names & features abound – Wishing Chair, Wishing Well & Giant’s Gate (all connected with Finn MacCool folklore).

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The visitor centre is an attraction in itself with exhibits of the various times of history associated with the site that was mentioned on our guided tour and you would want to give your self a good 45 minutes to explore around here. I was very impressed with the café as the children’s options were delicious and very very reasonable. Our lot had Irish stew with brown bread. There were microwave facilities for heating up baby dinners and bottle warmers. It is a very busy attraction and I would recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to explore even allowing yourself three to four hours so you are not rushed. A family pass will set you back £22.00.

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From here we took the Causeway Route to Belfast and this is definitely one of the most scenic routes in Europe. Many people had recommended this route even though it is longer than the main road to Belfast (1.5 hours). The journey took us approx 2.5 hours through pretty villages, along amazing coastlines and over rugged countryside and if I was doing it again I would take the same route as it was most enjoyable and perfect for a game of eye spy!

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It does not feel that long and we were surprised when we got to our destination. There are plenty of places on route that you can stop if you want to play in the local playground or for a brief walk along the beach or just to get back onto the main Belfast road.

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If you are travelling this way why not tie in a visit to The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum and eexplore thatched cottages, farms, schools and shops as you experience life from over 100 years ago. Chat to costumed visitor guides as they demonstrate traditional crafts and meet farm animals in the beautiful parkland of the Folk Museum. Then step aboard majestic steam locomotives and explore horse drawn carriages, electric trams, boats, motorbikes, fire-engines and vintage cars in the Transport Museum. A museum of international renown, The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum is regarded as being amongst the best of its kind in the world.

ulster folk & transport museum belfast

As you travel into Belfast from this side you will also see signs for Belfast Zoo which is home to more than 140 species of animal, many of which are in danger in their natural habitat. Belfast Zoo is now one of the leading visitor attractions in Northern Ireland attracting around 250,000 visitors a year. Popular attractions include the Asian elephants, giraffes, sea lions and apes.

 

A Stroll in Glenichaquin Park

Now while we only came across Gleninchaquin Park by chance it was a fantastic gem to discover. Located about 15 minutes from Kenmare, Gleninchaquin Park is a privately owned farm situated on 1300 acres of Ireland’s most beautiful landscape.
national park kenmare
I cannot believe that someone gets to call this home. You arrive at a small carpark to be greeted by the owners who will give you a brief introduction to the area and advise you on the various walkways that have been meticulously carved out to offer the most authentic countryside ramble and all against an amazing backdrop of mountains and waterfalls.

Gleninchaquin Park 3

The walkways will bring you through open fields with sheep to keep you company, over styes, through magical forestry, across gorgeously carved bridges, passing abandoned ruins, up the mountain and quite close to many of the waterfalls including the largest one it is famous for.

Gleninchaquin Park 2

It is well worth your while to make a day of this and bring a picnic as there is an abundance of the most amazing picnic spots to choose from. The children thoroughly enjoyed running through little streams, over stepping stones and the little footbridges that were delicately placed making for a most enchanting natural playground.

Gleninchaquin Park 4

Best of all it is very safe for families and offers routes for all levels of walkers to enjoy. If the walkways are not enough you will certainly be mesmerised by the beauty of the park.

 

Gus O’Connor’s Pub Doolin

Places to Eat in DoolinI was introduced to Gus O’Connors at the age of twelve by my father while holidaying in Clare for The Willie Clancy Week and I must say I never forgot the experience. I was delighted to introduce my children to the atmosphere of a proper traditional Irish music pub last summer when in Doolin.

Places to Eat in Doolin

Gus O’Connors is a spacious and open bar with all the nooks and crannies of a traditional Irish pub. It is bright and airy and the atmosphere is electric. The music will start early on the day so if you wish to pop in for lunch or dinner there is no difference. It is not only the most popular places to eat in Doolin area but also offers the best in Irish cuisine and a truly authentic experience.

Places to Eat in Doolin

 

The children were thoroughly entertained by the session played out in front of them and don’t worry it is by no means messy or rowdy. The traditional Irish cuisine is only delicious. The staff were extremely helpful and always on hand even with though it was busy.

 

Places to Eat in DoolinThe kiddies options are excellent and I would recommend you try the fish while here. We had no need for tablets or colouring books as the talented musicians provided not only a welcome distraction but also enjoyable entertainment. Make sure you arrive early or ring ahead as this place is always busy and it is nice to get a seat around the musicians. You can’t bring them to this part of the world without taking in our wonderful culture!

The Radissson Blu Spa & Hotel, Limerick

family breaks LimerickWhen we think of family breaks Limerick City is not often the first to come to mind but I can tell you this city is a hidden gem and only waiting for you to explore! Limerick is also a very accessible county from many parts of the country which makes it even better for any parents travelling with a brood.

family breaks LimerickOn our visit we stayed at The Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel on the Ennis Road and I must say it boasts the best location for a hotel in these parts as it sits right on the border of Limerick and Clare offering its guests the best from each county. Limerick city is only about a 10 to 15 min drive away while Co. Clare is only a couple of steps. There is sooo much to do in every direction that you just will not have time to sample it all unless you check in for two weeks at least.

Bunratty castle sits almost on it’s doorstep while if you would  like to make a trip to the seaside the beautiful beach of Lahinch is only a mere 35 minute drive away. While there is an excellent playground on the hotel grounds (very conveniently located in front of the outside seating of the hotel bar) you would have to pay a visit to the very famous Cratloe Woods with it’s beautiful natural playground as this is only minutes from the hotel and you would certainly knock of a day here for free with its many walking trails.

family breaks LimerickAs you walk though the trails, you will discover more play adventures along the track which keep the children interested throughout the walk. But if you don’t want to roam to far as I said there is an excellent playground in the hotel grounds, in fact one of the best I have come across as far as hotel playgrounds go! The hotel also sits on 20 acres of verdant parkland and there are walking or running trails to enjoy depending on how much of a break you really want…..

Limerick City itself offers an abundance of family activities to enjoy so give yourself plenty of time to fit it all in. We started our day in The Milk Market which opens Friday to Sundays. There is an electric atmosphere here and the perfect place for a snack or spot of lunch as there is an open mezzanine floor where you can savour the delights of your purchases while people spotting below.

 

This is a must for children of all ages as it exposes them to the sounds, smells and delights of the traditional markets.

family breaks Limerick    family breaks Limerick    family breaks Limerick  family breaks Limerick   Limerick

family breaks LimerickNext we took a carriage tour with Limerick Carriage Tours through the streets of Limerick which was very enlightening bringing us to our next destination, King John’s Castle. I was only sorry I did not know about the the night tours before we arrived as viewing the city by night is meant to be amazing. The Medieval and Georgian tour interests me also. Limerick City is due to receive The Purple Flag award in the near future which is the international accreditation for town centres in the evening and at night from 5pm to 5am. Like a Blue Flag, centres that achieve the required standards of 30 criteria can fly the flag. Purple Flag destinations distinguish themselves by being Vibrant, safe and Well-Managed.
family breaks LimerickKing’s John Castle is located in the heart of the city and a family would want to give themselves a few hours here. This is a must for any enjoying family breaks Limerick. There is a visitor centre bringing to life over 800 years of dramatic local history with state of the art interpretive activities, exhibitions, 21st century touch screen technology, 3 D models and discovery drawers which are many of the exciting techniques used to connect children to the tales of siege and warfare. Children will love the dazzling array of computer generated animations and ghostly projections as they travel back through time. The Education and Activity Room is bustling with tasks to stimulate curious minds.
St. Johns CoinOnce you have finished this section you will arrive in the busy castle courtyard, to discover a medieval campaign tent, a blacksmiths forge and scenes from a seventeenth century siege. The sights, scenes and sounds of King John’s Castle and its environs all combine to recreate the atmosphere of the era.  You can then climb the windy castle stairs to the highest turrets of the castle and enjoy the views across Limerick city and the sacred Thomand Park! While there are many picnic tables dotted around the castle courtyard, the cafe offers some refreshing and tasting options in the glass atrium overlooking this space.

St. Johns Cafe  St. Johns Craig  family breaks Limerick
Get westFor the more adventurous of you Get West do kayaking on the river Shannon through this amazing city and brings you along the front of the imposing King John’s Castle. You would need to book this activity in advance. No trip to Limerick would be complete without a visit to Thomand Park to enjoy a guided tour, experience the history of Munster Rugby through visual aids & images and test your skills in the interactive game zone. My husband treated this like a pilgrimage to pay homage to the mightly one!!!! I don’t know would I command as much respect as this sacred ground! It is a very easy city to get around and good for shopping if you get a free moment or two.
Radisson Hotel RoomNow after all that fun in Limerick we were delighted to retreat back to the hotel. The Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel have made it their business to become a haven for families in search of a fun and relaxed family break. Not only do they have the large open spaces  and playground outdoors there are also kids activities laid on for the kids in doors. During the peak holiday season a marquee is even erected to accommodate the families that come in their droves time and time again. Now don’t worry it is no Butlins but they have the room to accommodate families alongside other residents with great ease retaining the four star atmosphere.

family breaks LimerickOn the Saturday night when we returned The Global Explorers was running from 5-9 and the children made their own pizzas for their dinner and after dinner had great fun water zorbing in the hotel pool. To be honest I could have been swayed to give up a quite romantic meal for this myself as it looked like enormous fun. The kids club is available both day and evening while the demand requires and not just in peak season. Now not many hotels can offer this so you don’t have to wait till the holidays to enjoy all this hotel has to offer us families. 5-9 is a perfect time for the kids evening activities as once you have dropped off the kids there is plenty of time to get dressed at your leisure, fit in a pre-dinner drink or as we did a cocktail at the cocktail bar before relaxing in the restaurant to enjoy the gourmet delights of the locally sourced cuisine.

Radisson Hotel Lobby 1We enjoyed the steak which was purchased in O’Connell’s Butchers in Limerick City which is an attraction in itself as we have popped in while walking around the city earlier that day and it is truly a traditional butchers offering a traditional service. It was one of the best steaks we have had to date. The previous night we dined in the bar and not only was it very relaxed but the staff were extremely helpful. There was a wide choice on the menu and plenty to suit all requirements.

Radisson Hotel PoolThere is a small but perfectly formed pool however there are scheduled children’s times so check these out before you head down. There is great availability in these times so don’t worry. Make sure you take advantage of the kids club hours and book into The Rain Spa, it is well worth a visit. The outdoor hot tub, fabulous thermal suite and warm relaxation rooms will refresh you alone. We brought a book and totally rejuvenated both our bodies and mind. I enjoyed the Radisson Hotel SpaSoothing Hot Toddy Body’ which included a  full body buff with lime and lemongrass body salt scrub and a warming cedarwood and frankincense back, neck and shoulder massage followed by a hot toddy drink while unwinding in the relaxation area. Now I am all for spending time and catching up as a family when we are away with the kids but I truly believe in taking a few hours out to yourself to read a book and indulge in the spa making for a relaxed mommy and daddy and thus more quality family time when you catch up afterwards!

Radisson Hotel TreatmentThe Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel in Limerick can cater for families of all shapes and sizes as it offers an excellent standard in family accommodation and the reception team are very welcoming and accommodating to all your needs. Dining is not a battle either as the standard and choices for the children were excellent. At certain times of the year, kids came make their own smoothies for breakfast which I am sure would be a cause for great excitement! We enjoyed dining at the hotel throughout as it was exceptionally delicious from breakfast through to dinner.

family breaks Limerick

What I loved the most about the Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel in Limerick is that it allowed us to indulge in four star luxury in at family breaks Limerickrelaxed atmosphere with the kids in tow. You are in the centre of so many different types of activities so the daily car trips are short and if you just want to chill the hotel is the perfect spot to do this. While they make a tremendous effort to provide the ultimate family experience they still can combine this with four star luxury, what more can you ask for!

 

 

Family Breaks Limerick

The Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel in Limerick are currently running a special offer for the midterm and if you have not booked anywhere yet make sure you check this out, as I love that kids eat dinner for free while dining with parents:

Zorbing

FEBRUARY MIDTERM GETAWAYS

Enjoy a family break at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick. Reconnect, relax and have fun with a 2-night stay in our Deluxe Family Rooms.

THIS OFFER INCLUDES:

  • Accommodation for 2 nights in a Deluxe Family Room (2 adults and 2 children)
  • Super Breakfast Buffet each morning
  • Complimentary access to Global Explorers Kids Club
  • 3-course dinner in Porters Restaurant on 1 evening of choice
  • Children 12 and under eat dinner free from the children’s menu when accompanied by at least 1 parent paying full price for at least 1 main course
  • Complimentary access to Rain Spa & Leisure Club
  • Wild Atlantic Way Discounted Card – 20% off nearby local attractions
  • Late Check-out (14:00)

Radisson Playground 1    family breaks Limerick

DESCRIPTION

Kids stay and eat free at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick, a beautiful, refurbished, family-friendly 4-star hotel. Relax with a spa and leisure centre with landscaped gardens, a playground and lots of children’s activities. Located on Ennis Road, the hotel lies a stone’s throw away from all the fun-filled attractions the region has to offer. To help you make the most of your stay, we provide a list of discounted family day passes for many nearby attractions, so you can find an activity to suit everyone in your family.
We particularly recommend:

Global Explorers Kids Club

The kids can enjoy complimentary access to Global Explorers Kids Club at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick. Activities are from 17:00 to 21:00 and are suitable for children ages 4-12 (February Midterm activities schedule to be confirmed).

On-site activities include:

  • Pony Trekking
  • Track and Trail
  • Water Zorbing
  • Archery
  • Make Your Own Pizza

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  • Booking start date: 1 Jan 2017
  • Booking end date: 22 Feb 2017
  • Offer is available for stays from 17-26 Feb 2017.
  • Package includes VAT and is valid for 2 adults and 2 children sharing a family room for 2 nights’ accommodation.
  • This package is available both midweek and weekends, subject to availability.
  • Additional nights can be reserved on request, subject to availability.

 

 

Skellig Watersports

Family Days Out in South Kerry

On a beautiful summers day in South Kerry we took to the gorgeous picturesque beach of Ballinskelligs for an afternoon of sand, sea and fun! Not only does the beach have very good facilities but there is a quaint little coffee shop and Skellig Watersports have a beach hut where you can try out some water fun activities.

img_4504We rented a duo kayak as the bay of Ballinskelligs is the perfect place for kayaking being very sheltered and surrounded by gorgeous scenery to enjoy, not to mention the many nooks and crannies you can explore. Craig, Saoirse and Thomas all shared the one kayak which was ideal as they all had a chance to use the oars without being exhausted. The kayaks were only €20 an hour to rent even the duos which take up to three which I thought was very reasonable for the fun you get out of it!

img_4492There is a rich variety of sea life to see in Ballinskelligs bay including schools of bottlenose and common dolphins as well as grey seals which are often seen basking on the harbour rocks but unfortunately we did not come across any while we were there.

img_4486Skellig Watersports have two types of kayaks available to rent – singles and duos (these can take up to 3 people). All the kayaks are ‘sit on top’ boats which means complete beginners can easily master them. They also offer surfing, paddle boarding and windsurfing. I thought this was the perfect activity/facility to have available at a beach and a fantastic combination for those family days out in South Kerry!

Blackberry Picking

Foraging for blackberries is such a fun and uplifting experience for kids to enjoy while encouraging children to set a life-long interest in nature and natural un-processed foods. Look out for blackberries growing on bramble bushes in woodland and hedgerows. (Avoid picking any next to roadsides though – they’ll be polluted by traffic fumes).

blackberry picking

With blackberry picking, it’s all about timing keep an eye out from the end of August but do not wait too late and miss out to Jack Frost. My advice is to get picking as soon as possible to ensure a quality yield. There are superstitions around picking berries after the end of September. It is said that they are then to be left for the fairies, (or the Púca). This coincides with the fact that the berries tend to be mouldy and quite unappetising by that stage.

blackberry picking

Blackberries are bursting full off berry goodness, being mineral rich and high in magnesium and potassium. They are an excellent source of dietary fibre and it is said that some varieties have more dietary fibre, weight for weight, than wholemeal bread. They are a good source of Vitamin C, so feasting on blackberries is a pleasurable way to build up resistance to winter colds and flus.

Blackberry Picking 2

Once you have collected your bounty its time to go home and have fun making jams, smoothies, blackberry crumble or just freeze a few so you can continue to enjoy their flavour throughout the winter. All in all you can get more than just a few hours of fun from your day out and best of all, you don’t need your wallet to cash in on the yields.

Blackberry Picking 3

Quick and Easy Recipe for Blackberry Jam

  • Place 1kg of sugar, 1kg of blackberries and juice and zest of one lemon in a large pot.
  • Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring until all the sugar dissolves.
  • Cook the jam for approximately 15 minutes or until it reaches 105˚C on a sugar thermometer.
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