ASD Freindly Hotels in Ireland

Planning family holidays tend to be a military operation at the best of times, but when you are travelling with autistic children things can get even more complicated. Holidays should be fun and relaxing, but when travelling with a child on the autistic spectrum, it can become a very stressful experience. They can feel anxious about everything, from the general unknown to their new accommodation and enviorment, new food, new people and much more. However in recent year’s we have seen a move within the tourism industry to become more ASD friendly, offering a safe enviorment for children with autism, and it is a potential game-changer for these families.

ASD Freindly Hotels

Last year, AsIAm ran a pilot campaign that saw Clonakilty in Cork, become Ireland’s first “autism-friendly” town. In order to acquire this designation, Clonakilty had to go through a robust accreditation process. The Autism Friendly organisations are accredited “Autism Friendly Champions”. Two accommodation providers in the town, namely The Clonakilty Park and Ballynoe House are accredited champions, working closely with AsIAm to achieve a number of key goals to train staff, develop social stories, become service dog friendly, develop a sensory activity specific to the hotel, the creation of a sensory map and a commitment to working with the Clonakilty Autism Friendly Town Committee.

ASD Friendly Accommodation at the Clonakilty Park Hotel

This relaxed, modern hotel is 1 km from Clonakilty town centre and 6 km from the beach at Inchydoney. Informal family rooms are available along with 2- and 3-bedroom apartments and houses adding living areas, and kitchenettes or kitchens. The Clonakilty Park hotel has made every effort to ensure the hotel is as autism friendly as possible, with the key initiatives outlined below.

They developed a sensory map denoting areas of high and low intensity and where specific “triggers” may be. Aquariums were incorporated into their refurbishment design in the lobby and leisure centre.

Clonakilty Park

Prior to or on arrival, an “All About Me” document is provided which enables the child or their parents to outline their specific needs and communication preferences to all members of the team but in particular kids club. A number of social stories were developed for the hotel complex: staying in the hotel, coming for dinner, attending kids club, going to the pool and staying in the bungalows.

ASD Friendly

A “Sensory Box” is available allowing autistic guests to moderate their sensory experience, complete with something to smell, touch and squeeze while the Garden room provides a quiet space with no music and reduced light. Ear defenders are also available at reception.

Finally, a sensory screening in the cinema takes place on the first Saturday of every month where lights are up and sound is turned down for the latest kid’s release.

Click Here for more information on the Clonakilty Park Hotel

Now, the campaign is expanding to 11 further towns – Clane, Bray, Greystones, Wicklow Town, New Ross, Skerries and Lucan, Castlebar, Mallow, Listowel and Tralee.

Sensory Bedrooms at the Radisson Blu, Sligo

The Radisson Hotel & Spa is located in Rosses Point, Sligo. They have opened Ireland’s First, state of the art, Sensory Bedroom, designed for families with children with additional needs in mind.

Created to benefit children with autism, ADHD and a variety of other disabilities, the sensory bedroom at Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Sligo combines a range of stimuli to help children interact using their senses, with colourful lights, soft fabrics and music helping individuals to engage in an enjoyable and non-stressful way.

asd hotel rooms

The sensory bedroom has a mobile sensory trolley, complete with a colour command interactive panel and waterless rainbow tube, allowing children to navigate through a spectrum of colours and patterns, and a range of massage rollers, ear defenders and puppets to enjoy during their stay. Visual media also feature in the sensory bedroom, including an Aura Projector, which projects a series of tropical fish and bird imagery, while fibrotic lights allow guests to enjoy a starry night indoors.

The room was developed by the Radisson’s innovation team in conjunction with Multisensory Ireland, who specialise in the creation of sensory rooms and soft play spaces. Featuring colourful bean bags, bed linen and lava lamps, the sensory bedroom is a welcome reprieve for families and children with additional needs looking to take a relaxing break away.

Click here for more information on the Radisson Blu Hotel

Cork International Hotel

The Cork International Hotel is one of Cork’s top family hotels, with spacious family rooms, kid’s playroom, cinema room and conveniently located right next to Cork Airport, 10 minutes’ drive from Cork City Centre. Recently, the team have been making efforts to improve their experience for families with autistic needs by working with their nominated Charity of Choice, the Rainbow Club Cork. Karen, founder of Rainbow Club, has given training to the team members and both reservations and reception teams are trained to recognise and adjust behaviours to meets the needs of families who may have ASD needs.

autism friendly

A welcome box of useful toys and tools for children with ASD, is made available in the room for guests on arrival while online assistance with story cards/visual aids have been created to enhance their experience.

This ongoing project was interrupted due to the hotel closure as a result of Covid-19 but further work is planned to adapt the Children’s room as more ASD friendly and provide set times.

Click here for more information on The Cork International Hotel

Hotels with Sensory Play Rooms

In Sligo, the Clayton and Yeats Country Hotel have created sensory playrooms complete with features like calming music, sensory boards, plasma balls, moving lights, aromatherapy diffusers, lava lamps and ball pools. While Limavady’s Roe Park Resort in Northern Ireland, has teamed up with Assistance Dogs NI to open an “autism-friendly room”. Their staff have been trained to improve interactions with guests with autism and other additional needs. They have has also produced a ‘social story’, which families can use to familiarise themselves with the hotel and its layout before they arrive, and facilities for in-room dining.

Click here for more information

Clayton Hotel Sligo

Yeats Country Hotel

Roe Park Resort

All this progress to improve the holiday experience for those with additional needs not only benefits the ASD guest but creates an enviorment whereby hotels and holiday providers may be more willing to cater and adapt to individual needs, instilling confidence and extending the all-important welcome to families with ASD or other additional needs.

Families in Lockdown

With one week down many of us have had our lives changed dramatically. Overnight, parents were hurtled into a new world of Lockdown, with no school, extra curriculum activities, playdates and day trips. Home schooling is the new buzz word clogging up our news feed. We are no longer receiving what’s app notifications on match times and training schedules but on links to free curriculum subscriptions and lockdown ideas. The new FOMO is home schooling with parents expected to switch into our new roles seamlessly with no planning or preparation. Never mind the parents who are sharing the kitchen table as a home office.

There seems to be a frantic frenzy to create schedules covering all aspects of the curriculum while children struggle to cope with the sudden halt to their daily routine and been cooped up in their homes without their usual loved ones visiting. I don’t know about you but the amount of arguments and shouting in my house has risen ever so slightly……. Remember learning covers a multitude of disciplines include lego, drawing and imaginative play so we should not feel stressed, overwhelmed and under pressure. Love and supporting our children through these difficult times is our job first and foremost.

Lockdown

Looking back on the last week, I have decided on a routine that suits our family, as I do think it is important to maintain some sort of routine but I also feel it is unique time for us sit back and take stock. Do the things that we are always to too busy to do. Bake a few more cakes, teach the kids how to bake or cook an evening meal. Watch a few more movies, have a few more cuddles and learn how to play cards together. A good friend of mine introduced me to the card game Dobble and charades, the old “play the game version” and not the board game, are firm favourites in my home. Social distancing or stay at home seems to be the most on trend hashtags and while I know it is critical, finding a quite beach or woods for a walk every day or so is vital for our minds and soul. There is a lot of worry in the air and the media are bombarding us with warnings so we need to find ways to keep our homes calm during this lockdown and taking time out or relaxing the schedules seems like a good fit to me. We have also made a few trips to a local pitch and putt course as we have our own clubs and there is no need to interact with anyone else. Craig pops in to pay and the kids wait outside for him so we are keeping our social distance.

Another friend sent me this fantastic link which is a simple yet extremely useful guide for keeping children entertained while learning that has been added to The Everyman Palace resource page. There is something for everyone whatever your school of thought is on entertaining the kids during these crazy times. I love the tip of The Glucksman Art Gallery who are offering daily art activities. Kudos to whoever put this together as it will be my new go to book of tricks in the weeks/months ahead. Just remember we have always been our children’s main educator, so we just need to do what we have always done.

Click here for the link to Primary age appropriate tasks, activities and approaches!

Click here for full listings of resources for adults as well as kids.

Lockdown Ideas – Improvisations

Lock down Ideas – Improvisation Plays

Improvisation is the activity of making or doing something not planned beforehand, using whatever can be found. Improvisation is a very spontaneous performance without specific or scripted preparation.  Improvisational plays are a simple activity for kids and one of my favourite lock down ideas to occupy the kids. Just give them an idea and allow them 15 mins to come up with a plan themselves. You can also allow them to create their own props and costumes wit whats available in the cupboard to them.

Improvisational plays are a great tool for teaching children and helping them develop new skills. Through this form of play, children strengthen language and communication skills, learn to use their own initiative, develop creativity and learn about the world around them. That’s not all, they will also learn how to work together, problem-solve, and increase concentration.

Here are a few fun suggestions for short kids plays:

  • Two friends enter a haunted house and see a ghost.
  • A waiter trying to train a incompetent new employee.
  • A movie star at a premier.
  • A talk show host dealing with a nutty guest.
  • A kid trying to convince a parent to keep a stray dog.
  • The power goes out in 2020.
  • A TV Game Show.
  • First day at new school.
  • Two toys come to life after a toy shop closes.
  • A patient tries to sneak out of a hospital.
  • Three friends fall into a rabbit hole.
  • A magician turns a person into a dog by accident.
  • A protester tries to stop people going into a toy shop.
  • A court battle over who owns a toy doll found on Grafton Street.

You could also create a whatsapp group between friends and upload your videos. Any child that does not like to act could be the camera person!

Keep an eye out here for more lock down ideas!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Revolting Rhymes

“The small girl smiles. One eye flickers,
She whips a pistol from her knickers”

These are the words that brought a packed house down in The Everyman Palace this afternoon as the young audience enjoyed the performance of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. The story of little red riding hood and the three little pigs were brought to life by the Narrator, Chris Schmidt – Martin, who also took on the many personas in a most humours and dramatic way. He was joined on stage by a 11 piece orchestra, not only captivating the audience of young children who would not see an orchestra perform up close that often but also told a story through playful and mischievous music.

revolting rhymes the everyman

I was worried that Lonán (3 year old) would not be entertained by a narrator in a musical setting but when she starting shouting “not by the hair of my chinny chin chin” and “I will huff and puff and blow your house in” I knew I was proven wrong! The highlight for me was when the orchestra sneaked off stage and the children had to remember each instrument and call them back. At the same time it appealed to the older ones with the witty humour and when Thomas (10 years old) said “Is it over already?”it got the seal of approval from me.

It’s a pity it is not running next week as it is an outstanding performance to honour world book day!

The Adventure of the Phantom Ship!

where is the ghost ship in BallycottonWho needs jungle gyms, pet farms or an endless list of mid-term break activities to occupy the kids this week, when you have a ghost ship washed up on the Cork Coastline. This bizarre story of a phantom ship coming ashore as a result of a great storm is the stuff of legends and has captured the imaginations of my kids. The tale of the ghost ship has made headlines throughout the world and how lucky are we that it is on our door step just in time for mid-term break. So this morning, while Craig was having a heated debate with the kids about heading outside and away from screens, he had an idea, bundled the kids into the cars with hiking boots and jackets and headed off in search of the ghost ship.

So where is the ghost ship in Ballycotton?

They walked along the cliff walk from Ballyandreen Beach and viewed the ship from afar. The kids were so excited on their little adventure that they walk along hilly terrain without complaint. Viewing the ship from afar they were mesmerised by the site of this old battered ship on the rocks bringing the legend to life. Once back on the beach they were too excited to go home and splashed and played about the rock pools on this cold February morning as if it was a balmy July afternoon.

ghost shipWhile it is too dangerous to get anywhere close to the vessel, the fact that is marooned in this position out of reach only serves to romanticise the mystery that shrouds it further. So please do not go anywhere near the vessel or put you and your family in harm’s way, leaving it be the bit harmless fun it is. However, that said, if you are looking for something to do with the kids this mid-term. I can highly recommend the hike if the weather is fine just put on wellies and old clothes as it is mucky and beware it can be windy. It is not suitable for buggies or toddlers on foot. It is completely free and how likely are they every going to encounter a phantom ship again. We have had such great discussions about the latter over the last few days that I know this will be a memory that they will recall forever.

Children’s Afternoon Tea for a Special Celebration

Children’s Afternoon Tea Cork

My first baby turned 12 last weekend and we wanted to mark this special occasion with a few close friends so we were delighted to take Vienna Woods up on their offer of their Children’s Afternoon Tea. Twelve is a difficult age to find an activity that they will enjoy with a group and it was only while there that I realised how perfect this activity was for both Saoirse and I. So we got all dressed up in our glad rags and headed off to Vienna Woods on Saturday evening to enjoy this much raved about Children’s Afternoon Tea in Cork. We were pleasantly surprised to enter our own little private area dressed beautifully for afternoon tea with balloons and all. We were greeted by a most enthusiastic and friendly waiter who could not do enough for us. He had great banter with the children so much his character added to the whole experience.

Children's Afternoon Tea Cork

The hot chocolate was served in beautiful china to the children’s delight and when their afternoon tea platters were served they were too excited to know where to start. The wonderful thing about afternoon tea is you have plenty of time to eat, chat, take a break and eat again. While the ham sandwiches were lovely it was the nutella sandwiches that went down a treat as this is something they never get a home. For Saoirse and I, as coeliac, we were really spoilt for choice with gorgeous sandwiches on fresh bread, scones and plenty of sweet treats (not just your usual brownie selection….)

It was a wonderful opportunity just to relax, chill out and enjoy the chat around the table. We left or little threenager at home and had a real girlie evening (bar Thomas, who by the way enjoyed it as much as the girls) with some friends. As Saoirse moves into a new chapter in her life it made me realise that this is not a time for mourning my little baby but a new and exciting era where we can both enjoy such evenings together as opposed to me watching her from the table of a jungle gym or standing under a tree as she climbs.

afternoon tea in cork

The only phone in the room was mine and it quickly disappeared so I could join in the giggles and sample all the delicious treats. Now that is saying alot for an activity for this age. We all had such fun and after I explained the history of afternoon tea in the luxurious surroundings they felt very grand indeed! I had mentioned afternoon tea to Saoirse before and she was not too bother but now she wants to know when we can go again.

Afternoon Tea is really more an experience than just a meal and Vienna Woods have all the ingredients for a really sumptuous and special day out and I would say tops my list for Children’s Afternoon Tea in Cork.

Children’s Afternoon Tea in Cork

Price (at the time of writing):

Afternoon Tea: €28 per person

Afternoon Tea including Prosecco: €32 per person

Afternoon Tea for Kids: €12 per person

To find our more Click Here!

Cork On Ice

Cork on Ice is one of our favourite family Christmas traditions and while we normally go on 27th December this year we went a little later just after new year and I must say it was much more enjoyable as the crowd was smaller and it was more relaxed. In particular the beginner area was much quieter which is very important if you are nervous with the smallies like me.

This year was Lonán’s first time taking to the ice and as Frozen mega fan she was all excited. They had cute little skates for her age (aged 3) which were very safe and allowed her to walk as normal on the ice. While she had fun, she only lasted about half an hour before giving up for the all important hot chocolate and tempting crepes.

The older ones (10,11) loved flying around the larger rink and it’s amazing to see how confident they are on the ice after the annual visit over the last few years. The time slot was 50 mins which is a perfect amount of time as they were just getting tired. The new location of centre park road is very central and the parking is excellent. All in all a most enjoyable experience and we are hoping to return for saoirse’s birthday in a couple of weeks.

Review of Jack and The Beanstalk at The Everyman Palace

Review of Jack and The Beanstalk

This year The Everyman Palace propelled the well-loved fairytale of Jack and The Beanstalk into the 21st century with its vortex to another universe, star wars characters, a mad scientist and its many cultural and social references to The Young Offenders, Tick Toc, Corkonians and much more. We were delighted to be invited along to prepare a review of Jack and the beanstalk from our family experience.

While the performance has plenty of laughs, it’s main strengths lies in the special effects. These captured the imagination in particular of the younger ones with beans growing from a well to a large beanstalk, a fantastic giant and a large lovable Corkonian Goose. If you have smaller children, this is the panto for you. The Everyman Palace claim to be Cork’s Favourite Panto and throughout the performance you will always be reminded that this is a panto produced and performed by proud Corkonians for Corkonians.

Review of Jack and The Beanstalk

It was full of all your usual Panto traditions while cleverly embracing the 21st century. Overall Jack and the Beanstalk is a fun-for-all show with plenty of entertaining mayhem, musical numbers and a lot of positive energy. The favourite saying in our house at the moment is “Give me Peace, Love and Chakras.

Panto Cork Opera House 2019 – Peter Pan

Panto Cork Opera House 2019

It is that most wonderful time of the year again and Panto always kick starts our celebrations in this house as it is ideal for a night out during the cold winter days to come. Following on from the box office record breaking successful Aladdin last year in The Cork Opera House we eagerly awaited Peter Pan, Panto Cork Opera House 2019 and we were not disappointed.

While the traditional story of the adventures of a boy who never grew up, Wendy, Tinkerbell and of course captain hook was apparent, the original storyline and its characters were merely embodied in one-line gags. I cannot remember the last time I laughed so much. Nanny Nellie was outstanding and Smee, Captain Hook’s Sidekick, certainly gave her a run for her money. During the sing off between Captain Hook and Nanny Nellie, I managed to take a breath to notice many of the audience wiping tears from their eyes!

Cork Opera House panto

Featuring jokes involving local characters and political reference in the tradition of the pantomime society to entertain the adults, there were also many social and musical jokes especially for the younger audience and my ten year old boy was falling out of his chair at times in laughter. In today’s world of screens and technology it was a wonderful to see him enjoy such an art performed and staged as its professional best and I know I will have an eager panto buddy for many years to come.

The special effects and set really brought the show to life. While Peter Pan and the Darling Children flew over the London skyline, Nanny Nellie took to the skies in a car with spectacular impact. From the choreography, to the singing, to costuming and stage setting, the show was mesmerising. It was truly a brilliant production.  Alot of dates before Christmas are sold out but the team at The Cork Opera House have confirmed that there are many dates still available in January so don’t miss out, it could be the best €27.50 (Family Pass €90-€120) you’ll spend on any kind of fun this Christmas.

Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland – Kenmare, Co. Kerry

Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland

“Escape the Living” is the tagline used by Kenmare town to describe itself and I cannot think of words more apt to describe it as there is a holiday atmosphere in Kenmare 24/7, 365 days a year. There is a buzz whatever the weather and you will find art, culture, a unique charm and our true Irish heritage around every corner.  It was the first town to be awarded Heritage Town of Ireland and its natural beauty is inherent in that the north of Kenmare is home to Killarney’s National Park while the town itself is nestled into the beautiful Kenmare Bay.

Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland

Kenmare is one of my Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland for many years now so I was thrilled when The Kenmare Bay Hotel invited me to write a review on their holiday lodges that are very popular with families. We stayed here a few years ago in the hotel so we knew we would not be disappointed.

Family Friendly Accommodation

The Kenmare Bay Hotel is located at the edge of Kenmare town. There is a path that will take you directly to town and it is very safe for the kids. I would suggest leaving your car at the hotel as this is only a short walk (approx. 5 mins) and it can be hard to find parking in Kenmare town itself.

Best Holiday Destinations in Ireland

The Kenmare Bay Hotel have family rooms in the hotel but on this occasion we stayed in The Lodges and went self-catering. The lodges themselves are gorgeous and had all the comfort and luxury of a hotel room but with the added space and convenience of self-catering. I was really impressed with the kitchen as we had everything from coffee machine to American style freezer and even kiddie cutlery and plates etc. The picnic table in the patio area was perfect for dining outdoors and the beck garden was enclosed and very secure.

No 1 Holiday Destinations in Ireland

We were in a two bedroom lodge, so the three kids were in one bedroom. The two older ones were in a large double split into twins, and Lonán was on a pull out couch. They were thrilled to find they had a TV in their room as we don’t have this at home and it was a real novelty as well as the ensuite bathroom. Our own bedrooms was also very spacious and the décor was fabulous. The living and kitchen area is huge and the sitting area was lovely and cosy to relax in, in the evenings with a glass of wine.

kenmare bay hotel

Family Friendly Activities

Our favourite feature of The Kenmare Bay Hotel was the swimming pool as this is where you will really notice the family welcome. We must of went here four or five times during our visit and each time the pool staff were supervising and would bring out toys (watering cans, ducks, balls) noodles, dive sticks and even inflatables. There was a small slide and goal posts so it is a great pool to play in. The baby pool was very big and the main pool was extra-large with plenty of room for everyone. When the pool did get very busy I noticed the life guards would take their seat on their perch so it was clear to see safety was paramount. The box of arm bands for those who forgot their own was a thoughtful facility as it can very easily happen and be quite frustrating to have to buy a new pair when you have a perfectly good pair at home. If there was an award for the best family friendly hotel swimming pool The Kenmare Bay Hotel would win it hands down for me.

Other family friendly facilities onsite include an excellent outdoor playground that is enclosed and very secure. The playground equipment was very modern and there was something to suit all ages with plenty of seating. Guests can also make use of the playroom on the second floor but this would be more for younger children and toddlers.

The Kenmare Bay Hotel

The kids club is located in a purpose built room with cooking facilities, perfect for their regular baking classes. My two signed up for this and Saoirse was delighted as they offer gluten free flour for coeliac as standard so she got to make brownies too. What impressed me here the most was how knowledgeable they were about gluten free which put Saoirse and I at great ease. They also had a craft to make in this session. The crafts were fun and interesting with the team members guiding the children through every stage. It was almost like an art class. In the evening they tend to do a messy craft alongside the activity assigned. It is easy to see that this kids club is well planned out with full time staff offering a real quality kids club experience rather than just a standard babysitting service.

Hotels with Kids Club in Kerry

Family Friendly Activities Nearby in the Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland

With plenty to do onsite and the town to explore you won’t have time for much else but if you do get an opportunity to head out I would recommend taking a drive to enjoy some of the amazing scenery in and around Kenmare.

The drive to Killarney is gorgeous and along this road you will find Kissane Sheep Farm, a Large Mountain Sheep Farm. The Farm is situated in The Killarney National Park. The famous panorama of Moll’s Gap is in the middle of the land, overlooking the farm and its animals. You can visit the Farm, see Sheep Dog Demonstrations & during the summer to also see the Sheep Shearing Demonstration. In the spring time there is an opportunity to see the many baby lambs that will be born on the Farm. Since they are a busy working farm they only open to the public for demonstration purposes so just check times and dates before you strike off.

kenmare activities

Kenmare is home to a true hidden gem, Gleninchaquin Park. Gleninchaquin Park is a park like no other in that it provides breath-taking landscapes and scenery. There are streams with log bridges, mountain paths with carved steps, through rock passages, along glens and lakes to higher altitude.  Not to mention the spectacular rock face waterfall. While it is a magnificent day out for a walking enthusiast it is also a magical place for families as there is plenty for the kids to see and if you are lucky like we were the last time we visited we bottle fed some baby lambs. This is a perfect picnic spot and there is even a BBQ area. The kids will love the freedom as well as the interaction with livestock every now and again. I discovered this place many years ago and I am raving about it ever since. The views are so amazing they will even silence the children.

gleninchaquin in kerry

On this visit I discovered another hidden gem on the road from Kenmare to Kilgarvan, The Kilgarvan Motor Museum. We saw a sign post and followed it not expecting to discover a large shed that housed the most impressive private collection of vintage cars.

kilgarvan motor museum

Craig and Thomas are passionate about cars and were blown away at the sheer quality as well as quantity of vintage cars. There must have been 60 or more cars on show from Model TT’s to Porsche and everything in between including American Cars.

kilgarvan

While the collection was impressive enough, the owner, John really made the visit for us. He was extremely knowledgeable and engaged in an in depth discussion for over an hour about the cars and their history. Thomas was enthralled, Craig was in his element and even I learned a thing or two.

motor museum kilgarvan

The photographs and memorabilia of including that of the last Cork Grand Prix in 1938 is what caught my eye and again John offered great insights into this. Many of the cars had a story to tell including a Rolls Royce that was used in world war two and the body work had to be replaced due to bullet holes as a result of a skirmish.

motor museum

Craig promised Thomas that he will take them back on a day trip over the winter and I don’t know if it is more for himself than Thomas. Follow the signpost from Kilgarvan, it is about 2 miles outside the town. For more information Click Here!

motor museum kerry

motor museum ireland

Dining at The Kenmare Bay Hotel

On our first evening we dined in the hotel itself in their restaurant not only because it is easy after the journey down and unpacking but also it is very family friendly. I was delighted to see the kids play corner that had been there on a previous visit, a facility I have yet to see repeated. It is a neat little corner tucked away in the restaurant with plenty of toys, games and books to suit every child. I loved that families are placed around the immediate area of the play area and couples and other guests without children and further away so you do not feel you are disrupting anyone.

Kenmare Bay Hotel for families

The children menu was very well thought out with Buzz Light-year and Frozen themed food options to name just a few. Lonán’s Olaf the Snowman dessert went down a treat so much so that she looks for it in every restaurant since.

It was easy to see that the waiting staff were very family friendly and patient with children not only from our own service but I noticed when they brought menus to a table they also brought age appropriate toys for babies and toddlers that would not make their own way to the play area without even being asked.

Kenmare Bay Hotel Restaurant

The following morning, we went up to the hotel for breakfast and we were delighted to be able to have a relaxed breakfast in peace. Lonán ate a big breakfast quickly and without complaining on the promise that she could run off and play. Now we could enjoy a nice long coffee. I must say if you have babies or toddlers this is the perfect restaurant to reintroduce you to the world of dining out. However, my older two picked up books and other bits to play with at the table also.

Kenmare Bay Hotel Dining

Dining Nearby

Kenmare really is a foodie town with plenty of eateries of every style to choose from. On our second evening we decided to walk into town with the kids to wander around the shops, go for dinner and walk back to the hotel after a little glass of wine or two. We came across the The Lime Tree Restaurant on a previous visit as the building is gorgeous and it sits in such a picturesque setting in the town itself so we were excited to try it out. We must have spent 10 minutes pottering and watching the chef picking herbs in the garden before we went in.

Limetree Restaurant

The kids were in such a relaxed form after the walk and wander around the shops so we could enjoy the gorgeous décor and sumptuous surroundings. There was something to look at in every nook and cranny and the restoration of this building was something to behold. We knew at this stage that the food would not disappoint. That and the fact the restaurant filled up very fast.

restaurants in kenmare

A lot of the ingredients are locally sourced and very well presented. The choices for the children were excellent and as coeliac, Saoirse and I were spoiled for choice. The food was superb and probably one of the best dinners out for some time. I enjoyed the house wine so much that I took the name down to try again.

Lime Tree Restaurant Kenmare

We were too full for dessert but had to try it as we knew it would be excellent and they had Gluten Free Apple Crumble which is a rarity.  It was worth the pain even if I could not finish it.

Lime Tree Restaurant

We were slow to leave as we were enjoying the relaxed surroundings and atmosphere and could have easily sat here for the night. The Lime Tree Restaurant certainly makes it to my top ten family friendly restaurants in Ireland.  When you are self-catering it is nice to splash out on one really nice dinner and this restaurant is a special treat.

Family friendly restaurants in kenmare

Downside

The only downside I would have is that the playroom was a bit small and could do with a little seating area for parents to enjoy a coffee and paper while the kids potter and may be toys for older children.

Final Thoughts

The lodges of The Kenmare Bay Hotel offer all the luxury and comfort you would desire in a hotel break with the convenience of space, privacy and self-catering. Kenmare town, a world class destination coupled with the family orientated swimming pool, kids club and playground of The Kenmare Bay Hotel makes the perfect partnership for a fantastic family break and worthy of the accolade of Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland.

For more information on The Kenmare bay Hotel Click Here!

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