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.

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.

The Secret Garden at Fota House

If you are in search of Things To Do in Cork August Bank Holiday Weekend with children than look no furthere than The Sercret Garden production in Fota House and Gardens. Come to Fota House for an evening of mystery and intrigue this summer with an open-air production of The Secret Garden on Thursday 1st August at 6.30PM. Bring the family, a picnic and some blankets and enjoy a wonderful performance by Chapterhouse Theatre on our front lawn – the perfect evening for all the family.

 Join young Mary Lennox on a journey of discovery as she is sent to her uncle’s house in the countryside, where mysteries and secrets lurk around every corner… As she makes new friends and encounters magical creatures, Mary has one burning question: where is the location of her uncle’s secret garden, and where has he hidden the key? Relive this enchanting tale of secrecy and curiosity at Fota in what will be one of the highlights of the summer.

 Tickets are €14 per child, Adults €19 or family (2+2) €56 and can be pre-booked online Gates open 5.30PM.

 things to do in cork august bank holiday weekend

By supporting our events visitors are contributing to the ongoing restoration and conservation of Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens which is owned and managed by the Irish Heritage Trust charity.


For details on all our events or to book, visit us at or call 021 4815543.

The Wizard of Oz Cork Opera House

Every Summer the Cork Opera House presents a Summer Musical which is perfect for families to enjoy and these productions are nearly becoming as popular as Panto. We were very excited when we heard this year it would be The Wizard of Oz as this is one of our favourites so we did not delay in going to see it.

Wizard of Oz Cork Opera House

While this delightful production of The Wizard of Oz Cork Opera House boasts a wonderfully innocent sweet Dorothy and a fantastically scary wicked witch of the west, it must be said that it was the turn of the little dog Toto played by actor Joshua Ellershaw to steal the show!! I just loved him and was amazed by how he stayed in character so impeccably, taking on the quirky mannerisms, facial expressions and movements of a small dog all while running on all fours across the stage or waiting patiently waging his tail.Wizard of Oz cork Opera House

What impressed me the most and stands out for me from any other production that I have seen in a long while were the scene transitions. There were dramatic, clever, creative and so imaginative. As the tornado rips through the stage, objects, people, Dorothy on her bed and even a COW twirl and fly around until they land in the magical land of Oz scene with the same creativity in the sets. The special effects were equally brilliant and the scene where the wicked witch is killed with a bucket of water is equal to those created in the movie if not more real as George Hanover who plays this character was outstanding.

The production team were also very clever in how they lifted vital elements of the set like the yellow brick road up off the stage so the young audience could see more clearly.

Wizard of Oz Opera House Cork


The only small downside I would have of Wizard of Oz Cork Opera House is that it was almost three hours long. Now the director did not cut anything scene out which was great but it was a tiny bit too long for kids to stay sitting and in the last 20 minutes they were getting tired. May be book a matinee so you avoid this.

Final Thoughts

It was a thoroughly professional production and would appeal to all ages and grown ups who appreciate musicals. There is a couple of loud bangs throughout the show, but it probably has fewer startling moments than the average panto. I would go again and again. Toto Rocks!!!!!!


Opera House Cork Wizard of Oz

What the Kids Said:

Saoirse: “Brilliant, can we go again?”

Thomas: “How did Toto learn to bark like that and did you see how he was moving on his legs? What did they do with the witch after? I don’t really like the movie but I loved when it is a play……………………………………………………….”

The show will run until 26th August 2018 and you can book your tickets to Wizard of Oz Cork Opera House by clicking here!

Family Events and Fun Things to Do Ennistymon, Clare

While in Clare you can ensure that the whole family has fun by going to the family events, adventure parks and many other fun areas. Stay in the falls hotel to enjoy plenty of family themed activities, visit the Atlantics AirVenture and Leisure world, and even go and see the world renowned Cliffs of Moher. You certainly won’t be short of exciting and fun things to do.

The Falls Hotel

family eventsThe Falls Hotel is one of the great places in Ennistymon that offers family fun, events and activities. The hotel is located at an ideal location, allowing you to fully explore all the activities and sites County Clare has to offer. Some activities you and your family can enjoy while staying at The Falls Hotel include water-surfing, golfing and kite surfing. With that there are lots of other fun events throughout the year such as  a Christmas Party Night on December 16.  This is a fun filled event and everyone is welcome as long as they try dress up and have fun!

Atlantic AirVenture

For the adventurous types interested in sky high activities, the Atlantic AirVenture Aviation Museum is the perfect place. Atlantic AirVenture provides informative and interesting programmes for families, which dedicated engineers, aviators and industry professionals deliver and make each activity possible thanks to their expertise, experience and passion.

Leisure World Ennis

If you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing in the evenings then Leisure World Ennis is the place for you. Here you will find everything from a computerized bowling system to slippery slides, a play area, and much more. Leisure World is kid’s dream, allowing them to play rope bridges, mini football, shoot cannons, play basketball and play in the huge ball pool as long as they want. Aswel as this the teenagers or adults can have It fun playing pool, snooker, laser games and more. You’ll be sleeping all through the night after a day here!

Cliffs of Moher

One of the most visited attractions in Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher offer the whole family a majestic experience seeing sites such as Galway Bay, Aran Islands, the Maam Turk Mountains, The Twelve Bends and the Loop Head. Near the Cliffs of Moher you can see the Atlantic Edge Display, where you’ll find exciting exhibits, images and displays organized around four main themed areas. The Cliff is home to the biggest seabird-nesting colony in the mainland and is a Special Protected Area, the perfect place for nature and outdoor lovers alike.

When you visit Ennistymon you won’t have to worry about keeping the kids entertained or finding activities and restaurants to suit all ages as there is so many attractions and adventures to suit everyone.  To make the best of your trip and see and do the best things to specifically suit you, simply visit and we’ll help you find the best holiday for you.

Discover…Fota Island Resort

In 2015, 65,000 excited visitors saw the big man himself in Wish at Fota Island Resort and this year with “Discover” they hope to welcome 75,000 visitors. Even though it is one of the most successful and largest experience for Santa in Cork if not Ireland you do not feel these crowds, that you are being herded through or better still that you are not the most important guest to see Santa! Fota Island have stuck to their principles and at all times provides a five star experience for each and every guest no matter how big or small!

 Santa in Corkdiscover-1Santa in Cork

In previous years it has been voted the Best Santa Experience by readers of Primary Times, and it also came out on top in a vote by listeners of The Ray D’Arcy Show. It is easy to see why because rather than becoming complacent in their success or dolling out the same as last year they have turned the whole thing on its head and offers an exciting and enchanting new experience to delight returning and new visitors alike.

 Santa in CorkSanta in CorkSanta in Cork

So last Sunday we checked in at the Alpine Lodge and then ventured into to see Santa first which was perfect as we had very little delay (not that a delay would have mattered as the kids were very well entertained by Santa’s Elves to get us in the festive mood). After a magical stroll to Santa’s house we were greeted by a warm fire, an elf on hand to help with the photos, and Santa himself in the jolliest of moods displaying his usual encyclopaedic knowledge of what all children want for Christmas and their hobbies.

Santa knew Saoirse and Shanea love Irish dancing while Thomas is a keen hurler. The children were star struck and even our little 7 month old who is often strange with others sat on his lap in wonder and Santa seemed to be an old pro with babies… These are the most magical moments you will remember forever as a family.

discover-20discover-18Santa in Cork

Santa joyfully instructed his friendly elf, Pudding, to take a photo and hand over some presents but before we were off he whispered to the children not to open the presents till they get to the car as they were magic and may disappear…..

It was great to see Santa so early because after that we travelled around at our own pace. No one’s calling you on or holding you back. In our own time we skipped down Candy Lane as instructed by an eager elf and when I say we skipped oh boy did we skip as my eight year old daughter full of the joys of Christmas ensured we did so. Now for the adventure!

discover-6discover-8Santa in Cork

We drank some shrinking juice and entered a teleporter which was no amateur model. The teleporter had a lot of buttons to push and switches to be turned on before we arrived at our final destination, The North Pole, which was by far the greatest surprise of all. For those of you who have only dreamed about the North Pole, it is just as you would imagine, quaint and colourful little houses with interesting Christmassy places to visit. A Christmas helter skelter takes centre stage of this enchanting wonder land of fun. We received snow cones and hot chocolate while we were entertained by all the elves busy at work but eager for us to join them. There is a reason why Fota Island carry out auditions with such high standards for their elves as they must be the bubbliest and happiest creatures who seem love their roles.


We finally dragged the children away from the magic of the North Pole by coaxing them with some promises of more fun in the market but in order to get back to Cork we had to venture through a special tunnel which created enormous excitement and shrieks of delight as our teeth and skin changed colour, we presume we were just returning to normal size…


After about two hours since the start of our journey we are finally greeted by the fresh air and dark skies of Fota Island golf course in order to end the evening with the Christmas markets, ready for more hot chocolate and a go on the merry-go-round. There is also an opportunity for hot food or a chance to pick up some Christmas gifts if they are not too tired after all that excitement.


A friend of mine recently informed me that she loved Discover at Fota Island because with one older child and two teenagers Discover is a rare experience for Santa in Cork that they will all enjoy and she does not want to give up these moments. I think that’s why it stands out the most as it is truly a place for both young and old. Discover will wrap around you like a soft fleece blanket and protect you against these cold winter days filling you with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. It is a place where for a brief few hours’ adults can be children again and together with their little ones discover all the joys of this magical time and beautiful moments that will last a lifetime….

Santa in Corkdiscover-24discover-26

Discover continues at Fota Island Resort until December 23 – checkout for booking opportunities and to see Santa in Cork! 

PS. It is perfectly suitable for buggy’s which come in handy if not just to carry the presents(which were as always top quality)!

Cinderella..Christmas Pantos in Cork

Christmas Pantos In Cork

christmas pantos in corkIt is that time of year, oh yes it is…. Christmas always starts in our house with the panto and what better panto than the all time favourite story of Cinderella! This year’s Christmas Pantos in Cork Opera House, Cinderella is family panto of the classic kind, made up of the usual suspects including Fairy Wanda, the slightly old and under-qualified fairy godmother as the panto dame, a clumsy and shy price charming, sweet little Cinders and two very rude and nasty ugly sisters aka Booty and Licious.


Christmas Pantos in CorkIt’s a colourful lively production with gorgeous quaint sets, great costumes and plenty of comical audience interaction with the usual topicality, campness, bling and current pop songs. You know the kids are loving it when they are giving it welly, jumping out of their seats to warn poor Cinderella and hopping up to sing and dance every five minutes. They were exhausted by the end of the first act.

Christmas Pantos in CorkCinderella was your picture perfect princess and Fairy Wanda pulls off a neat bit of magic in the scene just where Cinders prepares to leave for the ball with her rags turning into a beautiful gown right in front of our eyes which wowed the audience before raising the bar further with a flying full size horse to take her by carriage to the ball.



christmas pantos in corkMy favourite scene without giving too much away was a comical conversation between the barron and fairy godmother at the ball which took the form of well-known songs.

All in all its two-and-a-half hours of wholesome family fun for smallies as well as older kids as it captures all imaginations and plenty of comedy to keep the adults entertained!

The show runs until 22nd January with tickets from €25 and family tickets from €80. Click here to book your tickets!

Fota House Easter Egg Hunt

This year the annual Fota Easter Egg Hunt had a a Peter Rabbit and Friends theme and even the sometimes damp weather did not spoil our fun.

Fota Easter Egg Hunt 2016 14

The grounds at Fota House are gorgeous and lend themselves perfectly to the adventures of Peter Rabbit including Mr. McGregors garden and much more…

Fota Easter Egg Hunt 2016 13       Fota Easter Egg Hunt 2016 9

The children had great fun enjoying the activities set up for them, following the trail and most of all running along the gorgeous landscaped gardens. They did not even notice the drizzle of rain that fell from time to time.

Fota Easter Egg Hunt

The trail was set it very well with plenty of sign posts to follow and fun stops on the way. There was plenty of time and space to run and explore for little excited ones! Fota House and Gardens is an excellent place to explore to pass away an afternoon, check out more by clicking here!

Fota Easter Egg Hunt 2016 7       Fota Easter Egg Hunt 2016 6

The team members at each stage were very friendly and interacted great with the children but that was not the end of the Fota Easter Egg Hunt as there were old time games set up for the children to enjoy while the parents sampled the delights of the market stalls in front of the house! Once the children had completed the trail and handed up their cards, they received a well deserved chocolate egg!

Fota Easter Egg Hunt 2016 4      Fota Easter Egg Hunt 2016 3

The egg hunt was well organised and collecting your cards was seemless so well done to Fota House and Gardens for organising such a fun activity in the great outdoors. Each ticket cost €8.50 and adults were free and you could spend a good half a day here so great value for money! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for more activities on

Fota House


Easter Science Camp Cork

Easter Science Camp Cork

This Easter, Anyone for Science will run a 2-day camp at Life time lab from Tues 29th Mar-Wed 30th March 2016,10 am – 2 pm and in The Cork Institute of Technology from Thurs 31st Mar – Fri 1 Apr 10 am – 2 pm as well as many other venues across the country.

Easter Science Camp Cork     Easter Science Camp 2

We joined the camp in Midleton for two days last week and I must say that the children had great fun and were sorry it was not on for a week. I did not expect my 6 year old boy to enjoy it as much as he did as it was alot of work indoors in a classroom but he thoroughly enjoyed it and pick up alot of the information being relayed to him through experiments and the arts and crafts they did.

Science Camp   Easter Science Camp 4

At this two day camp the children had fun doing age appropriate experiments and work on some building/make projects all relating to flight. They built kites, paper helicopters, hoovercrafts, paper aeroplanes, hot air balloons!

Camp Outline

  • 10-10.15 Introductory Game
  • 10.15 – 11.15 Experiments
  • 11.15-11.30 Supervised play, outside if possible
  • 11.30-12.30 Experiments
  • 12.30-13.00 Lunch with supervised play, outside if possible
  • 13.00-14.00 Experiments

Easter Science Camp Cork                   Easter Science Camp Cork

They learnt all about flight starting from the early ideas of kites, hot air, lighter than air flight right up to modern jets and they are busy all week telling me all! It is great to see they picked up so much and their interest in such things! One child cost €70 while 2 children cost €133 and three €175. They are running further camps in the summer so make sure you watch out for them and I would recommend!

For more information check out:

There are a number of summer camps also organised if you missed out on the Easter camps. Click here for more information.


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