I need green! I crave green fields and empty spaces! Maltese people are deprived of these things as our Island although beautiful lacks a lot of green, open spaces! So, I took my family for a breather to the Emerald Isle…Ireland!
The weather in Malta was suffocating for a while so breathing freshness was the pill I needed.
We stayed with friends, an hour from Dublin airport in a tiny village called Redcross. We had an issue here to hire a car as most car hire companies ask for a large credit and they also ask for a credit card. We do not have a credit card we work on debit cards and that’s how I like it. Besides why should I freeze €2000 as a deposit on a car hire!? It’s too much! We looked far and low on the internet and finally we came across this great company called Easirent.com. They are great because not only do they accept debit cards but their service was impeccable and only on €100 deposit. We also paid full insurance as I believe peace of mind is always worth that €50 euro. We had a ford focus with navigator included and in less than 30 min from our arrival at the airport we were flying down the motorway. We arrived late but the sun was still up, remember it gets darker later in Ireland than any place in the Mediterranean.
For the first day I didn’t want to travel a lot, the whole point of my holiday was not to visit the Irish ruins and touristic places I would need more than 4 days for that! What we did need was to give the kids a real taste of the Island and some freshness for my lungs so wanted to visit gardens and valleys. The kids had a blast in our friends’ garden, kids have so much fun with the simplest of thing, they helped out in filling the bird feeds and loved running in the wet grass!
If we didn’t have friends in Ireland I would certainly look for a place to stay that has a garden as kids can run free while you pack the things for the day.
We headed for a National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh East county Wicklow but, on the way our friend wanted to show the kids a beach that he loved. So we headed for Brittas Bay (find out more here) and I am so glad we did! It was so nice to just let the kids be kids!
After an hour or two at Britas Bay, we headed off to the Botanical Garden, Kilmacurragh. When we got to the gates the sight took my breath away! The drive through to the car park was surrounded by rhododendron trees as bright pink as magenta could ever be.
It felt like a dream with the petals falling with the soft breeze and surrounded by tall evergreens and green grass everywhere. It felt like it was raining rhododendrons and to top this up the sun was blazing! Find out what else we did at Kilmacurragh here.
2nd day of our weekender we decided to give the kids a treat that the locals would do on a Saturday morning. We visited Kia Ora Mini Farm in Gorey, Wexford. A small little farm that has a few animals but that’s not all. To find out what my kids enjoyed the most follow this link.
After some excitement for the little explorers came my favourite relaxing method – pure countryside! We headed to Glen Malure, a U-shaped glacial valley with a history to share. Our friends had their own stories to tell about the place and I wanted to create my own fantasy stories. For more details on Glen Malure follow me here.
Bray was on our to do list while in Ireland, a seaside village with a fantastic promenade. So on Sunday that’s were we headed and we had a little surprise for the kids here too, find out what it was and what else you can do at Bray with kids here.
That evening we headed for Wicklow town to eat at a fish restaurant that has become famous because a Seal likes to come visit it every day to get his breakfast lunch and dinner – check him out on you tube – Sammy the Sea Lion of Wicklow. We even met the Seal as he came to say hallo to the kids, unfortunately my camera was not fast enough to catch the moment. The Lighthouse restaurant is also a fishmonger during the day so has fresh fish daily.
The only thing that I would have changed would be the service as we had asked for oysters and the first waiter said that they didn’t have while when we asked again to another waiter she actually took the initiative to go and ask and we were pleased to say the first waiter was wrong. There were a few other mishaps from the waiter’s side but apart from that the food was good and if you kids love muscles and fish the way my kids do, it’s a place to go. After the meal my husband went to have his last pint of Guinness at the pub while I enjoyed a good read as the kids were fast asleep.
On our last day we had our lunch with our friends at a famous restaurant called Jack White. The restaurant from the outside looks run down but when you go inside you are welcomed by high, barn like ceilings and a stone fireplace. The service was great and the food just as much! Unfortunately our time had come to say goodbye but we are sure to be back as it was too short a stay!! One thing I recommend for first time visitors to Ireland is not to fit in too much, Ireland is BIG and to fit all areas is stressful. For all those that are travelling with little explorers don’t forget your wellington boots, you would even need them in August!
For more information on Ireland check out my links and also our collaborator Claire has more stories to share with you. Her little explorers will soon be Big ones so her adventures would be different to mine and so would be her tips.