I can recommend County Sligo in the west of Ireland for a fantastic family holiday outdoors.
We are just back from two weeks in Yeats country.
What a wonderful time we had exploring beaches, lakes and mountains in the mist, rain and sun.
We drove from Wales to Ireland, taking a ferry to Dublin Port and drove straight west via the M50 tunnel.
We stopped enroute at Mollie Moos, a lovely open farm on the shores of Lough Ennell near Mullingar. With young children I think it makes any car journey over an hour so much better when one plans ahead with stopping points where the kids can let off steam. Open farms are great but the stop could also be a quick walk along a river, in a wood or up a hill.
On every day of our holiday in County Sligo it was a combination of mist, rain or sun. The frequent changes in weather certainly make for breath-taking scenery, but only if you are in the right place at the right time. We hedged our bets by spending the majority of every day outdoors!
Highlights of the trip were as follows:
Lough Gara Riding Stables, which also had a shed full of rabbits (big hit with boys).
Keash caves, which the boys called the “banshee caves” as they found them quite scary.
Eagle’s flying, a wonderful close up encounter with birds of prey from barn owls to white-tailed eagles, and even some non-flying pigs!
Lough na Leibe, a lake so well off the beaten track it took us two trips to find and it was full of trout and crayfish!
Glencar waterfall and lake was amazing. We didn’t get a photo of the waterfall as it was absolutely lashing rain but when the rain cleared the views on the lake were spectacular. The Tea Shed café is well worth a visit.
Gillighan’s World was the most interesting find of the trip. A magical place filled with fairies, but what most excited the boys was hundreds of tiny frogs all clambering and hopping around the ponds!
We visited Streedagh beach many times when the sun came out. An area with a strong historic connection with the Spanish Armada and the Grange and Armada Association have been doing wonderful awareness raising work, including hosting an annual Celtic Fringe Festival.
Lissadell House is a must visit place not only for the house and gardens, but also for a fascinating insight into its connections with Countess Markievicz and William Butler Yeats. However, the boys’ main interest was scrumping apples in the orchard and Dad’s close encounter with Molly the parrot.
Last but not least we enjoyed several trips to the Darty mountains, full of spectacular views, but what was remembered most was the burned out gangster car!
What about you? Have you been on an outdoors holiday to Ireland?
Please feel free to post your experiences and views.