Who else has had enough of January already? One of the first things I do in the dark days of early January is try to get some sort of travel plans ready for later in the year. Something to look forward to. Christmas is such a build up and then suddenly it’s all over and the evenings are still short and it’s cold outside. Planning trips is an excellent antidote to that and we get the boys involved too.
My 9 year old is crazy-obsessed with roads. Yes I said roads, not soccer or Harry Potter (although I’m delighted he’s loving Harry Potter too). He knows all numbers for even the smallest lanes and regional roads. When we made our family bucket list for 2018 his goal is to go on ALL the motorways in Ireland. Anyway you get the idea. Roads are important.
This year we’ve a new project on the cards. We will be converting a Volkswagen transporter van into a Camper for our camping trips. We have been camping a bit last year in our tent, but having a van will make it much easier especially to go camping outside of the summer season in Ireland. The extra bit of warmth means we can use it year round, although I’m not sure how I feel yet about camping in winter. I’m looking forward to the planning and getting it converted or changing it ourselves to make it more camping friendly. The boys are already planning routes and where we are going to go. It seemed timely that I was contacted by Chill Insurance to share their new e-book Ireland’s Drives with my followers. Their e-booklet holds info about cultural, food, music, history and family road trips around Ireland and also some handy safety tips for driving on our roads in winter.
While interested in the food recommendations which included three Michelin star restaurants, I think if I get to check those out it will be date night with himself rather than a family affair! Our idea of family gastro-tourism involves the best restaurants that cater for kids and more importantly cater well for allergies. We have found quite a few favourites in places we travel to regularly such as The Kitchen and Pascal Coffee House in Galway city. I was much more interested in the family drives guide in the e-book. Their recommendations are Doolin caves, which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t been to even though I’ve spent a lot of time in Clare and visited the Cliffs of Moher and Ailiwee caves and beautiful Lahinch. I am putting Clare definitely high on the agenda for when our camper is up and running.
Another recommendation was Dublin Zoo, which is a family favourite with everyone. The boys went lately with their uncle and aunt. The turtle-obsessed 6 year old was so happy in the reptile house! Their recent Wild Lights show was meant to be amazing, I really hope to go to it if they do it again, we were too busy this year.
And the third family recommendation was the Aran Islands… a favourite of mine growing up as my aunt worked for the ferry company. I know we got a few trips out of that and loved the adventure! The drive out to get the ferry is so scenic and the Aran Islands themselves are out of this world. I’ve been meaning to bring the boys for the longest time. Maybe 2018 will be the year.
I could add many more drives around Ireland that we already know well and love. In the East, I would recommend Kilmore Quay, Hook Head, Wells House, Altamont Gardens, Bray Head, Kilmacurragh Botanic Gardens and Newgrange and in the West where we visit frequently we are big fans of Coole Park, Salthill, Furbo beach, Cleggan, Louisburgh, the greenway in Westport, Westport House. I am looking forward to finding lots of new favourites in our camper!
I would love to hear your recommendations for camp sites or places to visit around Ireland?