Kerry, we'll be back
Kerry, we'll be back
I have always wanted to describe somewhere as majestic - and boy, is the coastline of Co. Kerry SERIOUSLY majestic. We travelled down by car and amazingly, nobody threw up or wet their pants. This was a seriously good omen.
The car journey wasn't without incident.
There was a lot of "he's touching my skin" and "how many hours left" being yelled pretty consistently from the back seat of the car. But like any good parent, I got some sweet, sweet silence for at least an hour with the Ipad. That's why it was invented, obviously.
Three hours, three wee stops and countless coffees later we arrived at the lovely Rose Hotel in Tralee not far from the beautiful blue flag beach of Banna. It is modern and comfortable with spotless rooms and a wonderful children's menu (roast chicken and peas and melon to start!) We had interconnecting rooms which was ideal for our particular family set-up of two children and a travel cot for our one-year-old. It was a good balance between having our own time while also keeping a good eye on them.
The two eldest children were delighted heading off to the kids club at 5.30pm to have their dinner, do crafts and watch movies with the very friendly and helpful staff. This gave us a chance to have our delicious four-course meal in relative peace (we had one child banging a spoon off a plate instead of three)
As part of the family package, the hotel offers a family pass to the cinema or to the Aqua Dome, Ireland's largest indoor water park, five minutes away. We spent the morning splashing about in the wave pool, the lazy river and little water slides. You can rent armbands there too for 2.50 euro and it is ideal for children of all ages.
Our toddler particularly loved the fountain spray while Daddy was the only one brave enough to do the proper big side.
Next stop was Dingle - this was a very nostalgic trip for me as I had spent many happy summers there as a child. I was delighted to show my little ones the beaches where I had collected shells. Luckily, the weather was sunny and dry.
Then the children tricked us into getting them ice-cream. We stopped at Murphys Ice-Cream shop on the seafront of Dingle Harbour and tried the creamy sea-salt and caramelised brown bread scoops. It's made locally with the milk from local Kerry cows and tastes awesome. A far cry from my childhood picnics of ham and sand sandwiches huddled under a rug on the beach.
Off we went to find Mary at the Dingle Bay Charter on the pier because we were going dolphin hunting! The boats leave Dingle Pier at regular times throughout the day, every day, all year round (weather permitting).
We spent a very enjoyable boat ride admiring the wild Atlantic coastline, trying to spot Luke Skywalker on Skellig Michael, trying to keep our toddler from flinging herself over the edge and, of course, to spot Fungie the Dolphin free in his natural habitat. We did catch a few majestic glimpses of him leaping out of the water but overall the boat trip was a real highlight of our trip. It cost us 45 euro for the family of two adults, two children (our toddler went free) and they provided lifejackets (and whistles)
My four year old had the time of his life spotting crabs and starfish on the rocks. We should have had lunch in any of the restaurants or bars on the seafront as the smell of garlic crab claws was luring us in but we thought we would check out the late Kerry GAA star, Paídi O'Sé's bar a little further out in Ventry which ended up being quite disappointing and overpriced.
Unfazed, we drove the Wild Atlantic Route through Slea Head Drive on the way back to the Rose hotel. The views were simply breathtaking, the children nodded off and all was perfect in the world. The weather sparkled and we got lost in the salty seascapes.
I'm a writer and mum to three adventure-loving cuties. I enjoy trying to show my family as much of the world as possible in-between the school runs and writing about our latest adventure.