Our Sligo Highlights

Scenic Sligo having been the chosen as the venue for our practice run stay in a hotel with the babies in preparation the big trip to Euro Disney, it was here that I finally felt that the elusive and widely alluded to parenting promise might be true: It might get easier.

This trip was fortunately a mile away (I should say kilometre but I never really got used to that system!) from previous years’ desperate attempts to be jolly on holiday.

My last post hinted in the honest and open in Sligo: Toddlers on Tour.  Highlights of this trip were promised- the shiny, retold tales with a nostalgic glint and just an extra rosy glow and less of the throw up and meltdowns. Who needs to know about those, eh?!

It was only last week folks so I can’t be overdoing it. The effervescent bubbles of happiness in life must actually have happened.

Like I said to the newbie Mams and Dads : Parents, something did get easier.

  1. The Clayton Sligo. 20170717_181658.jpgHotel. (Can I just clarify that I have not been told/ paid to / asked to mention the hotel of our choice. We paid fully for our trip,were given no incentives and the hotel were not aware that a notorious blogger was in their midst posing as a mildly manic Mammy of two praying for peaceful coffee whilst dubiously dressed for comfort and not fashion). I just think that staying in the right hotel makes a lot of difference and this choice was a highlight. The hotel has an imposing facade and beautiful stretches of green with an on site church and the best thing if all – a clearly delineated goal to make families feel welcome. From the moment we walked in and clocked the ice cream counter (it is part and parcel, not just for show), were given a superior family room (even though I had booked a regular) and had a few minutes chilling on outdoor sears with our cones, I was happy with this hotel. The icecream may have returned to see us again later in a moment worthy of horror films, but it is still a highlight. The icecream eating as a family that is, not the being sick. 

  2. Sligo People’s Market (Sunday Market in a Hangar. Hangover Cure in a Hangar maybe? Hangar for Hanging?)
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    Sligo People’s Market

    Sligo airport being a private one, small and isolated, and a bit of a surprise when you see it, is the location for a fantastic Sunday market that pulls out all the stops.

     

    Not content with a few stands of buns and cakes alongside a table of clay clad vegetables, Sligo offers its people a trendier, hipster market. Delighted with our find on a gloriously warm Sunday, we parked up and had a peek.

     

    Colourful and musical, the choices of pieces to peruse and splurge upon were both crafty and local and the food element was even better. Who doesn’t love pizza followed by portions of butter chicken or paella? OK so our visitv was cut short by Gigi becoming quite sick (poor mite) but this was a real highlight besides. Families, food and generally good feelings.

     

  3. Strand Hill.  If you want a good old retro Irish holiday you have to hit the beach and do all those things midlanders do when they spot the sea. Stare at it. Paddle and squeal at the Atlantic chill. Build castles. Build a moat. Write in the sand. Look for the icecream van. Strand Hill in Sligo is a lovely beach although we had to scoop away quite a few jellyfish. Watching your little ones actually see the sea is the highlight though and the reason we go. 

  4. Glencar Waterfall. Having been here on many occasions, I always get excited when I realise that we are near Glencar and could spin by. The drive there is scenic, green and you are cushioned by water on one side and the mass of green hill on the other. 20170717_165919Amenities there are top class from the coffee shop (Glencar Tea Shed) to the safe children’s playground. We enjoyed lovely big bowls of butternut squash and chorizo soup with brown bread (the girls were cranky but no one seemed put out). You can picnic under shaded trees either. The walk to the waterfall is pleasant and enjoyable with the refreshing spray of the water jets gently tickling your cheeks as you get closer. If you find yourself in Sligo or Leitrim, Glencar is a must see. 

  5. Gillighan’s World. This was a quirky little spot, bathed in whimsy and Irishry, that my husband spotted for our stop on the way home. As Ireland finds itself more and more infested (festooned? blessed maybe?)with fairies, here is another hideout from which to go spot them. This place has a definite aura of the mystical, situated on the side of Knocknashee Hill (Hill of the Fairies). I was immediately put in mind of the Irish ‘Sure and begorrah’ classic that is Darby O Gill and the Little People featuring Sean Connery in his most unintentionally comic role. There is a reason he was a Bond hero and not a Rodgers and Hammerstein lead, let us just say. I write about this in Movie Gems for St Patrick’s Day treats. This attraction is filled with lovely little walkways and picturesque pools of water with tiny falls and many, many little fairies along the way with the occasional meerkat. 

    The thought put into their lifestyle is cute as we see their garage, pub and hairdressers. My eldest liked the place but was not convinced by these fairies saying ‘they are only girls’.

     

    20170718_130401The walk culminates in a push to the top of the hill, a beautiful view and wish making in a fairy ring. The whole idea is sweet and there is a lot of love put into this project. If you go, take lots of time to get value for money. 20170718_122931There is a nice coffee shop area, rustic and part of the chilled out vibe the place emanates but you can bring picnics, as many did.

There we have it. Waterfalls, fairies and jellyfish studded shores, Sligo (and Leitrim) treated us well. We will come back.

Something did get easier. Just so you know, parents of babes!

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Meerkats and Fairies. A Perfect Match.

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The Pramshed
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Sligo: Toddlers on Tour

Round Four: Attempting an Enjoyable Holiday as Parents with Small Children. (Be warned: There Will Be Vomit.)

We have taken a summer holiday of some type every year since Gigi was born. So four holidays in total. Sounds good, right! As many parents know, holidaying with smallies is a world of a difference from holidaying as a loving couple solo. So parents, we have to get our heads around that first. Let it go, as the Snow Queen once warbled and then we might stand a chance.

It isn’t that easy.

In Gigi’s first year we bravely ferried to the UK and rented one of those fairytale Castlecombe cottages.

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Beautiful Castlecombe.

We literally brought everything we own. OK, I personally  insisted we bring pot loads of equipment. I was Mummy Pig. I actually brought the kettle. x240-fO4-1-1The holiday was both lovely and exhausting. Imperfect in an idyllic setting. You seen, I was always just a little bit uncomfortable. I was totally unable to relax.

A year later, with a one year old and a baby on the way, we tried staying in Ireland. Sligo. Rented a full apartment and brought the grandparents too. It rained a lot unfortunately. The holiday was OK. Not really relaxing though. Moments of idyllic scenes- but very momentary.

Last year I was very late to book.  A baby and a two year old- I was in the fear. I wrote about this last year in Holidays with More than One Kid-a Whole New World. Another family rental.  Another holiday bringing grandparents. We chose Ring in Waterford. All looked lovely. The owner of our rental was a very strange lady and I clashed with her instantly. Unfortunately the rental cottage was their converted garage- on the family site. I hated that! The views were amazing. The place is pretty. I couldn’t wait to get away from it. There were a few more lovely times on this occasion (A Magic Moment )but it was mainly tough and uncomfortable. Brutal honesty. Again, I think we were just never fully at ease.

So as the holiday season rolled around again, Mr Paper took matters into his own hands. Euro Disney will happen in August. A life time dream- Disney and France. My girls adore princesses (especially Layleell)  and ‘Minnie Mooshee’. Here’s is to hoping we meet Ariel and The First Lady Mouse.

In a desire to travel with grandparents (we like to bring them away once per year) and have a trial run, I booked two nights in Sligo again. Don’t panic- two nights in a four star hotel. No crappy rental. A family room (which must have been upgraded as we are in a suite). We are the Clayton (former Clarion and former hospital) which looks a bit like a castle/ institution but is impressive beautiful with lovely grounds.20170717_181658.jpgMy girls think they are staying in a castle.  Gigi wanted me to call in Princess Belle to admonish her baby sister over dropping blueberries on the floor.

We are still here. Day two. We are surviving. I don’t hate it. It hasn’t been treacherous. In fact, I would have enjoyed another night.20170717_181057

It hasn’t been perfect. What is perfect though? Parents can’t compare holidays pre children with holidays as parents. There are meltdowns. Soup is pronounced yucky one minute and delicious the next. They will poke each other in the back seat of the car with every prodding device known to man. We lost one of Gigi’s shoes. In my newly zen state of not overpacking, they were the only pair. The weather hit such temperatures (good thing, good thing, I know! )that a packet of crayons that I had left on the front seat of the car melted into a swirling pool of khaki patterned wax, hitting my jacket on its way. 20170719_184116-1This is Ireland! ! We are not meant to hit Crayola Melting Temperatures. I have lived it though and once seen will never be forgotten. Gigi has been ill. Exorcist style, you can guess yourself, at a beautiful Sunday market (future blog) as she sat in her buggy. Everywhere. My lovely newly valeted car now bears an interesting aroma. Not a pleasant one. A questionable one. Ah well. That was the girls’ first and last ice-cream on this particular holiday.f593fdfd89323afecc872680a17fd251

So we have had challenges. We have met them head on like Roman Gladiators. 59cf6a29582eed7d6f31607c831b391512ce88619362089b840f41b1d8be5c42Occasionally we have ignored them until they went away like Romans who never made gladiator. sometimes-the-best-thing-to-do-is-to-pretend-it-didnt-happen-quote-1Once or twice we smiled insanely through the chaos, where I tend to find myself singing a few bars of the Girls Aloud tune Something Kinda Ooh. (I find that has happened a lot since I had the children. A little like Mannie’s Moomin Papa in Black Books for anyone who gets the reference. Have a little watch here Chattanooga Choo Choo Earworm If not,  take it as solid comedy recommendation ).

This is what I think may be called a coping mechanism. My girls are so used to hearing it that they join in. Everybody Ooh, hear my heart go ooh ooh…

So yes, a few challenges. Overall, a LOT less than previous years. Maybe we just deal with them better. A good trial run for travelling abroad. A good sign for future holidays!

Here are to changes in touring with teeny kids and toddlers. Holidays might be fun again soon. We won’t say relaxing- not just yet! Memorable? Yes. For good reasons? Yes! Thankfully!

I will be blogging highlights. People who read that will see a joyful rundown of lovingly encountered pretty moments. Those who read this post will also be aware of the Pull Ups War in Sligo’s Tesco (both girls had an epic argument over who got to hold a packet of Pull Ups with Minnie Mouse on them), the Waxy Bottom in the car park from Melty Crayola Conditions, The Lost Shoe and the Apocalyptic Post Ice-cream Throw Up of the adorable market which features in the highlights to come.f593fdfd89323afecc872680a17fd251

Weren’t you lucky to be in the know!

PS. Any parents of one or more under two- it DID get easier. A different easy to what you might expect, but a very distinct change from exhausting, tear inducingly tough with nightmarish moments that you cannot awaken from. Cheers to that! (Raising my Diet Coke because I am too disinterested in wine, and diet as I still have a big belly that I call baby blubber but I DON’T CARE anymore!!!!). My babies are happy. In fact, so am I.

 

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