Scenic Sligo was chosen as the venue for our practice run stay in a hotel with 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 would 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.
- The Clayton Sligo. Hotel. (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 onsite 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.
- Sligo People’s Market (Sunday Market in a Hangar. Hangover Cure in a Hangar maybe? Hangar for hanging out?)
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 visit was cut short by Gigi becoming quite sick (poor mite) but this was a real highlight besides. Families, food and generally good feelings.
- 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.
- 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. Amenities 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.
- 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 lost 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’.
The 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. There 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!