Don’t hate me but yes I’m already thinking about Summer Holidays. For the first time in my life, I have already booked a family holiday for the Summer. No, we’re not going to Spain or Disneyland, although they were options that soared out of our price range even with the sales. Instead we’re taking the kids on their very first family holiday to a self catering house on a rural organic farm in Wexford. The beach, the quiet, the sunsets, the reminder of the magic of family holidays when I was a kid. I genuinely can’t wait for this staycation.
I’ve always wanted to travel around Ireland. As an adult I haven’t been a holiday-maker in my own country and there’s so many places I haven’t been yet. Deciding where to go wasn’t easy. Originally it was Cork, narrowed down to Cobh and suddenly it was opened up to Waterford and the thoughts of Kerry weren’t far from my mind but then as we went from website to website, checking out recommendations and reeling at the cost of peak season we finally stumbled across the ideal. So Ireland, Wexford specifically, is our first family destination.
My brother and sister and I grew up in the 80s, so, foreign holidays were rare for us, although, we did Ibiza and Majorca before they became the destinations they are today. Our holidays were the Isle of Mann, Wales or Ireland and it’s the Irish holidays that have the best memories for me.
Even though we had no car and my parents had three kids towing behind them, they made those holidays magical. Rain or no rain. But there was usually rain somewhere along the way. We travelled by bus, by train, we walked up mountains. My love of barbeque spare ribs was founded while waiting for Bus Éireann headed back to Dublin at the side of the the road on a damp evening in Avoca, Wicklow. I was the gothic princess as I explored the ruins of a church outside Ashford Castle in Mayo. And who doesn’t fall in love with The Quiet Man when staying in a youth hostel in Cong, even if you are eight.
We stayed in hostels, in student accommodation, we shared dorm rooms with strangers and loved every minute of it. We walked country roads, found sandy beaches and I can still hear the crickets singing as we made our way, on a gloriously hot day, to a shingle beach which fascinated me.
We laughed, we explored, we were adventurers on our own Island. I’ve often told my parents how much I loved those crazy holidays of staying in one place for a few days before moving on to the next and they look at me in either disbelief or like my memories have somehow become obscured. Ok, there were more than likely fights, possible (probable) tantrums, lost days and weary kids but that’s not what I remember.
I remember playing solitaire on a country pub table with an Orangina and a packet of crisps as two guys played guitar and sang. I remember mac and cheese (which to this day I still adore but who doesn’t! Cheesy goodness) and buttered bread rolls. I remember picnics and sitting on bunk beds telling stories. I remember the fun, the wonder, the trust in my parents. I remember the adventure and I’m excited that this year will be our first adventure with our own kids.
But to make sure this holiday, our first with the kids, is one of those holidays with glorious memories of happy faces that I so distinctly remember, we’ve asked my parents to come along too! They, of course, have perfected the artform of a successful staycation! So, the six of us, as Little Bean gets her running legs (she’ll be a little more than a year old come the holidays so that’ll be fun!) are headed to the Kilmore Cottages for the magic that is a staycation. Going with my parents is extremely special for me and I hope I can give them beautiful memories as they have given me.
Is it Summer yet? I’ll be sure to let you know how we get on! This post could really so with some dodgy 1980s and 90s holiday snaps!