The Kildare Maze – A Family Day Out

Last weekend we did something super fun. I couldn’t actually believe how I never came across this place before. It’s so close by from our house. The other day I was browsing the web to find some fun stuff to do as a family because we were promised the best weather. I stumbled across “The Kildare Maze” which is located not even twenty minutes from Naas.

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Ireland’s #Hiddendrives

When  my friend comes over for a visit from Germany, we always do a day of exploring around Ireland. Generally around the region of Sligo. She hasn’t been to visit me since we moved to County Kildare. Can you imagine how much we have to explore here? It would take us days, if not even weeks. We only live at the border of County Dublin and everything is so easily accessible once you have a car with an up to date insurance ie. Chill.

But back to Sligo… We never really have a destination when we explore Ireland. We take one road and that’s it. Who knows where it is leading us to. That way we have found some amazing and beautiful gems. Some that I would like to share with you and maybe you might even want to explore yourselves in the near future.

Streedagh Beach, Co. Sligo

This beach is located outside of Sligo on the way to Bundoran/ Donegal. It’s actually near Mullaghmore which is off the main road. We discovered this beach randomly. This was sometime in  May and the weather was nice enough to walk around. I used to be a big climber when I was a child but not so much now. The view from one of the cliffs on Streedagh Beach is incredible though. Definitely recommended to all photographers out there.
On the way you can even visit Mullagmore. It is famous for its dolphins and I think you can even take a boats tour depending on the weather. There is a pub beside the hotel which does delicious fish and chips.

Lissadell

Another place we explored together is Lissadell and its beach. To get to Lissadell, you have to take the road to Bundoran/ Donegal again but turn off in Drumcliffe. For this adventure I also took Matthew with me. He loved all the running around on the long beach. He is a huge fan of the beach in fact. We haven’t been to the beach in quite some time now. It is a bit further away for us now but we can make a day trip out of it.
We didn’t go into Lissadell House. I can’t remember if it was even open at the time because I know it was closed for a while but it has since reopened and they have exhibitions running.

Caves of Kesh

This was probably the most adventurous experience we have done. I would recommend to wear good boots. Hiking shoes would be more appropriate. It involves a lot climbing and you certainly get your work out from this. Located on the outskirts of Ballymote, Co. Sligo is a little village called Kesh. It’s in the middle of nowhere but the caves from the top give you the most beautiful view.

Knocknarea

It wasn’t the brightest day when we decided to climb up Knocknarea in Strandhill, Co.Sligo. In fact it was in January. Not the nicest weather to be expected in that month, especially in the west of Ireland. We walked it anyway. Not too long they opened a new nature trail called Queens Maeve Trail. They’ve designed a set of wooden stairs to go around the mountain. We didn’t have the time to do the whole lot as it will take you around two hours.

Have you explored any of these hidden gems before? 

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My Ireland Travel Bucket List

This September marks 10 years of me living in Ireland. How time flies. I can’t believe I have lived on the Emerald Island for 10 whole years. Neither have I thought that I am going to actually stay here. The plan was to spend one year in a foreign country which in my case was Ireland. I had no intention of staying, finding a job, a home, a man and start a family. After spending one year in Ireland in 2007, I wanted to stay a bit longer. It dragged out. Soon I realised it was mean to be. Leaving my home country Germany behind and starting a new life in a complete new country.

Ireland is a not a big island. It takes approximately 5 hours to travel from Sligo to the South of Ireland. With that in mind you’d think in those 10 years I have seen most places. You thought wrong. I know Dublin and the West of Ireland and some places in the midlands but mainly the South of Ireland is non existing to me and my camera.

I created a bucket list of places I would like to visit. My aim is to complete this list in the next year or two. Ireland has beautiful landscape to offer. Even though it can be a hit and miss sometimes with the weather. It rains a lot unfortunately. I suppose to make the most out of it, get the rain gear out and off you go.

Aran Islands

Image Credit: Lallytours
Image Credit: Lallytours

The islands are located off Galway and Doolin. I was in Galway so many times but I have never managed to buy a ticket in Salthill and go over. Maybe soon.

Ring of Kerry

Image Credit: GoWest
Image Credit: GoWest

You hear a lot about the Ring of Kerry and it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in Ireland. To some it might be just a normal road route but it’s famous for its beautiful scenery and heritage. It starts off in the town Killarney. You can take three roads which are the N70, N71 and R562, To give you heads up on the road names, the N Roads are generally easy to drive. The R roads are typical country roads which can be very narrow and bumpy but in saying that they can also be the best roads to bring you to the most beautiful scenery.

Rock of Cashel

Image Credit: Wikipidea
Image Credit: Wikipidea

One of the most popular and most visited tourist attractions is located in Country Tipperary. It’s also known as Cashel of Kings and was seat of the High Kings of Munster.
Right now you can visit Rock of Cashel between 9am and 7pm with an admission fee of €7. The first Wednesday of every month gets you in for free.

Dingle

Image Credit: Wikipidea
Image Credit: Wikipidea

Dingle is located at the very bottom of Ireland slightly West. It would take me over 5 hours to drive from Sligo. It’s also the home of the famous dolphin Fungie. One of the reasons why I would like to visit. There are one hour Dolphin boat tours operating from the Pier of Dingle.
While in Dingle I will also have to drive the Slea Head Route. It is advised to leave early during the summer month and to drive it clockwise as the roads are very narrow. It takes around three to four hours. On the way you’ll find multiple attractions like the town Inch with its beautiful beach.

Blarney Castle and the Blarney Stone

Image Credit: Wikipedia
Image Credit: Wikipedia

Blarney is located 8km from Cork City. The castle itself is mainly a ruin but some parts of it can be viewed. What makes the castle so famous, is its “Stone of Eloquence”. The stone is said to bestow the gift of the gab on all the people who kiss the stone. It is advised to have a second person helping you kissing the stone because you have to lie on your back, dangling over the edge, trying to reach the stone with your lips. A kind of dangerous attraction but well worth it if you follow the instructions.

Dursey Island Cable Car

Dursey Island is located in the Western part of Cork. This is where Ireland’s only cable car operates and traverses open seawater in all of Europe. You might get lucky and see the dolphins jumping in the water while going over. The cost is 8 Euro return.

Whale Watching in Cork

Image Credit: Whale Watch West Cork
Image Credit: Whale Watch West Cork

West Cork attracts minke whales, fin whales and humpback whales. Weather depending you can book your trip on Cork’s Whale Watching Website.

Powerscourt Gardens

Image Credit: Powerscourt.com
Image Credit: Powerscourt.com

Moving to the East of Ireland… Powerscourt Gardens and its Waterfall located in County Wicklow. The waterfall is the highest one in all British Isles. You’ll see many beautiful things in the garden such as Japanese gardens and old trees. I can imagine this place is glorious on a warm summer day. A packed picnic is well worth it to have here.

Trabolgan Holiday Village – The Facilities

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Welcome back to the last instalment of my Trabolgan Holiday Village experience from last week.I hope you will enjoy this one as much as you did the last two and hopefully it will give you an idea of the place whether it’s for you or not.

On this last post I will talk about the facilities and activities you are able to do in the village. We haven’t done all of it because some stuff is only for older kids and I wasn’t into it really because the weather wasn’t on our side most of the time. Even when it was sunny, it was extremely windy and wet so things like go karting, trampoline or zip wire we couldn’t do. There was even a mini trampoline for small kids like Matthew’s age. We weren’t able to review these but at least you know these actitvities are available to you, now that I mentioned them.

The Cove

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This place is located in the main centre with the fast food shop, play centre and Costa Coffee. All the entertainment for the kids and adults are happening here. Thursday morning at 11am we watched Fireman Sam on stage because recently Matthew developed a liking for him and Bob the Builder. He absolutely loved it but yet he was too scared or shy to go up and have a picture taken with him. In the evening time there is disco and bingo for the grown ups. We didn’t go to either of them.

Florries Den

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A play centre located beside the fast food area. On our last day, Matthew spent a lot of time in there and tired himself out. They have a section to watch a movie, read books or do jigsaws. Around the corner then they have the soft play area with a big ball bit and 2 slides. It’s done up really well and it’s hidden so well that you wouldn’t think something like that could fit into the building.

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The Arcade Center

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A facility where we probably spent most our time and spent all our money. It can get very addictive these games because I love these kind of things in general. Once the kids were in bed hubby went off and played some more and when he came back, I went off for a little while and went games crazy. Matthew was doing really good  in one game. All you had to do is direct the ball with a wheel and you could win up to 500 tickets. He won 500 tickets first time and he was so proud. Another game he really loved playing was “Smash the Minions”. Hubby was loving it too especially trying to beat the highscore. I tried it myself and it was actually really hard, being fast but yet hit them hard enough to score a point.
Right beside the pub they had another arcade center which was a bit smaller but it had 2 bowling alleys, pool table, a few other games and the prize shop where you can change your tickets for a prize.

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Crazy Golf

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I have always been a fan of mini golf. Since I was very small (maybe about 5 or 6 years of age ) my mum and I took every mini golf grounds with us. It’s great. Matthew is only 3 1/2 years of age so doesn’t quite get yet how to hold the club  but for the first time playing he did really well. Trabolgan has a 9 hole crazy golf on site. The clubs you are able to pick up in the Day Today shop in the main centre. The golf balls you can get in the little club house beside the Crazy Golf where they also do arts and crafts.

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Bird of Prey Centre

The Bird of Prey Educational Centre is located beside the golf course. It gives you the opportunity to see the largest and the smallest owl as well as snakes, mice and other small creatures. At the end of your viewing you are able to take a special souvenir with you… a photo with the big owl. Trabolgan has a special offer which gives you the chance to purchase a ticket once and you can go an visit as many times as you want during your stay. This is very handy because sometimes they have different birds. You receive a golden wristband to indicate you are entitled to these unlimited visits.

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Another building in the main centre part of the village is the swimming pool “Wave”. We didn’t get to go there either. If you want to read up on it you can do so if you follow this link.

What did we think about the facilities?:

• Ireland’s weather can be a hit and miss as we all know. If you are lucky enough and get good weather there is definitely a lot to do to keep you occupied.
• The Crazy Golf as stated on the website was refurbished. Yet some holes didn’t have the water in it like it was supposed to have
• The play centre was brilliant. They could do with replacing the balls in the ball pit though.
• The Birds of Prey centre is great for teaching your little ones about the different birds and reptiles.

Thanks for reading guys and I hope you enjoyed this instalment.