Archive for August, 2019

Centre Parc Opening Weekend

August 29, 2019

Something pretty cool happened while we were in Ireland. My bestie Derval and her little girl, Dafne, Keane, Cullen and I got to attend the opening weekend of Centre Parcs Ireland. Irish people will need explanation as to what Centre Parcs is. It was literally the talk of the country the weekend it opened. And let me reassure you all, it absolutely lives up to the hype. This place it amazing. Everything you could possibly need, anything you would want to experience on a family vacation, is there. And ALL of the staff were beyond amazing. We didn’t get to test drive all of the activities (which just means we need to plan a trip back ;) ) But what we did do, we loved. More importantly, the kids loved it. Took a bunch of photos of course, its taking me a minute to go through them all. So I’ll share the first round of pics here and a few more in a couple of days.

Guests at Centre Parc stay in fabulous wooden cabins. Minutes after we picked up our cabin key, dropped off our luggage, we were off to our first activity. This activity required the kids to wear these Irish flat caps.

Yes, tiny off-roading jeeps. Couldn’t ask for a funner way to kick off our stay. Keane impatiently listens to the driving instructions.

Dafne is ready.

Cullen is eager to get these jeeps going.

Dafne had a bit of a crash incident on her practice drive, so we thought it best if she be a passenger in Cullen’s jeep.

And they are off! Great excitement going through the water.

Keane handles his vehicle like a pro.

These 2, so cute.

The kids had to gather small puzzle pieces along the driving route and these pieces fit into a puzzle board on the back of their jeep.

Cullen’s face here, too funny. Focus with an edge of smugness.

All smiles for successful and accident free off-roading experience.

After leaving the jeeps we headed off to the bike centre. There are no cars allowed in Centre Parc. You leave you car parked in a parking area at the entrance for the duration of your stay. So the best way to get around is by bike. We were all very excited to pick our of transportation for the weekend. The kids actually loved the freedom and independence of biking everywhere.

Dafne had her eye on the same bike as Cullen.

Keane spotted this bike seconds after walking in and there was no way he wasn’t having it.

Derval and Dafne ended up selecting a bike with a trailer.

Riding in comfort and style.

This kid would have been just as happy riding around Centre Parc on his bike all weekend.

Lots of fun playgrounds scattered around the Parc.

Pottery painting, this was an activity Cullen chose. He’s my little artist.

Keane is in a dragon phase, so he chose to paint a dragon.

Dafne went for a snake.

And of course, Cullen picked a shark.

In the creative zone.

Back to our cabin for a little recharge time before we went to the water park.

Our Titanic Adventure

August 25, 2019

During his summer break Keane had a little research project to do. Nothing specific, just something or someone that interested him. Having recently finished a book on the Titanic, he became a little obsessed and decided this would be the focus of his research. Very quickly he discovered that the Titanic was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, so I asked him if while we were in Ireland he’d like to take a trip to Belfast to visit the Titanic museum. The answer was a hard and enthusiastic “Yes!!” So one of the days of our trip, we drove North to spend the day stepping back in time.

The lads enjoying a wee chat on the short walk along the docks to the museum.

The museum there in the background and the ship Nomadic in the foreground. The last ship built by The White Star Company, who also built the Titanic. (See, this girl was a good listener on her museum visit)

Regular stops to look at everything.

As well as regular stops to climb on everything.

Titanic Museum.

So many minutes spent running around and climbing the museum sign. I was beginning to wonder if they’d want to go in at all.

The whole mood of the museum tour is very dark. Cos obviously we’re dealing with a subject matter that ended in a complete disaster, so everything is set mostly in darkness. So not a lot of picture snapping. But at this point of the tour we stopped to look out at the dock where Titanic was built and where it set sail.

The route and stops made by Titanic on its maiden voyage which was suppose to end in New York.

The Titanic experience is amazing. There was a lot about the history of ship building in Belfast and life in general in the city at the time. Which I found really interesting but the boys struggled through. What they really enjoyed was the simulation of being on the Titanic. The room that played the morse code call for help from the Titanic over and over again. And of course the reconstruction of the moment the Titanic hit the iceberg and started to sink. That is what they came for. ¬†Action, adventure and disaster. Lots of questions about why there weren’t enough life boats, if any of the passengers got eaten by sharks, why couldn’t people just swim… many questions, my brain was spinning.

The spot of the Titanic’s keel laying ceremony. The place where construction of the ship began is now another play opportunity for the boys.

Keane running the length of the dock.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit Belfast, definitely make time to hit up the Titanic museum.

Off Into The Sunset

August 18, 2019

Visiting my good friend Nicola and getting to ride horses has become a bit of a trip to Ireland tradition. The boys ask every time we go back, if they’ll get to ride Nicola’s horses? And every time Nicola makes it happen for them. Cos she’s a pure dote.

When we arrived Niocla was in the midst of a riding camp. So while she was finishing up with a very impressive group of young riders, the boys strolled around saying “Hi” to the other horses.

Watching the other kids, impatiently waiting for his turn.

Cullen rode for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. So I was interested to see how he’d do this year. I feel like both of them have a different kind of reaction each time they get to ride.

A group of very impressive little riders.

This was the last day of Nicola’s riding camp, so was important to get a group shot.

Now the boys are ready to go.

Cullen is riding Coconut.

Keane is on Sparky, the horse he requests to ride each year. His favorite.

A few easy walking laps to get warmed up.

Practice stepping over some jumps.

The focus.

Loving every minute of it.

Nicola talking Keane through some cup on cone drills.

Cullen working on jumping posture.

After a lovely afternoon of riding, we took a short drive to Slane Castle for dinner.

When you request a photo of them together, this is what I got.

Let The Sun Shine

August 12, 2019

The one thing we had while we were in Ireland, was lots of sunshine. Sunshine is not always a given in Ireland, even in the summer months. But we definitely got lucky for the 10 days we were there. It only rained 1 day, that was the day left. And rumor has it it hasn’t stopped since. But we got to spend the majority of our trip, enjoying lots of outdoor fun.

The Husband had a few days break in this busy track meet traveling schedule, so he popped over to Ireland and joined us on our day trip to Howth Co. Dublin.

As you can probably tell, Howth is on the coast, the east coast of the country.

The local fishermen.

We met up with our cousins to do The Howth Cliff Walk.

The youngest lads.

A fabulous day will bring out a fabulous crowd. Lots of people enjoying a costal stroll.

Emily, Keane and Evan, the leaders of our group.

Lots of lovely views.

When little legs get tired, they get to ride on Daddy’s shoulders. And enjoy the benefits of better views from a higher elevation.

Good clear view of Ireland’s Eye.

Keane and Emily had no interest in waiting for anyone.

They even befriended a local dog who was just out for an enjoyable stroll too.

An hour of so in and Evan’s face lets us know that the fatigue is well and truly setting in.

Cullen’s not tired though.

Emily and Keane still leading the group and still enjoying the company of their new 4-legged friend.

Hot and sweaty post walk, we stopped off at Howth beach to cool off. And to take our new kite for a test fly.

Cullen got busy with the sand castle building.

Keane takes the rocky road while Cullen enjoys the cooler, softer ocean.

Low tide.

Mussel gathering.

Befriending the local jellyfish.


August 11, 2019

Happy Monday! Prepping for a busy week ahead and prepping more photo sharing from our Ireland trip. Here’s a little sneaky peeky from our Cliff walk in Howth, Co. Dublin.