Hidden Drives of Ireland – Where Would You Go?

As many of you know I originate from Ireland. It’s a beautiful country full of character and legend and is one I hadn’t explored until about 10 years ago. Beautiful coastlines, cities full of the craic and hidden drives of Ireland are what make it so special.

A work colleague of BattleDad’s got in touch recently to ask about visiting Ireland with his family and we told him that visiting the West of Ireland and its hidden drives was a must with his nomadic family. After a few days in Dublin we suggested hiring a car and heading West where we are sure they won’t be disappointed. Chill Insurance  have recently put together an e-Book of hidden drives in Ireland and they include many of those we suggested to BattleDad’s work colleague.hidden drives of ireland

You see, BattleDad and I had both holidayed in the West of Ireland with our respective families when we were younger and my parents had a second home near Tuam, in Galway which I visited from time to time. But I knew there was so much more of it I wanted to see. So, ten years ago when BattleDad passed his motorbike licence, we rode the bike home to visit family.

During our few days in Ireland we rode the bike to my parents’ home in the West of Ireland and enjoyed a short trip to Achill Island, where my husband had spent many a summer holiday. I had never visited Achill Island but immediately fell in love with it. We had company on the trip in the form of my sister and three of her children and it was lovely, us on the bike, she in the car, discovering a part of Ireland I hadn’t visited before.

I thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of the bike from the pillion seat and it brought a whole new meaning to exploring Ireland. We were also there to visit the registrar in Dublin to organise our wedding back home the following year.

The next year we decided to have a different kind of honeymoon and as the date of our wedding approached we got planning our route to tour quite a bit of the West and South West Coast of Ireland. BattleDad knew he wanted to include the Ring of Kerry and the Gap of Dunloe, and we made sure these routes were included in our itinerary.

hidden drives of ireland
That’s me, on honeymoon, photographing the Gap of Dunloe

And boy was I surprised. These hidden drives were some of the most scenic and stunning areas of Ireland I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Despite the potholes causing us some sore bums, we had the most memorable honeymoon and it suited us down to the ground. We did have a more traditional lie-on-the-beach-with-a-book honeymoon a few years later in Cuba, but the bike honeymoon in Ireland was just what we needed after the hustle and bustle of our wedding.

It is for this reason we suggested the West and South Coast of Ireland to BattleDad’s work colleague. He and his family travel the world and with it being their first visit to Ireland, we knew it would mean so much more to them to see some of its hidden beauty alongside Dublin.

Don’t get me wrong, Dublin is our home town and is a great city to visit, but to truly appreciate the wonder and beauty of Ireland you must head out of Dublin and into the country. I am sure they will not be disappointed if they visit the West Coast of Ireland, taking in part of the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway City and on to the Ring of Kerry.

If you are considering a trip to Ireland, and want more than just the nightlife of Dublin and Temple Bar, I strongly suggest you head West and South. You will not be disappointed.

If you’d like to discover some hidden drives of Ireland, you can check out the e-Book  created by Chill Insurance. There are quite a few drives from our honeymoon featured.

Cath x

*Collaborative Post

Get Your Teens Cooking with Dublin Cookery School

As a parent of a pre-schooler I am yet to discover the wonders of what to do with him once the summer holidays hit. But I know enough mums and dads with children of all school ages who really dread the summer holidays and how they are going to keep them occupied enough not to hear the words “I’m bored”. Planning for the summer holidays is no doubt underway in some homes already. Well, parents of teens in and around Dublin who may be too old for traditional summer camps, I’ve got you covered. Why not get your teens cooking with Dublin Cookery School this summer on one of their Growing Gourmets courses.get your teens cooking with dublin cookery school


For quite a number of years now the Dublin Cookery School has run two week-long summer courses for teens aged between 12 and 16, both in June, in a bid to get them cooking and interested in getting into the kitchen more.

I became aware of these courses when a colleague of my mum’s mentioned that her son was too old for summer camps but was desperate to attend something like it. That’s where Dublin Cookery School came into play.

The aim of Growing Gourmets over the course of the week is to not only improve the teens cooking skills, but also introduce them to new techniques in the kitchen while discovering new tastes and recipes they can recreate at home.

This could be a win-win situation. As their confidence increases while mastering new skills, you could find the kitchen taken over and a range of new dishes being served up as they learn to make things like Soda Bread (my person favourite), Thai Meatballs and Lemon Drizzle cake.get your teens cooking with dublin cookery school get your teens cooking with dublin cookery school

Classes are small and held in a fun and relaxed environment where you can be guaranteed lots of one to one interaction between your teen and the friendly and supportive tutors. The programs are unique and could be just the ticket to start off the summer holidays for your teens. It’s like a summer camp with a food playground.

It’s also a great way to strike a balance between teaching your teens a great life skill while creating some fun-filled memories too. The teen son of my mum’s work colleague absolutely loved his week at Dublin Cookery School.get your teens cooking with dublin cookery school

There are two courses in June this year. The first is a four-day course (6th June) and the second is a five-day course (19th June), costing €250 and €295 respectively. Each day lasts from 10am until 3pm.

Lunch and a recipe book are provided, as are all ingredients, so there’s no need to worry about additional costs like sending ingredients or lunch/snacks with your teens. Dublin Cookery School is located in Brookfield Terrace, Blackrock, close to both the DART line and bus stops.

So, if you have a budding Jamie Oliver or Darina Allen, why not get your teens cooking with Dublin Cookery School this summer. BattleKid enjoys being in the kitchen with both myself and Lolo, a retired chef, and were he older, I’d be looking into something like this for him!

For more information about the course or to book a place for your teens, please visit the Dublin Cookery School website.

And what better way to get your teens cooking with Dublin Cookery School than with some supplies. The lovely people at Dublin Cookery School have kindly offered one of my Irish readers the chance to win a copy of From Lynda’s Table cookbook, the owner of Dublin Cookery School, and a Dublin Cookery School goodie bag too. To be in with a chance to enter, please click the widget below and follow the instructions. And good luck!Lynda's cookbook

Win a cookbook and goodie bag with Dublin Cookery School

Cath x

*All images have kindly been provided by Dublin Cookery School.

Terms and conditions:

  • Open to my Republic of Ireland readers only.
  • On winner will be picked at random and notified within 5 days.
  • The winner will receive their prize direct from the Dublin Cookery School.
  • There is no cash alternative.
  • The prize is a From Lynda’s Table Cookbook and goodie bag which includes an apron and mitts, cookie cutters, decorative cupcake papers and icing nozzles to get you started with baking.
  • Competition closes on Thursday 25th May 2017.
  • Although this competition is broadcast on my Facebook page, it is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Facebook.

Living Arrows 20/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

What a difference a week makes. This week’s Living Arrows pictures come from our ferry trip from Portsmouth to Santander and an evenings ride around on his bike and play in the playground. The 3-day trek from South Wales to Southern Portugal was not without it’s hiccups and surprises but we made it and are settling into life in the warmth and sunshine. BattleKid is still a bit all over the place, naturally, sometimes asking to “go to my house” but once we settle into our new place, I think he’ll adapt quickly. It’s all new and fresh and I think he thinks we are on holiday with his grandparents, who we are staying with, but once his bed, toys and other bike arrives, I think he’ll get the idea soon enough that this is where home is for the foreseeable future.

my sunday photo living arrows living arrows

Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.

Living Arrows

The #LittleOne Tag – Life According to a 3 Year Old

I was recently tagged by Lauren from Sophie’s Nursery to take part in the #LittleOne tag. It’s a set of questions where you imagine how your little human would answer.

Little One Tag

Without further ado let’s begin…

What’s the best thing about being 3 year old?

The best thing about being a 3 year old is I have two slaves at my beck and call. Like, if I want a yogurt I only have to say “I want a moo-cow oggy” and hey presto, one appears with a spoon. How cool is that! Also, I only have to start crying in public and said slaves will do anything I want, mostly, to get me to stop crying. It works most of the time. One time though it didn’t and they walked away and left me crying on the spot. I nearly called Childline!

I also get to play Dad’s playstation, watch YouTube on Dad’s mobile and also get to ride on his motorobike, only in the garage. He’s more of a slave than mum is. I get to tell everyone when I want a wee or poo, I get to build towers and sandcastles and then knock them down (this annoys Mum) and I get 2 stories at bedtime. What’s not to like about being 3?!

What’s your favourite toy?

My favourite toys are my cars and my two bikes. I have a balance bike and Santa brought me a peddle bike last Christmas. I’m awesome on my balance bike, Mum is actually quite proud of the fact I learned to balance on it before I was 2 and a half. Dad is hoping it leads to a career in motorbike racing.

Littleone Tag

I love cars too, particularly those from Disney Cars. Mum and Dad have bought me a few and they are the ones that are never far from my hands. I call Lightening McQueen “Daddy’s Car” as he goes fast like my Daddy’s car does. It’s fast and makes cool noises.

Favourite thing to do?

I love going on my ‘motorbikes’ (balance and peddle bikes), especially in the garden. I also loved going dragon hunting with Mum and Dad to different castles in Wales, where we lived until recently. I’d search the castle and always find its dragon hiding in its cave somewhere. I’m a brilliant dragon hunter!Littleone Tag

Favourite outfit?

I don’t really have a favourite outfit but if I could chose what to wear it would be my KTM hoodie, as Dad and me have KTM bikes, my boots (wellies) and my helmet. Safety first and all that. You have to look the part if you’re going motorbike racing!

Favourite TV programme?

I have a few but my absolute favourite has to be George, Curious George. I love going around answering Mum and Dad with “oo-oo, aa-aa”. I know it drives them insane too. Unfortunately George seems to go on alot of holidays from being on TV as I don’t get to see him as much as I did last year. While he is on holidays I watch alot of Paw Patrol now.

Favourite book?

There are too many to count. The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Room on the Broom and the Elmer stories are my all-time favourites.

Favourite food?

Yogurts (oggies), fruit and mince and mash. This is like lazy cottage pie and I love it. Oh, and I also like spaghetti bolognese, although there have been times I’ve had to close my eyes not to get splashed!Littleone Tag

Favourite song?

Currently it is Three Little Speckled Frogs and No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Dad loves the frogs song. He always says “no songs about frogs” but I sing it anyway. I think it is a ploy to get me to sing it….

What makes you laugh?

When I get Dad to put his nose in my ear and blow gently. It tickles my ear and makes me laugh. I also like when Mum puts me on her back going downstairs and sings Horsey-horsey. The part when she spins around for “wheels go round” spins my belly too and I always laugh. Dad also makes me laugh when we’re Skyping and he disappears from screen only to slowly reappear, not from where I am expecting, or when he pulls funny faces on screen. I love that!

Who do you love and why?

I love Mum & Dad because they love me and we do cool things together, like go dragon hunting. They also buy me nice toys and take me on nice holidays. I also love seeing my Lolo and Nanna because they don’t live near us so they spoil me when I see them. I don’t know how that is going to work out now that we’re moving to live near them in Portugal. My Nan and Grandad too as Nan always makes me special jumpers and Grandad does pointing with his finger and mine on Skype. I also love my dog, although not when he snot-stamps me with his nose or hits me with his tail as he goes past me. I always say “No Aris” to that.

I’m tagging the lovely:

Sharon of Teentweentoddler

Laura of LoopyLouLaura

Kellie of MyLittleBabog

I can’t wait to see what your little ones have to say if you decide to take part (please don’t feel like you have to)! #LittleOne Tag

Tenerife Day 8: 30/12/2016

We were up for 7.30 so got washed and dressed before having breakfast, our last of our Christmas holiday. While I got on with the final bits of packing, BattleKid watched the Lion Guard. Thank god for Disney Junior. I also managed to finish my book too, a first in a long time. I don’t get the chance to read books much these days unless it’s in bed before sleep.

We checked out at 11am and left our luggage in the luggage room at reception as we had a while to wait for the taxi to the airport. We headed to the themed restaurant at the sea front for a cuppa and some cakes. BattleKid also had a final play in the playground.

At 12.15 we asked reception to call a taxi and were still waiting 30 minutes later. It was a bit ridiculous. BattleKid fell asleep and stayed asleep until we had checked in for our flight at 1.20 and headed through security. I had kept an eye on the departures of Bristol Airport and thankfully our plane had left on time from the UK so we were looking good for a better time of it than our journey to Tenerife.

We got through security no problem and went to find somewhere for lunch. We had plenty of time before our flight was due to take off so found a seat in O’Leary’s bar and had a rather nice lunch. After eating up, BattleKid insisted on having a ride on one of the amusement cars. It combined a ride with a photo, but typically he was looking down when the camera took the picture. What a waste of money!Tenerife Holiday Diaries Day 8

We walked around the airport, getting a few bits for the plane before heading to our gate when called. However boarding was delayed until 16.45, 15 minutes after our departure time. So much for getting home on time. We then sat on the plane until the doors finally closed at 5.10pm. The captain made an announcement after the doors closed to say they had been on the ground for 2 hours and he had been calling for passengers since 4.10pm! For some reason there was congestion in the terminal and although he and our plane were ready for an on time departure, the ground staff couldn’t get their act together! We took off at 5.28 and had a few snacks on the plane to tide us over.

BattleKid fell asleep on the way home from the airport and we transferred him straight to bed when we got home in the hope Santa would make a special delivery that night as we’d not been home Christmas Eve. And he did!

Although we enjoyed some quality time together, it wasn’t quite the holiday we had hoped for. We came away feeling quite disappointed and let down, particularly where the hotel and pool were concerned. I somehow don’t think we’ll be going away for Christmas again, unless it is to Ireland to spend it with family. Would I recommend Tenerife as a destination? Yes, but I would stay in a bigger resort where there are more things to see and do. I wouldn’t recommend our hotel for Christmas or any other time of the year. It needs some serious updating and a face lift.

Thanks for reading our Tenerife Holiday Diaries.

Cath x