1st Trip of the Summer – Mulranny & Achill, Co. Mayo, Ireland – a short trip with young kids
We have just returned from a long weekend away, our first trip of the summer. We had such a lovely time. Today’s post is more of a photo record of our trip than a tips and tricks or review type post.
Mulranny in Mayo in Ireland is one of our favourite places to holiday. My mum is originally from here and we still have relations living there. Luckily my parents built a holiday home there several years ago and it is like a home from home for us. Most years we spend a couple of weeks there over the summer and often a weekend here and there. Indeed, this is where Mr G proposed to me back in 2004!
This trip was extra special as good friends of ours from the UK joined us with their 2 little boys. We met these friends on a previous trip to Africa several years ago and since then we try to meet up once or twice a year. This was the first time they were able to join us in Mayo though which was great! (For any of my UK readers who would like to visit this beautiful place, they flew into Knock International Airport).
We set off from our home here just outside of Dublin for Mulranny on Saturday morning, it is a long journey – at least 4 hours, usually longer with 2 small children and their numerous toilet breaks! My Rav 4 jeep SUV was packed to the gills with everything we might possibly need for a weekend by the sea taking the likelihood of a a huge variety of weather types into account!!! We have a roof box that we always use for road trips, travelling by ferry and anytime we are taking a self-catering holiday.This time the roof box was packed with our all terrain buggy/stroller, buckets, spades, wellies, footballs, sun tents, etc. Meanwhile the boot was jammed with clothes for all weather, toys, scooters, helmets, picnic basket, board games, rain coats and the list goes on and on. It looked like we were going away fro months rather than 4 days! The great thing about travelling by road with a car that has a huge boot is that you can bring pretty much what you want!
Our journey was thankfully uneventful. we stopped off in Castlebar (the last big town before Mulranny) to pick up groceries. Mr G brought Doodles and Oodles to McDonalds for a treat while I ran around the supermarket, picking up what we needed (including the essential wine and Prosecco supplies!!!). Upon arrival, the kids explored the house, pulled out all of their toys and I prepared a beef casserole dinner for us all to share once our friends arrived from the airport and Mr G lit a lovely wood fire. The first night of our break was spent catching up over dinner with a glass or two of vino while also trying to settle 4 small children ( ages – 4, 3, 2, 9mths) into their new surrounds. I don’t know about you but every single time we go away, Oodles spends most of her first night in and out of bed like a yoyo!
Sunday morning we decided to get out and explore and give our guests the guided tour of the village. Check out Mulranny.ie for more details of what to see, where to eat and sleep etc in Mulranny. There is tonnes to do, top of the list has to be the Great Western Greenway walk and cycle track as well as the stunning beaches in the area. As our time was limited we didn’t have as much time as we usually do to explore the Greenway but if you ever visit make sure you take the time to check it out – the views are absolutely stunning.
For the morning we wandered through the village, strolled along the causeway, collected lots of dead crabs, played in the sand and chatted away. We ate lunch at Nevin’s, a regular haunt of ours when we are there, the food is great and quite reasonable and we all left absolutely stuffed and happy! The rest of our day was spent on the beach, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Needless to say the children returned home tired, hungry, wet and covered in sand!
We woke to glorious sunshine on Monday morning. We packed a picnic and headed for Achill island. We took the scenic route out towards the island from Mulranny and had planned to continue the Atlantic drive once we crossed over onto the island to take a look at the spectacular Atlantic cliff top views. However with a number with at least 2 children between us that suffer with car sickness we decided that it might be best to cut this drive short as the roads are very bendy and bumpy! So once we crossed the bridge onto Achill Island we drove staright across the island to the amazingly beautiful Keem Bay – if you visit no where else on Achill island please please please make sure to visit Keem Bay. I have yet to visit anywhere more beautiful. Indeed, we got chatting to some Canadian tourists while we were there and they were awestruck by this hidden away beach at the foot of a mountain. We took so many great photos, I had huge trouble trying to decide which ones to use in the post, so I’ve chosen ALOT (hope you don’t mind!). We spent all afternoon on the beach with a picnic. The children played, built sandcastles and sand planes, paddled, collected star fish, chased each other with their water blasters. The dads tried to play tennis. The mums sunned ourselves and played with the baby. It was heaven.
On our way home we picked up a couple of frozen pizzas for tea and stopped off at Daly’s Bar in Mulranny. This is owned by my cousins and the view is stunning from the lounge area of the bar – make sure to pop in and say hi and a drink if you ever find yourself in this part of the world!
Four very tired children fell off to sleep very quickly after their fun day in the sun. Four very tired grown ups had a lovely supper of pizza and salad before heading for bed early!
Unfortunately we had to return home on Tuesday! To finish off our weekend we decided to stop off at an indoor play centre to let the kids burn off some energy before the long journey home. We went to Nokeys Play Area at Mayo Leisure Point – it was just the right size for our 4, 3 and 2 years olds. Even the baby had fun in the toddler area while the other 3 were up on the frame. We had hoped to visit the Pirates Den indoor play area at Wesport House, we love this indoor play area for wet days (which are very frequent in this part of the country) but unfortunately it doesn’t open for the summer until May 31st. After an hour of climbing and running around it was time to hit the road for home.
Yes, that is me, upside down in the ball pool!
We had such a lovely time. There is so much to do in this part of the country and hopefully I will get a chance to write a post with all our top tips for visiting this part of Ireland. This trip was so short so we didn’t get to do half of what we would have liked but the important thing is that we had fantastic family fun.
Top trip for a long weekend away with kids: don’t try to do too much, be flexible, keep it simple, stick to bedtime routine and you will have very happy children and a really great time!