Come here, till I tell you. Listen closely, I’ll share a secret, one I’ve learned the hard way.
If you have children and you’re going on a short break and you haven’t tricked someone into keeping them, for the love of all that is sticky, tailor the time away for you as a group.
Be smart and figure out activities that you’ll all enjoy.
Kilkenny was our bolthole of choice recently when we were looking for a chance to spend time together.
It’s the perfect distance from Cork, long enough that we feel we’ve escaped but short enough that we don’t tumble out of the car fantasising about inventive ways of murdering each other in our sleep.
At 10, 7 and 4, our boys are a great age for a short break: no stroppy teen angst, they still don’t mind being seen in public with us, there’s no chance they’ll abandon us for romantic pursuits, still being at the “ugh, girls, yuk” stage, and we are nappy and pram free.
This is the sweet spot. We might as well enjoy it while we can.
Hotel Kilkenny is a four star hotel with a huge personality. As soon as you set foot in the foyer, you know you’re somewhere special.
Cool chandeliers, polished marble, bright velvet chaise longues, art deco wallpaper,ornate mirror frames, huge vases of stunning blooms and pops of colour everywhere, it’s luxurious, fun and totally unique.
Every corner we turn, we find another interior delight. Huge Morroccan style lanterns, set just so in groups of three, wooden sculptures, metallic sideboards, 3D art with polished silver accents, and canvasses signed by Stephen Carr, the architect who responsible for the hotel’s recent refurbishment.
Part of the family-ownedGriffin Hotel Group since 1985 which includes The Monart and Ferrycarrig Hotel both in Co Wexford, the property has that welcoming personal touch.
Hotel Kilkenny is a nice ten minute walk from the city centre, making it a perfect base for us to explore the medieval magic of the place.
We are in a club room, with a plasma TV, tea and coffee and complementary water, we all sleep wonderfully and wake up rested and ready for a day’sadventure. We have great craic in the very swanky 20 metre pool and the kids club is really good fun and well run.
The kids can have their dinner in the club free of charge and there’s movies, drawing, board games, all capably supervised by friendly staff.
All parents with any modicum of sense will chose the bar for dinner every time.
The Pure Bar in Hotel Kilkenny was a joy. We had a cosy booth with brilliant service, the waitress was savvy and kid-friendly, the atmosphere was very relaxed and we loved the little touches like paper straws and fun kids’ menus.
We had a delicious dinner, think Irish smoked salmon and tempura prawn salad and vegetable and chickpea curry for the adults and chicken curry and “the best chips ever” for the kids.
The main thing on our list is Castlecomer Discovery Park. Set in 80 acres of what used to be Wandesforde Estate, it’s a gorgeous space with natural forests, woodlands, lakes and a real life fairy neighbourhood too.
Nichola Salmon, education officer at the park, explains that it is a not for profit, social/community enterprise, set up to promote rural tourism, with all profits going directly back into the park.
What an incredible place it is. We try zip lining, axe throwing, trampolining, archery, a tree-top adventure walk, the boys clamour up the climbing wall and have great fun in the bouncing nest with giant footballs.
The four-year-old goes on the junior woodland adventure course and is just delighted with himself, there’s something for all ages and I’m telling you if you’ve never experienced the thrill of an axe hitting its target, you haven’t truely lived.
The instructors are kind and patient and funny and even though the weather wasn’t great, we had a really memorable,active, axe-related accident-free day. The restaurant has a wide variety of hot food and child friendly options with a very reasonable price range.
The hotel has an offer for this October mid-term and kids under 12 stay for free.
Experience a two-night family stay with breakfast each morning, dinner on one evening for all the family in Pure Bar and full use of the supervised kids club and the Health and Fitness Club from €350 mid-week and €450 at weekends, for two adults and two children.
See Hotelkilkenny.ie for more information.
A ‘spooktacular’ range of Kids Club activities will be on offer for the Halloween mid-term break at the the hotel including; Make your own spooky Mask, Mummy and Chalk Ghost and join in on the popular Halloween Sensory Hunt.
If you have little darlings from age 4 to 12, the programme should have something on offer to keep them entertained.
If you do make it to Kilkenny for the midterm break, Castlecomer Discovery Park are hosting a Harry Potter day on October 19.
There will be a themed walking trail for young wizards and witches to explore and they’ll learn what it takes to make a wand. On the day, there’ll be Snowy the Owl, you can try some Quidditch and they are encouraging visitors to dress as their favourite Harry Potter characters.
Even muggles are welcome. €15 per child, adults and kids under three are free.