With the last few year’s we always swap our home with people from abroad and sometimes even cars so an Ireland Staycation was far down the list. Its really a great way to see different parts of the world without the huge cost of accommodation and car rental and we have always felt safe in doing so. We have swapped with Doctors, Teachers, Solicitors etc and every experience was great.
This year was already planned out. We have arrange a house swap with someone in Phuket. A lovely house 200 yards from the Beach in a secure compound for 2.5 weeks and then the last 5 days we were going to check into a hotel with a kids club and activities so we could have a break before leaving Thailand and flying back to Ireland.
West Cork & Kerry
Fast forward to the present times and needless to say we never travelled to Thailand. As soon as the government restrictions allowed, we made some preparations for to holiday in Ireland. We have always heard about West Cork but never actually had the time to travel around it. For a week we based ourselves in a cottage on the edge of Bantry Town.
We had day trips out to Inchydoney Beach, Schull, Baltimore etc. The highlight for the kids was a lovely sunny day spent in the water at Inchydoney and the next day they spent in Rosscarbery on a floating pontoon of water activities. Unfortunately it was raining for the 2 hours but they did not mind. I found it somewhat challenging in my wetsuit on the pontoon though for 2 hours in the rain.
Bantry is a beautiful fishing town in West Cork with lovely restaurants and its easy to walk around it in about 10 minutes. It has a very very small beach opposite Bantry House and any large beach is probably a 50 minutes drive. There are 2 horse riding schools around Bantry. The kids took to the hills of West Cork for an hour and thoroughly enjoyed this.
On leave Bantry we drive up through Kenmare and Sneem (Sneem is amazing if you ever get a chance to visit it). We had hours to kill before checking in to our cottage in the Black Valley (which is 40 mins south of Killarney) so we decided to do the Ring of Kerry. Funnily enough I had lived and worked in Dingle many years ago for 1.5 years and never completed the Ring of Kerry. Wow wow wow. The south side of the Ring of Kerry is breath-taking. We had the roads to ourselves and there was barely anyone around and the sun was shinning high in the skies.
I have never been anywhere more scenic than the Black Valley. The drive up the hill past Kate Kearneys cottage and then down into the valley was heart stopping. However, the scenery was out of this world. We hiked during the day and then walked up to the lakes in the evening to go fishing. It was paradise. Especially after being in lockdown for months on end this really was heaven. I would hope to return to this area again soon.
It was an excellent staycation in Ireland and we are so so lucky with what we have on out own door step. Next stop for us is Achill Island in a few days time and we cant wait.