|Posted on November 13, 2013 at 8:45 AM|
IF CARLSBERG DID FAMILY CAMPING TRIPS..8)
Ok, well if truth be told, it was a cross between the perfect carlsberg moment and a touch of faulty towers. Yes, the Kenny’s had their first family camping trip and survived :-)
Not only did we survive, but we had a magical time and precious family memories were made.
“Back in the days” pre- kids, myself and Mr. Kenny were, what you would call, biker campers. we would camp at biker festivals, which usually involved a long spin on hubby’s motorbike, across the seas to the Bulldog bash. A weekend of drink, music, and festival fun.
So with this being our first experience of proper camping; as in, family camping. We weren’t quite sure what to expect or bring, so we brought what seemed like, half the house with us. Rain gear, sunny gear, airbeds, gazillions of sleeping bags and pillows, lamps, lights, toolbox, and what seemed like, half the kitchen.
We bought a camp stove and a cool fold out picnic bench last week. The picnic benches are genius. I never seen one before Nana showed us hers, that she had bought years ago and we borrowed twice from her recently, so we were delighted to spot them in Tescos last week, for a very reasonable 33 euro, so we snapped it up. Argos sell them too, as seen below.
I highly recommend it. They are easy to fold up and don’t take up much room and comfortably fit a family of four.
Funnily enough, every tent seemed to have one outside.
We wanted the kids to experience a proper camping adventure, so we packed up the cooler box, dry food box and snacks and treats. I made homemade soup, a quiche and a yummy apple pie just before we left, for a few home comforts and off we set, on our great adventure into the wild :-) .
After a three hour car journey, through some stunning scenery, we arrived at Actons beach side camping site. Wow is all I can say. scenery is breath taking.
We purposely chose a site that didn’t have a playground, as to me, the whole purpose of this trip, was for family fun and a chance to switch off from modern life and go back to nature. If we were on a site with a playground, the kids would just want to be pushed on the swings for hours on end and sure our garden here resembles a playground, as it is.
What Acton’s provide is way better.
Acton’s Camping and Caravanning Park is located on a private secluded beach at the estuary of Streamstown Bay. Unique to the park is an eco-system called ‘machair’, listed as a priority habitat in Ireland under the EU Habitats Directive. This is a highly specialized and complex sand dune habitat system that is confined globally to the north West Coast of Ireland and Scotland. It comprises a flat or gently undulating sandy plain that develops in an oceanic location with a cool, moist climate resulting in rich bio-diversity, flora and fauna of importance can be seen throughout the park.
We were greeted by the lovely Tatjana and Kris and after a tour of the site, we were shown our choice of pitches. We chose a sheltered pitch, as we had what we call, a fair weather tent.
(Note to oneself.. Never buy tent online, unless you have seen the type of tent before and know that it is good. the word “bargain” isn’t always a good thing).
We pitched our tent and had our dinner, before exploring the site further. The beach is amazing. Gorgeous white sand and on that evening, we had the whole beach to ourselves.
After lots of fresh sea air, we settled back in the tent and got some sleep. The kids were great. Understandably, they were giddy as they had never slept in a tent before and also because they were sharing an air bed.
I, however didn’t sleep too well. It was so windy outside and our tent really wasn’t designed for such weather.
The Saturday morning, we were up early and made a cooked breakfast. There is something lovely about eating your brekkie outdoors, listening to the sound of the waves and breathing in the smell of fresh summer air.
After brekkie and freshening up, we took a walk along the beach and jumped through the waves, made sand castles and collected shells.
You can walk over to Omney Island on low tide, but the weather wasn’t looking too good, despite the heatwave we were promised for that weekend.
It rained most of the day, but in true camper’s style, we threw on our wet gear and made the most of it. A bit of rain never hurt anyone, did it..
Our tent however had a few puddles. It certainly wasn’t designed for rain, but thankfully we had airbeds which keep us up off the ground.
After a few very heavy downpours, We drove out to Omney Island via Claddagh Duff and despite the rain, we had a great time exploring.
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On the way back to the campsite we stopped off in Clifden and had a wander around the town. With the rain coming and going we decided we would cheat slightly and have dinner in a restaurant, as we wouldnt be able to cook up a feast in the rain. (note to oneself, bring our gazebo next time for cooking equipment, as could cook in rain then).
We ate in off the Square restaurant and the food was lovely and great value for money. They had 3 options on the daily specials. Myself and himself both had the herb coated cod, mash and veg… yummy and huge portion. The kids picked from the kiddies menu. Little man got a pasta dish (it was HUGE) and little miss got half portion of roast dinner. (again huge portion) They got a scoop of icecream and choc sauce afterwards and we got a jug of diluted blackcurrant between us and altogether it was 32.50 euro. Very good value.
With a full belly, we headed back to the campsite and spent an hour flying our kite. then hired an eco fire pit from reception for 10 euro. It comes complete with kindling, wood and special wooden firelighters. We had a great night sat around the campfire toasting marshmallows, chatting and watching the stars and the gorgeous big moon.
we did however have a little hiccup, when the zip broke on the door of the tent, but we improvised and made a new door with the the help of some cable ties and extra material. (I told you we brought half the house)
Again the kids slept great and we spent Sunday morning down on the beach before heading home.
A successful weekend and a memorable one. We had a fab time, despite the rain, the puddles and the broken door and we are looking forward to many more adventures next year in a new waterproof tent :-)
My tips for a first time family camper
* Airbeds are very comfy and practical.
* Bring Hot water bottles for kiddies
* Bring pillows and extra sleeping bags
* Torches are great for toilet trips and also a little night light for tent.
* Games such as Jenga or snakes and ladders, or cards are good to have in tent incase rain strikes.
* Bring skewers for toasting marshmallows.
* Rain gear for the whole family is a must, if camping in Ireland
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