I think it was during the Easter holidays that I decided we needed a break away from home this summer. I turned the laptop on and searched the net for somewhere that would appeal to all. Not an easy task considering we have two children who have very different interests. Our eldest is a book worm, a budding artist, a writer of sorts and an internet addict.
The youngest loves the great outdoors and has a huge interest in sports and I mean all sports. From swimming to cycling to golf and everything in between he can be found either having a go or watching others havinng a go. When he’s not playing or watching sports he can be found playing on his game console.
Our budget was small, my work is on a casual part time basis so a trip abroad was out of the question. A cottage or house in the Irish country side was what we needed. Somewhere free from the demon wifi, preferrably without a TV or game console.
I know you think I’ve lost the plot, travelling to some secluded spot without home comforts with a teen and an almost teen. You’re wondering how long I’m mad now.
Well I found the exact spot I was looking for. An old mill secluded in the depths of the countryside. It was going for a song and was available the last week in August. A sign I tell you. I showed it to the teen ( yep I was having a moment of doubt) who thought it was wonderful. I booked it before I cold change my mind. Then promptly put it to the back of my mind as I got on with the school year.
As August drew near my lovely husband revealed that Craughwell, where the lovely old mill we were heading to on our holidays, was a stones throw from Roscommon. He found this most amusing as we live a stones throw from Roscommon too. Look on the bright said I told him, we won’t have a long journey there or back!
As it turned out we were quite a distance from home and only twenty minutes outside Galway city. The house itself was full of character and charm.
A four hundred year old stone building surrounded by trees with a river flowing by it, this tiny house was the quirkiest little place we had ever stayed in.
As soon as we pulled up outside we knew we were going to have the relaxed, tranquil week we had hoped for and we weren’t wrong.
The flow of the river sent us to sleep at night and woke us gently in the early morning. We were up and out of the mill early most mornings which meant we had lots of time to explore and ramble around Galway and it’s surrounds. There is something quite as peaceful and enriching as being beside water.
I won’t bore you with evry little detail of our week away but I really do have to mention our trip to Inis Mór. We had the best time from beginning to end. I love to be beside the sea and relished every moment of our day on the island. I find being by the sea renews my spirit.
Our non sporty eldest child sat up on a bike in Kilronan and cycled to Dun Aengus and back which surprised and shocked us all. The lads in true competitive style took off at speed and explored a lot more of this lovely island than we did.
However, I enjoyed the leisurely pace we took as I was able to stop and take photos here and there along the way. I have to admit that they do not do the island justice. It really is a place that has to be seen and experienced to fully appreciate it’s natuarl rustic beauty and charm. As you can tell I was completely smitten.
While I truly enjoyed my time in Galway I wondered if the locals get a bit weary of the influx of tourists throughout the summer months. On more than one occassion I felt that it was a chore for sales assistants to drag themselves away from converstaion and actually engage with us. In one very well placed establishment I even heard the sales staff call shoppers ‘amadán’ and speculate about charging an enterance fee!
While getting a take away coffee Darren asked the lady behind him would he leave the cap of the milk for her, she burst into her native tongue, Gaelic, to which he smiled and moved on. He asked her as bearla (in English) as he had heard her having an animated conversation with her companion in English. It’s nice to be nice as they say. I just couldn’t help thinking that maybe the influx of tourists gets to people by the end of the season.
To end on a more positive note I’ll tell you about a lovely coffee shop myself and the teen found one afternoon as we rambled around Galway in the rain. Goya’s is the loveliest spot you could find. Happy, helpful staff, bright airy atmosphere, coffee and food to die for and the toilet faclities were spotless (always important!).
We stumbled on it as we strolled down Kirwan lane and ducked in to take refuge from the rain. Am I glad we did. The selection of baked treats and pasteries was mouthwatering. Spoiled for choice I had a delicious carrot cake with coffee which was served with hot milk to enhance the taste. The teen had an oreo cupcake. We sat and savoured our sweet treats while the rain fall and the world passed by.
We brought the lads back with us as our week neared it’s end and sampled the soup and toastie special and this time I made sure to sample some of the red velvet cake that I had spied earlier in the week. I was not disappointed. The staff were so pleasant and our youngest who has some very fussy eating habits was catered for.
It was great to get away from the hum drum rhythm of life for a while. The old mill was the perfect spot to recharge the battteries and reconnect with each other and nature. It was wonderful not to be reliant on technology and instead be engaged and in the moment. The only thing I missed was a good cup of coffee in the morning. Did I forget to mention that the mill had a supply of rain water that was filtered for consumtion?
While the coffee may have not been to my liking the sense of peace and calm that enveloped us was priceless.
The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man. ~Author Unknown
Slán agus beannacht,