Kilkenny, Cork and Kinsale with Baby
Seven of the twelve days in Ireland were spent driving around the South and West Coast and we managed to fit in a lot, yes even with a baby! Family friendly travel at its best is what Ireland offered. This post is dedicated to our first two days on the road as we left Dublin (click here to see our Where to Stay, Dine and Play in Dublin with Baby post) to Blarney with pit stops in Kilkenny and Kinsale.
Using our trusted Enterprise vehicle we left Dublin (with the hubs driving on the other side of the road) around 11 a.m. and got into Kilkenny just in time for a quick lunch at The Field, a quaint little pub with a baby friendly vibe as there were kids running around. As with everywhere we went, we chatted up the locals and this time around learned all about the Hurling! Nothing fancy here but basic comfort food – hearty chowder coupled with a BLT. Just the perfect combination to keep us warm that cold afternoon. Next up was a visit to Kilkenny Castle. No strollers are allowed inside, instead they tell you to park it out by the reception, which is what we did. Luckily the Little Monkey was awake and ready to explore. A 45 minute poke around the Castle and we were done exploring the eight centuries of architectural wonder. The Rose Garden is a great place to chill after the tour, provided the sun’s out! Fab photo opportunity for sure! A quick shopping fix was had at the local stores and then we zipped off to the Rock of Cashel which was about a 45 minute drive away. This was a great spot for us to stretch our legs and the Little Monkey loved roaming around the grounds. They allow strollers but we had no need for ours as it was a small space and someone wanted to walk around the grounds, looking at the ‘moos’. The informative video is worth sitting through if you miss the guided tours like we did. All this was done at a leisurely pace and we then drove ourselves for another hour to our final destination that evening in County Cork. Note that when we went in late June and Cashel was deserted and at 5 p.m we weren’t even able to find a coffee shop, so plan accordingly and have your snacks handy!
Cork and Blarney
We spent the next two nights at the Blarney Castle Hotel as it gave us easy access to the Blarney Stone and to Kinsale. If you’re looking for five star comfort with fluffy towels and high end fixins this is not for you. If however you’re looking for that old school charm, to meet some friendly locals and enjoy the chance to revel in what it may have felt like to live in the olden days, then this is perfect. It was charming, the bar downstairs was hopping and there was live music (click here for our craic collection) … not to mention that the breakfast is great! They have high chairs and were very child friendly and even brought by an activity set one night when the Little Monkey was fussy. The staff are extremely helpful and we got a chance to meet the owners the morning we were leaving… they were absolutely lovely and ensured we knew how to get on with our journey. I loved that they had a real baby cot vs. the flimsy pack and plays most places had for us. The rooms were clean and if you’re looking for the hairdryer it’s in the drawer by the table! I’ve noticed this happening in quite a few Irish lodgings. We found the bathroom a bit difficult to use because there’s a hot water and cold water tap which means you have to fill the basin to wash your hands, but ofcourse we weren’t used to that so it was scalding hot water in one hand and freezing cold in the other as we tried to wash our hands. It was quite funny to watch us! All our meals in Blarney and Cork were had at this cozy hotel and we were able to walk to the Blarney Stone had we wished to do so! Shopping fanatics note that there’s a
HUGE GINORMOUS shopping outlet just behind the hotel, so ensure you give yourself plenty of time to gather your souvenirs, as this was the cheapest spot we found!
Day 2 of being on the road saw us off to a late start as we explored the Blarney Castle around 11 a.m. It took us about 2 hours to climb to the top to see the Blarney Stone and explore the immediate area, though we didn’t do all the gardens and fields on site. Despite being pregnant I was able to walk to the very top… so it isn’t too bad. I did it in a dress and flip flops too..I did not kiss the stone though! The hubs carried the Little Monkey up the whole way, it was a narrow walk up and the steps were TIIINY. A baby carrier would come in handy if you had a young on with you. We didn’t take our stroller in as we knew we were just going to climb to the top and call it a day. If you plan to spend the day exploring the various areas then a stroller would be helpful. You can always leave it downstairs when you climb up to kiss the stone. Is it worth it ? Ofcourse… you can’t go to Ireland and not atleast SEE the Blarney Stone! We then drove to Kinsale in about half an hour.
Disclaimer : Our stay at the Blarney Castle Hotel was arranged by Tourism Ireland Canada but as always, all opinions are mine!
This is a cute little sea town and is a perfect way to spend an afternoon walking by the water. It was a relatively small place and we got a good feel for the area in the four hours we spent there. Lunch at Fishy Fishy Cafe was recommended by a local friend and that’s where we had the freshest Fish and Chips we ever did have! Lunch was followed by a bit of a cold Kinsale Harbour Tour. Loved that they had some books and crayons for the little ones and that the ticket included a warm tea or coffee. They even had blankets on board as it was still quite windy. The only thing amiss was that you couldn’t hear the narration if you sat in the cozy downstairs compartment. We heard it all whilst freezing our tushies on the top though! Around 5 p.m we decided to return to the city of Cork for a quick visit to the Franciscan Well Brewery for a craft beer fix. The Rebel Larger was the hub’s favourite. That said the the Dungarven beers were the best he had in Ireland, it’s only a shame we didn’t make it to the brewery which we happened to have passed on our travels from Dublin to Cork!
As you can see, Ireland is relatively easy to get around and the best part was that the Little Monkey took her naps as we hopped between places, which made our life very easy! As long as we were stocked with fruits and milk, she was a happy roadtripper. We didn’t even have to pull out the Elmo videos we had stashed as often as we anticipated!
Stay tuned for Days 3 to 7 in the upcoming weeks! We still have our adventures in Dingle and Doolin to share including our visits to the little towns, Cliffs of Mohr and Aran Islands!
Baby and Life! | Travel in Dingle with Baby
August 8, 2013 @ 12:05 pm
[…] in Dublin (click here for our Dublin with baby series) and then started our week long road trip. In this post I shared our first two days in Blarney, Kilkenny and Kinsale so we’re on day three and four […]
November 10, 2014 @ 10:14 pm
the shamrocks of Ireland are calling to me, thanks for your ever entertaining posts
December 3, 2014 @ 12:49 pm
Love all of your travel posts! I have always loved to travel and Ireland is one dream place that I really want to go someday so I will be reading all your other Ireland posts 🙂 great information. Thanks so much for sharing.