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Places to visit in Donegal!

This year we went to Donegal for the second year in a row and I am pretty positive that we will be going again next year. It is just such a lovely place, relaxed, quiet and beautiful.
We stayed in Portsalon which is right on the seafront and the beach in Portsalon was also voted number two most beautiful beach in the world by the observer magazine. As you can imagine it is simply wonderful.
I thought I would do a little list of the places that we really enjoyed so that if you are ever in Donegal then you will have some ideas of where to visit!

In Portsalon there were two beach’s.
My girl loved the little one down the hill and it seemed to be very popular with the children staying in and around Portsalon. It was a lovely beach with some sand, rocks to climb on and you could also go pier diving here, they also had pedalos to rent, banana boat rides, a little shop with snacks and water sport gear, a restaurant, a bar and one thing that I would recommend you avoid- a take away chip shop.
This beach was very busy because of all that it had to offer. With Dylan not being a lover of crowds and I am very similar myself and would rather some space too we decided the other beach was better for us.
The bigger beach is a 5 minute walk from the little one, so it’s very handy. It is also beside the golf course in-case you want to play a spot of golf while away. I loved this beach because it has a lot of open space to walk, rocks with many rockpools to explore and it was so quiet! Perfect!

Another place we visited was Tropical world, it is a simply wonderful place. It has many animals that you wouldn’t generally get to see and all seem very well cared for and happy. It also has a butterfly house which is lovely and filled with many different butterflies. My little girl loved this part especially when one landed on her! They also have times for handling some of the animals, when we were there we got the chance to hold a snake and a bearded dragon! They also have a dinosaur part with moving dinosaurs, and a soft play bit too! You can come and go from here for the day too, and I would highly recommend the café beside here we went and all thoroughly enjoyed our paninis and the cake afterwards! It was delicious and very relaxed for the children too.
This would be a great day out for in the rain as the majority of it is inside and you could easily spend all day here.

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Somewhere else that we found that was good for in the rain, or just to do something a little different was a place called Arena 7. It has a wide range of things, we really enjoyed the arcade machines where you won tickets for those most amazing prizes we all loved as kids, bowling, pool tables, and the wonderful soft play. They also had a restaurant there that apparently is very good, but we didn’t try it as Amellia got a kid’s meal in the soft play and she thoroughly enjoyed it and it was all very reasonably price! We went here on a rainy day and were very surprised with how quiet it was, we had lots of fun here and what really made it a great experience was that on the door they had an autism awareness sticker.

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If you are looking for a spot of shopping Letterkenny has got a range of recognisable high street shops all next to each other. You could also head down to Donegal town for a spot of shopping in different little shops and to the craft village there which has some local craft in it and a beautiful little restaurant that was again very relaxed but particularly tasty! They were very accommodating for the children and said they could have anything they fancied on the menu and they would do a smaller portion! Perfect for my food loving little girl!

Another little spot to eat that is simply wonderful is The Curlew Café, If you love seafood you must visit here if you are close by! It is all locally sourced and in a really cosy and friendly little place. All of the food is homemade and the lady there is very welcoming and happy to chat with the kids. Along with being a lovely little restaurant it also has some beautiful unique crafts inside to. We went here last year and we visited this year and we will again next time we are in Donegal.
img_9131Rathmullen is also a lovely little village with a long beach to walk along, several restaurant, take aways, bars, play park and a boat that you can take across to the other side to do some more exploring! On this beach we found rather a lot of starfish and Amellia loved rescuing them and putting them back into the sea. Surprisingly we also found lots of starfish here last year too! Maybe you will be lucky to spot some too! =]
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There we go, a few ideas of where to visit if you are in and around Portsalon in Donegal =]
-WeeOhana

 

 

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Our Summer Trip!

We got to spend a lovely week in a beautiful little part of Ireland in Donegal. To be precise it was Portsalon, one of my favourite places thanks to last years holiday, this years and memories from when I went there when I was younger too!

We stayed in a beautiful little house with the most spectacular view over the beach, out to the sea and over the mountains. People complain that Portsalon is too small, and that there isn’t enough to do there, but to me that’s just perfect. I would much rather be there than at a really busy touristy place! This was the view from the house the first day we arrived. Spectacular, I had already decided I didn’t want to come home.
img_8944We went with my mum and dad too which was lovely as they have moved away from us now and unfortunately don’t get to spend that much time with the kids anymore. When we arrived the kids settled in pretty quickly exploring the house while I brought the things in from the car, put food in the fridge and got Dylan’s bed ready for the night.
We brought Dylan’s bedding with us to try to help him to settle into the travel cot and make it a little less overwhelming for him and I went about making the room as dark as possible as he is used to his room being very dark!

We didn’t really do much while we were away, but this was the aim as it was meant to be relaxing though I have now realised that as a mother you never really do relax and in fact on holiday it is even more stressful as you are in someone else’s house and don’t want the kids to break anything and are trying to ensure everyone is happy, gets fed when they need to etc!
We spent most of our time at the beach, but we also explored the little towns close by, did some shopping, went to the wonderful Tropical World and ate in some yummy places too!

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The first day we went down to the beach Amellia couldn’t wait to go and explore in the rock pools to see what she could find! She had a lovely time off with my dad and Dylan was happily sleeping in his pram. After a while he woke up and was ok after a little while playing in the sand and drawing letters in it!
The second day that we went to the beach Dylan was funny at the start again and on the third visit after a little bit of coaxing he was running in and out of the sea! It was simply wonderful to see! Amellia really enjoyed playing with him in the sea too and was so lovely to watch! She also found some starfish when out for a walk with my dad too!

We also ate in some rather yummy places. Dylan ate his usual on holiday and I didn’t want to try anything while away to upset him etc. Amellia though got stuck right into a lot of things and loved trying different things!

We found a soft play that was close by too that the kids really enjoyed on the rainy day that we got. It was a lovely little size and wasn’t very busy either so was perfect for them both!
img_8986Amellias favorite things on holiday was some teddy fruits that were in the house when we got there. She had grampy playing with them every second that she could and still talks about them! She also made up a little song that really made me giggle!

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All in all the trip was a success, Dylan did brilliantly and showed us very clearly when he had enough and went and sat in his pram or pulled to get lifted. A few times he got upset but generally it was quickly resolved. The only thing that he struggled with was bed time, every night I had to take him out for a drive and one night it took 4 hours worth of driving to get him to sleep! Amellia really enjoyed spending time her grandparents and it was a simply lovely time.

I can’t wait to go back again soon and shortly I’ll do a blog on places we really enjoyed that we went to and places that weren’t the greatest! Means it will be there for when I go next to refresh myself and to help you if you are heading down in that direction anytime soon! =]
-WeeOhana