Mum's cousin who I see more like an auntie has a holiday home in Donegal so after a cheeky request to see if it was free she said we could stay there for a few days. We spent many a childhood summer exploring this glorious county but in all the years Mr T and I have been together he has never been there. I've trailed him round many other parts of Ireland but for some reason Donegal was never on our radar.
Even though it's just over 2 hours away from my parent's house in Belfast we broke the trip up by stopping in Derry for a little bit. Mr T was keen to explore the Bogside area and walk the city walls (well as far as he could with a broken toe) which were fascinating to see. Many of the gable end's in Derry are adorned with murals depicting scenes from the Troubles and even though they are similar it felt very different to those in Belfast.
After a few hours of mooching around we headed across the border to and up to Portsalon where we would be spending the next few days. It always makes me chuckle when I think of the border, the only way we all know we are in the South is when our phones change from a UK network to an Irish one. This meant I had no access to 4G and could only get online if there was free WiFi somewhere.
Now I'm a total social media addict and both Mr T and I spend far too long on our phones/laptop/iPad so it was really nice not to have the distraction and spend some quality time together as a family. Unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side for most of our stay but that didn't stop us getting out for a little bit. The Tuesday was a cold and blustery day (12 degrees in August!) but we braved the bracing Atlantic winds and drove to Fanad Head to visit the lighthouse. Standing proud and bright amongst the rugged coastline of Donegal, this stunning piece of architecture has been around for over 200 years.
On one of the days it rained and it rained and it rained. There we were, in a house in the middle of nowhere with no internet and only Sky tv and each other for company and if I'm honest it was the best day of the whole trip. We stayed in our pjs, played with Ethan, watched some cheesy tv and just enjoyed each other's company. We both said if we had been at home we would have been doing odd jobs around the house or faffing on Facebook but instead Mr T lit the fire (yes, I know it's August, but we were in Ireland remember!), I finally finished my Baby Led Weaning book and had a few naps with Ethan. That night we drove to a local seafood restaurant for dinner and as we watched the choppy waters across the bay I felt so relaxed and content.
On our way back to Belfast we took a slight detour to Omagh to visit the Ulster American Folk Park which I strongly recommend you visit. Consisting of old farmhouses and buildings from the 19th and early 20th century it explained all about the Irish immigration to the USA. There were peat fires burning in many of the houses with a lady dressed in traditional costume telling you the story of the house and the family who lived there. Even though I learnt about a lot of this at school I thoroughly enjoyed our visit and we both said we would take Ethan back again when he is older.
Before we headed back to Leeds we had a few more days with my family who just spoil Ethan rotten. He is one lucky boy and I think he's found it odd since we got back not to have constant entertainers on hand.
Our break away was just what we needed - from time with my family to our digital detox in Donegal and savouring each other's company, it truly was a wonderful trip. It also gave me time to think about this blog and what direction I was to take it. Cake and baking will always be at it's core but I enjoy writing these lifestyle posts and sharing snippets of our family life too.
A few photos from our trip...
|12C in August???|
|My boys love fire|
|Beach time! Too cold for sandcastles so this was the next best thing...|
|My happy boy!|
|One of the cottages at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum|
|My wee family!|