We are incredibly lucky to be able to holiday every year in Kilkee on the Loop Head Peninsula. There is just so much to do, amazing roads to cycle and run, swimming in the numerous spots around the bay, fabulous food in the restaurants and so many places to take adventurous day trips to. But in the past two years our holidays have been slightly different with a toddler, and now a baby, in tow. So we had to rethink what to do if it rained, what we could do in between naps and what to do to ensure we were having fun all while not getting stressed.
So I’ve rounded up the best stress free activities and outings we enjoyed without one ‘heated debate’ 🙂
Top of every toddlers list must be the beach. It is so large and safe to run, chase shadows (current favorite pastime!), build sand castles, throw water on yourself….the list goes on. When the tide is out there is often a little sand island, dependent on the storms out to sea the island can be large or very small, just before the island most of the time there is a small pool of water. It’s warmer than the sea and not even ankle deep. Perfect for a two year old to play in. It was handy for building up her comfort level of the water as in the beginning the waves coming in on her toes was a little scary for her.
Within a few trips to the beach she was running into the little waves and jumping over them. She even sat down in the little pool and lay down on her tummy, a huge difference to the first day when she bawled when I just wet my toes.
Days when it’s not warm enough to sit and pretend you might get a chance to read a page of your book, the beach is plenty long to walk the length of it while you encourage your toddler to do the same by chasing her shadow.
So from confidence building to sand castle building the beach is top of my list.
Vandeleur Walled Garden
The Vandeleur Walled Garden is in Kilrush, just before reaching the peninsula. This was my first year visiting the garden and according to our 2 year old it was top of the list for best thing to do, well if you asked her after the beach then the beach won out!!
The garden is free to enter which is a major plus. As it’s walled it is ideal for little ones to run around without worrying. Probably why Missy loved it so much. Despite this not being on any list for my Dad or sister they both really enjoyed our trip . For those with a camera there are plenty of colourful flowers to practice your photography skills on. If you like a game of outdoor chess well you’re in luck as well.
There is also a cafe with an all day breakfast (another big hit 🙂 ) on the menu.
They often have a craft fair on so keep an eye on their website for more details.
The library in Kilkee is fantastic for toddlers. There are plenty of books, games, coloring and plenty more to help pass an hour or so on wet days. We enjoyed it so much last year it got it’s very own mini post. There is also quite often an art exhibition on display at the entrance.
Also worth noting, if you are a member of a library in counties Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford or Wicklow you can avail of all services in libraries in Country Clare.
Funded by the community this playground is fun for all ages, proved by several parents trying out the swings!! Pictures say more than I can 🙂
Kilbaha is just before the Loop Head Lighthouse. There isn’t a huge amount there but for two reasons it’s worth taking a trip out. First up is the playground, the views of the estuary will keep you feeling calm and reasurred you’re on holidays while your little ones run around. After it’ll be time for a tea and scone, or maybe cake, at the Kilbahan Gallery and Crafts. Art, jewllery, knitwear, artisan produce fill the walls and shelves of the shop. Tucked in at the back is the cafe with scones and treats from the Pantry in Kilkee.
The two woman who own the gallery are the most welcoming people. On spotting Missy they brought her straight to a box of toys in the cafe and showed her the playhouse out in the courtyard. I’m sure other gallery type shops would not be as welcoming to little ones. They even have a changing table, not always an easy thing to find when so far west.
Check out the fab short video on Kilbaba on the About page of the gallery.
For those really really wet days where there is no chance of a walk outside, we’d be kidding ourselves if we said that never happened, there is Waterworld. When I was younger I thought it was madness building a swimming pool beside the sea, but now as a parent I see its wonder. For the older and more adventurous there is even a water slide. Granted this year we didn’t end up going as Missy decided she was too scared, think my husband was the one who really wanted to go 🙂
Eating out – Golf Club
When we are on holidays, or even weekends for that of it, we love eating out. It’s just easier having someone else do all the work 😉 Of course this might be the reason I have a lot of post pregnancy weight to loss, but that’s for another day. There are plenty of fantastic eateries on the peninsula but not many that will take a double buggy very easily. We were on holidays in June and Kilkee was quieter which made things easier, we ate in The Pantry, not the easiest place to get a buggy into, and the Diamond Rocks Cafe, same story with the buggies once the busy summer season starts but they are open year round. But top of our list was The Golf Club for two big reasons, the baby bowl……..I know right. But baby food brought us back there three times in one week. Hubby and I would have been very happy with this for ourselves, poor Missy had to fight for her own meal. Second big big attraction are the views.
Some of the things I can’t wait to do with Missy and Junior are water sports with Nev Sail (they also do summer camps for children from around 7) and dolphin watching in Carrigaholt (the boat trip is around 3 hours which for a 2 ear old is a little too long).
For even more activities to do with families with older children or just yourself like coasteering, horse riding, ddolphin watching check out www.LoopHead.ie