I am constantly reading reviews of places to visit in Ireland and as a solo traveller with small children, I need to do my homework before I venture into the unknown. As a single parent of two small children and always looking for an affordable holiday package, I have found post-pandemic and the unexpected war in Ukraine, that the prices of hotels in Ireland and their family packages have escalated way beyond calculations. It has nearly become impossible to secure a reasonable family holiday on our own island (supporting the Irish hospitality industry)
A friend recommended a visit to his hometown of Kerry and suggested I book to stay at The Rose Hotel in Tralee. I had never been so I was delighted to secure a two-night family package. My package included bed and breakfast, one evening meal and a family pass to Aquadome – an indoor waterpark. I researched other hotels around Ireland and couldn’t believe the astronomical prices for a two-night family break.
You can find all the summer family packages here for The Rose Hotel: Summer Family Offers
The drive is longer than what I have done before, but we had Nintendo Switches, pens and sketch pads, plenty of snacks, blankets and squish mallow teddys – we were ready. I stopped off in Moneygall at the Barack Obama Plaza for some snacks and a photo opportunity. We set off again for another two-hour drive to our destination and home for two days – The Rose Hotel in Tralee.
The scenery in this part of Ireland is just mind-blowing. Yes, I have seen mountains but not like these. I felt like I was in an advertisement for Discover Ireland. I am a novice traveller around Ireland, but I have been pushing my boundaries each time; going that little bit further. It is so worth it. I know why tourists love it here so much and don’t mind all the rain, it’s what keeps our island looking so lush and colourful.
We had an Deluxe room and after a long drive, it was heaven. But, Aquadome waterpark was calling my twins, who had never been to an indoor waterpark before. They were hyper and so was I. It was literally around the corner from the hotel, perfect for me with two eight-year-old children. They loved it and we stayed as long as we could until my son started turning blue and shaking from being in the water for so long. We needed food.
We had one family dinner in our package and ventured down to the beautiful dining room where we devoured chicken and mushroom Vol-au-vents roast beef dinners, chicken and delicious desserts. We rolled back to our room and into our beds, wrapped up in luxurious bedding and tranquillity.
Awake at 8 am, we were ready for day two – a trip to Dingle and Inch beach. The Rose full Irish breakfast set me up for the day and the children devoured sausages and hash browns with lashings of tea and mini pastries. Delicious.
We set off for the Dingle Peninsula and passed Blennerville Windmill tucked away in the middle of the Slieve Mish mountains and the stunning green landscape. The drive to Dingle takes about 40 minutes and is spectacular. The buzz in Dingle is infectious and the popularity of this town is evident from the number of tourist coaches parked in the carpark, American accents and variety of tours.
I went straight to Dingle Boat Tours and as it was the twin’s first trip on a boat, I decided on the one-hour harbour trip. It was €20 for the three of us, a bargain and worth every penny.
The Blasket Islands and Safari Sea trips were something for me to explore another time. The harbour trip showcased spectacular views, Fungi’s bedroom and our guide was a wealth of information, it was very informative. We also got lucky and saw some dolphins swimming alongside our boat. By the time we got back to shore, the sun was out, and we were ravenous again. We had fish and chips in one of the many cafes and restaurants along the pier.
Next was Dingle Aquarium and we were pleasantly surprised at the variety of fish, sharks, penguins, otters and also a kid’s touch pool inside. Not bad value at under €40 for the three of us. We spent under an hour here, but I think if you had younger children, you would spend longer.
Into the car and now it was mammy’s turn to pick a spot to visit on our way back. Inch beach has been on my list of beaches to swim in if I was ever down this direction. It’s about 20 minutes from Dingle and the drive is out of this world. You could spot the white sand on the beach miles away. I love that you can drive onto the beach and run into the sea, which is what we did. We climbed sand dunes, jumped over endless waves and laughed with excitement. My children said it was their favourite beach by far and we have been to many.
The drive back to our hotel was about another 20 minutes, up to our room for a rest and down to the bar for food later, chatting about all our adventures. We fell into bed still shaking the sand off our feet.
The next morning, we had another superb breakfast and noticed it was a lot busier in the hotel, with lots of chatter amid the smell of home-cooked food. We packed up and went down to the hotel lobby to check out. A friend who lives in Listowel came to meet me at the hotel for a business meeting, so I managed to fit in some work as well as a family break. And what a perfect setting for a meeting in the comfort of the hotel foyer with plenty of tea and coffee and a real buzzy, transient atmosphere.
Now for the drive home…A fantastic two-day family trip.
(This content was kindly sponsored by The Rose Hotel, Tralee)