I don’t often seek to witness what my own country has to offer. To be honest, I don’t think many of us do. We often overlook the beauty that is right outside of our own front doors. I have always known that Ireland is a place of vast beauty and breath-taking landscapes but I have to be real, I never really thought that much about it.
Today, I arrived home from a four day getaway to Ballyhoura Mountain Lodges in Co.Limerick.
The cosy homes are located in south-east Limerick and are north-east of Cork. To be frank, they are essentially in the middle of nowhere! It’s a very secluded area, there is no wifi or phone signal. You can’t send texts or make any phone calls, it’s quite jaring at first. The idea our tech being of no use, was quite daunting for me and my two brothers, all self confessed internet connoisseurs. But, it was so refreshing! I was glad to be away from my phone and out enjoying the beautiful woodland area.
Honestly, we did nothing! We just took our dog Alfie out on a long walk in the woods (he was delighted with himself!) and then chilled out on the couch, for a long evening of Saturday night telly. I began reading a book I had been procrastinating about reading for ages, and it felt really good to be away from all the chaos of everyday life back home.
The next day we chilled out some more! I spent some time outside, exploring the area. I realised that there was literally nothing around us, only a few small houses and a few cows. It was so quite at Ballyhoura mountain lodges, I kept thinking about how they would be the perfect place to write a novel. It was so quite there you could hear a pin drop. That evening I took a nice long bath and read the latest issue of ELLE Magazine and read more of my book.
By day three we had started to get a little antsy and decided to explore the area outside of Ballyhoura. Also, it was my brothers birthday and we wanted to do something fun to celebrate, so we decided to drive to Mitchelstown Cave. We discovered that it was a family owned cave. It’s essentially in someones back yard! Our tour guide was the sweetest girl ever and gave us a brief history of the cave and all of the wonders it possesses within it’s dark walls. At one point, she turned off all of the lights within the cave, to give us perspective of what it would have been like for the local men who discovered it all those years ago. It was a pretty fun experience and it got me thinking about the amount of caves must still be undiscovered across Ireland.
I asked our lovely tour guide was there any local sights she recommended we visit during our time here and she suggest we check out Cahir Castle and the Swiss Cottage. She told us it was only 15 minutes journey from the cave and was well worth a look. So off we went, to Cahir, Co. Tipperary!
Once we arrived at Cahir Castle, we decided to take a walk around the area, as there was a beautiful memorial garden situated across from the castle. We thought that the Swiss Cottage would be a good place to start and thinking it was near by (oh boy, were we wrong!) and we began walking in it’s general direction. After what felt like over half an hour, we had reached our destination and paid €10 for a family ticket, to look around the grounds of the Swiss Cottage.
We knew nothing about the cottage, only that it apparently looked very beautiful! Upon entering the cottage grounds, it was apparent why people liked to visit this old house. It was visually stunning, like something straight out of a fairy tale! The cottage was owned by a very wealthy Irish family, named the Butlers. It was built in the early 1800’s and is known as a ‘cottage orné’. It was used by the Butler family as a “humble” getaway from their daily, luxurious lives.
It’s a stunning cottage, we were told by our tour guide that it is a rarity in today’s modern world. We were taken around the four rooms within the house and told about the history of the Butler family and their exquisite cottage. Although it was a beautiful place, my Dad and my brothers were absolutely bored off their heads looking at the interiors of this historical home! Typical :p
That night when we arrived home, we watched the film Wild, featuring Resse Witherspoon. The film is based off one of my favourite books of the same name. Once the film was over, I hopped into bed to read more of my book and had a really good nights rest.
Our last day in Limerick was really relaxed and quite memorable. We went to a Bike Trail up in the mountains, my Dad and my two brothers rented some mountain bikes, while my Mam & I took our dog on a 6k hike. There was many different routes and trails to choose from and the scenery surrounding us was stunning. Being out in nature and getting fresh air really soothes my soul.
Staying in Ballyhoura was a much needed getaway for me and my family. It was really chilled and we just decided to go with the flow every day. Not planning anything, just doing whatever seemed enjoyable in the moment. Being just four days without any access to social media, was really relaxing and felt natural, as it should. It’s the perfect place to go if you just want to get away from city life or need a break from social media/modern day life. I must say that I really enjoyed it!