Sunday, July 3, 2016

Discovering Dungarvan

We were looking for a great place to spend a well earned, relaxing weekend. 
Not too far from home but far enough so we could go experience some new things as a family.

Having stayed at other Flynn Hotels (Newpark, Kilkenny) we opted for The Park Hotel, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.

We had been allocated two adjoining rooms one with 2 double beds for the kids and another fine bright and airy room for Mum and Dad - the beds are super comfortable - an extremely welcome feature after a long working week - but it would be a while before we got our heads down - Dungarvan awaits! 

For us, with energetic boys there are a couple of "must haves" - Swimming Pool and Kids Club - The Park had both! We opted for the 2 Night family trip package - which included a family ticket on the wonderful Waterford and Suir Valley Railway (20 minutes drive from the hotel) - more about that later.
After a quick check in and registration for the kids club (designated desk) the kids wanted to go explore the hotel and grounds - it's funny and quirky but they always want to go all round the hotel so see what's going on - where's the kids club, how big is the pool, is there a games room..... In fairness - when writing a blog it's no harm to follow the leader!
After about 30 minutes roving the hotel - we took our bags to our rooms.
There are 2 options here both of which are great for families - family rooms or Self catering houses - both perfect for us.

The hotel itself is really well located for families within easy access to Dungarvan town.I remember as a kid myself my parents would often spend a night or two on the way from Dublin to Kerry, in Dungarvan or Youghal "just to break up the drive". 

The town itself oozes charm with lots of narrow streets and waterside cafes - it has changed a lot since I stayed here before - for the better.

We took a walk along Dungarvan Harbour - which has become a very popular area full of trendy eateries overlooking the water.
We stopped by St. John's Castle which is free to visit - open to the public - with great access which the kids really loved.

We stopped by St. John's Castle which is free to visit - open to the public - with great access which the kids really loved. 
With hungry tummies it was time for a pit stop.Interlude, on Quay Street, seems to be a hot spot for families and came recommend by staff at the hotel. 

Nice menu - reasonable prices - the food was incredible. It's always encouraging when the menu is simple. 

Kids are tough critics! Pizza and Pasta for the children which they loved - with a stunning and renowned Chicken Caesar Salad from mum and and super tasty fajita wrap for Dad (

We spent a couple of hours browsing the shops of Dungarvan before changing gears and heading to Colligan Wood ( a short drive away) - a really great idea and one we would highly recommend.

There are many trails to be experienced - however,we didn't have time to do one - but even for short walk we were able to experience great views of Dungravan Harbour and Helvick Head in the distance - more details 

On the way back to the hotel - we actually took time to check out both of the playgrounds near the hotel. Both are relatively new and modern and the kids loved the opportunity to enjoy them for half an hour so - working up yet another appetite.

Something every parent of boys will appreciate is their ferocious appetites so back at the hotel again - this time to The Meladon Bar - which is busy due to the Euro 2016 Quarter Finals - so a great atmosphere.
There is a kids menu available here which offers 3 courses for €10 and a great choice for adults. Service was quick and with lots of staff on duty there were no delays at all. Special mention here to Kenny, the Manager and the restaurant supervisor who looked after us so well.After dinner, the younger boys decided to sample the kids club. 

As they get older it can be a challenge to get them to go to the kids club and normally first impressions are critical! We need not have worried - within the centre of the hotel - is a dedicated Kids Club House run by Sydney an experienced Irish teacher who has a great philosophy on Kids Club fun.
She suggest that a varied programme encouraging the children to focus on doing as opposed to the end results. Kids bake and play and are all very hands on which you can see when we arrive when some of the "guest" are face painting Sidney!

They also get involved in other activities including arts and crafts and movie nights.The boys played for a while but were exhausted and bed beckoned!We began our final day with an early swim in the lovely pool. There is a superb leisure centre here but with a young family it's often a tough ask to try and get the time - maybe next time!

After another lovely breakfast (buffet plus hot options from generous menu) it's time to both check out and head for our next stop - The Waterford and Suir Valley Railway - where we board a period carriage and take in the wonderful views of the River Suir. It's a family friendly railway which run through scenic areas along the River Suir with stunning views of Mount Congreve Gardens. The Ticket office is based out of an old carriage and really sets the scene.

Ticket for the family - 2 Adults and 3 Children cost €26 which works out as terrific value for money. Details here Take a look at our "arrival" in KilmeadanWe spent a lot of time in the immediate area of Dungarvan and Youghal - two lovely towns to base a family in the sunny south east. There are so many things we could have done if we had longer - such as take a cycle along the new Waterford Greenway or ventured out to take in some water sports on any of the amazing beaches along the Copper Coast. This area has really evolved since our last visit, pre children - there is a really nice vibe in Dungarvan and it's not hard to see why this hidden gem is so popular - sure to be back.

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