We’re All Going On A Summer Holiday

There’s a stretch in the evenings, temperatures are edging higher and summer is bearing down on us faster than Ruby Walsh on a Cheltenham winner. At this time of the year my thoughts turn towards holidays and the annual family break.

Like most people, I love holidays. Scratch that. I adore holidays. The smell of sun lotion instantly brings back sun kissed, Celtic Tiger memories of exotic far flung beaches and stolen weekends in European capitals. Sometimes, I open a bottle of sun lotion in the dead of winter and indulge in a long sniff of its contents to remind myself that summer will come around again.

Since the small people arrived into our lives, holidays have changed completely. I made my peace with that several years ago. We have been very fortunate to have had lovely breaks with the children both home and abroad where great memories have been made.

That is until last year when it all went wrong.

I clearly remember discussing holiday options with Himself. We agreed we would go for a week to a sea side town in the West of Ireland. ‘Are you sure you are happy with that?’, Himself questioned. ‘As in not going abroad this year?’. ‘Yes’ I replied firmly. ‘I don’t want the children to think they get on a plane for holidays every year’. Now, with hindsight, I can put my hand on my heart and honestly say that I can’t understand what came over me. After all, this is Ireland. We all know how much it rains in Ireland. Especially in summer.

For God’s sake, I grew up in the West of the country, I really should have had more sense.

The booking was made and on a cloudy Saturday last August, the family and dog piled into the car and headed West. The children’s excitement was infectious and we were all looking forward to our trip. The weather wasn’t great setting out but we were sure it would improve.

My sister in law and her family joined us for one night and all the children were delighted at the thought of heading to the beach together. Of course, it rained, but we have all been to the beach in the rain in Ireland. That is part of the package. The children wanted to go into the sea so we gamely dressed them in wetsuits and sent them on their way. They gave up when their lips turned blue and dug in the sand instead. After an hour of huddling, wrapped in towels behind a windbreaker we called it a day. It wasn’t even lunch time but had we found a bottle of wine on the beach, I have no doubt that my sister in law and I may have wrestled each other to the ground to win the honour of draining it.

Typically, the sun started to come out when the in laws left but it didn’t stay long. The week was an utter wash out. We gave up all pretence of jollity after the children pleaded and the dog cried to be let back into the car when we were crab fishing in a downpour. For me, the final nail in the holiday coffin was having to do a Dunnes run for pyjamas because the ones I brought with me were not warm enough. The rest of the week passed by paying to get in to swimming pools and local attractions and for hot chocolate drinks. In August.

One wet, muddy day, we even got as far as the Burren where the youngest member of the family knocked over the ropes protecting a monument to a chorus of gasps from visiting Americans. The dog then seized that exact moment to disappear down a hole in the limestone. Red faced and rained upon we beat a hasty retreat to the car.

On the last day we breathed a collective sigh of relief when the car was packed up to go home. As luck would have it, the sun was splitting the rocks but at that stage we wanted to be at home in our own beds. By now you will have guessed that we are heading abroad this year. The question of an Irish holiday didn’t even come up. But until then, I’m getting my fix from sniffing sun lotion.