Anytime Jacek has a day off we try and go somewhere as a family and whether it be a trip to the woods just down the road or a long drive to pastures further afield, we're always exploring and looking for new places.
I love going to these places as it really inspires my photography. I love capturing pictures of the beautiful nature we have here in Ireland and sharing my pictures on Instagram to show just how much of a fairytale Ireland can be - even with the rain! I also think it's good for the kids to get out and about and get as much fresh air as possible, as well as visiting new places with their father and I - I think it'll be these days out that they'll remember fondly when they're all grown up.
Last Sunday we ventured further afield to north Cork county and to a place none of us had ever been before, Doneraile Park. I have to admit, I was too keen on visiting Doneraile Park before we actually went. I had looked up pictures of it on Instagram and online and it didn't seem all that appealing, it just all seemed to be grass and trees, but I was pleasantly surprised and I've learnt to not judge something based on other people's images anymore and instead, to go and experience it all for myself and then form my opinion.
The first thing we saw when we got to Doneraile Park was the brilliant playground they have there, as it's conveniently (or not so convenient if you actually want to explore and your kids just want to stay at the playground all day!) by the car park. Tyler loved the playground and had his first ever go on a zip line there, Beau was able to go on the baby swings and it was great that the playground offered something for both boys. There's also a wooden train there that Tyler couldn't get enough of.
After half an hour at the playground it was agreed that we'd go explore and let Tyler go to the playground again before we set off for home. We decided to to the 5k walk, but we never actually got around to it after I stopped to take pictures of Beau amongst the buttercups and a lovely and very informative old man told us the history of the park and the best spots to visit there.
Instead we ventured back past the playground, walking along by the river and making our way up past Doneraile Court - a beautiful old house which used to be the residence of the St. Ledger family, and to the beautiful gardener's cottages and the garden behind them. I have to admit, the garden was a bit neglected here, but the 'maze' hedgerows and weeds made for great fun for the boys - it's the little things in life!
From there we walked through some woodland, with the strong scent of wild garlic in our noses. The old man I had spoken to earlier in the day told me that chefs from all over Ireland went to Doneraile to pick this wild garlic and that it was the best of the best. He also told me that it'd be flowering with white, purple and red flowers in about two weeks time, so Jacek is adamant that we have to go back.
Our walk through there brought us to a lovely lane, which had daffodils and gorgeous blue flowers dotted on the sides. In the field beside this lane were a heard of fawns, it was so lovely to see. We just had to stop for pictures here, it was too gorgeous not to and with the lake in the distance and it's swans, it was such a picturesque setting.
At this stage the kids were getting a bit tired and cranky so we decided to head back to the playground, let them play and stock up on snacks and then head home.
We had such a fab time at Doneraile Park and as I said, we're already planning to go back within the next two weeks. It's free to visit - which is great for families as I know of other places that are quite expensive for families to visit...
The park also has toilets and tea rooms, so it really does have everything to keep everyone happy throughout the day.
On our next visit I'm adamant that we have to do the 5k walk. It'd be a shame not to, as the walks at Doneraile are so buggy friendly.
I highly recommend a visit to Doneraile Park if you're looking for somewhere free to go with kids, have a walk, let them play and explore the nature around you.