Saturday, 24 August 2013

Skerries + Ardgillan Castle (North Co. Dublin)

What a lovely summer we're having!

The weather is perfect for long days out: a couple of sandwiches, lots of fresh water and a ball are all you need for the perfect day outdoors with the kids. And you do not have to go very far...

Co. Dublin has lots of beautiful places to choose from! I'm sure you know by now.

A couple of weeks ago, my sister and her husband and kids came to visit and one day during their visit we decided to do just that: pack some food early in the morning and drive towards Skerries.

Skerries is a seaside town approximately 30 kms north of Dublin (on the M1). Very nice to visit. Two important things we've learnt about it: the town has five islands off its coast - the most famous one of the five is St  Patrick's: legend says that it is in this island where St Patrick, the patron saint, landed and started his mission to convert Ireland to christianity.

Skerries is well known for its wind mills: two fully restored and working windmills - really nice to see when you're approaching the town and impressive from a short distance!

Here there is the first one:

and the second one:

by the way, just ignore us in the pictures, just focus on the things to see :-)))

There are guided tours to the area, for a very reasonable price. You can check here, if you're interested.

And this is the lovely cafe beside them. We did not have anything to eat or drink so I wouldn't be able to tell you how it is, but I've heard it's nice for a cup of tea and a scone (we'll have to try one day).

After the visit to Skerries we headed towards Ardgillan Castle and Demesne, just North of Skerries, driving towards Balbriggan (you'll see signs indicating the way if you're driving from Dublin).

Ardgillan Castle and Demesne is a huge - and I mean HUGE - piece of land in a fantastic location, with amazing views of Skerries and of the Irish Sea. Ideal for walking, jogging, playing any kind of ball game, flying kites or just sitting down and enjoying the weather

When you get there (by the way, the entrance is free, which makes it even more attractive to visit!), these are the views you have from the parking area:

Aren't they amazing? you have a lovely view of Skerries from here.

So you start walking on the main path from the parking area, just turn the corner and... the castle:

with the Irish Sea behind. It's impressive, isn't it? Even more when you're there, I promise! We've been in Ardgillan dozens of times and still I am impressed every time I see the castle from there.

If you have young children, I recommend the playground (the way is indicated from the parking area):

it's the playground with the best views of all Co. Dublin!

It's quite big, has attractions for children of different ages: from the classic swings (also for babies)

to the huge web for the older ones,

something for every taste

and... there are benches inside the playground to relax while the kids run around.

The castle is beside the playground, to the left (impossible to miss, of course). Many events are organized there, even weddings! but there is a little cafe inside where you can enjoy coffee, tea, cold drinks and snacks.

I love buying a cup of tea and having it at one of the tables they have outside: it's a very relaxing experience, believe me.

After having our tea, we normally stroll to the rose garden, very nice and colourful with a victorian conservatory which is a replica of one of the glasshouses in Balmoral Grounds (summer residence of the British Royal family). These days, the conservatory is being renovated so it's closed to the public.

As a summary, our day couldn't be more complete: first Skerries, its history, its mills; then Ardgillan to burn energy and enjoy nature - then back to the car towards home. The kids didn't even have dinner: they fell sleep in the car and directly to bed. Try this plan - I'm sure you'll like it!

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