KILDARE PARENTING COLUMN: In praise of the Irish bucket-and-spade holiday

It's Just a Phase

Ruth Chambers

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Ruth Chambers

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ruth@itsjustaphase.ie

KILDARE PARENTING COLUMN: In praise of the Irish bucket-and-spade holiday

We're heading to the West Coast on a family holiday this year

Nanny and Grandad Chambers have only gone and bought themselves a holiday home over there in Mayo. The same couple happen to be celebrating 50 years of marriage soon, so we’re all off on our holliers out west this week. Wish me luck!

You’ll know from previous years that I’m a big fan of a summer holiday outside of Ireland but I have to say, in the run up to this one, there’s great comfort in knowing we just have to pack up the car and go.

Now perhaps my mind will be changed if it lashes rain for our whole holiday but, for now, I can’t wait!

What with the anniversary, the whole lot of us Chambers are descending on Mayo. The biggest clan, the family of six, have rented a house next door to nanny and grandad, while the rest of us are piling into the new place.

In all, there are going to be seven children ranging in ages from nine down to two, and nine adults; it will be mighty (if we don’t all kill each other by the end of it!).

Keeping the kids entertained on holidays is always top of our agenda. When we were in Spain a few years ago they had the pool, playground and the kids club, and in Holland we did all sorts of day trips to the likes of theme parks and safari parks.

This year though, I know all we’ll have to do is watch them and feed them, because all the cousins get on like a house on fire. They will play together from morning to night.

Aidan will be as happy as the proverbial pig in s*ite playing football with his cousins Tom and James, while Sarah will follow her cousin Grace round like her shadow.

An added bonus is the fact that the new holiday home just so happens to be a stone’s throw away from the beach. Free entertainment! Weather permitting of course. There will be surfing to do, sand castles to build and paddling to be done.

The relations, of course, have all sorts of excursions planned, but to be totally honest I’d be happy to just chill out at the house, at the beach and have the odd meal out here and there. One must go with the flow, however, especially where in-laws are concerned!

I’m also hoping nanny and granddad will also go with the flow the odd night and allow the adult children a trip in to Westport for a beverage or two.

Once Aidan and Sarah are in bed, they are out cold until the following morning so it’s an easy gig for nanny and granddad. Let’s hope the other kids are as compliant!

In my mind I see sunshine, I see the adults sipping wine and laughing in the garden or on the beach as the kids play happily together. It’s the typical holiday image really.

Except there’s nothing typical about summer in Ireland, is there? What the betting the weather will break just as we set off for Mayo? What’s the betting it will lash rain and the kids will be killing each other all week? What’s the betting my mother-in-law will do my head in for the duration? God, maybe we haven’t thought this trip to Mayo through at all!

Maybe I should have just put up with the stress of the kids in the airport and on a plane. Maybe I should have just spent a whole lot more money on flights and accommodation abroad. Only time will tell, of course!

At least the dog can come with us and not have his usual heart attack when he realises he’s headed for the boarding kennels. He’ll probably also put a spanner in the works and mark his territory on nanny and granddad's brand spanking new carpets and be in the doghouse, pardon the pun, for the week! He’s like having a third child, to be honest, but at least you can leave him at home when you go out for a few hours!

So for the next couple of weeks I won’t be writing a column but if you hear news of a big family feud over in Mayo, it probably will be us lot! Fingers crossed for nice weather! Until after the holidays folks!

You can contact me on ruth@itsjustaphase.ie; Twitter - @_itsjustaphase_; Instagram - @itsjustaphaseblog, or you’ll find more of my musings at www.itsjustaphase.ie.