Our last trip to Ireland brought together a large group of family from Boston, Italy, and Ireland, a lucky coincidence that meant that aside from my one brother-in-law, my husband had all of his siblings at home at once. That get together meant nine kids ranging from four to 14, so finding family activities that would be fun for everyone was key.

Ireland is a great place for family travel. From its wide open fields and beaches, to hotels and leisure centers with pools and amusements, to some of the new attractions popping up, like Tayto Park, there’s a lot of fun for kids and adults alike.

We spent the day at ZipIt Forest Adventures in Lough Key, Roscommon, and I have to say it is the perfect place to burn off some energy.

Lough Key Adventure Park

You access the forest by driving under a beautiful old stone archway, and inside, it is truly an enchanting place, full of old trees, green grass, and multiple zip line courses.

 ziplining Once we got suited up with our safety harness and clips, we all went through a demonstration on how to clip and unclip and how to make our way through the various courses. Then we were off!

photo 3 (17)

I was kind of terrified at first, okay, for the entire time, especially when having to walk across rope bridges that swung back and forth with slats that were almost too far apart for me to reach. The course also had cargo netting, logs to walk on, and more.

Zip It Ireland

It turned out that the actual zipping part was the easiest, once I mustered up the courage to propel myself off of the platform. It was definitely fun to fly across the tree tops!

zipline adventure     Lough Key adventure park I decided to stick to the intermediate course and then found myself on solid ground to watch the others take on some of the more advanced challenges. The zip lines got higher, and the in between challenges got more scary, including a vertical climb up a swinging telephone pole.

ziplining in Ireland

While I waited for the daredevils to finish, I wandered around the forest, which felt truly magical. It was SO quiet and smelled green and earthy. It felt really serene and was a nice spot to spend some alone time.

Lough Key Zip It Even if you are not into ziplining, Lough Key Forest Park is a beautiful space for playing and picnicking. It offers a large playground, lake with paddle boats, cafe, gift shop, and more.

Lough Key Adventure Park

Lough Key

It’s just another example of Ireland’s beauty and has something that the whole family can enjoy if you are planning family travel in Ireland.

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Tags: adventure, Ireland, Roscommon, Travel, ziplining

When it comes to dining out, we’ve gone from being the people who want to try a new restaurant the night it opens to having a handful of old favorites that we tend to migrate to more often than not. There’s a whole lot happening in the Boston restaurant scene though, and hopefully the fall with bring with it some interest in branching out again. I finally made my way to Mario Batali’s Boston outpost of Babbo last week with a bunch of friends, and I really enjoyed it.

I kicked things off with a delicious Summer in the City cocktail made with a raspberry rye. The cocktails and wine list at Babbo were really spot on, with plenty of options.

summer in the city cocktailBabbo Boston

Babbo is the perfect spot to dine out with a group, as many of the dishes are designed for sharing. And share we did! Our table was full of food the entire time, and we didn’t stop until we made it through dessert. My plate had little tastes on it at all times; it’s my favorite way to eat.

peas and prosciutto Babbo Boston

Some of the highlights of the meal included Peas with Mint and Prosciutto, Tuna Sott’olio, Grappa Cured Salmon, Calamari, and Cauliflower Siciliana.

 

fried zucchini blossoms

Fiore Di Zucca brought to the table one of my seasonal favorites, Local Squash Blossoms, Coach Farm Goat Cheese & Lemon Aioli.

zucchini pizza Pizzas were on-point, with fresh, fun ingredients like zucchini, straciatella, and wild boar salami. The one below was topped with a perfectly runny egg. I love egg on a pizza!

pizza with egg

Even though we’d eaten our fair share of dinner, we couldn’t pass up desserts, including the Sweet Corn Coppetta and the Olive Oil Coppetta.

Sweet Corn Coppetta    olive oil coppetta

The olive oil gelato with fresh fruit was my favorite, light but rich and just so yummy.

Babbo surprised me not only by how good it was but also with the great value. I expected it to be a little overhyped, being a celebrity chef owned restaurant and all. What we got was great food, lovely service, and a check that didn’t break the bank.

For another post on a Mario Batali restaurant experience, check out my visit to Tarry Lodge.

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Tags: Boston, dessert, Dining out, Food, Restaurants

As we always do in Ireland, we did our fair share of eating and drinking on our last visit. Food in Ireland is really good; people who think otherwise are missing out!

Below are just a few of the bites and sips that we enjoyed in County Galway just a few weeks ago.

O'Grady's on the Pier Seafood chowder, brown bread, and pints of Guinness at O’Grady’s in Barna, a must visit every time I am in Galway

 

champagne and strawberries

Champagne and a board of Irish seafood at Gaslight at the Hotel Meyrick in Eyre Square Galway – this was the perfect spot for a little rest from the crowds during the Galway Races.

Irish seafood board Irish coffee

Irish coffees with a view in Roundstone, one of my favorite County Galway towns

Roundstone Ireland

bank holiday in Galway Plenty of Jameson and ginger ales on a Sunday Bank Holiday

Connemara Red Ale Irish craft beer! I loved this Connemara Red Ale from Independent Brewing Company of Ireland. Years ago I wondered why Ireland didn’t have many craft brewers, and now the scene is full of great craft beer. I wish I had opened a brewery then!

goat cheese salad Goat cheese and local veggie salad at An Cruiscin Lan in Spiddal

 

99 ice cream cone 99 ice cream cones with a Cadbury Flake – Irish soft serve ice cream is the best!

 

 

queen cakePink Queen Cakes – Queen Cakes come with many different colors of frosting, but mine has to be pink. I love these delicate little sweets at tea time.

 

Ard Bia Galway  A romantic date night at Ard Bia, dripping candles, local fare, and a great wine list included

Ard Bia Ard Bia has some of the best food in Galway, and I stuck to my seafood theme with the crab cocktail and mussels with a lovely grapefruit topping.

mussels

baked Irish oysters

Galway oysters baked with a creamy roux, made by my mother-in-law – the oysters were so fresh and briny, and we gobbled them  down right out of the broiler.

Vindaloo

Veggie Vindaloo from Kahsmir Galway, my favorite Indian restaurant ever – my extra spicy meal is always the topic of conversation, but truthfully I don’t find it that bad at all!

 

G Hotel Galway

Drinks and a cheese plate in the fancifully-decorated G Hotel in Galway – always a favorite spot for a cocktail and to people watch, and to admire the decor

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Tags: Dining out, Food, Galway, Ireland, Irish coffee, travel. Travel Tuesday, wine

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