November 03, 2014

Dublin and Bristol - brilliant places for blowing out the cobwebs!

I always find myself feeling a bit conflicted this time of year. I love autumn, adore the rich colours creeping across the countryside, the whiff of bonfires and especially lighting the woodburner in the evenings again, I LOVE all that. I'm also quite partial to woolly tights and chunky boots and the excuse to indulge my minor obsession with scarves. But I'm not such a fan of the encroaching darkness, coldness, pressure of impending festivities (urgh to the buybuybuy panic of high street hysteria from now to January!), and I particularly loathe the fact that our normally healthy family always seems beset by lurgies this time of year - this autumn back-to-back sore throats, coughs and colds since late september. So, our half term break was a wonderful reminder that in all the busyness this time of year (we also have 5 family birthdays, new schools and uni applications!), it is really important to stand back sometimes, take a breath or five, and remember to make time for some fun, relaxation and adventure. Just spending time together and doing some new things that are fresh and interesting has been a real tonic.

Last week we hopped on a plane to Dublin, where none of us had been before, and had a little mini- adventure exploring the city and nearby coastline. We were totally smitten. We stayed at a truly lovely B and B called Number 31, in a converted town house in the Georgian Quarter. It came complete with convivial owner/manager, unbelievably delicious and decadant breakfast, blissfully comfy beds and a cosy sitting room in the mews attached to the main house which had a permanent roaring fire in the grate, candle-lit lanterns and a complimentary tray of tea and homemade cake whenever you take the fancy. We will be going back!

It was so much fun mooching around the gorgeous parks, the cool renovated dock area of Temple Bar, the grandeur of the Georgian squares and Trinity College, and stopping off for coffees and the odd Guiness along the river. It is a fantastic place to visit because it is so walkable and so diverse. As long as you give the touristy pubs a miss, the food is delicious, with an emphasis on the wonderful local Irish produce. We loved the fact that you could jump on the fast, affordable and efficient 'Dart" train service, and explore the local coast to the north and south of the city. Less than half an hour away is this,




In another life, I could so see myself living here, in the hills behind Killiney beach, commuting into Dublin when needed. Sigh. Sounds good doesn't it? Next village along, Dalkey, with its Georgian cottages, slightly hipster vibe, and beachy good looks, was also totally seducing. No wonder that Bono and pals have pads around here. We will definitely be returning for a summer one year.


The softly grey and beige pebbles of Killiney beach have ignited my desire to develop further pebble shaped pieces of jewelelry, there is something so utterly pleasing about their ordinary perfection, their tactility and simplicity, no?

We have also spent a day this last weekend visiting our eldest boy who is at uni in Bristol. Every time we visit him, he books a table for lunch at a new restaurant or cafe in different parts of town, and we are having a blast getting to know the city and spending precious time with him. This time we had fun wandering the pretty, cobbled streets and squares of the Old City area, it was looking stunning with the trees turning russet and the sun softly shining.



The close proximity of the harbour and Old City Quarters mean that there are so many gorgeous old streets near the river, all seeming full of history and atmosphere - the water and its boats and gulls overhead, the cobbles, wharfs, warehouses and lovely old pubs create an mixed area full of life and interest.



Our lunch table was at The River Station, a wonderful place right on one of the canals, with fantastic views across the water to the old merchants' houses on the far bank. Definitely can recommend it.



Happy times, happy memories, (screens off!), it is important to take the time to make them happen, isn't it? x

9 comments:

  1. Screen off time is so important. And so are cafes and beaches and family. So glad you have had some fabulous memory building days, Ax

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    1. Thanks, and yes, all those things make memory making a breeze don't they? :)

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  2. I've always wanted to visit Dublin and now I feel a yearning to do so even more! My daughter was at Uni in Bristol and still lives there, I too enjoy exploring a new city. There are so many good things to do in life if, as you say, we take a little time to do them Jane xx

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    1. It is easy to forget to get off the hamster wheel sometimes isn't it? I am increasingly making it a priority and pleasure! And, Bristol, what a fab city, our kids are very lucky to be/have been students there. x

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  3. It looks as though had a wonderful time in Ireland! And you are obviously enjoy waves and beaches as much as I do! Have you seen the waves on my blog? I just can't stop photographing them! So beautiful. No. 31 sounds great - I have heard of it before. Might have to start making a plan to visit! Thank you for a great post.

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    1. OOh, I will pop over and look at your waves, I love the sea and miss it hugely.

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  4. I didn't realise I would miss the water so much. Your pictures are evocative of everything I love...and miss.

    Nina x

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    1. Oh Nina, I was brought up living in London but spending every spare moment of the year on the coast in Norfolk, and I miss the sea and huge horizons so much now I live landlocked and with less free time to get to the sea. Ocean fixes are a must! x

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  5. it looks utterly beautiful, those pebbles are just perfect inspiration x

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