Over two weeks ago I was enjoying the perfect rejuvenating 4 day retreat in the wonderful surroundings of the Carton House.
This was a treat from my parents as a Christmas gift, which is something they do instead of giving presents at Christmas, we take a break away together as a family. It is always such a lovely break away where we can switch off, chill out and enjoy quality family time together. Other times of the year we go on breaks as a wider family group with my niece, nephews and brother-in laws, but this specific break is just my siblings and parents, no partners or children. (good for us, not so good for the ones left behind)
Mairead is also a blogger focusing on food and styling, her blog is called ‘My Yellow Jumper’ and she is also a Holistic Well-Being Therapist and owns her own clinic called Harmonizing Therapies (I have to give her blog a plug since Mairead wasn’t able to join us 🙂
Carton House ‘mixes cosmopolitan chic with contemporary cool’. It is a beautifully restored historic mansion converted into a modern luxury 4 star destination resort, just 20 minutes drive from Dublin City. The hotel retains a lot of its historic character complemented with lots of glass hallways giving a glimpse of the breath-taking landscapes that extend around it. What I love about the hotel is the tranquil and picturesque setting, set in 1,100 of parkland, away from the hustle and bustle of it all, which immediately brings about feelings of calmness, relaxation and letting go of stress.
Time to Chill
When we arrived we just spent our first day chilling in the lobby area by the wonderful open fire, sipping over coffee (several of them) and indulging in the nibbles and bites on offer in the ‘Kitchen Bar’. The ambience and atmosphere here is really lovely, with lots of glass ceilings, interior stone walls, glowing fires and friendly staff. That evening we also ate in the hotel, it was just one of those days we were so relaxed and chilled we literally didn’t want to move.
Time for Some Retail Therapy
The next day, feeling well rested, we were ready for some retail therapy (with the exception of my dad who did a 70km cycle) and went to Kildare Shopping Village, which is only 45 minutes drive away. I have been there quite a few times and in fact was there just before Christmas, it really is such a lovely place to visit and is such a nice shopping experience with so many great designer brands at fab prices. Because I was there so recently I was holding back a bit on the spending and not going too crazy, but managed to pick up a few bits and pieces.
We had a lovely day shopping at our leisure while taking in a few coffee stops along the way at Le Pain Quotidien, which I LOVE, and then enjoyed a bite of lunch in the lovely Dunne & Crescenzi, L’Officina, an Italian restaurant where you can enjoy fine food and a glass of wine if you fancy it.
That night we went into the village of Maynooth for our evening tea, which is just about 1 mile away from Carton House and offers lots of good options if you want to enjoy a light bite during the day, brunch, lunch or evening tea. We had eaten in Bistro 53 on our last visit to Carton House, so went back here as we knew what to expect and it didn’t disappoint. They have an extensive menu with so much to choose from (too many tempting things). The restaurant has a nice plush décor with a relaxed atmosphere and staff here are really good.
A Little Bit of Adventure
Day 3 we just wanted another day to chill and sit by the fires again… after lazing around for most of the day we then went on a bike ride, taking bikes from the hotel which they offer for free. And am I glad we did, I have stayed at this hotel more than 5 times and never really properly explored the grounds.,..WOW, the scenery and setting is something else, so if your visiting , make this one of the first things you do. They have a number of pathways around the estate which wind their way through the site. I couldn’t help but stop continually along the way to get snap happy. The route we took was about 5km and is a circular route, it also makes a perfect walking track. Then we cycled into Maynooth, there is a pathway the full way to the village right from the hotel, which is fantastic, as you can avoid the busy road. Then we enjoyed a bite in Café Bon Bon, which was another great discovery. If you’re after a spot of lunch or a sweet treat then a visit is a must and the décor is really lovely (vintage style.)
That evening we enjoyed a few pre-dinner drinks by the fire and headed back into Maynooth for some more eating…This time we checked out Tripadvisor for some options and Oak Alley Restaurant and Cocktail bar rated well so that was our choice made. The food was delicious, with yet another really extensive menu to choose from. The desserts are really good, so I recommend keeping some space for that.
Coming to an End
Our trip was coming to an end and day 4 was time for home. We enjoyed yet another lovely extra long chilled breakfast. Then just to top the break off we got to meet the Irish Rugby Team, who frequently stay in the hotel. Conveniently there were having breakfast the same time as us so we seized the moment and got the chance to speak with them, got some autographs and a few pics, to say the least. They were more than friendly and happy to get their pic taken with us, so it was the icing on the cake.
Quality Time, Great Company in the Perfect Setting
Overall we all had a really fantastic break, just sitting around and chilling, enjoying lovely food (lots of it), getting to do some shopping as well as a bit of exercise, all enjoyed in great company. It is not until you actually go away together that you realise how good it is take proper time to spend with one another. Taking time with family is very important to me and I am already looking forward to our next annual getaway.
Below is some of my OOTD’s during my break away
Shop Links (As most of the items are last season, the links below are just to the shops