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Slán Abhaile!

I think it is safe to say that summer is over and we have entered the early stages of autumn. There is a definite nip in the air and Bear and I are now eagerly waiting for the conkers to ripen and fall so that we can collect them. I love so many things about autumn but I usually find this transition from summer to autumn quite difficult. When I was younger I felt a vague sadness about summer being over but in recent years this has morphed into a bit of a panic. I dread the long cold evenings, bundling up in layers and layers and having to force myself outside into the rain. 

We had a good summer this year and I still have literally hundreds of photos to edit. Now that the kids are back to school, I have had a chance to go through my photos from our holiday to Ireland. I say holiday, but I don't feel that that word really captures the purpose of these trips home. It feels so much more meaningful for me to go back to Ireland these days. I have such a strong sense of going home. More than ever before I enjoy being surrounded by my people and it feels important that our kids have a sense of who these people are too. I want Irish names, words and expressions to roll of their tongue with ease. 

We usually travel to Ireland by ferry, which involves a bit of a road trip. We do love a road trip!

One of the things we love most of all in Ireland is its beaches. My dad now lives very close to the coast and we are growing to know a few of the local favourite beaches. I hope to explore the Irish coast more over the next few years.  

We have looked forward to sand surfing all year. It is so much fun!

I wish that my kids could spend more time with my parents. Grandad's dog Toffee is just the sweetest little thing ever. 

I am still trying to perfect the art of panning shots. 

I absolutely adore this wheat field at the back of my mother's house. 

For the second year in a row we visited the Tayto Park. It is a brilliant day out and the kids are delighted when they get a free bag of Tayto at the end. Ok, I might be a little bit delighted too.

My husband loves this hair raising ride, which freaks my poor mother out. She can barely look at it when he and the boys ride on it. Bear calls it the Rotayto. 

The Cú Chulainn Rollercoaster is another matter though. It is worth visiting the Tayto Park for that alone. It is insanely loud and exciting. It is right up there with some of our favourite rides in Disneyland Paris. 

It is so nice to chill out at Granny B's house. 

Kimberly Mikado biscuits are one of the main reasons my kids enjoy going to Ireland and their grandparents buy them packets and packets of them to eat - just before bed of course. 

We are really enjoying the kids being older and up for bigger adventures. Rexy has really enjoyed climbing this year and is pretty amazing at it, much to his older brother's annoyance.

We managed to get to Hook Lighthouse this year after running out of time for it last time. I do so love a lighthouse trip and this one didn't disappoint. We would go back there again for sure. I could write a whole blog post about my love of lighthouses. I might just do that sometime.  

Leaving Ireland gets harder every year. I'm not sure that I would feel able to live there again, but it would be nice to visit more often.