Youghal 2011: Where we stayedSo as I’ve mentioned a couple of times (here and here), we went on a family holiday last week. We stayed in Ireland, travelling to Youghal, County Cork for our week’s break. We booked a holiday home through the Supervalu Getaway Breaks website, which meant that we got a three bedroom holiday home for a week for just EUR299 and 400 Supervalu points. Talk about fantastic value. (It’s such good value in fact that this is the second year we’ve taken a Supervalu break – last year we went to a holiday home in Lahinch, County Clare, which we also thoroughly enjoyed.)
There are some real advantages to a break like this. First and foremost, we can pack EVERYTHING we need, because we drive to our destination in our own car. Second, we don’t have to deal with airports, flights, or travel delays. Volcanos don’t bother us and neither do striking airline workers. (Just as well, eh?)
But actually, those are not the real reasons why we chose to stay and holiday in Ireland this month. The truth is, I love it! When I was a child, my parents regularly took us camping all over Ireland – we probably went as often as twice a month some summers, so we saw a lot of this country, and we loved a lot of this country. And that’s something I am keen to pass on to Little Man.
Now that being said, Youghal is not a place I ever stayed in with my parents. But I had heard great things about it from many people over the years, and so when we spotted the 4 star Carleton Village Villas available on the Supervalu Breaks site, we decided it was time we saw this place for ourselves.
So what did we think of it? Well there were good and bad points to the week – enough to make up several posts. Today, I’m going to concentrate on my impressions of the holiday home, and then later in the week I’ll review the location and other amenities.
The holiday home
We were delighted with our holiday home in Carleton Village. The house had three good-sized bedrooms, one of which was ensuite; a nice sitting room/dining room; a large bathroom complete with jacuzzi bath; and a small kitchen.
A travel cot was provided for an extra charge of EUR10 for the week. There was also an extra charge for electricity – EUR5 per day, or EUR35 for the full week.
We brought a travel stairgate, and we were glad we did. Little Man loves to climb, and stairs seem to be particularly inviting to him, so I’d imagine that without the stairgate, we’d have had our work cut out trying to keep him away from the stairs. The stairgate we used was the Flexiguard gate from Lindam. I wouldn’t trust it as a permanent stairgate, and I wouldn’t be confident using it at the top of the stairs, but it was perfect for our purposes to block the bottom of the stairs.
The holiday home was well equipped. The kitchen seemed to have every utensil we could possibly need, and enough pots and pans to cook a family feast. Although it was small, it was adequate for a one-week stay.
A TV and DVD player were provided in the sitting room. It was nice to have them, but the reception on the TV wasn’t great, and neither was the sound.
We also had an outdoor seating area. The gardens are communal, but there is a separate patio area complete with picnic bench at the back of each holiday home. I’m afraid we didn’t really get the weather to sit out here and eat, but if the sun had been shining, it would have been lovely.
Although parking in the village wasn’t specifically allocated, there seemed to be plenty of parking, and we never had a problem finding a parking space.
Overview of the Amenities
But to be honest, we didn’t mind, because we spent most of our time in the playground and in the tennis courts.
We had so much fun in this playground. But, my initial impressions of it weren’t great. Although there was plenty of play equipment in it, I was concerned to see that much of the wood in the climbing frames looked like it hadn’t been treated recently. I thought that a bit of extra maintenance wouldn’t go astray. I was also really unhappy with a suspension bridge between two of the high platforms in the bigger climbing frame. This bridge is about six feet above the ground, and it is suspended by three or four chains on each side. There’s no netting or railing or anything to stop a toddler or small child simply walking out between those chains and falling to the ground below.
Now, I realise that this piece of play equipment obviously wasn’t designed for toddlers. And I am an advocate of parental responsibility, which is why Little Man never found himself on this bridge alone. But it left me uneasy, because I know how quickly children can move, and the route from ground to this bridge was very easy for a toddler to navigate. Little Man could make it up the steps and run across the platform to reach the bridge in seconds. It just seemed like an unnecessary danger to me.
However, it didn’t stop us using the playground – and we used it several times a day. In fact a few mornings, we were out there by 7am! And those small complaints aside, this playground is fantastic. It has three slides – a toddler-sized slide, a wide metal slide, and a large yellow helter-skelter slide (a spiral fibreglass slide). I was very nervous allowing Little Man down the helter-skelter slide, but I shouldn’t have worried. He was well able for it, and he absolutely loved it.
We were very happy with our accommodation for the week. For anyone travelling with children, the amenities at Carleton Village are second to none – and I say that even though the swimming pool was closed during our visit.
We found the holiday home clean, well maintained (inside – the outside could have benefited from fresh paint), and quiet. With the playground and tennis courts on site, I’d say Little Man would have been happy if we’d never left the village grounds! We did leave it however, and I feel I must give a word of warning here – this is not a suitable place to stay for anyone with an aversion to hills. The first day that we walked back from the town to the holiday home, I thought I would pass out walking up the hill! The main road back up to the holiday home is honestly the steepest hill I have ever pushed a buggy up. (Or watched Charlie push a buggy up, to be more accurate!!) To be honest, it was tough going to drive up it because it was so steep. Thankfully, there’s an alternative pedestrian route that zigzags up the slope so that the walk is a little gentler. But it’s still not for the faint-hearted!
All in all, this is good quality accommodation though, and is great for anyone with children.