Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cottage in Rathfriland

One of the reasons we moved to Ireland is that we really want a little cottage in the Irish countryside. Ideally we want something remote, rural and peaceful, with enough outbuildings to use for workspace. Til we have our own cottage though, there is nothing we love more than escaping the city to explore parts of the countryside that we have not yet been to. With plenty of long weekends and school breaks throughout the year, I am constantly trolling AirBnB looking for our next adventure. Last week the kids had a midterm break and so we decided to explore "up North." I had seen Tullyquilly Cottage on AirBnb a while ago and fell in love with the pictures.

It looked and sounded amazing and it was in an area that we have only really passed through (less than two hours from Dublin, no less!). We were also lured by the prospect of a wood-fired hot tub. So, off we went for three relaxing nights in Rathfriland

The cottage itself was a beautiful space. Unlike most traditional cottages which are usually laid out as several small rooms, the inside of this cottage was a big open space. It was a bit like a loft in a cottage. This was nice for our family to both spread out and be close simultaneously. There was a fabulous collection of musical instruments and vintage toys. The kitchen was the perfect combination of old and new: I enjoyed cooking on the old aga-style stove, especially with the added bonus of under floor heating.

I could see that the grounds would come to fabulous fruition in the summer and be especially magical, but even in winter we still loved the setting, visiting the miniature donkeys (Paddy and Cara) and the chickens. There were potatoes, jerusalum artichokes and the yummiest winter squash ever from the garden. The swings and trampoline were a big hit with the kids and the wood-fired hot tub did not disappoint. Our gracious host had it fired up and warm for us to use on our first night and we used it every night of our stay, even when it rained!

Though we spent most of our time relaxing (and working) at the cottage, we managed to venture out and explore the area a bit, including a beautiful hike in Tollymore Forest Park (where they sometimes film Game of Thrones), a picnic at Murlough Nature Reserve,  a drive through Newcastle and a scenic drive through the countryside around the foothills of the Mourne Mountains. We loved our getaway to Rathfriland and hope to return. Highly recommend it!

Some snaps from our trip:

Tollymore Forest Park

Murlough National Nature Reserve

 Back at "Tullyquilly Cottage"

Visiting Cara and Paddy down the lane from Tullyquilly

The disc swing

The seat swing

Nice light!

The trees are bare, but the ambiance is still special.

The best part!

Check out Tullyquilly for yourselff: AirBnB

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