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  • Writer's pictureGregory Besterman

5 Reasons To Take an Extended Family Holiday in Ireland

Whole-family holidays tend to get one of two reactions from people. Those who have embraced the (small) chaos of rounding up an entire herd’s worth of kids, aunties and uncles, grandparents and someone-twice-removed to finally gather together and enjoy a couple weeks bonding tend to smile reminiscently, conjure up stories of late-night laughing fits and veritable feasts at the dinner table. Those who have yet to do it tend to look a little wary – ‘How do you manage to organise five people, let along fifteen?’

Whatever the answer is – whether its sheer willpower, reems and reems of schedules planned down to the last five minutes, or a more c’est la vie mindset – there’s one thing we can all agree on in the end: it’s 100%, fantastically, wonderfully worth it.

But why a family holiday to Ireland? At Gortadrohid, one of the most popular holiday homes in Baltimore, we’ve certainly got a bias toward the country – but that doesn’t mean we can’t rustle up a few concrete facts about why it’s perfect for big families traveling together.

1.    It’s not too hot, not too cold (particularly in West Cork)

Some like it sweltering, some prefer to wake up to a chilly nip at their ankles when they climb out of bed. Some prefer bright sunshine; others want to cling to the shade. Pleasing everyone at once isn’t the easiest thing to do – particularly when you’ve got a much larger group to manage than you’re used to.

But West Cork occupies a very favourable position in the world. While Ireland may be known for its fickle weather patterns and ‘default’ setting of damp and chilly, West Cork is far enough south (and close enough to the Atlantic) that it enjoys much more comfortable weather throughout the year.

West Cork has a mild enough climate for a number of tropical plants to grow – to see them for yourself, be sure to schedule-in a trip to Inish Beg. At the same time, the local beaches and lakes will give you cold introduction to Ireland’s wilder, tougher side. Less rainfall and snow mean easier planning in the cooler months, and a better chance of steady sunshine never ruined anyone’s vacation!

2.    Ireland has something of everything for a family holiday

As we said, pleasing everyone all at once isn’t easy – but it’s not impossible, either. When you’re trying to plan fun-filled days for toddlers and great-grandparents (and everyone in between), picking a destination that can offer a little of every type of activity, from adventures to relaxation, history to live music, great food to once-in-a-lifetime experiences is a real must.

Enter: Ireland – particularly our little pocket of West Cork. Whether you’re looking for a day spent cold water swimming – or an evening out for the parents who want to experience the unique atmosphere in West Cork’s favourite pubs and restaurants – you will find no shortage of activities in this area alone. Beach days, days spent exploring ancient ruins, city excursions, farmer’s markets, local foraging courses, whale watching, enchanted trails through the woods – there’s simply too much to get through in a single vacation.

But, when that’s a readymade excuse to come back next year, why would you want to?

3.    There’s plenty of space

Wide open fields, miles and miles of coastline, acres of woodland and so much else in between. True, there are plenty of other parts of the world with enough space to spread out even the biggest family unit, but Ireland has a special way of making its visitors (and locals) feel as though it just goes on and on and on forever.

Gortadrohid alone sits on 24 acres of land, including wildflower meadows, its own strand, and a private slipway. You can happily spend a quieter day or two enjoying the house and one another’s company, with plenty of room for running, playing, barbecuing and unwinding.

We’ve retained an element of wildness in much of Gortadrohid’s surroundings, meaning there are also plenty of opportunities to spot local wildlife from your own back door.

4.    It’s got a romantic side

Whole family holidays are great, but what about the couples who value their alone time on vacation?

West Cork may be vibrant and great for big groups, but it’s also got a lot to offer adults once the kids are in bed, and the grandparents on babysitting duty. Some of our favourite restaurants in the area create the perfect intimate setting, so you can balance those busy, fun-filled days with some one-on-one time.

Restaurant Chestnut and Dede at the Customs House are two of our favourite spots for smaller parties. Both celebrate exquisite flavours, natural ingredients, and suffusing the food with a passion for the out-of-ordinary.

If you want something that really plunges you into the local scene, then take a look at some of our favourite live music venues. Take a seat by the fire with a Guinness or local whiskey, and enjoy West Cork’s creative flair.

5.     You become a part of the history

Ireland’s ancient history is still evident in its forests, its horizons, its ruins and tough, weather beaten cliffs. The animals that pass through the area are part of an unbroken lineage that traces thousands of years into the past, and the daily rhythms of its breezes, its tides, and the coming and going of its people are all intrinsically linked to a time that came before us.

That makes it a fascinating place to explore, but it also has a knack for forcing visitors to slow down, be more mindful, take in the surroundings, unplug and experience everything first-hand.

For busy families who get few opportunities to spend time all together, this could not be more welcome – a chance to step away from the rush and the noise, and really focus on what matters: enjoying your time together as a family unit.


There are so many reasons to visit Ireland, particularly if you’re thinking of bringing the extended family along. Take a look at our blog for more information about the local area, and the items you just can’t forget to add to your bucket list.

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