On The QT

Day One: OnTheQT Wild Atlantic Way Trip!

Here at OnTheQT we love nothing more than a fun road trip… and so we could barely contain our excitement as our trip along the Wild Atlantic Way approached!  Although it’s great fun to hop on a plane and explore exotic places half way across the world… more often than not we forget to explore what’s right in front of us! Over five days we travelled the first section of the 2,500km route along the Western seaboard! It was simply spectacular! We’ve put together our action packed itinerary for each day so you can follow in our footsteps!

The Old Head of Kinsale : The very first stop we made on our Wild Atlantic Way trip was the stunning Old Head of Kinsale! Sprawling out into the Atlantic Ocean the jagged edges of Ireland are clearly defined here, and really and truly remind you of what a beautiful island we live on! Here at OnTheQT we are well aware that the best way to discover an area is by meeting with a local; we were lucky enough to meet with Jerome who grew up on the Old Head of Kinsale, and kindly shared some of his vast amount of knowledge with us! Our grand tour began at the signal tower, where on a clear day you can see as far as the Mangerton mountains! Although there was a heavy mist the morning we were there, Jerome pointed out the different points all around us….it really is a 360 degree viewing point! We then walked down onto the Old Head where Jerome shared with us the old Irish names and explanations for different areas, told us stories about its past whilst pointing out the flora and fauna unique to the area! Such a wonderful start to our day!

farm, Clonakilty:  We were welcomed with open arms by Aoife when we arrived at the relatively new “farm” restaurant in Clonakilty, Co. Cork. Although located on the main street, it feels like a different world as soon as you enter! I instantly fell in love with the quirky décor of this cosy restaurant.  The chic, yet vintage character is clearly defined with different gadgets and artefacts scattered around the place, colourful bunting hanging on the walls, handmade menus, and miniature bunches of wild flowers on every table! The best part is the black and white movie projected onto the wall for customers to watch as they wait for the delicious meal! As expected the food we were served was simple, yet had an interesting flavour profile and very unique ingredients! It was a  mouth-watering dining experience!

Model Railway Village, Clonakilty: Located just outside Clonakilty town on the Inchydoney road, our next step was the Model Railway Village! Stepping into this magical model village is like stepping back in time! The models and figures are all individually handmade and paint a picture of what life was like in West Cork in the 1940’s! Each model is made at a scale of 1:24 real life size, and you could spend hours picking out different areas and buildings that are still standing in West Cork today! The attention to detail, and artwork on these life-like figures is simply astounding! I almost felt like a giant walking around a real life village.. rather than the other way around!

Fernhill House Hotel, Clonakilty: Fernhill house hotel is a true hidden gem, overlooking the beautiful West Cork town of Clonakilty. As soon as we pulled up the drive way,we were greeted with open arms by the lovely family who run the hotel! As we were blessed with such sunny weather, we decided to explore the colourful, yet very carefully manicured gardens! We wandered over little wooden bridges past the water features, admired the sculptured hedges, and even discovered the culinary vegetable patch! The gardens are the perfect place to get lost, read your book, unwind and relax whilst staying at the hotel! It was time for a bite to eat, so we chose to sit down on the wooden balcony looking out at the pretty views. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked through the delicious selection on the menu. The food at Fernhill House is sourced locally where possible, which I always love to hear! I chose a spiced beef salad, which although traditionally eaten at Christmas time in Cork, this creative summer recipe was delicious!

Baltimore Sea Safari: We drove further west to Baltimore where we met with Micheal from Baltimore Sea Safari . He gave us life jackets, and a quick safety talk before taking us out on the rib to see what wildlife we could find! Micheal was very informative, and full of knowledge about the fascinating history and wildlife of the area! He pointed out a myriad of sea birds and seal colonies, as well as local land marks around the West Cork coast line! Micheal knew the surrounding waters so well… he knew exactly where to go in search of dolphins! We could barely contain our excitement when we saw them swimming next to us! Not just one….multiple dolphins swam alongside the boat right in front of our eyes! We couldn’t believe it… such a magical moment!

Chleire Haven, Cape Clear: Always looking for something a little different to do we pulled up to Cape Clear  – (Oileán Chléire) the southernmost inhabited part of Ireland, which has a population of just over 100 people, and it is an official Gaeltacht area! We visited Chleire Haven Glamping, a campsite, which overlooks the glittering bay… it is truly spectacular! There were beautiful bathrooms, showers, a utensils area that had plenty sauce pans, pans, cups, bowls, and everything else you could possibly imagine needing for an evening meal! The yurts themselves had gorgeously decorated wooden doors which opened into a spacious area with facilities to include; a bed, blankets a cooker, even hot chocolate supplies! Cannot wait to return here for a nights sleep!

The Waterfront, Baltimore: After an action packed day, we were more than happy to check into the Waterfront Hotel. Overlooking the harbour, just off the pier you couldn’t ask for a more ideal location! We popped down to the restaurant for some delicious food, as we watched the sun setting and reminisced about our wonderful day!

Hope you enjoy following our trip, as always if you have any questions, queries or comments, simply email: Lauren@OnTheQT.ie!

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