Making new memories in Wexford
While it can be difficult for some families to find common ground on holiday, for Baz and Jake, 19, it’s a simple equation. Both enjoy mixing downtime with adventure-fueled, outdoor-focused activities – and with Jake off at college this past year, Baz thought some quality time together in Wexford would be just what they both needed.
"Jake is heading off for the summer to go travelling now!” says Baz. “This last year I haven’t seen him as much, and we’ve a lot of kids so it’s nice to get away with one of them on his own. All my kids are away for Father’s Day, so I just thought I would like to catch up with him, and he jumped at the chance, which was very sweet," says Baz.
With six children of varying ages, Baz’s typical family trips need to have something to suit everyone. His experience in Wexford, until recently, was limited to family holidays spent in Pallas, but he and Jake soon discovered there's so much more to the county.
"It’s a beautiful county with so much more to it than I thought. The three days I did there weren’t enough – I could’ve spent much more time there"
For the first day of their trip, Baz and Jake took to Cahore Beach, one of Wexford's countless beautiful beaches.
"When we got to Cahore, we met up with the Surf Shack guys, and we did things I didn’t ever expect could be done – like sand surfing on the dunes – and then we did some paddle boarding," says Baz.
"The lads invited us the next day to go surfing with them because there was good swell – they were so lovely. The weather was so stunning, it was like Corfu!" Baz jokes.
"Both places we ate were really special. 10 West, which is pretty new, was fantastic. Very impressive food, and not what I was expecting at all,” says Baz.
“You’re spoiled in Wexford, all the fish is fresh all the time. If you like fish, you can’t go wrong," he says.
One of the highlights of their trip was staying at the award-winning Killiane Castle Country House and Farm. With personal touches you might not get elsewhere, Baz says they loved the accommodation and would soon return.
“Jake and I loved Killiane Castle. Killiane had that Irish touch, you know, dropping you into town, they didn’t need to do that but they did. They’re really experienced hoteliers, you can tell. They went over and above. They did the most beautiful breakfast too,” he says.
“I actually booked it again for my wife and I for September because it was just so lovely. If you wanted to escape away, sleep in late and just take walks on the beach, you can do that from there.”
The second day of their father-son trip, Baz and Jake took in the best of Hook Head with a 45-minute long tour of Hook Lighthouse led by guide Noel Lynch.
“There’s something for all ages and every family at Hook,” Baz recalls. “There’s plenty to do, even if you do just want to chill out and go for walks. It’s funny, I don’t typically go on tours in Ireland, only in different countries. The tour we went on with Noel gave us the full history of Hook Lighthouse, it was brilliant,” he says.
After the lighthouse, Baz and Jake took a walking tour of the peninsula with regional expert Liam Colfer of Livin’ Off The Hook.
“We went around Hook Head with Liam and he explained a lot about the foliage, the limestone, the history, about the Normans. Everything you could possibly want to learn. There’s a full 6km walk and we could’ve easily spent the full afternoon walking. So many people on Instagram had said to me to go to Hook Head and I get it, I see why. It is pretty special,” Baz continues. To fuel up, they stopped off for a light lunch in the Lightkeeper’s House Café.
Never far from an adventure, Baz and Jake took to the sea with The Irish Experience for a day of coastal canyoneering, which appealed to their inner daredevils.
“It was absolutely brilliant. Getting into a wetsuit, putting on a life vest and just jumping in between the caves and just swimming around. It was just crazy and great fun. You know me, I’ve done extreme travel my whole life. People assume I’m mad into it, and I do like to be active on holiday"
Despite the adventurous nature of some of their outings, Baz said he and Jake felt completely safe in the hands of the activities organisations.
“We felt totally safe. You do all the briefing and go through everything with him. I’ve brought all my kids to do things like this and it’s great to do stuff a bit outside the norm with them.”
After the day’s activities, Mary Barry’s restaurant was ready and waiting to replenish the two with a hearty dinner.
“Mary Barry’s was amazing, the portions were humongous. In Wexford, you know a meal is good if it’s also huge. The food was splendid, just gorgeous, we didn’t leave anything on the plate anywhere we went,” Baz recalls.
Day three saw the two guys get suited up to go quad biking at Quadventure in Clonroche – but did their competitive spirit come out during the activity?
“I’m too old now to be competitive, which is sad,” laughs Baz. “We just wanted to spend the time together and enjoy it and have fun, which is what we did. Jake had no real experience of Wexford [but] he really took to it. He was really into the history of the place, the range of activities, the nice food,” he says.
"We’re lucky that we enjoy being a family and doing things together,” says Baz. “We don’t live in each other’s pockets, so getting away with Jake was a real treat.”