Oh god… you’re on your holidays and the weather just won’t let up. We’ve all been there, and the cabin fever is beginning to get to you. Let’s assume you’ve played numerous games of cards, you’ve watched every DVD and you have all fallen out over Scrabble. What can you do next to get the kids out and about?
Obviously as outdoorsy people we stand by the old ‘no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes’, and I do really recommend pulling on the head-to-toe waterproofs and getting on with it. Weather always seems worse when you’re looking at it from the inside!
Just to help you out though, here’s a list of some things you can do in Inishowen on those rainy days. Enjoy!
1. Go surfing!
Ah, sneaking in the outdoors right away. Bear with me though, if you’re getting in the sea anyway it doesn’t matter if it’s raining! Wearing a wetsuit means you don’t get cold and it’s great fun – you may even find a prodigy in your family! Inishowen Surf School do lessons for complete beginners and that includes children.
2. Paint a Pot
This is a brilliant way to get creative and come away with totally unique holiday souvenirs! Visit the Moville Pottery studio, where they have a wide selection of crafts for sale. You can pick out an unglazed pot there and add your own design to it; to be fired in the kiln afterwards. This is fun for everyone, and a great chance for children to learn about the world of ceramics.
3. Fort Dunree
Anyone interested in the military history of Inishowen will love Fort Dunree; on a good day there are fantastic walks around the old army barracks, but if you can’t bear that there is a museum to pick through and a cafe to watch the sea from. The museum has all manner of equipment for marine and military life, and they have some huge guns still on site!
4. Wains World
First of all, if you don’t know, a wain is a child in these parts of the world – and parts of Scotland too! Wains World is a soft play adventure centre in Buncrana; the world of ball pools, disco room and all associated madness awaits. Don’t worry – there’s a cafe for you to throw your feet up in and look out at the frenzy…
5. Learn about the night sky…
Or sea monsters for that matter, or the coral reef. The Inishowen Maritime Museum and Planetarium show four screenings a day, with some shows suitable for four years and over. They have a combined entry price for the planetarium and the museum; where you can see traditional wooden boats, learn about basking sharks and find some great stories from the second World War.
There are four equestrian centres in Inishowen, and on even the most foul, rainy days they can still run lessons in their indoor arenas. The large, sheltered arenas are a perfect environment for beginners and the whole family can learn the basics together. A great way to get active, without getting wet!
7. Meet the legends of Irish history!
In Burt, alongside An Grianan Hotel, you will find the Old Church Visitor Centre where you can embark on a journey through time… State of the art interactive displays will tell stories, you can hold the weapons of warriors, and the kings of Ireland get sorted from the general riff raff! It’s very good fun – and you get a free scone and tea. What’s not to like?
8. Lights, camera, action!
Movie night! Or day, whatever floats your boat. Buncrana Cinema is a beautiful old building – over 100 years actually! The decor is very old-school Hollywood glamour, with red carpets and balcony seating; it’s a very charming, faded beauty. Nothing old-fashioned about their listings though; the cinema has gone digital and are showing current releases six days a week. Every week there is one for the grown-ups and one for the kids, and the prices are so reasonable! The top dollar ticket, which is an adult seat in the balcony, is only €6. You couldn’t beat it, and the sweet shop has a great selection too.
9. Visit the Famine Village
It’s not as bleak as you might think! The Famine Village is actually often ranked on TripAdvisor as the Number 1 Tourist Attraction in all of Donegal – we’re lucky to have it right here in the middle of Inishowen. The Famine Village is a series of cottages each with re-constructions from different periods of Irish history, starting with the Famine and going right up to present day. They are open every day until Halloween and, with so much to see, all ages of children will enjoy it.
10. Go on safari?
Or sail the seven seas as a fearsome pirate, become a firefighter battling blazes, or enjoy getting lost in the ball pool. You’re only really limited by your imagination if you’re a child in Leisureland. They have loads of different rides and attractions for all sorts of ages groups; it’s practically an indoor funfair! You’ll find Leisureland in Redcastle, very close to the hotel, as well as very handy for anyone using the ferry. As they say themselves; rain or shine, it’s fun at all times!