Adventures in Waterford – Fota, Ballycotton & Jack’s Cottage

Adventures in Waterford – Fota, Ballycotton & Jack’s Cottage

Definitely one of my favourite things about blogging is getting the opportunity to share all your memories and this past weekend in Waterford was absolutely stuffed full of them. I am probably going to have to spread this out over two separate blog posts because it was jam packed full of adventures, photographs and a lot of seal pups!

High-tailing it after work our journey began on Thursday 7th September, with the wonderful Mel commandeering the driving we set off to Waterford from Belfast to begin our 4-day mini holiday. The drive took about 4 hours or so and was filled with fantastic music choices, a couple of apple green pit stops and a lot of laughter.

Our little Airbnb Cottage (Jack’s Cottage) was in a little place called Aglish in Co. Waterford, right in the middle of the beautiful Irish Countryside. I forgot to take a picture of the lane you have to go down (you have to see it to believe it) and because it was around 11:30pm when we arrived we weren’t able to appreciate the stunning landscape and views that we would discover the next morning.

The cottage itself was just amazing, a little thatched cottage with 3 bedrooms (2 rooms both with double beds and one with a single), a living room, a kitchen, a dining room, a washing room and a large bathroom. With peat/log fires, heating, beautiful views and an extremely warm welcome (including milk, bread, extra toiletries and a home-made loaf of bread) we weren’t sure if we would ever leave this magical cottage.

Waking up in the morning we explored the cottage and discovered that just a short walk down the grassy path led us out to the most wonderful river view I think I’ve ever seen let alone stayed at. With a small pier, a hide to watch for wildlife and otters, canoes and the scenery surrounding, it was absolutely breath-taking.

After a lovely breakfast courtesy of Stevie, we got ready and started the drive to Fota wildlife park in Cork. Fota is a 100-acre wildlife park which is independently funded, and is one of the leading tourism, wildlife and conservation attractions in Ireland. Some of the animals such as the ring-tailed lemurs, Mara, Wallaby and peacocks roam freely around the park which I found absolutely nuts! The park is absolutely huge with lots of different activities as well as opportunities to watch some of the larger animals being fed, a gift shop, multiple cafes and plenty of shelter and places to sit and rest.

Prepare yourself for animal photograph overload!

The café was lovely and the prices of the food as well as the variety was very reasonable. Though my portion of cheesy chips was absolutely humungous! Lucky Stevie and Dave helped me finish it. The gift shop as in most places was a little pricey and I struggled to find nice gifts and souvenirs to bring back home especially with a couple of items priced wrongly or with multiple prices to add to the confusion.

After finishing up in Fota we headed out and bought some stuff for dinner, Chef Stevie made us all a beautiful spaghetti Bolognese to fill our hungry bellies and we met Bridie and Ben’s schnauzer pup Missy who spent most of the evening give us lots of kisses, hugs and shadowing Stevie in the kitchen waiting for any form of food to fall from the counter.

After another wonderful night’s sleep, we were up bright and early the next morning to head to Ballycotton for our Lighthouse tour! At €20 each this tour was one of the highlights of the trip! After scouring the nearby beach for sea-glass we then made our way over to the dock to the little boat that would be taking us across to the island were the lighthouse resides. We were given life jackets and after being helped into the boat, sat ourselves at the back beside the motor. The water was a little choppy and we got soaked a couple of times by the waves but we had an absolute blast!

We made it to the island safe and sound and began what seemed to be a monstrous hill walk up to the Lighthouse. Our host John was amazing, sharing all the stories of how the lighthouse was built, how much it cost, where they used to stay and all about the lighthouse itself! The lighthouse is in fact black! There are only 2 of these in all of Ireland! It was extremely windy so lucky enough I had wrapped up, though there were multiple times were someone had to hold onto me to keep me from literally being blown across the island! After a quick tour of the island we actually were able to go into the lighthouse and up the stairs to the very top!

(ALL THE IMAGES)

I have never been so excited before! John opened a door and BOOM! We were right at the top of the lighthouse walking around outside. Again, it was super windy so we didn’t spend long up there again for fear of me blowing away but the views were absolutely stunning! After waiting for our little boat to brave the waves, we put our life jackets back on and hopped aboard where we were taken around the island before heading back to the dock. We managed to spot some wild seals around the rocks and got absolutely drenched by the spray and waves as it was a lot rougher on the way back in. Overall I would highly recommend this Lighthouse tour if you are ever down in Ballycotton, John was a wonderful host and the trip itself out to the island was amazing!

Whilst heading to find lunch we came across another little lighthouse and decided to stop over and take some pictures of it! After a quick lunch, we went for a drive around and then headed back to the cottage for some photography sessions. This included poor Stevie hanging off a ladder to take some absolutely stunning pictures of me on the peer, Dave having to hold many layers of clothing and me nearly falling into the reeds. Chilli Con Carne and a game of Cards against humanity finished off our night as well as a late-night stroll with the bat detector where we saw loads and loads of bats and a fox!

Next Blog post will be all about our trip up to the waterfall, a miniature train ride and all the seal pups you could imagine <3

Photo Credit has to go to the wonderful Stevie Robinson who was so patient and had me posing every single way to get the best possible photos <3

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