Saturday, June 14, 2014

Top of the Rock, Pod Pairc & Walking Centre

Top of the Rock Pod Pairc and walking centre can only be described as a little piece of Heaven.  I think everyone (yes, I mean everyone) would benefit from a visit.

Based in Drimoleague, West Cork; Top of the Rock stands tall, overlooking the rolling hills and countryside.  Forests and fields, walkways and rivers, farm animals and wildlife, it is all right there.

 You can view more photos of Top of the Rock by clicking here.

We are are a family of four (myself, my husband and our two sons who are 2 & 3 years old) and afew weeks ago we were toying with the idea of going camping for a little summer holiday.  A nice break away from the electronic every day luxuries and their associated pressures and stress.  Our two main concerns were;

1) Rain.  Lets face it, this is Ireland.  Unless you are INCREDIBLY lucky, its going to rain at some stage over a planned weekend/weeks activity.  It could be a long, cold two nights camping in a damp tent with two soggy toddlers.  As a family, we are all on for getting out and about in whatever the weather, but its nice to be able to get warm and dry and have somewhere to put wet clothes, boots & raingear.

2) Sleeping & bathroom requirements.  Our youngest is still in a cot, so we were going to have to bring our travel cot with us regardless, and our other son hasn't quite go the hang of night time potty training, so nocturnal potty trips would be on the cards. 

With our concerns in mind, we took to the google machine and discovered 'Top of the Rock Pod Pairc and walking centre'.  It looked so idyllic and the idea of the Pods were fantastic.  They solved all of our camping concerns!  So, off to Twitter I went, had a little tweet with David, the owner of the Pod Pairc, and, without much convincing, we were all booked up for our first 'glamping' experience.

Hugh unpacks... LOL.
To be honest, we couldnt have picked a more perfect little adventure for our two little boys.  As the date neared, we explained to them where we were going and what we would be doing.  For anyone reading this that has kids, lets just say that 'Tractor Ted' was top of the watch list and their little backpacks were being packed and repacked with their little tractors and animals. 

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon (and as predicted- a full weather warning in effect.  LOL) but it didn't matter to us as we had a gazillion changes of clothes and wet gear for the lads so were prepared for anything.  We were warmly welcomed by Samuel and shown around the facilities before being left at our pod to get settled.  First things first. 

The place is SO safe.  The whole site is fully fenced in and field areas have chickenwire/net fencing along the fences so the little ones cant do a runner.  The gate is kept closed so there is no way out on to the road.  With two speedy toddlers, this was a HUGE bonus and load off. 

The pods really are LOVELY. 

There are 7 pods in the Pod Pairc.  2 Luxury pods (Orchard & Celtic), 2 Family pods (Sheepfold & Wildfruits) and 3 Standard pods (Droimeann, Fuschia & Moscovy).

The Luxury pods look amazing.  They have double beds, a toilet & wash hand basin, mini kitchen, dining table and pull out sofa bed.  I'm not sure that you would even need to use the facilities on site if you stayed in one of these to be honest.  LOL.

The inside of our family pod, 'Wildfruits after we moved in. :)
The family pods (We were in the one called Wildfruits) are larger than the standard pod and are equipped with three fold up beds (you can get additional mattresses if you need)  We pushed the two beds together (worked fantastically and VERY comfortable) and swapped the third bed for a childs mattress so that we could have more room for our travel cot.  Perfect amount of space for us all.  :)

The Standard pods are the basic pod and equipped with two single fold up beds (You could fit kids in also and can get additional mattresses if you need)

Pod Pairc owner, David giving the sheep
snack with our son, Hugh.
All pods are heated and have lighting.  Now, I cant be 100%, but from what I remember, each pod has its own decking area at the front, a grassy area & bench table.  The facilities are conveniently close to all Pods and there is a lovely grazing area for sheep & calves spacing out the Pairc beautifully.

The lads enjoing looking at the Zwarble sheep.

The facilities are AMAZING. 
The Pod Pairc building.
 Showers are huge, piping hot and run on a timer system (€1=5mins).  Bathrooms large, very clean and well stocked. 

Rónan on his way into the kitchen. 

The Kitchen is VERY well equipped.  You get your own cupboard filled with ware and cutlery for your stay.  It has a little lock so that you can store your foodstuffs securely if you wish.  Two cookers (one gas, one electric) ovens, sinks, kettles, Pots& pans, fridge & freezer and table & chairs.  Upstairs there is a huge dining area so if someone else is cooking you can eat up there.  Our lads had us up at the crack of dawn every day wanting to go see the animals so we never had company in the kitchen.  LOL.

There is a Gamesroom off the kitchen with a pool table and table tennis table and off that is a laundry and drying room.  (we didn't need to use any of these during our stay)

Outside? (where to begin...);

Looking down towards the campfire area
from one of the luxury pods.

There is a lovely fenced in section where the chickens and ducks wander or swim in their pond if they aren't snoozing in their 5 star stone luxury coop.  Our lads loved watching them all while they played in the swing or slid down the slide in the lovely play area. 

There is a large grazing area and lovely stone house where the sheep live just across from the pond.  The sheep are 'zwartbles' and very friendly indeed.  Our lads were up at the crack of dawn- I kid you not- they had donned their wellies and backpacks and were scratching at the door to get out at around 6am both mornings.  Im sure David was surprised to see us all up so early, but he was fantastic and involved them on his morning jobs of feeding the animals and collecting eggs.  We even had the pleasure of a freshly laid, still warm egg on our first morning. 

One of the new calves arriving to the farm.

For most people in todays day and age, forking out for holidays is a rare (if not impossible) thing.  It's easily forgotten that we live in such a beautiful country and all of it within reasonable driving distance.  Places like the Pod Pairc make holidays possible for everyone and anyone to have an amazing trip.

Hugh and Rónan 'helping' David feed
the Chickens and ducks.:)


Whether you are a walking group, a couple, a family or even a stressed out writer looking to get a bit of peace and quiet and inspiration to write, Top of the Rock has something for you. 

Until next time,
Toodles! :)

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