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Take the Family › A Mother-and-daughter Break at the Ice House Hotel, Ireland

A Mother-and-daughter Break at the Ice House Hotel, Ireland

View from the terrace of the © Ice House Hotel.View from the terrace of the © Ice House Hotel.

‘We’re going on a girlie getaway. So we need to talk about girlie things,’ says Savanna, aged 10.

‘Like what?’

‘Girlie things. Like celebrities.’ 

‘Celebrities are bor-ing,’ says Storme, 17, from the back seat. ‘What about we chat about Jordan?’ She didn’t mean the country.

‘I don’t want to talk about Jordan,’ I say, overtaking a tractor.

‘Make-up then!’ suggests Savanna.

‘No!’ I say. I’m not a very girlie girl.

‘’Music!’ says Storme and Savanna in unison. Then Savanna remembers, ‘Mum knows nothing about modern music.’ 

We sit in silence for few miles before the two kids take up their iPod, an earpiece each, listening to Scouting for Girls.

We’re on the road to Ballina, County Mayo, for a girlie getaway at the Ice House Hotel. We pass more tractors and I wish my son – my only son – was with us so we could count them and admire their primary colours: yellow, red, blue. Instead, I’m off on this girls-only weekend and already we’re bickering. 

My two daughters and I always argue. I put it down to us all being at awkward times in our lives hormone-wise - a menopausal mum, a teenager and a pre-pubescent. But we’ve resolved, for this weekend, to try and chill and chat instead of stress and scream. We’ve pledged not to steal each other’s lipgloss for two whole days. I switch on the car radio and wonder if our break will hormone heaven or hormone hell.

After the car, the Ice House is an oasis of calm. The slate floors cool our nerviness, the lime-green furniture refreshes. It’s not cold, but, teetering over the edge of the River Moy, it used to be where the fisherman stored their catch and you can still feel a shiver running through the building. Already we were more relaxed. 

Soon, we were all pinked up. The girls were given pink lemonade, and there was pink champagne for me. We went out to the hot tub overlooking the river, watching the ducks and the boats float by. The Ice House was having a very cooling effect. We ate a huge supper – my girls are gannets – chatting easily. 

Back in the room we pulled on our pink bathrobes. Chick flicks were stacked up next to our DVD player, and we slouched down on the sofa in front of Love Actually, as the river darkened below. It was the ultimate girls night in. 

Perhaps it was the film that made us feel soppy, but, ‘Let’s have a real conversation,’ said Storme. ‘You know – about something important.’ 

‘Ok,’ said Savanna. ‘How about us. We’re important. We could talk about each other.’

And we did. About how lovely we each looked in our fluffy pink bathrobes. And about how good it was to go away together. And how we didn’t miss the boys at all. Not even the fact that they would have counted the ducks.

Read more about family holidays in Ireland.

By Dea Birkett

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