The Royal Treatment

Trip Start Feb 15, 2011
Trip End Feb 15, 2013

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Flag of Ireland  , Western Ireland,
Sunday, August 21, 2011

As everyone knows, I love Birthdays. It's hard not to when I’m consistently treated to the most amazing day each and every year by those that I love most. My friends and family never cease to make me feel like the most loved and special person on my birthday, a feeling that I think everyone should feel on their Birthday.

Although she spoils me on a regular basis, my travel companion Ms. Deans, went above and beyond to spoil me rotten and treat me like royalty on my 26th Bday. 

We woke up in Sligo and made our way to Strandhill, a short drive away and another beachside surfers paradise. In Strandhill I was treated to a morning of spa treatments. The northern part of Ireland is known for its use of seaweed. Its very common to find dried seaweed sold as snacks (crispy bits of seaweed, naturally salted as the seaweed dries out) and also seaweed sold to use for cooking. Not only is it a healthy edible item, its also an amazing detoxifier and moisturizer, a fact which the Voya Spa in Strandhill boasts for their hot seaweed baths. We both soaked and relaxed in our steam showers and hot, somewhat slimy seaweed tubs as our aches and pains of the heavy backpacks subsided. Feeling moisturized and detoxified, I was then treated to a much needed massage. Massages at the best of times are relaxing, but after having lugged our packs around for the past few months, this one was beyond appreciated. Post massage, relaxed and pampered, we sipped chai latte’s (Shells Sea Side Bakery Cafe’s delicious homemade blend) and watched the surfers battle the waves. If my birthday pampering had ended there I would’ve been a very very happy girl. But much to my excitement, the royal treatments continued and technically were just beginning.

Our time in Ireland quickly coming to an end, we had previously decided to plan an extra special few nights (strategically to land on my birthday) at a luxury country estate house. Our two nights at Temple House was an experience neither of us have had before and probably won’t have again for a very long time. I appreciated every single minute of our few days at there. I don't think the novelty of staying in such a grand house ever wore off.

Temple House is a classic Georgian mansion turned into a Luxury Country Guesthouse. It's located in county Sligo, just past Ballinacarrow. Roderick, heir to the Temple House and whose family has owned the estate and property since about the 1600's, personally greeted us upon our arrival and after having given us the grand tour, surprised me to a bottle of birthday prosecco for the evenings celebrations and some afternoon tea by the fire.

For my birthday supper, Robyn and I enjoyed wine, meats and cheeses from local Irish producers at a wine bar/restaurant/cookery school in Sligo city. Perfect! And, to top off the evening, I enjoyed my chocolate birthday cake and prosecco, fireside in the Temple Houses’ cozy sitting room as we visited with some fellow Canadian guests.

Our second day at the Temple House was spent relaxing and exploring the grounds which consisted (amongst many other things) of hundreds of grazing sheep, a lake equipped with row boats for our use and the wooden village remnants of the quirky music and arts festival held on the houses’ grounds. Each guestroom at the house is unique and Robyn and I had the perfect room for us. Originally used by two sisters, our room had two of everything, most notably, two warm and comfy beds for us to sink into.

My birthday celebrations continued our second evening as we had pre-dinner drinks with the other guests and then all sat down to dinner together at the large dining room table. I was in my birthday glory at the head of the table as the birthday guest of honour.

Each morning at the Temple House we were treated to a delicious breakfast as well. It was such a neat experience to have all of the guests eat breakfast together at the big dining room table. The warm bread and made to order eggs, sausages, bacon and white pudding were delicious, but hands down the best part of breakfast at the Temple House was the natural yogurt, dried fruit, homemade granola and stewed rhubarb (something the house is well known for!) 

 It’s a shame birthdays only come once a year. I’d gladly turn another year older more often if it meant being given the royal treatment like I was on my birthday.

Thank you Ms Deans for making my special day (few days actually) no less than extraordinary. 

No longer able to tick the 18-25 category box,
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