Tuesday 13th Nov 2012
This was the day I discovered how absolutely fantastic St. Anne’s Park in Clontarf is for adventures. We had barely scratched the surface on the first trip!
CaveCousin wasn’t able to make it with us this day but we had the great company of a friend, who lives near St. Anne’s, and her gorgeous baby girl. This was supposed to be CaveBaby’s first escape from the confines of the sling and he was all geared up in his red rain dungarees for the occasion but in the end we spent so much time on the walk that it was getting too late and too dark to desling him when we found a suitable spot. So his feet didn’t get to touch soil and he was so disgusted he refused to talk to us on the car journey home.
Fiona knows the park well so led us off towards the stream. On the way we passed a tree which looked excellent for climbing and so a pitstop was made. Fiona was initiated into the wonderful (and repetitive) world of little boys and superhero games and was designated the role of Green Goblin by CaveBoy. In repayment, CaveBoy then babysat little Luna while Fiona climbed the tree.
There is so much cool stuff everywhere in St. Anne’s. On the way down to the stream we passed under a stone arch and the path turns up ahead so you can’t see exactly where you’re heading as you come through it. And there are exposed tree roots on all sides so there was as much clambering and sliding as any four year old could require.
We hit the path by the stream at that point and were searching for a good paddling spot. The side of the stream is a bit steep and slippy in places and then, when we did find a spot easy enough to get down, it was realised very quickly that the water here failed the crucial does-it-hit-the-top-of-your-wellies test. Retreat!
Eventually we found an excellent place for a good play. There are big stones laid across the stream here that are handy for stepping on and that also make a bit of a dam and waterfall that’s very exciting altogether. Even better, when you step across the stones to the other side, there’s a pathway cut through the trees that curves around and deposits you back on the bridge over the stream. Rushing water, secret passageways and elevated vantage points?! Kid heaven I tell you.
Further on there’s another folly built high up on the side of the path. If I knew my architecture I could tell you something about the style but I don’t so let’s say it has pillars and a veranda and you get there by climbing tree roots and we’ll leave it at that. I will freely admit that I do have a low excitement threshold when we’re out and about and I can be enthralled by very little but this was really, properly, magical stuff. CaveBoy thought he’d discovered a ruined castle. Me and CaveBaby scrambled our way up the tree roots in a most ungainly fashion and surveyed our domain from the balcony.
And this wasn’t the end of it. On down the path we came to the lake with an island and waterfall in the middle and another mysterious building to explore at the side (I’m fairly sure it was a boathouse but we left the mystery untouched for the moment). There was more climbing here and Fiona was pressed into more superhero games while CaveMammy took the chance of a break from being one of a list of villains. As we circled back towards the playground we came across another spot that you could spend an hour in alone, with a bridge and a tower and, wait for it, a cave. Fiona insisted the CaveFamily be pictured.
(Note: the attempt to lean forward to get CaveBaby in the shot has given CaveMammy a fairly unflattering posture in this photo. In truth, I look a little demented. But CaveBoy still loves me so all is ok with the world). Anyway, it was starting to get dark and cold at this stage so we made our way back to the car. We’d a quick detour to the lovely wooden playground on the way; CaveBoy ran around a few slides and I got on the swings with CaveBaby but he was not for turning and remained unimpressed that he hadn’t been let out to explore all the tree roots. So we gave him space.
Sometimes it’s hard being a CaveBaby.
Till next time xx