Nature Murals in Mullichain Cafe
St. Mullins, Co. Carlow
On a rare bright, rain free Irish Sunday, I headed off on a road trip with my parents around County Carlow. Ever since I was tiny I used to go on weekend drives with my parents, brother and sister. We'd fill the car with picnics and drive to mountains, forests, caves, museums, you name it for a day of adventure. These are my absolute favorite childhood memories and those days spent out in the Irish countryside instilled a love of nature in me that is still as strong today. In fact it was those adventures that lead me to pursue my PhD in forestry, so I could spend even more time outdoors. I grew up not far from Carlow, but my vision of Carlow has always been one of Carlow town where I spend countless teenage weekends shopping in Pennys. Naturally there is plenty more to Carlow than shopping and it's much loved for it's scenic walks in the Blackstairs Mountains, along the Barrow Valley and as a tranquil barge route. This was my first time properly exploring the county, so of course I was ridiculously happy. Our adventure began in Borris where I insisted we stop the car so I could stare at the towering Borris Viaduct. Dating back to 1860, it stands tall with sixteen granite arches, Mount Leinster it's breathtaking backdrop. Next we stopped in Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny, a favored boating spot on the River Barrow. After a stroll along the water it was back in the car to our final stop. St. Mullins is a small village named after Saint Moling, who founded a monastery there in the early 7th century. St. Mullins is both the beginning and ending point for the Barrow Way walk and is a popular stop-off for barges along the River Barrow. By this point I was starving; handily there's a very cute cafe here, Mullichain Cafe, if your looking for somewhere to eat. We grabbed a couple of coffees from the cafe and then settled in the grass to wolf down our picnic. No road trip is ever a success in my eyes without cake, so I had two pieces just to be safe. St. Mullins is such a picturesque spot, we spent hours there walking around drinking in the quiet and peace, if you're looking to get away and relax it's a must visit. It may be more than 20 years since I started going on trips with my parents, but I still truly love it and plan to continue adventuring with them for much, much longer.
What's your favorite road trip destinations? Any recommendations?