Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone At The Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel
A summer of new experiences!
I have never been one for jumping at the chance to go sea swimming in the morning, some people live for it and the adrenaline that cold rush gives the start of their day.
They will run full sprint at the sea and look at you with a straight face saying ‘it’s lovely’ when you know icicles are forming somewhere on their body when they eventually get out.
So if you haven’t guessed it yet, I like the comfort of my warm bed and the snoozing of my alarm for 10 minutes before starting my day.
Do not get me wrong, I am very much an active person, just let me have my morning coffee in peace first.
However, when I had the opportunity to visit the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel in Killiney to try out their new summer sea swimming package I threw all my alarm snoozing out the window and said yes to stepping outside my comfort zone.
Also, I had never been on a press trip before so this made my sunny Thursday morning commute on the dart to Dalkey extremely exciting.
The hotel is exactly what it says on the tin, it is quite literally a castle on the hills of Killiney overlooking Dublin Bay.
I was shown to my room which was on the fifth floor. The rooms each have a beautiful bathroom and are very spacious, equipped with a huge bed, table and chairs, a desk as well as a coffee station, iron and some wardrobe space.
My favourite part however was the balcony. There is just something about a balcony in a hotel room, it makes the holiday factor of the trip sky-rocket.
They also brought in a bottle of champagne to my room (champagne?! For me?! ) I spent 10 minutes convincing myself it wasn’t mine, but then of course, popped it open.
Sitting on the balcony feeling way too fancy, I attempted to gracefully open it( is there really a graceful way to open champagne?) Instead I sent the cork from the bottle flying into the next balcony.
It turns out the woman next door was actually also on the press trip and I ended up spending the evening talking to her, as well as confessing that the loose cork on her balcony was actually mine.
The grounds of the castle are quite large and there is plenty to do including a pool, a spa and some nearby park walks. They have also just launched their new pizza and cocktail terrace.
We sampled all of the pizzas they had to offer as well as some elderflower spritzes. One of their pizzas even included black pudding as a topping which was unusual but I was told was very nice.
After this our lovely driver from the hotel dropped us down to Dun Laoghaire harbour where we had a boat tour around the area from a local guide.
The weather was lovely for this, the sea was calm and the sunshine made for smooth sailing and kept the sea sickness at bay.
Like the child at heart that I am, I sat at the back in the ‘splash zone’ and spent most of the time informing everyone of the seals I could see. Overall it was a beautiful tour and I learned so much about the area.
We drove the ten minutes back to the hotel before getting ready for dinner which we did not have to journey very far for.
The Mapas restaurant is located within the hotel itself, it has quite atmospheric warm lighting with darker interiors… definitely that expensive restaurant feel.
We had a three course meal accompanied by some wine before heading to the library bar to end our evening. I don’t actually drink wine but there is actually a fully stocked bar in the restaurant so I could chose my personal preference instead.
The following morning I did in fact snooze my alarm but still managed to make it down to reception for our morning sea swim.
We made our way to The Vico Baths where I very much stared at the water for about 20 minutes before finally attempting to get in.
Now, I have swam in the ocean multiple times but for the people out there who do this every day in Ireland, I both applaud you and I am scared of you. My body quite literally went into shock when I hit the water.
I’ve heard of cold water shock before, so I waited it out and after awhile it was pretty enjoyable and I ended up staying in for quite awhile.
There is big sense of community involved in sea swimming, the support and reassurance from everyone around me made the whole experience way more special.
Plus the feeling of accomplishment afterwards was definitely worth it.
Those of us staying a bit later were treated to the most beautiful Afternoon Tea in the hotel. We were served sandwiches, macaroons and cakes, scones with all the works… and of course tea or coffee.
We were definitely given royal treatment, I had never seen so many cake stands at one Afternoon Tea before – a perfect treat for a grandparent or mam, with some quality time.
Overall the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel definitely achieved that holiday-feel without needing to travel too far and I proved to myself (and hopefully to you) to that sea swimming can be enjoyable – even for newcomers.
I would certainly recommend this package to families or even friends who are looking for a different kind of summer experience in Ireland.
Stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to be scary and can be enjoyable, find friends in the strangers around you and take pride in trying something new even if you end up hating it.
You never know until you try and you should always be proud of yourself for trying in the first place.
*The writer was invited to a press stay in Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel.
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