Following on from an previous post whereby I recommended the Burren Nature Sanctuary (http://growinghealthyeaters.ie/childrens-healthy-eating-information/recommendation-for-healthy-eating-out-fun-for-all-the-family.html), this month Im writing about the Slieve Aughty Centre. This is a family owned, eco-friendly equestrian and activity leisure centre set on 17 acres of rugged Galway land. There’s self-guided woodland trails for walking, cycling, horse riding and exploring animals.
One of the highlights of a visit is the Enchanted Forest, “Deep in the woods there is a hidden grove of native trees by a flowing stream where the fairies, gnomes and trolls live together with the animals of the wood”. Each child receives an Enchanted Forest Pack including a forest map, wishing tree hanger and fairy dust.”
There’s also other activities including:
- A toddler playground (includes a playhouse, swing set and sand area)
- Pony rides available to book (for those aged 5 and up)
- The craft room is a self-serve room, with lots of recycled materials
What’s totally unique about this family day out in terms of food is its organic kitchen, joining only one other organic restaurant in the whole of Ireland and the only one in the west. This means that they use only natural and organic ingredients in both their restaurant and cafe.
Organic food means:
- Fewer chemicals (no artificial fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides)
- Organic animals are reared without the routine use of drugs, including antibiotics
- No artificial colours, preservatives or sweeteners.
They also make a special effort to ensure the use of local suppliers so their ingredients are as fresh as possible. All of the salad greens and herbs used, for example, come from their own garden. In addition, in the summer there's also their own berries and apples in the autumn.
They also have Pizza Party Fridays (with their hand-made clay oven), a wine bar in the evening (with the option to sit out on the decking with candles and fires); as well as accommodation (4 star eco-friendly guest house) and events like the Traditional Skills Family Workshops.
Of course during Christmas, Easter and Halloween there’s also themed festivals eg we visited for their Spring festival with the Easter bunny leaving his foot prints along the trails, lots of Easter jokes on the way, as well as written descriptions asking us to guess the animal.
Slieve Aughty Centre is situated in the West of Ireland, about 45 minutes drive from Galway City and 15 minutes drive from Loughrea. Check them out at http://www.slieveaughtycentre.com/ (Winter Hours: Fri-Sun 12-6 Summer Hours: 12-6 daily)