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robert okeeffeThere is no need to set an alarm in our house – with 3 kids under 6 we are lucky if everyone stays asleep past 6. I am not a morning person so my wife Rebecca usually looks after the kids and gets them up, as I have worked nights over the weekend. When I get up we generally try to do something with the kids, which can be very much weather dependent. If it’s raining we may take them to the pool in Inchydoney which they adore or for a walk on the beach.

If the weather is a bit better, there are lots of great things to do in West Cork. For example, we may take them to Rineen Woods outside Union Hall which is a fantastic wood with fairy houses built into the trees and the kids’ imaginations runs rampant or to Smugglers Cove in Roscarbery which has a great pirate themed Adventure Golf Course and a Maze. Weather dependent we would bring a picnic, made in the hotel, one of the perks. If not we take a drive around to find some gorgeous child friendly spot for lunch, Scannell’s bar in Clonakilty is delicious for lunch as is the Fig and Olive.

Later it’s home to check on the hotel and see if there is anything urgent required – there is usually something but the kids love being part of it and helping doing jobs so they usually come with me to check in to see if all is ok. We play a little basketball outside or on the trampoline before dinner to burn off some energy. We may have some dinner outside in the hotel courtyard for the kids as the garden is totally enclosed, with a willow hideout and football and rugby, so we can feed the troops and maybe have a coffee ourselves.

I will then generally try to get an hour to myself to get some exercise. I like to go for a run at least once a week. There are plenty of scenic places to go for a run around Clonakilty, or outside of town around Castlefreke. My favourite route at the moment starts in Castlefreke through the woods leading to a trail run down by Kilkern Lake, then along the road past Long Strand and back into the woods which takes you back again to where you started. The views are stunning and the sea air is always refreshing. If I don’t go for a run I go to Guerilla Fitness Clonakilty which is a local Crossfit Gym. The classes last 45 minutes and are always different which keeps things interesting. The classes can be scaled up or down to match each person’s ability, way down in my case.

Then it is jammies and a cartoon before a bed time story and tales of the day. Babysitter allowing we may try to get out for a bite to eat or a few drinks. On a cold winter’s night I do enjoy sitting up at the bar in the Sugan with the fire at our backs enjoying some nice seafood. Deasy’s in Ring also serves fantastic seafood or slightly further afield there is always a great buzz in Monk’s Lane in Timoleague. In town you can always get good tapas and a glass of wine in Richy’s.

If not, a good bottle of red and a few steaks from one of the many fantastic butchers in Clonakilty, some good conversation and off to bed. Early nights are a luxury in my world so I love being at home with my family when I can.

Robert O’ Keeffe is the Proprietor of Emmet Hotel Clonakilty


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