Things to do in Northern Ireland…Part 2.

Things to do in Northern Ireland…Part 2.,fl_progressive,q_60/v1443033696/sikgn3nc1cbprtrmik2o.jpg


Parks are great or at least the concept is. They’re like libraries, you might never use one but you know it’s right to have them. However, the reality on the ground can be a bit sketchy. Broken glass, obscene graffiti and burnt out bins are just some of the reasons I don’t use my own back garden but sadly the same can often be found at your nearest playground. When this is the case and if you have access to a car then you make your way to the nearest country park, this is a fancy park situated far enough away from marauding teenagers who might choose to destroy it overnight.

Things to do ni

When does something become too safe…

The newer ‘adventure playgrounds’ (a creation I first became aware of in the 70’s but never actually experienced) often have various covered areas where it’s possible to shelter during a terrifying storm while pretending to make a game of it (all the while wondering if this mad tree-house thing is actually a massive lightening conductor).

One I made earlier.

Prototype Adventure Playground, Ireland, 1971.



Let’s face it, you have to go there anyway, so kill two birds with one stone and bring the kids along. It’s warm and dry and there’s security to protect you from the children if things get out of hand. Supermarket’s nowadays, especially in small towns, have become the new community centres where you get to catch up with old friends, nibble things off cocktail sticks while appearing to genuinely consider buying it in bulk and wear your best clothes with full hair and make-up (woman) or just a vest (men, summer). Until now, the problem is that children want in on this sweet gig too, seriously curtailing your plans to hang around the stationary section fondling new pens and crisp white ring-bound pads. However, with a little creativity the supermarket can become a great day out for all the family and all for the cost of a cup of tea.

supermarkets northern ireland

Supermarkets can offer great interactive opportunities for kids.

The first step is to set up your home office in the supermarket cafe, if possible bag the small setee area and spread all your stuff across the nearby seats to ‘mark’ your territory. If you don’t actually have any ‘stuff’ just pre pack a few carrier bags with scrunched up newspaper, enough for each seat around you, and place strategically. Once you’ve got the store’s wifi password and you’ve ordered your coffee (This need be your only purchase all day as long as you take micro sips and eek it out over a few hours), you’re all set to play the beloved ‘Pirate Game’!

Basically you give the children a glittering chariot (aka a shopping trolley) and a ‘treasure map’ that looks remarkably like a shopping list, you send them off to plunder the aisles as you sit in the cafe and relax with a magazine that your considering to purchase from the magazine rack. PRO TIP: Be sure to pay attention to any instore announcements, carefull to listen out for any mention of your child’s name or any surge in aisle clean-up requests.

Let the family pet share the workload.


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