The Good Life: A Real Irish Adventure

We started a family tradition last Sunday, one we are sure will be remembered with fondness by our little girls when they’re all grown up. “Family day” will provide memories of walks in the mountains, visits to crumbly castles and ice-cream cones at the beach.

Actually, I’m not sure doing something once qualifies it as a tradition, and judging from the fact that we’re busy for the next month of Sundays, there may be loose rules governing when “family day” takes place; but it’s a nice thought. A day when we hop in the car to explore wherever we end up.

Before we took up our post at Roundwood House, we had decided we would investigate every local point of interest, in order to have an intimate knowledge of the sights we would be sending our guests to see. Then, life got in the way. It is now four years later. Better late than never.

Part of the way through our first (only) family day, I added another tradition within the tradition and decided that every “family day” we would stop at a pub we had never been to before.

If I had just said, “We’re going to the pub,” it may have been mistaken for a sign that our first day out was wearing on my nerves and I needed a pint; but by making it a pub we’d never been to added to the sense of adventure.

Not just any pub, either. It has to be a pub that time had passed by. A pub that requires a peak through the window to determine whether it’s open or has been closed for years.

And so, armed with a vague and ever-evolving notion of what should happen on family day, we piled into the car, hours later than we had planned, and set off for our first great adventure. It was fantastic.

We decided to ease ourselves into the waters of quality family time by choosing a few sights close to home. First stop was a walk across the blanket bog on the Ridge of Cappard, about a 10-minute drive from Roundwood. It’s a suggestion I’ve made to many who have stayed here and having experienced it myself, it was an excellent suggestion.

I had found it difficult to describe to curious guests, having never seen it, and I now know why. I’ve never seen anything like it. Somehow, a 4-kilometre boardwalk has been plonked on top of the blanket bog covering the mountain, offering those strolling along it a stunning view that would have previously required a wet-suit and an effort likely beyond my desire and time constraints.

Truly amazing, and closer than the nearest bowling alley.

Next we headed for an obvious choice on a day out with the kids: a cemetery. The family that built Roundwood are buried in a small Quaker graveyard not far from here, and we had always wanted to visit it. So it’s a pity we went to the wrong one; but it was still lovely. It was at this point that another rule was added to the Family Day Handbook. It doesn’t matter where we are as long as we’re together, which is the same as, “We’re not lost; we’re sightseeing.”

Graveyards provide for an interesting Q&A with a 3- and 3/4-year-old.

“This is a place where people go to sleep… and never wake up.”

“Are they dead?”


“When they stop being dead, will they wake up?”

“I think it’s time to go to the pub.”

En-route to the pub, the heavens opened up as we turned down a tiny country lane, into the path of a horse who had broken free from the farmer who was frantically chasing it.

I can’t think of a better way to sum up Ireland.

We chose the pub based on the decided criteria. Was it open? Was it someone’s house? The answer to both those questions was yes. After opening the door and quickly closing it again, as the three men on the only stools at the bar spun around in shock, the owner came outside and coaxed us in for a pint.

They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

Every move was a squeeze; there was a piano with one working key; a GAA match was on the tv; and nothing matched, perfectly.

I have random memories of days out with my parents when I was young. As memories go, these could be an amalgam of several days out squished into one or one day splintered into many. They could be the result of my own family day tradition or the one day that was meant to start it off.

Either way, here’s to the next big day out.

Paddy Flynn is a Canadian musician who with his wife Hannah runs Roundwood House in Mountrath, Co Laois. He can be contacted via

Ireland is really a beautiful place to visit.

How to grow Beard Hairs-Effortlessly

Beards are the manliest accessories you can have. It requires a lot of patience to grow a full beard, and the density mostly depends on age and genetics. However, there are some actions you can take to stimulate beard growth. Follow these tips and you’ll develop facial hair gradually but steadily to a full beard of epic proportions.

1.Exercise and relax

Simply put, stress depletes your hair growth. Get enough sleep so that damaged skin cells get a chance to recover and reduce stress through meditation and sports. Exercise ensures better blood circulation in the face, and that makes your beard grow faster.

If you have a fast circulation more nutrients will reach your hair follicles, thus increasing your beard growth. Even very slight to moderate cardio is better than not move at all. Start with a brisk half hour walk after work, or even better, go running.

2.Exfoliating and skin care

Keep your face clean and moisturized and exfoliate regularly. Oils, dirt, and dead skin cells form an impenetrable barrier making it difficult for your hair to break out. Your facial hair will grow faster when your face is clean. Wash your face with cold water in the morning and before bedtime.

Once a week scrub your face gently to remove dead skin cells, which stimulates hair growth. Make a gentle facial scrub by mixing used coffee grounds with some coconut oil, and scrub your beard area in circular movements. Wash it with warm water, and apply a moisturizer with eucalyptus, an oil that is great for a faster beard.

3.Stimulate the hair follicles with a massage

A face massage will encourage your hair follicles to grow faster and thicker.

Apply gentle, even pressure on the parts of your face where you want to stimulate hair growth. Rub in circular motions and massage your face twice a day for about 10 minutes.

4. Try minoxidil beard Hair growth formula.

Minoxidil Beard is the latest trend among bread lovers. The formulation is to be applied like regular beard oil and you can see results in few weeks.

5.Vitamins & Protein

These nutrients will turn you into a lean mean beard growing machine.

Protein and fats

The hair itself also consists partly of protein, and healthy hair is protected by oils and fats.  Up your intake of food proteins and fats with fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Proteins and fats may also raise your testosterone levels, a major player in the growth of facial hair.

B Vitamins

Vitamin B7, also known as biotin, is one of the most important vitamins for the hair growth. Biotin is found in nuts and egg yolks. Vitamin B5, B3 and B9, are also very important. Vitamins B5 and B3 improve circulation and can be found in chicken, beef, fish, egg yolk, avocado, milk, and whole grain products. Vitamin B9, also called folic acid, has a direct effect on your ability to grow thicker hair. Vitamin B9 is found in grains, nuts, and green leafy vegetables.

A, C and E

Vitamin A helps to keep your hair follicles and sebaceous glands in order, and is found in carrots, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables. Vitamin C strengthens your immune system, and can be found in potatoes, citrus fruits, green peppers, tomatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin E improves the blood circulation, and can be found in beans, nuts, and leafy vegetables.

6.Do not shave in between

Contrary to what some people say, shaving will not stimulate the growth of hair. The initial accelerated growth after shaving will slow down, and eventually the overall net hair growth will be less. So leave your beard alone. It is however wise to remove ingrown hairs to prevent uneven beard growth.

7.Drink plenty of water

To keep your body perfectly hydrated make sure you drink plenty of water. Only in optimal physical condition can facial hair grow as fast as possible. Drink, as a rule of thumb, about eight glasses a day.

8.Stop smoking

Smoking weakens the immune system. If your immune system is weakened then the body may be less able to grow hair. Nicotine also reduces the absorption of nutrients, including those needed for the growth of hair. Moreover, nicotine constricts blood vessels, which prevents your blood from reaching the right places.

9.Oil and mustard leaf

Mix ¼ cup of Jojoba or grapeseed oil and 3 teaspoons of mustard leaf to a paste. Apply this paste on your face and leave it on for 20 minutes before you rinse it again.

10.Ground cinnamon with lime juice

Mix 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon with 2 teaspoons of lime juice. Apply this paste on the face and rinse it off after 25-30 minutes. Stop immediately if irritation occurs.