One of the best pieces of life advice I’ve ever been given is to spend money on experiences, rather than ‘things’.
Experiences engage your brain and your memory in ways that the latest iPhone or that ‘new car’ smell cannot.
Nobody lies in their deathbed fondly pondering their last ASOS delivery.
While a ‘Starlight Kayak Break’ sounds like something you could enjoy on a five-star honeymoon in Mauritius, it’s actually one of the new Seaside Adventures launched by travel guru Kathryn Thomas at Inchydoney Lodge & Spa this month – and trust us, it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Beginning at dusk on Reen Pier at Castlehaven Bay, Jim Kennedy of Atlantic Sea Kayaking leads first-time paddlers through the basics before the group glides out onto the pristine water.
From here it’s a feast for the senses; close your eyes and you can hear the chatter of seabirds coming in to roost and breathe in the heady aroma of honeysuckle on the breeze… open them and you’re face to face with the panoply of stars overhead.
All phones safely stowed on the shore, it’s a complete escape. This is what it was like to make memories before we started making them on Instagram.
The only sound is the gentle dip of a paddle disappearing into the mirrored surface of the water, but the real magic reveals itself just below it; trail your hand through the water as you move across the bay and you’ll see a flurry of underwater sparkle explode under your fingertips.
During the day, phytoplankton store up light, releasing it on touch in a display called bioluminescence. It’s at its most spectacular in July and August, but whatever time of the year you witness it, for a split second, it’ll take you back to the wonder and awe of your childhood.
An experience for everybody
You don’t have be a seasoned kayaker to take a Starlight Kayak. In fact, you don’t have to be technically sporty or necessarily fit in the least.
Night kayaking is perfectly suitable for adults of all ages, sizes and fitness levels. The most senior paddler on the books at Atlantic Sea Kayaking is 96, so unless you plan on beating that record you’re probably good to go.
Plan an adventure
As well as the Starlight Kayaking, the gorgeous nautical bedrooms, full service spa and the Gulfstream restaurant (order the fish special – it’s a surefire winner), the Inchydoney Lodge & Spa is now offering a selection of unique excursions.
The Surf ‘n’ Stay package includes two nights accommodation in a deluxe guest room with a luxury full Irish buffet breakfast each morning to set you up for surf lessons with Inchydoney Surf School.
Wetsuits and boards are provided and the instruction is fun and effective; even the complete beginners in our group were standing on the board by the end of a two-hour session.
The best bit? You can soothe your aching muscles in the heated Seawater Therapy Pool afterwards.
If you have half a day to kick back with mother nature, a whale watching trip with Atlantic Whale and Wildlife Tours will get you an audience with common dolphins and harbour porpoises all year round. Minke whales may be spotted from May through to December, while family groups of fin whales arrive in the early summer months and stay in West Cork’s waters until January.
Eat your way around Clonakilty
Fact: There is nothing local writer Kate Ryan of Flavour.ie does not know about food in West Cork.
Book the brilliant Clonakilty Liquid Curiosity Tour at Inchydoney Island Lodge & Spa and you’ll be whisked off on a whistle stop tasting that will give you an opportunity to meet the area’s best producers and learn about their unique food stories, history and traditions.
At the end of a long day, pop on a cosy robe, take a glass of wine to your bedroom balcony, sit on an adirondack chair and watch the sun sink below the big blue sea… adventures don’t come more relaxing than this.
To book your own Seaside Adventure at Inchydoney Lodge & Spa, check out the packages on their website or call 023 88 33143.