A two night stay in Galway to squeeze as much in as possible - how did we get on?
One pregnant lady, one toddler, one Italian 12-year-old exchange student and me.
Well, we could have picked better weekends to head to the West.
Lashings of rain greeted us on Friday lunchtime as we left Dublin, but it was the on-coming ex-hurricane Ophelia that dominated proceedings when we arrived in Galway.
Preparations were well underway for the storm's arrival and by the time we left the hotel's car park on Sunday the first level of parking was closed off and sandbags were on the way.
It didn't hamper our fun at all over the weekend - just dampened it a little at times.
Lots of really good options in Galway just depends on what you are looking for. Many years ago as a roving GAA reporter I stayed at the Maldron Hotel on the outskirts and the Harbour Hotel Galway was also an option. But due to location and good reviews we pumped for the Jurys Inn hotel right in the heart of Galway City.
The hotel is on Quay Street and is just seconds away from The Spanish Arch and The Medieval City Wall. The Latin Quarter and Shop Street are really close as well - and proved very useful on Friday when we arrived as we needed a walk after the 2 and a half hour drive from Dublin.
We were pleasantly surprised how it easy it was to locate - even though you are right in the middle of the action. The car park - if a little tricky to drive around - is massive and we bought one of the €20 tickets which meant we could come and go as much as we wanted.
Breakfast was a good buffet style spread with the usual suspects. The Italian loved the croissants but couldn't understand the sausages for breakfast bit.
The bar - although we didn't eat in it - served food and the river-side beer garden looked like a lovely spot - just in better weather!
Rates at Jurys Inn Galway start at €139 including breakfast. Best way to book is through their website.
We wanted to keep the toddler entertained as well as showing our Italian student some of the sights of Galway.
Again there are lots to chose from, first up for us was the Loughwell Farm Park - a 20-minute drive from Galway city centre.
The beauty of this farm is that even with the weather not great there are lots for the kids still to do. Inside there is a fully equipped indoor play area spanning over two barns. The four-lane wavy Astra slide was a favourite with the kids and Daddy, while the tea and scones on offer in the cafe were equally loved.
We did venture outside when the rain cleared a little and had a walk around the animals. It was such a pity we couldn't experience the full Loughwell experience, but we'll just have to take another trip down! All farm events and activities can be checked out on their website.
Next up was the aquarium over in Salthill. Armed with the feeding times and having already fed our troops we were all set to explore Galway Atlantaquaria. We did however hit a snag when we first ventured in. Three-year-old Paige was very scared, despite being massively excited all day for this part of the trip.
It turned after 20 minutes of coaxing that she didn't realise all the fish were 'behind glass'. So the rest of our visit came with the question 'is there glass there?'
That aside, we had a great time seeing all the big and small species, which the Italian had a chance to feed some of the fish upstairs and hold some of the crabs during the touch pool tour. (Paige wasn't brave enough for this!)
The big fish feeding is also well worth a look, while 'finding Nemo' was a hit with the kids. All in all a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. All ticket prices and feeding times can be found here.
One word - Supermacs.
No really, we did have Supermacs. But it was only on Friday when we were tired and it was lashing rain. We did get a coffee and an ice cream in an independent cafe on Quay Street, to balance things out.
On Saturday we made an effort to go for a nice family meal and we weren't disappointed. We decided to 'treat' the Italian to some cooking from her home country and try one of Galway's many excellent Italian restaurants.
Booking, I would advise, is essential - but we got away with as we were eating just after 6pm. The pizza and pasta was good and the stroll around Galway afterwards (with no rain) was magical.
We would have liked to have squeezed an activity into the Friday evening or Sunday morning - but the weather had other ideas.
So 48 hours in Galway - really felt more likely 24 hours tightly packed in. The location of the hotel helped as we could walk everywhere and daddy/driver could have a well-earned pint in the evenings as well.
All in all, a great city break that kept all the family happy - even the bump!
*We stayed as a guest of the Jurys Inn, Galway.