It's hard to beat a staycation for a stress-free break, whether in Donegal or further afield

A look at life in Donegal through the coronavirus crisis

Achill Island

Ireland has a wealth of stunning locations for everything from a quiet few days away to adventure-packed holidays

Like a lot of people, I had to cancel my holiday plans for earlier this summer. 

But with some much-needed time off coming up, I found myself really questioning how I felt about going outside my local area, and what type of break I wanted for my family.

Reports of an increase in the transmission rate of Covid-19 and of people coming into the country - both overseas visitors and Irish people returning from foreign travel - have led to a lot of apprehension about being around other people. I therefore decided to try and book a rural holiday home in the Lakelands region of the Cavan-Leitrim border. 

We are no strangers to the staycation, and in recent years we have had the pleasure of some great family holidays in Donegal, Achill Island, Cork,  Kerry,  Louth, Clare and a fantastic boat trip on the  River Shannon. 

I love the freedom of self-catering accommodation. Normally when booking, the first thing I do is to see what sights and facilities are in the area. But this time around, when I went to check those things out online I found myself envisaging droves of potentially Covid-19 carrying visitors. 

I know this is unreasonable but am also aware that any one of us could be carrying the virus and we have to act accordingly. 

I have no doubt that  when we actually arrive at our chosen destination we will check out the local area, find out what there is to see and do. 

We will check out the nearby amenities for ourselves and find somewhere we are comfortable eating out. 

And at the very least, we will enjoy canoeing or taking a boat trip on the many nearby rivers and lakes - a perfect way to switch off and recharge after the stresses of the last few months.

In the meantime, we will be taking a brief one-night  hotel break in Limerick to visit my eldest daughter  who hasn’t been home since before lockdown began. 

Again, there is a definite sense of apprehension about going to a hotel. We will be doing everything we can to be responsible for our own safety and to ensure that we are not doing anything that would risk transmission to others.

Booking these two breaks in recent days has really brought home to me the fine line between moving forward from the efforts of lockdown, and not doing anything to jeopardise the great progress that has been made. But that is the way we need to think about everything now. 

One of the best things about taking a staycation in the current climate is that if we are not happy or do not feel safe, all we have to do is pack up the car and go home. 

Another good thing is that we are blessed to live in such a beautiful little country. This is a great opportunity to pause and appreciate what we have around us.

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