An Autism friendly St Patrick’s Day 2017

St Patrick’s day is celebrated across the world. To kick start the celebrations a parade usually takes place. A typical Irish parade consists of music bands, street performers, colourful floats and street cuisine.  As soon as the bagpipes fill the air there is an excitement that most families enjoy, and look forward to celebrating the festivities on St Patrick’s day.

As Dylan has Autism, he also has some sensory issues. The crowds, the noise and scents can all cause a sensory overload. Which can make Dylan feel  anxious and stressed which usually ends in a very upsetting melt down. Instead of putting Dylan into an environment that he wasn’t comfortable in, I decided, why not make our own traditions that Dylan could enjoy and look forward to.Staying with our tradition from last year we packed a little bag and headed to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, Co Clare.

On arrival we headed straight to the Castle. The scent of burning turf fills the air setting the mood. The tree branches overhead connect making the magical path to the castle ever so enchanting. Dylan has become fascinated by castles as of recently, so I knew he would enjoy it even more so this year. I think this may be to the fact of his new favourite movie Angry Birds.  Dylan loved the steep narrow winding steps around the castle, much to my dismay.  Bunratty Castle was built in 1425, it is furnished with mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings. The main block has three floors, each consisting of a single great room, or hall. The four towers have six stories each. The castle is entered by a drawbridge to the main guard, where we were greeted by a woman dressed for the part in a lavish gown.

After the castle we set out to the Folk Park to seek out the barn animals. Chickens, swans and ducks ran freely across the grounds. Dylan enjoyed the piglets, donkeys and sheep. We saw baby goats jumping and leaping through the fields and fell in love with the most beautiful black ponies.

We found our way into the magical Fairy Village. Fairy houses are hidden amongst the trees. There is a fun tunnel, whicker campsite and a pond amongst the Fairy houses. Colourful ribbons are tied to branches in the Fairy Village that blow to the beat of the bewitching atmosphere enclosed in the the Fairy village.

We walked through the cobbles streets of the Village and got lost in the enchanted walled garden. It was filled with fresh blossoming Spring Summer flowers. As the day continued the rain got heavier. We stumbled upon a near stable where we sheltered for a moment before heading back out into the drizzle of the rain. To finish the day Dylan had lots of fun running and climbing in the playground which was filled with swings, slides and sand pits. Staying with the medieval theme a wooden ship is located in the play area for the children to climb aboard and let their imagination run wild.

Dylan and myself enjoyed the peacefulness and mythical atmosphere at Bunrtty Castle and Folk Park today. Although it was a rainy day, it did not take from the beauty of Bunratty Castle and its enchanted grounds. I think it is also a tradition in Ireland that it must rain on St Patrick’s Day. We enjoyed a stress free, melt down free, day. I am happy I now no longer feel the need to continue to celebrate traditions in a certain way. I love that Dylan and myself  now make our own traditions to suit us. That we both can enjoy and also look forward to.

There is some descriptions I can’t put into words. So I have made a short Youtube video that I would love for you to check out –  An Autism Friendly St Patricks Day

Bunratty Castle and Folk Park

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