If you’re looking to bring the family together for a big birthday, anniversary or other special occasion, the Reeks District is the ideal place. Here are our top 5 tips on how to make your next family gathering even more memorable.

1. Rent a large house
A large house with plenty of outdoor space is the perfect place for the family to gather, kids to roam free and everyone to stretch out and relax. Many of the luxury self catering properties in the region, be it the likes of Churchtown House or ourselves at Caragh Lake House can also arrange for housekeeping, so you have the privacy of your own home with the luxury of serviced accommodation.

2. Call in the caterers
There’s nothing quite like bringing the family together over long lazy lunches or relaxed evening meals. Whether it’s a fine dining experience in the comfort of your own home, casual BBQ in the garden, or you just don’t feel like cooking (or cleaning up), the team at Just Cooking or Truffle Honey can help. You can talk them through what you want and they’ll tailor a menu accordingly. They can also arrange breakfast, buffet lunches and other options if you’d like.

3.  Organise something for everyone
Memories are made of moments shared which is why we always recommend an activity or two that all the family can do together. An Irish dancing class or learning to bake soda bread is super fun for indoors. For outdoors we’d suggest a boat trip on Caragh Lake or horse riding on the beach at Rossbeigh. If you’re slightly more adventurous, a paddle boarding expedition with one of the many local SUP providers – Wild SUP Tours, H2O Watersports or Cappanalea – is fantastic option.

4. Say it with cakes and flowers
Whether it’s a birthday or anniversary, nothing says it quite like cakes and flowers. At Caragh Lake House we usually recommend Gabi Bakes Cakes and Shades of Bloom. Both offer an excellent service, are based locally and deliver. All you need to do is drop them a note a little in advance and wait for the door bell to ring.

5. Hire a photographer
We all have a smartphone these days and fancy ourselves as photographers, but there’s nothing quite like a professional portrait of all the family to capture those special moments. That’s why, last but not least, we always suggest guests hire a photographer, especially for those bigger birthdays and family reunions that don’t come around too often.

If you have other tips on how to organise the perfect family gathering, we’d love to hear from you. Just email us at [email protected].

Jens Bachem is Co-Owner of Caragh Lake House, a large lakefront vacation rental on Caragh Lake; and Chair (2018/2019) of Reeks District.

Read more stories on our Notes from the Reeks blog