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You can cake me in mud, but I remain a lost cause

THURSDAY I had never heard of zorbing until I visited Westport House. It is a daft concept. They put you in a giant bouncy ball half filled with water and roll you down a grassy hill. I tried to run, fell and ended up in an aquatic explosion. It was, on reflection, fun.

Westport House used to have a few llamas and a bunch of swan pedalos. Now it has embraced the family market on a scale and ambition that few people here have courage for.

Ciaran Collins from Adventure Islands has set up a series of activities at Westport House. We try the laser shoot and the archery. My daughter shoots me dead, as all teenagers sometimes dream.

FRIDAY Maureen O'Neill is one of the 270 visual artists who live in Mayo. When the Greenway cycle track opened they got together to exhibit at local venues, such as the Mulranney Hotel and the disused school house in Darrada, where cyclists come for the facilities. There is also a Gourmet greenway group of local producers. Not the first revolution to have started in Mayo. Remember 1879.

SATURDAY The Hotel Westport has the most comfortable bed I have slept in for a while. It was made by Homely Bedding. "We have enquiries about who makes the beds from lots of guests," the receptionist says.

SUNDAY Took the road home via Ballisodare.

MONDAY A ski brochure arrives -- a rare thing nowadays. Only two operators are working out of the Irish market this year.

TUESDAY The Heritage in Killenard has a kids' club. This is not what I expected. The kids' club is in the convention centre, which is upscale and out of scale, like the upscale and out of scale golf clubhouse and the upscale and out of scale hotel.

That evening, Orien's Italian Restaurant has a great seafood plate and three varieties of steak. There are families at four of the tables here -- not what you would expect at a five-star resort, all on the sort of deals the guys who built this place never expected they would have to offer. It is all good for the consumer, bad for the hotels which are trotting in and out of the pawn shop with increasing regularity these days. The kids love it.

WEDNESDAY Children wait around the toast, their eyes popping. Most of us reared far from five-star hotels, but this generation is getting an opportunity which they well deserve.

The spa experience brings me from cold to tepid to hot and back again with a bucket of water on a string, the oldest cooling device installed in the most luxurious spa in the midlands. They cake me with three types of warm mud and try to beautify me.

But I am, as my daughters will tell you, a lost cause.


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