Couple power: parents' date night getaway in a castle folly
In the third in our Green and Black’s series, Amy and Adrian Missen spend a night in Batty Langley Lodge in Co Kildare, with a hamper of the ethically-sourced chocolate
Amy and Adrian Missen outside Batty Langley Lodge in the grounds of Castletown House in Co Kildare. Photographs: Conor Mulhern
Amy and Adrian Missen are parents to three young children and both have busy jobs in finance. Getting to spend a night away as a couple is a rarity but both feel it’s an important thing to do on occasion, in order to stay connected.
For this series they spent a night in Batty Langley Lodge, which lies on the edge of Castletown House in Co Kildare, a gorgeous spot deep in the countryside where they could switch off from their busy family life and spend some quality time together. We asked Amy to tell us about their relationship and the experience of staying in the lodge.
How did you meet?
We met in The Orphan Girl – a pub in Ballymoney, Wexford, through friends.
Did this weekend away remind you of why you fell in love?
It’s always lovely to spend time together as a couple without the long list of jobs to discuss. Having fun together is very important to remind us how it all began.
Where did you spend your night away?
We went to Batty Langley Lodge, which is on the grounds of Castletown House in Co Kildare. It was built in 1725, designed as a folly, rather than for someone to live in, and it’s now a gorgeous little house for people to rent and managed by Landmark Trust. When you come out the front door you can see Castletown House and the grounds. The lodge is lovely. It has a little kitchen, sittingroom and no TV, which was brilliant. That sounds silly but it is very easy, when you are relaxing, just to turn on the television.
The property has a winding stairs up to a bedroom with a little bathroom, which was lovely. It’s really pretty and old and I like that it’s not a hotel. Sometimes when you’re looking for a break you go to a hotel but they are busy places and there’s lots of people coming and going. We arrived here and it was just us. We could let ourselves in and out and we had the luxury of home-from-home, without all the jobs that you have to do at home.
What did you do while there?
We went for dinner in a little Italian restaurant in Leixlip. That was really nice because we were going somewhere we knew we weren’t going to run into anyone we knew. We felt like we were in Dublin but still far enough away from home for it to be an escape. After dinner we went back and played Scrabble, which we often play when we go on holidays to Donegal. It’s one of those things we associate with going on holidays.
Do you get to spend quality time together?
We are quite good – we try to go out every couple of weeks together, even if it’s just the two of us going for a couple of drinks. We have three kids so to actually go away on our own is rare, as you have to find someone who will mind all three. We go away for a night maybe once a year if we’re lucky.
How important is it to make that time?
It’s very important to make the time. My husband always tells the kids, it started with the two of us, as a couple. You have to work at remembering that because you can get caught up in the day-to-day jobs and who is doing what, and who is taking this kid there. We both work so much that in the evening time it’s literally logistics and that is all we talk about. So it is nice to make that time for yourselves to have a chat and check in with each other is. We chatted the way you would if you were on a date. We had both had very busy weeks in work so it was nice to be almost forced to take that time.
Is there anything from the night away that you could recreate at home?
One of the things we both said is that it was lovely to come home from dinner, have a glass of wine and do something that is just about us and not turning on the phone. You then spend quality time together and we agreed to do that more.
Everyone seems to want to go to modern buildings and modern hotels nowadays but it’s nice to go back to something that’s older and that has more character
What was the stand out memory from the night away?
I loved the house and realising the difference in going to a place like that. I was way more relaxed having gone there as opposed to a hotel. It’s so cool; a very different type of building and I never would have stayed anywhere like that before. Everyone seems to want to go to modern buildings and modern hotels nowadays but it’s nice to go back to something that’s older and that has more character.
Did the kids appreciate you more when you came home?
Maybe for a second! I think it’s good for kids to learn that other people can mind them and that we need time for ourselves as well. If our kids give out to us about going out for dinner on our own, we explain to them that we need that time together too. They’re probably a little bit young to get it though!
How did the chocolates add to the experience?
Chocolate makes everything better. I love chocolate and I love Green & Black’s. It’s nice if you are going to try to recreate something like the night away, to get chocolate that’s a bit of a treat and I think Green & Black’s is.
How did you feel after the weekend, did you learn anything?
The weekend was a lovely break together in the middle of what is a very busy time in our lives – we have very busy jobs and three busy little kids (and a puppy). I don’t think we learned anything new but it’s a nice reminder to take time out together.
How will you remember the weekend?
It was a great trip away and we will definitely remember the house – it was very different to anywhere else we have stayed before.
Connecting with Green & Black’s – about this series
Green & Black’s chocolate was founded in 1991 in the flat of husband and wife team Craig Sams and Jo Fairley and to this day it retains their original commitment to ethical production and great taste.
Green symbolises the brand’s commitment to ethically-sourced cocoa while black stands for the high quality and delicious taste of the chocolate. Over the years, Green & Black’s has continued to grow and innovate with the introduction of the enchanting Velvet Edition range. The range offers a variety of signature flavours for all tastes in a smooth, velvety finish – dark chocolate but not as you know it.
This premium range also includes Green & Black’s Velvet pouches – a luxurious mélange of dark chocolate and real fruit as well as the latest additions of Green & Black’s decadent praline and truffle single bars ensuring that there is something for every occasion, be it enjoying on your own or sharing in indulgent moments.
For more, see greenandblacks.com