Posted by: mdmusingsie | July 12, 2015

Never Too Old

A typical hen night (bachelorette party) in Ireland seems to involve large quantities of alcohol, dancing, garish accoutrements, and a hefty serving of embarrassment. But that’s not my scene, so when I was recently invited to the hen party of a co-worker, I was glad they were planning something completely different.

Instead, we booked into a Victorian Escapade at a manor house in Mullingar. First you dress as a maid and perform group activities like baking small Madeira cakes that become part of your dessert for dinner (served with ice cream and custard). Fortunately, two of us in our quartet were seasoned bakers so we knew our cake would be edible.

Part of the cake making involved the bride-to-be tossing eggs to the teams. One under the leg fast ball bounced off two people and splattered on the floor. Another broke on the table. Despite being ‘maids sent by the agency,’ we weren’t required to clean up the mess. The one tossed to me, not the greatest in the hand-eye coordination arena, by some stroke of luck landed in my cupped hands.

Hen28_sm Hen04_sm

Then we played a ring toss game where rubber rings were hefted towards a board with cup hooks hanging on the wall. A lot harder than it looks, I scored a big whopping 0 points (though I had plenty of company in the bottom rungs). This was followed by a wash board scrubbing contest with a turn through an old fashioned mangler or clothes press.


After a few hors d’oeuvres to tide us over until dinner, we were off to run a relay race with a chamber pot (you do not want to spill a drop).

Having passed our tests (or failed miserably, it was hard to tell) we then tried our hands at being ladies of the manor, shedding our working clothes for elegant Victorian ensembles. Lots of the women went for the corsets and had I been a few stone lighter, I might have as well, but found something else suitable. Hats, stoles, and brooches completed the outfits as we tried not to trip on our hems as we descended the grand staircase for dinner. There were three options including one vegetarian dish. It was well presented, very tasty, and everyone enjoyed their meals.


Andy, our butler, was a great chap who luckily had a sense of humor to match our group who often shocked him with very un-Victorian sensibilities.

The house is still being refurbished and will eventually have guest rooms where you can stay overnight. We only saw a fraction of the place and it seems to be an interesting layout with rooms in nooks and crannies all over the place.

Although it was a very un-American way to spend July 4th, an extremely enjoyable time was had by all (despite the bride-to-be pulling her quad muscles in the chamber pot race and having to go to urgent care for a shot of muscle relaxants – she did return in time to don a gown and have dinner – what’s a hen party without a little drama). It just goes to show you’re never too old for a little dress-up


  1. This sounds like a fascinating activity, Dawn!

  2. What a fun activity, Dawn!

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