Family Activities on the Island of Ireland

Family Activities on the Island of Ireland

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Posted Mon 2 Jan 2023 4:32 PM
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Island of Ireland
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Coming to the island of Ireland with (young) children and looking for fun things to do? I found that our green isle had plenty of family-friendly activities and places to visit. This way!

Dublin and Ireland’s Ancient East

For those who love the great outdoors and history, Glendalough in Co. Wicklow ticks all the boxes. Children usually love playing hide and seek in the monastic site or strolling around the twin lakes. In the city, the Dublinia Museum brings you on a journey into the city’s medieval and Viking roots.

Wildlife enthusiasts will love Phoenix Park for its wild deer or a train trip to Howth to say hello to its most famous residents, the seals. For more animals, Dublin zoo, the Irish National Stud in Kildare and Fota Wildlife Park in Co. Wexford are three other great spots.

Finally, indoor aqua parks such as Aquazone (Blanchardstown) or Funtasia (Drogheda) can be the occasion to relax while the kids have some serious fun. Since it’s indoors, you don’t have to worry about the water temperature.

Wild Atlantic Way

The longest coastal route in Ireland is a gigantic playground.  First of all, it has countless beaches for the entire family. Some of my favorites are Coumeenoole in Dingle, Dog’s Bay (Roundstone, Connemara), Keem Beach (Achill Island) and Strandhill (Co. Sligo)

The west coast of Ireland is the place to spot dolphins or embark on Whale Watch Tour. For rainy days, the Flying Boat Maritime museum in Co.Limerick or Galway’s Atlantaquaria (Ireland’s biggest aquarium) can certainly please everybody. Another obvious option is to visit a sheep farm, such as the Killary Sheep Farm

If you didn’t get to learn about Ireland’s Ancient East Vikings, maybe Clew Bay’s Pirates would be a fun stop on your itinerary. Westport House and the Pirate Adventure Park makes is for a fun family day and to learn more about Grace O’Malley, the Queen of Pirates.

The Wild Atlantic Way is also the best place to learn to catch a wave. Two places I’d recommend for surf classes of all levels are Bundoran (Co. Donegal) and Enniscrone Beach (Co. Sligo) Finally, the Wild Atlantic Way has countless campsites, which is a fun and affordable accommodation for the entire family. Most can be found on the Camping Ireland website.

Causeway Coastal Route

To begin with, Titanic Belfast is totally suitable for families with its interactive exhibitions. If you have young adults into the hit series Game of Thrones, look no further: here lies the real-life Westeros, from Winterfell to the Iron Islands. W5 Belfast is a fun and interactive science museum for the entire family.

For some outdoor and water fun, look no further than Hydro: the resort offers summer activities such as kayaking and wakeboarding, an aqua park, and more. In the winter, you’ll find exclusive Christmas activities and a cinema drive-in

Jungle NI is an outdoor adventure centre nestled in the heart of Northern Ireland, along the Sperrins Mountains. Exciting activities (archery, quad bike, paintball), local food accommodation options make it a perfect family getaway!

Further along the coast, the Giant’s Causeway needs no introduction. According to the legend, two giants built a stone path between Ireland and Scotland, which was eventually destroyed to form this geological marvel.

A few more tips of mine

The Family Fun website is a wealth of information for more family-friendly activities. You can filter by events, place, and county.

When it comes to pubs, it’s fine to bring the kids for a meal or to enjoy a trad session, but they will have to leave the premises before 9 pm (or 10 pm in the summertime). While the music usually starts later, more and more pubs have earlier weekend sessions to accommodate families and minors.

For toddlers and newborn babies, hotels and B&B usually don’t charge below the age of 2. The B&B Ireland website even has to option to filter hosts who provide a cot for free.

What are your must-do activities and tips for families on the island of Ireland?

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Posted Fri 27 Jan 2023 8:43 AM
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Here are some other suggestions and tips for visiting the island of Ireland with small children:

Dublin:

One of the most popular places to visit is the Dublin Botanical Gardens. This attraction is a great place to take children for a walk, and it's easy to navigate with a pram. The gardens are filled with beautiful flowers and trees, and there are plenty of areas for children to play and explore.

Another great family-friendly attraction is Dublin Castle. This historic castle offers guided tours for families, and is pram accessible. Visitors can learn about the history of the castle and see the impressive architecture and artifacts on display.

The Little Museum of Dublin is another great option for families with children. This small museum is dedicated to the history of Dublin and is a fun and interactive way to learn about the city's past. The museum is packed with interesting exhibits and artifacts, and is sure to be a hit with children of all ages.

Finally, a unique way to experience the city from a different perspective is to hire a paddle boat for a ride along the Grand Canal. Just head to the Grand Canal Portobello harbour for a lovely way of enjoying the sights and sounds of Dublin from the water. It's a fun activity for children and adults alike, and is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Other destinations:

If you're looking for some family-friendly activities outside of Dublin, there are plenty of options to choose from, depending on where you're located.

Starting in the west, the Cliffs of Moher are a must-see destination for any family. Not only do they offer breathtaking views, but they also have pram-accessible paths, making them a great option for a family walk.

Moving north, Belfast is home to the W5 interactive science and technology centre. This is a great option for families with children who are curious about the world around them, as it has a range of hands-on exhibits and activities. Just outside of Derry~Londonderry, the Wild Ireland Wildlife Park is a great spot for families, especially for kids who love woodland animals such as bears, wolves and lynx. There are different family-friendly activities on site, making it a fun-filled day out for the whole family.

Heading south, the Muckross House and Gardens is a 19th century mansion that is perfect for families. The gardens are pram-accessible and there are children's activities available to keep everyone entertained.

For families with children interested in history, the Titanic Belfast is a must-visit destination. The museum offers a great opportunity to learn about the ship and its tragic history.

The Fermanagh Lakelands are another great option for families looking to enjoy the natural beauty of the island. This area offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking and boating.

If you're in Kilkenny, the National Reptile Zoo is a great option. It offers a chance to see a wide variety of reptiles and learn more about them.

Lastly, Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park is a great place to spend time with children. It includes a variety of activities, as well as a petting zoo, making it a fun-filled day out for the whole family.

Travelling tips:

Clothing: Pack for the weather as it can be a little unpredictable at times. It’s important to pack warm clothing and rain gear for children. 

Getting around: Renting a car can give you more flexibility and freedom to travel around the island, although other options are perfectly possible too. Buses are generally equipped with ramps for wheelchair access and designated spaces for prams, but this can vary depending on the bus company and the specific bus. Train travel is also a great option, with most trains having designated spaces for strollers. Taxis are generally accessible for passengers with strollers and prams, but it's always best to confirm with the driver before getting in the taxi. The DART trains, a great way of exploring Dublin's coastal villages and sights, have designated spaces for strollers, and most stations are accessible with ramps or elevators, Just beware of rush hour as places might be more limited.

Allow for extra time: When travelling with small children, it's important to allow for extra time to get ready and to deal with any unexpected events.

Accommodation: Think of the sort of accommodation that would most suit your needs. Family-friendly accommodation options, such as apartments or hotels with kitchen facilities can prove to be more useful.


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