Summer holidays can be a costly time with summer camps, stocking up for back to school, and the long school holidays. Looking for ideas this summer for things to do with your child that won’t cost a penny? We’ve got you sorted! Here are 20 Free Family Things to do in Ireland with the Kids this Summer. And check out What’s on For Families in Ireland this Summer too!
#1. Enjoy Free Museums & Free Family Events
The National Museums of Ireland in Dublin offer a great day out and are hosting an array of family workshops and events throughout July and August. Admission is free.
THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF COUNTRY LIFE, MAYO
This award winning Museum of Country Life has lots of great free workshops and events throughout the year. There are interactive exhibitions and a fun games box for the kids. Admission is free.
#2.Visit Wexford Lavender Farm
Wexford Lavender Farm is Ireland’s first Lavender Farm, with 2 acres of Lavender and woodland walks with 3 routes to suit all abilities. Kids will love riding through the lavender field on Billy the friendly Bull quad train, and playing in their outdoor playground. Stop for lunch or a homemade treat in The Purple Haze Cafe or take home some Lavender plants for your own garden.
#3. Galway City Museum
Galway City Museum is a spacious, modern building, situated in the heart of Galway City, on the banks of the River Corrib, overlooking the Spanish Arch and the Claddagh. The museum, which is free of charge, tells the story of Galway’s past and regularly hosts touring art and craft exhibitions.
Be sure to pick up a ‘My Favourite Object’ activity sheet at reception. The museum also holds a regular programme of events with activities for all ages.
#4. Get Arty at The Hunt Museum in Limerick
First Sunday of the month (5th July & 2nd August) there are free Art & Craft workshops at The Hunt Museum in Limerick, with a different theme every session. There are also free tours of the Permanent Collection at 3pm daily on request
In August, the museum will celebrate Heritage Week, which is in its 20th year, and this year’s theme of The Circus, with a week of free events, lectures and all round fun.
#5. Take in Bray Summer Fest, Wicklow
Bray Summer Fest taking place 4th July – 3rd August is a five week festival with a family friendly ethos providing specialised events for families, children and young people! Don’t miss the Air Display on 19th July and the closing fireworks on 3rd August.
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#6. Enjoy Street Performance in Dublin & Cork
Laya City Spectacular is back in Dublin & Cork again this July. Watch the world’s best all-round entertainers compete for the coveted ‘Street Performance World Champion’ title, and there’s a host of many more free family friendly events throughout the festival.
In Merrion Square, Dublin from 10th – 12th July, & Fitzgerald Park, Cork from 18th – 19th July.
#7. Be Amazed at Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival
Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival, with fun family events and an amazing display of sand sculpted artwork takes place in Duncannon, Co Wexford from 7th – 9th August.
There’s amateur sand-sculpting compeititons, a Teddy Bears Picnic for the little ones and beach games for the not so little ones, and live music and fun Street Theatre throughout the weekend. Most of the events over the weekend are free
#8. Visit the Most Romantic Gardens in Ireland
Known as the most romantic garden in Ireland, Altamont, near Tullow, is an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens located on a 100 acre estate. Whilst still little known, it ranks in the top ten of Irish gardens and is often referred to as ‘the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown’.
The formal lawns slope down to a romantic lake, and there’s a fascinating walk, which kids love, through the Arboretum, Bog Garden and Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks leading to the River Slaney. There’s a garden centre, tea-rooms during summer months, and picnic areas.
More free fun ideas: Free Things to do with Kids in Ireland
#9. Markets & Music at Castletown House Kildare
The last Sunday of every month there are Country Markets and Craft Fairs which take place within the Stables and Stable Wing Courtyard of Castletown House in Kildare. From June through to August, there are free Sunday Summer recitals from 2-4pm in the house.
They also have a Self-Guided Nature Trail where you can explore the wildflower meadow, cross a ha-ha or sunken fence on their way to the garden temple or make your way to the river Liffey at the bottom of the meadow.
#10. Enjoy a Duck Race in Carlow
Bagenalstown Festival is a family friendly festival, taking place from July 17th – 19th. Events include free street entertainment, music, their ever popular duck race, raft racing along the river and lots more family fun.
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#11. Take a Gallery Tour at Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow
Admission to the galleries at the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art is free of charge, so why not take a trip and see the latest exhibition.
Gallery tours on Sundays are also free of charge – they take place at 2.30pm & 3.30pm and last 30 mins. No prior booking needed for families and small groups.
#12. Spot some Fairies
Head to the lovely Town Park in Templemore and walk past the lake, to find the fairy trail in the woods. Try and spot all the fairy doors, which are updated at seasonal times like Christmas and Halloween(there are about 38 we believe). Afterwards feed the ducks and swans and let the kids play in the playground, while you get a “workout” on the outdoor adult gym.
There are also two magical fairy trails to be found in Kerry: one in the wooded surrounds of Derrynane House, Caherdaniel, and the other in the woods of the Parknasilla Resort. Both are free and open to all visitors.
#13. Clara Bog Nature Reserve
Clara Bog Nature Reserve is free to visit and has many free events for children. The bog itself is reputed to be the best remaining example of raised bog in Western Europe.
There is a boardwalked 1 km looped walk on Clara Bog which lets you see the wonderful plants, birds and animals which Clara Bog is home to and to soak up the atmosphere of an exceptional raised bog in the heart of Ireland.(NB wear trainers or shoes).The Visitor Centre also organises walks, art and nature activities on a regular basis.
#14. Explore the Festival of Curiosity, Dublin
Head out to play at Festival of Curiosity this summer, in various Dublin venues from 23rd to 26th July. From the free day time family programme to lively and curated curious nights, expect a programme full of surprise and delight.
The Festival of Curiosity is Ireland’s annual celebration at the intersection of art, science, technology and design and has quickly grown to being one of the most exciting and innovative festivals of its kind in Europe.
#15. Hit the Trails at Curragh Chase, Limerick
Curragh Chase Forest Park is located 22km west of Limerick on the N69 coast road close to Kilcornan and Askeaton.
There are a number of looped way marked trails in the park to suit all visitors. They vary from the multi-access trails suitable for wheelchair users and family walkers to the longer Curragh and Glenisca trails suitable for those looking for more demanding walking and cycling.
Amenities include Public toilet, Picnic Site, Playground, Barbecue, Boat launch, Orienteering Course, Walking Trails, Cycling Trails, Arboreta/Gardens.
#16. Go Retro at Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival, Offaly
Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival runs from 31st July – 7th August with free entertainment for children including music, markets and fairs, arts and craft activities and more.
The parade is on Sunday 2nd August, where you can expect a magic spectacle of floats, costumes, vintage vehicles and performers.
#17. Lough Muckno Leisure Park
A day out in Lough Muckno Leisure Park in Castleblayney is a must for all the family. Walking Trails, Waterski & Wakeboarding Club, Fishing, Nature Walks and Picnic area. It is open all year around and there’s no admission fee.
#18. See a Deer at Phoenix Park, Dublin
At 1752 acres, the Phoenix Park is the largest urban park in Europe. It is home to the Zoo, Aras an Uachtarain, Farmleigh House, visitor centre, picnic spots and plenty of playgrounds.
There is a huge amount of wildlife & a good chance that you will spot deer roaming around. Or bring your bikes and scooters and enjoy the large expanse of cycling trails around the park. Pull out your picnic blanket and watch some action in the polo or cricket grounds.
#19. Discover your heritage at National Heritage Week
National Heritage Week runs from 22nd – 30th August with free events for all ages across the country. You can search by county and there are plenty of events in all counties, including opportunities for free guided tours of many of our heritage attractions.
The perfect way to finish off the school holidays!
#20. Cavan County Museum
The Cavan County Museum is located at Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan. The museum houses a medieval dug out boat and sheela-na-gigs, galleries on folk life in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, the great famine, Percy French & the GAA. Coffee shop and playground also on-site.
Have a great summer!
If you have any other suggestion for free things to do this summer that you’d like us to share with other parents, let us know in the comments below.