Are you looking for free family things to do in Ireland with the kids? We’ve got it covered, with our list of 100 free things to do in Ireland with Kids – yes, absolutely free!
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Ireland has a great selection of places to visit and things to do that won’t cost a penny, from museums and castles to beaches and national parks. We hope our list of free things to do in Ireland will help you plan fun days out and holidays this year!
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Free Things to Do in Ireland with Kids
Free Things to Do in Dublin with Kids
#1. National Museum of Ireland Dublin Museums
The 3 National Museums in Dublin are all free to visit with child-friendly exhibits and things to do in each museum:
- Museum of Archaeology at Kildare Street where you can see amazing artefacts including Sun Discs and Viking Swords
- Museum of Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks, housing amongst other things a Samurai Warrior Armour and a Vampire Plane
- Natural History Museum in Merrion Street, home to a polar bear and an elephant (stuffed in case you were wondering!).
Tip: They have kids activity sheets which you can pick up when you go into the Museums and check their fun family things to do before you visit.
#2. Sandymount Promenade
Sandymount Promenade in Dublin 4 offers “a great walk for collecting shells and stones”. Stretching for approximately 1km along the Strand Road, the Promenade is a popular walking place and there are often crabs and jellyfish along the shore line. Keep an eye out for some of the more unusual birds that grace the strand including the Grey Heron, Kestrel, Kingfisher and Oystercatcher.
Irishtown Nature Park, situated towards the end of the strand, offers spectacular views of Dublin Bay.
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#3. National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery, located on Merrion Square, houses the national collection of Irish and European art.
The National Gallery also hosts free regular drop-in family sessions, free art-making workshops and family-friendly tours of the collection tailored to engage young visitors.
At the Gallery, Sunday is ‘Family Day’ with family-friendly drop-in workshops, tours and activities.
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#4. The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre
The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre hosts a free exhibition on the history and wildlife of the park, and every Sunday morning the Children’s Art Cart workshops take place from 11-12.30pm.
These workshops are suitable for ages 6-11, and children must be accompanied by an adult. Directly beside the Visitor Centre is an excellent playground and the restored Ashtown Castle, also well worth a visit.
Tip: On Saturdays, free tickets are issued to visit Aras an Uachtarain, home of the President of Ireland.
#5. See the Seals at Howth
Head to Howth Harbour and stop by and say hi to the seals. There’s a small playground near the Yacht Club, and you’ll find plenty of food and drink options around the Harbour area.
Then, for something a bit unusual, head to Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio, located in the Martello Tower in Howth. Here you’ll find a fine collection of exhibits chronicling the history of telecommunications from the 1840s to date. The Museum is open daily during summer months and on weekends during the winter. (NB Kids go free, adults do pay €5)
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#6. The Round Tower Clondalkin
The Round Tower Clondalkin is one of only four remaining round towers in County Dublin. The Visitor Centre brings the story of The Round Tower Clondalkin and the surrounding area to life through an exciting interactive experience. The fun and educational exhibition can be enjoyed through eight distinctive themed spaces in the refurbished 19th century Mill Cottages.
Suitable for all ages, the Round Tower Clondalkin experience incorporates public gardens, and an exhibition and gallery space.
Enjoy lunch at on-site Café which has indoor and outdoor eating.
#7. Corkagh Park
Just a skip and a hop from Round Tower Clondalkin is Corkagh Park, home to Ireland’s only purpose-built cycle track, which provides a safe, traffic-free environment in which to learn skills, improve fitness, train and race.
Other attractions at the Park include sports fields, nature walks, playgrounds, pet farm, fishing lake, arboretum and a duck pond but the real highlight is the Fairy Trail through the magical Fairy Wood.
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#8. Hugh Lane Gallery
Drop in to Hugh Lane Gallery to do some Sunday Sketching, there are free workshops for families on Sundays 3-4pm with different themes. They also hold kids art workshops for different ages and admission to the Gallery is free.
#9. Ardgillan Castle Demesne
There is plenty to see and do at Ardgillan Castle and Demesne, located in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin. Explore the beautiful gardens, grab a map and quiz at reception and complete the educational fairy trail situated around the woodlands, climb the trees or take a seat on the King’s chair.
Tip: Be sure to visit the massive sea-themed playground. With the right weather and a picnic, you could spend the whole day here. There are also toilets, a small shop and First Aid located at the playground.
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#10. The Botanic Gardens Dublin
The Botanic Gardens in Dublin are located in Glasnevin, just three kilometres from Dublin City Centre. The Gardens are open every day throughout the year, except Christmas Day. There is no admission fee to walk and explore.
As well as enjoying the Gardens and the Glasshouses, the National Botanic Gardens run drop-in activities for kids on Sundays, where they can enjoy fun activities in the dedicated Children’s Garden at 11am, 11.30am, 3pm and 3.30pm. You don’t need to book, it’s first come, first served. All children must bring their own grown-up.
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#11. Avondale Forest Park
Avondale Forest Park, with 500 acres, has an endless variety of walks with fabulous scenery. The park has six waymarked walks and trails as well as a lovely wooden playground area with swings, slides and climbing frames. There are lots of opportunities for wildlife and bird spotting.
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#12. Blessington Lakes
For some unrivalled views, bring your bikes on part of the Blessington Lakes Loop Cycle. Set in the Wicklow Mountains, the Blessington Lakes cover 500 acres of water. The Poulaphouca reservoir is the largest man-made lake in Ireland and is a great base for various outdoor activities.
The road around the lake offers amazing views over the reservoir and the Wicklow Mountains. Drive or cycle around the lake going through historic villages such as Valleymount, Ballyknockan or Lacken. Or walk the popular Blessington Greenway, visit nearby Russborough House or enjoy a paddle on the lake.
#13. Wicklow Mountains National Park
Wicklow Mountains National Park covers 20,000 hectares of mountain scenery and features a fabulous 6th century monastic Round Tower and the ruins of St. Kevin’s Church. A full schedule of free events take place year round, including children’s nature walks on Wednesdays in July & August, at 11am.
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#14. The Curragh
The Curragh is perfect for walks, cycling, watching horses training, and kite flying. While you’re there, check out some of the historical sites such as Donnelly’s Hollow.
14. Donadea Forest Park
A popular destination with Kildare families, Donadea Forest Park is a lovely mixed woodland with lake, and has many historical features including the remains of a castle and walled garden.
The small café is open all year and there are picnic benches throughout the park.
NB: €4 exact change required for car park.
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#15. Castletown House
The first and largest Palladian manor in Ireland, Castletown House, built for William Conolly, is an awesome sight. The Parkland and River Walks are open every day throughout the year. There is no admission fee to walk and explore the parklands.
Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a lead and are not allowed in the lake, as there is wildlife nesting.
Tip: If you plan your visit for the first Wednesday of the month then you can also visit the House for free.
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#16. Emo Court Park and Gardens
Emo Court Park and Gardens has over 100 acres of parkland and gardens to explore – pack a picnic for a fun day out. The gardens are open all year and entry to the gardens is free. The tearooms in the walled garden are worth a visit.
Don’t miss the 2.2km walking loop of the 20 acre man-made lake, which includes foot bridges and pathways.
Tip: If you visit on the first Wednesday of the month, you can also tour the House for free.
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#17. The Rock of Dunamase
Climb the Rock of Dunamase! This is a historic site and the views from the top make the climb very worthwhile. While it is not suitable for buggies, children love checking out the views through the various parts of the ruin.
Be warned, the children will want to run up and you might be slightly out of breath as a result!
#18. Clamp Hole Waterfall
Clamp Hole Waterfall, Co. Laois is a three-tiered waterfall at Glenbarrow, where you’ll find a choice of long and short looped trails. The first trail is buggy-friendly as far as the area known as Flat Rock.
The Glenbarrow Waterfall Loop is a 4km loop with a mix of forestry paths, woodland trails and tracks. This loop is one of three which start and finish at the Glenbarrow trailhead at Clonaslee. There are shallow pools where children can paddle, and above the three waterfalls, a pool deep enough for adults to dip in. Just be careful on slippy rocks and don’t bathe if the river is in spate. There are picnic tables along the way.
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#19. Lough Boora Discovery Park
For something unique, visit Lough Boora Discovery Park, a beautiful landscape of reclaimed bogland. The Discovery Park consists of a magnificent collection of natural and man-made lakes, wetlands, walkways and walking trails, a fairy trail, sculptures, picnic benches, cycle tracks, angling, bird watching and a bike hire facility. Guided tours also available.
Don’t miss the sculptures throughout the parklands which you can explore using the free programme that you can pick up at the visitor centre.
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#20. 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 a raised bog in Western Europe.
There is a 1km boardwalk 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.
#21. Kinnitty Pyramid
Kinnitty Pyramid, the only one of its kind in Ireland, is situated in the graveyard of the Church of Ireland in the village of Kinnitty. It stands 30 feet in height and was built as a crypt by Lt. Col Richard Wesley Bernard for his family on his return from Egypt in the mid 1800’s. The Pyramid is an exact replica of the Pyramid of Cheop in Egypt.
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#22. Mullaghmeen Forest
Mullaghmeen Forest is a great place to have picnics and there are long and short walks depending on level of fitness.
From Oldcastle, head west on the R154 for 1.8km. Continue straight on the L6813 for another 6.3km and turn right for 300 metres to the forest entrance.
You will find three looped walks and a multi access trail, and the largest beech forest in Ireland.
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#23. Dún na Sí
The Amenity Park at Dún na Sí in Moate is a community park for all, encompassing ecology, arts, education and play. You can enjoy a walk through planted parklands and a wetland reserve which is home to native wildlife species. A specially constructed ‘hide’ allows you to observe the many species of wild birds on the small lake or ‘turlough’.
Enjoy ‘Art in the Park’ sculptures throughout the parkland and a fully equipped children’s playground situated next to the Pantry Café.
#24. Luan Gallery, Athlone
Stroll across the bridge in Athlone and you’ll find the Luan Gallery across the road from the Castle. A showcase for artists from the midlands, Ireland and abroad, the building itself is a modern work of art in its own right. With floor to ceiling windows offering uninterrupted views across the majestic Shannon water, there’s always an eclectic and balanced mix of media on display from painting to sculpture to textiles.
Entry is completely free and if you’d like a one-on-one tour, that’s free too.
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#25. Aughnacliffe Dolmen
How did they get it up there? must be what everyone asks when they visit Aughnacliffe Dolmen, the impressive Stone Age portal tomb. A pathway leads from the village of Aughnacliffe to this impressive megalithic tomb located in a shallow valley, among the rolling hills of north Longford.
The monument is on private farmland, but is accessible by foot. Please ensure that gates are closed behind you.
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#26. Corlea Bog Visitor Centre
Take a trip to Corlea Bog Visitor Centre, and see the 2,000-year-old trackway and enjoy the unique plant life in the bog habitat. The oak road is the largest of its kind to have been uncovered in Europe.
Inside the interpretive centre, an 18m stretch of the preserved trackway is on permanent display in a hall specially designed to preserve the ancient wooden structure.
#27. Derrycassin Woods
Derrycassin Woods is a lovely forested walk on a former estate in North Longford. Located on the shores of Lough Gowna, near Bunlahy, there are three recommended routes to suit all fitness levels: The Nature Trail (1.5km), the Walled Garden Walk (1.5km), and the Main Avenue Walk (3.25km). The entrance is to the right of Mullinalaghta football pitch.
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#28. Loughcrew Cairns
One place that we love to visit is Loughcrew Cairns, which does require a steep climb, but it is worth it for the magnificent views from the top!
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#29. Kells Girley Eco Bog Walk
Check out lots of nature at Kells Girley Eco Bog Walk – a unique and magical place. The Eco Bog Walk is located a few miles outside Kells on the Mullingar Road.
Remember that it is a Bog and therefore tends to be pretty ‘boggy’ at certain times of the year. Old clothes and wellies are the way to go!
#30. The Spire of Lloyd
The Spire of Lloyd in Kells is an inland lighthouse designed by Henry Aaron Baker (designer of the King’s Inn, Dublin) for the First Earl of Bective in memory of his father Sir Thomas Taylor in 1791. At 30m high, one can see magnificent views of the surrounding countryside as far as the Mourne Mountains in County Down on a clear day. The Spire was used to view horse racing and the hunt in the 19th century.
The “Paupers Graveyard” in the community park (The People’s Park) is where many victims of the mid-19th century famine lie buried. In the park you’ll also find a play area and picnic tables.
#31. Ravensdale Loop
Ravensdale Loop is a great trail going past the river, bridges, large trees, standing stones and old coach roads. Start at the car park and leave on the left hand side (looking up the hill) and follow the trail uphill for approximately 400m where you join an old forest road and cross a bridge and follow the forest road to the next junction.
Veer right and follow the forest road. Just below you, are the Ravensdale standing stones, well worth a detour for 10-15 minutes. Returning to the route, the trail drops down right following an old forest track, switch backing as it drops down to the valley bottom. Near the county road, the trail turns right and follows the river, crossing it by a footbridge, and returns you back to the car park.
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The long pier and castle ruins at Clogherhead are a favourite of ours! The headland has a great walk from the village along steep sea cliffs to the nearby picturesque harbour called Port Oriel.
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33. Stephenstown Pond
Stephenstown Pond is a unique nature park with lakeside walkways, woodlands, and a wide array of wildlife. The facility provides an ideal family day out where you can enjoy a picnic, feed the ducks and other wildlife.
Children can participate in a nature quiz (available at a cost of only 50c at The Dairy Maid Coffee Shop – on site) while they learn about flora, fauna and wildlife from the educational interpretative boards as they walk round the nature park.
NB: Car parking is €2.
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#34. Rossmore Forest Park
Rossmore Forest Park has several forest walks, a Nature Trail and a Yew walk with picnic sites, and viewing points.
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#35. Monaghan County Museum
Monaghan County Museum houses some interesting items including medieval crannógs native to Monaghan and perhaps one of the most prominent finds of the region: the Cross of Clogher dated to the 14th century. Admission is free.
NB: There is no on-site parking at the museum, however on street parking is available near the museum at a rate of 50c per hour and long term parking is available in several locations in the town at a rate of €1 per day.
36. Lough Muckno Leisure Park
A day out in Lough Muckno Leisure Park in Castleblayney is a must for all the family.
There is lots to do with walking trails, a waterski and wakeboarding club, fishing, nature walks and picnic area.
It is open all year around and there’s no admission fee.
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#37. Dun a Rí Forest Park
Take a picnic to Dun a Rí Forest Park. Relax on the grass overlooking the river, or enjoy a walk on many of the trails through the park and over bridges – there’s even a wishing well!
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#38. Tullydermot Falls
The dramatic Tullydermot Falls are well worth a visit. The Falls are situated approximately 6km south-west of Swanlinbar in the direction of the Bellavally Gap. To get there go to Swanlinbar and at the Church, or at The Stables pub in the centre of the town, turn up towards the mountain approximately three miles and the parking lot is on the left hand side.
The falls are easily accessible by foot or wheelchair or buggy with a trail going from an information station at the parking lot. Approximately two miles up the river from the road there is another purely majestic waterfall, which is perhaps more impressive than Tullydermot Falls. This is the ideal spot for a picnic, a spot of angling, or for the more adventurous perhaps a swim in the purest darkest water in Ireland.
#39. Erica’s Fairy Forest
Erica’s Fairy Forest in Cootehill, Co Cavan was created by her parents Natasha and Ciaran to honour Erica’s memory and her unshakable belief in fairies and magical kingdoms. It is also a thank you to the people of Cootehill and surrounding areas whose love and support was never ending throughout Erica’s journey.
Free Things to Do in Mayo with Kids
#40. The National Museum of Ireland Country Life
The National Museum of Ireland Country Life in Turlough Park near Castlebar is a great free museum with regular free exhibitions, workshops and events. It also has gorgeous grounds for taking a stroll with the kids.
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#41. Ballycroy National Park
Ballycroy National Park is an amazing free place to visit with the children. Follow the nature trail up to the viewing point and have fun looking for various flora and fauna along the way!
#42. The Great Western Greenway
The Great Western Greenway is 42km long and follows a traffic-free route of the renowned Westport to Achill railway, which closed in 1937.
There are plenty of things to see along the Greenway with Achill, Newport, Mulranny and Westport being the four towns along the route. There are picnic benches along the way and informational signage. You can hire bikes in any of the four towns along the Greenway or bring your own!
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Free Things to Do in Roscommon with Kids
#43. Lough Key Forest and Activity Park
Don’t miss Lough Key Forest and Activity Park in Boyle, for miles of biking trails and orienteering courses and lots of picnic spots. With plenty to do indoor and out, from Boda Borg to Kids Jeep Safari, you’ll easily pass a whole day here at the Park, and they also have a Caravan and Camping park if you fancy staying over. Bring the swimsuits for a dip in the lake! Read about 10 Unusual Things to do at Lough Key and find out what Dad Gavin thought of Boda Borg.
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#44. Loughnaneane Park
Loughnaneane Park is a huge recreational area beside the ruins of Roscommon Castle which is a dramatic and imposing 13th Century Norman Castle.
The Park includes a crannog, which is known locally as the Hill o’ Bones, a wildflower meadow, bird walk, lake feature, mounds, children’s playground and car park.
#45. The Moone Boy Trail
Take the Moone Boy Trail in Boyle, and see how many locations, and characters, you can spot from the hit tv series about Chris O’Dowd’s childhood in Boyle.
You can download the Trailmap here.
Free Things to Do in Sligo with Kids
#46. Queen Maeve’s Grave
Hike up Knocknarea to bring a stone to Queen Maeve’s Grave. This mountain may be lesser known than Ben Bulben but is still an amazing sight as you arrive in Sligo – and is certainly a do-able climb for active kids.
#47. Enniscrone Beach
Take a trip to Enniscrone Beach, one of our favourite beaches in Sligo with 5km of dunes, and plenty of space to run about and play football. There are also lots of water sports taking place there and fun events throughout the year.
#48. Sathya Sai Donkey Sanctuary
The Sathya Sai Sanctuary Trust for Nature was founded in 1991 primarily to offer a place of peace and refuge for old, injured, unwanted, abandoned, neglected and abused donkeys.
Situated in truly magnificent surroundings adjacent to the Carrowkeel Megalithic Site (which is also worth a visit!) at Castlebaldwin, County Sligo, only 5kms off the main N4 Sligo to Dublin road.
Bring waterproof boots, enjoy your visit and give these humble animals the love they deserve.
Free Things to Do in Leitrim with Kids
#49. Fowleys Falls
In Leitrim, take the Nature Trail at Fowleys Falls – a real little hidden gem and an easy walk for young kids. It’s not too long, yet you feel you are a million miles from anything. The Trail goes very close to the loud river and Falls and has picnic tables at one end, perfect for a break too.
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#50. Lough Melvin Eco Park
On the northern shore of the lough, just outside the village of Kinlough, is an eco-park created by The Organic Centre as an Organic Centre Plus project. It is a perfect place to enjoy a picnic with your family with purpose built picnic tables, play area and 17 acres of woodland walks.
#51. Glencar Waterfall
Glencar Waterfall is situated near Glencar Lake, 11km west of Manorhamilton in County Leitrim. It is particularly impressive after rain and can be viewed from a lovely wooded walk with facilities on site including children’s playground, picnic areas, café facilities, tourism information and ample parking.
Free Things to Do in Donegal with Kids
52. Inishowen 100 Scenic Drive
If your guys are happy in the car then you’ll love the Inishowen 100 Scenic Drive, voted one of Ireland’s Top 10 Scenic Drives.
Highlights include the breathtaking Gap of Mamore, a scenic roadway that rises to a height of 800 feet above sea level before following a twisting corkscrew descent with panoramic views of the entire northern coastline; Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point; and Fort Dunree – a magnificent viewing outpost.
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#53. Glenveagh National Park
Entry to Glenveagh National Park is free and the scenery is jaw-dropping and is a truly great day out for all the family. There is an abundance of things to do and see. For example, you can wander through the beautiful gardens which are signposted and takes about an hour.
A guided tour of the castle (paid tickets) takes approximately 30 minutes. There is also a Visitor’s Centre and restaurant. Throughout the summer months, family events are organised for most weekends, these often include children’s story time, birds of prey displays, medieval weaponry displays and more.
#54. Ards Forest Park
Ards Forest Park is one of Ireland’s finest forest parks. At the Park you can enjoy many forest walks and cycle paths, a car park (there is a fee to park for the day) and a children’s play area, as well as the beach. It also has many features of historical and archaeological interest to explore.
There are numerous viewing points on the walks and trails with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Lots of options and great scenery, and plenty to see and do.
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Salthill may be very familiar to many people but how about walking one of three family trails in Salthill before heading to the beach? Be sure to kick the wall at the end of the Prom, an old tradition.
Pick up a picnic and then head to one of the beaches at Salthill. You might even be brave enough to jump off the Blackrock tower! (Remember to be water safe at the beach)
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#56. Renville Park
Only 15 minutes from Galway city, Renville Park is lovely – fly a kite and visit a playground in the old castle orchard or take a beach walk nearby.
The Park and playground are wheelchair accessible, there’s free parking, plenty of picnic areas and BBQ areas up by the playground too.
#57. Leaning Tower of Galway
Did you know there’s a Leaning Tower in Galway? It’s actually St Colman’s Tower in Kilmacud, a short drive from either Gort or Kinvara. It’s notable not only as a good example of an Irish round tower, but also because of its noticeable lean, over 2 feet from the vertical.
The “Leaning Tower of Galway” is over 30m tall, with the only doorway some 7m above ground level and dates from the 12th Century. The round tower sits next to the original Cathedral building within the graveyard just down the road a bit from the car park.
There’s plenty of room for kids to wander around and it’s enclosed so you don’t need to worry about them getting out on the road, quiet enough as it is.
NB: There are no facilities at the site, so head back to Gort or Kinvara for refreshments/toilets.
#58. Portumna Forest Park
Portumna Forest Park makes a great day out for kids, situated 1km from Portumna town in County Galway. Pack up a picnic, outdoor gear and bikes/scooters for lots of outdoor fun, including leisure and mountain cycling, the Arboretum, Forest Park, Walking Trails, and Orienteering with access for all. Picnic facilities available on-site.
There are 4 looped trails in the park, ranging from a multi-access trail suitable for all visitors of approx 1km length, to a long multi-use trail of over 10km for walkers and cyclists. One of our favourite walks takes you near the edge of Lough Derg and back to the picnic area. We have seen deer and red squirrels, as well as birds and shyer species including foxes and badgers. Dogs are allowed, just keep them on lead at all times.
Stop by and visit Portumna Castle (free on Wednesdays) and the ruins of Portumna Abbey while you near Portumna.
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#59. Doughiska Playground and Park
Visit Doughiska Playground and Park near Merlin Woods which offers loads of space to run around and different parts to explore. There is also a skateboarding section, a place to kick a football and a fitness trail around the edge of the park.
Then take a walk through the woods and find Merlinpark Castle, an original 15th Century tower castle.
#60. Connemara National Park
Located in the heart of Connemara, the Connemara National Park is well worth the drive. Admission to the Park is free. There’s lots to see and explore:
- Exhibition on the Connemara Landscape (multi-lingual)
- Audio Visual Show (multi-lingual)
- Connemara Ponies
- Picnic Areas (indoor and outdoor)
- Nature Trails
- Diamond Hill Walk
- tea rooms and there is an excellent playground on the grounds too!
Special events including children’s activities, guided walks and evening talks are organised throughout the year.
Free Things to Do in Kerry with Kids
#61. Kerry Fairy Trails
Have you visited the two magical Fairy Trails in Kerry where all the family can enjoy looking for little people?
The Fairy Trails can be found in the woodlands of both Derrynane House and also in Darryquin, part of the demesne of Parknasilla, near Sneem, on the Ring of Kerry.
Both are free of charge to visit.
#62. Killarney National Park
Situated just outside Killarney, Killarney National Park is a gem of a park. It consists of over 26,000 acres offering some of the most scenic views in the county and you can easily spend a whole day walking or cycling in the Park. Be sure to visit Torc Waterfall too.
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#63. Valentia Island
Valentia Island lies at the end of the Iveragh Peninsula, more familiar to many as the location of the Ring of Kerry. And on the island you will find one of only 4 sets of prehistoric footprints in the world! The footprints give an invaluable view of the transition of life from water onto land.
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Free Things to Do in Clare with Kids
#64. Fanore Beach
Fanore Beach, in the heart of the Burren and near Ballyvaughan, is one of the best beaches in Clare. The vast expanse of beach is ideal for races, running, walking and making sandcastles.
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glór in Ennis is a lovely place to visit – it has a child-friendly café, art exhibition space, book corner, regular events and workshops for kids and families.
Look out for the world’s tallest chair in the lobby!
#66. The Flaggy Shore
The Flaggy Shore is a fabulous coastal family walk, head to New Quay, just off the N67 Kinvara/Ballyvaughan road where you walk with the wild Atlantic ocean to one side and the limestone rocks of the Burren to the other. This loop walk brings you from New Quay to Finavarra Point, and is suitable for all members of the family.
You can choose to walk along the beach or stroll along the quiet road. Be sure to visit the well preserved Martello tower at Finavarra Point and check out the rocks to see if you can find any fossils.
Free Things to Do in Tipperary with Kids
#67. The Sensory and Mobility Garden
In Cahir, The Sensory and Mobility Garden in Church Sreet, was specially created to be accessible and enjoyable to all, but particularly for people with disabilities.
The garden contains many varied features, such as scented plants, sculptures, water features, Braille signs, pathways of different textures and much to stimulate the senses. It provides a haven of peace and a place to unwind and is also a mobility practice area.
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#68. Templemore Park Fairy Trail
At the Templemore Park Fairy Trail you can follow the Fairy Trail and challenge yourself to find all the little fairy doors hidden in the trees. You don’t need a map, just follow the path passing beside the pitch and putt course. Head over the heritage stone bridge. Keep straight ahead until you come to a T-junction, keeping to the right in a circle. Watch out for the fairies as you go on this adventure and enjoy.
There’s also a children’s playground in the park, free car parking and picnic area. The park is open seven days a week.
#69. Nenagh Heritage Centre
Nenagh Heritage Centre is housed in an interesting mid-19th century building, which was a County Gaol Governor’s House for North Tipperary and the prison. Here you can learn about the history of these unique buildings, step back in time to experience old rural Ireland, and follow in the footsteps of the condemned prisoners.
The Heritage Centre contains a model of the North Tipperary Gaol, a recreated schoolroom from 1913 Ireland, a recreation of the original kitchen from the North Tipperary Gaol, dating from the mid 1800’s and an Irish Dairy, which shows the stages of butter-making and the various utensils used in Irish farming life. There is free admission and free guided tours each day.
Free Things to Do in Limerick with Kids
#70. The Field of Dreams Sanctuary
With dogs and puppies, cats and kittens, goats, pot-bellied black pigs, donkeys, ponies and rabbits the Field of Dreams Sanctuary is as good as any pet farm.
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#71. The Hunt Museum
It’s free to visit The Hunt Museum on Sundays between 2-5pm. Ask for their Treasure Hunt sheet for the kids. The museum also runs a free Arts and Crafts club the first Sunday of most months.
#72. Limerick City Gallery of Art
Limerick City Gallery of Art is free to visit. invites you to see the best of contemporary art through the exhibition programme and to enjoy their extensive collection of Irish art.
They often hold Saturday family Art and Craft workshops, booking essential for these.
#73. Curraghchase Forest Park
Curraghchase Forest Park, located 22km west of Limerick on the N69 coast road, has a number of looped way marked trails in the park to suit all visitors, from 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 toilets, a picnic site, playground, BBQ area, boat launch, orienteering course, walking trails, cycling trails, and arboreta/gardens.
NB: there’s a €5 charge for car parking.
#74. People’s Park Limerick
The People’s Park, in Pery Square, is the principal park in Limerick City and a favourite spot to enjoy a picnic. Originally opened in 1877, in this park you’ll find a magnificently restored 19th-century red-and-white drinking fountain, the Limerick City Gallery of Art, children’s playground (suitable for toddlers to 10 years old), a band stand and two park shelters.
#75. The Clare Glens
The Clare Glens, on the boundary between counties Tipperary and Limerick, are located in a gorge through which the Clare River flows with many waterfalls. The Glens are heavily wooded and the looped nature trail there makes it perfect for kids.
Directions to the trailhead: Start from the village of Murroe (Moroe) on the R506 between Limerick City and Cappamore. Follow the signs for Clare Glens which take you north out of the village. Follow this road for approximately 5km to reach the trailhead at a car parking area on your left.
Free Things to Do in Cork with Kids
#76. The Lough in Cork
The Lough is a lovely shallow freshwater lake with lots of swans and other wildfowl. There are nice walks around the Lough, with grassy areas and a playground too.
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#77. Blackrock Castle Observatory
Free Astronomy open nights are held on the first Friday of every month at Blackrock Castle Observatory, with inspired activities for visitors of all ages including family-friendly workshops, lectures, stargazing with Cork Astronomy Club, and the award-winning interactive astronomy exhibit, Cosmos at the Castle, which has free admission on these open nights.
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#78. Crawford Art Gallery
Dedicated to visual arts, Crawford Art Gallery is the National Cultural Institution and regional art museum in Munster.
Admission is free and they host regular exhibitions, education programmes and family events including art classes for children, summer courses and every Sunday there is something on for the whole family.
#79. Gougane Barra National Park
Did you know Gougane Barra National Park was Ireland’s first National Park? There are walking and cycling trails, and also a picnic area, and is a beautiful destination in any season. The 318km-long Cork City-Beara-Gougane Barra cycle route finishes in Gougane Barra. And there’s a looped 3km scenic drive with spectacular views of the deep valley and its walled sides.
Don’t miss St Finbarr’s Oratory or Small Church on the lake island, it has beautiful old stations of the cross and lovely stained glass windows.
#80. The Lewis Glucksman Gallery
The Lewis Glucksman Gallery is located on the campus of UCC, which is only a 10 minute walk from the city centre along Western Road, and is open to the public all year round. The Glucksman is an award-winning building that includes display spaces, lecture facilities, a riverside restaurant and gallery shop.
Free family art workshops are held on Sunday afternoons from 3-4pm. Led by practicing artists, these fun and interactive events invite children (and their parents!) to learn all about making art- from painting to sculpture, drawing to collage- and are open to all ages. There’s no need to book ahead – just go along at 3pm, armed with your imagination and ready to make your very own artworks.
#81. The Nano Nagle Centre
The Nano Nagle centre offers an unexpected oasis in the centre of bustling Cork City, a place that celebrates Nano Nagle’s vision of empowerment through education, community inclusion and spiritual engagement for a contemporary world. The complex houses a heritage centre, gardens, a café, and shop. If Nano Nagle were alive today she would be the kind of person to win a Nobel Prize.
In case you don’t know who she is, born to a wealthy Catholic family in 1718, Honoria Nagle was given the pet name Nano by her father. By the time of her death in 1784, Nano had opened seven schools for poor children across Cork city, founded an almshouse for poor women, and most notably, founded the Presentation Order, who continue her education and social inclusion work today.
Free Things to Do in Wexford with Kids
#82. Kilmore Quay
Take a day trip to Kilmore Quay. There is a state of the art playground there, which we always hit first as it’s just beside the car park which overlooks the beautiful Saltee Islands.
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#83. Wexford Arts Centre
Stop by the Wexford Arts Centre to enjoy their latest exhibition. During summer, exhibitions are accompanied by a Doodle Studio in the upper gallery, offering you a space to relax, react and recreate. Use the space to draw, paint, read or write. Materials provided, children must be supervised.
#84. Curracloe Beach
The gorgeous Curracloe Beach, famous for being featured in the film Saving Private Ryan, is a 15 minute drive from Wexford town.
A nature trail runs through the dunes and continues for 5km to Raven Point, through the Raven Nature Reserve, a sanctuary for birds such as geese and wildlife such as the red squirrel. A looped walk of the area goes to the tip of the Raven Point spit through the wood and back again via the beach.
#85. Courtown Woods
Originally an old oak woodland, Courtown Woods is a great place for a family walk. The area is noted for its variety of wildlife including otters, swans and ducks.
You can choose from four different walks: the River Walk (1.9km), Top Walk (1.2km), Canal Walk (1km) or High Cross Walk (1km).
Ballinatray Bridge, once amongst the tallest viaducts in Ireland, can be seen, as well as a yew tree planted in the 1870s, felled many years ago, that continues to grow adjacent to the River Walk. In late spring, there’s a spectacular carpet of white wild garlic flowers as well as bluebells.
Free Things to Do in Waterford with Kids
#86. The Waterford Greenway
The Waterford Greenway is a 46km off-road cycling and walking trail along an old railway line between Dungarvan and Waterford. There are lots of interesting places along the route with beautiful coastline views, there’s a viaduct, a tunnel and even a spectacular gorge.
You can hire both regular and electric bikes, cost includes helmets. The 10km stretch from Dungarvan to Durrow is a nice one for families to tackle.
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#87. Waterford’s 6 Medieval Towers & Walls
With six towers and long stretches of town wall, Waterford boasts the largest collection of medieval defensive towers and walls in Ireland:
- The French Tower – located along the top of Castle Street
- The Double Tower – further along Castle Street, this tower gets its name from the two interior rooms
- The Watch Tower – on Manor Street, this tower’s cylindrical shape suggests that it dates from the 13th Century
- Reginald’s Tower – located at the corner of the Mall and the Quays, one of Waterford’s most famous buildings
- The Beach Tower – in Jenkins’ Lane, this is one of the finest towers on the circuit with with its 15th century Irish crennalations
- Semi-Lunar Tower – behind the De La Salle School on Patrick Street. Like the Double Tower, this tower is a flanking or “on the wall tower”.
#88. Mahon Falls and The Magic Road
Mahon Falls has a beautiful walk and magnificent waterfall. Ireland’s famous ‘magic road’ is also located along the beautiful countryside close to Mahon Falls in the Comeragh Mountains. If you stop your car in the right spot and put it into neutral, take your foot off the break, the car will roll uphill!
The magic road is also known as fairy hill, the land where fairy magic trumps gravity. Near the foot of the hill stands a Wishing Tree, this will be your starting point. There’s also a boulder nearby with the words ‘Magic Road’ carved into it. The GPS coordinates to the Magic Road in Waterford are 52.2163-7.5311.
#89. Dungarvan Castle
Dungarvan Castle dates from the 12th Century and includes an informative exhibition on the history of the castle. Admission is free.
Free Things to Do in Carlow with Kids
#90. Delta Sensory Gardens
Delta Sensory Gardens are a hidden gem on the outskirts of Carlow Town and have been described as ‘an oasis of peace and tranquility’ by TripAdvisor.
Inside you will find themed gardens and numerous water features including the famous Kugal, one tonne of pink marble floating on a cushion of water. The fully accessible gardens have so much to offer throughout the year and a gorgeous little coffee shop with delicious homemade offerings.
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#91. VISUAL Carlow
At VISUAL Carlow, The Gallery is free to visit, and there are always quiet spaces to sit and browse some art books, plus a Make and Do table for little ones. Children must be supervised by an adult at all times – but feel free to grab a takeaway coffee and avail of the free Wifi whilst they draw!
They also hold drawing and art related workshops and events for kids and families so check before you visit.
#92. Altamont Gardens
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 are picnic areas, and a garden centre with tea-rooms, which host free music sessions on Sunday afternoons in summer. Open 7 days a week, the Gardens are free to visit.
Free Things to Do in Kilkenny with Kids
#93. Castlecomer Discovery Park
Spend a day at Castlecomer Discovery Park where you can
- follow the nature trails through the woodlands
- have a picnic (or eat at the Canopy café)
- have fun visiting the Elf and Fairy Village and
- spend some time in the adventure playground.
Read our pick of 10 Surprising and Thrilling Activities at Castlecomer Discovery Park for families.
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#94. Gairdin an Ghorta
Visit Gairdin an Ghorta in Newmarket. This is a beautiful garden of remembrance dedicated to the victims of the famine, and every single inch has been thoughtfully and carefully designed and selected.
The path through the garden is a metaphor for Irish history. The journey along the path is synonymous with the journey of the Irish people from pre-famine era to the future.
#95. Canal Walk in Kilkenny
Enjoy the Canal Walk which runs between the Kilkenny Castle Park and the River Nore. This is an attractive walk that goes from Canal Square and terminates at Fennessy’s Mill.
During Kilkenny Castle Park opening hours it is possible to access the grounds of the Castle Park from the Canal Walk.
Free Things to Do in Northern Ireland with Kids
#96. Slieve Gullion Forest Park
The Giant’s Lair Story Trail at Slieve Gullion Forest Park near Crossmaglen, County Armagh, is an innovative magical living storybook. The Trail takes visitors on an unforgettable journey of fairy house and amazing features creating a fantastical childhood land of mystery, dragons, giants, witches and fairies.
Follow in the footsteps of Flynn the mischievous fairy, who has one important job – not to allow anyone to wake Slieve Gullion. It might look like a mountain, but it’s really a sleeping giant! Drop in for a cup of dandelion tea, grab a seat at the Giant’s Table, stroll along to the Ladybird House and sneak a peek at local witchy trickster, The Cailleach Beara.
Situated beside the Slieve Gullion Adventure Playpark, with car parking available. The Giant’s Lair is free to explore. The trail takes you into plenty of nooks and crannies so a backpack carrier or baby sling is recommended for tots.
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#97. The Botanic Gardens in Belfast
Enjoy a visit to the Botanic Gardens in Belfast, where you can stop by the Palm House and the Tropical Ravine to see a range of tropical plants and flowers.
Be sure to say hi to the goldfish too!
#98. The Ulster Museum
Drop into the Ulster Museum, for some indoor free time. Ulster Museum, is located in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens, and admission is free. Pick up your free kid’s explorer map, complete with stickers in the welcome area, to help plan your way around the museum!
On display is the skeleton of an Edmontosaurus and in the Deep Time gallery you can WOW your child with the only dinosaur bones ever found in Ireland.
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#99. Roe Valley Country Park
Head off for a family walk to Roe Valley Country Park. This scenic and tranquil park on the outskirts of Limavady offers spectacular riverside views and woodland walks.
#100. The Ulster American Folk Park
The Ulster American Folk Park is an outdoor museum which tells the story of emigration from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Follow the emigrant trail, meeting an array of costumed characters on your way, as you journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster, on board a full scale emigrant sailing ship, leading to the log cabins of the American Frontier.
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