20 MORE Fun Things to Do on the Wild Atlantic Way with Kids

Jill Holtz

January 25, 2019

Northern Headlands - Family on top of the world - Malin Head

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The Wild Atlantic Way passes through nine counties and three provinces with some of Ireland’s most beautiful scenery. Following on from our list of 20 Fun things to do with Kids on the Atlantic Way, we have picked out 20 more fun things to do on the Wild Atlantic Way with kids :

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It’s amazing to think we have the world’s longest defined coastal touring route on our doorstep in Ireland. So if you are planning to take in some or all of it, it’s good to know the child- and family-friendly places along the way!

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20 More Fun Things To Do With Kids on The Wild Atlantic Way

#1. Clonakilty Beaches

Wild Atlantic Way inchydoney beachThere are 5 beautiful beaches near Clonakilty: Inchydoney, Long Strand, Red Strand, The Warren and Owenahincha. It’s hard to pick one favourite but we love the beach at Inchydoney Island, just a few miles from Clonakilty.

It’s not only family friendly but very beautiful, with plenty of sand dunes and a long stretch of sand ideal for flying kites, paddling or even surfing for the more adventurous.

#2. Seafari Kenmare

Wild Atlantic Way seafari sealSeafari Cruises are a great way to explore the wildlife of Kenmare Bay. You go out on the bay in a comfortable and sheltered passenger vessel, out to one of the largest seal colonies in Ireland. See if you can spot Kathleen, a stunning seal with a red coat. The rumour is that Kathleen is a selkie, a seal which was once human according to legend.

You may also get to see otters, white-tailed sea eagles and other sea-birds. Humour and fun are part of a Seafari cruise and whilst the boat is not often rocked by waves in the calm waters of the bay, it is frequently rocked by laughter. Tea, coffee, squash and biscuits are offered on all cruises and for those feeling a nip in the air there is a medicinal shot of rum.

#3. Valentia Island

Wild Atlantic Way tetrapod trackway kerryValentia Island is well worth a stop on your travels on the Wild Atlantic Way. The island lies at the end of the Iveragh Peninsula, more familiar to many as the location of the Ring of Kerry.

You can drive onto the island at one end via a bridge and stop at the Skelligs Experience to find out about the amazing islands that you may have seen in the latest Star Wars movie.

Then drive around this small island enjoying the scenery, go see the prehistoric Tetrapod footprints and enjoy some Valentia Island Icecream before taking the ferry off the island back to the mainland.

#4. Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium

Dingle Ocean World © Valerie O'Sullivan Tourism Ireland

Image © Valerie O’Sullivan Tourism Ireland

Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium is situated in Dingle town in County Kerry and hosts Ireland’s largest collection of Sharks as well as

  • A Gentoo Penguin display, the fastest swimming penguins
  • Amazonian Displays with creepy crawly exhibits
  • Touch Tank
  • 9m Underwater Tunnel and much more.

#5. Tralee Aquadome

The Aqua Dome in Tralee is one of Ireland’s largest indoor waterworlds with tropical temperatures all year round, making a good day out option if the weather is a bit iffy.

  • Swim with the current
  • Surf the Waves
  • Wrestle the River Rapids
  • Relax in the Lazy River
  • Ride the Sky High Flume
  • Plunge down the Outdoor Falling Rapids
  • Enjoy the Whirlpool spas, Bubble seat, Sprays, Cannons, Gushers, Geysers, Children’s pools, Spa pools

#6. Foynes Flying Boat Museum

Wild Atlantic Way foynes flying boatThe Foynes Flying Boat Museum is the only aviation museum in Ireland and the only dedicated flying boat museum in the world.

This unique attraction preserves the rich history of aviation and the development of passenger travel. It takes you back to that nostalgic era when Foynes became the centre of the aviation world between 1937 and 1945, and you will enjoy

  • an authentic 1940’s cinema
  • the Radio and Weather Room—complete with transmitters, receivers and Morse code equipment
  • the Brendan O’Regan restaurant
  • the only full sized replica B314 flying boat in the world
  • try your hand at flying the B314 on the flight simulators with amazing visuals.

You can also visit The Maritime Museum which showcases the Shannon River from the pilots who raced in their rowing boats to be the first to guide large sailing ships up the estuary to the many lighthouses that guided mariners up the river. You’ll also find out about the tragic story of the Colleen Bawn and all about the story of the Windsor Castle Ghost Ship, which sailed up the Shannon in 1843.

#7. Ferry from Kerry to Clare

Wild Atlantic Way shannon ferriesCatch the ferry from Tarbert in Kerry to Killimer in Clare to. It is a 20 minute journey across the estuary linking the iconic tourist destinations of the Kingdom of Kerry to the Banner County of Clare. Ferries leave every hour during winter months with extra half hour ferries during the summer.

You will enjoy views of the majestic Shannon Estuary and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the dolphins, which in the summer, can sometimes swim so near the ferry, as if just to entertain you. The captain will announce if he spots dolphins so keep an ear and your eyes out!

#8. Lahinch

Wild Atlantic Way lahinchLahinch is a pretty seaside town on the coast of Clare, well known for its golden sandy beach which stretches for a mile.

Popular with surfers, if you’ve a learner surfer in the family this would be a great beach for them. And the rest of the family will enjoy paddling or even a dip in the sea.

If the weather isn’t so great then stop into Lahinch Seaworld and Leisure Centre where you can while away a few hours having a splash in the swimming pool areas which include a 25-metre pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room and kiddies pool.

#9. Cliffs of Moher

A must see on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Cliffs of Moher stand 214m (702 feet) at their highest point. On a clear day you will be able to see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, the Twelve Pins and Maumturk mountains in Connemara to the north, Loop Head and the Dingle Peninsula and Blasket Islands in Kerry to the south.

Be warned that due to the popularity of the Cliffs of Moher as a tourist attraction, during the months of July and August the Cliffs can become quite crowded during the peak times of the day, 11am-3pm. Here is some advice on planning your visit:

You will want to allow some time to visit the Cliffs Experience to take in the exhibits about the Cliffs, and be sure to stop at Postcard from the Edge, where you can choose a backdrop and make a short movie of yourselves which you can email to friends and family. There’s also a kids’ area where children can play a fun game and learn more about wildlife at the Cliffs and create some digital artwork to email home.

#10. Ballyvaughan

Wild Atlantic Way fanore beach

We recommend a stop at Ballyvaughan to enjoy the shops and cafés or pick up a picnic to enjoy at Fanore Beach which is one of the best beaches in Clare. The vast expanse of beach is ideal for races, running, walking and making sandcastles.

The Burren Birds of Prey Centre and Aillwee Cave are worth a short detour. At the Cave you can take a 30 minute stroll through caverns seeing all the unusual formations underground including a waterfall. Then enjoy the dynamic flying displays learning about different birds of prey.

#11. The Burren

As you drive up County Clare towards Galway you will reach The Burren, a unique area of historic, cultural and geographic significance. The landscape made of limestone is crisscrossed with cracks and interspersed with rocks and plants. Kids will enjoy clambering about the landscape.

Here are some of our favourite attractions as you make your way through The Burren:

#12. Rinville Park, Oranmore

Wild Atlantic Way rinville parkOne of our favourite family friendly spots near Galway, Rinville Park has a beach walk or a forest walk with a playground located in the original castle orchards with some excellent play equipment, suitable for different age groups.

There is plenty of parking as well as designated picnic and barbecue areas. Public toilets are situated near the playground.

Often during the summer months you will find a visiting ice cream/coffee van but do bring a picnic to enjoy the great facilities on offer here.

#13. Eyre Square, Galway

Eyre Square Galway

Image © Derek Cullen Fáilte Ireland

Eyre Square, in the heart of Galway, is a handy spot to take kids. Pick up a picnic at a nearby shop, settle on one of the grassy areas to have your lunch, then make a stop to the mini playground at the side of the Square.

If the weather is warm the fountains at the top of the square may be on, they switch off and on a timer, and the kids will enjoy running about (and in and out of the water).

Afterwards you can always drag them away by promising them a visit to another playground (by the Cathedral) once you have stopped at our next stop Galway Market.

#14. Galway Market

Wild atlantic way galway marketOpen on Saturdays and Sundays, my kids always enjoy a visit to Galway Market, located off Shop Street near St Nicholas Collegiate Church. The narrow space with stalls either side makes it a busy spot so hold tight to small hands, but see if you can find the doughnut stall where you can buy a freshly made doughnut dusted either with sugar, cinnamon or cocoa (or all 3!).

You can pick up the makings of a delicious lunch to enjoy at the nearby Claddagh – check out all the swans! – or by the canal at the Cathedral – where you can feed ducks, both nice spots to enjoy on a fine day with kids.

#15. Roundstone

Wild Atlantic Way roundstoneAt Roundstone in Connemara you will find a pretty little fishing village with a busy little harbour, where local fishermen prepare and return with the day’s catches. You will also enjoy the views of the Twelve Bens and the Atlantic. There are cafes and craft shops and a playground to stop at too.

Nearby beaches at Dogs Bay and Gurteen Beach have pure white sand and clear waters, ideal for a splash and some beach time.

There’s also a playground at the nearby Connemara National Park, and the route up and back from Diamond Hill offers even smaller kids an easy climb and you will find they will enjoy themselves. The route loops back again to the start. It takes about 3 hours to do the route.

Check out Other Fun Things To Do For Families in Galway during your visit

#16. Killary Harbour

Killary Harbour, County Galway

Image © Big Smoke Studio Tourism Ireland

When we think of fjords we think of Norway but Ireland has its very own fjord at Killary in North County Galway.

Take a 90 minute boat tour of Killary Harbour (kids go free) leaving from Leenane and enjoy the spectacular scenery, with mountains and water and birdlife. You may even get to see some dolphins!

#17. Westport

Wild Atlantic Way westportWestport is a lovely town to visit with the family. With lots of family friendly accommodation options, this is a nice spot to stop off and spend some time enjoying the town, the shops and surrounding attractions. During your Westport stay we would recommend:

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#18. Strandhill Beach

Wild Atlantic Way strandhill culleenamore SligoStrandhill Beach is an area of great natural beauty located 5 miles west of Sligo town with panoramic views of Knocknarea and Benbulben. As well as being an extremely popular surfing spot, there are some great walks to Culleenamore Strand and also to Killaspubrone.

N.B. Due to dangerous currents and tides, it is advisable not to swim from this beach but you will still enjoy your time at Strandhill, especially during the summer months, when dolphins and/or porpoises can sometimes be seen jumping from the waves at sea.

Be sure to stop at Shells Cafe & Little Shop, the perfect beach cafe, bright and airy with wooden floors and fabulous (organic, fairtrade) coffee, plus delicious eats for all the family.

#19. Tropical World, Donegal

Tropical World is Donegal’s very own family friendly mini zoo. Opening seasonally, you can see beautiful butterflies in full flight, lemurs, owls, meerkats, parrots and many more tropical birds and reptiles.

#20. Malin Head, Donegal

Northern Headlands - Family on top of the world - Malin Head

Image © Inishowen Tourism

Malin Head on the Inishowen Peninsula is the most northerly tip of the island of Ireland with plenty of beautiful coastal scenery. For those of you who are Star Wars fans, it was also in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie as the location where Rey and Chewbacca land the Millennium Falcon on a rocky outcrop on AHCH-TO.

Have your say! Have you travelled the Wild Atlantic Way with kids? Where did you enjoy visiting along the way? Tell us in the comments below.

20 More Fun Things to do on the Wild Atlantic Way with Kids

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