Car trips with kids can sometimes seem never-ending – between snack requests, toilet stops, feeling car sick, or bickering over toys and screens! It certainly takes some of the pressure off when you know you can break the journey into shorter trips, but often knowing where to stop is the real question. We have picked some parent-recommended favourites to give you some peace of mind and make the Dublin to Waterford journey (or vice versa) a chance to see some fantastic sights.
Along the route from Dublin to Waterford, there are many fantastic and scenic places to stop, not least of which are these venues of historical and cultural importance. From castles and gardens to farms and picnic spots galore, make your journey something to remember!
Places to Visit from Dublin to Waterford (via M11/N25)
Kilruddery House & Gardens, Wicklow
The 800-acre estate of Killruddery House & Gardens is a sustainable, bio-diverse farm that includes flowering woodland, formal 17th century gardens, ponds, walled gardens, and more. Enjoy seasonal foods and shop at the Heritage Killruddery Yard.
Adventurers will love Squirrel’s Scramble, an adventure tree park set in the grounds of Killruddery House. With tree-top challenges from 2m to 12m in height, there are five levels and many different challenges to traverse from tree to tree, including 16 zip lines, rope bridges, magic carpets and lots more!
National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh
The National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh lie within an estate developed extensively during the 19th century by Thomas Acton in conjunction with David Moore and his son Sir Frederick Moore, Curators of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin at that time. The different soil and climatic conditions at Kilmacurragh resulted in many new specimens succeeding there while struggling or failing at Glasnevin. Kilmacurragh is particularly famous for its conifer and rhododendron collections.
Kilmacurragh is open every day, year round (except Christmas Day). The grounds are free to enter and explore, and Acton Cafe offers coffee and lunches on site.
Kia Ora Mini Farm, Wexford
For a fun day out visit Kia Ora Mini Farm, where children can interact with, hold and feed, animals of the usual farmyard variety. There are some more exotic animals too, like llamas, emus, alpacas, pot bellied pigs, chinchillas. parrots, Scottish highland, Kerry cows etc.
There’s plenty of other entertainment too including sandpits, a football pitch, a rough rider track, and a convoy of ride on tractors. Bring a picnic or enjoy the delicious home-baked goodies at the coffee-shop.
Johnstown Castle, Wexford
Johnstown Castle is a spectacular gothic Castle in Wexford and offers a historical day out for all ages. You can visit eight restored rooms in the Castle along with the servants tunnel. The Castle is surrounded by beautiful ornamental gardens designed by Daniel Robertson. Within the grounds you will see gothic statues, a Victorian Walled Garden, turrets and much more.
Discover the chequered past of Johnstown Castle at the Irish Agricultural Museum housed within the grounds of Johnstown Castle. With one of the most comprehensive collections showcasing farming and rural life in Ireland with everything from tractors to kitchens! You will also learn more about how the Great Famine of Ireland affected those living in the area.
Where to Stop from Dublin to Waterford (via M7/M9)
Johnstown Garden Centre, Kildare
A destination garden centre with plenty to browse, it also plays home to the popular Garden Cafe. Open daily with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating next to a playground for the kids, the Cafe is a great place to stop for refreshments, homemade meals and treats.
Burtown House & Gardens and The Green Barn, Kildare
There are over 12 acres of gardens, park and woodland to explore at Burtown House & Gardens. Get lots of lovely fresh air while enjoying a variety of specimens and visual delight amongst the gardens, including a rock garden, a yew walk divided by a pergola, a sundial garden, a 150-year-old walled kitchen garden, an old orchard, a more formal stable yard garden and a large woodland garden surrounded on all sides by water.
Set in the mature parkland and overlooking the walled kitchen garden, you’ll find the award-winning Green Barn Restaurant a choice of seasonal menus.
Mullaghreelan Wood, Kildare
Mullaghreelan Wood, located south east of Athy, encircles a hill top rath which overlooks Kilkea Castle and offers excellent views westward over the rolling landscape of east Laois. It’s an old woodland site and is particularly popular in spring when a great display of bluebells appears!
Duckett’s Grove, Carlow
Duckett’s Grove is a ruined 19th-century great house was formerly at the centre of a 20,000 acre estate that dominated the Carlow landscape for over 300 years. Even in ruin, the surviving towers and turrets of Duckett’s Grove Walled Gardens and Pleasure Grounds form a romantic profile making it one of the most photogenic historic buildings in Ireland.
After exploring the two recently restored Walled Gardens you can enjoy a visit to the Tea Rooms.