Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Clare
I have enjoyed many happy days out at Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, both as a child and now with my own children. From climbing the spiral stairs to the top of castle or wandering around the homes of the past to the folk village with the old style school room, doctor’s surgery and sweet shop, the playground and fairy trail, you really will need the full day to enjoy your adventures here.
There’s no need to worry about feeding hungry adults and kids as there are lots of options, including Mr O’Regan’s Café, where you can eat in or take away or even order a picnic without the prep (a basket packed full of goodies; order 1 hour prior to your picnic) and Mac’s Bar in the village for drinks and traditional pub grub. And if you’re lucky, you may even get to sample some freshly baked soda bread, griddle cake or apple tart from a Bean an Tí in one of the traditional cottages. Be sure to check out Hazlebrook House, which was home to the Hughes Brothers who were the founders of HB Ice cream.
If you happen to be staying locally and can organise a babysitter, the renowned Medieval Banquets are also worth checking out.
Kells Bay House and Gardens, Kerry
Kells House is home to The SkyWalk, Ireland’s longest rope bridge, along with the Dinosaur trail, with real dinosaurs (!) to spot as you battle your way through the mighty tree ferns and other exotic plants in the 40 acres of gardens.
When you have finished your journey of discovery you can enjoy a snack or light lunch in The Garden Room Café where food can be eaten indoors or on the outdoor terrace.
Or for something completely different, you can have a taste of two kingdoms at Sala Thai who offer evening sittings from 6pm and takeaway from 1pm to 8pm with Thai food for all tastes. It is even possible to stay here too.
Slieve Aughty, Galway
The Slieve Aughty Centre near Loughrea offers walking, cycling, horse-riding trails and much more besides. For those looking for an amazing dining experience on their day out, The Three Towers Eco House & Organic Kitchen offers certified organic options for both dine in and takeaway.
Seasonal specials include pizza nights where guests can make their own pizzas and have them cooked in the specially-built outdoor oven. You can also book a pancake party or order a picnic lunch, which you can eat in one of the many picnic spots next to the enchanted forest. High tea can also be booked for groups of more than 10.
Visitors can also check out the organic garden, pony and horse rides, fairy trails and enchanted forest walks. And for those who would like to prolong their stay, check out the Three Towers Eco guest accommodation including B&B, glamping, eco lodges and camping.