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Explore Some History and Pre-history
The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life Mayo
The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life Mayo 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.
Visit a Pre-historic monument – There are stone circles, standing stones, wedge tombs, round towers, and many other types of megalithic monuments dotted around the county. These sites are fascinating for children and the history behind them even more so. For details of these and more, plus the all important directions, click here.
Take a Walk – There are also free guided walks around Westport, Ballina and Castlebar during the Summer which are a great way for older children to find out more about the history of Mayo.
Go to the beach. You don’t have to wait for the sun to come out to bring the children to one of our beautiful beaches in Mayo. There is lots of fun to be had in the water, sand and sand dunes. Some free activities with the children include racing in the sand, flying a kite, making sandcastles, collecting shells or looking for crabs in the rockpools. My kids spend hours racing down the sand dunes – a great way to warm up when the weather isn’t great!
Feed the ducks – A weekly favourite of ours is visiting a pond, lake or river to feed the ducks and swans. A great way to use up the crusts of bread left over from time to time!
Related: Things to do for your children that cost nothing but time
Get to know your County
Pick another town in Mayo that you’ve never visited – make a list of interesting things to do there and pack a picnic. You may be surprised at how much fun you’ll have discovering a new place!
Visit one of the country markets – Ballina, Castlebar, Louisburgh, Belmullet and Westport all have regular markets with fresh veg, fruit, jams or baked goodies so you could pick up some of your weekly shopping list at the same time
More Outdoor Fun
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! The visitor centre is open March-October with lots of free events throughout the season.
Visit a playground. It’s an activity that is both free and good fun! There are new modern playgrounds in most towns in Mayo. Have a look at the list of playgrounds in Mayo and go to one in a nearby town you haven’t visited before.
Put on walking shoes and head out for a walk. Walks in the woods are among my family’s favourites. At any time of the year, rain or shine, the woods are always a fantastic place to bring the kids. Many have picnic areas and good walking trails. Here are 9 fun family walks in Mayo.
And if it rains…
Bring the children to the library. Most have children’s sections where the children can sit down and read a book. Reading the kids some stories and even if they can read themselves it’s a nice way of having quality time with them. For a change of scenery you could always visit a different library to your local branch or you could bring them to the Westport or Castlebar library for weekly storytime.
Finally, keep an eye on our Events page for updated information on regular free events and festivals taking place around Mayo.
Article written by Léon from Ballina
If you have any more good ideas or suggestions for free activities for the family to enjoy in Mayo, share them in the comments below.