As parents we know how expensive it can be to entertain the kids, so we thought we would put together a list of things to do for free with the children, yes, the things that are completely free of charge. Here’s our suggestions for the best free things to do in Roscommon with kids:
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Lough Key Forest and Activity Park
Located in Boyle, Co. Roscommon and set in the grounds of the old King-Harman Estate on the shores of island studded Lough Key, the Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, offers hours of entertainment for all the family.
There are miles of biking trails and orienteering courses and loads of picnic spots. The picnic tables are equipped with grills so bring your disposable barbecue.
Orienteering at Lough Key
Download your choice of five courses, three adult courses, one for primary students and one for secondary students. The school courses follow aspects of the Science Curriculum so you can learn as you go too.
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.
Other Good Places for a Family Walk
Derryvunny has three trails, one which is multi-access with great picnic spots and Mote Park outside Roscommon town had looped trails and picnic spots.
Related: Great Family Walks in Roscommon
Climb a Hill in Roscommon
These are small hills really and suitable for family hikes.
The Historical Trail section of The Miners Way takes you to explore site of the Battle of the Curlews in 1599 overlooking Boyle.
Climb Sliabh Ban, outside Strokestown and see if you can look West to see Croagh Patrick.
Fishing in Roscommon
With the Rivers Shannon and Suck and lakes dotted throughout you are never far from a safe fishing spot. Local angling clubs run childrens competitions and learn to fish events throughout the year.
Swimming in Roscommon
There are recognised swimming spots at Doon Shore just off the N4 and in the Lough Key Forest Park, both outside Boyle. While there are no lifeguards they have shallow entry points, life belts and are popular with local families. Just be sure to never swim alone and always check with locals about conditions.
Go to the Mart
Roscommon Town has a large Mart where you can see livestock bought and sold. For many children it is an opportunity to see that their burgers or lamb chops don’t just come wrapped in plastic from the fridge at the supermarket.
Just make sure they don’t fidget about too much or you could come home with an unexpected new pet!
Visit a Farmers Market
Boyle and Ballaghadereen on a Saturday morning, Roscommon and Strokestown on a Friday morning there are often buskers, always banter and the kids get to explore the great range at all the stalls
You can visit Boyle Abbey for free on the first Wednesday of every month, it is an impressive and well preserved Cistercian Monastery which was founded in the 12th century under the patronage of the local ruling family, the MacDermotts.
Related: OPW Free Wednesdays
Children can be fascinated with the past and finding graves of local characters, or those with interesting inscriptions or of people who lived during Worlds Wars can really get children thinking about their heritage, and the generations who created the communities in which they now live.
Burial Grounds in Roscommon
Roscommon County Council has compiled a list of all the burial grounds in the county with maps, photos and descriptions. You can find Famine Graves, Graves of soldiers from World War 1 or even rarer sites like the Mahon Mausoleum in Stokestown or the graves of the descendants of Ireland’s last High King, in Castlerea.
Libraries in Roscommon
Make sure to check out your local library and find out what classes and events that they run throughout the year. Your local library branch is a wonderful, free, resource for families.
All libraries host very popular, annual summer reading programmes while many of the branches run or host parent and toddler groups, storytelling sessions, arts and crafts classes, book clubs, games and activities sessions, exhibitions and so on. Not to mention the fact that there is free computer access and the option to borrow books and DVDs! For a change of scenery, why not visit a different library to your local branch?
Visit a Playground
There are some great playgrounds in Roscommon. It’s an activity that is both free and good fun!
Make sure to bring some snacks and drinks or a picnic lunch.