If you are visiting Ireland for the first time with kids, or staying in the country for the holidays and wondering about places to visit in Ireland with kids, we have compiled this list of some hidden gems around the country that you may not have heard of!
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Dublin Zoo is arguably Ireland’s no 1 visitor attraction but there are a few hidden gems listed here that you might not have heard about and if you are visiting that particular part of the country why not plan to visit these attractions that are designed with kids in mind.
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Hidden Gems and Places to Visit in Ireland: North East
Tullydermot Falls, Cavan
The dramatic Tullydermot Falls are situated approximately 6km south-west of Swanlinbar in the direction of the Bellavally Gap. The Tullydermot viewpoint overlooks Slieve Rushen and the lowlands of north Cavan. There’s a great view of the summit of Cuilcagh mountains.
Marble Arch Caves Geopark, Fermanagh
The Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is located in the rugged mountainous uplands and the gentle rolling lowlands of counties Fermanagh and Cavan.
Taking in the world-famous Marble Arch Caves, the Geopark boasts some of the finest natural landscapes in Ireland and offers a window into the area’s 650 million year past. Don’t miss the Cladagh Glen Walk, a beautiful walk alongside the Cladagh River where you might even spot a red squirrel.
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Hidden Gems and Places to Visit in Ireland: East
Iveagh Gardens, Dublin
Why not plan a picnic in Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2, arguably the most beautiful park in the capital and not all that well known. Stunning grounds, beautiful waterfall, so much space to run around and it’s always peacefully quiet! (Luas stops nearby).
Kildare Maze, Kildare
The Kildare Maze is located just outside Prosperous in the North Kildare countryside. Providing a challenging and exciting day out with good old fashioned fun for families at an affordable price. Out in the fresh air, this is a great place for families to enjoy a day together.
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Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow
Powerscourt Waterfall is Ireland’s highest at 121m (398ft.) and is 5km from the Main Estate. It is set in one of Ireland’s most beautiful parklands at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains.
Enjoy other fun activities while visiting Powerscourt including Cool Planet Experience, an interactive experience aimed at inspiring the next generation to take positive climate action.
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Hidden Gems and Places to Visit in Ireland: South East
Nore Valley Park, Kilkenny
Nore Valley Park in Kilkenny offers everything you need for a family day out, a celebration or a break away from it all.
From interactive encounters with the animals, to attractive camping facilities, to fun activities suited to all ages, Nore Valley Park is perfect for occupying an afternoon, or for spending a week or more.
Hook Lighthouse, Wexford
Hook Lighthouse, Fethard on Sea, Co Wexford, one of the oldest lighthouses in the world, has guided tours, spectacular views, viewing for dolphins and whales, cafe and art activities for both kids and adults.
Waterford & Suir Valley
The magic of rail’s golden age has been brought to life in Kilmeaden on the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway. Experience the beauty of the Suir Valley from a partially opened carriage as you take in the panoramic views of the river and rolling farmland of Waterford and across the river to County Kilkenny on a 40 minute return trip and 1 hour return trips on Saturdays.
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Hidden Gems and Places to Visit in Ireland: Midlands
Belvedere House, Westmeath
Belvedere House and Gardens, near Mullingar, Co Westmeath, is set in a 160 acre estate has playgrounds, lakeside picnic areas, fairy trails, a café and child friendly events throughout the year.
Emo Park and Gardens, Laois
Don’t bypass Laois. Get off the M7 at junction 15, follow signs for Portarlington / Mountmellick and visit Emo Park and Gardens, the second largest park in Ireland. There is Emo Court House, acres of parks and gardens to walk or run around, a lake with swans and ducks, picnic benches and a cafe.
Lough Boora Parklands, Offaly
Or why not visit Lough Boora Parklands in Co Offaly? At Junction 7 on the M6 Dublin/Galway exit towards Moate/ Clonmacnoise. Follow signs for Kilcormac and Lough Boora. You will enjoy the Parklands with sculptures, picnic benches and bike hire facility.
Hidden Gems and Places to Visit in Ireland: South
Lifetime Lab at Old Cork Waterworks
Lifetime Lab is a multi award winning visitor centre located at the Old Cork Waterworks offering a fascinating insight into industrial heritage and environmental issues. Visitors journey through Victorian architecture and explore the age of steam, investigate our interactive exhibits and transform into environmental detectives discovering how daily choices impact our world.
Cable Car to Dursey Island, Cork
Did you know you can take the Cable Car from Bullaghboy in West Cork to Dursey Island? As long as you and the kids have a good head for heights, that is, as it can be a wild ride over the waves!
Copper Coast Geopark, Waterford
A designated European Geopark, Copper Coast has several beautiful coastal landmarks, dunes, cliffs and clean beaches. It offers small, sheltered beaches surrounded by rugged cliffs – ideal for quiet getaways.
Hidden Gems and Places to Visit in Ireland: South West
Sea Synergy, Kerry
Sea Synergy is a Marine Awareness and Activity centre in Waterville where you’ll find a unique and interactive marine wildlife and heritage exhibition, as well as a variety of activities, workshops, and adventures provided by marine biologists and local specialists.
Their fun and educational workshops and activities such as Seashore Safaris, guided snorkeling, guided stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, boat tours, village heritage walks, island visits, mindfulness in nature meditations, are open to all ages and aim to give participants a closer connection to nature.
Inch Beach, Kerry
Inch Beach in Kerry is a Blue Flag long sand spit beach backed by dune system reaching into Dingle Bay. Popular with surfers, anglers and swimmers. It has the most beautiful purple pebbles and a wonderful variety of shells to collect.
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Kerry Fairy Trails
There are magical fairy trails to be found in Kerry: one in the wooded surrounds of Derrynane House, Caherdaniel, and the other in the woods of the Parknasilla Resort. Both are free and open to all visitors.
Hidden Gems and Places to Visit in Ireland: Mid West
King John’s Castle, Limerick
King John’s Castle in Limerick is the ultimate multi media experience bringing history to life in front of your eyes! Touch-screen technology connect you to tales of siege and warfare. A dazzling array of computer generated imagery, animations and ghostly projections are all part of the experience.
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Hidden Gems and Places to Visit in Ireland: West
Brigit’s Garden, Galway
Brigit’s Garden, Roscahill, East Galway has Celtic Gardens, kids discovery trail, nature trail and cafe.
Museum of Country Life, Mayo
Museum of Country Life, Castlebar, Co Mayo, brings to life the traditions of rural life in Ireland. Workshops, exhibitions and family programmes for all ages. Free entry, and great for those rainy days.
Cliffs of Moher Cruises, Clare
Everyone knows about the Cliffs of Moher, but why not see the cliffs from a different perspective and book a one hour adventure on Cliffs of Moher Cruises? The kids will enjoy the boat ride and you will be sure to get a new appreciation of these amazing cliffs.
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Hidden Gems and Places to Visit in Ireland: North West
Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, Roscommon
Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, Boyle, Co Roscommon is set in the grounds of an estate consisting of a lake with caravan and camping park, boating, Zipit forest adventures, Boda Borg challenge, Adventure Play Kingdom, Tree Canopy Walkway, cafe and lots more.
Slieve League Cliffs, Donegal
Almost 3 times higher than the Cliffs of Moher, the Slieve League Cliffs in Co. Donegal reach to a height of almost 2,000 feet making them some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. With 2 car parks families can opt to leave their car at the lower level and walk the road to the base or drive along the winding road to the upper parking level.
Or what about climbing up Knocknarea in Sligo to bring a stone to Queen Maeve’s Grave? This mountain may be lesser known than Ben Bulben but is still an amazing sight as you arrive in Sligo, and is certainly a doable climb for kids.
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Top 10 Places to Visit in Ireland with Kids
These places are generally considered to be top family friendly visitor attractions in Ireland.
- Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, Dublin
- National Aquatic Centre, Dublin
- Emerald Park, Meath
- National Museums of Ireland in Dublin: Archaeology, Natural History & Decorative Arts
- Fota Island Wildlife Park, Cork
- Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill, Galway
- Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park, Westport, Co Mayo
- Wicklow’s Historic Gaol, Wicklow
- Dunbrody Famine Ship, Wexford
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Have your say! Have you found a hidden gem on your travels? Any other places in Ireland to visit with kids that you’d recommend? Tell us in the comments below.