Top Ten Things to Do with Kids in Laois


June 23, 2014

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Are you looking for activities for kids in Laois? Here’s our Mykidstime Top 10 things to do with kids in Laois, in no particular order!!

#1.  Emo Court, Park and Gardens.

This amenity is a hidden gem in the midlands.  It is owned by the Office of Public Works and as well as the Gandon designed stately home there are beautiful gardens, gently rolling lawns, parkland, wooded walks and a lake with lots of swans and ducks. The walks in the Gardens area are tarmaced.

Picnic benches are available throughout the park and many visitors bring picnics on fine summer days. The Park is home to red squirrels and deer. There are tours of the house in Summer. Catoca Café at Emotea rooms is child friendly and has wheelchair and buggy access.

Entry to the Park is free and is open throughout the year during day light hours.  Public toilet facilities are available beside the main car park at Emo Court house.

#2.  Slieve Bloom Mountains

Pack a picnic and take a scenic drive around the Slieve Bloom Mountains. Choose the Mountrath/ Kinnity route or the Mountrath/ Clonaslee route. There are lovely walks, short and long, waymarked by Coillte.

The Glen Bridge at Monicknew is very popular – short walks, picnic benches and a stream for paddling. Enjoy the view over Offaly from the Cut and picnic benches are provided on both the Laois and Offaly sides.

Visit the waterfalls on the Barrow in Glenbarrow, near Rosenallis.  Take a walk around Brittas Lake in Clonaslee. You might be lucky enough to see deer or wild goats.

#3.  Ballinakill – Heywood Gardens and Ballinakill  Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool

Laois is one of few counties that has an outdoor heated swimming pool.  This is in Ballinakill, near Abbeyleix.

It is open from June to September and is fully supervised, has changing rooms, a kids pool and an adult pool.  After the swim take a leisurely stroll around Heywood Gardens, part of the Laois Garden Trail.

#4.  Outdoor Adventure Sports in Garryhinch Woods, Portarlington

Kids looking to do something a little more exciting?

Try some outdoor adventure sports at Garryhinch Woods near Portarlington, kayaking on the river Barrow, orienteering and archery in the woods or cycling tours organised by True Fitness.

#5.  Portlaoise or Portarlington Leisure Centres

Both these places have state of the art facilities. At Portlaoise Leisure Centre there is a toddler’s pool, a kid’s pool and a 25-metre swimming pool, steam room and sauna. The centre has many attractions such as family swim time, camps during holiday times and inflatable play times at weekends.

The outdoor playground is new, is always busy and has good equipment as well as an area for toddlers.  If you are in the vicinity of Portarlington try their leisure centre which has similar facilities to Portlaoise.

#6.  Rock of Dunamase

Climb the Rock of Dunamase. This is a historic site and the views from the top make the climb very worthwhile.

Experience the lookout views that were used by the O’Moores to defend their territory from marauding armies. Incidentally the O’Moores were eventually defeated and ejected from the site by the ancesters of Stradbally Hall, the home of Electric Picnic.

The site is suitable for young children who are able to run and walk and will love checking out the views through the various parts of the ruin.  Be warned, the children will want to run up and you might be slightly out of breath as a result!

#7.  Arts Centres

Visit Dunamaise Arts Centre in Portlaoise, or The Arthouse in Stradbally, or Mountmellick Library and Arts Centre.

#8.  Roll n’Bowl, Portlaoise

If the weather is wet and miserable take the kids to an indoor Play Centre – Roll n’Bowl in Clonminam Business Park in Portlaoise.

As well as an indoor soft play area for all ages, there is roller disco for the teens and a ten pin bowling alley for all.

#9.  Stradbally Steam Train and Steam Museum 

Ride a Steam Train and visit Stradbally Steam Museum.  The Steam Train runs on a narrow guage railway on all Bank Holiday weekends through the grounds of Stradbally Hall estate.  The museum is home to a number of steam engines.

#10. Barge Cruise, Vicarstown

Hire a barge and cruise the Grand Canal at Vicarstown.

Do you have a favourite place to go in Laois with kids? Share it in the comments below.


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