25 Fun Things to Do in Ireland with Kids This Summer

Jill Holtz

May 9, 2022

25 fun things to do in ireland with kids summer 2020

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Summer holidays can seem never-ending when you are trying to come up with new fun things to do with the kids, week after week – especially if you get an “I don’t know” from your delightful children when you ask what they would like to do…!

Don’t worry, we’ve got you sorted. We have picked out some amazing things to do this summer with kids, from picnics to fairies to waterfalls!

Fun Things to Do in Ireland with Kids This Summer

We have picked out some of our favourite places to take the kids during summer months, with a mix of paid and free places.

Visit one of the NMI Museums

Playing Skittles at National Museum of Ireland Country LIfe Mayo

Each of the National Museum of Ireland museums is free to visit, and you can pick up activity sheets to enjoy while you are going round the museum too.

The Museum of Country Life at Turlough Park in Mayo, and the Museum of Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks, Dublin and The Museum of Archaeology at Kildare Street, Dublin are open and free to visit. The Natural History Museum at Merrion Street is due to reopen in August with just the ground floor open to start with.

Opening hours are Tuesday/Wednesday and Friday/Saturday 10am – 5pm
Thursday 10am – 8pm (during summer months)
Sunday and Monday 1pm – 5pm

When: all summer

Enjoy the Gardens and Fairy Trail at Irish National Stud, Kildare

Irish National Stud kids in playground

Just off the M7 motorway and only 30 minutes by car from Dublin and the M50, the Irish National Stud offers an unforgettable experience in 800 acres of beautiful Kildare countryside that can be enjoyed by all the family.

As well as magnificent horses you will find the beautiful Japanese Gardens and St Fiachra’s Garden. Explore the magical ‘fairy trail’ in the woodland area, and let the kids run off some steam at the playground.

Prebooking is essential, the Irish National Stud is open Monday – Sunday 9am – 6pm.

When: all summer

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Visit a Castle

family review of a visit Johnstown Castle

Ireland has many fabulous castles from medieval tower houses to palladian style mansions to ruins perched by the sea or rivers.

For example, Johnstown Castle, a spectacular gothic Castle in Wexford has recently been restored and reopened. It was built in the 1170’s and gifted to the nation in 1945. Now run by The Irish Heritage Trust, Teagasc and the Irish Agricultural Museum, you can have a family day out and enjoy these fun things to do with the kids while you are there.

Why not pick a different castle to visit every week with the kids?

When: Throughout the Summer 

Enjoy a Picnic

picnic places in ireland

There are so many nice places to head out to for a day out and a picnic. Here are some of our favourite places to picnic around Ireland, all recommended by parents and tried and tested by their families!

When: all summer

Go on a Family Quest at Birr Castle Demesne

birr castle

The Birr Castle Demesne and Science Centre team have created a fun and educational Family Quest which will take young explorers on a journey of discovery, adventure, science and nature.

The quest is included in the admission price and is available to all families visiting the demesne, pick your quest up from reception when you arrive. Kids will love the Treehouse and Adventure Play area with sandpits and more. Booking online before you go is essential.

When: all summer

Find Fairies in Erica’s Fairy Forest, Cootehill

Erica's Fairy Forest for things to do in Cavan - Mykidstime

Erica’s Fairy Forest was created by her parents Natasha and Ciaran to honour Erica’s memory and her unshakable belief in fairies and magical kingdoms.

It is also a thank you to the people of Cootehill and surrounding areas whose love and support was never ending throughout Erica’s journey.

Come along and see how many fairies you can find!

When: all summer

Splash at an Aqua Park

West Coast Aqua Park Water parks in Ireland

Climb, bounce and slide your way around inflatable obstacle courses on the water at an aqua park near you. Children, teens and parents can enjoy the water fun under the watchful eye of experienced lifeguards. Wetsuits can be hired or you can bring your own if you have them.

When: all summer

Enjoy Free Family Fun at Stillorgan Village

Stillorgan Summer Events

Enjoy free kids’ entertainment at Stillorgan Village during July and August. Shows start in the afternoon at 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm.

  • Saturday 2nd July – The Reptile Zoo comes to Stillorgan Village. Come & Brave the reptiles….Crocodiles & Snakes running wild, face painting, balloons and more. Bring a camera for this one!
  • Saturday 16th July – Meet & greet the crew from Star Wars. We’ve R2D2, Storm Troopers, a real Jedi Knight, face painting, balloons and more. Dress up as your favourite Star Wars Character and get a selfie and may the force be with you! Kids Zumba featuring Elite DC, Dublin’s Premier Dance Crew. Learn a Zumba routine and see Elite DC perform!
  • Saturday 6th August – You’re invited for a magical afternoon at our Witches & Wizards Show. Get your photo taken at Platform 9 3/4 Selfie Wall, pick up a Souvenir Caricature, Get a Fun Tattoo and meet some wizardy characters.
  • Saturday 20th August – THE BIG FAMILY FUN DAY comes to Stillorgan Village. There will be mouth-watering tasting experiences from food retailers, live music, entertainment, discounts, giveaways and more…

When: Selected Saturdays in July & August

Go on an Epic Adventure in Dublin

Places to learn about Irish history

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum tells the story of the Irish diaspora. Using the latest impressive interactive technology, you can follow the story of 78 million people and 10 million journeys, through the themes of migration, influence, motivation and connection.

This is an epic way to learn about great Irish influencers, from authors to scientists, and business people to sports men and women. Don’t miss getting your passport stamped throughout the tour and sending it as a virtual postcard.

Epic is open seven days a week, with pre-booked tickets available online.

When: all summer

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Discover Art at National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

national gallery ireland family events

The National Gallery of Ireland, located in the heart of Dublin, holds the national collection of European and Irish fine art, and offers plenty for children and adults alike. This summer:

  • Children under 18 years can visit the exhibition Giacometti: From Life for free
  • Family Tours take place Sundays at 12.30pm and New Parents’ Tours on the 2nd Monday of the month at 2pm
  • Drop by the Atrium Creative Space get creative, using the available drawing materials, to make your own artistic response to the collection based on a different theme each week
  • Listen to the Audio Tour for Kids & Families

When: all summer

See Ireland’s Highest Waterfall at Powerscourt

Powerscourt Waterfall for waterfalls in Ireland

Powerscourt Estate offers a great family day out. It’s a wide open family friendly place to go to unwind and enjoy nature.

The highest waterfall in Ireland, located 6km from the main Estate is a fabulous place to visit with kids, enjoy a picnic and have a fun time at the playground. There’s plenty to explore and discover including trees that are hundreds of years old such as the Giant Redwoods which grow up to 80m high.

Visit their website for further details.

When: all summer

Have a Family Adventure at Castlecomer Discovery Park

timber tumbles playground castlecomer discovery park

Located 18 km North of Kilkenny City, Castlecomer Discovery Park is a multi-activity family friendly Park. There is a full day out of activity at Castlecomer Discovery Park, with activities for all ages from toddler playgrounds to Ireland’s longest zip wire. Go screen free for a day of outdoor activity that promises lots of smiles.

Younger kids will enjoy the Elf and Fairy Village and The Junior woodland adventure course, suitable for children under 7 years old. You can also enjoy woodland trails suitable for all ages with trails from 1.5km, 2km, and 5km, where you can cycle, run, jog, walk at your own pace. You’ll find scenic picnic areas dotted around the park to enjoy.

When: all summer

See Lots of Animals at Clonfert Pet Farm

clonfert pet farm

Clonfert Pet Farm in Kildare offers a fun filled day out for you and your family that is great value for money. They offer a nice variety of animals, from the usual farmyard favourites – cows, ponies, donkey, pigs, goats and sheep – to more exotic species including African Eagle spotted owls, Common Marmosets, Blue & Gold Macaw and Ring Tailed Lemurs.

As well as all the animals there are two outdoor playground areas and plenty of picnic areas and lots more to keep your family entertained.

Book your visit tickets online.

When: all summer

Explore at Lafcadio Hearn Gardens

The Lafcadio Hearn Gardens in Tramore, Co. Waterford, reflect the life and extensive wanderings of Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo), who grew up in Ireland, and whose life journey embraced several parts of the world. Learn about the life of Lafcadio Hearn through the Victorian, American, Greek and Japanese gardens. Children have their very own discovery trail with secret pathways through the woodlands with fairytales and folklore along the way.

The gardens are open 7 days per week, weather permitting, 10am to 6pm, tickets available online.

When: All Summer

Follow Trails at Fota House

fota house

Fota House and Gardens in Cork offers fun trails for kids to follow in the gardens. You can enjoy Junior Plant Hunters Activity Trail, Little Explorers Trail, and a Tree Trail. Enjoy the Victorian Working Gardens, Walled and Pleasure Gardens, and the Arboretum which is open daily.

Enjoy finding Mrs Kevin’s Cat on a children’s tour through the House with a dedicated guide, solving the mystery of where little Kitty, Mrs Kevin, the Housekeeper’s cat has got to. A great way for children to enjoy learning about the House and the people who lived here.

Bakestone Café offers refreshments once you’ve finished all your exploring.

When: All Summer long

Don’t Miss…

Are you searching for what’s on for families in Ireland? Enjoy hours of family fun with our monthly round up of exciting events and things to do.

What's on in ireland container

Walk on Water in Leitrim

Acres Lake Floating Boardwalk

At the Acres Lake Floating Boardwalk in Co. Leitrim you can walk out on the boardwalk over the water, it’s part of an off-road trail connecting Drumshanbo with Leitrim Village. You can walk there or bring the kids’ bikes. Or there are water activities available like canoeing or stand up paddle boarding.

If you bring the swimming gear, there’s also Drumshanbo Outdoor Swimming Pool, it’s a heated pool open everyday from 2pm-8pm. Book your 1 hour slot by calling Aura Leitrim on (071) 967 1771.

Acres Lake also has an interactive Visitor Centre, a kids playground, tennis courts, cruiser jetty. So there’s lots to do outdoors there and most of it free too.

When: all summer

Hunt for The Gruffalo

the gruffalo trail

Take the kids to follow The Gruffalo Trail at Colin Glen Forest. (Wait… there’s no such thing…)

The Mouse took a stroll through the deep dark woods…. Follow in the Mouse’s footsteps and meet the silly old fox, owl and snake on the way to an amazing 8 foot tall Gruffalo, complete with knobbly knees, turned out toes and a poisonous wart on the end of his nose.

The experience is completely free so bring the family and enjoy one of Belfast’s most beautiful parks.

When: all summer

Find Fairies at Lough Boora Discovery Park, Offaly

For something unique, visit Lough Boora Discovery Park and follow the Fairy Trail walking down Fairy Avenue, home to 14 fairies, each of them bringing something special to the park

You can also enjoy walking trails, hire bikes to cycle around the Park, bring a picnic and see art sculptures all around the Park.

When: all summer

Explore an Amazing Maze

mazes in ireland russborough house

Ireland has some fantastic mazes that you can visit and enjoy with the kids. Take your pick from our list of Amazing Mazes in Ireland which include a 2000m beech maze at Russborough House, Wicklow with a statue of Cupid in the middle of the maze, and a maze in the shape of Ireland at Rathwood in Carlow!

Swim in the Outdoor Heated Lido, Tipperary

Ballina riverside pool for outdoor swimming pools in Ireland - Mykidstime

The towns of Killaloe, Co Clare and Ballina, Co Tipperary are nestled on the banks of Lough Derg and are separated by a bridge spanning the river Shannon, which both cars and pedestrians can cross, so one minute you are in Co Tipperary and the next in Co Clare!

Along the banks of the Shannon in Riverside Park on the Ballina side of the town, there is a hidden gem which opens to the public during the summer months – an outdoor heated swimming pool. Right beside there is plenty of parking, picnic benches, a well equipped playground and outdoor exercise equipment for all the family to enjoy.

When: all summer

Find Magic at Terra Nova Fairy Garden, Limerick

terra nova fairy garden

The Terra Nova Fairy Garden near Kilmallock is a beautifully designed and richly planted, award winning garden set in the Golden Vale of Co. Limerick. Packed to the brim with plants and personality, come and meet the fairies and feel the magic for yourself.

When: all summer

Don’t Miss…

Start planning your trip with our Guide to Dublin for families – we’ve got all the details on where to eat, stay, play and explore!

Mykidstime Ultimate Guide to Dublin for Families lead container

See a Leaning Tower in Galway

st colman's tower

Did you know there’s a Leaning Tower of Galway? Saint Colman’s Tower at Kilmacduagh monastery, is notable not only as a good example of an Irish round tower but also because of its noticeable lean, over 2 feet from the vertical.

Stop by the Burren Nature Sanctuary near Kinvara afterwards for a cup of tea and fun at their adventure playground, nature trail and soft play.

When: all Summer

Summer at Strokestown Park, House & Gardens and The National Famine Museum, Roscommon

Strokestown Park House Gardens flowers fun things to do with kids in Roscommon

Strokestown Park, Walled Gardens and the National Famine Museum are open to the public throughout the summer months.

Strokestown House is open daily and visitors will get a real insight into days gone by at this Georgian Palladian mansion in which many of the original furnishings can still be seen. Visitors can also take a stroll through the 6 acre walled garden and enjoy trails surrounding woodlands. Don’t miss The Victorian Nursery complete with toys!

When: Open throughout the summer 

Go on a Giant’s Walk in Mayo

Land of giants for family trails in Ireland

When you take the Giant’s Walk around Clare Lake in Claremorris, County Mayo you will see a towering yellow door, a red chair that belongs in the world of Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant and an enormous set of keys that can never be lost, dangling from a random tree.

“Clare and Morris live here, but nobody has ever seen them, let us know if you see them”.

The Land of the Giants is a first for Ireland, its handcrafted wood features will guide you around the 4.5 km route. It is family-, buggy-, bike- and wheelchair- friendly and with a total distance of 5km and a flat terrain, it’s a great walk for all.

When: all summer

Discover Your Heritage at National Heritage Week

heritage week at Birr Castle

National Heritage Week 2022 has fun free events for families and children nationwide from August 13th to 21st 2022. This year’s theme is Sustainable Heritage so look out for lots of fun events around sustainability and biodiversity.

When: August 13th to 21st 2022

25 Fun Things to Do in Ireland with Kids for Summer

Like this? Share it with your network!

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Published On: May 9th, 2022 / Categories: Ireland, Things To Do / Last Updated: August 23rd, 2022 / Tags: , , /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls

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