25 Fun Things to Do in Ireland with Kids for Summer 2020

Jill Holtz

March 9, 2020

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. Well fear not, we’ve got you sorted! Here are 25 Fun Things To Do In Ireland With Kids For Summer 2020. 

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With school holidays lasting a minimum of 8 weeks (longer if you’ve got teens not doing exams) it can be a long time to amuse the kids. Here are some ideas to help inspire you when you’re planning for things to do this summer with your child.

25 Fun Things to Do In Ireland With Kids For Summer 2020

#1. Visit one of the NMI Museums

Playing Skittles at National Museum of Ireland Country LIfe Mayo

Each of the four museums (3 in Dublin, 1 in Mayo) is free to visit, and you can pick up activity sheets to enjoy while you are going round the museum too.

Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks and Country Life at Turlough Park are now open while The Museum of Archaeology at Kildare Street and the Natural History Museum at Merrion Street will reopen on 20th July – you will need to book in advance to visit the Natural History Museum.

Opening hours will be Sunday and Monday 1-5pm, Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.

When: all summer

You May Also Enjoy 10 Unusual and Awesome Activities to Discover at NMI Country Life

#2. 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.

When: all summer

#3. Visit a Castle

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 

#4. Go on a Family Quest at Birr Castle Gardens

birr castle Easter events

The Birr Castle 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. Book online before you go to ensure you get to go.

When: all summer

#5. 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

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#6. 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

You May Also Enjoy Top Spots In Ireland For Swimming & Splashing Fun With The Family 

#7. Find Fairies in Erica’s Fairy Forest, Cootehill

erica's fairy forest

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

#8. Experience Nature at Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre and Nature Reserve

Visit the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre and Nature Reserve and enjoy self guided tours and fun in their pedal boats on the Activity Lake followed by a picnic outdoors. Pedalo Boats seat up to 5 people. Pre-book in advance to avoid disappointment on arrival. Email [email protected] or call 066 712 6700.

When: all summer

#9. Go on an Epic Adventure in Dublin

epic dublin

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 timed tickets on sale. Numbers are obviously limited but pre-booking tickets for designated time slots means you can avoid the queue.

When: all summer

#10. Discover Art at National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

national gallery ireland

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.

They are operating a one-way system through the building. Follow one of the colour-coded trails when you are visiting the permanent collection. Follow yellow arrows and look out for coloured stripes on object labels. Works marked with green stripes will guide you through highlights of the collection, while their family favourites trail is marked in pink.

NB Their Creative Space is not currently available.

When: all summer

#11. See Ireland’s Highest Waterfall at Powerscourt

Powerscourt Waterfall May 2020

Powerscourt Estate offers a great family day out and is open again for safe visits. 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 on safety measures and guidelines around visits.

When: all summer

#12. Have a Family Adventure at Castlecomer Discovery Park

Castlecomer Discover ParkLocated 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.

This year they have a special new Toy Story Themed family trail, as well as boats or canoes on the lake, archery and Junior woodland adventure course.

Younger kids will enjoy the Elf and Fairy Village and The Junior woodland adventure course, suitable for children under 7 years old.

The Canopy Café will be open for refreshments at the Elf Village. Bookings can be made on line www.discoverypark.ie or by calling 056 4440707 or email [email protected]

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

#13. 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.

Tickets are released weekly and must be booked online.

When: all summer

#14. Follow Activity Trails at Fota House

Fota House and Gardens kids

Fota House and Gardens in Cork is open and 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.

The House is open for House Tours, please note the indoor Cafe & toilets are currently not available due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Bakestone Café operates a takeaway coffee and limited snack menu daily 11am-5pm – outdoor seating available.

When: All Summer long

#15. Find Fairies and Folklore at Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens, Waterford

The Lafcadio Hearn Gardens 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, 11am-5pm. Adult entry is €6 and children under 15 €2.

When: All Summer

#16. 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

#17. 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

#18. Find Fairies at Lough Boora Discovery Park, Offaly

lough boora fairy trail

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

You May Also Enjoy Places to Find Magical Fairy Trails in Ireland

#19. Explore an Amazing Maze

Mazes in Ireland Russborough House Maze

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!

#20. Swim in the Outdoor Heated Lido,Tipperary

ballina riverside pool

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

You might also enjoy reading Some of our Favourite Spots for Outdoor Swimming in Ireland

#21. 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.

All visits must be pre booked, to book phone 089 4028591 between 10am and 4pm.

When: all summer

#22. 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

#23. 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 again to the public throughout the summer months. There is also a takeaway service available from the Café, which will open from Wednesday to Sunday from 11.00am to 4.00pm. The House will remain closed for the moment.

When: Open throughout the summer 

#24. Go on a Giant’s Walk in Mayo

land of giantsWhen 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

You might also enjoy reading Fun Family Walks in Mayo

#25. Discover Your Heritage at National Heritage Week

heritage week

National Heritage Week 2020 has fun free events for families and children nationwide from August 15th to 23rd 2020. This year will focus on virtual events and you can browse registered events here.

When: August 15th to 23rd 2020

Over to you! Are there any other ideas that we should include? Let us know in the comments below.

25 fun things to do in ireland with kids summer 2020

Like this? Share it with your network!

Like this? Share it with your network!

Published On: March 9th, 2020 / Categories: Ireland, Things To Do, Travel / Last Updated: March 29th, 2021 / Tags: , /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

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

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