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 2018. Check out our 21 Free Things to Do with Kids in Ireland this Summer too.
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#1. Enjoy Free Museum Events in Dublin & Mayo
From Sun Discs to Artefact Detectives to Donkeys, there are heaps of free family events at the National Museum of Ireland museums this summer that are sure to entertain. Learn to write like an Egyptian, become a hands on historian, hold fossils, plus lots more.
#2. Take a Pony Ride at the Irish National Stud, Kildare
Summer fun events at the Irish National Stud & Gardens in Kildare Town include complimentary pony rides and face painting every Wednesday and Sunday in July & August for all younger visitors!
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, with some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world, including the beautiful Japanese Gardens and St Fiachra’s Garden.
Tour the Horse Museum, explore the magical ‘fairy trail’ in the woodland area, and let the kids run off some steam at the playground.
#3. Visit The Ark, Dublin
The Ark Dublin in Temple Bar, Dublin is a unique, purpose built, cultural centre where children aged 2-12 and their families can explore theatre, music, literature, art, film, dance and more. And each summer, The Ark has a special theme.
#4. Go on a Family Quest at Birr Castle Gardens
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 Bouncy Pillow, sandpits and more. Then stop by the Science Centre to learn about some of the amazing scientific discoveries that took place here.
#5. Enjoy Outdoor Theatre with a Picnic
Take a trip down the rabbit hole with Chapterhouse Theatre Company this summer as they present the classic tale of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at Belvedere House & Gardens on Thursday 19th July at 7pm. Join Alice as she stumbles into the magical world of Wonderland and meet a whole host of colourful characters. From the unforgettable White Rabbit and the madcap Mad Hatter to the terrifying Queen of Hearts, Alice’s journey couldn’t be filled with more adventure. Presented in beautiful Victorian costume and alive with song, dance and original music, this is a production to delight the entire family.
Chapterhouse Theatre Company return to Belvedere House & Gardens on Thursday 2nd August at 7pm with Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Robin Hood and his band of merry men are feared by the richest of the land as they travel through Sherwood Forest stealing from the rich to give to the poor. When the evil Sheriff of Nottingham schemes to stop the outlaws, the merry men must join with the beautiful Maid Marian to rescue Robin from the Sheriff’s evil clutches and restore peace to the forest lands.
Inspired by folklore, myth and legend, this brand-new version of Robin’s notorious story is brought alive with traditional sword play, song, music, dance and stunning medieval costumes. Adapted by award winning writer Laura Turner.
When: various dates this summer
#6. Bounce and Slide on Lough Ree
Bounce, slide, thrill, splash and repeat at Baysports, Hodson Bay. Ireland’s largest inflatable water park on Lough Ree on the River Shannon! Whatever the weather, with a wetsuit on, you’re guaranteed an experience like no other.
#7. Find Fairies in Erica’s Fairy Forest, Cootehill
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. View the Kerry Countryside from 20 Metres High!
Visit the Tralee Bay Wetlands Centre and Nature Reserve and enjoy guided nature boat tours, bird hides, watersports and activities as well as scenic views from their 20 metre Viewing and Observation Tower.
#9. Go on an Epic Adventure in Dublin
EPIC Ireland 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.
#10. Discover Art at National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin
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. Pick up a free Family Pack with paper, pencils, discovery trails and activity sheets at the Information Desk in the Millennium Wing. They also have free audio guides, suitable for children aged 6-10.
Take part in the Family Workshops at weekends, as well as lots of other events. And if you’re a new parent, they do New Parents’ Tours for parents, guardians and carers of infants from 2pm on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from July to November.
11. Help Save the Planet at Cool Planet Experience
Based in the picturesque Powerscourt Estate, the Cool Planet Experience is Ireland’s first interactive experience aimed at inspiring the next generation to take positive climate action.
Cool Planet Experience aims to inspire visitors to make sustainability so cool it becomes the norm! This is achieved through a series of interactive and engaging exhibitions, games and competitions.
Visitors to the Cool Planet Experience will see for themselves the highs and lows of our changing climate while discovering new and exciting innovations and how they can put them in place, not just during their visit, but through their everyday life to make a change.
When: all summer
#12. Have an Adventure at 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!
It offers a range of adventure activities including tree top walks, Ireland’s longest zip wire and high ropes challenge, climbing walls, boating, archery, adventure playgrounds, woodland café and orienteering. At the hub of the site there is the Irish Mining Museum, a purpose-built cafe, Elf & Fairy Village, craft village and spaces for educational activities.
Castlecomer Discovery Park is a Social Community Enterprise operating on a not-for-profit basis. It’s supported by volunteers from the local community, and governed by a board of voluntary directors. Any profit is re-directed to developing the park.
They provide 3 woodland trails suitable for all ages which circle in and around 70 acres of stunning natural woodland and lakes. The trails vary from 1.5km, 2km, and 5km, where you can cycle, run, jog, walk at your own pace. There’s scenic picnic areas dotted around the park along with 3 permanent orienteering trails in the woods, 1km, 2km, and 3km in distance.
#13. Spot Whales Around Ireland
All Island Whale Watch Day takes place in August. Members of the public are invited to join the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) on one of 20 land-based whale watches being held at headlands around the Irish coast between 2:00-5:00 pm.
#14. Find Mrs Kevin’s Cat at Fota House
Fota House and Gardens in Cork offers visitors a look at how life was lived in the past, whether as a servant or as a member of the gentry. When you tour the house you get to see behind the scenes to the bedrooms and a Victorian nursery. Then visit the service wing, where you can see the working conditions of all the servants.
“Where is Mrs Kevin’s Cat?!” is a families tour through the House with a dedicated guide, solving the mystery of where the house keeper’s cat has got to. It’s a great way for children to enjoy learning about the House and the people who lived here.
Kids can also go Digging for History in their award winning Victorian Working Garden, with a tour through the Victorian glasshouses with fun facts for kids, finishing off with a chance to pot up their own plant to take home and cherish. Both the Mrs Kevin’s Cat tour and Digging for History are suitable from 4 to about 11.
They also have fantastic trails for kids to follow in the gardens they have some really fun ones e.g. Junior Plant Hunters Activity Trail, Little Explorers Trail, and a Tree Trail.
#15. Have Fun at Playstival
Ireland’s new festival for kids & their parents, celebrating Play, Fun and Imagination, Playstival with The Happy Pear takes place Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th August 2018 at Airfield Estate, Dundrum, Dublin 14.
Playstival with The Happy Pear celebrates positive play and the power of the imagination with a range of hands-on games and themed play universes. Everywhere you go at Playstival, you will encounter children’s games that nurture curiosity, imagination and exploration. This will include everything from a park train service, to a construction site for kids (with hard hats and high viz!), an architects’ area and even a visit to the Wild Wild West.
When: 11th and 12th August 2018
#16. Go back in Time at Loughrea Medieval Festival, Galway
The 3 day Loughrea Medieval Festival runs from 24th – 26th August during National Heritage Week, and comprises scenes of everyday life in Medieval Loughrea, as well as being jam-packed with fun events and performances that will entertain the whole family.
Celebrate Walled Towns Day with re-enactments, craft demonstrations, medieval music, food and craft market, boat trips, traditional ‘have-a-go’ craft workshops, children’s traditional games, grand parade and lots more.
When: 24th – 26th August 2018
#17. Hunt for the Gruffalo
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.
#18. 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
#19. Explore an Amazing Maze
- a 2000m beech maze at Russborough House, Wicklow with a statue of Cupid in the middle of the maze
- an indoor wooden maze with trapdoors and 10 different levels getting harder and harder at Nore Valley Park in Kilkenny
- or how about the unique indoor Swedish puzzle Boda Borg at Lough Key Forest & Activity Park, that needs teamwork to solve your way through the rooms.
- And there’s even a maze in the shape of Ireland at Rathwood in Carlow!
#20. Swim in the Outdoor Heated Lido,Tipperary
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.
You might also enjoy reading Some of our Favourite Spots for Outdoor Swimming in Ireland
#21. See Vintage Radios at Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum in Howth
Ye Olde Hurdy-Gurdy Museum of Vintage Radio is located in the Martello Tower in Howth and houses a fine collection of exhibits chronicling the history of telecommunications from the 1840s to date. There are many examples of early Morse equipment, gramophones, crystal sets, valve radios and other pieces of equipment.
Pat Herbert, the curator is always happy to demonstrate some of the many working exhibits.
When: open daily during Summer
#22. See a Leaning Tower in Galway
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. See Tiny Things at Tara’s Palace
Tara’s Palace, Museum of Childhood is a small registered charity dedicated to helping the children of Ireland. The centrepiece of the Museum is Tara’s Palace, one of the greatest doll’s palaces in the world which is displayed together with a collection of historic doll’s houses, toys and childhood memorabilia.
When: all Summer
#24. Go on a Giant’s Walk in Mayo
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.
You might also enjoy reading Fun Family Walks in Mayo
#25. Discover your Heritage at National Heritage Week
National Heritage Week runs from August 18th – 26th 2018 with free events for all ages across the country. Events take place across the country, including opportunities for free guided tours of many of our heritage attractions. The perfect way to finish off the school holidays!
When: 18th – 28th August
Over to you! Are there any other ideas that we should include? Let us know in the comments below.