50 Outstanding Places to Take Your Child this Summer in Ireland

Jill Holtz

June 24, 2015

Old Rail Trail Greenway Westmeath Co Co Ireland's Content Pool

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As parents, we are always on the lookout for great places that are child-friendly and fun to visit. We have picked 50 Outstanding Places to Take Your Child This Summer in Ireland! You’ll find a mixture of paid for and free places to visit, indoors and outdoors venues, old historical places and fun modern attractions. 

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We hope you have fun visiting them all and be sure to let us know how you got on and what you thought of them, we always welcome feedback! And if you need more inspiration, here are 99 Fantastic Places To Go In Ireland with Kids.

50 Outstanding Places to Take Your Child this Summer in Ireland

Places to Take Your Child this Summer in Leinster

National Museum of Ireland – Dublin

NMI Natural History Museum Dublin Wonder Cabinet Places to take your child this summer

The National Museum of Ireland has three sites in Dublin. They are all free to visit and have great collections as well as a wide range of ongoing events for families.

  • The National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks is home to a wide range of objects, which include weaponry, furniture, silver, ceramics and glassware; as well as examples of Folk life and costume.
  • The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History in Merrion Street has galleries of animals from Ireland and overseas, also geological exhibits form a total collection of about 2 million scientific specimens with a Discovery Zone.
  • Opened in 1890, the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology in Kildare Street is the national repository for all archaeological objects found in Ireland and displays artefacts dating from 7000 BC to the 20th century. The Irish archaeology collections include The Treasury, featuring outstanding examples of Celtic and Medieval art.

In both the Decorative Arts & History and Archaeology Museums there is a Museum shop selling gifts, books, jewellery and replica items and also a café offering snacks and hot and cold beverages.

Don’t Miss: Free child friendly detective sheets from reception.

Irish National Stud, Kildare

Enjoy a great day out for all the family at the Irish National Stud & Gardens in Kildare. Just off the M7 motorway and only 30 minutes by car from Dublin and the M50, the Irish National Stud is home to both wonderful horses and great gardens.

You will have an unforgettable experience in 800 acres of beautiful Kildare countryside that can be enjoyed by all the family. This unique attraction has some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world. Along with a playground, horse museum and regular events.

Don’t Miss: Complimentary pony rides and face painting in July & August for all our younger visitors!

Johnstown Castle, Wexford

Johnstown Castle places to take your child this summer

Johnstown Castle is a spectacular gothic Castle in Wexford and offers an amazing day out for all ages. Surrounded by beautiful ornamental gardens designed by Daniel Robertson, they offer walks by the lake, gothic statues, peacocks and other wildlife and a Victorian Walled Garden to discover.

The Irish Agricultural Museum is housed within the grounds of Johnstown Castle and displays one fo the most comprehensive collections showcasing farming and rural life in Ireland with everything from tractors to kitchens!

Don’t Miss: The sunken Italian Garden where you may spot peacocks!

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Belvedere House & Gardens, Westmeath

girls at Belvedere House and Gardens places to take your child this summer

Belvedere House is set on an elevated site overlooking Lough Ennell with spectacular views of the 160 acre estate, complete with Victorian walled Garden, exotic trees and numerous follies including the infamous Jealous Wall. The House is fully restored and offers an interpretative ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ experience and an Owner’s Gallery.

The Walled Garden is 1.5 acre sloped garden with formal lawns, old rose beds, tumbling herbaceous borders, alpines, climbers, a fragrant potager and a Victorian style glass house with exotic plants. Café, gift shop, interpretative centre and exhibition galleries.

Don’t Miss: the Narnia Trail and the Fairy Garden!

Powerscourt Estate, Wicklow

Places to take your child this summer PowerscourtExperience one of the best views in Ireland at Powerscourt Gardens, just 20km south of Dublin City Centre. Featuring ornate Italian and Japanese Gardens where mum and dad can enjoy a romantic stroll to rambling, wooded walks where little ones can play hide and seek, Powerscourt offers a fantastic family day out.

Children love climbing the Pepper Pot Tower and posing for a picture with the cannons nearby. Enjoy the year-round events programme of treasure hunts, enchanted walks and lots more.

Don’t miss: Powerscourt, the highest waterfall in Ireland, located 5 km from the main Estate where you can discover trees that are hundreds of years old such as the Giant Redwoods which grow up to 80m high!

Round Tower Clondalkin, Dublin

Round Tower Clondalkin places to take your child this summer

If you’re looking for free things to do in Dublin with the family, a visit to The Round Tower Clondalkin is a must! 1 Tower – 1000 years of history is what you get when you bring the family along for an interactive day out. And best of all, it won’t cost you a cent, unless of course you’re tempted by the goodies on offer in the on-site Happy Pear Café! 

One of South Dublin County’s cultural highlights, The Round Tower Clondalkin (www.theroundtower.ie) is built on the site of a monastery founded by St. Mochua in the 7th century, and is one of only four remaining round towers in County Dublin.

Suitable for all ages, The Round Tower Clondalkin experience incorporates public gardens, an exhibition and gallery space and The Happy Pear onsite café where tasty healthy food meets famously friendly service.

Don’t Miss: These fun experiences nearby Corkagh Park, the Grand Canal Greenway and Áras Chrónáin Irish Cultural Centre, which combined together with a trip the to Round Tower Clondalkin add a different heritage experience, away from the city centre and close to the natural outdoors of Dublin.

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Croke Park Stadium Tour & GAA Museum, Dublin

croke-park-skylineThe Croke Park Stadium Tour & Junior Explorer Tour offer you the chance to explore the home of Gaelic sport and take a behind-the-scenes journey through this 82,300 capacity stadium.

Enjoy an unrivalled state-of-the-art interactive visitor experience and find out more about Ireland’s unique national games of Gaelic football and hurling, the fastest field team sport in the world.

The guided Stadium Tour offers an access-all-areas experience as you walk in the footsteps of legends and visit the team dressing rooms before going pitch-side via the players’ tunnel and taking a seat in the VIP area. Enjoy panoramic views from the top tier of the stand – 30 meters above the famous pitch!

The whole family can explore the GAA Museum with its exhibition galleries that vividly illustrate the story of Gaelic games from ancient times to present day. Featured exhibitions include the original Sam Maguire and Liam MacCarthy Cups, the official GAA Hall of Fame, temporary exhibitions and many other exhibits.

Don’t Miss: Test your hurling and football skills in the interactive games zone – a must for museum visitors of all ages!

Imaginosity, Dublin

Imaginosity cog wall places to take your child this summer

Imaginosity, Dublin Children’s Museum is a child-centred creative, educational & interactive space, suitable for children up to the age of 9 years & their families.

It is a space for adults & children to engage in creative play, emphasising learning through hands-on experience and engagement. Imaginosity’s 3 floors of exhibits are educationally designed to inspire life-long learning through play, celebrating children’s imaginations, on the journey from curiosity to discovery. Booking is essential to guarantee entry.

Don’t Miss: Imaginosity’s Summer Camps, running weekly in July and August.

Malahide Castle, Dublin

Malahide Castle places to take your child this summer

Take a guided tour of one of Ireland’s oldest castles dating back to the 12th Century and learn the fascinating & colourful history behind the Talbot Family who owned Malahide Castle for nearly 800 years! Don’t get spooked in Puck’s corner!

Explore Malahide Walled Botanical Garden & Exhibition, perfect for little explorers with 7 glasshouses, 5000 species of plants, a grass parterre and lots of wildlife roaming happily. Visit the West Lawn and take your picture beside some of the oldest trees on the Malahide Castle demesne – including the contorted branches of the old oak tree and the ornamental ‘Cedar of Lebanon’ tree believed to be nearly 400 years old!

With 22 acres to explore it might be worth bringing your picnic and a flask!

Don’t Miss: The state of the art playground at Malahide Castle is located just 2 minutes from the Visitor Centre and has plenty of apparatus for the very little ones and the not so little ones to enjoy!

Wexford Lavender Farm, Wexford

Wexford Lavender farm places to take your child this summer

Wexford Lavender Farm is Ireland’s first Lavender Farm, with 2 acres of Lavender and woodland walks with 3 routes to suit all abilities. Kids will love riding through the lavender field on Billy the friendly Bull quad train, and playing in their outdoor playground.

And of course you can take home some Lavender plants for your own garden.

Don’t Miss: a homemade treat or lunch in The Purple Haze Cafe

Epic CHQ, Dublin

Mykidstime history places in Ireland Epic emigration museum places to take your child this summer

EPIC Ireland opened in May 2016 and tells the story of the Irish diaspora. Using the latest interactive technology, you can follow the story of 78 million people and 10 million journeys, through the themes of migration, influence, motivation and connection.

Children and adults alike, will be wowed by the interactive nature of the displays. 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.

Spire of Lloyd, Meath

spire of lloyd places to take your child this summer

The Spire of Lloyd in Kells is an inland lighthouse designed by Henry Aaron Baker (designer of the King’s Inn, Dublin) for the First Earl of Bective in memory of his father Sir Thomas Taylor in 1791. At 30m high, one can see magnificent views of the surrounding countryside as far as the Mourne Mountains in County Down, Northern Ireland on a clear day. The Spire was used to view horse racing and the hunt in the 19th century. It is open on selected dates during the summer.

Don’t Miss: the “Paupers Graveyard” in the community park (The People’s Park) in which many victims of the mid-19th century famine lie buried.

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Lough Boora Discovery Park, Offaly

lough boora summer places to take your child this summer

For something unique, visit Lough Boora Parklands in Co Offaly.  At Junction 7 on the M6 Dublin/Galway exit towards Moate/ Clonmacnoise and follow signs for Kilcormac and Lough Boora.

The Discovery Park consists of a magnificent collection of natural & manmade lakes, wetlands, woodland areas, 50km of walkways. Picnic benches and a bike hire facility, as well as guided tours are also available.

Don’t Miss: the sculptures throughout the parklands!

Emo Court House & Gardens, Laois

emo court gardens places to take your child this summer

Emo Court, near Emo village, Laois, was designed by the architect James Gandon in 1790 for the Earls of Portarlington and is a magnificent example of this neo-classical style. The house, which is accessible by guided tour only, is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland which were first laid out in the 18th century and contain formal lawns, a lake and woodland walks with many very fine trees and shrubs.

The gardens are open all year and entry to the gardens is free. The tearooms in the walled garden are worth a visit.

Don’t Miss: Take the 2.2km walking loop of the 20 acre man made lake, which includes foot bridges and pathways.

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Castletown House, Kildare

castletown house places to take your child this summer

Castletown House, Celbridge, is Ireland’s largest and earliest Palladian style house, with 120 acres of parkland. Guided tours of house from March to October daily, with Self Guide/Audio Guide option on Sundays. The beautiful restored parklands and river walks are open every day throughout the year and there is no charge to explore the parklands.

There are free children’s workshops on Sundays, and a regular programme of events throughout the summer months, including free music recitals, monthly markets and children’s tours of the house during school holidays.

Don’t Miss: the Summer Sunday Series free music recitals on Sunday afternoons in June, July and August

Altamont Gardens, Carlow

altamont gardens carlow places to take your child this summer

Known as the most romantic garden in Ireland, Altamont, near Tullow, is an enchanting blend of formal and informal gardens located on a 100 acre estate. Whilst still little known, it ranks in the top ten of Irish gardens and is often referred to as ‘the jewel in Ireland’s gardening crown’. The formal lawns slope down to a romantic lake, and there’s a fascinating walk, which kids love, through the Arboretum and Bog Garden. There’s a garden centre, tea-rooms during summer months, and picnic areas.

Don’t Miss: the Ice Age Glen with its canopy of ancient oaks leading to the River Slaney

Castlecomer Discovery Park, Kilkenny

Castlecomer Discovery Park on the water places to take your child this summer

Located 18 km North of Kilkenny City, Castlecomer Discovery Park has a range of exciting recreational, cultural and educational activities for visitors of all ages. Attractions include pedal boats and Canadian canoes on one of the picturesque lakes, a Tree Top Adventure Walk course nestled 10m high in the great Sycamore and Lime trees, a ‘Leap of Faith’ and Climbing Wall.

This ‘young park’ opened in 1997 and has 80 acres of natural woodland with 6km of trails throughout, a fishing lake, an interactive coal mining museum, design craft workshops and award winning Jarrow café (Bridgestone listed).

Don’t Miss: 3 permanent orienteering trails, perfect for a bit of trail practice with a compass!

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National Maritime Museum of Ireland, Dublin

National Maritime Museum of Ireland places to take your child this summer

Experienced guides will bring you on a voyage of discovery at the National Maritime Museum, enthralling you with stories of discovery, heroism, war and disasters at sea. You will learn about maritime history, exploration, navigation, radio, deep-sea cable technology, nature, wildlife and view art inspired by the sea.

See the 10-tonne revolving Baily Optic, try the electrified steam engine, and pause to reflect at the Titanic exhibit, the re-created radio room, the Royal Navy prisoners docks and the war memorial. Try your hand at sailor’s knots, or learn how they lift heavy weights. Afterwards visit the shop and café for a treat.

Don’t Miss: Being photographed with the pirate!

The Old Rail Trail, Westmeath

Old Rail Trail Greenway Westmeath Co Co Ireland's Content Pool

Image Credit – Westmeath Co Co

The Old Rail Trail begins in Athlone and follows the original Midlands Great Western Railway route along a 40km stretch from Athlone to Mullingar. The route is suitable for cyclists and pedestrians of all ages and abilities and takes you through the beautiful countryside in the Midlands and through some well known towns such as Moate and Castletown.

Don’t Miss: A visit to Dún na Sí Amenity and Heritage Park in Moate.

Corkagh Park Fairy Trails, Dublin

Corkagh Park Fairy Trail

Corkagh Park is a wonderful place to visit with children. Attractions include sports fields, nature walks, playgrounds, pet farm, fishing lake, arboretum and a duck pond but the real highlight is the Fairy Trail through the magical Fairy Wood.

Don’t Miss: Making a wish in the wishing seat beside the wishing tree.

The Cool Planet Experience, Wicklow

Cool Planet Experience Science of Climate Change 2

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 by inspiring visitors to make sustainability so cool it becomes the norm!.

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.

  • Time Travel to 2050
  • Discover how to help in the Disaster Scenario
  • Become an Agent of Change in the Brighter Futures Experience
  • Take part in Interactive Workshops, Demonstrations & Activities

Don’t Miss: The Forest of Hope

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#21. Leisureplex, Dublin & Cork

Free game of bowling for the family at Leisureplex places to take your child this summer

With 5 Dublin sites and 1 site in Cork to visit, you won’t be short of family fun at Leisureplex. From quasar to bowling and snooker to soft play there is something to amuse everyone in the family no matter what your age.

Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park, Westmeath

Dún na Sí Amenity and Heritage Park Westmeath County Concil Visit Westmeath Irelands Content Pool

Image Credit Westmeath Co Co

Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park offers hours of fun for families. From exploring the Turlough, walking trails, cycle paths, play areas, animals and wildlife to the amazing art and sculptures dotted around the park.

In the Heritage Park you can visit houses from the past including a fisherman’s cottage, blacksmith’s forge, farmhouse, hedge school, music house (teach ceoil), and trace your roots in the genealogy centre. Learn ancient arts & crafts, listen to traditional music and much more.

Don’t Miss: The Sensory Garden, a delight for all five senses!

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Places to Take Your Child this Summer in Connacht

Lough Key Forest & Activity Park, Roscommon

Located in Boyle, Co. Roscommon and set in the grounds of the old King-Harman Estate on the shores of island studded Lough Key, the Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, offers hours of entertainment for all the family.

A wonderful Adventure Play Kingdom will entertain the smallest visitors while the weather independent Boda Borg Challenge will test the mental skills and physical agility of everybody over seven! Take a boat trip on the lake or out to the islands, try the Zipit courses and you can even stay over in the campsite.

There are miles of biking trails and orienteering courses and loads of picnic spots as well as the Lakeside Café.

Don’t Miss: The Treecanopy walk and climb to the top of the Moylurg Viewing Tower

National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Mayo

Free things to do in Mayo NMI Country Life Museum Activity Sheets

The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Castlebar, brings to life the traditions of rural life in Ireland. Exhibitions are full of wonderful objects from long ago. See what schools were like, the toys children played with and how they marked special events like Halloween & Christmas.

Learn about how people lived in the towns and countryside, cut turf, caught fish and worked in the home. Workshops, exhibitions and family programmes for all ages and entry is free.

Don’t Miss: a stroll around the lake and lunch in the courtyard cafe.

Delphi Adventure Centre, Galway

Located in the heart of the breathtaking Delphi Valley​ n​ear Leenane in​ Connemara, ​Delphi Resort is one of Ireland’s leading family holiday destinations – ​be prepared for fun​, adventure and creating unforgettable memories on your family holiday to ​Delphi Resort.

The resort welcomes families back every year, with everything you need for the whole family to enjoy the perfect holiday:

  • Onsite Delphi Adventure Centre with over 20 water ​and​ land based adventure activities​ (for all ages and abilities) such as kayaking on Killary Fjord, archery, climbing and surfing​ on Cross Beach
  • Delicious, wholesome food served daily in the hotel restaurant and bar with mountain views (with children’s menus and seasonal options)
  • Variety of 4*, cosy family room types such as family rooms and two bedroom suites
  • FREE morning Kids Club for the little ones
  • FREE movies daily in the movie room during holiday season
  • ​Access to ​Delphi Spa​’s Thermal Suite for the adults – sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and relaxation area with mountain views
  • 20 minutes drive from several stunning beaches
  • Perfect base for exploring Connemara and South May​o​ regions​ – Westport, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara National Park and more!

​Enjoy all of this with your family, all while ​surrounded by the mountains of the Delphi Valley and the stunning Connemara ​scenery ​on the Wild Atlantic Way!

Don’t Miss: Go Zip! activity: 3 rounds of the all new 220m zipwire!

Portumna Forest Park, Galway

family at portumna abbey

Portumna Forest Park makes a great day out for kids, situated 1 km from Portumna town in Co. Galway. Pack up a picnic, outdoor gear and kids bikes/scooters for lots of outdoor fun, including leisure and mountain cycling, the Arboretum, Abbey Ruins, Forest Park, Walking Trails, and Orienteering with access for all. Picnic facilities available on-site.

There are 4 looped trails in the park, ranging from a multi-access trail suitable for all visitors of approx 1km length, to a long multi-use trail of over 10km for walkers and cyclists.

One of our favourite walks takes you near the edge of Lough Derg and back to the picnic area. We have seen deer and red squirrels, as well as birds, foxes and badgers. Dogs allowed, just keep them on lead at all times.

Don’t Miss: A visit to Portumna Castle in the heart of the town. It is an OPW site and visitors get access to the house and a lovely walled garden.

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Diamond Hill, Galway

diamond hill connemara

Diamond Hill located in Connemara National Park in Co. Galway has several looped walks including a Nature Trail walk of 0.5 km, a buggy-friendly 3 km-trail of Lower Diamond Hill, and the Upper Diamond Hill loop is a further 3.7 km with great views when you get to the top.

There is a fun kids playground and also the Connemara ponies to see.

Admission and parking are free, the park is open year-round with the Visitor Centre open from March to November. There are Tea Rooms by the Visitor Centre for light snacks and refreshments.

Don’t Miss: The view of Kylemore Abbey from the top of Diamond Hill.

Strokestown Park, House, Gardens and Irish Famine Museum, Roscommon

Strokestown typewriter

Strokestown Park houses the Irish National Famine Museum, a must-see visitor attraction for families. 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 take a stroll through the 6 acre walled garden and surrounding woodlands.

Don’t Miss: The Victorian Nursery complete with toys.

Jackie Clarke Collection, Mayo

 Jackie Clarke CollectionLocated in Ballina, the Jackie Clarke Collection showcases one of the world’s leading collections of historical Irish material. Discover 400 years of Irish history through the self-guiding family friendly interactive touch screens.

Discover something new about your family history by searching the in-house census and eviction records. Learn about Irish Native trees, organic vegetable gardening and the importance of our hedgerows in the Urban Walled Garden. Admission is FREE and you can enjoy lunch in cafe after your visit.

Don’t Miss: The Memory Pod where you can record and share your stories and memories.

Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park, Mayo

westport house

A visit to the West is not complete without a trip to the home of family fun at Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park.

Set on the 480 acre estate, explore the House and Gardens, or have some fun in the Pirate Adventure Park – a treasure trove of family fun with its Grace O’Malley-themed amusement park with rides and activities. Or take a trip of the newest attraction the Westport Train Tour which runs right through the grounds.

You also have a choice of milder to wilder adventure activities including zorbing, zip wire, archery, combat games, high ropes frame as well as tree climbing and archery tag. Be sure to arrive early for a full day’s fun – and dress for the weather!

Don’t Miss: The Swan boats!

Galway Atlantaquaria, Galway

Galway AtlantaquariaThe first time you venture through the entrance to Galway Atlantaquaria, Ireland’s largest aquarium, we guarantee you’ll jump!  That’s because their first exhibit is Ireland’s largest “Splash” tank!

You’ll also enjoy the ray pool, ocean tank, fin whale skeleton, touch pools and heaps of activities and fun things to do while you visit such as feeding the fish and touching starfish and crabs.

Don’t Miss: the Eel tank – see if you can spot them sliding in and out of the pipes!

Brigit’s Garden, Galway

brigits gardenBrigit’s Garden in West Galway, located between Moycullen and Oughterard, is a magical place for families to explore.

With family-friendly Celtic gardens, children’s discovery trail, willow play area and sandpit, Nature trail, ring-fort and crannog, gift shop and the award-winning, family friendly Garden Café.

Don’t Miss: The fun nature trail that takes you around the Garden

Places to Take Your Child this Summer in Munster

glór, Clare

places to take your child this summer

More than just a theatre, glór sits in the heart of Ennis town in Co. Clare and offers ample parking for visitors. They attract the best of local, national and International entertainment for all ages. And have a full line up of family fun and regular events including films, music, dance and theatre performances, classes and workshops. They also boast an art gallery and an on-site café with freshly cooked food. an amazing Italian inspired kids menu and seating indoors and outdoors so you can enjoy your visit whatever the weather.

And we love their BYOK (Bring Your Own Kids) and Leath/Leath nights, where well behaved kids can avail of discounted tickets and come along to shows with their parents! Saving you money on a babysitter.

Don’t Miss:  The Giant Chair in the main hall.

Fota House & Gardens, Cork

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.

Or you can 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.

Don’t Miss: A treat in the Bakestone Café!

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King John’s Castle, Limerick

limerick king johns castle

King John’s Castle delivers a modern visitor experience with a dramatic history of over 800 years of stories, all brought to life in a stunning exhibition. Touch-screen technology connects you to tales of siege and warfare, and a dazzling array of computer generated imagery, animations and ghostly projections are all part of the experience. Try on historic costumes including 18th century dresses or chainmail tunics. 3D models, discovery drawers and audio visuals help you to delve into the Castle’s history.

The busy Castle courtyard is home to a medieval campaign tent, a blacksmith’s forge and scenes from a 17th century siege. An array of colourful characters, reveal the secrets and scandals of castle life. Not to be missed!!!  Read what Jill and her family thought of King John’s Castle.

Don’t Miss: The Audio Visual Characters from the past that talk to you!

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Clare

bunratty castleAt Bunratty Castle & Folk Park everywhere is open for you to explore! The Castle is the most complete and authentic medieval fortress in Ireland. Built in 1425 it was restored in 1954 to its former medieval splendour and now contains mainly 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which capture the mood of those times.

Wander through the castle and marvel at the finest collection of medieval furniture in the country which brings to life a vital part of our medieval past. Visit the farm houses and cottages and watch the tasks of rural Irish life. Make sure you see the baking of the griddle bread next to the fire and tasting it hot with fresh creamery butter.

Don’t Miss: the playground full of fantastic play equipment!

Craggaunowen, Clare

Lughnasa CraggaunowenA highlight of any visit to Ireland is the Living Past Experience at Craggaunowen. It is off the beaten track and will give you a real sense of stepping back in time. The many paths of Craggaunowen have something of interest to adults and children alike. Explore the grounds and you may even meet some Bronze Age animals, our wild boar and soay sheep!

Be sure to visit the ‘Brendan Boat’ – a leather hulled boat built by Tim Severin who sailed across the Atlantic re-enacting the voyage of St. Brendan. To get away from the hustle and bustle of life stop into the Tea Room and enjoy a fresh scone and other homemade fare on offer. It’s fun for all the family!

Don’t miss: Lughnasa Festival in August

Titanic Experience Cobh, Cork

Titanic CobhThe Titanic Experience, Cobh tells the story of a legend and her connection to Cobh. Situated in the original offices of The White Star Line, retrace the footsteps of the 123 Queenstown Passengers who boarded Titanic from Cobh.

Upon check-in at the White Star Line Ticket Office you will receive your boarding card. Your boarding card will have the details of one of the 123 passengers who came to the White Star Line Ticket Office on Thursday April 11th 1912.

After check-in, experience life on board through the innovative audio visual technology, and replica set designs and discover the facts surrounding the tragic sinking of Titanic.

Don’t miss: the end when you will find out if you are a survivor or not!

Toy Soldier Factory, Cork

Toy Soldier Factory Cork

The Toy Soldier Factory, located at Macroom, Co Cork, is where visitors can come along and cast and paint their very own toy soldier or miniature figure to take home.

They can also see the world’s largest model scene of the famous Battle of Waterloo, which includes in excess of 15,000 hand painted model figures.

Don’t Miss: The Family Workshops which take place throughout the year.

Lifetime Lab, Cork

lifetime lab old cork waterworksLifetime 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 will 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. Lifetime Lab is suitable for all ages.

Don’t Miss: Make sure to allow time for the playground and garden overlooking the River Lee.

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Lough Gur Heritage Centre, Limerick

Lough Gur Heritage Centre

Lough Gur is a magical and mysterious place that is rich in folklore along with a wealth of archaeology and history dating back to Stone Age times. The Heritage Centre provides a fascinating interpretation of the sites associated with Lough Gur.

At the Heritage Centre you will find interactive exhibitions with touch screens. There’s a fully guided tour and also audio guides and outdoor acoustic guides to help you enjoy your visit. For children there’s an activity sheet, dressing up, and a neolithic pot building section.

Don’t Miss: The Archaeology Dig where kids can try out some digging!

Waterford & Suir Valley Railway

Waterford & Suir Valley RailwayThe 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.

The track runs mostly along the picturesque banks of the River Suir offering a glimpse into the world famous Mount Congreve Gardens and across the river to County Kilkenny. You will also see The Magic Wood, a magical Fairy glade, where the fairies come out to play and enjoy the sunshine during the day and at night they curl up to sleep in their little houses. Sometimes they can be seen among the trees but you have to look carefully!

Don’t Miss: the Family Fun Events every Wednesday and Sunday at Kilmeadan Station.

Fairy Trails, Kerry

fairy trails kerryThere are two magical fairy trails to be found in County 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.

Searching for the fairy homes on the Irish Fairy Trails is a great family fun adventure. Walking through the woods you will hear laughter and excitement as children on the trails discover yet another little house! On a rainy day you will still be in the shelter of the woods, making this an all-weather, year-round, magical family fun activity!

Don’t miss: the fairy house made out of a boot!

Places to Take Your Child this Summer in Ulster

W5, Belfast

W5 Belfast for science attractions in the UKwhowhatwherewhenwhy – W5 is Ireland’s award winning science and discovery centre at Odyssey in Belfast. With over 250 interactive exhibits and a changing programme of events, shows and exhibitions, W5 is a great value day out for all the family, we recommend you allow at least 2 hours for your visit.

Don’t Miss: Climbit, an unusual mixture of physical fun, exploration and art!

Slieve League Cliffs, Donegal

slieve league cliffs

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.

From here enjoy the view across the Atlantic to Sligo, Leitrim and Mayo. The cliffs cater for all levels of climber, with a rocky path leading you to the top.

Don’t Miss: The more adventurous can climb to one man’s pass, and discover early stone dwellings and sacred sites.

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Donegal Castle, Donegal

donegal castleDonegal Castle, Donegal Town, was built by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century. The O’Donnell clan held it until until 1607, when they fled Ireland following a failed rebellion – becoming part of the so-called ‘flight of the earls’. Red Hugh O’Donnell was the leader and one of the Earls that fled to Spain after the defeat at the Battle of Kinsale.

A few years later the King granted the castle and its lands to Basil Brooke, whose descendants owned it until 1898 when it was donated to the state. It was partially restored in the 1990s. Guided tours available.

Don’t Miss: The suits of armour – see how many you can count!

Cavan County Museum, Cavan

places to go in Ireland cavan county museumThe Cavan County Museum is located at Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan. The museum houses a medieval dug out boat and sheela-na-gigs, galleries on folk life in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, the great famine, Percy French & the GAA.

Don’t Miss: the World War 1 Trench Experience, the largest outdoor replica WW1 Trench open to the public in Ireland and the UK.

Marble Arch Caves, Fermanagh

Marble Arch Caves Family vacation Ireland

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: Lough Navar Forest, located approximately 5km outside the village of Derrygonnelly, and undoubtedly one of the jewels in the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, it is a spectacular forest.

Giant’s Causeway, Antrim

Giant's Causeway for unusual places to visit in the UK

The Giant’s Causeway provides a glimpse into the Earth’s most ancient past, and thus was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Made up of over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the Giant’s Causeway is the result of intense volcanic activity millions of years ago. Climb the Shepherd’s Steps and hike along the cliff-top trail to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful causeway coast.

Don’t Miss: The award-winning visitor centre, there are also guided tours/audio guides available.

Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh

Ulster American Park, Storytelling From Irelands Content Pool

The Ulster American Folk Park is an outdoor museum which tells the story of emigration from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Follow the emigrant trail, meeting an array of costumed characters on your way, as you journey from the thatched cottages of Ulster, on board a full scale emigrant sailing ship, leading to the log cabins of the American Frontier.

Don’t Miss: A visit to the school house!

Did you visit any of the 50 places we recommended? Tell us how you got on in the comments below!

50 Outstanding Places to take your child this summer in Ireland

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Published On: June 24th, 2015 / Categories: Ireland, Things To Do / Last Updated: March 19th, 2021 / 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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