20 Free Family Things to Do in Ireland Summer 2014

Looking for ideas this summer for things to do with your child that won’t cost a penny?  Here at Mykidstime, we have rounded up the pick of 20 Free family things to do in Ireland with kids this summer.

#1. Enjoy our Free Museums and Free Family Events

MuseumofirelandnewlogoThe National Museums of Ireland in Dublin

The National Museums of Ireland in Dublin offer a great day out and are hosting an array of family workshops and events throughout July and August. Admission is free.

The National Museum of Country Life, Mayo

This award winning Museum of Country Life has lots of great free workshops and events throughout the year. There are interactive exhibitions and a fun games box for the kids. Admission is free.

#2. Enjoy a whirlwind of events at Cairde Festival, Sligo

Cairde is a week of music, dance, theatre, children events, visual art, spoken word, street art and spectacle, Park Fest and more… taking place 8th – 13th July.

#3. Take in Bray Summer Fest, Wicklow

Bray Summer Fest taking place 5 July – 5 August is a five week festival with a family friendly ethos providing specialised events for families, children and young people!

#4. Enjoy Street Performance in Dublin & Cork

Watch the world’s best all-round entertainers compete for the coveted ‘Street Performance World Champion’ title at the Laya Healthcare Street Performance World Championship in Dublin from July 11th – 13th and in Cork City from July 19th – 20th.

#5. See some Sandcastle Sculptures at Dublin Castle

This Summer Dublin Castle will play host to a spectacle of theatre, exhibition, sculpture and family fun. They will have 3 world-class exhibitions, a host of amazing sand sculptures, family trail days and 2 amazing theatre productions, including a 2 week run of the worlds most beloved Shakespeare comedy “A Midsummer Nights Dream”. Access to the exhibitions, sand sculptures and children’s sand area is free of charge.

#6. Enjoy more amazing sculptures at Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival

Continuing on the theme of sand sculptures, Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival, with fun family events and an amazing display of sand sculpted artwork takes place in Duncannon, Co Wexford 15th – 17th August.

More fun ideas: Free Things to do with Kids in Ireland

#7. See some Living History at The Battle of the Boyne

Living History Displays at the Battle of the Boyne site, Co Meath – these take place every weekend over the summer and offer a fascinating insight in to bygone times.

#8. Markets & Music at Castletown House Kildare

The last Sunday of every month (29th June, 27th July, 31st August) there are Country Markets and Craft Fairs which take place within the Stables and Stable Wing Courtyard of Castletown House in Kildare. There’s also live Music on the day 2pm – 4pm in the Courtyard.

They also have a Self-Guided Nature Trail where you can explore the wildflower meadow, cross a ha-ha or sunken fence on their way to the garden temple or make your way to the river Liffey at the bottom of the meadow.

duckrace#9. Enjoy a Duck Race at Bagenalstown Festival, Carlow

Bagenalstown Festival is a family friendly festival, taking place from July 19th & 20th. Events include free street entertainment, music, their ever popular duck race, raft racing along the river and a brand new event ‘Festival Family Fortunes’ which is based on the TV programme ‘All Star Family fortunes’.

#10. Enjoy some Art & Crafts at The Hunt Museum in Limerick

First Sunday of the month there are free Art & Craft workshops at The Hunt Museum in Limerick.

Related : Family Holidays in Ireland 2014

#11. Take a Gallery Tour at Visual Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow

Admission to the galleries at the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art is free of charge.  Gallery tours on Sundays are also free of charge – they take place at 2.30pm & 3.30pm and last 30 mins. No prior booking needed for families and small groups.

#12. Enjoy more Art at Butler Art Gallery, Kilkenny Castle

The Butler Art Gallery at Kilkenny Castle is open seven days a week, 10am – 5.30pm and admission is free.

#13. See the Leaning Tower of Galway

Visit St Colman’s Tower near Kinvara in Galway to see a genuine leaning Irish round tower. Not as exotic as Pisa but fun all the same!

#14. Enjoy Hidden Sculptures at Gleniff Horseshoe, Sligo

Visit Gleniff Horseshoe in North County Sligo and enjoy hidden sculptures along the way. Then carry on walking/driving/cycling (it’s approx a 10km loop) this incredibly scenic hidden valley. If you are driving check out the spot where you car will ‘roll up the hill’ too 😉 and keep an eye out for Diamuid and Grainnes Cave too.

#15. Go Retro at Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival, Offaly

Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival runs from August 1st – 8th with free entertainment for children including music, markets and fairs, arts and craft activities and more.

Coole Park Galway#16. Play Hunt The Thimble at Coole Park Galway

With walks, a walled garden with the famous Autograph Tree (which has carved initials by famous writers, poets and playwrights such as Yeats and GB Shaw), deer enclosure, and an interesting visitor centre where you can play “Hunt The Thimble” and pretend you are Lady Gregory’s grandchildren, Coole Park in Galway is a great place to head out to with a picnic and the kids in tow. Walks take place on Sundays in July & August.

#17. Go back in History at Loughcrew Cairns, Co Meath

A visit to Loughcrew Cairns is more suitable for older children as it’s a fair hike up to the top of the hills, but it is worth it for the amazing views.

#18. See a Deer at Phoenix Park, Dublin

The Phoenix Park is the largest urban park in Europe. It is home to the Zoo, Aras an Uachtarain, Farmleigh House, plus playgrounds & lakes. There is a huge amount of wildlife & a good chance that you will spot deer roaming around.

#19. Discover your heritage at National Heritage Week

National Heritage Week runs during 23rd – 31st August with free events across the country.

#20. Enjoy a Farmers Market

strawberriesThere are lots of Farmers Markets around the country, here are a few for you:

  • Kilkenny Farmers Market takes place at The Parade, Kilkenny City on Thursdays.
  • The old Potato Market is the venue for the Carlow Farmers Market on Saturdays
  • Galway Market takes place beside St. Nicholas Church Market, on Saturdays & Sundays
  • The vibrant Limerick Milk Market takes place on Fridays to Sundays

Have a great summer!

If you have any other suggestion for free things to do this summer that you’d like us to share with other parents, let us know in the comments below.

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