As parents we know how expensive it can be to entertain the kids, so we thought we would put together a list of things to do for free with the children, yes, that are completely free of charge. You know, when you are looking for kids things to do, things to do when bored, the things to do for free! Here’s a list of our favourite free family things to do in Cork with children.
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Lewis Glucksman Gallery
The Lewis Glucksman Gallery is located on the campus of UCC which is only a 10 minute walk from the city centre, along Western Road and it is open to the public all year round. The Glucksman is an award-winning building that includes display spaces, lecture facilities, a riverside restaurant and gallery shop.
Free family art workshops are held on Sunday afternoons from 3-4pm. Led by practicing artists, these fun and interactive events invite children (and their parents!) to learn all about making art- from painting to sculpture, drawing to collage- and are open to all ages. There’s no need to book ahead – just go along at 3pm, armed with your imagination and ready to make your very own artworks.
We all have a few crusts of bread in the bread-bin from time to time – why not bring them along to your local lake/duckpond and let the children feed the ducks and swans? The Lough in Cork is a lovely shallow freshwater lake with numerous species of wildlife. It’s a Public Wildlife Refuge and is one of Ireland’s oldest protected areas. As well as experiencing the nature, you can also take advantage of their many nice walks. They have grassy areas for picnics if the weather is nice, and a playground for the kids.
Blackrock Castle Observatory
Blackrock Castle, formerly Mahon Castle, is a 16th century castle located about 2km from the heart of Cork city, on the banks of the River Lee. In an exciting collaboration between Cork City Council, the Cork Institute of Technology and a private benefactor, Blackrock Castle was re-opened to the public in November 2007 as CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, the Space for Science.
Blackrock Castle Observatory holds regular events throughout the year and many of these are free, for example their Open Days. Activities include family friendly workshops, lectures and interactive exhibitions.
Historical Sites in Cork
Cork has a lot of historical sites such as the stone circles at Drombeg, Reanascreena and Kealkil (to name a few – there are many others), standing stones, wedge tombs, round towers, fulacht fia’s and many other types of megalithic monuments. These sites are fascinating for children and the history behind them even more so. For details of these and more, plus the all important directions, click here.
Family Walks in Cork
In Cork we are spoiled with the number of walks available to us:
- Cultural walks such as through the stone corridor in UCC where you will find Ogham stones dating from 300-600AD
- A stroll around Crosshaven or one of the many other seaside towns to watch the boats
- A hike in the Galtees
- Get closer to nature with some of our favourite Nature Walks for the family in Cork.
Beaches in Cork
Cork can boast some of the most spectacular coastline in the whole country- the upside of this being, apart from the beautiful scenery, the fantastic beaches dotted around the place. Most beaches in Cork are sandy so are perfect for the all important sand-castle making/daddy burying/kite flying etc and some have nice little stretches of rockpools, great for ‘fishing’ and crabbing! These are some great ones:
- Claycastle Beach in Youghal is a beautiful beach with public toilets and parking as well as lifeguards during the summer.
- Garrylucas Beach in Kinsale (pictured above) is a sandy beach located beside the R604 road. Public toilets and parking are available.
- Warren Beach, Rosscarbery is a sandy beach accessed by turning off the N71 at Warren Cross. There is a pitch and putt next to the beach as well as public car parking and toilet facilities.
There are some great playgrounds throughout Cork. Why not print the list and aim to visit them all over time?- free and fun!
Why not visit your local library? Kids are always full of questions and the library is the one place they are guaranteed to find those answers – in a book! Children can join from as young as 2 and borrow books, cds and dvds from the junior library. Most Cork Libraries run regular free events and classes including art classes, parent and toddler groups, story time and junior book clubs. Check out your local library for more information, Cork City Libraries and Cork County Libraries.
Cork Public Museum
Situated in Fitzgerald Park within walking distance of the city centre, visit Cork Public Museum to gain an insight into the city’s rich history. There are archaeological exhibits that trace over 7,000 years of human settlement in Cork as well as interactive exhibits telling the stories of prominent Cork men and women in history. Entry is completely free.
Family Events in Cork
Keep an eye on our events page (to bookmark press Ctrl + D) for updated information on regular free events taking place throughout Cork. All the Cork city and county councils, the arts council and many more public and private bodies, hold regular, free, family friendly events such as festivals, carnivals, picnics, treasure hunts and seasonal things to do in Cork.