Free Family Things To Do in Cork

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.

The Lough

the lough

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 lots of swans and other wildfowl. There are nice walks, grassy areas and a playground too.

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.

Open nights are held on the first Friday of every month from 6-10pm with inspired activities for visitors of all ages including family friendly workshops, lectures, stargazing with Cork Astronomy Club and the award-winning interactive astronomy exhibit, Cosmos at the Castle, which has free admission on these open nights.

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!


There are some great playgrounds throughout Cork. Why not print the list and aim to visit them all over time?- free and fun!

Cork Libraries.

Visit your local library. 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.

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.

Do you have a favourite spot to take the kids in Cork that is free? Share it in the comments below


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  1. Eileen says:

    farran woods is also a great place to go. It is free and has a lovely play area and walk around the park. Along the walk you will see deer and rabbits. There’s a lovely area for picnics too.

    There’s also the donkey sanctuary in county cork. Just mallow in a place called liscaroll, where you can get up and close to see the rescued donkeys and there’s also a lovely walk there too. It is free but they do have a donation box as this is a Charity based sanctuary so it might be handy if you brought a euro or two for the great work the volunteers do.