As parents we know how expensive it can be to entertain the kids, so don’t miss our list of free things to do in Laois with children that are lots of fun!
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There are plenty of free things to do in Laois that make for a wonderful family-friendly day out. Take a look at some of the best picks below and don’t forget to let us know your favourite!
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Free Things to Do in Laois For Families
The 18th century Heywood Gardens is a heritage site with a series of formal gardens designed by the famous architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, lakes, woodlands and unique architectural features.
There is free admission and the Gardens are open all the year round.
Visit a Local Playground
There is nothing more enjoyable for kids than a trip to the playground. The fact that it’s free is just a bonus!
There are some great playgrounds in Laois, offering all the usual play equipment, as well as skate parks, walking paths, fairy trails and other outdoor activities. Make sure to bring some snacks and drinks or a picnic lunch.
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Stradbally Steam Museum
Learn more about Laois history at the Stradbally Steam Museum which houses many steam, fire and farm engines. These include a Land Rover Fire Engine which was stationed at Stradbally fire station in approximately 1950, a Guinness Loco Engine which was used around the Guinness Brewery streets over 50 years ago, and a homemade steam tractor.
Take a Walk at Emo Court
Emo Court Park and Gardens is a wonderful amenity with over 100 acres of parkland and gardens. As well as the Gandon-designed historic house, there are beautiful gardens, parkland, wooded walks and a lake with lots of swans and ducks.
Picnic benches are available throughout the park and many visitors bring picnics on fine summer days. The Tea Rooms onsite are child-friendly and open daily from 10am.
Entry to the Park is free and is open throughout the year during daylight hours.
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Clamp Hole Waterfall
The Clamp Hole Waterfall is a three-tiered waterfall at Glenbarrow, where you’ll find a choice of long and short looped trails and the first trail is buggy-friendly as far as the area known as Flat Rock. The Glenbarrow Waterfall Loop is a 4km loop with mix of forestry paths, woodland trails and tracks. This loop is one of three which start and finish at the Glenbarrow trailhead at Clonaslee – key features include a section of riverbank along the River Barrow, a spectacular 3-tiered waterfall, and natural woodland that in Spring is ablaze with bluebells.
There are shallow pools where children can paddle, and above the three waterfalls, a pool deep enough for adults to dip in. Just be careful on slippy rocks and don’t bathe if the river is in spate. There are picnic tables along the way.
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Festivals and Events
Keep an eye on our monthly round-up of what’s on around the country to find free family events worth visiting. From festivals to family fun days, you never know what will pop up in your area!
The Rock of Dunamase
The Rock of Dunamase is an historic site of a fortress ruin and there are wonderful views from the top.
While it is not suitable for buggies, children love checking out the views through the various parts of the ruin.
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Your local library branch is a wonderful – and free – resource for families. Many of the libraries in Laois run or host parent and toddler groups, storytelling sessions, arts and crafts classes, book clubs, chess clubs, games and activities sessions and so on.
Not to mention the fact that there is free computer access and the option to borrow books and DVDs! For a change of scenery, why not visit a different library to your local branch?
Timahoe Round Tower
Near the village of Timahoe stands the 12th century Timahoe Round Tower, complete with some stunning carvings. An extraordinarily carved doorway makes this the most elegant round tower in Ireland.
The tower stands almost 30 metres high and is more than 17 metres wide at its base, with walls that are nearly two metres thick. Kids will love to explore this fascinating tower, creating stories and using their imagination.
The picturesque parkland surrounding the tower makes it an ideal destination for a family picnic in nice weather.
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What are your favourite free things to do in Laois as a family? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!
Lead Image: Heywood Gardens © Tourism Ireland