25 Fun Things to Do in Ireland With Kids For Summer 2016

Summer holidays can seem never-ending when you are trying to come up with new fun things to do with the kids, week after week. Well fear not, we’ve got you sorted! Here are 25 Fun Things To Do In Ireland With Kids For Summer 2016. Check out our 21 Free Things to Do with Kids in Ireland this Summer too.

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#1. Enjoy Free Museum Events in Dublin & Mayo

From Sun Discs to Artefact Detectives to Donkeys, there are heaps of free family events at the National Museum of Ireland museums this summer that are sure to entertain. Learn to write like an Egyptian, become a hands on historian, hold real dinosaur fossils, plus lots more.

national museum of ireland

Heritage Week at the Museums

Heritage Week runs from 20th to 28th August, and the Museums all have special events running during the week.

  • In the National Museum of Ireland Country Life in Mayo, check out Donkey Day ‘The Working Donkey’ on 25th August 12 – 4.30 pm, when the team from Sathya Sai, Sligo, Horse & Donkey Mayo Sanctuary, Kiltimagh and Irish Donkey Welfare Organisation return! Meet the donkeys, help groom them, see how their hooves are trimmed, and watch as they are harnessed and ready for work. There will be lots of games, demonstrations and information.
  • In the National Museum of Ireland: Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks on Sunday 28th August 3pm, join a family-friendly tour of the new Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising exhibition, looking at some of the highlights of the Museum’s extensive Easter Week collection. Booking required.
  • In the National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology, Kildare Street, on Saturday 27th August 2-4pm become an Artefact Detective – learn how to think like an archaeologist and try to solve the puzzle of some mystery objects during this drop-in session! Drop-in Activity for ages 8+yrs.
  • Drop in to the Discovery Zone of the National Museum of Ireland: Natural History, Merrion Street, on Wednesday 24th August 11-1pm, and learn about Irishwoman and scientist, Maude Delap, who was born 150 years ago, known for being the very first person in the world to breed jellyfish in captivity which revealed their fascinating life cycle. Learn more about these curious creatures and even make your very own jellyfish! Ages 8+ yrs.

#2. Take a Pony Ride at the Irish National Stud, Kildare

Irish National Stud Easter Events

The Summer fun events at the Irish National Stud & Gardens in Kildare Town include complimentary pony rides and face painting every Wednesday and Sunday in July & August for all younger visitors!

Just off the M7 motorway and only 30 minutes by car from Dublin and the M50, the Irish National Stud offers an unforgettable experience in 800 acres of beautiful Kildare countryside that can be enjoyed by all the family, with some of the most magnificent horses and sumptuous gardens to be found anywhere in the world, including the beautiful Japanese Gardens and St Fiachra’s Garden. Tour the Horse Museum, explore the magical ‘fairy trail’ in the woodland area, and let the kids run off some steam at the playground.

Recommended Reading: More Fun Things with do with Kids in Midlands & Dublin

#3. Get Animated at The Ark, Dublin

Get Animated Summer at The Ark

The Ark Dublin in Temple Bar, Dublin is a unique, purpose built, cultural centre where children aged 2-12 and their families can explore theatre, music, literature, art, film, dance and more. For 2016, the Ark’s summer programme theme is Get Animated.

Enjoy the beautiful free exhibition running until the end of August, that gives children (and adults) a glimpse behind the scenes of the creation of Song of the Sea, featuring original drawings, prints and storyboards. Plus there’s also a whole host of animation-themed workshops for children to get practical and create their own work, guided by professional animation artists from Irish studios Brown Bag Films, Paper Panther as well as Cartoon Saloon. In August you can catch Kila and their fun family gigs!

#4. Calling All Fairies & Elves to Brigit’s Garden, Galway

Elves & Fairies

Brigit’s Garden in West Galway, located between Moycullen and Oughterard, is a magical place for families to explore at anytime of the year.

This summer the Fairy Queen and Elf King are inviting all fairies and elves, young or old, to join them for a day of fairy magic and fun at Elves & Fairies Day, on Sunday 21st August from 1.30pm in Ireland’s award winning Celtic gardens. Come dressed in your favourite elf or fairy costume for an enchanting day of storytelling, an epic tug of war with the Elf King, fairy circle dancing and a treasure hunt, along with face-painting, crown-making and lots of fun! No booking required.

When: 21st August

#5. See ‘The Railway Children’ at King John’s Castle, Limerick

The Railway Children

King John’s Castle in association with Chapterhouse Theatre present an outdoor performance of ‘The Railway Children‘ on August 1st, promising an enchanting and unmissable evening of theatre under the stars..

This unforgettable and heart-warming story of adventure and family set in the heart of the Yorkshire countryside, tells the lives of three children who are changed forever by the mysterious disappearance of their father. Finding a new home in a beautiful but isolated village the children make new friends and discover the wonders of the Yorkshire hills and the railway lines scattered throughout them.

With stunning period costume, traditional music and songs and a whole host of unforgettable characters, ‘The Railway Children’ is a treat for all the family.

When: 1st August

#6. Get Arty at the Hunt Museum, Limerick

hunt museum kids arts and crafts club

This Summer the Hunt Museum in Limerick is jam-packed with family friendly and kids activities.The museum will be running it’s free Kids Art & Crafts club in August, which is a great opportunity to get creative with your kids through a variety of arts and crafts. Suitable for 4-8 yrs, the club takes place on the first Sunday of every month from 2.30 – 4 pm, and advance booking is recommended.

#7. Experience Lughnasa at Craggaunowen, Clare

A highlight of any visit to the West of Ireland is the Living Past Experience at Craggaunowen, which 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.

On the 31st July and 1st August, the annual Lughnasa Festival, in honour of the Celtic God Lugh of the Tuatha de Danann (God of arts and crafts), takes place and marks the start of the harvest season and celebrates life through the ages. See re-enactors dressed in costume spanning from the Iron Age to the Easter Rising, and a number of showcase events from different time periods are planned over the weekend.

When: 31st July & 1st August

#8. Spot Fairies, Elves & More, Kilruddery Wicklow


There lots of events to amuse the family at Killruddery House & Gardens this summer.

  • On Sunday 31st July become a woodland faerie for a day – hear enthralling lore from the Faerie Queen, craft garlands, crowns and other items fit for a faerie tale.
  • Punchlion Children’s Comedy show is on Saturday 6th August at 11am.
  • Also on Saturday 6th August see the popular Kilruddery Falconry Show.
  • Firefox Bushcraft have a wood whittling workshop and Family Adventure workshop that are worth checking out on Sunday 7th August.

#9. Learn About Irish Diaspora Epic CHQ, Dublin

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

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.

#10. Discover Art at National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin


The National Gallery of Ireland, located in the heart of Dublin, holds the national collection of European and Irish fine art, and offers plenty for children and adults alike. Pick up a free Family Pack with paper, pencils, discovery trails and activity sheets at the Information Desk in the Millennium Wing. They also have free audio guides, suitable for children aged 6-10.

Take part in the Family Workshops at weekends, as well as lots of other events. And if you’re a new parent, they do New Parents’ Tours for parents, guardians and carers of infants from 2pm on the 3rd Wednesday of each month from July to November.

11. Visit Comic Con, Dublin


Dublin Comic Con takes place in the Convention Centre, Dublin on August 6th & 7th. Highlights include Interactive sets, prop and costume displays, panel discussions and guest signings, crafts tables, games, stalls and much more. A must for all comic fans.

When: 6th & 7th August

#12. Make Artworks at IMMA, Dublin

imma -formalgardenview

The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), home to the national collection of modern and contemporary art, is housed in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the finest 17th-century building in Ireland, and admission is free.

IMMA has a broad range of family programmes to engage audiences of all ages with drop in Family Workshops where children and grown-ups can enjoy visiting an exhibition and making artworks together in the gallery. The Family workshop is on Thursday and Friday mornings in the summer months- just drop into the main IMMA reception at 10 am to join.

#13. Spot Whales Around Ireland


All Island Whale Watch Day is on Sunday, August 23rd. Members of the public are invited to join the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) on one of 20 land-based whale watches being held at headlands around the Irish coast between 2:00-5:00 pm. Find your closest event.

When: 23rd August

#14. Go Retro in Birr, Offaly

birr vintage week

Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival runs from July 29th July to August 5th 2016 with free entertainment for children including music, markets, fairs, arts and craft activities a parade and much more.

On August 1st watch at the Ormand Flying Club take to the skies for an Airshow which promises to be bigger and better than last years!
When: 29th July to 5th August

#15. Build Sandcastles in Duncannon, Wexford

Duncannon Sand Festival

Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival, with fun family events and an amazing display of sand sculpted artwork takes place in Duncannon, Wexford from August 5th to 7th 2016

This year attendees can enjoy Fireworks, Magic & Puppet Shows, Beach Games, Street Theatre and a giant Beach Party. Most of the events over the weekend are free.

When: 5th August – 7th August

#16. Go back in Time at Loughrea Medieval Festival, Galway


The 3 day Loughrea Medieval Festival runs from 26th – 28th August during National Heritage Week, and comprises scenes of everyday life in Medieval Loughrea, as well as being jam-packed with fun events and performances that will entertain the whole family.

Celebrate Walled Towns Day with re-enactments, craft demonstrations, medieval music, food and craft market, boat trips, traditional ‘have-a-go’ craft workshops, children’s traditional games, grand parade and lots more.

When: 26th – 28th August

#17. Hear Pirate Stories at Galway City Museum, Galway

Galway City Museum

Galway City Museum  situated in the heart of Galway City, is free of charge and tells the story of Galway’s past, and there’s a full line up of FREE events taking place during August.

  • On Saturday 20 August at 11.30am join guide Seán Leonard on this kids and families walking tour (8+yrs) as he shares the best of Galway’s great stories. Expect tales of pirates, fierce creatures, naughty soldiers, naughtier mayors and even one heroic baboon!
  • And on Saturday 27 August from 11am – 12.30pm & 2pm – 3.30pm, Sensational Painting
    is a children’s art class in which participants will ‘paint’ Chopin’s music as they ‘feel’ it, and in doing so create their own abstract masterpiece. Suited for 5+ yrs.

#18. Festival Fun at Lough Boora Discovery Park, Offaly

Lough boora festival

For something unique, visit Lough Boora Discovery Park on August 20th for their family festival ‘OurLand’ set against the backdrop of the stunning Lough Boora Discovery Park.

Families can enjoy a line-up packed with family entertainment, educational and adventure activities across the four themed stage areas of Positive Energy, Air, Earth and Fire including: musicians Mundy and Ruaile Buaile, DJ Donal Dineen, Phil Smyth of RTE Insiders, an Imaginosity area, along with activities including Xtreme zip lining, ArtZone, a silent disco and the Bird, Bee & Butterfly Ball.

When: 20th August

#19. Explore the Waterworks at Lifetime Lab, Cork

Lifetime 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 the interactive exhibits and transform into environmental detectives discovering how daily choices impact our world. New for 2016 is the multi sensory 360 experience charting the development of the former Victorian waterworks in tandem with the development of Cork City, which is worth a visit.

#20. Swim in the Outdoor Heated Lido,Tipperary

The towns of Killaloe, Co Clare and Ballina, Co Tipperary are nestled on the banks of Lough Derg and are separated by a bridge spanning the river Shannon, which both cars and pedestrians can cross, so one minute you are in Co Tipperary and the next in Co Clare!

Along the banks of the Shannon in Riverside Park on the Ballina side of the town, there is a hidden gem which opens to the public during the summer months – an outdoor heated swimming pool. Right beside there is plenty of parking, picnic benches, a well equipped playground and outdoor exercise equipment for all the family to enjoy.

#21. Fun of the Festival at Rosscarbery, Cork


The annual Rosscarbery Family Festival will be held from August 6th to 14th, and the week long programme of events has plenty to entertain the whole family including outdoor theatre and music.

There’s water activities and safety, pavement art, art and craft classes and workshops, sandcastle and sand sculpture competitions, fancy dress competitions and lots more too from bouncy castles to pig racing!

When: 6th – 14th August

#22. Go Racing at The Currage, Kildare

Fundraising Ideas Race Night

The Curragh Racecourse in association with Kleenland are hosting a Family Fun Day on August 7th 2016. All families will get FREE admission and can enjoy a variety of family friendly entertainment throughout the day.

When: 7th August

#23. Step Back in Time in Kells, Meath

battle of kells festival

Head to the Battle of Kells Medieval Weekend for some historical family fun on August 20th & 21st 2016 – step back in time to Kells’ rich medieval past with a weekend of jousting, re-enactments, street theatre, falconry, storytelling, living history demonstrations, lectures, archery and children’s entertainment!

The UK’s premier Medieval Jousting stunt team, the Knights of the Damned, will display their high speed action, skillful mounted knights and a fantastic colourful spectacle, and there’s also a live re-creation of a 14th century Medieval House with master craftsman Eoin Donnelly, who constructed a Viking Long House at the National Botanic Gardens.

When: 20th & 21st August

#24. Enjoy Wild Words Carrick On Shannon, Leitrim

Confirmation Gifts that Aren't Money

The Carrick On Shannon Children’s Book Festival – Wild Words runs on August 13th & 14th 2016.

With authors and illustrators from far and wide running workshops, hosting readings and loads of fun activities planned, it is sure to be a great event for all the family with plenty for every age group, including doodle, illustration and writing workshops for kids. We particularly love the sound of the George’s Marvellous Medicine workshop!

When: 13th & 14th August

# 25. Discover your Heritage at National Heritage Week


National Heritage Week runs from August 20th – 28th 2016 with free events for all ages across the country. Events take place across the country, including opportunities for free guided tours of many of our heritage attractions. The perfect way to finish off the school holidays!

When: 20th – 28th August

Over to you! Are there any other events that you enjoy which we should include? Let us know in the comments below.


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