Spending quality time together with your family can be expensive. We asked Mykidstime parents to recommend their favourite low cost places to visit around Ireland. The criteria was under €40 for a family. Here are their picks, Low Cost Things to Do in Ireland With Kids Recommended By Parents:
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#1. Spike Island Cork
Visit the Spike Island Fortress – The Alcatraz of Ireland! Board the ferry from Cobh and take the short trip across Cork Harbour to Spike Island where a world of history and mystery awaits you. Guides are there to give you a full account of life on Spike Island during the centuries.
#2. Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre, Kerry
Mum Miriam was so impressed by Sea Synergy that she emailed us to let us know about it. She had a beach hunt with the owners for 90 minutes for just €10 per person. They learned loads of interesting facts about rock pools and other beach creatures and the kids loved every minute.
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#3. Siamsa Tire Theatre, Kerry
Another place recommended by Miriam was the Siamsa Tire Theatre in Tralee. Her family did an Irish dance lesson for just €6 each and felt it was a great place to pass a couple of hours on a rainy day.
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#4. Doneraile Wildlife Park, Cork
A few of our parents recommended Doneraile as a fun place to visit with the kids. It has a small garden maze and entry is free. There is a great cafe nearby but you could also pack a picnic.
#5. The Donkey Sanctuary, Cork
Near to Doneraile is the Donkey Sanctuary in Liscarroll and Mum Louise recommended a visit here. Entry is free but you can make a donation towards running costs. They have a picnic area and a gift shop on-site.
#6. The Farm Grenagh, Co Cork
Another hit with parents and kids and an opportunity to visit a working farm for an authentic experience. For younger members of the family, Tractor Ted Little Farm offers rides in what is believed to be the only motorised Tractor Ted in the world! You can also pet and feed animals and learning about how a farm operates.
#7. West Cork Secret
Set between the villages of Timoleague and Kilbrittain lies West Cork Secret Activity Centre and Gardens. Mum Tina told us her family had a great day out here doing orienteering, go-karts, water slide and a muddy obstacle course.
#8. Glenview Gardens and Hobbit House, Cork
Mum Ciara told us about Glenview Gardens and Hobbit House in Cork. They have 10 different garden designs with flowers, birds, fish and sculptures.
There is a woodland fairy trail, Oriental Garden, Sunken White Garden, Bog Garden, Italianate Canal and a Walled Garden with seasonal produce. And her children loved the goats Tom & Gerry and visiting the birds in the Aviary. Pack a picnic or use the self service tea rooms.
#9.Terra Nova Garden, Limerick
Privately owned, Terra Nova Garden is an oasis of calm and a feast for the eyes and the senses. It is also known as The Fairy Garden as a fairy fort stood on the original site and plants have thrived here even though the soil was poor. There is a fairy emporium on-site and visitors can take part in classes too.
#10. Crazy Cave, Kerry
Crazy Cave Activity Centre in Castleisland is located at Crag Cave. Mum Noreen says it is good value and will keep the kids entertained for hours. And during quiet times they have Fiver Fridays.
#11. The Rock of Cashel, Tipperary
Mum Orla took her family to visit the Rock of Cashel and kids u12 were free for summer. You have to pay a small amount for parking but even if you have to pay for the kids, it would still come in under €40. They packed a picnic and made a day of it.
#12. Mount Congreve House and Gardens, Waterford
Mums Fiona & Catherine both recommended a visit to Mount Congreve. There are 70 acres of gardens to explore including woodlands. And look out for their family fun days which take place during school holidays. Catherine’s family got to take part in a treasure hunt, bouncy castles and had their faces painted along with meeting some fictional characters.
They also recommended a trip to The Medieval Museum in Waterford where you can take an epic tour of the Viking Triangle. And afterwards enjoy a trip on the Siur Valley Railway, both of which offer low cost days out for families visiting the sunny South East.
#13. Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens, Waterford
Another recommendation from Fiona, learn about the life of Lafcadio Hearn through Victorian, American, Greek and Japanese gardens. Children have their very own discovery trail with secret pathways through the woodlands with fairytales and folklore along the way.
Make sure to visit in December to see The Enchanted Garden during the Winter Light Festival.
#14. The National Reptile Zoo, Kilkenny
Gina told us about the Reptile Zoo. The kids had a ball. The animal handlers were brilliant, very informative and engaging. Answered the 5 million questions coming from my kids and nieces with a smile. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
#15. Russborough House, Wicklow
Russborough House offers a good mix of free and low cost activities for a fun day out for the whole family recommends Michelle. The grounds are open year round and you can visit the playground free of charge. The gift shop and tours are open from March to December. Family tickets are for 2 adults and up to 4 children and you get a discount if you buy combined tickets to many of the different activities including:
- Guided house tour and exhibition centre with entry to the maze & walled garden
- Fairy trail, wildlife trail, tree trail, audio trail, playground
- Birds of Prey Centre
#16. Powerscourt Waterfall, Wicklow
Linda and her family brought a gazebo and portable BBQ along for her visit to Powerscourt Waterfall. Both kids and adults had a great day and her only word of warning was to pack a change of clothes as everyone will want to go paddling! There is a playground there too.
#17. JFK Arboretum, Wexford
Aisleigh told us the JFK Arboretum has a fantastic playground and great walks around the park and her family had a fun day out here and made use of the plentiful picnic benches.
#18. Johnstown Castle, Wexford
Faye told us Johnstown Castle in Wexford is a lovely day out for the family. I think it’s €3 per adult and kids under 5 go free. You can bring your own picnic or visit the cafe there.
#19. Ballycross Apple Farm, Wexford
Clara recommended this one to us. Ballycross Apple Farm in Bridgetown Co. Wexford. It’s about €12 or so for two adults and two kids. You can stay as long as you like and there’s lots to do. It’s great fun.
#20. Wells House, Wexford
Wells House was recommended by many parents. You pay by car rather than per person. They have a Gruffalo sculpture on their fairy woodland walk, small pet zoo, falconry, playground and archery. And there is an on-site cafe or you can pack a picnic.
#21. Glendalough, Wicklow
Lots of you recommended a visit to Glendalough. You told us to park in the lower car park and go to the visitors centre for advice on the best walks for your group. Pack a picnic and swimming trunks if you fancy a dip in the lake. And on Wednesdays during the summer they have free 2 hour nature workshops for kids.
#22. Castlecomer Discovery Park, Kilkenny
Many of you told us your kids had a great day out at Castlecomer Discovery Park. There are many activities to do, prices do vary and they get very booked up during holiday seasons, so check before you travel.
You can do everything from a mining experience to zip line and high ropes, orienteering, woodland nature adventure courses, archery, boating and climbing.
#23. Lough Boora, Offaly
Mum Melissa told us her family hired bikes for €3 & €5 and spent the day cycling the many trails through the forest and around the lake.
#24. The Irish National Heritage Park, Wexford
This outdoor museum depicts Irish history going back 9000 years. The park is scattered with ‘have a go’ challenges for kids and they can even pan for gold! There are two playgrounds to suit younger and older children and Mum Catherine told us her family had a great day out there.
#25. Duncannon Fort, Wexford
Dad Mark told us Duncannon Fort was really interesting and great value for families. You could spend a couple of hours here and then go to the beach afterwards. The tour lasts about 45 minutes and the Fort is open 7 days a week.
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#26. Delta Sensory Gardens, Carlow
Delta Sensory Gardens have 16 interconnecting gardens and are a fascinating place to visit, says Valerie. They have water features, plants and lots to see no matter what time of year you visit. They are fully accessible and offer a great low cost day out.
#27. Clonfert Farm, Kildare
You told us this is a great value day out with loads of activities including a pet farm, inflatables, playgrounds, go-karts, mini golf, football pitch and an indoor play area too.
If you have a family celebration you told us to check out the BBQ hut which can be hired out for groups.
#28. Kildare Farm, Kildare
Kildare Farm Foods is great and free in. Especially good for very young children as it is so contained. They have a train for €2.50 and crazy golf for older kids. Lots of animals to interact with too.
And Noelle told us there are so many animals, from camels to pigs and you can buy a tub of food and pop a Euro in the honesty box. You can feed all the animals there is also optional crazy golf, a train ride and build a bear. A beautiful cafe and then the farm shop a really lovely way to spend a few hours.
#29. The National Museum(s), Dublin
There are 3 Museums in Dublin to choose from and all offer free entry. You told us to check them all out and then head to Stephens Green with some bread to feed the ducks.
The National Museums of Ireland in Dublin offer a great day out and they host an array of family workshops and events throughout the year. Admission is free.
#30. Clondalkin Round Tower, Dublin
For a totally FREE interactive day out with the family head to one of South Dublin County’s cultural highlights, The Round Tower Clondalkin(www.theroundtower.ie) which is built on the site of a monastery founded by St. Mochua in the 7th century, and is one of only four remaining round towers in County Dublin. The recently launched Visitor Centre provides the perfect FREE family day out, as it brings the story of The Round Tower Clondalkin and the surrounding area to life through an exciting interactive experience. Fully accessible and can be reached by public transport.
What’s more, The Round Tower Clondalkin is located close to Corkagh Park, the Grand Canal Greenway and Áras Chrónáin Irish Cultural Centre, which combined together add a different heritage experience, away from the city centre and close to the natural outdoors of Dublin.
#31. The Botanic Gardens, Dublin
Free entry and Trish told us there is a cheap car park nearby. “Our 2 (3 & 6) love it. Love running around, climbing trees, seeing all the different flowers. They love the massive tropical greenhouse and you can feed the ducks.”
#32. Fort Lucan, Dublin
Fort Lucan is also a fantastic day out. We paid under €20 in for two adults and a child. We then bought the all ride wrist band for €7 (I think). We bought food there but you can bring your own food either. There are loads of activities to suit all ages.
#33. Ardgillan Castle, Dublin
Linda told us Ardgillan Castle in Balbriggan is a fab place with a great playground! “And Newbridge House and Farm in Donabate is also lovely!”
#34. Spraoi, Dublin
Spraoi on the Long Mile Road was recommended by Jennifer. You pay for kids and adults go free. She also recommended you check out your local cinema on Saturday & Sunday mornings for reduced rate family tickets.
#35. Wallaby Woods, Kildare
We had loads of recommendations for Wallaby Woods in Donadea, great staff and families had fun with the animals and on the obstacle course, in the playgrounds and the woods. It is suitable for a good range of ages too.
#36. The Irish Military War Museum, Meath
Denise and her family had a great day out here and enjoyed seeing the World War 1 & 2 memorabilia. They have an outdoor playground, petting zoo and a picnic area. You can drive a tank too but that does cost extra.
#37. Red Mountain Farm, Meath
Fiona told us Red Mountain Farm offers a great day out for younger children. It has animals, a big playground, 3 to 4 large sheds converted to indoor play areas which include; a hay bale maze, sand pit, race track for the kiddies with tractors and more. Great when it’s wet. You can also pay a bit extra for a horse & carriage ride or ‘aeroplane/train’ ride in converted barrels
#38. Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park, Westmeath
The Amenity & Heritage Park is in Moate and offers the perfect day out. You can visit the Amenity Park and then the Heritage Park where you will get a view into life in times gone by. With a ring fort, standing stone, cottages and different trades to see make sure you leave yourself plenty of time says Mark.
#39. Trim Castle, Meath
Mum Michelle told us she visited Trim Castle and the kids had great fun climbing and running around in the ruins. As an OPW site it was the perfect low cost place to visit with a group of kids.
#40. Roscommon Park, Roscommon
Mum Michelle also told us to be sure to visit Roscommon Park. It is free entry and there are lovely walks, a well equipped playground, duck pond and old castle ruins. Perfect for small children and she has spent many happy days there.
#41. Stephenstown Pond, Louth
Trish told us about Stephenstown Pond in Ardee. It is free to visit with a small charge for the car park and is surrounded by a nature park with an vast array of wildlife. You can feed the ducks, walk along the waterways and have fun exploring and you may even spot some fairies!
#42. Erika’s Fairy Forest, Cavan
Vivienne recommended you visit Erika’s Fairy Forest in Cootehill. Entry is free and you can spend hours wandering through the forest on the hunt for fairies.
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#43. Killykeen Forest Park, Cavan
Mum Sophia told us to pack the bikes and head to Killykeen Forest Park where they have a family cycle trail and some impressive forest walks. Entry is free and there is an option to do some watersports on Lough Oughter including boating, kayaking and fishing.
#44. Slieve Gullion, Newry
This one got a few recommendations for a fantastic free day out with a massive adventure playground, a great fairy trail, a Giant’s Lair, Woodland walks and a Walled Garden to explore.
#45. Lurgybrack Open Farm, Donegal
Lurgybrack Open Farm outside Letterkenny was recommended by Maura. She told us it represents great value for money with a zip-line, water slide, bouncy castle, climbing frame, slides, trampolines, sand pit, farm tours on a train and loads of animals to meet.
#46. Eagles Flying, Sligo
Faye said a visit to Eagles Flying was worth every cent for one of the best days out you will ever have.
#47. Glenveagh National Park, Donegal
Aisling told us we had to visit Glenveagh National Park. There are plenty of routes to walk and you can visit the castle for a reasonable price. She advised us to pack a picnic and spend the day exploring.
#48. Castle Adventure Open Farm, Donegal
Stephanie told us that she had a fantastic day out here for €28 for a family of 4. It is near Ballyshannon and has both indoor and outdoor facilities so perfect no matter what the weather. Open year round, if you are visiting during the summer make sure you take a trip to Rossnowlagh Beach too.
#49. Museum of Country Life, Mayo
Mum Sharon recommended this one as a great place for a free day out with the family and told us to look for classes and workshops that take place throughout the year.
The award winning Museum of Country Life in Mayo 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.
#50. Achill Experience, Mayo
Mum Irene told us about the Achill Experience in Mayo combining an Aquarium and Historical Centre including a re-constructed Boley House. Great to while away a few hours at a very reasonable price.
#51. Brigit’s Garden, Galway
Sophia had a few suggestions for Galway including a trip to Brigit’s Garden where you can learn more about our Celtic heritage and the kids love it as there are 11 acres of gardens for them to run around safely and lots to explore while there.
She also recommended stopping off at the playgrounds in both Oughterard and Moycullen and taking a trip to the Galway City Museum, which are all free.
#52. Galway Atlantaquaria, Galway
Tina told us her children really enjoy the Atlantaquaria in Salthill where her family got entry for €30 for 2 adults and 2 kids. They especially liked the submarine and being able to hold crabs and spent a happy few hours here.
#53. Turoe Pet Farm, Galway
Jennifer had this to say about Turoe Pet Farm, Loughrea; “Pretty farm with friendly animals, a few outside play areas, a huge jumping/bouncing castle with a toddler section and a soft play area again with toddler section! My 2.5 yo favourite place to go! Amazing staff, great food choices including a cafe with yummy 99s!!! Love it”.
And how about a visit to Coole Park afterwards…if you have any energy left? Free entry to thepark with great woodland walks, things to explore and cycle trails and a cool museum too.
#54. Athlone Castle, Westmeath
Dad Ultan told us a visit to Athlone Castle on the banks of the River Shannon was the perfect low cost day out. There are 8 interactive exhibition spaces so you can get hands on with history.
#55. Fore Abbey, Westmeath
Anna says that Fore Abbey has seven wonders including a bog, water that flows uphill, a tree that won’t burn, water that won’t boil and ruins aplenty to explore. And best of all entry is free.
#56. glór Ennis, Clare
This is one of my favourite low cost places to visit. Set in the heart of Ennis town, you can come to glór and enjoy the exhibition space, take a workshop, see a show or just stroll in and pick up a book from the ‘have a read on us’ shelves.
They have a great cafe with tasty treats and make sure to seek out the pizza vending machine where pizza is delivered to you in just 3 minutes!
#57. Bunratty Castle, Clare
I think Bunratty Castle offers exceptional value for money and has so much to explore that you will need the whole day! It is perfect for kids of all ages with its imposing castle, folk park with houses from a bygone era, old style street with working businesses and a school, doctors house, fairy trail, walled garden, playground and animals aplenty.
Over to you now. What’s your favourite low cost thing to do with your family? Tell us in the comments below.