Are you searching for things to do near you? Do you want to do something special at the weekend? Or have a midweek treat with the kids? We take the hard work out of entertaining the family with our pick of what’s on and things to do with kids in Ireland for the coming months, from family fun days, to festivals, to days out
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Round Up of Family Things to Do in January 2018
The 3 National Museum of Ireland sites in Dublin have a host of FREE activities and events taking place in January.
Events at NMI Archaeology include:
- Precious Gifts and Where to Find them a look at where archaeologists find precious objects. Create a special bookmark with precious objects. Suitable for families ages 7+ on December 30th and January 6th.
- Budding Scribes workshop for families aged 10+ takes place on January 3rd. Free but booking required email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 6488334.
- Gold, Amber and Bronze Tour on January 4th with Trisha Ryan.
- Take a tour of the treasures of the museum on January 20th. Suitable for families aged 7+. No booking required.
Events at NMI Natural History in January include:
- Open daily from January 2nd 2018 come along and pick up the Do Not Disturb Activity Sheet to fill in while you visit.
- For families aged 8+ check out a Selection Box of Natural History Mysteries in the Discovery Zone on January 6th.
- Learn how the museum acquires and cares for their collection with a special taxidermy talk on January 27th. For families aged 12+. No booking required.
Events at NMI Decorative Arts & History in January include:
- Join Armagh Ryhmers on January 2nd for a seasonal performance of stories with costumes and specially crafted masks. Suitable for all ages and no booking required.
- Artist in Residency – Róisín de Buitléar will have a studio on site at Collins Barracks throughout 2018.
- In Kind is an exhibition by local artists and is open to the public from January 2nd 2018 to March 11th 2018.
- Eileen Gray tour take place on January 28th 2018 and is suitable for families aged 7+
The NMI Country Life in Mayo has FREE events in January including:
- Nollaig na mBan (Women’s Christmas) musical celebration on January 6th from 2pm to 3pm.
- Knitting and Crochet Circle on January 19th from 11am to 1pm (beginners welcome)
- The Hoard and the Sword Exhibition is open from January 3rd to 28th 2018.
- Open Mic Afternoon on January 21st from 2.30 to 4.30pm for adults and children aged 12+
- Meet the Connacht Textile Crafters on January 27th from 11.30am to 12.30pm and from 3pm to 4pm.
- Make a St Brigid’s Cross at the museum on January 28th.
Imaginosity Dublin have events running throughout January for children including Scavenger Hunts and play days. And Children aged 3 to 9 years can take part in a special art and craft workshop COCO Skull Creations on January 2nd & 4rd from 2pm to celebrate the release of the new Disney movie COCO.
The Ark Dublin have family and adult friendly events running this January all with a trad music theme including:
- Music in Glass Exhibition from January 20th to February 10th
- Socks in the Frying Pan Trad gigs for children on January 26th & 27th.
- Give Trad a Try on January 27th & 28th.
- Children’s Craft Club on January 27th & 28th.
- The Butterfly and the Mockingbird early years performance on January 28th.
- Children’s Open Trad Session on January 28th.
Lough Key Forest Park, Roscommon have Children’s Craft Classes taking place every Sunday in January. The classes are suitable for ages 6 to 12 years and run from 11am to 12pm. Booking is essential; email email@example.com. Cost is €10 per class and includes all materials.
glór Ennis have a full line up of events for families this January 2018 including:
- Music from St Flannan’s College Trad Club with special guests the Kilfenora Céllí Band on January 5th at 8pm.
- The Kilfenora Céllí Band will perform also on January 6 & 7th at 8pm
- Yoga for Teens workshops begin again on January 8th from 4.30pm to 5.30pm for 7 weeks.
- Art Classes for Children Spring term begins on January 13th from 10.30am to 11.30am and are suitable for children aged 5 to 12 years.
Galway City Museum have a FREE guided tour on January 6th from 12pm to 12.45pm. Tour visitors will discover the fascinating history and folklore behind the exhibitions including a rare Penfold Post Box!
The National Print Museum, Dublin have a FREE guided tour of their collection on January 7th and every Sunday in January at 3pm. Each visitor is offered the opportunity to hand compose and print a poster during the tour!
The Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin have a FREE Sunday Sketching Workshop running on January 7th. Suitable for ages 6+ it takes place from 3pm to 4pm.
Alliance Française Dublin hosts La Petite Nuit des Idées on Thursday 25 January at 4pm, Admission free. Children from 5 to 11 years old will get the opportunity to join us for an interactive discussion and create a collective story by video conference with children from London, Paris, Dublin, Dakar and Marrakesh! The workshop will be led from Paris by the famous children books writer Anaïs Vaugelade.
Based on the game “Once Upon a Time “, kids will engage in short debates allowing everyone to share their views on various topics in a fun and educative way. Presented by Institut Français Paris in association with Alliance Française Dublin and the Institut Français in London, Marrakech and Dakar. At The French Library, 1 Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Half Light at The Mill Theatre, Dundrum. Friday 26th and Saturday 27th January. Imagine this: you’re walking up a mountain, through a forest of pine trees, and you’re trying to find your Dad. He’s been taken by a monster.
Meet Robin, a ten-year-old boy travelling through the magical woodland of his father’s storybook. A tale which is as true as it is untrue. Half dark and half light. Ages 8+
School performance Friday 26th January 1pm – please email firstname.lastname@example.org for school bookings (€8 per child)
The Crawford Art Gallery in Cork have 5 exhibitions of work from different artists for January and is FREE to visit.
Save the Date
Round Up of Family Things to Do in February 2018
A one off 4 days of performing arts, Wide Eyes is especially for young children aged 0 to 6 years and features theatre, workshops and installations from some of Europe’s finest artists producing work for early years. There are 3 magical free events for families that weekend too:
- Finding Magic, miniature art works made especially for very small children on the streets and in venues around Galway City
- Sky Phonics, an interactive audio and visual installation, at NUI Galway
- Flash Mob at Eyre Square on Sunday 4 Feb at 1.30pm
glór Ennis have a full line up of events for families this February 2018 including:
- Little Folk on Tour with Kyle Riley on February 3rd at 10.30am & 12.30pm
- Public Spinning a FREE event presented by the mid-western spinners and textiles group on February 3rd from 12pm to 2pm
- Bosco Meets Hansel and Gretel by The Paula Lambert Puppet Theatre on February 17th at 1.3pm
- Rithimí Nua presented by glór and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance are a series of FREE lunchtime concerts showcasing the development of traditional music and dance in an informal setting. February 8th at 1pm and March 8th and April 12th.
- Keith Barry’s Magic Madhouse on February 11th at 8pm
- The Jarlath Henderson Band a BYOK (bring your own kids event) is on February 22nd from 8pm
- Wyvern Lingo are on February 24th from 8pm a three-piece from Wicklow and have previously toured with Hozier
Things to Do in December 2017
Places are filling up fast for Santa Visits. If you have not booked yours already, be sure to check out 50 Magical Places to Visit Santa in Ireland and The Best Value & Free Places to Visit Santa in Ireland
Check out The Best Christmas Markets in Ireland & the Best places in Ireland to see Christmas Lights & Where to go Ice Skating in Dublin & Around Ireland & Sensory Shows, Pantos & Places to Visit Santa & Round Up of the Best Pantos for a Family Trip to the Theatre
Frozen Sing Along with face painting is on at glór Ennis on December 9th from 4.15pm. Come along for a fun-filled afternoon of singing. Ballet Ireland presents Romeo & Juliet on December 15th and Cinderella by The Pantoloons is on from December 22nd to 31st.
The Henry Girls are back at The Ark Dublin with their show Tracks in the Snow on dates from December 2nd to 30th.
The Museum of Country Life in Mayo has a weekend of free festive family entertainment, crafts and festive fun on December 16th & 17th.
Chapterhouse Theatre Company present A Christmas Carol on December 18th at Belvedere House and Gardens, Mullingar. Tickets are selling fast so book yours today for this magical family event.
Lough Key Forest Park in Roscommon are have a Christmas Sunday for families on December 17th from 11am. Activities will include:
- Festive arts and crafts class
- Christmas Movie with festive treats
- Festive floral demonstration
- Santa will be there with his helpers and you can enjoy festive singing, mince pies and mulled wine.
Come along and be entertained by the current students at the Betty Ann Norton Theatre School on Sunday December 17th at St. Louis High School, Rathmines, Dublin 6 from 7.30 when they present “The Magical Window” a delightful Christmas show to be enjoyed by all the family.
For those wishing to register for a course at the renowned Betty Ann Norton Theatre School & Agency beginning in January 2018, you will receive 10% off all courses when you Book by Saturday, 16th December
- When: Online or at Registration Day from 10am – 4pm
- Where: Cuisle Arts & Cultural Centre, St. Louis High School, Rathmines, Dublin 6
- Why: Teach you child to communicate well for life in a safe, fun environment.
The Grand Parade in Cork will be once again transformed into a festive feast for the senses from December 1st to 22nd 2017 as the Glow Festival returns to light up the city skyline.
On December 3rd, Waterford Castle Hotel will host their 5th annual Christmas Family Fair with food, entertainment and festive fun for all ages.
Winterval is back in Waterford for 2017 from November 17th to December 23rd a traditional family festival celebrating all things festive.
A must for all Harry Potter Fans, 3Arena Dublin are hosting Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Concert on December 6th. Watch the film on a giant screen and listen to a live orchestra performing alongside the screening.
Enjoy a Christmas Open Day at Collins Barracks (Museum of Decorative Arts & History) on December 10th from 2pm to 5pm. All welcome with free events and festive activities for families.
YuleFest Kilkenny takes place across Kilkenny from December 1st to 31st, incorporated into the festival is Medieval Week from December 1st to 8th, Cultural Week from December 9th to 15th and Arts Week 16th to 24th December.
Mullingar Christmas Market runs from December 7th to 10th 2017. Go along to stock up on Christmas goodies and soak up the festive spirit.
Be sure to check out the Best places in Ireland to see Christmas Lights & Where to go Ice Skating in Dublin & Around Ireland
The annual Hullaballo Children’s Arts Festival takes place in Offaly from November 1st to 4th 2017. Events will take place in Birr, Endenderry and Clara and in selected libraries including a Harry Potter Night in Tullamore Library on November 1st from 5.30 to 7pm.
Living a Wild Life with Colin Staffod-Johnson takes place at glór Ennis on November 9th at 8pm. It promises to be a spell-binding evening for all ages.
Lough Key in Roscommon are running Sunday morning baking classes for kids starting November 12th. The classes will take place in the Moylurg Room next to the lakeside Café and are for children aged 6 to 12 years. They cost €12 per child and run from 11am to 12pm. Booking is essential. To book a place please call (071) 9673122 or email: email@example.com
Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo opens on November 3rd. Go along to see the Zoo in a whole new light!
The Dublin Book Festival is back from November 2nd to 9th 2017 with an amazing line up of events for readers and book lovers of all ages.
The annual Waterford Film Festival is back from November 3rd to 5th 2017.
The 4 National Museum of Ireland sites Dublin & Mayo, have no shortage of FREE workshops for families this November 2017 including:
- Winter Trail Activity Sheets , Something Wicked this Way Comes, Exploring Ancient DNA and The Bone Vault at Kildare Street Museum of Archaeology
- The Hoard & the Sword Echoes of the Vikings Exhibition, The Willow House, Spooky Shadow Puppets Workshop, Knitting & Crochet Circle, Open Mic Afternoon, The Vikings in Ireland and Connacht Textile Crafters demonstration at Turlough Park, Mayo Museum of Country Life
- Shadow Puppet Workshop, Hands on History for Science Week, Christmas Advent Calendar Workshop, Eileen Gray Tour and Culture Club at Collins Barracks, Museum of Decorative Arts and History
- Busy Bees Activity Sheet, Open Day to celebrate 160 years of the Natural History Museum, Merrion Square is on November 4th, The Bone Vault, Inspectorium: What on Earth? activity for Science Week, Christmas on the Square and The Do Not Disturb Activity Sheet.
The Ark Dublin have family and adult friendly events running this November including: Songwriting & Digital Tools Workshop on November 1st, Spooky Sounds & Song Workshop on November 3rd, Strange Feathers by Fidget Feet on November 4th & 5th, Talk for Grown Ups – I still want to go to space on November 16th, Music Gig for Families – Space on November 17th & 18th and a Talk for Families – My Place in Space on November 19th.
Sunday Funday is on at Galway Atlantaquaria on November 12th from 12pm to 5pm. The theme for the day is ‘Digital Ocean’ and there will be a host of family friendly activities on offer including:
- Drive the remote control ROV
- Mad Science
- Jumping Clay
- Scuba Divers
- Galway Critters Animal Show
Adam & Friends have a Christmas Toy & Product Expo for Children with Special Needs 7 Autism on November 5th from 11 to 5pm at Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork.
Powerscourt Estate in Co. Wicklow have a Christmas Launch Night on November 9th from 5pm to 8pm. This free event showcases the best of what is on offer at Powerscourt for the festive season and there will be tastings and samples to enjoy.
The annual Cork Film Festival takes place in various venues from November 10th to 19th and this year they have a special children and schools program aimed at younger audiences.
Disney on Ice presents Passport to Adventure at Citywest Dublin on November 10th, 11th & 12th.
Science Week takes place from November 12th to 19th 2017 and there are STEM events planned nationwide to celebrate.
Games Expo Ireland is back at the RDS on November 25th & 26th 2017. Showcasing the latest technology and games there will be plenty to occupy all ages.
The Jonathan Swift Festival takes place in Dublin from November 23rd to 26th 2017, with walking tours, food, music and family entertainment for all ages.
Cork Chocolate & Baking Festival (yum yum!) is on from November 24th to 27th 2017 at the Cork International Hotel, a must visit for anyone who loves chocolate!
The annual Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition Day is back at NUI Galway on Sunday November 26th from 10am – 6pm, it’s completely free and 30% of workshop/show event tickets are released on the day so you can still get into some of the fun events like The Bug Doctor or Fantastic DNA. Also on Saturday November 25th head to Galway Shopping Centre 10am-4pm to see the Richard III Discovered Exhibit, it’s the first time it’s come to Ireland, fun for young archaeology fans!
iCAN the Irish Children’s Arthritis Network are having their annual Christmas Party at Bunratty Castle on November 26h. They invite those suffering with JIA and their families along to participate. Places are strictly limited, so book early to avoid disappointment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with Xmas 2017 as the subject line.
Winter Wonderland is back at Westport House, Mayo from November 25th 2017. Get a guided tour of the magical Westport House and enjoy the live crib and some Christmas magic.
The Moving Crib opens on November 28th for the 61st year at St Martins, Parnell Square, Dublin 1. Admission is FREE, however large groups are asked to book online before arriving.
Round Up of Family Things to Do in October 2017
There are so many great events happing around Ireland this Halloween that we have created a round up post of Halloween Events and Things to Do and you can also check out
- 15 Frighteningly Free Things To Do for Family This Halloween Mid-Term
- 25 Hauntingly Good Halloween Hangouts for Kids
Ignite your family’s imagination at the 2017 Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. Happening at venues all over Galway from 16th – 22nd October. From beautifully animated features to drop in family fun there really is something for everyone.
The Dublin Festival of History 2017 runs from September 29th to October 14th and has over 80 FREE events in sites across Dublin, including a History Day for Kids on October 7th.
The annual Ballinasloe Horse Fair & Festival is on from October 1st to 8th 2017.
glór Ennis have a full line up of events for families this October 2017 including:
- For all the Fires Not Yet Lit a BYOK (bring your own kids) event on October 4th.
- Yoga for Teens Workshops on Mondays from 4.30 to 5.30pm
- Public Spinning Demo on October 6th
- Misterman on October 11th (suitable for ages 14+)
- The Godfather – Italian Film & Food Night on October 12th
- Halcyon Days Exhibition from October 13th
- Dermot & Dave ‘Ah Sure Lookit’ on October 13th
- Gourmet Food Village featuring Kevin Dundon as part of the Ennis Food Festival on October 15th.
- Irish Chamber Orchestra (BYOK Event) on October 19th
- Clare’s Got Talent on October 22nd, 29th, November 5th & 12th.
- Alice in Wonderland presented by Blue Raincoat Theatre on October 24th
- Strange Feathers presented by Fidget Feet on October 28th
- Donnie Darko screening on October 31st
Space Week 2017 runs from October 4th to 10th and offer events and workshops nationwide.
bricks4kidz have announced the opening of a new Creativity Centre at the Omni Park Shopping Centre, Dublin 9. Parents can drop kids off for some imaginative Lego play while they get in some retail therapy! The centre also caters for Lego Birthday Parties and will run seasonal camps and after school classes. For further information contact Joanne on 01 685 5700 or email email@example.com or visit the website.
On the October 7th & 8th 2017, The Ronald McDonald House will be holding its annual #Walking4Families event nationwide to raise money to build a new 53 Bedroom Ronald McDonald House alongside the New National Children’s Hospital. Please support by joining your local event. Or text WALK to 50300 to Donate €4 if unable to attend.
Spudfest 2017 takes place at Newbridge House and Farm on October 7th. It is a free event and family fun day for all to enjoy.
The National Museum of Ireland have a full line up of family events running during October at their 3 Dublin sites and at The Country Life Museum in Mayo . All activities are free and usually no booking is required but places are given on a first come first served system.
Limerick Racecourse will have a Family Funday on October 7th.
There will be a special exhibition of secondary school students artwork and lectures at the Hunt Museum, Limerick from October 9th to 15th for Mental Health Week.
The `OFFline Film Festival takes place in Birr, Co Offaly from October 11th to 15th. And will include a program for both primary and secondary school students.
For younger children, Four Go Wild in Wellies will be showing at the Hawkswell Theatre Sligo on October 13th.
Buladh Bos Children’s Festival 2017 will take place in Limerick from October 10th to October 21st. The Lime Tree Theatre will host family shows and events throughout.
Tayto Park are hosting a fundraising day for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland (CFI) on October 14th. €2 from all entry fees on the day will be donated to CFI. Staff from CFI will be in the park on the day too and will be hosting a ‘Strawfie Challenge’ which they urge you to take part in!
Maths Week 2017 is on from October 14th to 22nd and all schools nationwide are invited to get involved in fun maths challenges and projects.
iCAN the Irish Children’s Arthritis Network are hosting a ‘Laugh and Learn’ Day on October 14th at Kingfisher NUIG and have a Soft Play Fun Day at Kidzone, Wicklow on October 21st. They invite those suffering with JIA and their families along to participate.
Take a Neolithic Autumn Walk on October 15th at Cavan Burren Park with guide Seámus ÓhUltacháin.
The 18th Kerry Film Festival is on from October 19th to 22nd 2017.
The 41st Kinsale Gourmet Festival takes place on October 14th & 15th 2017.
EB Awareness Week supported by Debra Ireland, runs from October 23rd to 29th 2017. Please support this cause by purchasing a Butterfly Tattoo from Applegreen service stations nationwide.
Tradoodle is a new Traditional Arts Festival for Children and Young Audiences in Monaghan and runs from October 24th to 29th 2017. They have a packed program of events for schools and families to enjoy.
The Richhill Apple Harvest Fayre takes place in Armagh on October 28th with cooking demos, music, fun and games for all the family to get involved in.
The Purple Turnip Festival takes place in Market Square Lisburn on October 28th & 29th. It promises to be a fun event with a hunt for the purple turnip, free craft activities, interactive dance floor and exotic animals on show.
Hooked Killybegs 2017 takes place on September 2nd in LYIT Killybegs, Co Donegal. Come along to discover all about fishing and sample so local seafood at this fishy family friendly event.
The 22nd annual Monaghan Harvest Times Rhythm & Blues Festival runs from September 1st to 3rd 2017.
As part of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, there will be a Family Fun Festival at ‘The Walled Garden’ in Kilcornan House, Clarinbridge, Co Galway from 2 to 5pm.
All proceeds will go to Helplink Support Service. There will be music, a treasure hunt, entertainers, a creative corner, competitions and much more. Tickets are €10 and children under 12 go free.
The annual Cabinteely Carnival takes place on September 10th in Cabinteely Park from 1pm to 5pm. There is a full line up of FREE fun events for all the family from circus skills to juggling!
The Irish Times Higher Options event takes place in the RDS from September 13th to 15th 2017. It is a unique opportunity to find out about university and college courses in Ireland and abroad for students in 5th or 6th year and their parents.
The 10th annual Portumna Shorelines Arts Festival takes place from September 14th to 17th, 2017 and has a full line up of events for families.
FÉILE NA SEITEANNA 2017 (Letterkenny Set Dancing Festival) is on in Letterkenny from September 15th to 17th 2017.
Take a Bat Walk at Belvedere House and Gardens in Co Westmeath on September 16th at 7.30pm. The walks are held in association with Bat Conservation Ireland.
The 5th annual BlureFire Street Fest is on September 16th in Simithfield Square, Dublin 7. This all day event (2 pm till late) will have zones with activities and events for all ages and is totally FREE.
The annual National Ploughing Championships 2017 take place in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly from September 19th to 21st.
The Loughcrew Autumn Equinox Festival takes place at Loughcrew, Co Meath on September 21st – 23rd 2017. There will be workshops, guided walks and talks for all ages.
The Ark, Dublin is a special place to visit with kids anytime, with an art gallery, workshops, theatre and chill out zone for kids and parents. This September they throw open their doors for Culture Night events on September 22nd and as part of The Dublin Theatre Show they will show If Only Rosa Could Do Magic from September 30th to October 3rd.
The Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival 2017 is on from September 22nd to 24th.
Culture Night 2017 takes place on September 22nd. From 5pm to 11pm arts and culture organisations nationwide will open their doors and offer entertainment and events for young and old.
The Celtic Fringe Festival 2017 takes place in Grange, Co Sligo from September 22nd to 24th.
The Dunshaughlin Harvest Festival is on from September 22nd to 24th. This family friendly festival will include a Festival Bake Off and loads of fun workshops and events for children.
The Taste of Togher Food & Heritage Festival 2017 is on September 23rd in Annagassan, Co Louth.Celebrating our viking past and showcasing local producers this will be a great family event.
The European Week of Sport and Physical Activity 2017 will be celebrated in venues nationwide from September 23rd to 30th.
Roll Up Roll Up! Fossett’s Circus will be at Westport House, Co Mayo from September 27th to October 1st, 2017. They have an all-new show for 2017 featuring magical aerial manoeuvres, skilled knife throwing and motorcycle on a high-wire.
Wesport House will also open their doors for Culture Night on October 22nd with a FREE guided tour of Westport House and a recital by Coda, the Mayo male choir who have just performed at Electric Picnic!
The annual Westport Arts Festival runs from September 27th to October 1st 2017.
Bottom’s Dream – A magical tale of rude mechanical and scheming fairies is presented at glór Ennis, Co Clare by Footsbarn Theatre on September 29th. Suitable for ages 5+ this magical production lasts 80 minutes and is sure to impress even the youngest members of the audience.
glór Ennis also offer a full range of classes from art to dance to languages and has an art gallery and café suitable for families to visit and enjoy, so check out the full line up of things to do at glór.
The Kite Music Festival and Battle for the Lake Competition takes place on September 29th 2017 in Achill, Co Mayo. Come along for music, fun and an exciting display of Kitesurfing.
Powerscourt Estate are introducing fun nature workshops in conjunction wth OWLS (Outdoor, Wildlife, Learning, and Survival Nature Charity) on September 29th. For the first workshop, kids will be making bird feeders.