Sign up for our free monthly newsletter stuffed full of ideas, competitions and offers. PS Did we mention it’s free?
#1. Cruachan Aí
Visit Cruachan Aí and discover The Rathcroghan Complex, one of Ireland’s Celtic Royal Sites. It has a long and mysterious history, filled with myths and legends, gods, ghosts and demons, and the fates of Ireland’s royalty through the ages.
Rathcroghan Visitor Centre has interpretive rooms, where you can see how the Iron Age and Medieval Irish dressed, what they ate, where they lived, and what they believed in. You can go on a tour of the unique monuments from the mysterious ritual centre of Rathcroghan Mound, to the infamous Oweynagat, (Uaimh na gCat – the Cave of the Cats) entrance to the Irish Otherworld. There’s a café and shop on site.
#2. King House
King House is a magnificently restored Georgian Mansion and today stands as a museum to life in Ireland in the 18th Century.
Delve into the dramatic episodes of its history with stories of a tragic Irish romance, runaway lovers, a duel of honour, a murder trial, and feats of bravery and hardship in war.
With the aid of special effects and life size models, visitors to are taken back in history in an entertaining way. Children can write with a quill and ink or even dress in the attire of a Chieftain.
#3. Lough Key Forest & Activity Park
Lough Key Forest & Activity Park has lots to see and do for all of the family. The Lough Key Experience is an engaging audio tour of the history and nature of the Park through the 19th Century underground servant’s tunnels, up the 5-storey Moylurg Viewing Tower and along Ireland’s first Tree Canopy Walk – a 300m long creation of timber and steel that gently rises 9m above the woodland floor offering a ‘birds eye’ view of the landscape.
The innovative and all weather Boda Borg is a unique and challenging Swedish Adventure House for adults and children alike while the outdoor Adventure Play Kingdom provides stimulating and entertaining activities and equipment for children of all ages.
#4. Arigna Mining Experience
The Arigna Mining Experience in Derreenavoggy, Carrick-On-Shannon, is a great day out with the kids and provides a unique insight into what coal mining life was like in the Arigna Valley, since its beginning in the 1700’s. All tours of the mine are guided by ex-miners, who give visitors an insight into a working way of life you could not even imagine. The recordings of a number of interviews with the miners and their families are also part of the exhibition, and you can hear their fascinating stories and experiences.
Facilities include car parking, fully wheelchair accessible and baby changing facilities. There is a coffee shop on site as well as a small gift shop.
#5. Loughnaneane Park
Loughnaneane Park in Cloonbrackna is a huge recreational area beside the ruins of Roscommon Castle, which is a dramatic and imposing 13th Century Norman Castle, providing some fascinating history when you visit. The Park includes a crannog, known locally as the Hill o’ Bones, a wildflower meadow, bird walk, lake feature and mounds, all of which provide a great place for the kids to explore. The park also has a children’s playground, outdoor gym equipment and a car park. Admission and parking is free.
#6. Castlerea Railway Museum
The pride of this collection is an A55 Diesel Locomotive fully and lovingly restored.
Also on display are bells, lamps, shunting poles, signal equipment, staffs, station boards, etc.
Coming soon to the Museum is a recently discovered Train Bicycle which was used to inspect track.
You might also enjoy All Aboard! Steam Trains and Fun Train Rides in Ireland
#7. Strokestown Park House and Famine Museum
Strokestown Park House, a Georgian Palladian mansion, was the family home of the Pakenham Mahon family and is built on the site of the 16th century castle, home of The O Conor Roe Gaelic Chieftains. It is unique in that it retains its original furnishings and professionally guided tours run daily giving an intimate insight into life in The Big House, upstairs and downstairs.
The six acre walled pleasure gardens have been restored to their original splendour and with features such as the herbaceous border, the fernery, lily pond, Victorian rose garden, pergola, peach house, and more.
The Irish National Famine Museum tells a different story and highlights the parallels between a tragic chapter of Irish History and contemporary global hunger.
#8. Tullyboy Farm
Enjoy a family day out at Tullyboy Farm in Croghan, Boyle, where you can experience the atmosphere of a real working farm in a beautiful setting with lots of animals to see, cuddle and hand feed. Their animal collection includes llamas, emus, rheas, pigs, puppies and much more. The kids can have fun in the bouncing activity centre in the playground. Also included in the day are tractor trailer rides and pony rides by lead rein. Visit the Farm Café after your visit and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with a home made scone.
#9. Derryglad Folk Museum
Derryglad Folk Museum in Curraghboy houses a unique collection of over 6000 items which together tell the unique story of Roscommon’s history, heritage and folk culture.
As well as horse-drawn machinery restored to original working order, the collection also deals with farm and folk life in Ireland from the 18th century to the recent past. Make sure to check out their tradesman’s tools and buttermaking equipment. The venue also has a picnic area and car parking.
#10. The Elphin Windmill
The Elphin Windmill is a fully restored, working, 18th century windmill, the oldest type in the country. Unusual features are its thatched revolving roof and four sails that are turned into the wind by using a tailpole attached to a cartwheel on a circular track – definitely worth a visit!
The mill was originally used for grinding corn and other grains and now houses a visitor centre where the workings of the windmill are interpreted and demonstrated. Also on site is an agricultural museum housing a threshing machine, a winnower and other machinery associated with the harvesting of grain.
If you have any other favourite free things to do in your local area that you’d like us to share with other parents, let us know in the comments below.