As an island nation we are surrounded by water and have a wide choice of beaches, lakes and rivers to enjoy swimming, diving and a host of watersports. But did you know that Ireland has no less than 22 outdoor swimming pools? And we are also home to many waterparks and indoor and outdoor adventure centres where you can swim or have splashing fun with the family? Here are our Top Spots in Ireland for Swimming and Splashing Fun with the Family this Summer.
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West Coast Aqua Park, Kilrush, Clare
West Coast Aqua Park is Irelands newest and most exciting aqua park! An epic adventure awaits for all the family to enjoy. Climb, bounce and slide your way around the inflatable obstacle course on the water. Beat the obstacles, challenge your friends and family to races and watch them get totally wiped out!
Located on the picturesque marina in Kilrush, county Clare, the only aqua park on the Wild Atlantic Way. Kids as young as six can take part all under the watchful eye of experienced lifeguards. You and your friends or family will have an unforgettable experience. Let the Fun begin!
Everyone taking part will be provided with a wetsuit and buoyancy aid for their session as part of their ticket price. Book your session now!
“I booked the Aqua Park recently for myself and 4 kids aged 7 to 16. It was a brilliant experience, the 9 year old said it was the best day ever! Staff were fantastic and very safety conscious, just what you want when combining kids and water. Would totally recommend it as a fun day out for the the family, friends, school tour or with a sports team/club as an activity day“. Mum Michelle
Tralee Bay Wetlands and Tralee Aquadome, Kerry
The Tralee Bay Wetlands Activity Centre has row boats, pedalo boats and water zorbing balls where you can come and splash about before heading to the Tralee Aquadome for plenty of splashing fun including
- Surf the Waves
- Wrestle the River Rapids
- Relax in the Lazy River
- Ride the Sky High Flume
- Plunge down the Outdoor Falling Rapids
- Enjoy the Whirlpool spas, Bubble seat, Sprays, Cannons, Gushers, Geysers, Children’s pools, Spa pools
Ballyhass Lakes, Cork
The Ballyhass Lakes Aqua Park is an inflatable water park that covers over 40m square of an old quarry lake where you can jump, slide, bounce and race each other around the wipeout style course. Suitable for ages 6+ (U12 must be accompanied by an adult on the water), you must be able to swim 50m.
They also offer kayaking, raft building, fishing and more at their outdoor activity centre.
Aquasplash, Dromineer, Tipperary
For those families looking for safe fun on the water head to Aqua Splash on Lough Derg in Dromineer Quay, Co Tipperary. It is one of the many great water sport facilities you can discover on Lough Derg.
At Aqua Splash you can enjoy:
- A giant inflatable water park
- Super size water trampoline
- Banana boat rides
- Pedal boats
- Stand up paddle boarding
Everything you need for your family day out on the water is provided including wetsuits and life jackets, which makes it easy for you to just turn up and enjoy your day!
Ganzos is an Irish brand with a passion for the outdoors. Their towelling changing ponchos for children and teenagers are designed to keep them warm and cosy and preserve their privacy whilst changing at the beach or poolside. Ganzos are an essential piece of kit for holidaymakers with a love for water and adventure at home or abroad.
Surfing, sailing and all water-sports enthusiasts will love Ganzos for speedy, stress-free changing. Parents struggling the dreaded changing-room commotion after the weekly swimming lesson will appreciate the handiness of Ganzos. Changing after an invigorating beach session or a mucky GAA match becomes easy and fun. A necessary addition to the bag for scouts trips, Irish College, adventure centres, school tours etc.
The perfect fit for all, Ganzos are made from soft cotton and come in three sizes. The size large is suitable for adults too whether you’re jumping in with the kids or observing the fun from your perch on a wind-swept beach. Visit their online store ganzos.ie to Get Your Ganzos!
Baysports, Hodson Bay
Floating just off shore near the Hodson Bay Hotel is a one-of-a-kind inflatable water park, Baysports Water Park. Spread over 1400 sq. meters, Baysports is a playground for children and adults alike. Bounce, slide, thrill and splash! Then climb back aboard and do it all again. Whatever the weather, with a wetsuit on, you’re guaranteed an experience like no other. You don’t have to be able to swim but you must feel comfortable in approximately 2 meters of water. Children must be 6yrs or older, 6 to 10 year olds must be accompanied by an adult.
As well as the water park, Baysports offer kayaking, stand up paddling and pedal boats with wetsuit hire available.
Enjoy warm pleasant temperatures all year round in Splashworld in Tramore, Waterford, an indoor waterpark with wave machine, water slides, bubble pool, paddle pool, water cannon, rolling rapids, steam room, sauna & a 4 lane 25 metre pool.
Irish Water Safety work tirelessly to educate people about the dangers of water, how to be water safe and what to do if someone gets into difficulties in water.
They run lifesaving and water safety courses around the country and their volunteer teach a swimming and lifesaving program for children and teens at oudoor venues during the summer months.
In addition Irish Water Safety train the Lifeguards that patrol our Lifeguarded beaches & waterways and make hundreds of rescues every summer.
How to Help if Someone is in Trouble in Water
If you see someone in difficulty these simple steps may save a life:
- Shout to the casualty and encourage them to shore. This may orientate them just enough.
- Reach out with a long object such as a branch or a piece of clothing but do not enter the water yourself.
- Throw a ringbouy or any floating object and call 112 for the coast guard.
Always report a missing ringbouy if you notice it while out and about.
Aquazone at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin offers extreme thrills, raging water adventures and loads of fun for kids big and small including
- Master Blaster – uphill water coasters deliver a rollercoaster-style ride that is a proven hair raiser.
- Flow Rider – the fun and excitement of surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding in one truly interactive ride.
- Green Giant Flume, a long open slide
- Dark Hole Flume – not for the faint hearted!
- Pirate Ship – for kids under 8, the Pirate Ship has safe and fun rides, complete with pirate ship, cannons and small slides.
- There’s also a Wave Pool, Lazy River and Bubble Pool
Funtasia Waterpark features 30,000 square feet of water gushing fun and over 200 water based activities for all to enjoy. Super slides, fun play areas, toddlers splash, there is something for all ages including
- The Super Bowl and The Boomerang Water Slides
- Pirates Cove Play Area – 500 litres of water being tipped on an unsuspecting crowd below, water cannons, sprayers, hoses, slides and fountains.
- Pirates Cove Toddler Splash – Tiny tots can splish and splash safely to their hearts content in this custom corner area specifically designed for toddlers. With a pirate boat at the helm, miniature slides and mushroom fountains there is lots for them to see and do.
Children under the age of 8 must be accompanied in the water by an adult, accompanying adults must not leave children under the age of 8 years unattended or beyond eye contact.
Take the kids to Leisureland in Galway and enjoy the splashing and swimming features including:
- 25 metre deck level swimming pool
- Warm up pool
- Kiddies Leisure pool complete with interactive water features
- Giant 65-metre water slide
- Giant inflatable obstacle course, can you make it to the end without landing with a splash?!
Waterworld in Bundoran offers lots of family water fun including
- Toddler pool featuring Wiggly Worm, Mushroom Waterfall, Water cups and Mr Elephant.
- Wave Slide/Walrus Slide for small kids/toddlers
- The Umbrella, with waterfall experience and perch seating during wave sessions.
- Aqua Blue Slide
- Pirate Ship featuring two interactive waterworks, interactive steering wheel and two lane water propelled slide
- The Rapids and The Waves, runs every 90 minutes lasting 10 minutes each time with four different wave types
- Multi Lane Slide, a 3 lane slide with aqua catch splashdown.
Splash Valley Adventure, Wicklow
Hidden Valley Holiday Park opens Splash Valley Adventure in May 2019. With more than 30 obstacles it will be the largest inflatable waterpark in Ireland. It is suitable for ages 7+ and can cater for group bookings.
Outdoor Pools in Ireland
There are at least 22 outdoor pools around Ireland that are open to the public and not attached to hotel complexes. Here are a couple of our favourites:
Ballina Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool
One of our favourites is the Ballina Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool along the banks of the river Shannon in Ballina/Killaloe, which is open to the public during the summer months and has the added bonus of being heated.
Bagenalstown Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool
Bagenalstown Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool is an excellent attraction for families and children from early June until late August. It includes a heated, outdoor 25m pool and paddling pool.
Over to you now. Where’s your favourite spot for swimming and splashing with your child in Ireland? Tell us in the comments below.