Going to the playground is a big part of childhood – they offer fun equipment for kids to enjoy and play on. But if you have a child with special needs, then a trip to a playground is a whole different experience. Good news, these fun playgrounds in Ireland are also inclusive!
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Families with children who have special needs, whether it be that your child is in a wheelchair or has sensory disorders, can find playground access tricky. The equipment only seems to have been designed for children able to climb and run.
Things are slowly changing, and more equipment is being installed to allow children of all needs to play.
We’ve broken down the list of inclusive playgrounds by county, so you can find your nearest playground to enjoy.
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Discover These Fantastic Inclusive Playgrounds in Ireland
Inclusive Playgrounds in Carlow
Oak Park Forest Park, Carlow
Oak Park Forest Park has an accessible playground with swings including a wheelchair swing and slides. After a play, you can head off for a walk in the park – there are colour-coded trails, with wheelchair-accessible surfaces, including a looped boardwalk.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Clare
Lahinch Playground, Clare
Lahinch Playground has a wheelchair swing and a merry go round that is wheelchair accessible.
O’Regan Park, Clare
There is a Sensory Garden at O’Regan Park in Newmarket on Fergus, which is an all-inclusive area in the Park aimed as a sanctuary.
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Inclusive Playgrounds in Cork
Clonakilty Playground has a wheelchair-friendly swing.
The playground in Cobh offers a wheelchair-friendly swing.
Fitzgerald Park, Cork
This disability-friendly playground is wheelchair accessible to most of the sensory equipment, there’s also a wheelchair roundabout. Its location is beautiful and the park has a café for refreshments.
The playground at Millstreet is very inclusive with an extra wide slide, wheelchair accessible roundabout and mum and baby swing.
Whitegate Playground in East Cork has a wheelchair swing.
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Inclusive Playgrounds in Dublin
Blessington Street Basin Playground
Here the playground has a wheelchair accessible roundabout and a high-backed swing.
The playground here has a colourful play panel and a large net swing.
Carysfort Playground on Carysfort Avenue in Blackrock is small but it has a bucket seat swing and nice slide with steps leading up as opposed to a ladder.
Malahide Castle Playground
At the playground at Malahide Castle you will find a large net swing and a mother and baby swing.
The spacious and exciting playground at Newbridge House hosts a large multi-play sensory unit for wheelchair users.
There is a wheelchair accessible swing in Rathcoole Park, located a few minutes from Avoca.
Rush Harbour playground features a universal access design for all abilities, including a multi-play unit and swing with stunning views of the bay.
St. Catherines Park
St. Catherines Park located in Lucan Demesne has a wheelchair accessible maze.
Sean Walsh Park
The Tallaght central playground has a bucket swing and a sensory garden nestled between two gorgeous ponds.
Springhill Park Playground
The playground at Springhill Park just of Newtownpark Avenue is small but has a bucket seat swing, a net swing, as well as a slide with steps leading up as opposed to a ladder.
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Inclusive Playgrounds in Galway
There is a wheelchair accessible merry-go-round at Athenry Playground.
There’s an inclusive rocker at the playground at Doughiska. You can park for free along the side of the park and walk over to the playground.
Millennium Children’s Park, Galway City
The playground at the Millennium Children’s Park, located next to Galway Cathedral includes an inclusive swing. Parking at the Cathedral itself or there’s a car park to the back of the Cathedral.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Kerry
The Knockreer Playground in Killarney has been specially designed for inclusivity. The roundabout allows space for wheelchairs and assisted devices. The play tower offers stepped access and a double width slide. Rich colours differentiate the area for children with autism along with textured surfaces and play spheres for a sensory experience.
Tralee Town Park
The playground in Tralee Town Park has specialised play equipment for children with disabilities and special needs, including a wheelchair roundabout.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Kildare
Clane Village Playground
Clane Village Playground has a wheelchair swing and keys are available from Country Market and Discount Store. It offers two designated play-areas for toddler and one for older kids.
Eadestown GAA have created a designated time for children with additional needs and disabilities who wish to play in the playground. The aim is to provide children with additional needs as much space and confidence in physical distancing as possible and enjoy and have fun in safety. The allocated time period of between 9am-11am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and Sundays 9am-10am is now RESERVED for children with additional needs and disabilities and their families.
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Inclusive Playgrounds in Kilkenny
Kilkenny Castle Playground
The playground at Kilkenny Castle has a sensory wall designed for children with special needs and a wheelchair accessible roundabout.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Laois
At Durrow Playground there is a chair swing for kids that have mobility challenges.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Limerick
The play equipment at Mungret Playground is suitable for both able and non able bodied children and there is a sensory area for children on the autistic spectrum. It has wheelchair accessible swings and roundabouts.
The award-winning playground at Manor Fields in Adare is the first All-Abilities Playground in Limerick City and County, specifically designed to encourage inclusive play.
You’ll find a wheelchair friendly trampoline, swings, play tables and more. Bring a picnic to enjoy afterwards.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Mayo
The playground in Ballina has a wheelchair accessible roundabout, swing seat for special needs and basket nest swing, as well as an extra wide slide on the big play structure so adults can accompany small and children with special needs down the slide.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Meath
The playground in Clane has a wheelchair accessible swing.
This large spacious playground includes some wheelchair-accessible and sensory equipment.
The playground in Trim features a sensory wall and wheelchair swing. You’ll find a pay and display car park next to the playground.
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Inclusive Playgrounds in Offaly
Tullamore town playground has a wheelchair accessible swing.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Tipperary
Birdhill Children’s Park
In Birdhill you will find a special safe space “The Nook” for children who may be experiencing sensory overload. This woodland park has a fairy theme and a Wishing Chair.
In Clonmel there is a sensory playground designed to be a fun and safe environment to play for children across all spectrums of special needs. There is a wheelchair friendly swing.
At Fethard you’ll find a “Sensory Musical Garden” aimed at children (and adults) with intellectual and physical disabilities, though all are welcome.
Nenagh Town Park has a wheelchair accessible swing.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Waterford
Tramore Inclusion Park Playground
The Tramore Inclusion Park Playground aims to create a safe play environment for children of all physical and intellectual abilities. It features extra wide slides, ramps and a wheelchair friendly swing.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Wexford
The playground in Enniscorthy beside the Riverside Park Hotel has a swing for wheelchairs.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Wicklow
Greystones South Beach Playground
This all-inclusive playground which caters for children of all abilities features an ability swing, bucket seat swing, a sensory path and a wheelchair-accessible sand factory.
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Inclusive Playgrounds in NI
Portstewart Diversity Park, Derry
The Portstewart Diversity Park located in the grounds of Flowerfield Arts Centre has a specially designed sensory play park with wheelchair swing, bucket swing seat and sunken trampoline. The bathroom at the Arts Centre also offers a hoist.
Slieve Gullion, Armagh
There is a Sensory Trail at Slieve Gullion designed for children and adults with additional sensory needs.
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Have your say! Have you been to any inclusive playgrounds with your child that we have missed? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!