If you are visiting Ireland for the first time with kids, or staying in the country for the holidays and wondering about places to visit in Ireland with kids, we have compiled this list of some hidden gems around the country that you may not have heard of!
Dublin Zoo is arguably Ireland’s no 1 visitor attraction but there are a few hidden gems listed here that you might not have heard about and if you are visiting that particular part of the country why not plan to visit these attractions that are designed with kids in mind.
Hidden Gems for Families in Ireland
The dramatic Tullydermot Falls are situated approximately 6km south-west of Swanlinbar in the direction of the Bellavally Gap. The Tullydermot viewpoint overlooks Slieve Rushen and the lowlands of north Cavan. There’s a great view of the summit of Cuilcagh mountains.
The Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark is located in the rugged mountainous uplands and the gentle rolling lowlands of counties Fermanagh and Cavan. Taking in the world-famous Marble Arch Caves, the Geopark boasts some of the finest natural landscapes in Ireland and offers a window into the area’s 650 million year past. Don’t miss the Cladagh Glen Walk, a beautiful walk alongside the Cladagh River where you might even spot a red squirrel.
Why not plan a picnic in Iveagh Gardens, Dublin 2, arguably the most beautiful park in the capital and not all that well known. Stunning grounds, beautiful waterfall, so much space to run around and it’s always peacefully quiet! (Luas stops nearby).
The Kildare Maze is located just outside Prosperous in the North Kildare countryside. Providing a challenging and exciting day out with good old fashioned fun for families at an affordable price. Out in the fresh air, this is a great place for families to enjoy a day together.
Powerscourt Waterfall is Ireland’s highest at 121m (398ft.) and is 5km from the Main Estate. It is set in one of Ireland’s most beautiful parklands at the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains.
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Nore Valley Farm and Activity Centre, Bennetsbridge, Co Kilkenny has an activity centre, open farm, camping and caravan park.
Hook Lighthouse, Fethard on Sea, Co Wexford is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world, has guided tours, spectacular views, viewing for dolphins and whales, cafe and art activities for both kids and adults.
Dunbrody Famine Ship is centred on an authentic reproduction of an 1840’s emigrant vessel, it provides a unique insight into the bravery and fortitute with which Irish people faced up to a desperate situation.
Belvedere House and Gardens, near Mullingar, Co Westmeath, is set in a 160 acre estate has playgrounds, lakeside picnic areas, trails, a café and child friendly events throughout the year.
Don’t bypass Laois. Get off the M7 at junction 15, follow signs for Portarlington/Mountmellick and visit Emo Park and Gardens, the second largest park in Ireland. There is Emo Court House, acres of parks and gardens to walk or run around, a lake with swans and ducks, picnic benches and a cafe.
Or why not visit Lough Boora Parklands in Co Offaly? At Junction 7 on the M6 Dublin/Galway exit towards Moate/ Clonmacnoise. Follow signs for Kilcormac and Lough Boora. Parklands with sculptures, picnic benches and bike hire facility.
Lifetime Lab is a multi award winning visitor centre located at the Old Cork Waterworks offering a fascinating insight into industrial heritage and environmental issues. Visitors journey through Victorian architecture and explore the age of steam, investigate our interactive exhibits and transform into environmental detectives discovering how daily choices impact our world.
Did you know you can take the Cable Car from Bullaghboy in West Cork to Dursey Island? As long as you and the kids have a good head for heights, that is, as it can be a wild ride over the waves!
A designated European Geopark, Copper Coast has several beautiful coastal landmarks, dunes, cliffs and clean beaches. It offers small, sheltered beaches surrounded by rugged cliffs – ideal for quiet getaways.
Dingle Dolphin Tours, Dingle, Co Kerry. Take a 1 hr boat tour to Dingle’s most famous resident, Fungie the Dolphin.
Inch Beach in Kerry is a Blue Flag long sand spit beach backed by dune system reaching into Dingle Bay. Popular with surfers, anglers and swimmers. It has the most beautiful purple pebbles and a wonderful variety of shells to collect.
There are two magical fairy trails to be found in Kerry: one in the wooded surrounds of Derrynane House, Caherdaniel, and the other in the woods of the Parknasilla Resort. Both are free and open to all visitors.
King John’s Castle in Limerick is the ultimate multi media experience bringing history to life in front of your eyes! Touch-screen technology connect you to tales of siege and warfare. A dazzling array of computer generated imagery, animations and ghostly projections are all part of the experience.
Try on historic costumes including 18th century dresses or chainmail tunics. 3D models, discovery drawers and audio visuals help you to delve into the Castle’s history.
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Brigit’s Garden, Roscahill, East Galway has Celtic Gardens, kids discovery trail, nature trail and cafe.
Museum of Country Life, Castlebar, Co Mayo, brings to life the traditions of rural life in Ireland. Workshops, exhibitions and family programmes for all ages. Free entry, and great for those rainy days.
Everyone knows about the Cliffs of Moher, but why not see the cliffs from a different perspective and book a one hour adventure on Cliffs of Moher Cruises? The kids will enjoy the boat ride and you will be sure to get a new appreciation of these amazing cliffs.
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Lough Key Forest and Activity Park, Boyle, Co Roscommon is set in the grounds of an estate consisting of a lake with caravan and camping park, boating, Zipit forest adventures, Boda Borg challenge, Adventure Play Kingdom, Tree Canopy Walkway, cafe and lots more.
Almost 3 times higher than the Cliffs of Moher, the Slieve League Cliffs in Co. Donegal reach to a height of almost 2,000 feet making them some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. With 2 car parks families can opt to leave their car at the lower level and walk the road to the base or drive along the winding road to the upper parking level.
Or what about climbing up Knocknarea in Sligo to bring a stone to Queen Maeve’s Grave? This mountain may be lesser known than Ben Bulben but is still an amazing sight as you arrive in Sligo, and is certainly a doable climb for kids.
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Top 10 Places to Visit with Kids in Ireland
- Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, Dublin
- National Aquatic Centre, Dublin
- Imaginosity, Dublin Children’s Museum, Dublin
- National Museums of Ireland in Dublin: Archaeology, Natural History & Decorative Arts
- Fota Island Wildlife Park, Cork
- Galway Atlantaquaria, Salthill, Galway
- Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park, Westport, Co Mayo
- Wicklow’s Historic Gaol, Wicklow
- Dunbrody Famine Ship, Wexford
Have you found a hidden gem on your travel in Ireland with kids? Share it with us in the comments below.