Planning a family trip to Ireland? Consider spending a number of days in the country’s largest city, Dublin. There is much to recommend Dublin for a family summer holiday. My kids love the long days and ancient feel to the city. And when they’ve had enough of urban life, the countryside — filled with farms, castles and greenery — is just a short jaunt away. Please note that if you’re traveling to Dublin outside of the high season (May – September), some attractions may be closed or have limited hours.
Phoenix Park is Europe’s largest enclosed urban park. It boasts a lovely zoo with a wonderful African animal exhibit. Additionally, there are a variety of gardens, a playground, monuments and, of course, a tearoom. Seeing the park on two wheels only adds to the fun. You can rent bicycles from Phoenix Park Bike Hire, located at the entrance to the park around the corner from Heuston Station. Along with bicycles, this company also rents children’s bikes, toddler trailers and tag-alongs.
Climb aboard Viking Splash — an Amphibious World War II Vehicle — for a kid-friendly tour of Dublin’s historic center and harbor. Learn about city history, architecture, and many of Ireland’s colorful characters (of which there are many) while acting like savage Vikings. Tour drivers ham it up for their audience making this an entertaining way to see the city’s tourist highlights.
Dublin is a bustling city, so it’s always nice to enjoy a respite in the surrounding countryside. The neighboring county of Wicklow offers a variety of “country” activities for your family. Greenan Farm is located near Rathdrum. A family owned farm and park, it offers a glimpse into farm-life in Ireland with the added bonus of a challenging yet accessible hedge maze. The maze is the prime draw here, but your kids will love the farm animals and nature trail as well. There is also an outdoor green labyrinth and a small museum focused on traditional farming techniques. And, of course there’s a tearoom where one can find delicious scones and sandwiches.
A trip to Greenan can be combined with either a visit to the magical Mt. Usher Gardens in Ashford or Glendalough — home to two beautiful lakes and an ancient monastic city.
Dublin’s children’s museum — Imaginosity — is the perfect destination on that inevitable day when it’s lashing rain. Interactive exhibits are geared for children from toddler through age 8 and include a “store” a “auto shop” a stage for dress up and performance and much much more. It is imperative that you book your visit at least a day ahead. You can do this by reserving space online or by phoning the museum directly.
Bray Sea Life Aquarium
The Bray Sea Life Aquarium is quaint and my kids love it. Its approximately 90 different species include a plethora of crowd-pleasers including sharks, piranhas, octopus, and sea horses. Its size means that the numerous fish-feeds and naturalist talks feel personal, and there is ample time for Q&A. If you are coming from the City Center, you can take the DART to the Bray station. On your return trip, stop in the seaside village of Dalkey with its medieval castle and charming ambience.
Looking for childcare services in Dublin? Giraffe Childcare has 19 locations around the city!
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a lovely article with good insights. We also absolutely recommend Viking Splash tours, which is very unique. This Tour will bring you and your family around the main sights of Dublin City – by land and water! That’s why its unique.The tour is informative, entertaining and engaging. You’ll have lots of of.
After visiting a family farm Greenan Farm and having fun at hedge maze, remember Wicklow has a lot to offer- walks and amazing scenery: Powerscourt Garden and waterfall, Glendalock.
I launched a website full of playgrounds / play centres / museums etc. that are worth visiting with kids. It is absolutely ad-free: http://www.dublinfox.com, please check it out for interesting playces to visit!
If going to Greenan farm be sure to carry cash as credit cards are not accepted. Wonderful though..kids loved it.
Sooo many great things to do with kids in Ireland! The Dublin Zoo, Blarney Castle, definitely kiss the stone! Bana beach just to name a few. Those interested in investigating their “roots” will definitely enjoy The Cliffs of Moher and Newgrange. Irish “gardens” are breathtaking! No visit would be complete without a visit to Altamont Gardens. Golfers, the choice is yours! Who could resist shooting 18 holes with the most intoxicating coastal views anywhere in the world. I am biased, but I suggest Kinsale for any visitor to Ireland. This town is as picturesque as anything you could imagine. From the lovely colors of the homes to the rolling hills, the horse back riding and the most incredible pub scene Kinsale is not to be missed by anyone looking for “authentic Ireland.” Enjoy!
Great post – We have been so many times without our kids and have been looking forward to going back next time WITH them!
Great post. A good friend of mine just had a baby and is looking for family-friendly travel destinations, so I’ll make sure to pass along your blog to her!
It can be tough to find things to do with kids in any city. Great tips thanks. The Phoenix Park is a gem and has loads to do. Greenan Farm sounds fun too, must check it out. St Anne’s Park in Clontarf also has a nice playground and there is a handy coffee at the Red Stables nearby too.