With the kids looking forward to a long summer break, and parents looking for activities to keep the family entertained during the summer weeks, here are 20 great family experiences to consider this summer. From the land to the sea, Ireland has plenty of variety when it comes to family breaks. Take a look at the best Irish family activities that make our list for summer 2017.
20 Great Things to Do in Ireland This Summer with the Family
1 Giants Lair at Slieve Gullion, Armagh
Slieve Gullion is an area steeped in ancient myth and legend with tales of Cuchulainn, the Red Branch, Fionn Mac Cumhail (Finn McCool) and other mythical heroes dominating these lands for years. Known as Ireland’s ‘Mountain of Mystery’, Slieve Gullion has something for the whole family including walking trails, a scenic drive, an adventure playground, and one of Northern Ireland’s most popular children’s cultural attractions, the Giant’s Lair.
The Giant’s Lair brings a kids story to life, taking visitors on an unforgettable journey through an intertwined fairy house, with a series of features creating a fantasy land that will keep the kids entertained for the day – just be sure you don’t wake the giant!
Check out the latest Armagh hotel deals and book your trip today.
2 Tayto Park, Meath
Located just outside Ashbourne, around 30 minutes from Dublin City, Tayto Park is one of the most popular family visitor attractions in Ireland, with a theme park and zoo waiting to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. The park has recently launched the Viking Voyage, while Cu Chulainn Coaster, 5D Cinema and Vortex Tunnel are among the most popular attractions at the theme park. Entry to Tayto Park also gets you free entry into the Tayto Factory, where you can enjoy a tour of the home of Ireland’s favourite crisps.
View the latest deals for hotels in Meath and plan your family holiday to Tayto Park.
3 Dublin Zoo, Dublin
One of Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions, Dublin Zoo is a must visit for any family looking to take a short break in Dublin. Located in Phoenix Park, Dublin Zoo is open all year (apart from Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day), and during the summer months opens daily from 09:30.
With kids under three getting free entry to the zoo, and some 28 hectares to be explored, there’s something special about a family day at the zoo, so put Dublin Zoo high on your list of family activities for the summer weeks that lie ahead.
View the latest Dublin hotel deals and plan a trip to Dublin Zoo today.
4 Fota Wildlife Park, Cork
Located on Fota Island, the Fota Wildlife Park is one of Cork’s premier family visitor attractions, offering an A to Z of exotic islands, and an environment that is a little bit different to what you would expect to experience at the zoo. With over 90 different species of animals located in the park and many roaming around freely, Fota is the perfect place for the family to get a glimpse of some of nature’s finest creatures in a natural habitat. Hop on the train and enjoy a tour of the whole park, while the kid’s playground and giraffe slide are a winner with many visitors.
Plan a trip to Fota Wildlife Park by checking out the latest Cork hotel deals today.
5 Blarney Castle, Cork
Another popular visitor attraction in Cork, the picturesque Blarney Castle has one big reason to bring the kids along this summer (and anytime for that matter): the world-famous Blarney Stone. Scale the steps of the castle and kiss the famous stone with your kids, and bestow on them the gift of eloquence. With ample woodlands and garden space to explore, a trip to Blarney Castle will allow your kids’ imaginations to run wild.
Plan a trip to Blarney Castle by checking out the latest Cork hotel deals today.
6 Galway Atlantaquaria, Galway
The National Aquarium of Ireland, and indeed the largest aquarium in the country, the Galway Atlantaquaria in Salthill is a must see for the family when visiting Galway. With a huge selection of sea life over two floors, including the popular stingray pool, Galway Atlantaquaria offers a wealth of oceanic information for the family, and is a great day out for all.
Check out the latest Salthill hotel deals and plan a family getaway to the Galway Atlantaquaria today.
7 Ulster American Folk Park, Tyrone
Take a trip back in time with the family by visiting the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, County Tyrone. This open-air museum tells the story of emigration from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries, with a series of workshops and guided tours aimed at young kids just adding to this family experience.
Plan your trip to the Ulster American Folk Park by checking out the latest deals for hotels in Tyrone.
8 National Sea Life Centre, Wicklow
The seaside town of Bray is a popular location for many a family holiday, and the National Sea Life Centre is one of the many great things for families to visit when holidaying in Bray, and indeed Wicklow itself. With daily feeding demos and regular exhibitions, the Sea Life Centre will give a great introduction to sea life for your children, with some 1,000+ creatures to discover.
Check out the latest Bray hotel deals and plan your Wicklow seaside break today.
9 Dolphin Watching at Dingle, Kerry
The Dingle Peninsula is a great location for a family holiday with plenty to see and do. A popular driving route, one of the main attractions for many visitors to Dingle is the area’s most famous face, Fungie the dolphin. Depart from Dingle Harbour on a Dingle Dolphin Boat Tour and head out to the Atlantic Ocean and catch a glimpse of Fungie, or hop on the Dingle Sea Safari to check out other sea life that call these shores home.
View the latest Dingle hotel deals and plan your family break to Kerry today.
10 The National Reptile Zoo, Kilkenny
A zoo with a difference, the National Reptile Zoo in Gowran, Kilkenny, is Ireland’s only reptile zoo, with over 50 exhibits and an interactive Reptile Village just waiting to be explored. This zoo experience isn’t for the faint-hearted, as you may even get a chance to handle some of the reptiles on display.
Check the latest Kilkenny hotel deals and plan your family break today.
11 The Chocolate Garden, Carlow
Nestled on the Carlow/Wicklow border, The Chocolate Garden delivers a sweet experience that all the family can enjoy. From the chocolate workshop experience (must be booked) to walk-in chocolate-making sessions, The Chocolate Garden is an award-winning experience that you can all look forward to.
Whether it’s the award-winning handmade chocolate bars or the homemade ice-cream, you’re sure to pick up some great pointers for making your own chocolate at home with the kids.
Check out the latest Carlow hotel deals and plan your choctastic family break today.
12 Lahinch Surf School, Clare
Surfing is a sport on the up here in Ireland, with some great surfing spots around the country (check out this guide to 10 amazing surfing destinations in Ireland that we did earlier this year). One area that is great for getting introduced to surfing, and perfect for a family looking to try it out for the fist time, is Lahinch in County Clare, and Lahinch Surf School is a great starting base. With family lessons available daily from June to August, this can be a great activity for all the family to try their hand at, especially if it is something none of you have done before.
View the latest deals for hotels in Lahinch and plan your surfing holiday to Clare today.
13 We are Vertigo, Down
We are Vertigo is a trampoline park in Newtownards, County Down, that is sure to give you hours of bouncing enjoyment. With sessions to suit kids and adults of all ages, and an indoor adventure centre and ski slopes, you’ll have plenty to keep you entertained across the day, and will no doubt be looking forward to getting back again in the future.
Plan your trip to We are Vertigo today by checking out the latest Down hotel deals.
14 Peace Maze, Down
Another popular family attraction in County Down is the Peace Maze in Castlewellan Forest Park. The largest hedge maze in Ireland, the Peace Maze opened in 2001 as a symbol of hope in Northern Ireland and has gone on to become one of the most popular visitor attractions along the stunning Mourne Coastal Route. Make your way to the middle of the maze to ring the bell, and once finished you can enjoy a number of other activities in the park including mountain biking and walking trails.
Check out the latest Down hotel deals and plan your trip today.
15 Carlingford Adventure Centre, Louth
If you’re looking for an adventure break for the family over the summer period, look no further than the popular coastal town of Carlingford. From water-based activities, including kayaking, canoeing and a water trampoline, to popular land-based activities like rock climbing and zip line, Carlingford Adventure Centre has so much for the family to enjoy.
Other popular activities for kids and adults to enjoy include foot golf, crystal maze and archery, ensuring you have plenty of variety to keep the family busy across the day or indeed weekend.
16 Doolin Cave, Clare
Clare is a county with so much for the family to see and do and high on the list is the stunning Doolin Caves, home of the great stalactite. Discover the history of this cave as you head underground, and afterwards, take a stroll around the farmland nature trail and enjoy a great family day out. While visiting Doolin be sure to take the time to head of and explore the famous Cliffs of Moher.
View the latest Clare hotel deals and plan your Doolin Cave trip today.
17 Copper Coast Mini Farm, Waterford
One of our recommended 10 great Irish road trips for summer 2017, Copper Coast has plenty to offer families visiting Waterford, including the newly opened Waterford Greenway Route, a 46km greenway for cyclists and walkers in the area. When visiting Waterford, the Copper Coast Mini Farm in Tramore is a must see for the family, with a petting farm, indoor play area and toy tractors great for those of you looking for a summer break with young kids this summer.
Plan your trip to Waterford today by checking out the latest Waterford hotel deals.
18 Castlecomer Discovery Park, Kilkenny
Castlecomer Discovery Park in Kilkenny is another outdoor activity centre worth considering for a summer getaway with the family. Set in 80 acres of picturesque woodland, activities for the family to enjoy include a zip line, a tree top adventure walk, a climbing walk and a woodland adventure course. The Elf Village is also a hit with kids, so be sure to add this to your list when visiting Kilkenny.
View the latest Kilkenny hotel deals and plan your family trip today.
19 Lough Allen Adventure Centre, Leitrim
Something for those families travelling with teenagers, Lough Allen Adventure Centre in Leitrim has a great range of action-packed activities to enjoy. Some of the most popular activities on offer at Lough Allen included kayaking, canoeing and windsurfing, while the Lough Allen driving route offers plenty of amazing scenery to take in during your trip.
Check out the latest Leitrim hotel deals and plan your Lough Allen adventure today.
20 Birr Castle, Offaly
Birr Castle is a historic and educational family attraction that provides great insight into Ireland’s scientific past. Home to the Great Telescope, an informative Science Centre and stunning gardens to explore, Birr Castle provides a fun and education-packed experience for the family. The highlight for many young children is the treehouse adventure area, home to Ireland’s largest treehouse.
Plan your trip to Birr Castle today by checking out the latest Offaly hotel deals.
What Are Your Favourite Family Attractions in Ireland?
Share your favourite family attractions around Ireland with us by commenting below, and check out the latest travel deals to plan your next family holiday today.
Images courtesy of Fáilte Ireland.