What to Do While Traveling Ireland with Kids
Do you long to explore the pulse of one of Europe’s dynamic capitals? Or, wish to head into the idyllic countryside for a cycling adventure? Then, look no further than a family vacation to Ireland. You can stay in one of the Emerald Isle’s 30,000 castles where you’ll enjoy the luxury and pampering only an ancient estate can provide. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to explore awe-inspiring landscapes like the fabled Cliffs of Moher and Killarney National Park. Of course, these options are just the beginning when it comes to things to do in Ireland with kids. Here are a few of our favorite ways to explore this nation’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty.
Take in the View at the Cliffs of Moher
What to do on a trip to Ireland? Visit the Cliffs of Moher. You’ll recognize them from movies like The Princess Bride (1987) and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). The cliffs represent Ireland at its most raw, rugged, and panoramic. Savor staggering views from the top at O’Brien’s Tower where eagle-eyed observers can catch glimpses of the Aran Islands. The cliffs loom 702 feet (214 meters) tall and stretch five miles (8 kilometers) as the crow flies. Their striated sheer rockfaces plunge steeply into the sea and extend southward to the counties of Kerry, Cork, and beyond. These stunning cliffs provide the total Irish outdoor experience — a geological marvel, historical landmark, and conservation hotspot all rolled into one.
Explore Killarney National Park
Imagine an expanse of rugged countryside punctuated by shimmering lakes, verdant forests, stunning waterfalls, and the highest mountain range in Ireland, the McGillycuddy’s Reeks at 3,280 feet (1,000 meters) tall. Welcome to Killarney National Park! Designated a Biosphere Reserve in 1981 by UNESCO, the heart of Killarney is Bourn Vincent Memorial Park. Senator Arthur Vincent and his family gifted all 10,625 acres (4,300 hectares) of this expansive property to the Irish State in 1932. Today, it’s a cherished national treasure and a prime spot for lake kayaking (from February through November).
Discover the Legendary History of Ross Castle
After exploring Killarney National Park, learn more about the incredible history of Ross Castle. Built in the 15th century by O’Donoghue Mór, legend has it that O’Donoghue remains in a deep slumber beneath the waters of nearby Lough Leane. Once every seven years on May 1st, he rises from the depths to ride his magnificent white steed around the lake. Just the sight of him brings with it lifelong good luck. Apart from local legend, Ross Castle played a critical military role during the stand against Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads during the Irish Confederate Wars. It was one of the last Irish castles to withstand the onslaught of Cromwell’s troops, falling in 1652.
Cheer on Your Favorite Team at the GAA Games
Head to the Gaelic Games at a local Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) club. There, you’ll experience time-honored Celtic sports like hurling, Gaelic football, Gaelic handball, and rounders firsthand. These sporting competitions continue to rise in popularity. In 2017, nearly one million people attended 45 GAA senior championships, a crowd increase of one quarter over 2016. At one of these exciting events, you’ll get an authentic taste of how the Irish like to play.
Go Rural Outside of Dublin
The Guinness Family has a longstanding tradition of giving back to local communities through the Iveagh Trust. The tradition began with Edward Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, the founder of the Guinness Brewery. He created the trust to help individuals in need of affordable housing in Dublin. Today, the family maintains a farm outside of Dublin, the proceeds of which support the trust and its charitable mission. The trust manages over 1,400 housing units and hostel accommodations in Dublin City and its suburbs, providing affordable housing for families and single people. The Iveagh Trust also supports its local GAA clubs. Visiting this working farm is a fantastic way to learn more about rural Ireland and its traditions. In the process, you’ll also support the Iveagh Trust.
Cycle Off-Road in Kenmare
Ireland is known for many things, from its green expanses to its lively music. That said, don’t forget to add cycling to the list. In 2015, Dublin ranked among the world’s top 20 bike-friendly cities. More than 7.6 percent of the population cycled as their primary mode of transportation. Urban biking achievements aside, nothing compares to heading to rural Kenmare. There, a local guide will demonstrate the art of off-road mountain biking. A vacation idea teens will love, the day finishes with a chance at the onsite obstacle/assault course, a challenge replete with social media bragging rights!
Lend a Hand at a Donkey Sanctuary
From the 19th century through the mid-20th century, donkeys powered rural Ireland. As motorized transportation took over, they slowly disappeared from local landscapes. Fortunately, private farms and organizations such as the Donkey Sanctuary in Cork remain devoted to protecting donkeys and mules and improving their quality of life. They do this by providing a safe home to more than 130 four-legged residents. They offer tours of the sanctuary aimed at increasing understanding and appreciation for these amiable animals. On our Ireland family vacations, spend an afternoon of CommUnity Impact at the sanctuary where you’ll enjoy a fun and informative chance to meet the animals.
Ireland with Kids
Traveling Ireland with kids is a magical journey filled with captivating ways to learn more about the Emerald Isle. Besides the activities above, you’ll also have chances to participate in traditional leisure activities such as clay shooting, archery, horseback riding, and falconry. Or, spend an evening with an Irish storyteller absorbing silver-tongued tales of fairies, leprechauns, and other folkloric legends. Read more about our Ireland itinerary.
Global CommUnity offers luxury family vacations to 35 global destinations. Each customized itinerary comes in both 4- and 5-star price points. Your family will enjoy opportunities to interact with a destination’s culture and people in profound ways. Explore Global CommUnity’s itineraries now and open the door to a compelling world of luxury family travel possibilities.