10 Incredible Places to Visit in Ireland with Kids

It’s incredibly easy to think of Ireland as a place for “seasoned” tourists to take bus tours or for young singles on self-directed “pub tours”.

But the Ireland I know is welcoming for the entire family, filled with a centuries old magic just waiting to be discovered.

For nearly a decade I have been traveling with my children. My eldest daughter’s first flight was to Ireland. As we have crossed the country in the years since her first trip, we’ve discovered many amazing places – and have many more on our future places to visit in Ireland with kids list.

1. Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher seem a very obvious choice for a place to visit in Ireland with kids. The most popular tourist destination in Ireland, people have been coming here for hundreds of years to take in the incredible views.

Before walking up to the cliffs – a bit of a hike – be sure to stop in the Visitor’s Centre. The Atlantic Edge exhibit is well worth the time.

Kids, and even adults, will enjoy learning about the history of the Cliffs of Moher and how bird eggs were collected from the cliff walls. Book your trip to the Cliffs of Moher here.

2. Killarney

Jaunting Cart in Killarney National Park
Jaunting Cart in Killarney National Park

Killarney is the tourist town in Southwest Ireland – and for good reason. Killarney is often the starting point for many tourists who plan day trips around the Ring of Kerry.

Nestled next to the city centre is the edge of Killarney National Park, which includes Ross Castle, Muckross Abbey and Traditional Farms, and miles of walking and cycling trails.

Killarney is a terrific base for day trips through the Gap of Dunloe and the Beara Peninsula. Add in shopping, dining and lively pubs and it’s very easy to spend your entire vacation in this single area.

3. Lough Gur / Ballyhoura

Donkey Sanctuary
Donkey Sanctuary

Lough Gur is quite possibly one of Ireland’s most magical – and least visited – areas. Lough Gur lies just south of Limerick City. In this small area you’ll find Ireland’s largest stone circle, the entrance to faerie land, castle ruins and incredible archaeological sites. Easily, an entire days’ worth of exploration and discovery for the kids.

The Ballyhoura Region, of which Lough Gur is a part of, covers much of County Limerick and the northern portion of County Cork. A popular area for hikers and mountain bikers, you’ll also find Ireland’s only Donkey Sanctuary, which is fun and free to visit.

Rambling Houses across the area will teach you Irish Dancing or maybe even how to play the Irish whistle or bodhrán.

4. Kylemore Abbey

Photos of breathtaking Kylemore Abbey in Connemara inspire many adults to visit Ireland. But few realize that the grounds of the Abbey are incredible place for children. The paths throughout the grounds feature fun play areas for kids.

While the adults will marvel at the Walled Victorian Gardens, the kids will see a fabulous place to run and explore. The gardeners are always happy to answer questions and the tea shop provides a relaxing spot for a cuppa and a bit of chocolate.

If you are very adventurous, enquire about mountain hikes behind the Abbey. Not for the faint of heart, but the views are unbelievable!

5. Dingle Peninsula

the dingle peninsula
The Dingle Peninsula

Often overlooked in its neighbor’s (the Ring of Kerry) popularity, the Dingle Peninsula offers quite a lot for families. One of the largest draws is the town of Dingle’s resident dolphin, Fungi.  A terrific Oceanic Aquarium lies just by Dingle Bay.

Driving the peninsula leads to a stone age fort, beehive huts and the Gallarus Oratory. Views are just as dramatic as you’ll find on the Ring of Kerry.

The Dingle Peninsula is a Gaeltecht, or Irish speaking area, so you’re likely to pick up a few Irish words, as well. It’s a fascinating and beautiful place in Ireland to visit with kids.

6. Giant’s Causeway

Will you believe the scientists, who say the Giant’s Causeway is the result of an underwater volcano, or will you trust the Irish legend that says it was built by Finn McCool as a path way to Scotland?

After visiting the miles of octagonal stones along the Antrim coastline, it’s likely you’ll choose the Irish legend. The kids sure will.

For those looking for adventure, follow the Antrim Coast Road, a narrow, often single carriageway drive that hugs the Antrim coast providing some of the most breathtaking views in Northern Ireland.

Include a stop at the dramatic ruins of Dunluce Castle or, for those who enjoy a thrill, cross the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

7. Lough Boora Parklands

The Lough Boora Parklands were once a prime peat mining area. Now those acres of land are public space, filled with art that can be appreciated by all ages.

Wander the pathways on foot, or rent a bicycle. And bring bits of bread to feed the ducks and geese that call the park home.

8. Clifden / Sky Road

Live Music in Clifden 2012
Enjoying the traditional craic

Though maybe not as white-knuckling as the Antrim Coast Road, the Sky Road near Clifden offers incredible views – and a few heart-racing moments as well. At times the road seems like it must fall off the edge of the cliffs above the Atlantic Ocean, and then the road widens, providing a place to stop and enjoy the spectacular scenery.

The village of Clifden is called the Capital of Connemara. Filled with shops and pubs, it’s the perfect place to dance the night away in a pub to traditional Irish music (yes, kids are allowed in the pubs!). And the beaches of Mannin Bay are a terrific place to hunt shells and sea glass.

9. Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle
Bunratty Castle

One of Ireland’s best preserved tower houses, Bunratty Castle is the center of a folk park filled with traditional Irish cottages as well as a small village filled with traditional shops and a pub.

Wandering the grounds leads to a beautiful walled garden, a piggery, plenty of animals and even a play area featuring a wooden castle.

Bunratty castle can be explored top to bottom and hosts a Medieval Banquet nightly. For families with young children, I recommend Traditional Irish Night, which is filled with music, dancing and craic (pronounced “crack”; Irish for fun and entertainment).

10. Phoenix Park / Dublin Zoo

Many visits to Ireland begin and end in Dublin. But Dublin is not all about the pubs.

One place in Dublin that will surely please kids of any age is Phoenix Park. Over 1700 acres, Phoenix Park was originally a Royal deer park. You’ll still find deer and other wildlife throughout the park as you explore on foot or bicycle.

Also within the park is the Dublin Zoo, playgrounds, a flower garden, and tea shops. Phoenix park is truly a relaxing oasis in the center of bustling Dublin.

Plan your trip to Ireland

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Accommodation in Ireland

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Flights to Ireland

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Tours in Ireland

 

More Posts About Ireland:

Do you have any favorite places to go in Ireland with kids? If so we’d love to hear about them!

44 thoughts on “10 Incredible Places to Visit in Ireland with Kids”

  1. I’ve been to about seven of the places suggested and would say they are great for adults too. I’d also recommend a trip to the Aran Islands – fun for both adults & kids.

    1. You are so right, Leigh! In fact, I may have had just as much fun as my kids when we visited these areas. My goal with IrelandWithKids.com is to help people realize that Ireland isn’t all about pub tours or bus trips, but that it is an incredible place for families.

  2. Wow, a lot of stunning views. I have plans for Dublin for the first time, soon. I will have to make sure I spend a day taking in some of these spectacular views. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Dublin is a fabulous city. But, if you have a chance, get out of town! There are so many easy day trips- Glendalough & the Wicklow Mountains, the Hill of Tara, Birr Castle Demense and Lough Boora in County Offaly… Have a great trip!

      1. Do you have any suggestions for a small intimate wedding location? We are soon to be a blended family with five children and would like to be married and vacation there for the wedding. We are looking for a place everyone can enjoy with the youngest child being 10.

  3. We’re thinking about taking a trip to Ireland with my 6.5 and 3.5 year old girls. This websie is perfect! Do you recommend basing ourselves in one city and doing day trips or are there 2 or 3 places you’d recommend staying? We’ll be there for 7-10 days.

    1. For 7-10 days I would recommend no more than 3-4 lodging changes, staying 2-3 nights per location. Where I would recommend staying entirely depends on what you want to see! Please feel free to email me!

  4. Took our kids to many of these sites a few years back and had a wonderful time. I also recommend staying on a farm while your there. We rented a cottage for a week on a working farm and it really made the trip special for the kids. As a bonus, we went in the spring! Can you say baby farm animals?

    P.S. Isn’t your photo of Slea Head on the DIngle Peninsula backwards????

    1. Dan, I was wondering if you have any info on that cottage you rented on the working farm you spoke about. Would love to do that kind of Ireland with my daughter and any advice you could provide would be greatly appreciated for sure!
      Thanks in advance!

  5. jecintah kihongeh

    hi,
    am looking for somewhere fun to take my two boys,11yrs(hard to please coz has Autism) and an 8yr old…i know they an’t into out door activities so maybe something interesting to see..
    looking for 3 or 4 different places in different towns…any suggestions will highly be appreciated.

    1. I would suggest doing a search on google to see what is in the towns your were thinking of visiting. This post is probably a good starting point for you

  6. I went to Ireland last year and it is really very beautiful island I have ever seen and experienced. Its beauty is just out of this world.

  7. I disagree with your list. Maybe your kids were older. I traveled with children from 2 – 9. Our favorites are Fota Wildlife Park near Cork, & Bunratty Park which is similar to our American Greenfield Village or Williamsburg but Irish. We did love Giant’s Causway.
    I find it interesting that the Cliffs were number one. Young ones are too unpredictable for that one for me.

    1. I’m sorry you disagree, Nerma. My daughters were both 1 year old when they made their first visit to Ireland (2005 & 2008) and have been multiple times since. The are now 7 & 9. Because the Cliffs of Moher are ‘barricaded’ with a high wall, they are not unsafe unless you venture out beyond the main area. Really, nothing for a parent to worry about at the main site.

      We have not had the opportunity to visit Fota Wildlife Park yet, but I did list Bunratty.

  8. I’m just in the process of planning my first ever Ireland adventure with my 9 year old daughter for 2015. As a single Mom, trying to enrich my daughter’s life with travel, I often come up against some negative views on travelling alone with my young daughter. Just wondering if you’d consider Ireland to be a safe bet for a grand adventure for us. I love that I’ve found your site and that you have assured me that Ireland will have something to excite my young travel companion as well. I will definitely be following your board on Pinterest and watching closely for any posts coming in the near future about other suggestions to help us have a fun time together on the Emerald Isle!

    1. I think you will be perfectly safe in Ireland. It’s a great destination to travel to with kids, especially for a single parent. Ignore the naysayers. Go and have an amazing time

    2. Just stumbled across this and wanted to say that I hope you went on the trip with your daughter Sandy! I took my oldest to Spain for almost 2 weeks when she was 10yo. Those are treasured memories. 🙂 Now I’m here because I’m taking the whole family to Ireland!

  9. Wonderful tips & pics! Contemplating a trip to Ireland late summer to attend a friend’s wedding…I’m thinking it’s a great opportunity to bring our girls (ages 6, 3, 1) but my hubby isn’t keen on this idea. Any thoughts or tips of persuasion I can offer to change his mind?

    1. Hi Mega. Ireland is wonderful for families and late summer is an ideal time to visit. I would ask your husband why he doesn’t want to bring the kids? Maybe he is looking at this as a romantic getaway for 2? Or is the wedding venue not terrific for families? Definitely find out his thinking. But if the resoning is that he doesn’t think Ireland is ‘family vacation’ destination material I would love to help you change his mind! So many terrific places your kids will love! Please let me know if I can help!

  10. My husband and our three children (16,14 and 11) will be travelling to Ireland this August for a few days. We want to visit Dublin for a day and Enniskillen for a day and wondering what else to take in or where to stop on our short three day journey to your country. We will be renting a car too. Any suggestions of places to visit, tours to take, places to stay or where to eat would be most appreciated.
    Thanks

  11. Looking for adventure parks outside Dublin other then tayto park. Adventure centres that can accommodate me and my 6 year old mad to try anything while on a rd trip in a camper around Ireland.

  12. Thank you for this! Can I get some recommendations on lodging? My husband I visited Ireland 4 years ago, staying in hostels and B&B on fly the entire trip. This time we are going with a 3 year old and 1 year old. With your kids, did you go the hotel route, or what kind of accommodations would you recommend?

    1. Hi Lynne,
      I have four little ones, and travel with them is just the same as the US. B&B’s are fun! And they’re just as simple and easy as a hotel, especially if you’re going to be traveling around the country. And if you tell them you’ve got kids, they’re more than willing to help you make their stay extra special. Just remember, food there can be a little different. I always bring them to the grocery store when we get there and let them pick out some snacks and get familiar with the brands. The only kind of travel warning I would give with kids is travel in Dublin. The trains can get absolutely mental on weekdays, and you don’t want to get lost on side streets.

  13. I’m surprised Lullymore Heritage Park isn’t on this list. They’ve got a petting zoo, a fairy garden, hologram tour guides, thatched houses, bog, just soooo many things for kids to do. This place should be top of the list.

  14. We are traveling to Ireland with children and their children. We are staying in Carrick, Roscommon. We will also be visiting Sligo, where my son-in-law’s family is from. Our grandchildren are 6 (twins). Any suggestions of fun things to do with these two little ones in that area of Ireland?

  15. Christa Hoyos

    Greetings,

    My husband and I are planning a trip to Ireland either September – October 2018 for 8 days. Can you provide a family friendly Itinerary? Where should a family stay and see?

    HELP!

    Thanks so much!

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