Thinking of exploring Ireland this summer? There are some fabulous days out and places to see, Ireland has some beautiful hidden treasures to offer. There are so many beautiful places to visit and most of them won’t break the budget if you plan wisely or bring a picnic lunch with you.
Set on 60 acres of breath-taking landscape you will explore Irish heritage, culture and environment with woodland/peat trails, gardens and exhibitions. A fabulous day out for all the family with a state of the art indoor forest-themed play centre, outdoor play area, crazy golf, pet farm and of course the famous train trips through the bogland. 2 adults and 2 children will cost you €30 and under 1’s are free.
Located on the Courtown Road, this little gem of a place has a host of attractions as long as my arm. Activities include their mini farm, of course, a petting area, a maze, real working diggers, go karts, sand pits, a fire engine, rough-rider track and ride on tractors and cars. Picnics are welcome, there is no additional charges or time limit and a day out will cost €7.50 per head.
Hidden in the north Kildare countryside, The Kildare Maze is a fabulous day out costing €29 for a family ticket. A picnic is a must as they only have a small shop selling treats, minerals and hot drinks. Get lost in the Hedge Maze and Wooden Maze or let the kids enjoy a host of activities within the park including crazy golf, zip line, sandpit, petting corner and a huge adventure trail.
An award-winning Celtic Garden and Visitors Centre set within 11 acres of native woodland and wildflower meadows. Enjoy the nature trail, an ancient ring fort (fairy fort), thatched roundhouse and crannog, and the calendar sundial, the largest in Ireland. The kids can enjoy the discovery trail, a natural playground and have lots of opportunities to explore. A family pass of 2 adults and 3 kids will cost you €24 and under 4’s go free.
Relive your childhood through the eyes of your child and explore the hidden towers, high walkways, suspension bridges, slides, go-karts and crazy golf. And of course, the two massive water slides with awesome bends, twists and drops. Fort Lucan is a fully supervised outdoor adventure playground for children aged 2-12. Admission for under 2’s is free, adults €4 (includes a complimentary tea/coffee) and kids entry are priced at €10.50 each but you’ll also have to purchase a wristband to avail of unlimited access to all rides. Keep an eye on Groupon and the likes for special offers on entry and wristbands.
Every Friday during July and August at 2pm join a group for three and a half hours of fun and learning. There’s something for everyone from playing the bodhrán to blowing giant bubbles. You can gather sheep with the sheepdogs and milk a cow. Paint a masterpiece on the barn wall or find an egg in the hen-house. Take a hayride to the bog where you can appreciate the landscape, cut a few sods of turf or just jump in the bog for the pure joy of it. Picnics are welcome and it costs €14 per person with under 3’s free. There is also a family rate of €50 for 4 people.
Airfield Estate in Dundrum is a charitable organisation creating a chance for people to experience an urban farm and food gardens. Airfield aim is to teach families and kids about food and the natural world, to help people reconnect with food and the land it comes from. The 38-acre estate includes a working farm and dairy, food gardens and food production tunnels, ornamental gardens, interactive heritage centre, and educational facilities. There are a soft play area and an imaginative play area for budding little ones to take on the role of being a farmer, a gardener or chef here at Airfield and an interactive play area for children aged 4-12, located in the woodland walk area. You’ll also find a zip wire, balance beams, climbing structure and willow tunnel to entertain the kids. A family pass of two adults and two children costs €28 and under 5's go free.
One of Ireland’s most beautiful destinations, home to one of the most important monastic sites. Breathe taking scenery, history and archaeology. Hiking boots and a picnic basket is a must! There's a gorgeous wooden playground on site too.
One of the oldest caves in Ireland located in the heart of the Burren in County Clare. Take a guided 30-minute stroll through the beautiful caverns – over bridged chasms, under weird formations and alongside the thunderous waterfall which sometimes sprays the unsuspecting visitor. Spectate over the frozen waterfall and explore the now extinct brown bear bones. A family ticket of two adults and four children will cost you €35.
Suitable for all ages, wander around the farm in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with a host of attractions to check out. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy including mazes, farm museums, a wild nature walk, farm animals and tea rooms! The nature walk leads down by a stream to the dragon-fly ponds where an abundant wildlife can be enjoyed, it’s not to be missed! Adults are priced at €8, children at €7 and under 2’s are free. Or avail of a family of 4 tickets priced at €28.
Horses, castles and beautiful flowers. Keep this one for a super sunny day. Costing €28 for a family ticket of two and four kids with lots of activities including a children’s playground, some of Ireland’s finest horses and a beautiful garden and a picnic area.
Almost 2km of walkways to explore and meet farm and exotic animals whilst enjoying panoramic views of both Cork city and the surrounding countryside. See the large collection of birds in their Aviaries. Visit the ponds and the Lemur climbing enclosure. Say hello to the rabbits in the Rabbit Village. With a host of outdoor also activities including mini golf, zip wire, go karts, balance bikes and a playground. And Indoors you will find a sand pit, a play zone with slides and balls, a baby play zone area, pool tables and more. Admission is €9 per person and under 2’s go free or avail of their family day pass offers for €34.
A super fun cheap family day out costing €10 per car. Packed with lots of activities including an animal farm, playground and a breath-taking woodland walk with hidden treasures like fairy doors and houses, wooden statues from The Gruffalo to racing cars, it’s one day out not to be missed. A picnic is a must but they do have a beautiful tea room that’s also worth a visit, their cakes are very yummy indeed.
Home to hundreds of indoor and outdoor animals located in Midleton. Enjoy a host of outdoor activities including an adventure trail, climbing towers, a digger park, mystery maze, go-kart track and a big drop slide. The fairy forts, Crannog area and gardens are not to be missed. A day out at Leahy’s will cost €9.50 per person, under 2's are free and Diggers & Crazy Golf is an additional €2 per a go.
Prepare to get wet with an outdoor water park full of boats, Tarzan swings, rafts, water slides and rope bridges. Round up the whole family and bring the makings of a barbecue. I can guarantee you, you will relive your childhood here. Costing €10 per head and under 4’s go free. Keep an eye on the back of Dunnes Stores till receipts, they have a buy 4 get one admission free voucher if you have a larger family.
Straddling the border between counties Fermanagh and Cavan is the Marble Arch Caves, one of the finest show caves in Europe. During this educational family day out you will be guided through a fascinating natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers while stunningly beautiful cave formations glisten all around. A family ticket will cost £26.80 ( 2 adults and 3 Children) and under 5’s go free.
You'll never beat a day out at Clonfert Pet Farm, it's a firm favourite with all my kids aged 2, 2, 4 and 8. They have three playgrounds, indoor play area (perfect if it's raining), zip wire, go-kart track for big kids, a large bouncy castle, hobbit house, bike and trike track for toddlers. You will find the usual farm animals that you can feed if you get their early enough. They also have some more unusual farm animals including kangaroo, emu, deer and alpaca. Clonfert has a miniature golf for an extra charge of €2 per person, picnics are welcome and there's a very reasonably priced cafe on site too. A day out at Clonfert is €15 for two adults and four kids, children aged two and under go free.
A hidden gem on the outskirts of Gorey, Wexford. A fun day out with stunning views and a beautiful atmosphere. Beds upon beds of therapeutic lavender, a playground, woodland walk, beautiful tea room and a small farm. Parking is €2 per car and there is a blue barrel ride charged at €2 per child.
Award-winning and the most visited Tourist Attraction in Munster. Set on 70 acres you can come face to face with free roaming animals & birds from all around the world. And its home to many highly endangered species such as the Lion Tailed Macaque, Rothschild giraffe, European Bison and Scimitar Horned Oryx. Explore and learn and make sure you head to the parks wildlife talks and feeding. 2 adults + 2 children will set you back €46 and under 3’s go free. A picnic is highly recommended if you're on a budget.
Another family adventure costing €16 for two adults and three kids, under 2’s go free. Ideal for a picnic or summer barbeques with a playground on site for the smallies. They have a beautiful woodland walk too.
In case you didn’t know Glenroe was a series that aired on RTE between 1983-2001. At Glenroe Open Farm you can see the famous 350-year-old thatched farm cottage, home to Dinny, Biddy and Miley Byrne that stands just within the main entrance, now hosting a mini-museum of exhibitions. On-site you will find a petting area, a variety of farm animals, a huge outdoor playground overlooking the farm with numerous wooden climbing frames, swings and slides. And best of all it has its own breath-taking and educational nature walk. A family ticket costs €25 and kids under 2 go free. For more see our review.