Ireland Family Vacations

Family Friendly Ireland Vacation Ideas

What You Should Know Before Travelling to Ireland With Your Family

You can visit Ireland at any time of year

Ireland has a very temperate climate, rarely ever getting too hot or too cold. Of course, you are more likely to see sunshine in the summer months, but it can also just as easily be spilling rain. The downside of visiting during the summer months is that the prices will be higher as this is when most tourists are around.

The majority of tourist attractions are open year-round, with some changes to opening hours during the winter months. One of the busiest times to visit Ireland is around St Patrick’s day, especially around the capital.

Explore straight away to avoid the dreaded jet lag

You will more than likely arrive in Ireland in the early hours of the morning, just as the sun is rising. Instead of getting an early check-in and having a nap, get active straight away.
There are some great sights to explore nearby, whether you fly into Dublin or Shannon airport. Try to get some sleep on the flight, if at all possible.

The best way to explore Ireland is by car

The public transport links in Ireland are definitely not the best, especially in the more rural areas. Hiring a car is definitely the only way to go if you really want to get the most from your trip.

Stick shifts are the norm in Ireland so be sure to request an automatic if necessary. Be aware that hiring an automatic will cost more. Car insurance is also mandatory in Ireland. Once you get used to driving on the “wrong” side of the road, driving in Ireland is a lot simpler than you might expect.

You won’t be able to see absolutely everything

Unless you’re blessed with unlimited time, you won’t be able to explore absolutely everything Ireland has to offer. You might think that because Ireland is such a small country, you’ll be able to see absolutely everything, but this definitely isn’t the case.

Driving from site to site can take time, especially the further west you go, where you’ll want to take it all the scenery and the roads are quite narrow.

Make sure to pack for all weather

If you are visiting in summer, you might be tempted to pack a lot of shorts and t-shirts, but actually, Ireland gets very few days hot enough to wear shorts. A rain jacket is an absolute must, all year round.

During the winter months, it can get quite cold, so warm clothing is definitely advised. You are likely going to be doing a considerable amount of walking as you explore so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring plenty of spare socks.

There are plenty of different accommodation options

When it comes to where you are going to stay the night, Ireland has no shortage of options for family travel. If you are exploring it is unlikely you will be staying in the one place your entire trip as many of Ireland must-see destinations are on opposite sides of the country.

There are plenty of B&Bs, self-catering lodges, family friendly hostels, budget hotels, and luxury hotels. There is something for all budgets and we’d definitely recommend trying to experience as much of them as possible instead of sticking to one lodging type your entire trip.

Expect to eat like a king

Ireland has an exceptional agricultural background so expect to experience tasty locally sourced ingredients in your meals. The types of cuisine will differ slightly from location to location but overall expect to experience fresh, locally sourced meat and fish, and a lot of ‘Spuds’ (Potatoes).

Places to Visit with Your Family


As to be expected of the capital city, Dublin has plenty of activities for families. The stunning Phoenix Park is a must visit, it is the largest natural park in Europe and a wonderful spot to explore. Rent a bike a track down the friendly deer or visit Dublin Zoo, Aras an Uachtaran, the President of Ireland’s House, is also located in the Phoenix Park.

Guinness is often the first thing that pops into many people’s heads when they think of Ireland, love it or hate it, the Guinness Storehouse is a great experience for families. The Viking splash bus tour is also a fantastic way to take in the sights of the city by road as well as by water as it finishes its trip in the River Liffey.

Dublin’s Merrion Square often hosts a variety of family events during the summer months. Dublin is the epicentre of festivities and family events during the St Patrick’s festival in March. Whatever time of key you visit, you can expect to find crowds in Dublin.


Wicklow is home to Glendalough, Ireland’s stunning national park offering great hiking trails and stunning views. Wicklow is only 40 minutes from Dublin yet feels like a world away from the bustling city.

If your kids are interested in history, Wicklow Gaol (an old Irish word for jail) is also well worth a visit. Greystones is a stunning coastal town easily accessible by train from Dublin.


Waterford is full of history as it was the first area in Ireland invaded by Vikings. The city of Waterford is beautiful and a lot quieter than some of the other more major cities.

The recently opened Waterford Greenway is a stunning cycle route that is an absolute must for anyone who enjoys cycling with plenty of family bicycle rental facilities.


Waterford is full of history as it was the first area in Ireland invaded by Vikings. The city of Waterford is beautiful and a lot quieter than some of the other more major cities.

The recently opened Waterford Greenway is a stunning cycle route that is an absolute must for anyone who enjoys cycling with plenty of family bicycle rental facilities.

The Burren

The Burren is a large area in the west of Ireland covered with limestone paving, a natural phenomenon. This is where you’ll experience the best raw beauty that Ireland has to offer.

The Cliffs of Moherand County Clare

The cliffs of the mother are one of the top tourist destinations in Ireland and for good reason, the breath-taking cliffs really are something to behold. Clear, bright days are the best to visit and windy foggy days the worst. In adverse weather conditions, the cliff can be closed to visitors.

There is a visitorcentre on site with a cafe and numerous gift shops. County Clare, where the Cliffs are located, also has many beautiful beaches with perfect surfing conditions and excellent local seafood.

The Aliwee Caves are also close by and are a great place to visit with kids. The Aran Islands are just off County Clare and accessible by daily boat trips.

The Ring of Kerry

This scenic driving route in County Kerry in the south west of Ireland offers unparalleled, unspoiled natural beauty at its finest. This route is very busy however. So if you’re looking for something quieter, we recommend the Dingle peninsula route.

A great activity to do with kids is taking a dolphin spotting boat trip, you might see Funghi the famous Dingle dolphin. Killarney National Park, where Ross Castle is located, is another great spot to hit while you’re in County Kerry.


Galway is a unique city in Ireland bursting with cultural, a perfect place to experience some traditional Irish music. The promenade at Galway’s Salthill is a beautiful place to take a walk and is always bustling in the summer months when there’s plenty of amusements for children.


Rarely visited by tourists, Donegal is one of the most rural counties in Ireland. The lack of tourism in the area really adds to the authenticity and charm. This is a fantastic spot if you want to experience the “real Ireland”.


Belfast is the main city in Northern Ireland. It is full of historical significance especially for those interested in the history of the “troubles” (the civil war between the Catholics and the Protestants in Northern Ireland).

The Titanic was built in Belfast. You will find that the Titanic museum is a fascinating place to visit. Remember that Northern Ireland is part of the UK, meaning that they use the British pound as opposed to the euro.

Why Visit Ireland with Your Family

It may not seem obvious, but Ireland is a great vacation destination for kids, and it makes a perfect spot for any family vacation. Ireland’s folklore and culture are fascinating to kids and stories about fairies, leprechauns and rainbows are sure to capture your children’s imaginations.

Family members of all ages will also love visiting the historical landmarks of Ireland. The country has multiple beautiful castles and historical sites that are open for exploration and learning.

Along with the historical landmarks, your family will love the natural landscapes of Ireland. Ireland’s coast has beautiful sandy beaches, cliffs, and caves and offers many fun activities such as riding along the water.

There are many options for tours that you and your family can take for a day’s adventure all over Ireland. Furthermore, Ireland’s mild climate is perfect for adventures. You and your children will have a fantastic time exploring caves or touring a piece of Ireland’s history in the stunning Ireland landscape.

Travel Tips

Visit Dublin

Dublin is a fantastic city to visit with your family. The capital of the Republic of Ireland is a vibrant, young exciting city that is a hotspot for tourists. Even though it is quite crowded, and you’ll definitely have to hold on to your kids, it is an incredibly safe and welcoming city that you can feel comfortable in.

The city has a number of fantastic museums that your whole family will enjoy, and you’ll love visiting some of Dublin’s parks during the warmer months. St. Stephen’s Green and Phoenix parks are a couple of great options for your children to enjoy. Dublin also has bustling lines of various kinds of public transportation to move you and your family around the city with ease.

Stay in a Bed and Breakfast

While there are some really fantastic hotels to stay in, the best lodging option for traveling with a family is a Bed and Breakfast. Bed and Breakfasts are a great way to experience true Irish hospitality with your family and they will provide homesick kids with a comfortable, at-home atmosphere.

In addition, the owner of your Bed and Breakfast can have some great advice for things to do in Ireland. They may be able to recommend local restaurants, pubs and public spaces that are fun to visit. Overall, a Bed and Breakfast will offer an individual, personalized experience that you simply won’t get from a hotel.

Bed and Breakfasts are also great if you’re vacationing on a budget. Traveling with kids, especially multiple kids, can get expensive and staying in hotels can rack up the price. But staying in a Bed and Breakfast will save you money and even provide you with the first meal of the day every morning of your stay.

Pack your Rain Gear

In Ireland, you should always be prepared for rain. Even during the summer months, it does rain in Ireland quite frequently and the weather can be rather unpredictable. However, you should not let this slow you down; no matter what, odds are you will run into rain so you shouldn’t be afraid to plan an adventure for fear of rain.

Instead, prepare yourself for the wet weather by packing lots of rain gear for you and your kids. If you visit during a colder month, make sure you bring enough clothes to layer and don’t forget your umbrella. You will also definitely need a raincoat and bringing along a pair of rain boots could never hurt.

Visit Castles

You can’t visit Ireland without visiting some of the country’s most beautiful and magnificent castles. Ireland is known for its famous castles such as Bunratty Castle and the Rock of Cashel. The castles are in varying levels of repair. Some are in a glorious condition and have gone under restorations to make them similar to their original state.

In these castles, you’ll enjoy exploring the endless rooms, admiring the art and climbing the towers. But even the castles that are in rubble are fascinating. You can admire the surrounding landscape and use your imagination to picture what the castle must have been like while it was still standing.

If you don’t mind spending some money, you can even have the opportunity to stay in some of these castles. These castles, including the Castle in Clare, offer magnificent experiences and will give you insight into what life in what of these castles would have been like. And the best part is that it’s all kid-friendly.

Visit Some Irish Pubs

Many American families don’t realize that in Ireland, kids are welcome in pubs. The pub stands for Public House and even though they do serve alcohol, kids are allowed in and will enjoy listening to music and being a part of the bustle of the pub. You won’t be waited on, but parents can make their way up to the bar to grab a drink then return to spend time with the family.

While it may seem strange, families in Irish pubs are not an oddity and many pubs in Ireland will be full of families early in the evening. Enjoy meeting local people and other tourists and enjoy the music and fun of a real Irish public house.

Go Sightseeing

During your time in Ireland, do anything but stay in one place. Ireland isn’t a very big country, but it is packed with beautiful sites and things to do. Ireland is incredibly special because unlike other countries, you can see a lot of Ireland during just one trip, so make sure you take in as much as you can.

If you’re looking for beautiful natural landscapes, Ireland has its fill. Part of the Burren GeoPark, the Cliffs of Moher is a beautiful coastal landmark that attracts thousands of tourists every year. You can admire the beautiful cliffs and visit the Visitor Centre to get information on the beautiful area. You can even admire the cliffs from the water on a Cliffs of Moher Cruise.

The Giant’s Causeway will capture your children’s imaginations. Said by Irish folklore to have been created by a giant called Finn McCool, the Causeway has a fascinating and ancient story that will fascinate kids. Adults on the trip may be interested to hear about the volcanic activity that has contributed to the creation of the area.

Sights like these will certainly provide fun, excitement as well as an educational historical experience for the whole family. No matter where you are staying, stay local or be sure to travel around to see all that Ireland has to offer.