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Best Attractions in Ireland for Families

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Ireland is known for its fairytale castles, rocky cliffs, and green fields. There is more, however, to this charming country than ancient estates and scenic vistas. The Emerald Isle is a friendly, vibrant place and a wonderful melding of past and present. Enjoying this uniquely Irish spirit with your kids can be educational, exciting and so much fun for the whole family. There’s much to explore in Ireland, but where to begin? Take a look at the five best attractions in Ireland for families with children.

A beehive hut in Ireland

A Beehive Hut in Ireland (Photo credit: stephensheridan11@hotmail.com, Depositphotos.com)

Beehive Huts

Ireland has a rich history, and you should celebrate it with your kids. Travel to Fahan, Ireland to take some time to show your children the ancient Beehive Huts that are so popular with tourists.

These small round dwellings will inspire the imagination of your children. Much like the mysterious and mystical symbols that decorate Celtic stonework and art (such as trinity knots or spirals), the mysteries of Irish Beehive Huts continue to intrigue both kids and adults.

Crafted of stones piled on top of each other, these odd little “houses” are just the right size for children. Your kids can imagine what took place in these little huts as they run their hands over the rough stone walls.

These huts are located in the countryside, and you may need to give a farmer a few bucks in order to get permission to explore on his or her land. However, this is a small price to pay for a step back in time that your kids will always remember.

Blarney Castle, home of the mystical Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle, home of the mystical Blarney Stone (Photo credit: chrisdorney, Depositphotos.com)

The Blarney Stone

This notorious chunk of bluestone is truly an integral part of the tourist experience in Ireland. If your children enjoy magic, lore and legend, they’ll find the act of “kissing the Blarney Stone” to be quite memorable.

According to legend, kissing this chunk of rock will bestow the gift of gab. Since 1446, this magical stone has attracted millions of people. Travelers of all ages come here to perform the ritual of touching their lips to the rock, usually while being filmed or photographed.

Of course, there is more to visiting this Cork, Ireland location than the stone itself. The Blarney Stone is set into the battlements of Blarney Castle, which is quite a tourist attraction on its own. Pretty gardens and historical features make this a fun outing for all ages. Take a look at this one-day Blarney Stone trip from Dublin.

Bunratty Castle in County Clare - a fun attraction for families in Ireland

Bunratty Castle in County Clare (Photo credit: Patryk_Kosmider, Depositphotos.com)

Bunratty Castle

For medieval splendor, a visit to Bunratty Castle will provide lots of fun activities in an authentic Middle Ages atmosphere. Situated in scenic County Clare, this Irish tower was the scene of Viking encampments. Later, bloody wars reduced the castle to ruins. In 1353, it was rebuilt and restored. Today, it rests near the picturesque Ratty River.

Bunratty Castle is a popular tourist attraction due to its fun medieval banquets, which loosely recreate the spirit of the castle’s ancestral residents. The Bunratty Singers perform at these festive group meals, and they are much revered for their talent. Bordering the castle itself, there is the charming Folk Park, which offers access to lovely cottages, shops, and bakeries which capture the unique beauty of another time.

Western lowland gorilla at Dublin Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Europe

Western lowland gorilla at Dublin Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Europe (Photo credit: yykkaa, Depositphotos.com)

Dublin Zoo

Almost every trip to Ireland includes some time spent in the charming city of Dublin. Take a break from historical sites with an excursion to Dublin Zoo. A short transit ride from the city center, this attraction offers lots of fun for a reasonable price.

This 59-acre park is located near the shores of the River Liffey, in Phoenix Park. Fun train rides, picnic areas, and exhibits add value to this family-friendly destination. A child-friendly petting area lets children get up close and personal with some of the zoo’s residents.

Malahide Castle, Ireland

Fry Model Railway is moving to Malahide Castle in 2020 (Photo credit: borisb17, Depositphotos.com)

Fry Model Railway

Children of all ages will marvel at the miniature trains they find at Fry Model Railway. Located in County Dublin, this fun attraction is an amazing collection of “toy” or model trains, all of which feature astounding attention to detail and stellar workmanship. Children will enjoy this miniature wonderland, which is complete with bridges, rivers, and so much more.

These trains were the pride and joy (and the creation) of Cyril Fry, who built his collection by hand from the 1930s to the 1960s. Visitors can enjoy the wonderful models this railway engineer designed, while also taking in the beautiful grounds of Malahide Castle, where the exhibit will re-open in 2020.

Families with children of all ages love exploring Ireland's attractions and natural beauty together

Families with children of all ages love exploring Ireland’s attractions and natural beauty together (Photo credit: belphnaque, Depositphotos.com)

Ireland for Families with Children of All Ages

These attractions are just a sampling of what your children will enjoy experiencing in Ireland. Other options include visiting ancient forts, the country’s plentiful castles, and classic tourist sites, such as Newgrange (an ancient passage tomb). Mix historical attractions, modern culture, and outdoor activities to find just the right balance for your family.

Best Ireland Attractions for Families

Save these Ireland Family Vacation Tips

Be sure to save this list of attractions in Ireland for families. Just pin the image above to Pinterest. Go ahead and follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Considering a trip to the Emerald Isle? Take a look at these tips for visiting Ireland with kids!

Have you ever visited any of these family-friendly attractions in Ireland? Let us know in the comments below!

Leigh Maher is the owner of Irish Celtic Jewels, an online jewelry store specializing in Celtic engagement rings and bridal jewelry. Read about Irish attractions, history, culture, and jewelry on his Irish Celtic Jewels Blog.

Comments
  1. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Thank you for your guest post, Leigh!

    I visited Blarney Castle during my year abroad in college, and yes, hung upside down to kiss the Blarney Stone whilst being photographed. My dad had told me stories of the Blarney Stone as a kid and it was magical to see that it actually existed with my own eyes (and lips!).

    Would love to bring the kids to Ireland some day. They would both adore the Fry Model Railway!

  2. Funke Olotu says

    This place is so beautiful and I have added it to my travel list, smells like fresh air and peace of mind, When I get my money, I am traveling

  3. We visited all of these on our trip, and we loved every one. Ireland is such a gorgeous place, and it’s so much fun to explore it as a family.

  4. Brianne Tursi Manz says

    I would love for my family to visit all of these. Ireland is such a beautiful country, right out a fairy-tale book, and it would be so much fun to explore it as a family.

  5. Becca Wilson says

    This looks like it would be so very lovely. I have always wanted to visit Ireland and I hope to be able to one day!

  6. Mavs Escala says

    Ireland is on my bucket list. Hoping I can visit it soon.

  7. Annemarie LeBlanc says

    Ireland is beautiful! If we had the opportunity to travel there, I am sure my grandson would be ecstatic to see the Fry Model Railway. He loves trains!

  8. Thanks for sharing. This looks like a bunch of awesome things to see and explore!

  9. Emmanuel Damian says

    I haven’t been in Ireland. I have always wanted to see Bunratty Castle. It’s so amazing!

  10. Heather Barber McMechan says

    We visited Ireland recently with the girls in honor of my husband. It was such a wonderful experience.

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