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31st Jul 2015

5 family-friendly events for bank holiday weekend fun


It’s here – finally, the August bank holiday. And the plan is… you need to make a plan. No need to freak out just yet, these destinations are easy to get to and so much fun. Time to pack the family into the car and head away for a mini staycation.

Pick the places, mark the map and make some picnic snacks to bring on the first day:

1. Kinvara Food Market, Galway

During the Galway International Festival & the Galway Races Festival, Kinvara, Co Galway – July 31st, 10am – 4pm.

Why go? Apart from the fact that the West of Ireland rocks in general (said the girl from Mayo)? This food festival has fresh lobster, clam and crab delights alongside a hot German sausage stall and food demos. An art exhibition and a fairy doll maker set up home there on the day. If you can drag yourself away from scenic Kinvara to experience Galway city during the famous festival atmosphere, do it. It’s a 30-minute journey.

What’s cool? Kinvara was at the centre of a wool-smuggling scandal by French sailors during most of the 18th century. Yep. I know all the good stuff.

How much? Free events during the festival unless you wish to throw €2 onto Shergar or his successor.


2. Planet Entertainment, Cork

Old Mallow Road, Cork – 10am – 11.30pm.

Why go? Its a 65,000 square foot entertainment centre with ten-pin bowling, American pool, video simulators, slides and my childhood favourite: laser tag. Awesome. In this spot, the word ‘Mum’ won’t be yelled for most of the day. There is a little café to sit down and chill the beans too. Blissful.

What’s cool? Kids will love it. This place is the definition of entertainment for kids and young adults.

How much? €6 per hour for most activities.

3. Giro de baile, Mayo

Ballycastle, Mayo – Sunday August 2nd. Registration at 8am and cycle starts at 10am.

Why go? Join in a 10k family fun cycle in this famous cycling event. These peeps have their own Hollywood sign that travels around Ireland gaining support for the Cycle Against Suicide organisation. It’s not a race though – it’s just a fun challenge for the family along some of the hotspots on The Wild Atlantic Way.

What’s cool? The cycle is just spectacular with sights along the rugged Erris coast.

How much? Free. Yes, free. Register here.


4. Exhibition of Jackson Pollock inspired paintings

Claire Hartigan’s solo exhibition ‘Time’, Duke Street Gallery, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 – 10.30am – 6pm.

Why go? Shovel a bit of culture into your kids early on Saturday morning. This is the final day to view the work of one of Ireland’s most highly ranked, collectable artists. She uses dripping paint and paint spatters to articulate the human condition, the colours and patterns should appeal to kids of all ages.

What’s cool? This day out will lead to unrivalled fun at home. On Sunday get out into the garden with the kids with some water based paint. Replicate Jackson Pollocks work on a large sheet of A1 paper. Everyone is an accomplished artist when mimicking Pollock. Fact.

How much? Free. Did I just say ‘free’. Oh yes, I did.

5. Scariff Harbour Festival 

East Clare Community co-op – Saturday August 1st, 2 – 3pm.

Why go? A guided walk with other families through gardens and grassland to forage for edible flowers – it just sounds like so much fun. Everyone will participate in the collection of fresh fruit and vegetable ingredients from the area for a community dinner. Simple and oh-so clever. Love it.

What’s cool? A meal will then be prepared al fresco with the scented and delicious garden finds in the on-site wood fired oven.

How much? Free, but booking is essential. Call: 061 921 536.

6. Seafari, Kerry

Kenmare, Co.Kerry. Weekend sailing times – 11am & 2.30pm

Why go? The coolness of seal-watching on one of Ireland’s largest seal colonies is enough for me. Explore the magic of the oceans and take the ‘Eco-nature’ covered boat cruise. Spot some of the thirty species of birds on the Seafari route or admire the beautiful castles en route. Dreamy.

What’s cool? You may spot Kathleen, the mythical seal. She is said to have a red coat of fur and once roamed ireland as a human. Spooky.

How much? Families of four, €60. Children under 12 years, €13.

The bevs on board

Summer adventures make for thirsty adventurers. Fill a cooler with Capri Sun pouches, which now come with a clever easy-opening pouch… so no more spills.

If you need some inspiration for an event near you, send on a quick mail: [email protected]

With a range of 12 great fruity flavours and no artificial sweeteners, flavours, colours or preservatives, kids and mums agree that Capri-Sun is Ireland’s favourite juice drink.