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Travel + Fun

31st May 2024

5 fun-filled attractions the whole family will love in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands

Sarah McKenna Barry

Brought to you by Discover Ireland

From a Norman reenactment to an engaging science centre, there’s plenty of family fun waiting for you on your next getaway to Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

There are so many reasons to add cultural attractions to your next family getaway. Interactive museums are a wonderful way to keep your children entertained as they learn something new while Ireland’s magnificent castles are a source of wonder for visitors of all ages.

To help fill your next family trip to Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands with engaging and fun activities, we’ve rounded up a selection of our favourite castles, interactive museums and visitor centres. Many of the attractions we’ve selected are made for families, with exhibitions geared towards children, nearby playgrounds and plenty of outdoor space for them to explore between museum tours.

Make the most of your next break in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands by checking out some of our favourite castles, museums and visitor centres.

Knights and Conquests Heritage Centre

At the Knights and Conquests Heritage Centre in Longford, you and your family will be transported to Norman Ireland. This interactive exhibit allows you to follow in the footsteps of the Normans as you explore the picturesque setting, meeting an array of colourful characters along the way. Children even have the option of getting into character by dressing up and receiving a Norman name and duties during their visit – sure-fire way to capture their imagination and inspire them! After your visit, get the adrenaline pumping with a spot of go-karting at Midland Karting, and enjoy refreshments in a scenic spot at The Tearoom at Tullynally Castle.

Cavan County Museum

The Cavan County Museum is not only home to the ancient Killycluggin Stone – is also houses a huge number of exhibits, spanning a variety of interests – from GAA to the famine to the railway to Irish women from history to an outdoor WW1 trench experience. Take in this vast museum with your family during your next trip, and explore some of the other great nearby attractions. Ramble through the Cavan Farmer’s Market with something tasty in your hands and book a family craft workshop at Crafts of Ireland.

Brackloon Castle and Farm

Head to Ballinasloe, Galway and see the striking and imposing Brackloon Castle for yourself. Book your visit ahead of time and you’ll get a warm welcome inside the castle, courtesy of its current owners. Learn all about its medieval history, and afterwards take in some fresh air as you and your family roam the surrounding farm, which is home to a small herd of Kerry cattle. To avoid disappointment and secure your relaxed, private tour, make sure you book in advance. At another point in your Ballinasloe getaway, pay a visit to Coral Leisure for a day of fun, and when hunger strikes, refuel at The Old Mill Shop and Café.

Lough Gur Heritage Centre & Lakeshore Park

With 2000 archeological monuments, a great selection of walking trails and beautiful flora and fauna, there’s just so much to explore at Lough Gur Heritage Centre & Lakeshore Park in Limerick. Take one of the guided tours, enjoy a family picnic and cap your day of fun off with a trip to the on-site playground. While visiting this part of Ireland with your family, be sure to check out The Old Irish Ways Museum and for a bite to eat, pop into Clancy’s Bar & Istabraq Restaurant.

Birr Castle Demesne

Lifestyle, Travel and Tourism Photography for Failte Ireland, featuring County Offaly

Birr Castle Demesne in Offaly is home to Ireland’s Historic Centre, which allows visitors to explore a fascinating and engaging array of interactive exhibits, but that’s just a small fraction of what’s on offer here. Families can also tour the stately castle and wander through the award-winning gardens that surround it, while younger guests in particular will adore the Treehouse Playground and the recently restored Suspension Bridge. All that learning, exploring and playing will have no doubt worked up an appetite so make sure you factor in a stop-off at The Courtyard Café for lunch, a sweet treat and a tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your family break in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands today.

Brought to you by Discover Ireland.
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