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Travel + Fun

18th Oct 2023

Brighten up your mid-term break with these activities on the Wild Atlantic Way

Sarah McKenna Barry

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland. 

This mid-term, the west coast is calling.

Mid-term break is fast-approaching, and you’d be hard pressed to find a better time to relax and unwind with your family. There’s a cool breeze in the air, trees are at their peak in terms of beauty and a cup of hot chocolate tastes particularly good after spending time outdoors.

What’s more, around this time of year, we could all do with a bit of a break, whether that’s from work or school. And before we head into the busyness of Christmas, it’s high time we take a moment for ourselves to escape with our little ones, and dive head-first into some family fun on our mid-term getaway.

This October, the west coast is calling, and we’ve got some great activities to add to your Wild Atlantic Way itinerary. From a sheepdog experience in Co. Sligo to a Dark Sky Park in Co. Mayo, these attractions are bound to excite, entertain and engage the whole family as you make the most of your autumn break.

Achill Experience Aquarium and Visitor Centre, Co. Mayo

This all-weather aquarium in Achill Island is bound to be a highlight of your autumn family break to Mayo. With 16 tanks, there’s so much to discover here, including rays, lobsters, catsharks and tropical fish from around the world. After getting up close and personal with the aquarium’s fishy friends, head to the visitor centre, where you and your family will learn all about this beautiful and fascinating island.

After checking out the aquarium and visitor’s centre, enjoy a bite to eat and a warm cuppa courtesy of the Cosmic Café.

Aillwee Cave Experience, Co. Clare

Around this time of year, some activities feel a little more mysterious and magical, and this is definitely the case for the Aillwee Cave Experience. On a guided tour, you’ll get up close and personal with one of Ireland’s oldest caves as you explore its beautiful caverns. Your family will even get the chance to marvel at the frozen waterfall and see the bones of the now extinct brown bear – a wonderful Halloween experience whatever the weather!

After surfacing, visit the Birds of Prey Centre and marvel at these incredible creatures against the dynamic Burren landscape, which looks particularly dramatic in autumn.

Atlantic Sheepdogs, Co. Sligo

Situated in the town of Grange in North Sligo, Atlantic Sheepdogs offers families the chance to meet some of the world’s smartest dogs. During a visit, you’ll learn how these animals are trained to carry out vital work on Irish farms from sheepdog expert Martin Feeney.

A visit to Atlantic Sheepdogs also lets you check out an Irish working farm during harvest season. Breathe in the fresh air in these picturesque surroundings and take in the dramatic views of Benbulben Mountain to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Finish off a fun-packed day here with a family meal in Lang’s Bar and Restaurant.

International Rugby Experience, Co. Limerick

We’ve seen some incredible rugby over the past few weeks thanks to the Rugby World Cup, and the International Rugby Experience offers fans and rugby novices alike incredible insights into the game. At this interactive, fun-filled experience, you and your family will discover the six stages of rugby, charting its humble beginnings to the international sensation it is today. You’ll also learn what it takes to become a legend of the game. Come rain, hail or shine, you can expect plenty of games and the chance to channel your inner Johnny Sexton at this great indoor attraction.

Curragh Chase Forest Park, Co. Limerick

This time of year, our forests and parklands are a vibrant palette of reds, orange and yellow hues, and Curragh Chase Forest Park in Co. Limerick allows you and your family to surround yourself in this autumnal beauty.

Curragh Chase Forest Park is home to 300 hectares of parkland and woodland trails, so you’ll be in a prime location to catch the colours of autumn. For a family walk, take the Lake Trail, a gentle 1.1km route that leads you around the lake and offers great views of the grand house. Afterwards, enjoy a picnic at one of the park’s many picnic areas, and then head to one of Curragh Chase Forest Park’s two playgrounds.

Dursey Island Cable Car, Co. Cork

There’s so much natural beauty to discover along the Wild Atlantic Way, and this region becomes particularly vibrant in the autumn. To really take it all in on your next Cork getaway, take the Dursey Island Cable Car and enjoy an unparalleled view with a one-of-a-kind experience.

On the Dursey Island Cable Car, you’ll be transported over the Dursey Sound and then you’ll be free to explore this picturesque island. Once you land, enjoy bracing family walks in the crisp autumn air and then settle down for a picnic, before getting the Cable Car back to the mainland. As Ireland’s only cable car, and the only cable car in Europe to cross open seawater, this is a truly unique experience.

Mayo Dark Sky Park, Co. Mayo

The nights are drawing in earlier, which means we have plenty more time in the evenings to marvel at the night’s sky. See just how majestic our night’s sky is with a visit to Mayo Dark Sky Park, the first of its kind in Ireland.

The site, which is situated between the Nephin Mountain Range and the Atlantic coast, is completely free to enter at any time, and boasts three viewing points to feast your eyes on a sky full of stars. Due to its remote location, visibility on a clear night is excellent here. Wrap up warm, bring a flask of hot chocolate and enjoy some star-gazing, and, if you’re lucky, you may even see a meteor shower.

Shannon Aviation Museum, Co. Clare

With cooler weather creeping in, it’s great to include some indoor attractions on your autumn break, and a visit to the Shannon Aviation Museum is a sure-fire way to entertain the whole family, regardless of the weather.

Take the Aviation Discovery Tour to learn all about aviation and see what it’s like to fly an aircraft. Children over the age of 8 are welcome to channel their inner pilot and try out the Shannon Aviation Museum’s flight simulator. With this experience, you’ll get a pre-flight brief and then a virtual flying lesson, as well as a guided tour of the museum – a fun-filled addition to your autumn break!

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland. 

Whatever the weather it’s always perfect weather to Keep Discovering. Plan your next short break at

The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this autumn and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace.