10 awesome things to see and do in Ireland
Dust off the picnic blanket and charge the camera – we've got the skinny on some unique places in Ireland to visit with the little ones. Get the family motivated to explore some beautiful scenery and sneak in some natural heritage too. The word 'staycation' was invented in Ireland (I'm sure of it).
Don't forget to make some picnic snacks to share on the journey and go see:
1. National Sealife Centre
On the seafront in Bray, County Wicklow – 10am - 6pm.
Why go? Spend time fin-gazing in this aquatic zoo. It's completely indoors and home to over one thousand fishie friends. You and your little kids can experience Black-tip Reef Sharks, Octopus, Stingrays and even Red-bellied Piranha (that will not eat them). Sounds pretty awesome.
Cool fact? They have a Lego City Deep Sea Explorers event running until August 31st where you can build your own Lego ocean monster on site. I wonder can adults join in on that fun?
How much? €7 or €20 for an annual pass
2. Titanic Experience
Casement Square, Cobh, County Cork – you can't miss it – 10am - 5pm.
Why go? Cobh was the last port the RMS Titanic left before it's demise in the frozen North Atlantic – you receive tour ticket from the building where the original White Star Line Ship Ticket office was situated too! The guided tour experience is eerily real and a cinematographic feeling of the ship sinking is the most memorable element. It's a must-see, from me.
Cool fact? The town of Cobh is Failte Ireland's top rated Irish Tourist Town nestled into the second largest natural harbour in the world, (FYI San Francisco is the largest). It's only proper to see both at some stage.
How much? Families, €24. Kids, €6.
3. Inishowen Maritime Museum
On the banks of Greencastle Harbour, Magilligan, County Derry – 10am - 5pm.
Why go? If you like to star gaze in your spare time take a trip here for one of five daily shows on the theme of Astronomy. The museum explores Sea captains and Faces of the Past, Lighthouses and Shipwrecks of the Atlantic on the site. The planetarium showcases 'Sea Monsters of the Past', 'Dynamic Earth' and other great screenings for children aged four to ten years of age. So cool. I. Want. To. Go.
Cool fact? There are two life-sized models of the world's largest fish species, the Basking Shark inside the museum walls.
How much? Kids, €5. For more 074 938 1363.
4. Lifetime Labs
Lee Road, Cork City – 9am - 5pm.
Why go? It's an interactive exhibition with a kids playground and a steam plant. The venue provides information on the topics of water, waste and energy for children and young adults - and even makes it fun.
Cool fact? They have weekly Lego workshops. Yep, that turned your maybe into a 'yes' didn't it?
How much? Families, €10. Kids, €4.
5. Pirate Village
Liffey Valley area, just outside Dublin city – 9am - 5pm
Why go? Kids can run wild in this adventure play zone. There is a ship wrecked galleon, mermaid slide, pirate's assault course, palm tree island and a mahoosive drop slide for the brave among the little ones. The toddler area is ideal. There are numerous inflatable custom-themed activity sections for safe, soft play for the really little babes.
Cool fact? Toddlers to ten-year-old's are catered for in this giant play-pen. It has been nominated as one of the top destinations in 'Boots Ireland's Best Day Out'. I'm sure it's because they have Water-walker Zorb balls. Sure.
How much? Kids, €5 on weekdays, €7 on weekends.
6. Craggaunowen Visitor Centre
Quin, Kilmurry, County Clare – 10am - 5pm.
Why go? Set alongside Craggaunowen Castle, built in 1550, this is a unique place of history. This is a step into the past where walls were made of wattle and daub (clay and sticks) in a prehistoric period. People farmed, fought and hunted and life was simple. Exact replica homesteads are constructed as they were in the Iron Age. It's mad.
Cool fact? The famous 'Brendan Boat' built by explorer Tim Severin is on site. The journey he sailed from Ireland to Newfoundland was in homage to St Brendan, the Irish saint who is reputed to have discovered the Americas before Columbus. Pretty cool.
How much? Families, €25. Kids, €6.
8. North Mayo Traditional Music Festival
Ballina Arts Centre, County Mayo – Until August 5th.
Why go? The perfect place to become entranced with Irish music, song and dance. Kids activities include a bouncing castle and face painting. Mums and Dads can enjoy a Pipe Band, the Keegan National Dancing troupe, award-winning musician, Mairead Hussey and famous fiddle player Fidelma O'Brien. Sweet.
Cool fact? Joe Keegan from The Voice UK will perform during the festival.
How much? €15.
8. A Celebration of Colour at the Ark
11A Eustace Street, Temple Bar – Until August 23rd.
Why go? Interactive exhibitions curated by artist Jole Bartoli – who has extensive experience working with kids – will be the highlight. This event will provide workshops for kids aged 2 - 3 years old and four-years-old and upwards to create art. Equally cool is the contemporary group painting event organised. This will take place in Meeting House Square beside the venue and sound like so much fun.
Cool fact? The Ark recently asked 1,145 school children and families 'What is your favourite colour?' in a creative survey. The colour blue came up trumps with nearly 40% of the votes. Red came in second place. Well now.
How much? Adults, €8. Three or more kids, €10 each.
9. Skellig Underwater Experience and Visitor Centre
Skellig Island, off the coast of County Kerry via the Valentia Bridge – 10am - 5pm
Why go? Firstly, the island itself is stunning – a trip is recommended. On dry land, the visitor centre has an 80-seat auditorium that showcases what life was like on the island. There is an amazing permanent exhibition of underwater photographs of near-tropical sea creatures that reside off the coast of Ireland. Visiting divers to the island donated the hypnotic collection of compass jellyfish, conger eels, grey seals and colourful fish. What lies beneath our shores needs to be seen to be believed.
Cool fact? During the early Christian period, a community of Monks survived on this rugged, inhospitable island for six hundred years. Imagine.
How much? Families, €14. Kids, €3.
10. The Sunday flea market at The Bernard Shaw
11- 12 Richmond Street, (close to the Harcourt Luas), Dublin city – 1pm - 9pm.
Why go? Lots of bargains from jewellery, artisan food, contemporary paintings, crafts, coffee stalls and a bus that serves pizza. This event happens every Sunday with 15 indoor and five outdoor stalls. Fact.
Cool fact? They recently held the First Irish Coffee Bag Throwing Event. The competition entries in the lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight categories tried their luck on reaching the furthest distance with a bag of coffee. Such a fun spot.
How much? Free.
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.
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.