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Travel + Fun

27th Oct 2023

Farmyard friends: Brighten up your break with these family fun attractions

Sarah McKenna Barry

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland. 

From llamas to sheepdogs to chickens, these activities will delight all ages on your next getaway.

With autumn in full swing, it’s a brilliant time of year to get out and about with your little ones.

Throughout Ireland, there are plenty of quaint farmyards that are home to adorable animals, and this autumn and winter, they’re waiting for you to visit them, whatever the weather.

From lemurs in Kildare to sheepdogs in The Burren, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite farmyards and sanctuaries that are bound to make the whole family smile. What’s more, these activities are a brilliant opportunity to breathe in that crisp air and take in some picturesque autumn scenery while you’re at it. So, grab your wellies, wrap up warm and embrace the cosy vibes of autumn by adding these activities to your short break’s itinerary.

The Flying Alpaca, Co. Clare 

Located on the beautiful Loop Head Peninsula in Co. Clare, The Flying Alpaca is an interactive farm that specialises in, yep, you’ve guessed it, alpacas. During your visit, you’ll get to meet, feed and cuddle the fluffy alpacas that call Loop Head home. There’s also an option to soak up the pretty scenery on a trek with the alpacas. Feel the cool autumnal breeze as you learn all about these fascinating and friendly creatures, and you may even get a selfie with them at the end! Indeed, a trip to The Flying Alpaca will make your next getaway to Clare even more memorable.

Airfield Estate, Co. Dublin

With six acres of gardens, a working farm and plenty of animals, there is so much to discover at Airfield Estate on your next Dublin getaway. Ramble through the grounds and you’ll get to meet a host of farmyard friends, including sheep, pigs, goats and chickens. Airfield Estate is beautiful all year around, but with harvest season in full swing, it’s particularly vibrant. Plus, until November 5th, there are plenty of Halloween activities geared towards younger visitors including Halloween story time, a maze trail and a Halloween trail. If you plan to visit later in the year, keep any eye out for the Winter Wonderland Trail the kids are sure to enjoy.

Clonfert Pet Farm, Co. Kildare 

Clonfert Pet Farm, which is located minutes away from the picturesque town of Maynooth in Co. Kildare, boasts an array of animals, so your little ones will be spoiled for choice in terms of farmyard friends. Get up close with lemurs, racoons, parrots, deer, owls, alpacas and so much more at this fun-filled pet farm. In addition to this massive selection, Clonfert Pet Farm also has outdoor and indoor play options, including three playgrounds, mini golf, a zipline, a bouncy castle and an indoor play area. So, come rain or shine, you’re guaranteed an incredibly fun time during your Kildare getaway.

Caherconnel Fort and Sheepdog Demonstrations, Co. Clare 

As well as a unique landscape and dramatic coastal scenery, the Burren in Co. Clare is also home to a sheepdog experience the entire family will adore. At Caherconnel Fort and Sheepdog Demonstrations, your family will get the opportunity to meet these talented dogs, and watch them show off their skills. In addition to the demonstrations, visitors can also explore Caherconnel Fort, which is over 1,000 years old. Indeed, in the cooler weather and moodier light of autumn, a visit to this archeological gem feels particularly magical. Afterwards, warm up with a delicious hot chocolate and a cinnamon swirl from the picturesque The Soda Parlour in Ballyvaughan.

The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland, Liscarroll, County Cork

Situated in the rolling countryside of Co. Cork is The Donkey Sanctuary Ireland, an open farm that’s home to over 130 donkeys. As you stroll through the grounds and take in the picturesque autumnal scenery, you’ll meet the donkeys and learn all about this charity’s ethos. The Donkey Sanctuary’s mission is to educate the public about donkey welfare and to end the cruelty and neglect of donkeys. As the Donkey Sanctuary Ireland is completely free to visit, you can make a donation at the end of your visit to help support the charity. So, even in this season’s cool weather, you can enjoy a truly heart-warming visit during your next break in Cork.

K2 Alpacas, Co. Wicklow 

Wicklow is indeed the garden county of Ireland, and one outdoor experience worth adding to your autumn break’s itinerary is K2 Alpacas. With the Kids Alpaca Experience, your little ones will meet the alpacas, feed them, and of course, pet them. In addition to this fun-filled experience, you’ll also be surrounded by nature and have the opportunity to take in the beautiful colours of autumn. Best of all, this season, K2 Alpacas will also host a pumpkin patch, so you can fully embrace the season. After your visit, visit the village of Roundwood and cosy up with some tasty food by the fire at The Roundwood Inn.

Newbridge House and Farm, Dublin

Venture out on the Interactive Farmyard Discovery Trail at Newbridge House and Farm and you’ll meet pigs, goats, sheep and horses. As they learn all about these farmyard friends, your little ones will solve puzzles, take part in challenges and play fun-filled games along the way. In addition to the farm and gardens here, there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy at this attraction. Travel back in time with a tour of Newbridge House. Afterwards, enjoy a warming bite to eat at Brambles Café. Whether the sun is shining or it’s a rainy autumn day, you’ll find plenty of ways to keep your little ones entertained at Newbridge House and Farm on your next Dublin break.

Cloughan Farm and Cookery School, Co. Longford

For a truly unique experience older children will love on your next getaway, visit Fiona Egan’s Cloughan Farm and Cookery School in Co. Longford. During your visit, you’ll get the chance to explore this beautiful farm, learn all about its seasonal practices and visit its resident animals. Then, roll up your sleeves and try your hand at baking. At one of Cloughan Farm’s cookery demos, you’ll learn all about the journey from farm to plate and leave with some freshly baked goods of your own creation.

A day spent on the farm will have worked up an appetite, so treat the family to a meal out in Cloisters Restaurant in The Rustic Inn. Just make sure you leave room for dessert so that you can enjoy your homemade treats later.

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.