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Family fun

07th Jul 2023

Pack your getaway in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands with these fun-filled activities

Sarah McKenna Barry


Brought to you by DiscoverIreland.

These attractions are brimming with fun for kids of all ages.

With charming, picturesque castles, unparalleled nature reserves and interactive pet farms, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands have so much to offer families looking to fill their summer break with engaging activities.

This summer, get the absolute most out of your family getaway by visiting some of our favourite attractions. These activities are not only brimming with fun, but offer you an incredible, jam-packed day out for the price of admission.

Many of the below are completely free to explore, while the cost of admission for others unlocks a full day’s worth of fun.

Ready to get going? Here are some of our favourite attractions in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.

Turoe Pet Farm & Visitor Centre, Co. Galway

As you might expect, Turoe Pet Farm & Visitor Centre in Co. Galway is a haven for animal lovers, giving children the opportunity to learn about, meet and even feed a wide variety of birds, pigs, cows, donkeys, sheep and rabbits. However, the fun doesn’t end there. Turoe Pet Farm & Visitor Centre is also home to an inflatable indoor play area, two outdoor play areas, a nature trail and a picnic area. Parents meanwhile, can sit back and relax in the coffee dock.

For best value, book online in advance. The online price for children over the age of 2 is €13.50, while adults pay €9. However, a variety of family ticket combinations are also available online. Check the rates out right here, and plan accordingly.

Bathing Place at Portumna

Enrich your holiday with a family swim in one of Ireland’s most unique bathing spots. The Bathing Place at Portumna is a Blue Flag inland beach located at the head of Lough Derg, and it’s a popular spot with children and adults alike. For younger swimmers, a shallower end is marked off.

Enjoy a swim in the waters, and afterwards, relax by the lake and tuck into a picnic. If you’re yearning for more adventure, explore the nearby Portumna Forest Park and bask in its woodlands’ beauty.

Roscommon Castle

Step back in time to the 13th century with a family visit to the striking Roscommon Castle. Visitors to Roscommon Castle are welcome to explore both the ruins of this Norman site, but also the surrounding natural beauty. Wander through the adjacent Loughnaneane Park, a wildlife conservation area that is home to some unique flora and fauna.

For a fun and interactive way to explore Roscommon Castle, download Rossie’s Roscommon Creative Pack and enjoy a tour of the castle courtesy of Rossie, the Heritage Duck. Afterwards, children can let loose in the playground of Loughnaneane Park.

Tearaways Pet Farm

Delight your little ones with a trip to Tearaways Pet Farm in Co. Tipperary. At this family-run pet farm, your children can visit an array of animals that call this place home, including goats, pigs, ponies, donkeys, alpacas, Llama, emu, sheep, rabbits and a Scottish Highlander.

In addition to learning about these animals, Tearaways Pet Farm has plenty of indoor and outdoor play options, and access to these areas are included in the price of admission (€10 for children aged 18 months to 12 years, €5 for adults and teens, and free for babies under 18 months). The outdoor facilities include a playground, a go-cart track, while the purpose-build indoor play area features a wave slide, a tunnel slide, cargo nets and ball pits.

Lough Boora Mesolithic Loop Walk, Co. Offaly

Pack your hiking boots and head to Lough Boora Discovery Park for a thrilling family outdoor adventure like no other. Located near Tullamore in Co. Offaly, the Lough Boora Mesolithic Loop Walk is a 9 km trail that takes about 2.5 hours to finish.

Throughout this loop walk, you’ll ramble across numerous landscapes, including wetlands, bog road and a sandy trail, which will ultimately lead you to a Mesolithic settlement that dates all the way back to 6500 BC. On top of this archeological rarity, the Lough Boora Mesolithic Loop Walk also boasts an outdoor sculpture park and a fairy trail guaranteed to delight younger adventurers. Along the way, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for some of the native wildlife, including hares, foxes and whooper swans.

Acres Lake Boardwalk, Co. Leitrim

Looking for a relaxing family day out in peaceful surroundings during your time in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands? Head to the picturesque village of Drumshanbo and visit the Acres Lake Floating Boardwalk.

This walkway is suspended over the stunning Acres Lake, and allows families to get up close and personal to the natural beauty of the water. The 600m floating boardwalk marks the start of a 6.5 km trail along the Shannon Blueway, so you can continue your adventure. Or, if you’d prefer a super relaxing afternoon, pack a picnic and enjoy it along the banks of the lake, taking in the nature and beauty of the serene surroundings.

Clara Bog Nature Reserve and Boardwalk, Co. Offaly 

Got a nature-lover at home? Delight them with a family adventure in the Clara Bog Nature Reserve and Boardwalk in Co. Offaly. Even though the Visitors Centre is currently closed, there is still so much to discover on the looped boardwalk around this super unique landscape, which is completely free to explore, and accessible every day, all year round.

During the 1km loop walk, you’ll get to learn all about Ireland’s unique bogland as well as its biodiversity. The Clara Bog Nature Reserve is home to a fascinating array of animal life, and if you’re lucky, you may stumble across Ireland’s only native land reptile – the viviparous lizard. Other creatures that call this nature reserve home include dragonflies, butterflies, caterpillars, several birds of prey, frogs, newts, foxes, badgers, Pine Martens and deer. Indeed, the Clara Bog Nature Reserve is a haven for nature-lovers.

For more ideas on how to make the most of your short break in Ireland, visit

Book early for best value and keep discovering.

From picturesque castles to interactive pet farms, there are so many great places to explore with your family this summer. 

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 summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace.

Brought to you by DiscoverIreland.