Things to do in Cork with kids: family fun in the rebel county
Ready to release your inner rebel?
With what's more than likely due to be another summer of staycations upon us, many of us are racking our brains trying to think of family-friendly destinations that offer plenty of things to do and see.
Enter HerFamily, here to give you all the staycation inspiration you need for holidaying in Ireland with kids.
Whether you're looking for pet-friendly places to stay so your furry friends can join the fun, autism-friendly hotels so your neurodivergent kid can be themselves, or day fun in the capital city and surrounding areas, we've got you covered.
Next up in our staycation series: the "real capital." Here's our guide on things to do in Cork for families.
Things to do in Cork City
Cork City Gaol
Located on the north side of the city, this castle-like building offers a glimpse into the lives of the 19th Century-prisoners it once housed.
A walk through Cork's famous 18th-century covered English Market offers the best smells and tastes of locally produced food.
Located on the banks of the River Lee and a stone's throw from UCC, Fitzgerald's Park spans 18 acres. it's also home to gardens, sculptures, a large playground and a pedestrian bridge known locally as the "Shaky Bridge" due to its bounce as you walk along it.
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Shandon Bell Tower
Known locally as the "Four-faced Liar," the tower at Saint Anne Church's boasts four clock faces. Inside, you can see the inner workings of the clock and get a panoramic view of the city from the top.
Things to do in Kinsale
The town of Kinsale itself offers a picturesque walk through narrow, colourful streets. Get an ice-cream and stroll along the harbour, stop off in the playground on your way to get fish and chips, and explore the town's many unique shops.
You can also take a boat trip around the bay to learn more about the town's medieval history as you take to the waves. There, you'll be told all about Charles' Fort, a uniquely star-shaped military fortress built during the reign of King Charles II. The fort itself is also available to explore, and offers fantastic cliff-side views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Things to do elsewhere in Cork
Fota Island Wildlife Park
Unlike most zoos, Fota Wildlife Park has its animals as free range as possible. This means most of their animals mix with other species – and us human visitors, too!
The town of Cobh is one of Ireland's best-known seaside destinations. Well-remembered for being the Titanic's last port of call in 1912, the town has a themed attraction in the former White Star Line ticket office, named the Titanic Experience Cobh. The Cobh Heritage Centre shares further histories of the town's port, from famine ships, convict ships and ships that departed for other British colonies.
Smuggler's Cove, Rosscarbery
A great day out for the kids, Smuggler's Cove is home to Ireland's first tubing park, the nation's largest corn maze, a timber maze and a golf range.
Dursey Island Cable Car
Although there's no shops, restaurants or pubs on Dursey Island as it's home to just a handful of semi-permanent residents, many tourists find themselves heading out there for a ride on Ireland's only cable car. The service runs between Ballaghboy, Co. Cork and Dursey Island, on which you can birdwatch or keep an eye on its surrounding waters for whales and dolphins.
Blarney Castle is home to the infamous Blarney Stone, which promises those who kiss it to get the gift of the gab (although that's not quite the current reality during the pandemic). The castle and grounds make for a stunning stroll, you can fish or play golf, and the nearby Blarney Woolen Mills showcase Irish craft and design.