Ireland is an ideal destinations for families of all ages. Beyond the postcard landscapes and rich historical sites, Ireland beckons with experiential treasures, encouraging families to forge unforgettable memories together.
From delectable chocolate crafting to the untamed beauty of coastal foraging, each of our top things to do in Ireland represents a stitch in Ireland’s rich tapestry of culture, heritage, and tradition. Delve into Ireland’s diverse offerings through our Family Activities in Ireland guide below.
1. Make Delectable Chocolate
Indulge your sweet tooth in a delicious chocolate experience. No matter whether you're visiting Kerry, the Burren, Northern Ireland, or other parts of Ireland, enjoy immersive chocolate-making experiences, and take part in hands-on workshops for kids to craft their own delicious creations from unique chocolates to steaming mugs of hot chocolate. Chocolatiers beckon with artisanal goodies, offering tasting sessions catered towards families. This is the ultimate fusion of education and entertainment for chocolate enthusiasts young and old.
2. Try Your Hand at Falconry
Make new feathery friends on a family-friendly falconry adventure set against the backdrop of rugged Ireland. Led by expert falconers, participants delve into the ancient art of falconry, gaining insights into the history and training techniques of birds of prey. The experience includes interactive sessions where families can handle and fly these majestic creatures. Including a strong emphasis on safety, participants of all ages can enjoy up-close encounters with the birds. With opportunities for falconry at a number of estates across Ireland, these experiences combine education, entertainment, and a connection to the animal kingdom.
3. Join the Kinsale Ghost Tour
For families visiting southwest Ireland, the Kinsale Ghost Tour offers a quirky and fun way to explore Kinsale’s rich history and folklore. Wander Kinsale's charming streets and historic sites on a spooky yet lighthearted guided tour that weaves together captivating tales of ghosts, myths, and local legends. With a perfect blend of storytelling and historical insights, the tour engages participants of all ages, providing an entertaining yet educational experience. Families can delve into Kinsale's intriguing past together, learning about the town's haunted spots and the colorful characters that once roamed its streets during an unusual but entertaining evening out.
4. Search for Puffins
Located off the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland, Rathlin Island takes birdwatching to a new level. Families will delight in spotting the abundant puffins that inhabit the island from April until July. As the island comes to life in the spring, families can witness the spectacular arrival of these charismatic seabirds. On the backdrop of Rathlin’s cliffs, watch as these adorable and clownish puffins return for nesting season. Though puffins flock to various sites across Ireland, Rathlin Island is very accessible and the RSPB sanctuary on the island is an added benefit. While on the island, enjoy exploring Rathlin's rugged landscapes, lighthouses, and stories of old.
5. Forage for Seaweed
Did you know that seaweed is a superfood? This bountiful product is found across the Wild Atlantic Way’s 1,500+ miles of coastline. Head out on a unique and eco-conscious seaweed foraging experience to uncover edible maritime treasures. Navigate the rugged shores and sandy beaches of Ireland with an expert guide, storyteller, and seaweed enthusiast. This is a treasure-hunt experience like no other and guarantees fun for the whole family. Participants will learn how to identify various seaweed species, discover their culinary and nutritional value, gather insights into sustainable harvesting practices as well as the art of incorporating seaweed into diverse dishes. This coastal culinary adventure not only offers a hands-on encounter with marine ecosystems but also introduces a world of flavors.
6. Hike on Inishbofin
Windblown dunes with grassy carpets that dance in the salt-stung air. The call of gulls echoing on the wind. Seaweed-strewn beaches with footprints sinking into the sand. Islands evoke an air of beauty and mystique not often found on the mainland. Enjoy an island hopping day starting with a short boat journey to Inishbofin, a small island in the Atlantic off the west coast of Ireland. Lace up the walking shoes for a gentle family hike across the enchanting Inishbofin Island where you can drink in stunning landscapes, white sand beaches, and meandering coastal paths. Along the way, discover the island's rich history, including castellated ruins, snug villages, and tales of pirates and generals.
7. Participate in a Sheepdog Demonstration
Sometimes you need to head out into the fields, muck and all, to get a feel for what authentic Ireland is truly like. Traipse into the green pastures for a sheepdog demonstration, an activity that guarantees fun for all ages while at the same time offering insight into the country's agricultural traditions. Set against the backdrop of the verdant Irish countryside, these demonstrations showcase the remarkable skills of highly trained Border Collies as they expertly herd sheep under the guidance of skilled handlers. Watch the dogs hard at work, meet the ewes, learn how to shear a sheep, and pet the soft baby lambs. Sheepdog demos not only provide a unique window into Irish rural life but are also a fun and heartwarming experience allowing families to connect with Ireland's pastoral heritage.
8. Take Bodhrán Music Lessons
Bodhrán music lessons provide a wonderfully unique way for families to connect with the rich cultural heritage of traditional Irish music. The bodhrán, a distinctive Irish frame drum, serves as the focal point for music lessons, offering family members of all ages the opportunity to learn the art of rhythmic drumming. Traditional Irish music reverberates through Ireland’s culture, connecting the present to generations past. Who knows, perhaps you’ll have found a new family activity!
9. Taste Aran Islands Goat Cheese
Nestled amidst the rugged beauty of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, detour from the well-trod path to visit the Aran Islands Goat Cheese. Produced with passion and precision, this artisanal cheese captures the essence of the island's pristine landscapes. The cheese, crafted from the milk of locally raised goats and infused with Atlantic seaweed and the salty air itself, boasts a distinctive flavor profile that reflects the culinary spirit of the Aran Islands. Visitors have the opportunity to witness the cheese-making process, gaining insights into the artistry behind this delectable treat. Kids will also love meeting the goats whose milk is used for tasty delights.
10. Walk the Gobbins Path
The Gobbins Path is a breathtaking and exhilarating coastal walk located in Northern Ireland. It is renowned for its stunning cliff-face views and thrilling suspension bridges that cling to the rugged Antrim coastline. Not for the faint-hearted, the Gobbins Path is a marvel of engineering stretching along the Irish Sea and carved into the dramatic basalt cliffs. Under the salty sea spray and the cry of gulls, the path leads adventurers of all ages through a series of tunnels, caves, stairways, and narrow walkways. Nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike will experience a sensory feast, with the crashing waves below, seabird colonies above, and the awe-inspiring geology of the cliffs all around. An activity suited towards older children and teens, this coastal adventure provides both a physical challenge as well as an opportunity to admire the untamed forces of nature.
11. Meet a Storyteller
Ireland and stories go hand in hand. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the rural nature of the island, or perhaps Ireland’s long history of occupation. But whatever the reason, storytelling has long been an integral part of Irish heritage. For a small place, Ireland has put forth a good many writers, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, and of course storytellers into the world. With your family, become part of the story of Ireland by meeting with a storytelling expert whose raison d’etre is weaving an enchanting tapestry of traditional Irish tales. Learn about the fascinating folk tales that echo through the hearths of Ireland. At times laughing, at times crying, at times cheering the hero on, discover the wild narratives entrenched in Ireland’s storied landscape. From tales of warring giants to pirate queens, mythical gods and goddesses to fairies, from selkies to witches and tricksters and so much more, embark on a captivating journey that continues a centuries-old oral tradition of spinning a great yarn.
12. Explore the Irish National Stud
Ireland is renowned for its horses, and you can get up close and personal with the greats at the Irish National Stud & Gardens. Whether you have a passion for horses or are a keen novice, this exclusive guided tour will take you behind the scenes of this national pastime. Explore its impressive breeding history and learn about the household names in racing that have been born and bred here. See the impressive roster of successful Stallions up close. Depending on the time of year, you will have an opportunity to observe a covering barn, view a new-born foal, or see the mares and foals together. You can even meet the iconic living legends, a group of retired National Hunt champions that live at the Stud. Household names such as Hurricane Fly, Beef or Salmon, Faugheen, and many more now live a peaceful retirement here and enjoy the adoration of their many fans who come from all corners of the globe to see them. After a private lunch, the Japanese Gardens are the perfect place for a spot of afternoon relaxation, as you amble between the lily ponds and waterfalls.
13. View the Book of Kells
One of the best introductions to Dublin is a private viewing of the Book of Kells before Trinity College opens to the public. The Book of Kells and Old Library is one of the most popular sights in Dublin – stepping into the awe-inspiring Long Room will never fail to take a breath away. With bookshelves groaning with 200,000 titles, the scent of leather-bound books in the air is as enchanting as the barrel-vaulted ceiling that soars overhead. Literature loving families will find their home in this book-filled haven.
14. Uncover Medieval Secrets
Experience Ireland at its most authentic in a secret location in the Lakelands. Nestled on a tiny island, escape to a lovingly restored private medieval keep with panoramic lake views, lush tastings, and revelry inspired by centuries gone by. Enjoy a private guided tour with the owners followed by food and drink tastings of 16th century with juices and ice cream for the kids. Finish your visit with a live Sean Nos Irish dance performance with a lesson for the whole family.