Because of its sprawling farmlands and plethora of ruins, Ireland’s beauty inspires the imagination of young people and parents alike. Adults will not be lost for child-friendly activities within the bustling cities, either. With dozens of options, families can find a great place to stay in Ireland that will cater to children’s and parent’s needs.
Pick your regions. A trip to Ireland without a visit to both the big city of Dublin as well as the emerald countryside would be incomplete. “Frommer’s Ireland 2008” suggests Cork and Kerry counties on the southern end of Ireland as the most family-fun-packed rural areas.
Choose places to sleep. In Dublin, the five-star Conrad Dublin Hotel includes a babysitting service. For a more DIY experience, or if staying longer, travelers can rent an apartment with a kitchen starting at 100 euros per night. A luxurious option in Cork is The Hayfield Manor Hotel, which serves cookies and milk to children before bed. In Killarney, The Rathmore House is a nice mid-range, family-run bed and breakfast. Always call ahead or email to reserve rooms for your family.
Brainstorm activities. While in Dublin, take a horse-drawn carriage ride around Merrion Square Park, then catch a show at the 300-seat Lambert Puppet Theater. Near Cork, visit the Fota Island Wildlife Park and Arboretum, a modern zoo without traditional fencing adjacent to an arboretum planted in the 1820s. Visit Dursey Island for its wooden cable car ride, then visit Drombeg Stone Circle for a glimpse into ancient religions captivating for adults and their kids.
Eat your fill. With plenty of ancient ruins set among the natural beauty of Ireland, picnics are an inexpensive way to enjoy your surroundings and keep the kids free from restrictive restaurant walls. For a low-budget lunch in an Irish pub, visit Village in Dublin. “Lonely Planet: Ireland” calls Jacques Restaurant in Cork, “the freshest Cork food cooked simply,” and in the Kerry area, try Dev’s ‘N The Square for hearty Irish meals.