The Family Explore Westport, Co. Mayo
I am often asked, “Where is my favourite or the best holiday destinations in Ireland for families?”. Without hesitation, I say it has to be Westport town. Why is that? Well, for many years now it has been voted best place to live and is a regular tidy town winner. But more importantly, it just offers so much for families.
In fact, I am sure that the businesses of Westport must have come together at one time and decided that families were their priority. Then, they worked hard as a business community to become the best holiday destinations in Ireland for families from the point of view of activities, restaurants and most importantly accommodation. They just cater for families so well in Westport.
So, I was really pleased to make a return visit this summer to this picturesque town and experience again all that it has to offer.
On this occasion we choose to leave the car at home and make the journey by bus instead. From Cork to Galway we used Citylink which brought us directly to the main bus and rail station in Galway. This took 2.5 hours . After spending a few hours strolling around Galway city we then took a CIE bus to Westport town and this leg of the journey took us just over an hour and a half. Citylink is ver y convenient as there are toilets and WIFI on board so it was very relaxing for both the kids and me of course! The journey would take you approx. 3.5 hours from Dublin and the same from Cork by car.
Family Accommodation in Westport
There is certainly no shortage of places to stay for families in Westport whatever your budget or holiday needs. Choices range from Glamping in magical hobbit houses (Mayo Glamping- Click Here) to family-friendly hotels in the heart of Westport town.
We stayed with The Castlecourt Hotel in Westport town. Here, the family rooms are not only luxurious and so comfortable, but the rooms are an excellent size for families, this means plenty of space!
Things to Do in The Castlecourt Hotel
The hotel runs a kid’s club called the Buzz Club. Although we didn’t take advantage of the club during this visit, it did look really great. It is available during Mid Term Breaks, July & August excluding Christmas & New Year, (I gather an unsupervised play room is available then). The Club is for boys and girls aged 5-13 years. The club places a big emphasis on sport. But they also facilitate Hip Hop Dance Classes, Bike Trails, Beach Trips, Treasure Hunts and loads more. In addition, they have an unsupervised playroom for children aged 2-4. If you are a resident this is all free of charge.
We did have a splash-around in the hotel swimming pool. The times we went were always nice and quiet giving us free rein over the kiddies’ pool and main pool.
We had the option to dine in The Castlecourt Hotel and its sister hotel in The Westport Plaza across the courtyard. The food was simple Irish cuisine with plenty of your family favourites. They were extremely accommodating in particular for gluten free and even offered us some options outside the menu.
For more information on The Castlecourt Hotel Click Here!
Family Fun Things to do in Westport
The Great Western Greenway is always on top of our list when we holiday in Westport. And, no surprise that it was named the 2011 Irish winner of the European Destinations of Excellence award. The greenway is 42 kilometres (26 miles) long, beginning in Westport and goes all the way to Achill. It passes through the towns of Newport and Mulranny as it runs along the coast of Clew Bay. It is an off-road trail used by cyclists and walkers. It follows the route of the former Achill extension of the Westport railway line which closed in 1937.
One piece of advice for you! Head out early in the morning so you can explore the island a little before you head back towards Westport. We hired bikes from Clew Bay Bike Hire and took their shuttle bus out to Achill. If your children are seasoned cyclists they may make the whole journey to Westport but you can also book a bus pick-up at Mulranny or Newport and cut out some of the 42km journey. We met some families who cycled to Achill and back again in one day! But honestly, that would be waaaaay too much for us.
The cycle is incredibly scenic and takes you through bog fields, magically woodlands as well as open fields with sheep and goats often blocking your path. It is not surprising that the farm animals are completely used to the Greenway visitors as an estimated 300 people cycle and walk the trail each day. From what we experienced, the four-legged users of the Greenway expected us to get out of their way rather than the other way round. This caused much hilarity and enjoyment with our little ones.
For more information on Clew Bay Bike Hire Click Here!
Here’s my second piece of advice! Don’t travel all this way without visiting Clew bay as it is probably the most beautiful bay in Ireland. It’s said locally to have 365 islands; one for each day of the year. The largest island which is Clare Island has a population of 130 residents year-round. Its historical association with the Pirate Queen Gráinne amongst other historical and archaeological sites really makes it a must-see among the islands.
Westport House has to be one of the best adventure destinations in Ireland. I know, I hear you thinking. When you imagine a gorgeous country house you do not immediately think ‘kids’, but tucked in behind the house and situated in the vast parklands is a day-out that will excite every child young and old. A ticket for the house and adventure park for two adults and up to four children, costs €75 (€71.50 online). We agreed it was money well spent as it would be hard to find a day out that offered more. As there is so much else to do for free in Westport this could be your one big spend. Walking up the main entrance feels like entering the set of a Jane Austen novel. While the house itself offers a glimpse of a polite time gone by, the dungeons have been converted with kids in mind offering some spooky fun.
In the pirate adventure park there is a pirates playground and indoor soft play area, a bouncing castle, water attractions, a birds of prey show, bumper cars, a train that runs through the forest, a swinging ship attraction, go-karting, mud kitchen, sand pit and a carousel. The swan pedalo boats are very popular and you have a large lake to explore.
Click here to see more on Westport House!
Wild West Play Centre is Ireland’s only indoor wild west play village and play centre for kids to have some wild west fun. This is something different to all other indoor play centres and the kids love exploring the village and having some good old-fashioned imaginative play. They have a sensory room offering a quite haven with plenty sensory equipment for any children that may struggle with noise or larger groups and this is in the middle of the centre so the whole family can enjoy the wild west.
Click here to see more about The Wild West Village!
The children’s playground in Westport is located beside the Leisure Centre and cinema. This new state-of-the-art skate park and games area is right beside the Great Western Greenway. In addition to the purpose-built skate boarding area this facility has an astro turf pitch.
The Museum of Country Life is another day out, and best of all, admission is free. There is a children’s activity area with puzzles, books and games, dress up station, traditional game box for outdoor fun as well as the grounds and museum to explore. Click here to see more!
There is so much more to do in the area surrounding Westport but one thing is for sure there is plenty to do outdoors and whatever your age.
Places to Eat in Westport
When it comes to eating out in Westport you are spoiled for choice. Cian’s Restaurant, Bridge Street recently won “Best Restaurant in Connaught” with the Restaurant Association of Ireland. So, this was where we choose to eat on our first night. It looks quite small downstairs but there was plenty of room for our brood upstairs with lovely views of the town and clock tower. However, it is not the views that will occupy you, as the food was mind-blowingly amazing. We had beetroot and cumin soup which introduced me to a whole new vegetable. The risotto was amazing and the fish was superb. When it came to dessert it was a challenge to eat more as we were so full from over indulgencing on the first two courses. You know that feeling, of being so full but you have to keep eating because it’s so tasty. A main course here ranges from €16.00 to €25.00 per adult. To check out more about Cian’s Restaurant Click Here!
Westport is also home to another award-winning restaurant, Sol Rio Restaurant, which we tried on our second night. This restaurant won “Best Kiddies Menu” over many years with the Restaurant Association of Ireland. When we walked in the front door we were immediately greeted with wall to celling awards on all sides. We knew we were off to a good start and had high expectations as we received a friendly welcome from Sinead, our warm and colourful hostess for the evening. The atmosphere was contagious and the décor was fun and entertaining and the food was one hundred percent gorgeous from start to finish. I even made room for dessert on this occasion as I knew it would be superb.
The kids were also spoiled for choice with the kiddie’s menu which included dishes that could take a place on the main menu they were so good, from Irish steak, vegetarian risotto to bolognaise and homemade sausages to suit our fussier ones. I was delighted to see the banana split taking centre stage for dessert as it is a sneaky bit of fruit disguised in a bowl of yumminess. It is easy to see why they have won the “Kids Size Me Award” as the kiddies menu offers plenty of choices for every palette including some delicious healthy options! The kiddie’s menu would make it to my top ten also. Each award owned a place on their walls and I am certain there will be many more to come.
Third piece of advice! Book a night out here if possible as this is a family hot spot for locals and visitors alike. For more info click here!
We had a most wonderful evening and had to drag ourselves out of there at the end of the night. A main course would set you back on average €15 with a lot of dishes starting at around €13/€14 while a three course kiddies meal costs €10.
On a previous stay we dined in The Milltimes Restaurant which offers a playroom and supervised kids club next door to the restaurant during peak dinner times to keep the little ones entertained while you enjoy a more relaxed meal.
If you can, don’t let the night end at the restaurant as there are so many quaint and unique pubs in Westport town all offering trad sessions to lift your spirits. The town itself has a very friendly and safe atmosphere.
It is worth your while to book a babysitter whatever night of the week you stay and have a few drinks in one or two of the pubs. We visited Matt Malloy’s on a Monday night and it was clear to see that every night of the week is a weekend night in Westport. There was some great music and singing and it is easy to find a little nook or cranny to while away an evening after a busy family day. Click here for more info!
Unless you are living near county Mayo which many of you are not, Westport is a good spin. However, it is certainly worth it and once you are here you can park up the car and jump on your bike! You could get on the citylink to Galway with its free Wi-Fi to occupy the kids and there are plenty of buses taking you to Westport from there in just over an hour. This is how we travelled and I do feel strongly that as a nation we do not use public transport enough like our European neighbours. If we expect an efficient service we need to start supporting it. The Castlecourt Hotel is in the heart of Westport town so the bus is very convenient.
As I said at the start Westport Town itself offers so much to do for families regardless of your budget or interests, therefore for me it is one of the best holiday destinations in Ireland for Families. You can camp in Westport house or in one of the many campsites nearby and purchase a pass to the adventure park. You can ramble around this gorgeous town and while away many hours on the Great Western Greenway. An entertaining afternoon or morning can be spent at the playground, on the basketball courts and football pitches. You could have a fun-packed holiday for very little expense on activities.
Alternatively, you could add a touch of luxury to you break away with very little extra cost as Westport has an abundance of great family hotels at very good prices with kids’ clubs and swimming pools to boot. Click here for more info on hotels!!
What the Kids Said about Westport
The kids have always been Westport fans as Westport House and the pirate adventure park is a firm favourite of theirs. Thomas said “If we went every weekend I would never get bored of it”.
My three adore cycling with us in tow so we would go up and down that Greenway at a moment’s notice.
Mobile Home Rental Ireland
The most common question that I am been asked this Summer is “Where can I you can rent a mobile home for a week, weekend or mid-week break? or “Are there any Caravan and Camping Parks with Mobile Home Rental in Ireland?” Most campsites and mobile home parks do not have this facility so I have compiled a list of the few that do. All mobile homes are full equipped with a comprehensive range of cooking equipment and kitchen utensils. Some parks also supply TVs in their mobile homes. Models and sizes vary so please check when booking. This is how I discovered Ireland as a child but for some reason mobile home hires were not popular for sometime but are certainly back in demand recently.
I have not stayed in all of the ones below but my top three favourites Mobile Home Rental in Ireland would be:
A word of advice DO NOT STAY at Seaside Caravan and Camping, Camp, Co. Kerry. Not only is it not family friendly but I would not recommend it for anyone. We were told it was clean but once we opened the door to our luxury cabin there was an open packed of crisps spilled on the floor. The beds clearly had not been changed never mind dressed and bathroom filthy so while we called reception and asked for it to be cleaned we visited the playgournd. When I had to explain to Thomas why there may be two bottles of Vodlka dumped in the tiny playground I knew it was time to leave long before I was asked “would they remove the bed sheets from the last guests or do I have my own” on our return from the playground. As for the facilities we won’t even go there!
Mobile Homes for Families
Hiring a mobile home in a clean and family friendly site can be so much fun for both adults and the kids. The kids feel like they are sleeping in a cabby house and the parents have the housekeeping done in less than 20 minutes each day. The first thing the kids will do is make new friends and if they are bike friendly sites they are gone for hours at end cycling around with such freedom within the confines of the campsite. They tend to want to go out and mingle even in light rain and we have a rule that there is not going into other caravans or mobile homes so they will potter away outdoors all day. Thus leaving plenty of time for you to relax and savour the peace.
We don’t often use a TV and traditionally we will play cards and board games which allows for very competitive but fun family time. I must say it is a very relaxed way to holiday and often the kids don’t want to go off and do any activities as they are happy to relax and explore their new surroundings also.
One of my top tips is to check they have freezer facilities on site you can use and I prepare Lasagne, Soup and Cassarole before I go and freeze it for the days that I don’t feel like cooking. The rest of the nights are BBQs.
Parks with Mobile Home Hire
Green Acres Caravan & Camping Park, Doonaha – Click Here to Find Out More
Lakeside Holiday Park, Mountshannon – Click Here to Find Out More
O’Riordan’s Caravan Park, Owenahincha – Click Here to Find Out More
Chestnutt Holiday Park – Click Here to Find Out More
Glenross Caravan & Camping Park, Glenbeigh – Click Here to Find Out More
Fleming’s White Bridge Caravan & Camping Park, Killarney – Click Here to Find Out More
Fossa Caravan & Camping Park, Killarney- Click Here to Find Out More
Beech Grove Caravan & Camping Park, Killarney – Click Here to Find Out More
Nore Valley Park, Bennettsbridge- Click Here to Find Out More
Belleek Park Caravan & Camping, Belleek- Click Here to Find Out More
Keel Sandybanks Caravan & Camping Park , Achill Island – Click Here to Find Out More
Gailey Bay Caravan & Camping Park, Knockcroghery- Click Here to Find Out More
Duncannon Beach Holiday Park, Duncannon- Click Here to Find Out More
Hidden Valley Caravan & Camping Park, Rathdrum – Click Here to Find Out More
River Valley Caravan Park, Redcross- Click Here to Find Out More
Explore the Birthplace of Ancient Ireland – Co. Meath – Family Holiday in Ireland
For our Easter Family Holiday in Ireland this year we decided to explore County Meath as Saoirse has been learning all about Newgrange this year and was eager to make a visit. We had planned a five days break but ended up spending six days in Meath as we were trying to fit in so much.
Tourism Ireland describes Meath as the “Birthplace of Ancient Ireland”. I was anticipating plenty of heritage sites to explore on our family break, from the Hill of Tara, Newgrange, The Battle of the Boyne and Slane Castle, and I wasn’t disappointed. What’s more, as a family holiday destination, county Meath has also so much more to enjoy.
Family Accommodation in Co. Meath
On this trip we choose self-catering Family Accommodation in Co. Meath. We stayed in Decoy Country Cottages, a short 10 minutes from Navan town. The cottages themselves are situated around a courtyard within the old stable and farm buildings of the country house nearby.
When we arrived, I was really pleased to see how luxurious and spacious our cottage was inside, and picturesque and quaint from outside.
The cottage provided all the usual mod cons and so much more. In fact, it was almost better equipped than my own kitchen at home, which made family breakfast and dinner time so easy. The holiday got off to a great start when I saw our beautiful welcome pack of locally sourced eggs, bread, chocolates and more. Most of the normal kitchen condiments were provided as well; olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper etc. This just takes the hassle out of holidays, making more time for spending quality time with my family.
The cottages were extremely spacious with a large kitchen and sitting room downstairs as well as two large ensuite rooms upstairs but most importantly the interior was fresh and elegant throughout.
What I loved the most was the eco-friendly policy, which is evident from the solar panels to the eco-friendly detergents provided. I particularly loved the Voya spa products in the bathrooms which I was determined to enjoy (and I did!). They also added a touch of pampering to the already luxurious feel of the cottages.
Things to Do at Decoy Country Cottages
The area outside was very secure, as there is a ‘no car’ policy in the courtyard and the front gate required a code for access. I felt comfortable letting Lonan, my two-year-old daughter, ramble around herself. One of the cottages is a dedicated children’s’ den which was equipped for all ages, from small babies, tweens to teens, with a play station, toy kitchen, blackboard, board games, air hockey, snooker table and much more. There is a gym next door to the children’s’ den, open to over 16s.
Every morning, the children would excitedly open the cottage door to greet their new four-legged friends, Milo the dog and three friendly cats. Instead of trying to get the kids to put their tablets away, we had to convince them that their new pets had enough petting so we could go and explore the area.
There was so much to do outside and it felt so safe and secure, I often had to search for the kids and encourage them in when it rained. The playground was modern and clean and had a brilliant sand pit with toys, for major excavation work. Ducks, geese and hens proved to be an enormous source of entertainment for Lonάn, but the kids were most excited about the tree house which was straight from a movie set, built in the amongst the trees in the garden of the main house. Let’s just say when we ventured out for day trips and it was time to go home, they were always happy to oblige so that they could play some more back at base.
Family Things to Do in Meath and Surrounds
The most amazing aspect of this place was the location. On the Bank Holiday Monday, we drove into Heuston train station in Dublin city and it only took us 37 minutes door to door. There is also a train in the nearby town of Dunboyne that will take you into the city. Imaginosity was another day trip, only a 40-minute drive along the M50. Newgrange was ten minutes away, while The Hill of Tara was ten minutes in the other direction. The Battle of the Boyne was about a 15 minute drive. You do need to book in advance for Newgrange and if you are making a trip to the Hill of Tara, Maguire’s café is a must.
There is so much more to do in this region, such as Tayto Park, Waterpark Funtasia, Rathbeggan Lakes and Slane Castle. To be honest, if you had a week you would not cover it all, and there really is something for everyone. Belfast would also make for a fun day trip, approx. 1 hour away.
Navan town has plenty in the way of retail therapy and gorgeous options for eating out so if you don’t want to travel too much, then you don’t have far to go to find everything you need!
Places to Eat in Meath and Surrounds
There are many restaurants to choose from in the nearby village of Johnstown or even the town of Navan but our top picks for the area are Room 8 Cafe and Restaurant which is located on the high street. The food here is exceptional, decor is only divine and most of all the service was superb. They had lovely kids options and overall it was reasonably priced. So if you want a five star meal in a family friendly hotel this is for you.
Another favourite for an evening meal would have to be Crave Restaurant just minutes from the main street. The food here was divine and we had excellent choice. What I loved the most was they brought carrot, cucumber and celery sticks with a dip for the kids, while we waited for the food. I never saw them eat so much veggies! The presentation was so attractive the kids gobbled all this healthy food up. Extremely family friendly and the fact that they were busy on a Tuesday night at 7pm shows the locals are major fans too!
For lunch we took a recommendation from the locals and were not disappointed. Maguires Cafe is located at the entrance to The Hill of Tara and locals travel far and wide to this spot – so be prepared for a small queue. However, it is truly worth the wait. The kids got a toastie, chips and hot chocolate all for €5 and we were amazed with our main courses of a goats cheese salad and burger. It was more like an evening meal than lunch. I could see why the locals love this place and why the car park was full on a Wednesday at 2pm. Best of all, you can take in the Hill of Tara from here.
It is hard to come up with a negative. The only thing I could think of was the Wi-Fi – not the strongest during our stay but there was work underway while we were there to rectify that.
County Meath gets our thumbs up. I would recommend to visit it now before it gets discovered! It is certainly a hidden gem right now. Since I have come home, I am recommending this location for families wanting to visit Dublin city, as you have all the convenience of brilliant travel links without the cost or inconvenience of staying in the city with kids. All in all, if you wanted a holiday taking in the attractions of the City, exploring Ireland’s Ancient East and stay in a relaxing and luxurious accommodation, then you would look no further.
What the Kids Said about Decoy Country Cottages
Saoirse, “I loved it because it was really fun and you never got bored.”
To Find out more about Decoy Country Cottages click here!
Family Breaks Clare
Clare is a county that has been ingrained in my brain as a place of fun, sea, sand and holidays as we were brought to this beautiful county time and time again as a child. I still love to make a trip here when I can as I always feel the minute you go over the border cars slow down and the relaxed way of life embraces you.
When we think “Family Breaks Clare“, the first thing that usually comes to mind is surfing in Lahinch, Aillwee Caves and The Cliffs of Mohar but if that was not enough there is so much more in this county such as:
- Irish Seaweed Safari – The Irish Seaweed Safari is an experience not to be missed! Join the 4th generation Seaweed Foragers and enjoy the spectacular shore walk from the rugged coastline of Caherush meandering along the shoreline enjoying nostalgic views looking out on Spanish Point Bay along with the spectacular Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands.
- Trip to Aran Islands -Sail to the Aran Islands or Cruise under the Cliffs of Moher ! Daily sailings to the Aran Islands from Doolin. Visit the spectacular Dún Aengus fort on Inis Mor, get away from it all on Inis Meain or take a quick trip to the smallest one – the beautiful island of Inis Oirr. Or take a Cruise under the Cliffs of Moher. Admire the scale and majestic beauty of the Cliffs of Moher on a 1 hour voyage of discovery.
- Bunratty Castle – Bunratty Castle & Folk Park is a must on your itinerary to Ireland. This is your chance to experience a window on Ireland’s past and explore the acclaimed 15th century Bunratty Castle and the 19th century Bunratty Folk Park.
- Explore the Burren – The Burren National Park is located in the southeastern corner of the Burren and is approximately 1500 hectares in size. The Park land was bought by the Government for nature conservation and public access. It contains examples of all the major habitats within the Burren: Limestone Pavement, Calcareous grassland, Hazel scrub, Ash/hazel woodland, Turloughs, Lakes, Petrifying springs, cliffs and Fen
- Cliff Coastal Walk – Beyond the grounds of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience you can now explore a new 20km coastal walking trail in Clare which will bring you along one of the most outstanding landscapes of Ireland. From LIscannor and Hags Head in the south, along by the majestic Cliffs of Moher and to Doolin in the North, with views over Aill Na Searrach, the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. The trail follows the line of the cliffs and passes through the grounds of the visitor centre. The trail starts on road from Liscannor where you will witness theamazing views of the Cliffs, the famous Aran Islands, Kerry mountains, Galway Bay, O’Briens Tower and the thousands of seabirds make the Cliffs a magical place. Talking telescopes are dotted along the paths as you go.
- Caving – Doolin Cave is home to the Great Stalactite. At 7.3 metres (23feet) it is the longest free-hanging stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere. The Great Stalactite, suspended from the ceiling like a chandelier, is truly astounding. Visitors can hardly believe that it was formed from a single drop of water over thousands of years. Extend the adventure from underground to over ground following a charming Farmland Nature Trail that takes a looped walk around the cave setting.
- Dolphin Watching – On the western seaboard of Ireland there are places where the distinction between land and sea is blurred. The west Clare peninsula in County Clare, guarding the northern shore of the Shannon estuary is one such place. The Shannon estuary is home to Ireland’s only resident group of bottlenose dolphins. Over 100 dolphins have been identified using the estuary at different times; calves are born each year and are usually encountered.
- Rock Climbing – The Burren climbing area is beautiful, with amazing cliffs and spectacular views and climbing instruction for all levels. With a large number of indoor climbing walls developing around the country, there is an increasing interest in trying it out on the real thing.
I think we all know Clare can boost of her nature credentials and stunning beauty but it is also a place rich in culture as around every corner there is a trad festival or trad music nights to enjoy. It is a place where you can bring children to enjoy these fabulous sounds and events often with live music during the day. While my children don’t normally see the inside of a pub from one end of the year to the next I love to bring them in to see a session and Clare is the perfect spot to do so. Some of the great pubs renowned for their sessions would be:
- Gus O’Connors Pub, Doolin
- The Roadside Tavern, Lisdoonvarna
- Brogan’s Bar, Ennis
- Vaaughan’s Pub, Kilfernora
The most famous Trad festival in Clare has to be Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy taking place every year on the first year of July. It is a week-long summer school of Irish traditional music, song and dance, incorporating tuition, lectures, recitals, concerts and céilithe. Thousands decend on the small town of Milltown Malbay every year and it is a mecca of traditional players from across the globe.
The long, mild afternoons at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy are devoted to lectures on the various aspects of Irish traditional music heritage and its connections with mainland Europe and North America. There are recitals each evening showcasing the instruments taught at the school, performances in traditional song and dance, and céilithe nightly. The serious work of tuition is complemented by the festival atmosphere in hotels, pubs and on the streets, as students, locals and visitors celebrate Irish traditional music. It’s simply perfect for lovers of music, history, and the craic agus ceol. If you enjoy trad music and are looking for something different look not further than this as one of the top family breaks Clare.
When looking for places to stay you will have plenty of choice for the family in the following hotels never mind all the camp sites available:
So when you are thinking about your next break away there is something for everyone in Clare and that’s I would consider family breaks Clare to one of the best.
Top Ten Hotels with Large Family Rooms in Ireland
Top Ten Hotels with Large Family Rooms in Ireland
Time and time again parents are asking us what hotels can cater for large families and when I say cater they don’t mean how many can be squeezed into a family room but rather have the space for a large family to enjoy their family break comfortably. Here are my top ten hotels with large family rooms in Ireland:
- Breaffy House Resort – Castlebar, Co. Mayo – At the Woods there’s a pool, an outdoor playground, astro pitch for footie, an indoor games room and a breakfast train which picks kids up from your room to meet up with other buddies in the kids’ clubs, so Mum and Dad can lie on. If you fancy going off-campus, pack up your giant minivan and decamp to the Museum of Country Life just up the road. It’s perfect for larger families, not just because of the contents but because it’s free – admission tickets add up fast when there’s half a dozen of you. While their family rooms consist of 1 double bed & 4 single beds, accommodating up to 2 adults and 4 children they also offer family suites consisting of 2 bedrooms, with 2 bathrooms. Room 1 consist of 1 double bed & 1 single bed, Room 2 consists of 1 double bed & 1 single bed. Internal door connecting both rooms, accommodating up to 2 adults and 4 children. Click here for their family offers!
- Maritime Hotel – Bantry, Co. Cork – One and Two Bedroom Family Suites offer all the comforts of home, but with the luxury of a hotel stay in West Cork. Most importantly, the suites are spacious, making them ideal hotel accommodation for all families – and perfect for extended stays. One bedroom suites sleep up to 2 adults and 2 children and consist of one double bedroom and a separate living area with the option to pull-out the double sofa bed for up to 2 children under 12. Two bedroom suites sleep up to 2 adults and 4 children and consist of one double bedroom, one double or twin bedroom and a separate living area with the option to pull-out the double sofa bed for up to 2 children under 12. As you would expect of a luxury West Cork hotel 24-hour room service compliments the many in-room features which include Kitchenette with Refrigerator, Microwave, Sink and Toaster. For family offers click here!
- Castle Durrow Hotel – Durrow, Co. Laois – Stately old houses are often synonymous with pokey rooms. Not so Castle Durrow in Co Laois. This elegant hotel has a variety of family options, including family suites with a king-sized and a single bed in one room and a set of bunks with a single, plus space for a cot, in another. One of Ireland’s most luxurious Country House Hotels located one hour from Dublin, adjoining the quaint village of Durrow,Co Laois. Click here for more info!
- Osprey Hotel– Naas, Co. Kildare – A family duplex room (split level) consists of a king size double bed downstairs with a single bed in a large spacious room with plenty space for a cot. Upstairs (entry level) there is a large fold out sofa bed with a balcony that overs downstairs.
- Amber Springs Hotel – Co. Wexford – With 30 Specially designed family rooms and and 2 Executive family Suites (which benefit from having 1 double and 2 single beds), the Amber Springs Hotel & Health Spa is minutes away from miles of sandy beaches and within walking distance from the bustling traditional trading town of Gorey. Family Suites consist of a double bed & 2 single beds with an option to include an extra cot or camp bed for the larger family. Executive Family Rooms offer a double bed & 2 single beds with again the option to include a camp bed or cot, spacious seating area, Jacuzzi bath and walk in shower. They also have coolers and bed rails available on request. For more info click here!
Killashee House Hotel – Naas, Co. Kildare – Killashee has many children’s activities for families with a kids camp, movie nights, children’s high tea, fairy forest walks, family swim in the Killashee Leisure centre from 3pm-4pm, children’s pool & outdoor playground with zipline. The family rooms are extra spacious to give everyone plenty of room to relax. Each room boasts two generous double beds and a cosy single bed.
- Galway Bay Hotel– Salthill, Galway – With spacious and comfortable family rooms, 2 bedroom family suites large enough for 5 people and interconnecting rooms large enough for 8 people, at Galway Bay Hotel you’ll find space to really relax and enjoy yourselves. At the Galway Bay Hotel, you’re set for a fab family holiday with a fun-filled kids club to entertain whatever the weather, a pool for a splashing time inside, and Salthill beach for the same outside. Everything from the Galway Aquarium to Leisureland to watersports is right on your doorstep.To find out more click here!
- Westport Woods Hotel – Westport, Co. Mayo – Situated on part of the Westport House demesne, Westport Woods Hotel is proud to be Ireland’s greenest hotel. For families with two children or more they have a limited number of larger rooms which provide a more spacious environment. These rooms have a double & single bed with a pull out sofa bed or an extra single bed. Their triple rooms consist of either three single beds or a double and two single beds. For their family offers click here!
- The Clayton Hotel Sligo– For roominess, the Clayton Hotel in Sligo is hard to beat, with enough space in its family rooms to sleep a family of sic in comfort (if not more) – plus the additional luxury of a sitting area and kitchenette with microwave and fridge, so you can save a little money and eat in. Their Large Two Bedroom Family Suites consist of a king size bed & single bed in one room with open plan second rooms containing 2 single beds and kitchenette facilities including tea/coffee making facilities and a refrigerator. Check out their family offers here!
Delphi Resort– Connemara, Co. Galway – Enjoy short family breaks in Connemara County Galway at Ireland’s Leading Adventure & Spa Resort in a standard family room. Perfect for 2 adults and 2 children, the family rooms have 1 full-size double bed, and a set of bunk beds for the children (up to 1 more bed can be added for families with up to 4 children). They also have exceptionally large 2-bedroom suite with 2 king-size beds (or twins), this stunning space is great for families (2 adults and up to 4 children). This split level suite has 2 large en suite bedrooms, one upstairs and one downstairs.
So what are you waiting for? Take some time out from the usual hustle and bustle of school, homework, activities, matches on the weekend and escape away to one our top ten hotels with large family rooms in Ireland. It is only when you are away and all staying in one space that you truly spend quality down time together.
Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas
Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas
When looking for inspiration for Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas you simply make clues about ordinary indoor objects. Since your home may have more than one of some of these objects, the kids may have to check out more than one location before they find the next clue. That makes the game last longer, gives them more exercise and adds to the fun. We have prepared some ready made clues for you or use as inspiration to create your own.
- I have four legs, but I don’t have feet.
I come in handy when it’s time to eat. – Kitchen or dining table
- My job is to put an end to sleep,
Which I do with music, a buzz or a beep. – Alarm clock
- For fast heating or cooking, I am tops.
And, oh, that good smell when my popcorn pops! – Microwave
- Flour and sugar and coffee and tea,
I keep these handy but hard to see. – Kitchen canisters
- I can take you to places you’ve never seen,
But first type your password in on my screen. – Computer
- I’m loaded and unloaded, but I’m not a truck.
Having a helper like me is a great piece of luck. – Dishwasher
- I rain on you when you need a scrub.
I’m very much like my friend the tub. – Shower
- I make it possible to have fresh food.
Everyone agrees, I’m one cool dude. – Fridge
- Watching your favorites is lots of fun.
But don’t watch too much! Kids need to run. – TV
- I never get angry but I do get hot.
I’m the perfect place for a pan or a pot. – Cooker
- It’s my job to give all your clothes a tumble,
Which I do while making a bit of a rumble. – Tumble Dryer
- I have a handle and also a lock.
Visitors and delivery men may give me a knock. – Front Door
- I’m one part chair and one part bed.
Up with your feet and down with your head. – Recliner
- I take your clothes for quite a spin.
But first they get wet. That’s how I begin. – Washing Machine
- I’m filled with feathers or other soft fluff.
To sleep without me can be quite tough. – Pillow
- Turn me on and I’ll give you a light.
I’m used some in the daytime but mostly at night. – Light Switch
- A story, they say, can take you away,
But a book still needs a place to stay. – Book Shelf
- I have drawers and also a nice flat top.
For homework I’m helpful — Keep working. Don’t stop! – Desk
- I’m hungry! I’m hungry! Please feed me a slice.
I’ll spit it back out all brown and nice. – Toaster
- I’m not a selfie, but I do show faces.
Find me in bathrooms and a few other places. – Mirror
- Adults like it when they first wake
And at other times when they need a break. – kettle/Coffee Machine
- Most every day, you step on me.
All I require is a bend of your knee. – Stairs
- I’m paper, but I’m not used for writing a letter.
The spot by your potty suits me much better! – Toilet Paper
- I have hands but no arms and also a face.
And my hands always move at the same steady pace. – Clock
- The more I dry, the wetter I get.
A little one can be used for soaking up sweat. – Towel
- I’m never wicked, but I do have a wick.
I come in all sizes, from skinny to thick. – Candle
Make one set of clues for every player, each clue leading to the next one and, finally, to the treasure. Seal them in envelopes marked with a clue number (i.e., 2/7, or “two of seven”); this will help the treasure hunters keep track. Whoever solves the clues first and finds the treasure is the winner. You don’t have to go mad with a prize, simply an IOU for a movie(another of the rainy day activities for kids), maybe a cache of coins (regular or chocolate) or my favourite, no chores today/free pass for dishwasher duties are all cause for more fun in your home. You could also have your kids play as a team to solve the clues—and uncover the treasure—together. This works better when you have younger ones or if they have been fighting earlier…..
Indoor Treasure Hunt Ideas for Younger Kids
If you kids are too young to read you can create another type of treasure hunt by taking pictures of odd nooks and crannies or objects as above in your home. Print out the pictures and place them as you would any other clues.
Camping in Waterford
Clonea in Co. Waterford is home to one of the many fantastic blue flag beaches of the sunny south East with brilliant watersport activities available all summer and if that’s not enough it recently became a gateway to the Deise Greenway. Casey’s Caravan & Camping Park has always been know as a very well run family park overlooking the beach so we made it our mission to check it out this Summer and see why Camping in Waterford is so popular!
There was plenty to do onsite for the kids with a games room, toddler play area (spotlessly clean), outdoor toddler play area, crazy golf, daily kids club, large and well equipped playground and plenty of other children to have fun with. However, our kids only visited the games room and kids club once as they were having too much fun selling their homemade crafts, baking and anything else they could get their hands on at the Marrakech style market stalls outside the playground. This seems to be a yearly phenomenon synonymous with Casey’s Caravan & Camping Park and a cause for great excitement among the younger folk. Many children arrive with their crafts ready to set up their stall before the tent is even unpacked and I loved the spirit of entrepreneurship as well as the maths lesson it gave them!
Camping in Waterford
Now the one thing I noticed since I last visited Dungarvan and Clonea was that every second person seems to be walking with a bike or cycling one and that is a result of the completion of The Deise Greenway. There is a 4 Km route that will take you into the bustling town of Dungarvan and a brilliant playground or why not head the other way towards Waterford. The Greenway offers fantastic little distractions as you enjoy the picturesque countryside namely a little playground, bridges, tunnels and road crossings!! Most days we went for a cycle if we could drag everyone away from the park. Bikes are allowed onsite also so from early morning the kids were outdoors and cycling which seems to be the second favourite thing to do on site, second only to the wheeling and dealing!!!
The facilities were just as fantastic as the atmosphere on site and were spotlessly clean. I even commented to a friend one day that I walked in on the toilets been cleaned three times in one day! There were more than enough showers, toilets, wash basins and best of all a room with a baby bath and changing facilities. There were no dark corners hiding creepy crawlies or wet muddy cold floors in the showers and you could see your reflection in the tiles!!!
The camper’s kitchen was not to be scoffed at either with its washing facilities and two large chest freezers to avail of and all in immaculate condition. Next door was the laundry room with irons, washing machines and dryers. All in all you will find it hard to beat these facilities and we were informed that next year they are adding two family shower rooms to make it easier for families to wash together. It is easy to see that this park is run by a family who are very conscious of parents’ needs and with a passion for camping themselves!
My favourite part of the park was the toddlers play area as it was the perfect place to go with a book as Lonan (15 months) pottered around the play kitchen and all its paraphernalia and I was not a bit bothered about germs. You could clearly see the area was cleaned daily and there was not even a spec of scum never mind dust! This was a perfect indoor activity with little ones when there were rain showers about.
So there is all this fun to be had and we have not even mentioned the gorgeous beach on the doorstep! The beaches in this part of the country are gorgeous and one of the reasons why Camping in Waterford is so popular. The sandy beach of Clonea was the best playground of all and seemed also to be popular with some of our fellow campers for fishing but best of all it’s a watersport haven and you can hire equipment and wetsuits on the beach. Waveworld not only provide many water activities but they also run a kids camp for the month of July and August and you can sign the kids up for as little or many days as you like with offers for a full week. This is a must as children of all skills and abilities are brought together to have fun in the water with the enthusiastic team and believe me all fears and insecurities will quickly disappear while they burn their energy in a most positive way! This activity can be enjoyed in all weathers and there was an excellent variety of beach games, and water activities including kayaking and banana boats. I even noticed some adults hiring kayaks for a relaxing break while the kids were busy at kids camp!!! For more information on Waveworld click here!
We had friends also on site and the common theme amongst us all was the safety of the site. Not only were fellow campers very aware of the children cycling and playing around but the owners have a strict policy of absolute quietness after 11pm and before 8am as well as respecting your neighbours. You have to swipe to get in or out and with security on site we felt very safe and looked after. We were comfortable giving the children scope to roam more freely and this in a way was a great opportunity to teach them responsibilities. Speaking of responsibilities the kids also enjoyed completing the task of collecting water, taking rubbish to the bins and next year they will be promoted to wash up I think!!
Camping is not only great fun for all the family but on a site like this when the kids are having too much fun to do anything else, mums and dads have nothing else to do but sit down, relax, have a chat and most of all chill!!
I could go on about all the activities around the area but really there is no need as you won’t want to venture to far with the beach, Greenway and park itself. To find out more about Casey’s Caravan and Camping Park in Clonea click here!
Exhilarating Adventures at Castlecomer
Our latest adventures took us at last to the renowned Castlecomer Discovery Park in Kilkenny which is set in the former grounds of the Wandesforde Estate, comprising of 80 acres of stunning natural woodland and lakes and among the top 5 attractions in Kilkenny listed on Trip Advisor.
While many visit the park to stroll along the many walking trails throughout, play in the playground or enjoy the beauty we tried our hand at some of their key attractions such as a Tree Top adventure walk, a climbing wall, pedal boats and canadian canoes on the upper lake, woodland play area (Junior Woodland Adventure Course, hand-crafted Bluebell Playhouse and Elf & Fairy Village), the longest over-water zipline in Ireland (300m long and 35m at its highest point), Advanced High Ropes Course and finally archery.
When we arrived we were delighted that we booked our activities in advance as the crowds were building as early as 9.30am. However, we soon discovered that many were just going for a stroll. The tree top adventure walk was our first activity of the day and suited for children aged 7 years plus. Saoirse was our only brave solider to complete the course with confidence and I for one was delighted that I was the one left holding the camera.
Sean was able to take Shanea through most of the obstacles which was great for any small ones with a fear of heights and she was more than thrilled that she had completed such a challenge when she was done.
The team were very friendly and encouraged them to figure out each part from the ground and up in the towers which was a great support. By the time we had finished it the queue was quit long so I would recommend you book this in advance and get there early. This activity alone is enough to travel to Castlecomer for as the children were so excited by it and it was a great boost to their confidence.
The climbing wall is also in this area and once the children had finished their tree-top walk they tried the three different levels of the climbing wall and we were delighted to see how far they each got. Again, the team members here helped them figure out the best moves and encouraged them all the way.
We barely had time to catch our breaths before we were racing after Saoirse and Shanea in search of The Elf and Fairy Village. It was not hard to find and only a short distance into the woodland.
It was the first time we came across a fairy village of this size and it was gorgeous to walk around and see the children play their games among the fairies and around their village. The Canopy Cafe is now open here so this is the perfect spot for a cuppa, chat and some general R&R time in picturesque surroundings.
With our tummies rumbling after all the fresh air and fun we strolled back down to the entrance to find a spot of lunch and in the charmingly restored farm buildings is a splendid restaurant serving most sumptuous food. We did not expect a restaurant with such creative and tasty gourmet. The Jarrow Cafe offers plenty of choice for both parents and children and at very reasonable prices.
Give yourself a little time to digest the food before heading out for more adventures with a wander in the craftyard or even take in The Coal Museum at next to The Jarrow Cafe.We had a busy day ahead though so we headed straight back out into the woodlands and discovered some delightful little animals along the way. Sean and Adam bravely had a go on the Zipwire which is the longest over-water zipline in Ireland! It is 300 metres long and 35 metres over the ground at its highest point. This took some time as it was no easy task and they had to find the courage to take the jump but once done they said it was amazing. I was only glad that someone had to hold the camera again but my pictures do not do justice to the scale of the wire.
The advanced high ropes are also located up with the zipwire but my two boys were still shaking after the zipwire so asking them to try out these could have been pushing it and made a plan to try these on our next visit.
Our last activity for the day was the pedal boats which were great craic after all the early exhilarating challenges. This is such a relaxed activity and all the family had great fun. The boys were on one boat and the girls another so there was nothing for it but a half an hour of boys against the girls as we raced up and down the lake.
You can also canoe on this lake but we had already tried to fit in too much into our day.
The children had to be coaxed back to the car on our backs and with alot of pleading. All in all we had an amazing day and we could return time and time again with so much to keep us occupied as we get braver and braver!! We did not even try out all the activities available or strolled through the woods on the many walkways as we had so much to do. The only fault I had was that there is no Caravan and campsite at the edge of the park as you could have days and days of fun here which is why it deserves to be among the top 5 attractions in Kilkenny. There is nothing for it but Castlecomer we will be back to sample the rest of what you have in store. To find out more about prices and opening times for Castlecomer Discovery Park click here or for more info on our top 5 attractions in Kilkenny click here!
Loulou’s World – Fairy Activites Cork
For all budding fairies looking for exciting and creative fairy activities in Cork, Loulou’s World in Cobh offers an enchanting and playful afternoon of fun! We could not wait to be invited to a party so in true fairy princess style we ( my sister and friends) book a fairy party for no special reason for six children to while away a summer’s afternoon talking fairys and doing art and crafts.
Loulou’s World is as amazing as you can imagine and will capture the children’s imagination instantly as you enter through a retail fairy shop and down into hidden back room like a fairy adventure before discovering a colourful room full of glitter and sparkles!!
Loulou herself was enchanting with all the characteristic of a true fairy and she entertained the children from the moment they arrived. We spent the afternoon making many fairy crafts and she had patience and enthusiasm in abundance. Even Thomas (the only boy fairy in tow) had as much fun as the girls. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon so don’t wait for a party why not gather a group of friends, bring some takeaway coffee as you will enjoy it just as much and book in a group. For a group of six we were charged €15 per child and they came away with fairy doors, washing lines and much more! It is a great place for parties and Loulou does not just offer fairy activities in Cork but also does Jewellery workshops for adults and children so why not discover your creative side or this could make a fun party for an older children or young teenager!
Eggstronauts at Blackrock Castle Observatory
Blackrock Castle Observatory are running a fabulous one day workshop during the Easter holidays to keep young minds well entertained and we went along this morning to try out Eggstronauts as we are great fans of the observatory and all their activities! It is a great place for an afternoon out but keep an eye out for the camps as while they are very educational, they are also great fun!
Today the workshop included learning all about astronauts landing on different planets and in particular the failed Schiaparelli misson on mars last year. So the kids had to design a parachute that would land an egg (astronaut) that would land safely (without breaking) when they dropped if from the tower of Blackrock Castle to the tower below! Saoirse was delighted that her astronaut (aka egg) survived to be boiled for tea!!
I would recommend that kids would be at least 8 as they had to work completely off their own initiative
and design the concepts. They were aided step by step by the friendly team but they were very much encourage to try out and explore their ideas.
On a scale of one to ten and ten been the best, Saoirse gave it a nine as she deducted one mark because she felt it was to short and would loved a longer day. However, Thomas gave it a resounding 10 out of ten. Blackrock Castle Observatory do some brilliant camps at Easter and Summer and also it would be a novel place for a birthday party. If you have not been make sure you go along some day as it is brilliant facility that Cork should be proud of and offers an a great fun and educational day eye. Ignite their interest in learning!!
The workshops last 1.5 hours and costs €10.00. They still have places but you would want to book in advance to ensure a place and make sure you bring a book as The Castle Cafe is a glorious spot to enjoy brunch, lunch or just a cuppa!!