The gardens at Fota House are truly a hidden gem here in Cork and one of my favourite family fun activities in Cork. They are beautifully preserved (cared for by the OPW) and offer adventure, escape and tranquillity around almost every corner. There are many walkways and trails to discover and you could spend hours lost in amongst the trees, languishing in the open areas or exploring the formal and Victorian walled gardens. All of this is free and there is only a charge of €3 for the car park.
Family Fun Activities in Cork
However, should you wish to add a bit more fun to your day you can buy one of their trail packs for €4 each. They have two to suit both young and older children. We had great fun following the map as children always love map reading and leading the way. While our three were running along, working out which way to go at each juncture, stopping to find little titbits and clues as per the instructions, Craig and I wandered along at our own pace, chatting and enjoying the surroundings. Pure Bliss!!!
We stopped on route at the giant’s chairs for a picnic before continuing along the trail and discovering the Victorian walled gardens, the shed with old tools and the formal gardens. The children were extremely curious and enjoyed the few hours we spent wandering along. I really do think it was the nature trail and activity pack that added that element of structure and fun to our afternoon.
We spent the next hour rolling down the grass hills, playing ball and generally chilling out in the open area just behind the house. As family fun activities in Cork go this one got big thumbs up from me and I am looking forward to trying out their house tour as I believe they have one geared towards children coming shortly!
Trabolgan Day Passes
Lucky for us we live only a half an hour from Trabolgan and so we can make regular day trips with the kids. Trabolgan was one of my own favourite spots as a kid and I love to watch the kid’s excitement when we head down there now. Trabolgan day passes are great value as you get a full day of fun so get down early and plan it out beforehand!
Trabolgan Holiday Village is located on over 140 acres of woodland beside the sea, 30 mins from Cork city and operates as a holiday camp or day visitor attraction.
Family Things to Do at Trabolgan
We normally start at the playground so kids can have a run around and I a coffee. One word of advice take a good look at the activities timetable for the day at this stage as there may be shows that you want to see and some of the activities have specific time slots. I prefer to organise our swimming around the shows as the kids will be starving after swimming and you can get lunch into them while watching a show.
There is a glass roof over the main outdoor area and the main stage is under this so if you get a fine day like we did last week it is was perfect to sit outside and relax while actually enjoying a picnic while being entertained.
Our next port of call is normally the swimming pool and with the waves and slide we normally pass away an hour or two here. The water was actually quite warm last week and I was pleasantly surprised with the renovations in this area. There is new flooring running throughout the changing area and a new seated area for those who wishing to sit this one out.
After our picnics we head back to the playground for a walk out towards the water area. However, last week I stumbled across the duck pond which has been developed into a nature area. It is a gorgeous spot to sit with a prompt board to encourage children to search the surroundings for little titbits of nature. I am glad to see Trabolgan making use of their gorgeous natural setting more.
The sports centre houses a jungle gym (admission included in the day pass) and a coffee shop for more hours of fun and it is here you can buy tickets to any of the TAS activities. You can also use your day pass for these instead of the swimming pool but to be honest we would not do these everytime as there is so much without having to include them.
Places to Eat in Trabolgan
At this stage we would head back down for another show as they are normally getting quite tired. A great way to end the day is Sally O’Hara’s Restaurant in the main square so I don’t have to cook when we get home and I know they will be starving after going all day so they will eat a belly full. Along with the main menu a carvery is available which is brilliant for the kids. There is a family special at the moment of €45 for two adults and two kids. I have never been disappointed with the food here and they have excellent coeliac choices. The staff are extremely friendly and always so accommodating.
Other dining options are Costa Coffee for a quick snack or Big Als@Casey’s Fast Food so there is something for everyone!
I am delighted with the renovations they are doing every year but I hope they might add new shower cubicles some time soon as I am not too fond with the open showers!
At the moment the Trabolgan day passes are €12 per person/ €50 for a family pass which is outstanding value as you can have one of the main activities which are swimming, crazy golf, birds of prey, TAS (Trabolgan Adventure Sports). Follow Trabolgan on facebook and keep an eye on their website as there are always doing offers on Trabolgan day passes. Click here for more.
What the Kids Said about Trabolgan
“Next time we go we are staying so we can do more stuff”
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.
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.
Fun Family Activities to Prevent the Summer Slide
Even the best students can suffer from the ugliness of summer slide by finding themselves regressed in their scholastic abilities. Sixty days of break from the academic routine can do that to any one and it is a universal problem rarely acknowledged. In spite of it being an issue, there are several ways to deal with it and of helping your child by not letting them become victim of brain rust.
Over the years it has been discovered that there are tons of family activities that can let the kids have all the fun they want without letting their brains idle. Here are some ideas for parents who want to save their children from this summer outbreak:
1. Trips to Libraries:
If the parents succeed to instigate the habit of reading in their kids, then they can forever say goodbye to the dreadfulness of summer slide. Not only is reading one of the most fun family activities for the erudite but it also helps the kids and adults develop their vocabulary, maintain their reading skills, and even learn about many new topics depending on their choice of book. Remember, the legendary Anne Frank and her family remained in hiding for more than two years but their regular reading and analysis kept their mind as revived as ever.
2. Food Adventures:
Another interesting fun family activity includes going on a family trip to farms, bringing back the fresh greens and cooking up a storm in the kitchen all the while educating your child on fruits, vegetable, and their benefits. Furthermore, the process of cooking itself includes measuring, reading labels, dividing, setting the timers and other small tasks that will keep the kids in touch with their math and reading skills.
3. Reading at the world’s end:
It doesn’t matter where the family activity plans have taken you and your folks to. As long as you make your children read billboards, signs, cereal boxes, pamphlets and recipes they’ll stay safe from summer slides. You can even develop their speaking and presenting skills and help them learn new language by encouraging them to speak with the locals in their language.
4. Make them Write:
Writing a diary can help with many things at once and help your child become better with spellings, grammar, history and even math when they write every single detail of their adventures on the blank pages of their diary. It can become a family activity as everyone shares their writing at the end of the day and help the other become better at it with creative criticisms. Reviewing a book, telling their diary about an interesting history fact they leaned or studying someone and writing about it can develop a lot more than their writings skills.
5. Summer Camps:
Enroll your child into summer camps where they can not only enjoy some fun activities but also take advantage of the camp’s nature of expertise where the sports, math, and science enthusiasts can satisfy their scholastic cravings.
If you are looking for some great opportunities of family activities, then check out these packages to make your family vacations memorable without making your kids suffer.
Kids Activities – 5 Reasons Why a Family Holiday Is More Important Than You Think
If you think late shifts, double jobs, hectic schedule, demanding boss and challenging tasks at work is turning your brain into a mush then know that you are not the only one. Look around you and pay attention to the youngsters in the house. If you are suffering then they are probably suffering too, perhaps even more than you.
Despite the fact that kids are bright and upbeat, their mind needs refuelling and a human mind rejuvenates only with some time off with family and interesting kids activities. Don’t believe it? Here are reasons that will convince you otherwise:
1. It Creates a Strong Bond:
Arguments, hard feelings, and grievances are normal instances in a family, but what is not so normal is leaving these issues unresolved. When parents and kids travel together, not only a new place and new scenarios give them a better perspective, but it also creates a strong bond between the parents and the kids. That issue that you haven’t been able to talk about for months can easily be resolved over a hike in the forest.
2. Educational for the kids:
There are so many ways of educating the youngsters and interesting kid activities have proved to be far more effective. Reading about a way of life is one thing but taking your kids to explore these foreign people in their far flung lands and experiencing it in flesh and bone is a whole new level of learning. Family holidays can be fun and educational at the same time as it tickles that part of the brain that remains unexercised when staying at home.
3. A Temporary Split from the Technology:
The kids’ unhealthy obsession with the technology needs to stop and the only way to succeed at it is by involving them in kids activities that are adventurous and physical in nature. It would be advantageous for the kids to actually socialize and meet real people without the medium of a screen between them.
4. Social and Emotional Development:
Sometimes young people need to be involved in kid’s activities just for the sake of being kids. School, activities, sports and homework are done for career, for better future, and to be better students. But family holidays allow the kids to just splash in the water or to skate in the rink without having to be worried about embarrassment or losing. The unplanned, unstructured, and rough games play an important role in the growth of kids’ social and emotional health.
5. Personality makeover:
Kids that are thought as quiet by their peers end up becoming that way and the one who is thought to be different ends up sticking out like a sore thumb. Not because that’s how they are but because that’s what everyone expects from them. When kids step out of a habitual place and go far away from familiar faces, they experience freedom and a chance to ask what they want for themselves. This time away allows them to discover and reinvent themselves.
Every child needs some time off from the routinely tasks and must be allowed to engage in vigorous kids activities. You can check out some family break ideas and packages to give your child the freedom they need.
Things to do with the kids in Clare – Aillwee Caves
No trip to Co. Clare can be complete without going to see Ireland’s premier show cave, The Aillwee Caves. The caves are renowned as one of the top things to do with the kids in Clare and it is easy to see why. When planning a visit to the caves, be sure to put aside a full day as there is much more than a cave to see here. Your journey starts at the main entrance with the Birds of Prey Centre where you can view a large number of birds and have an in-depth audio guide explaining all about our birds, their conservation and the myths and legends surrounding these magnificent birds in Ireland before enjoying a fantastic birds of prey show. This was a most entertaining show for us as well as the kids and was on for at least a half an hour. The auditorium is a lovely size and the show was quite interactive. After the we went back in to look at the birds armed with the knowledge we had received.
From here we went into the woodlands surrounding the caves to try out some Archery which was only €10.00 for 15 bows and includes a one to one tutorial. The kids loved this part as even though we have tried our hand at archery before, the setting here was magical and it felt like you were really hunting in the woods. The woodlands is also the setting for the popular guided bush craft walks which are only €5 per person but need to be booked in advance. We did not have time for this walk but it sounded fascinating and something I am sure the kids would have enjoyed immensely.
At the entrance to the archery and bush craft walks there is a beautiful stone building housing the farm shop stocking local food and drink produce as well as the world famous Burren Gold Cheese. You cannot walk past here without picking up some tasting delights!!
Now from this point you can drive up the hill to the caves carpark but if it is anyway fine I would suggest walk up the walking trail and enjoy a picnic along the way. You will be up in 15 mins or take your time so you can appreciate your surroundings as there are regular tours of the caves so you wont miss out. If you have not brought a picnic there is a delicious cafe at once you into in the caves centre. Be prepared as you will need to walk through the gift store to get to the tour and there was plenty to spend our money on. We were prepared here and gave them a budget of €5 from their pocket money for here before we went in and you will be glad to know there was plenty for that.
The tour itself was approx 30 mins and was well geared towards the small ones without being too boring for adults, bringing us through the beautiful caverns – over bridged chasms, under weird formations and alongside the thunderous waterfall as well as the frozen waterfall and past the now extinct brown bears bones. It was very safe and not at all steep, we had two kids and a three month old baby in tow in a sling.
We were all tired at this stage but if you have the time and energy you can walk to the top of the mountain which the cave lies under or even try out a Hawk Walk. There really is plenty to do and a must see for families visiting the Clare or Galway area. We got excellent value for our money and if you bring a picnic you will need to spend very little while here. Our car journey back through the Burren brought us past the most stunning vista of this unique and rocky landscape and even a neolithic tomb stone but our crew were almost to exhausted to take this in after their jam packed day!
Seaside Foraging with Sea Synergy
Seaside foraging is an age old fun activity and something that I love as the children are outdoors and learning but best of all my children love it more so much so we went out on a drizzling August day and by the end of the session the rain down poured but I had to still drag them off the beach kicking and screaming as they did not want it to end!
Sea Synergy based in Waterville in Kerry offer sea activities including foraging all along the South Kerry coast and a morning foraging is a great way to spend some time with the kids. We met Lucy, a marine biologist Sea Synergy on Glanleam Beach in Valentia Island and she brought us on a little adventure!
Lucy first introduced us to a number of items she has collected over the years including shells and marine wildlife bones before we all took to the shoreline looking for items washed up from the sea. Marine life can be found in so many places including along the walls, on the rocks, under rocks and in rock pools as well before you even go to the sea. Lucy also provided fishing nets for a spot of fishing and Saoirse picked a crab out of the water causing for great excitement.
The children were in their element learning about all the items we discovered and even did not notice the drizzle of rain that began a little while into our adventure. We got great ideas and tips from Lucy for our own expeditions but found this session very good as we got so much information from Lucy on our travels and she knew just where to look for things we would never find.
Sea synergy run workshops from Waterville and are also hoping to do the same from Valentia in the summer. I for one would travel just to attend these workshops as it encourages a great interest in exploring and the great outdoors in already curious minds! Sea Synergy will also come out to locations of your choosing for small groups or families t so you can enjoy a spot of foraging. They offer a huge range of services so make sure you check out their page.
Foraging for blackberries is such a fun and uplifting experience for kids to enjoy while encouraging children to set a life-long interest in nature and natural un-processed foods. Look out for blackberries growing on bramble bushes in woodland and hedgerows. (Avoid picking any next to roadsides though – they’ll be polluted by traffic fumes).
With blackberry picking, it’s all about timing keep an eye out from the end of August but do not wait too late and miss out to Jack Frost. My advice is to get picking as soon as possible to ensure a quality yield. There are superstitions around picking berries after the end of September. It is said that they are then to be left for the fairies, (or the Púca). This coincides with the fact that the berries tend to be mouldy and quite unappetising by that stage.
Blackberries are bursting full off berry goodness, being mineral rich and high in magnesium and potassium. They are an excellent source of dietary fibre and it is said that some varieties have more dietary fibre, weight for weight, than wholemeal bread. They are a good source of Vitamin C, so feasting on blackberries is a pleasurable way to build up resistance to winter colds and flus.
Once you have collected your bounty its time to go home and have fun making jams, smoothies, blackberry crumble or just freeze a few so you can continue to enjoy their flavour throughout the winter. All in all you can get more than just a few hours of fun from your day out and best of all, you don’t need your wallet to cash in on the yields.
Quick and Easy Recipe for Blackberry Jam
Place 1kg of sugar, 1kg of blackberries and juice and zest of one lemon in a large pot.
Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring until all the sugar dissolves.
Cook the jamfor approximately 15 minutes or until it reaches 105˚C on a sugar thermometer.
A Beach Trek in Caherdaniel
Eagle Rock Equestrian is one of Ireland’s best known, oldest established equestrian centres and is located in the stunning surroundings of Derrynane National Historic Park. There are a number of routes available including a beach trek, woodland trek and mountain Trek. We choose to try out the beach trek as the beaches in this area are just gorgeous.
The equestrian centre is very easy to find and was only a 40 minute trip along the most breathtaking coastline from our base in Valentia. The base itself is a beautiful listed building and a ten minute trek to the beach itself. As we prepared for our trek a more experienced group of riders on a two hour trek were returning and most of these riders seemed to be regular tourists who were very impressed with Caroline Donnelly’s service so much so that they were eager to book further treks which was difficult as they were so busy.
As novices to the horse riding world our tutors were very helpful and took alot of time to ensure the children were at ease on their saddles before heading off onto the road to make the short trek to the beach. The beach was the perfect safe enviornment for the children to enjoy this age old activity and offered plenty of areas to explore such as the sand dunes and streams to cross making for a very exciting ride.
Some treks can be a walk from A to B with pleasant scenary but what we experienced was a trek with a difference with the most breathtaking views in a comfortable and safe enviornment.
The trek itself was approx 1 hour which was just enough to tire everyone out and costs €30.00 per person in a group or you can also get a 30 minute ride out for children from €15.00.
There is something very special about the relationship between horse and man, its a magical activity and such a fun things to do with the kids in Kerry!