Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland – Kenmare, Co. Kerry
Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland
“Escape the Living” is the tagline used by Kenmare town to describe itself and I cannot think of words more apt to describe it as there is a holiday atmosphere in Kenmare 24/7, 365 days a year. There is a buzz whatever the weather and you will find art, culture, a unique charm and our true Irish heritage around every corner. It was the first town to be awarded Heritage Town of Ireland and its natural beauty is inherent in that the north of Kenmare is home to Killarney’s National Park while the town itself is nestled into the beautiful Kenmare Bay.
Kenmare is one of my Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland for many years now so I was thrilled when The Kenmare Bay Hotel invited me to write a review on their holiday lodges that are very popular with families. We stayed here a few years ago in the hotel so we knew we would not be disappointed.
Family Friendly Accommodation
The Kenmare Bay Hotel is located at the edge of Kenmare town. There is a path that will take you directly to town and it is very safe for the kids. I would suggest leaving your car at the hotel as this is only a short walk (approx. 5 mins) and it can be hard to find parking in Kenmare town itself.
The Kenmare Bay Hotel have family rooms in the hotel but on this occasion we stayed in The Lodges and went self-catering. The lodges themselves are gorgeous and had all the comfort and luxury of a hotel room but with the added space and convenience of self-catering. I was really impressed with the kitchen as we had everything from coffee machine to American style freezer and even kiddie cutlery and plates etc. The picnic table in the patio area was perfect for dining outdoors and the beck garden was enclosed and very secure.
We were in a two bedroom lodge, so the three kids were in one bedroom. The two older ones were in a large double split into twins, and Lonán was on a pull out couch. They were thrilled to find they had a TV in their room as we don’t have this at home and it was a real novelty as well as the ensuite bathroom. Our own bedrooms was also very spacious and the décor was fabulous. The living and kitchen area is huge and the sitting area was lovely and cosy to relax in, in the evenings with a glass of wine.
Family Friendly Activities
Our favourite feature of The Kenmare Bay Hotel was the swimming pool as this is where you will really notice the family welcome. We must of went here four or five times during our visit and each time the pool staff were supervising and would bring out toys (watering cans, ducks, balls) noodles, dive sticks and even inflatables. There was a small slide and goal posts so it is a great pool to play in. The baby pool was very big and the main pool was extra-large with plenty of room for everyone. When the pool did get very busy I noticed the life guards would take their seat on their perch so it was clear to see safety was paramount. The box of arm bands for those who forgot their own was a thoughtful facility as it can very easily happen and be quite frustrating to have to buy a new pair when you have a perfectly good pair at home. If there was an award for the best family friendly hotel swimming pool The Kenmare Bay Hotel would win it hands down for me.
Other family friendly facilities onsite include an excellent outdoor playground that is enclosed and very secure. The playground equipment was very modern and there was something to suit all ages with plenty of seating. Guests can also make use of the playroom on the second floor but this would be more for younger children and toddlers.
The kids club is located in a purpose built room with cooking facilities, perfect for their regular baking classes. My two signed up for this and Saoirse was delighted as they offer gluten free flour for coeliac as standard so she got to make brownies too. What impressed me here the most was how knowledgeable they were about gluten free which put Saoirse and I at great ease. They also had a craft to make in this session. The crafts were fun and interesting with the team members guiding the children through every stage. It was almost like an art class. In the evening they tend to do a messy craft alongside the activity assigned. It is easy to see that this kids club is well planned out with full time staff offering a real quality kids club experience rather than just a standard babysitting service.
Family Friendly Activities Nearby in the Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland
With plenty to do onsite and the town to explore you won’t have time for much else but if you do get an opportunity to head out I would recommend taking a drive to enjoy some of the amazing scenery in and around Kenmare.
The drive to Killarney is gorgeous and along this road you will find Kissane Sheep Farm, a Large Mountain Sheep Farm. The Farm is situated in The Killarney National Park. The famous panorama of Moll’s Gap is in the middle of the land, overlooking the farm and its animals. You can visit the Farm, see Sheep Dog Demonstrations & during the summer to also see the Sheep Shearing Demonstration. In the spring time there is an opportunity to see the many baby lambs that will be born on the Farm. Since they are a busy working farm they only open to the public for demonstration purposes so just check times and dates before you strike off.
Kenmare is home to a true hidden gem, Gleninchaquin Park. Gleninchaquin Park is a park like no other in that it provides breath-taking landscapes and scenery. There are streams with log bridges, mountain paths with carved steps, through rock passages, along glens and lakes to higher altitude. Not to mention the spectacular rock face waterfall. While it is a magnificent day out for a walking enthusiast it is also a magical place for families as there is plenty for the kids to see and if you are lucky like we were the last time we visited we bottle fed some baby lambs. This is a perfect picnic spot and there is even a BBQ area. The kids will love the freedom as well as the interaction with livestock every now and again. I discovered this place many years ago and I am raving about it ever since. The views are so amazing they will even silence the children.
On this visit I discovered another hidden gem on the road from Kenmare to Kilgarvan, The Kilgarvan Motor Museum. We saw a sign post and followed it not expecting to discover a large shed that housed the most impressive private collection of vintage cars.
Craig and Thomas are passionate about cars and were blown away at the sheer quality as well as quantity of vintage cars. There must have been 60 or more cars on show from Model TT’s to Porsche and everything in between including American Cars.
While the collection was impressive enough, the owner, John really made the visit for us. He was extremely knowledgeable and engaged in an in depth discussion for over an hour about the cars and their history. Thomas was enthralled, Craig was in his element and even I learned a thing or two.
The photographs and memorabilia of including that of the last Cork Grand Prix in 1938 is what caught my eye and again John offered great insights into this. Many of the cars had a story to tell including a Rolls Royce that was used in world war two and the body work had to be replaced due to bullet holes as a result of a skirmish.
Craig promised Thomas that he will take them back on a day trip over the winter and I don’t know if it is more for himself than Thomas. Follow the signpost from Kilgarvan, it is about 2 miles outside the town. For more information Click Here!
Dining at The Kenmare Bay Hotel
On our first evening we dined in the hotel itself in their restaurant not only because it is easy after the journey down and unpacking but also it is very family friendly. I was delighted to see the kids play corner that had been there on a previous visit, a facility I have yet to see repeated. It is a neat little corner tucked away in the restaurant with plenty of toys, games and books to suit every child. I loved that families are placed around the immediate area of the play area and couples and other guests without children and further away so you do not feel you are disrupting anyone.
The children menu was very well thought out with Buzz Light-year and Frozen themed food options to name just a few. Lonán’s Olaf the Snowman dessert went down a treat so much so that she looks for it in every restaurant since.
It was easy to see that the waiting staff were very family friendly and patient with children not only from our own service but I noticed when they brought menus to a table they also brought age appropriate toys for babies and toddlers that would not make their own way to the play area without even being asked.
The following morning, we went up to the hotel for breakfast and we were delighted to be able to have a relaxed breakfast in peace. Lonán ate a big breakfast quickly and without complaining on the promise that she could run off and play. Now we could enjoy a nice long coffee. I must say if you have babies or toddlers this is the perfect restaurant to reintroduce you to the world of dining out. However, my older two picked up books and other bits to play with at the table also.
Kenmare really is a foodie town with plenty of eateries of every style to choose from. On our second evening we decided to walk into town with the kids to wander around the shops, go for dinner and walk back to the hotel after a little glass of wine or two. We came across the The Lime Tree Restaurant on a previous visit as the building is gorgeous and it sits in such a picturesque setting in the town itself so we were excited to try it out. We must have spent 10 minutes pottering and watching the chef picking herbs in the garden before we went in.
The kids were in such a relaxed form after the walk and wander around the shops so we could enjoy the gorgeous décor and sumptuous surroundings. There was something to look at in every nook and cranny and the restoration of this building was something to behold. We knew at this stage that the food would not disappoint. That and the fact the restaurant filled up very fast.
A lot of the ingredients are locally sourced and very well presented. The choices for the children were excellent and as coeliac, Saoirse and I were spoiled for choice. The food was superb and probably one of the best dinners out for some time. I enjoyed the house wine so much that I took the name down to try again.
We were too full for dessert but had to try it as we knew it would be excellent and they had Gluten Free Apple Crumble which is a rarity. It was worth the pain even if I could not finish it.
We were slow to leave as we were enjoying the relaxed surroundings and atmosphere and could have easily sat here for the night. The Lime Tree Restaurant certainly makes it to my top ten family friendly restaurants in Ireland. When you are self-catering it is nice to splash out on one really nice dinner and this restaurant is a special treat.
The only downside I would have is that the playroom was a bit small and could do with a little seating area for parents to enjoy a coffee and paper while the kids potter and may be toys for older children.
The lodges of The Kenmare Bay Hotel offer all the luxury and comfort you would desire in a hotel break with the convenience of space, privacy and self-catering. Kenmare town, a world class destination coupled with the family orientated swimming pool, kids club and playground of The Kenmare Bay Hotel makes the perfect partnership for a fantastic family break and worthy of the accolade of Top Holiday Destinations in Ireland.
Dublin is a fantastic city for a family breaks because like many cities there is so much to do but Dublin City is unique in that it offers a lot for families in a small geographically area. Our children love the hustle and bustle of this busy capital and look forward to a trip every so often. We have not been in a couple of years so with the opening of the new and exciting Explorium, National Sports and Science Centre, we decided to head off.
I have previously stayed in The Castleknock Hotel amongst others and decided to return here for a number of reasons, namely location, service, facilities and most importantly the family rooms. The hotel is located in Castleknock just off the M50 and very easy to find following google maps. We prefer a hotel on the fringes of the city centre for parking and it is easier to find your way around. The rooms sizes and prices are also always more favourable. It’s not as if we need to be close to the nightlife these days so The Castleknock is more convenient for our needs as a family. It’s location in relation to some of Dublin’s main family attractions is perfect. Go back onto the M50 and go north to Tayto Park (approx 25 mins) or head south the Imaginosity (approx 20 mins), Explorium (approx 25 mins) and Dundrum Shopping Centre (approx 25 mins). Fort Lucan is only a 7 minute drive while Dublin Zoo is only a 10 minute drive as Castleknock is situated just behind Phoenix’s Park. You will actually enter the back of the Phoenix Park thus avoiding the city centre.
In fact Phoenix Park is so close that we took a walk here on our first evening to stretch the legs and the kids were excited to spot Mr. D’s pad. We found a gorgeous restaurant/pub called Hole in The Wall just outside one of the side gates (Blackhorse Avenue Gate). It has such charming decor, outside seating and plenty of space for families. The children’s options were excellent. Saoirse got the kid’s chicken curry and rice and I was sorry I did not get it myself even though my salmon dish was divine. Thomas got battered fish and chip which was a half portion of the adults option and Craig was very pleased with his steak. It is a very relaxed place for kids and very reasonable as the kids got a drink and dessert all for €10.
When we returned to The Castleknock Hotel we were not surprised to see quite and few families around the lobby area having a drink or some food as it really is one of Dublin’s top child friendly hotels. You can see evidence of how they pride themselves on being family friendly throughout the hotel. From the table at reception with directions to all the top family attractions, offers of board games for the rooms, to the table with sun cream and hand wipes at the door to the outdoor area. However, it is the facilities such as the swimming pool and the playground which make you feel really welcome as a family. The pool area is beautiful and there are two little pools for the small ones but best of all it was a very warm pool so much so that you would notice it.
There is a large seating area just off the bar and restaurant and the playground sits adjacent to it. This was perfect for dining as the kids could play while we were waiting for our food and after dinner we squeezed in a little glass of wine while they were busy playing. It’s a great place to enjoy a cup of coffee after breakfast in the morning also!
With any family break I always feel that the room size is most important as if it’s too small you can get somewhat claustrophobic. The Castleknock Hotel prides themselves on their family rooms and their rooms have recently undergone a refurbishment. They are an excellent size and they have options for up to 5 in one room very comfortably or interconnecting rooms which we had. The decor is very stylish, there is no scrimping on luxury for size.
The kids received goodie bags on arrival so they felt extra special and in that were our passes to Dublin Zoo as they were included in the package we were booked under. They also have a summer package including Tayto park passes. The goodie bags are handy for taking with you on your day out as they included little treats and water.
We were very excited to check out Explorium and were not disappointed. The National Science and Sports centre contains more than 300 exhibits spanning 110,000 sq ft near Sandyford. Our top favourites were the G-force anti-gravity loop where Craig was harnessed into a bicycle and rotated 360 degrees on a circular track, the lightning room where we learned how it is made and saw a lightning show and Movie world where Saoirse got to try out to try out the different tricks and techniques that can be used to craft a piece of video content. In the Senses exhibit, visitors will be able to test their sensory abilities compared to animals with extraordinary abilities, exploring bio-electricity, magneto-reception and thermos-reception. In the sports area you can try scaling dizzy heights with climbing, caving in Ireland’s longest indoor cave, experience a formula one race and so much more. They even had a section for little ones with dress up area, make and do, sensory area, climbing, outdoor play area and again many exhibits where they learn through play. There is something for everyone but a day is not enough as they are wrecked after a few hours and our two were keen to get back to the pool in The Castleknock Hotel. I have promised them I will bring them back soon as there is more they want to try out. A family ticket for two adults and two children is €70 for the science centre and well worth it. The climbing or caving is €15 but I would keep this for another day as there is so much to do in the science centre alone.
While we have been to Dublin Zoo a couple times already, the kids were insisting on going again as they love Dublin Zoo even though we go to Fota Wildlife Park regularly. There is always something new to see here and the animals never disappoint especially the Sea Lions and Gorillas. This time around we planned our day in accordance with the talks as our older two are of an age where they learning about conservation and love to ask questions making for a very interesting day. All the zoo keepers gave interesting age appropriate talks and answered every questions with great patience.
As coeliacs we are limited in options for dining in Dublin Zoo and we were in the mood for something more substantial so we had our lunch in The Phoenix Park Cafe just around the corner from the zoo. The Phoenix Park Cafe is really a hidden gem for families. I love it. Here you will find an array of healthy and vibrant salads, freshly baked quiches gorgeous organic coffee roasted in Wicklow. Cakes and slices are baked fresh everyday, and there are plenty of freshly made gluten free options too. What a treat! The outdoor seating area is the courtyard of what seems to be the renovated farm buildings of Ashford Castle and now the visitor centre. It is truly unique.
Right next door is one of Dublin’s largest and in my opinion best playgrounds as well as the old walled Victorian gardens. You could even make a second day in Phoenix Park by renting bikes at the front gate of the park, cycling around and discovering Farmleigh, Áras an Uachtaráin, the resident deer and this area (Ashtown Castle visitor centre).
Back at our hotel we were also very well taken care of in terms of dining as both coeliacs and a family. There are two restaurants, Earth & Vine, their signature restaurant and 22 Bar & Restaurant for casual dining. The Lobby is the hotel patisserie while the Lime Tree Bar is the main bar. We choose the Earth & Vine Restaurant which has been recently refurbished and awarded ‘Best Place to Eat’ for two consecutive years at the Fingal Dublin Business Excellence Awards. The surroundings were very sumptuous and the food only divine. They even had gluten free pizzas for the kids. There is no questioning their credentials as Dublin’s top child friendly hotels with the pancake machine at breakfast causing great excitement in our party and each morning they cooked a gluten free Irish breakfast for Saoirse and I so there was no cross contamination and with gluten free sausages and puddings we were truly spoilt!!
After all that fun we were sad to leave our room at The Castleknock Hotel and Dublin because as usual there was so much more we could have done but we are looking forward to returning sometime soon. I could not fault it as the service was excellent and the welcome we received as a family was very genuine which is why I feel it is one Dublin’s top child friendly hotels. Click the above names to find out more!
Tayto Park seems to be becoming one of the most popular family attractions in Ireland at the moment with families making day trips from all over the country and I can certainly see why. The park offers so much more than I imagined with animals, rides, the factory, playgrounds, restaurants and arts and crafts.
When we first arrived we did not know where to start. The kids were very excited as they saw the enormous zip wire from the car park and other rides. There is a wonderful playground at the start if I can even call it that as it was more like an activity play centre. If your children are young like mine I would recommend that you spend a bit of time in this area and get the most out of it as they may not be able to enjoy all the rides due to height restrictions. The petting farm is very well set up as is the animal trail with tigers, buffalo and other animals.
We tried the obstacle course as unfortunately the kids were too small for the zip wire and large slide (which were probably too high for them anyway) but for older kids and teenagers they would have been a fantastic activity. The obstacle course was thrilling enough and proved to be great fun for both Saoirse and Dad.
Today we finally got a chance to load up the bikes onto the car and took a spin to Dungarvan to see what all the excitement is about when it comes to the Deise Greenway which is a cycling route running from Dungarvan to Waterford City with parts still under development. The first stage is no open and we parked up the car in the town centre car park across from The Park Hotel and head off on our journey. This first leg is about 4 km long and with tiny legs pedalling to their hearts content it took us approx 1 hour before we reached Clonea Strand which was marvellous on a day like today. The kids took a break from cycling to play around the rock pools and soak up the seaside atmosphere before we enjoyed a picnic in sheltered parkland in front of the beach. Clonea Strand is kept in immaculate condition and has great facilities for day visitors so we will be returning in the finer weather. While they were very eager to get back on their bikes they did not want the cycle to come to an end and I was surprised that they cycled the distant home with such enthusiasm. The views from some parts of this leg are amazing with the Comeragh Mountains towering over you most of the way. The children got such a kick out of cycling with us and it is a great free activity to do together. There is an excellent playground at the carpark where we started and it must be one of the biggest I have seen to date so we got plenty of fun out of this. This is one of two large and well kept playgrounds in Dungarvan so there is plenty to keep kids busy if you are planning a day or overnight stay. The Park Hotel in Dungarvan often offer family packages and would be an excellent choice if you wished to spend a few days in the area. So after cycling 8 kms we loaded up the car again and headed for home with our lungs filled with fresh air, our bodies energised and our hearts happy after a fun, free family day out.
Family Break Packages from Around the Country
Maritime Hotel – Family Breaks
Kids can be kids at The Maritime Hotel Bantry in Bantry. Treat your Family to a Break in one of our Spacious Family Suites, giving you extra space and allowing Kids to be Kids. Includes Free Kids Club
Kids Club is available every week from the 7th of July to 22nd of Aug for ages 4 – 12.
10am – 3pm Tues – Sat and 6pm – 8pm Wed, Fri & Sat. Pre-booking essential
Treat your Family with our two night Family Activity Getaway
Enjoy two nights luxurious accommodation with full Irish breakfast each morning for all the family and the activity of your choice on one day.
Price from €249.00 per family.
Based on two adults & two children under 12.
Charlie Chums Kids club and kids movie evening during school holidays-all free of charge
Family pass to one of the following
-Fota Island Wildlife Park
-Lough Gur Heritage Centre
-Bunratty Castle and Folk Park
-King Johns Castle
Free use of leisure centre including 25m pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room and gym
Extra children stay for just €5 per night for bed and breakfast- campbeds and cots available
This fantastic Summer package includes two nights’ Accommodation for 2 adults and up to 3 children*, full Irish Breakfast each morning, Dinner on one evening in the Bistro. This package also includes a 10% discount card for Kildare Village, full access to our leisure centre and also 2 for the price of 1 access to the Irish National Stud Visitor Attraction Centre.
*Kids Club – Starts the 29th June, Mon to Fri, from 9.30am to 12 noon. Children from 4 to 11 years welcome – The Kids Club is Free for Hotel Guests!
*Supplement of €25 for children over the age of 12years
*This offer is available Sunday to Thursday inclusive
Here at the Inn at Dromoland we pride ourselves on being able to provide accommodation for all family types! We have family rooms to suit both small and large families & an endless array of activities to suit everyone. Our family guest rooms are equipped with your every convenience, as well as being airy and spacious bedrooms.
Please check at time of booking for the opening times of our Family Facilities. Rates start from €338 per Family (2 Adults and 2 Children) for 3 Nights Bed and Breakfast in a Family Room
with Dinner on one night and one complimentary pass per child
to the Play Inn – a 5000 square foot indoor play area.
Summer Kids shows available 6 nights a week from 20th of July
Clarion Hotel Limerick – Red Vikings Tour Family Package
Enjoy Summer family fun in Limerick City with our Red Vikings Tour Family Package.
Our Red Vikings Tour Package is great entertainment for the kids – and the big kids – yet educational and plenty of fun too! You can hop on and hop off as often as you like, while you enjoy the wonderful sites of Limerick City.
From only €138 for 2 adults & 2 children
This family offer includes:
Overnight family stay for 2 adults & 2 children in our spacious family rooms
Full Irish breakfast for all the family.
Family pass for the Red Vikings Limerick City Tour (up to 2 adults & 2 children)
Full access to SanoVitae Leisure Club & Pool
10% discount at Bellissimo Hair and Beauty (only 5 mins from the hotel)
Treacy Hotel Waterford – Family Summer Breaks
Make your Summer Holidays fun with a special 2 Night Bed & Breakfast Summer Break at Treacys Hotel Waterford with something for all the family.
Mini T’s kids club is available during the summer holidays with fun activities such as arts & crafts, cinema time, breakfast train & much more. Kids club is subject to demand.
This price is based on 2 adults and up to 2 children (up to 12 years of age) sharing a family room. Children age 13 – 15 are charged a supplement of €15 per child per night. A 3rd Child age 2 – 10 years is charged a supplement of €10 per child per night.
The Connacht Hotel – Galway
Summer Family 3-Night Break, 28th June-31st August (2 adults & 2 children)
Offer includes: 3-Night Stay in a Family Room for 2 adults and 2 children under 15, Sumptuous Full Irish Breakfast for all the family, Dinner on 2 evenings for the adults in Ruebens Restaurant or Bar Solo (children’s meals can be purchased seperately). Friendly Fellows kids club is also included.
Rate also includes Full use of Active Fitness Club with 20m Swimming Pool, Complimentary Car Parking and Wi-Fi.
Offer valid for stays Sun–Thursday from June 28th until the 31st August 2015. Not valid though July 26th–2nd August.
Newpark Hotel – Kilkenny
Summer Family Fun- 3 Nights B&B & 1 Dinner from €189pa
Enjoy a 3 night summer fun at the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny.
This package includes 3 nights bed and breakfast with dinner on 1 evening for 2 adults and 2 children. Adults can dine in Gulliver’s restaurant or Scott’s bar & brassiere on one night. Children’s dinner is high tea served in the kids club (Kids aged 4-12 years)
Children may also join in all the fun at our Newpark Summer Camp which runs daily from 10.00am-4.00pm with hot lunch included (Kids aged 4-12 years)
Please Note : Up to 2x children can share in room with 2 adults- an additional charge of €25 per day is applied for a 3rd child sharing. This Charge will be applied as an extra charge by the hotel in addition to your final amount on this reservation.
Mother spends over €65 on any one treatment and receives a €25 voucher for Escape Spa.
Choose on activity voucher from the following:
* “Art – It” at McDonagh Junction
* An afternoon with the Kilkenny Hurling Way
Additional Complimentary On-site Activities Include:
* Our Krazy Kats Kids Club – Open each evening from 7pm until 10.30pm (4-12 years)
* The Newpark Adventure Fen Trail
* The Newpark Adventure Playground
* The Newpark Mini Wildlife Farm
* Falconery Experience – Get up Close & Personal with Birds of Prey (selected days)
* Go Karting Track
* Indoor “Zone” Games Room
All Guests may enjoy complimentary use of our Escape Health Club with Thermal Suite & Outdoor Infinity Pool during their stay.
Voted No1 Family Hotel in all of Ireland on Viewers Choice Awards on Trip Advisor 2015 show less
Kenmare Bay Hotel-Reviews on Kenmare Bay Hotel
After a glorious drive into Kenmare we arrived at our destination, The Kenmare Bay Hotel located just at the edge of the town. The hotel has a number of different options to suits families of all shapes and sizes with family rooms to self catering and the self catering options to satisfy all budgets as there is everything from town houses to luxurious more secluded houses. We choose to stay in the hotel for our reviews on Kenmare Bay Hotel and the family rooms were a good size so it was a good start. The hotel facilities are excellent for families. They have everything from an outdoor playground to a play area in the restaurant. The kiddie’s corner in the restaurant was simply a play area with many toys, books etc for the children and caused so much excitement at meal times as our children would run down and look around the door to see if the table closest to the kiddie’s corner was free. It took so much hassle out of meal times as the children would run away and play once we had ordered and then again once they were done. It worked as great bribery to get them to eat up and then we could relax and enjoy a meal and a chat. It was the first relaxing meal out we have had in a long time. The staff here in the restaurant were also on the ball as without even asking they would suggest bringing out their meals as soon as they were ready and they were very approachable. While I could see the kiddies menu was designed with kids in mind from the fun names and games it had great healthy options to keep me happy and the portion sizes were even better.
There was an excellent kiddie’s pool and kiddies slide in the leisure centre and plenty of toys and arm bands were provided to keep the children entertained. The hardest part was getting them out. While the kids club was not operating during our visit, I took a peak at the brochure and the kid’s club room and it appeared to be all great fun.
The best part of all about the hotel was its proximity to town. While it was only a 2 minute drive to the town centre, there is a walking path from the hotel to the town which only takes 5 to 6 minutes and it is very safe if you have buggies or a few children in tow. The team at The Kenmare Bay Hotel were extremely welcoming to families and nothing was too much trouble. It was clear that they are very used to families as they were always one step ahead with any requests and they understood our needs.
Kenmare itself is a beautiful part of Ireland and I cannot stress this highly enough. It has an abundance of fantastic family friendly activities including Eclipse Ireland (an outdoor activity centre), Gleninchaquin Park to name just a few as well a gorgeous little town offering splendid dining options including Bella Vita Restaurant and much more. While I found it hard some what to put a family break together online for Kenmare once I got there I could not believe I had not discovered it before and all that was on offer. Discover this little gem before everyone else does. We hope you enjoyed our reviews on Kenmare bay Hotel and for more reviews visit our website, easypeazyfamilybreaks.com
Lyrath Estate Hotel
The Lyrath Estate Hotel….Well where do I start! Family friendly is not just extra beds in a room and a playroom on site but rather an ethos of not only welcoming but also providing for families and their needs to ensure they have an enjoyable and comfortable stay to remember.
Lyrath Estate has perfected this ethos and from the moment we arrived to our sad departure we were astonished with the service. The family room we stayed in was not only very spacious but offered us gorgeous views. Often I find once you unload the entire luggage required for a family there is not much more space left in a family room but this was certainly not the case here and this was just a standard family room for two adults and two kids.
We dined in the hotel more than once for our evening meal as the children’s menu was fabulous and offered some excellent healthy options. It was a welcome break from the normal chips and burgers our children are expect to eat over and over again! Again the service here was great and we did not feel that we were disturbing anyone or in the way just because we had children in tow. There was an option for the children to dine at the kid’s club high tea for only €8 but our jam packed schedule did not allow us to take advantage but you could certainly enjoy a romantic meal while the children are entertained for up to three hours in th evening. The kids club was so popular with my two that we had to delay our departure on the last day to get in one last session. The original house has been well restored and the reception rooms are still in use as well as a snooker room by over all over 16 so each evening it was nice to relax and soak up the atmosphere. If you really wanted to spoil yourself while they enjoyed kids club the Oasis spa were offering excellent packages while we were there.
The hotel was only minutes away from Kilkenny city by car but yet surrounded in the most beautiful countryside offering the best of both worlds. While Kilkenny city has an abundance of kids activities to enjoy there was so much to do on the estate it was hard to fit it all in but if you just wanted to relax and unwind with children in tow you could do just that. There is so much to do with walks, a playground, swimming pool, kids club and bikes on the resort that you could just sit back and enjoy a peaceful break. The playground is located in a picturesque spot just outside the bar conservatory so you can enjoy the surroundings while they play. There have a great little room called a console room and there are various computer consoles for children to enjoy while their parents take a seat on comfy arm chairs. We took one of the maps from reception for a walk on one of the mornings and the children had great fun following the directions and arrows as well as visiting the resident swans in the lake. Ireland’s only reptile zoo is a ten minute drive away and if you are after some shopping the McDonagh Junction Shopping centre is ten minutes in the other direction.
There seemed to be a lot of families also staying but some how there was not the usual chaos that follows, may be because they have the space, facilities and most of all they have discovered how to marry a beautiful five star hotel with the family market seamlessly. I cannot explain how friendly and welcoming the whole team were from the kids club to reception but just to give you one example, while we were strolling through the gorgeous gardens on one of our many rambles the gardener came out of his way to approach us because he was planting bulbs and invited the children to join him. Now that is what I call a family friendly hotel.
A thrilling day out at Waterpark Funtasia
Based in Drogheda, Ireland’s largest indoor family entertainment centre really does have it all. Only 20 minutes north of Dublin Airport on the M1, Funtasia specialises in adding the extra wow factor to all its attractions. Funtasia Waterpark is the newest addition to the Funtasia family business, boasting the first of its kind in Ireland, exhilarating indoor Waterpark pirates cove is 30,000 sq feet of water gushing fun. A giant pirates head dominates this unique Waterpark, filling up with over 500 litres of water, sporadically tipping over onto the unsuspecting crowd below.
With white knuckle speed slides for the adrenalin junkies, the pirate’s cove play area for the little ones a toddler area, lots of squirting spraying shooting cannons, a coffee dock, family Jacuzzi, gift shop and lots lots more. Water cascades everywhere and there are slides for kids and adults alike including 2 tube rides and activity centres. The Pirates Cove is heaps of fun with over 200 different water gushing activities including the amazing boomerang waterslide and the spectacular superbowl.
The adventurous will love Funtasia’s extraordinary aerial assault course, the Ultimate Sky Climb. In a safety harness some 15 meters above the ground they will have a ball and the really brave can finish off with a simulated parachute jump – if they dare!! Take a spin around Funtasia’s famous Rocking Rolling Disco Roller Skating arena or enjoy the craic to be had playing Caribbean Crazy Golf. The younger ones will love exploring Atlantis Funtasia’s multi level interactive play area where there are surprises around every corner.
From fairground rides and trips to outer space in the simulator movie theatres, to dining like a king in the Pharaoh’s restaurant, there is no end of fun to be had at Funtasia Waterpark and you can make huge savings by booking attractions online.
Admission starts at €11 per person for unlimited time.
Funtasia is located next to bettystown Beach which has always been a haven for the weary city dwellers of Dublin, many of whom spend summers in the caravan parks. A long established seaside resort with a fine, sandy stretch of beach from Laytown to the mouth of the Boyne at Mornington.
There is plenty for families to see and do around Drogheda and The D Hotel in Drogheda is an excellent family friendly hotel with amazing family deals often including admission to waterpark fantasia. Family fun is a priority at the d and they also offer a great range of family dining options in our Wm Cairnes gastropub daily and Nicks Restaurant on selected dates such as a family dinner from just 39.00 euros. (Get 2 Adult Main Courses + 2 Kids Mains & Desserts For Only €39). There are a large number of family rooms available at the d. So check out https://www.easypeazyfamilybreaks.com/item/the-d-hotel/ for more information.
The Towers Lismore
On Sunday last we took a spin towards West Waterford and visited the picturesque town of Lismore with its fairytale castle overlooking the river. Just about 3 miles outside the town is a magical woodland know as “The Towers” due to the imposing gothic style gate lodges built in 1850 by Arthur Kiely Usher to impress a very demanding wife who wished to live in a large house, situated within the woods.
The cost of building the elaborate Gothic entrance proved so great that the house was never built. The extravagant gates were the only part of the castle to be built as money ran out soon after their completion.
The children had great fun collecting concors, acorns and many other treasures that came across their path and with autumn in full swing the trail offered a mighty bounty. It always amazes how much my children love throwing on a pair of welies to run through the woods while kicking the leaves in their path. It costs absolutely nothing and is such a fun day out for us all.
Once the first gate lodge came into site the children had great fun running in and out playing in it’s castle like grounds and by the time we reached the second gate lodge on the large gothic style bridge we were taken with their beauty against the picturesque backdrop of the waterfall. There was nothing for it at this stage but to climb up to the waterfall and look back at the view.
Once we had finished exploring we took a seat on one of the many picnic benches at the start of the trail and enjoyed some hot chocolate, sandwiches and the all time favourites “Queen Cakes”. The loop is just the perfect length for children young and old and there is plenty to see along the way so they walk further than they realise. I did not once hear the dreaded words “I am tired” or “bored” and I say if it was not too late they would have walked around again.
Before we left Lismore we had to spend a half an hour in the gorgeous playground just outside the castle gates. It is a great playground and kept in lovely condition. So we were pretty tired travelling home. Thomas thought it was the best day ever so we will do that again before the winter is over!
The Castleknock Hotel and County Club for Families
As the summer draws to a close we made a last minute dash to the capital to enjoy a family break before the mayhem that September brings with lunches, school runs and homework and we were not disappointed with all Dublin had to offer including the our hotel, Castleknock Hotel and Country Club.
Castleknock Hotel is offering a fantastic family package at the moment called 54321 and it is available from a one to five nights stay. The offer includes a variety of extras and prices start from just €139 per family for a 1 night stay & up to €599 for a 5 night stay. Adult’s full Irish breakfast is included, as is breakfast for children under 8 years however Children over 8 years are booked on a room only basis. Some of the extras include family passes to Dublin Zoo or Spa Treatments at Tonic Health & Day Spa which is located in the hotel.
We found the location of the hotel excellent especially as we are not too familiar with Dublin and their roads. We were only 5 minutes from Dublin Zoo and 15 minutes from TaytoPark and it was a direct and easy route to follow. We also went to Imaginosity and Dundrum which were again very accessible as the hotel is just off the M50. I think this is one of the most important factors of a hotel as you do not want to be getting lost and stressed on your break away and the least amount of time spent in the car the better when you are going on a fun day out.
The hotel was extremely family friendly and I loved the pool. It was the first time I saw a baby pool and pool for older children with the main pool. This is a great idea as my while my children are not old enough to play around in the larger pool on their own but find the baby pool too boring they had a lot more freedom in the kiddies pool. The pool times for children were also very reasonable with children being allowed in until 6pm in the evening. I also loved the kiddies menu in the restaurant as it offered good food options and was a very enjoyable experience for both us and the kids. There was a playground just outside the patio area of the main bar area offering us the perfect opportunity to finish our glass of wine after our meal and watch the evening draw to a close.
The rooms were a good size and my two are under 8 years old so they shared a pull out sofa bed which was a queen size. They had ample room and it was great to fold it away by day and have a good size seating area during the day time to enjoy. For larger families they have interconnecting rooms with a supplement charge of €70.00 which I felt was very reasonable for what you get. If you are looking for a break in the Capital over the next few months, check out the Castleknock Hotel and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.