Killarney as a base to explore the world famous Co. Kerry!!
As a big fan of the mobile home holidays, this year we choose to stay in Beech Groove Caravan Park so we could explore probably our most famous county, Kerry!! Killarney is a fantastic base for exploring Kerry as it is in easy reach of most of the major towns and tourist hotspots of Kerry. There are many Family Fun Things to do in Killarney and we wanted to check these out!!
Family Accommodation in Killarney
Beech Groove Caravan Park is situated in Fossa which is just a few short miles outside Killarney and on the main road to Killorglin and Dingle. It has fantastic views of the Mc Gilly Cuddy Reeks and is a quiet haven to the hustle and bustle of Killarney town.
It is easy to know that Beech Groove Caravan Park is a family-run caravan as you will regularly meet Joan, Tony and their family as they ensure the caravan park is well run and everyone is happy. They cater for touring caravans, dorm mobiles, motor homes and tents. We stayed in one of the 8 static luxury mobile homes for hire.
Our mobile home had three bedrooms, two with two singles and one double. There was a separate shower and toilet as well as a large open plan kitchen, dining and sitting area. It was very bright and most importantly spotless clean. Often I would give the mobile home a quick clean before we unpack but on this occasion I was pleasantly impressed as there was not a speck of dust in site! The mobile homes were not only modern but well-kept and what I loved the most is they offered plenty in the way of storage for all our paraphernalia.
Next door our friends stayed in another mobile home which was slightly bigger but with a similar layout. We had all we needed for cooking and in the larger mobile home there was a separate fridge and freezer, perfect for this type of holiday as we came armed with some dinners we made at home so we reduced our workload while away! Most evenings we were enticed to eat outdoors as we were provided with outside table and chairs and even though it was not the warmest part of our summer the holiday feel onsite would encourage you outdoors! Just to note though that bed linen is not always provided but can be at an extra charge.
Facilities at Beech Grove Caravan Park
The park has all the usual facilities such as a Shower/Toilet block, large camper’s kitchen with kettle, toaster, microwave, fridge/freezer etc. and finally a shop next door to the TV Room with a pool table and other games also. Wi-Fi is free onsite and there are plenty of barbeques as well as outdoor table and chairs to enjoy. There was a small playground in front of the camping area and next door to the kitchen.
The Park is a 10 min drive from Killarney town center. If you wanted to walk, there is a beautiful walk through the Fossa way, which links with the National Park. A five minute walk from the park is a pub and restaurant while just next door on the other side is a new public playground with a mini gym for adults.
It’s best feature by far was the view and if you were camping I would suggest requesting a spot on the upper level which is more private but the views are gorgeous! To find out more about Beechgrove Caravan Park Click Here!
Family Fun Things to do in Killarney and Surrounds
Killarney is famous as a tourist hotspot for a reason, there is an abundance of fun to be had at every turn. We visited some of the many Family Fun Things to do in Killarney and around the area to discover our favourite family attractions.
This was our first visit to Kennedy’s Pet Farm even though I had passed their sign on the Cork road many times. Kennedy’s Farm stands out from all the others in that when you first enter you are greeted by the local resident committee made up of calves, sheep and goats rambling around and beware they are not shy about checking your hands for any treats you may have picked up for them at the gate. All the children loved this and proceeded to play and cuddle these very friendly animals. However, Lonán, as a toddler, was mesmerised and if she had got her way we would have spent the whole day here and ventured no further.
There is very little farm machinery but plenty of animals to pet including cuddly kittens, puppies and rabbits. For us fairy fans the fairy walk through the wood was a treat and the outdoor play area has something for every age and child with plenty of seating for us to enjoy the views while they play. However, the indoor areas were superb especially for a wet day. There was an indoor wooden maze with play areas to discover as well as an indoor sand pit area which is another word for paradise for our children so we had to beg, drag and bribe them out of here. There were plenty of showers that day so this place is perfect for a wet day also. They even brought some pets indoors for petting when it rained! To find out more about Kennedy’s Pet Farm Click Here!
Just make sure you bring a packed lunch and plenty of snacks as we got caught out here and we could have stayed the whole day if we had more food. There is a coffee shop onsite but it only offers light snacks and beverages. The charge is €8 each for adults and children with a family ticket (2 adults & 3 Children) costing €35 and under 2’s are free.
Next on our list is The Playdium in Tralee as it rained for few days we were there and this was another excellent thing to do on a rainy day. This was my second time at the Playdium play centre in Tralee and I was looking forward to returning. One of the first things that will strike you is the cleanliness of this place and at all times you will see someone cleaning! The staff are very helpful and even took time to play with Lonán on a number of occasions in the baby play area. If you arrive in flip flops like us they have a variety of socks in all colours and sizes for just €1. While this play centre is here for quite a number of years it is as fresh and modern as the day they opened. It is easy to see that one of the owners are on site at all times, paying great attention to detail. A child’s entry costs €8. The playdium is located is a large retail park which is also home to Debenhams, Next and many more house hold names if you want to get some shopping in too!
Tralee was approx. 30 mins from our campsite so we also paid a visit to The Aqua Dome. You would want to give yourself a full day here and if the swimming pool with all the slides and play areas was not enough they have now added Aqua Golf outside. So the aqua dome is much more than your typical swimming pool as it boosts a lazy river, high fume slide, river rapids, waves, outdoor falling rapids, toddler slides and general play areas with a pirate theme. For lunch we just wrapped some towels around the kids and popped into the coffee shop before we went back to it. They loved it so much they stayed until they were too exhausted to do any more so I would definitely recommend a day here.
Adult day passes are €16 while children are €13 and under than 2 are free. Family Tickets start at €52.20 for 2 adults and 2 children but what I loved the most is that they offer weekly passes for those holidaying in the area and can tailor a pass depending on the length of the stay. This is perfect if you are camping locally and wanted a daily swim. The weekly family pass was €150 and I am sure you would get your money’s worth.
The Aqua Golf is beautifully landscaped with water features, a cave, fountains, ponds full of leaping trout and a 40 foot high water fountain. It is a very new feature with a very modern look and feel and offers a good challenge for those families that like a bit of competition. A family ticket will set you back €15.00.
Cragg Cavewas the biggest surprise of the week. Only 30 mins drive from our caravan park and in the Castleisland direction. Cragg Cave is one of those hidden gems that I love to discover. Cragg Cave is not only a 1 million years old cave wonderland of stalagmites and stalactites but it is also home to a large fun filled play centre with separate toddlers play area, a climbing wall and rodeo bull ride. It has a gorgeous gift shop and the restaurants draws locals as well as the tourist from far and wide. You can get a combined ticket to both the play centre and cave for just €11 a child and this also includes the climbing wall and rodeo bull when they are open. However, Cragg cave also offer a holiday membership from €30 for three months over April, May and June if you were staying again for a length of time in the area.
What made the cave visit so unique is that is very much geared towards the young audience and our guide had amazing patience to answer the avalanche of questions she was asked (sometimes twice) throughout the tour. But to top it all off when we emerged out of the cave at the end of the tour she offered the children some “samples of bone fragments, gem stones, diamonds and rock that had been discovered in the cave” from her pocket to take home and they were not only thrilled but amazed……. Needless to say this selection process went on for as long as the tour!!!!
Back inside we were hard pushed to fit in the rodeo bull, climbing wall, back to the play centre and all before we even enjoyed the outdoor play ground. Believe me there is another full day here so come early and bring a book to enjoy!! Click here to find out about Crag Cave!
Not many people know about our next find, The Kerry Bog Village Museum just a 25 mins drive from our caravan park beyond the town of Killorglin. An adult ticket is €6.50 while children are €4.00. The village is made up of a selection of period thatched cottages, fully furnished with authentic antiques, complete with sound effects and figurines. Outdoors, there were displays of rural farm equipment, used by turf cutters and farmers of the time period. Thomas had great fun trying to guess what they were.
The village is also home to some friendly Kerry bog ponies and two large but very friendly Irish wolf hounds. I would suggest you bring a picnic as it is small and compact so you could take a seat and enjoy a picnic while the children wander and explore at their own pace for an hour or two. There is a very well-known pub with excellent bar food next door, The Red Fox Inn if you want something more substantial.
Killarney’s National Park is famous the world over and the best way for families to enjoy it I think is by bike. You can join the bike trail just about 400 yards from the caravan park and the first stop would have to be the Knockreer Playground or the little tea rooms not too far from this before heading down to Ross Castle 3 km from the tea-rooms. The children will not notice the km go by as they will be distracted by the many jaunting cars on the route along with the spectacular surroundings. There is a charge to enter the castle itself but I think a cycle around is plenty for the kids!
We also discovered a little hidden gem in The Blue Pool Walk that is left just after The Blue Pool Art Gallery on the road to Muckross House, apporx 10 mins drive from Killarney. It is a gentle loop walk for children that takes around an hour and the main attraction is the most unusual blue pool of water surrounded in the most magnificent array of trees and scenery. It is very easy to miss from the road so look out for Cloghereen Woods and you are in the right spot just after The Muckross Park Hotel.
Knockreer Playground is a 6 minute drive from Beechgrove Caravan Park on the road into Killarney and is one of my firm favourites as playgrounds go for many years. It is situated in to lush surroundings of the national park and has plenty to offer in the way of fun from climbing frames to little wooden trains! For more information on Knockreer Playground Click Here!
Beech Groove Caravan Park is beside the main road to Killorglin and some of the mobile homes are situated along the front by the road which can be noisy at night. If you have children that need peace and quiet to sleep or may make a dash to hop the wall for the main road I would suggest that you book one of the mobile homes higher up the park and away from the road.
We head off for a week with friends every year so we can catch up, the kids are occupied and we have company in the evenings as our other halves often head to work mid-week. It is very relaxing staying in a caravan park as the kids will play together on the bikes, trot up and down to the playground and explore more freely than at home. As you know once they are happy, we are happy and can relax. The mobile home is even easier to manage especially if we are on our own mid-week. The location of the campsite was great with the national park and local playground on its doorstep as well while Killarney and many of the attractions were easy and quick to access. Killarney surprised with all there was to do for families and we even had plenty of choice on the wet days!
What the Kids said about Killarney
The highlight for the kids was the playground next door to the caravan park and our day at The Dome in Tralee; they certainly feel they did not have enough time here!!
Family Christmas Gift Ideas
Is anyone else in the trying to free up more space around the house to accommodate the oncoming avalanche of toys due to hit shortly?
This year why not ask your family and friends to club together for an annual pass to one of your special places that the whole family will enjoy all year long or that you can visit more than one place over a year and go on many family outings…….. Here are some of my favourite family gift ideas!
Membership Shannon Heritage
Shannon Heritage manages some of the most popular visitor attractions in the country. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to visit these over and over and still save money? The Shannon Heritage Annual Membership Programme gives you this option.
Free admission & parking at all Shannon Heritage Visitor Attractions for 1 calendar year from the date of purchase. (Attractions are Bunratty Castle & Folk Park, Craggaunowen, King John’s Castle, Dunguaire Castle and Malahide Castle & Gardens).
10% discount on all purchases at Shannon Heritage Tearooms, Retail Shops including Shannon Heritage gift shop at the Cliffs of Moher and Gift Voucher sales.
Family Membership – €125.00 (includes free admission for 2 adults and up to 4 children)
Family Membership – €140.00 (includes free admission for 2 adults and up to 6 children)
The Heritage Card provides for free admission to all fee-paying State managed OPW Heritage Sites located throughout the country for one year from the date of first use (with the exception of Muckross Traditional Farms, Killarney).
Having the card allows you to visit places like Bru-na-Boinne on separate days so you can explore Newgrange on one day and Knowth on another, ensuring the kids don’t burn out, and enabling everyone to take in more because of the slower pace. As young kids can sometimes hit the point of no-return without much warning, the card enables families to leave when they need to, without parents feeling that they have to stay longer as they’ve already paid for the tickets. Leave the site, do something different, feed the kids, and return later that day or the next for no extra cost.
Family €60.00 (Max. 2 adults & a reasonable number of children under 18 years)
At certain locations, parking facilities and ancillary services are provided by other bodies or agencies.
Other sites include Castletown House, Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin Castle, Kilkenny Castle, Clonmacnoise, Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mhóir (The Blasket Centre) and Muckross House.
The quickest and most convenient way to purchase an OPW Heritage Card is to buy it at the first OPW fee-paying site you visit (click on this link for a list of our fee paying Sites List of Fee Paying Sites .
3. Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo in the Phoenix Park is Ireland’s Number 1 Family Attraction s and one of the very best places for a family day out, combining fun with some learning about the world we live in. Kids of all ages will love the huge range of animals on view – from the City Farm to the African Plains. Allows free admission to Dublin Zoo for one year. Dublin Zoo annual pass holders are also admitted free to Fota Wildlife Park (Cork), as well as Chester Zoo, Edinburgh Zoo and Paignton Zoo in the UK!
Fota Wildlife Park in Cork is a special zoo and Ireland’s premier wildlife attraction. In Fota Wildlife Park wherever possible they have chosen animals, which thrive in a free-range environment are allows to roam free, while mixed with other species and with us human visitors!
1 Adult + 2 Children from €120.00
Consevration Membership – Member + 2 adults + 2 kids from €180.00
Free Admission to Dublin Zoo
One visit per year to Edinburgh Zoo, Highlands Wildlife Park and Belfast Zoo (card & receipt must be produced)
Admission concession to (as of date of print): Paignton Zoo, Newquay Zoo, and Living Coasts (card & receipt must be produced)
The Donkey Sanctuary is set in the beautiful rolling countryside of County Cork just outside the village of Liscarroll in Ireland.Over 5,200 donkeys from all parts of Ireland have been taken into our care here in Ireland since The Donkey Sanctuary in Ireland was set up. Many donkeys have been abandoned or put in a field and given little or no attention after having worked for their owners for years, hauling peat or pulling a cart. Great care is given to ensuring that each donkey has individual attention.
Adopt a donkey for a year as the perfect Christmas gift and go visit him/her when you can!
Your adoption of €25 will last 1 year. By adopting one of these nine donkeys, you will be helping us in our work of improving the lives of countless donkeys throughout Ireland.An official certificate
A pencil drawing
A bio sheet
A twice yearly report
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.
Family Fun in Co. Clare
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.
Music for Families in Co. Clare
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.
Places to Stay in Co. 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.
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!
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!
The Giant’s Causeway and the Causeway Coast
Inspired by the enchanting folklore and tales of natural beauty, The Giant’s Causeway was one of the reasons why we decided to visit Northern Ireland. Saoirse had learnt about it in school this year and had relayed all to Thomas so when we mentioned The Giant’s causeway their imaginations went into overdrive!
Just about 10 minutes from Carrick-On – Rede Rope Bridge is The Giant’s Causeway, renowned for its polygonal columns of layered basalt, it is the only World Heritage Site in N Ireland. We took a guided tour which to approx 30 minutes from the centre to the stones while we listened to a very friendly and most interesting guide.
Unfortunately it began to rain when we were out on the stones but luckily they have a bus service constantly running from the centre to the stones and back again so we hoped on this. This is a great service also it you have young kids who after the walk and exploring the various paths of interest may be too tired for the walk back to the centre. The Giant’s Causeway is made up of 3 promontories – the Little Causeway (1st feature the walker meets), the Middle Causeway (better known as the ‘Honeycomb’) – which has spectacularly precise hexagonal features, followed by the The Grand Causeway. In this immediate area, evocative place names & features abound – Wishing Chair, Wishing Well & Giant’s Gate (all connected with Finn MacCool folklore).
The visitor centre is an attraction in itself with exhibits of the various times of history associated with the site that was mentioned on our guided tour and you would want to give your self a good 45 minutes to explore around here. I was very impressed with the café as the children’s options were delicious and very very reasonable. Our lot had Irish stew with brown bread. There were microwave facilities for heating up baby dinners and bottle warmers. It is a very busy attraction and I would recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to explore even allowing yourself three to four hours so you are not rushed. A family pass will set you back £22.00.
From here we took the Causeway Route to Belfast and this is definitely one of the most scenic routes in Europe. Many people had recommended this route even though it is longer than the main road to Belfast (1.5 hours). The journey took us approx 2.5 hours through pretty villages, along amazing coastlines and over rugged countryside and if I was doing it again I would take the same route as it was most enjoyable and perfect for a game of eye spy!
It does not feel that long and we were surprised when we got to our destination. There are plenty of places on route that you can stop if you want to play in the local playground or for a brief walk along the beach or just to get back onto the main Belfast road.
If you are travelling this way why not tie in a visit to The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum and eexplore thatched cottages, farms, schools and shops as you experience life from over 100 years ago. Chat to costumed visitor guides as they demonstrate traditional crafts and meet farm animals in the beautiful parkland of the Folk Museum. Then step aboard majestic steam locomotives and explore horse drawn carriages, electric trams, boats, motorbikes, fire-engines and vintage cars in the Transport Museum. A museum of international renown, The Ulster Folk & Transport Museum is regarded as being amongst the best of its kind in the world.
As you travel into Belfast from this side you will also see signs for Belfast Zoo which is home to more than 140 species of animal, many of which are in danger in their natural habitat. Belfast Zoo is now one of the leading visitor attractions in Northern Ireland attracting around 250,000 visitors a year. Popular attractions include the Asian elephants, giraffes, sea lions and apes.
A Stroll in Glenichaquin Park
Now while we only came across Gleninchaquin Park by chance it was a fantastic gem to discover. Located about 15 minutes from Kenmare, Gleninchaquin Park is a privately owned farm situated on 1300 acres of Ireland’s most beautiful landscape.
I cannot believe that someone gets to call this home. You arrive at a small carpark to be greeted by the owners who will give you a brief introduction to the area and advise you on the various walkways that have been meticulously carved out to offer the most authentic countryside ramble and all against an amazing backdrop of mountains and waterfalls.
The walkways will bring you through open fields with sheep to keep you company, over styes, through magical forestry, across gorgeously carved bridges, passing abandoned ruins, up the mountain and quite close to many of the waterfalls including the largest one it is famous for.
It is well worth your while to make a day of this and bring a picnic as there is an abundance of the most amazing picnic spots to choose from. The children thoroughly enjoyed running through little streams, over stepping stones and the little footbridges that were delicately placed making for a most enchanting natural playground.
Best of all it is very safe for families and offers routes for all levels of walkers to enjoy. If the walkways are not enough you will certainly be mesmerised by the beauty of the park.
Gus O’Connor’s Pub Doolin
I was introduced to Gus O’Connors at the age of twelve by my father while holidaying in Clare for The Willie Clancy Week and I must say I never forgot the experience. I was delighted to introduce my children to the atmosphere of a proper traditional Irish music pub last summer when in Doolin.
Gus O’Connors is a spacious and open bar with all the nooks and crannies of a traditional Irish pub. It is bright and airy and the atmosphere is electric. The music will start early on the day so if you wish to pop in for lunch or dinner there is no difference. It is not only the most popular places to eat in Doolin area but also offers the best in Irish cuisine and a truly authentic experience.
The children were thoroughly entertained by the session played out in front of them and don’t worry it is by no means messy or rowdy. The traditional Irish cuisine is only delicious. The staff were extremely helpful and always on hand even with though it was busy.
The kiddies options are excellent and I would recommend you try the fish while here. We had no need for tablets or colouring books as the talented musicians provided not only a welcome distraction but also enjoyable entertainment. Make sure you arrive early or ring ahead as this place is always busy and it is nice to get a seat around the musicians. You can’t bring them to this part of the world without taking in our wonderful culture!
The Radissson Blu Spa & Hotel, Limerick
When we think of family breaks Limerick City is not often the first to come to mind but I can tell you this city is a hidden gem and only waiting for you to explore! Limerick is also a very accessible county from many parts of the country which makes it even better for any parents travelling with a brood.
On our visit we stayed at The Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel on the Ennis Road and I must say it boasts the best location for a hotel in these parts as it sits right on the border of Limerick and Clare offering its guests the best from each county. Limerick city is only about a 10 to 15 min drive away while Co. Clare is only a couple of steps. There is sooo much to do in every direction that you just will not have time to sample it all unless you check in for two weeks at least.
Bunratty castle sits almost on it’s doorstep while if you would like to make a trip to the seaside the beautiful beach of Lahinch is only a mere 35 minute drive away. While there is an excellent playground on the hotel grounds (very conveniently located in front of the outside seating of the hotel bar) you would have to pay a visit to the very famous Cratloe Woods with it’s beautiful natural playground as this is only minutes from the hotel and you would certainly knock of a day here for free with its many walking trails.
As you walk though the trails, you will discover more play adventures along the track which keep the children interested throughout the walk. But if you don’t want to roam to far as I said there is an excellent playground in the hotel grounds, in fact one of the best I have come across as far as hotel playgrounds go! The hotel also sits on 20 acres of verdant parkland and there are walking or running trails to enjoy depending on how much of a break you really want…..
Limerick City itself offers an abundance of family activities to enjoy so give yourself plenty of time to fit it all in. We started our day in The Milk Market which opens Friday to Sundays. There is an electric atmosphere here and the perfect place for a snack or spot of lunch as there is an open mezzanine floor where you can savour the delights of your purchases while people spotting below.
This is a must for children of all ages as it exposes them to the sounds, smells and delights of the traditional markets.
Next we took a carriage tour with Limerick Carriage Tours through the streets of Limerick which was very enlightening bringing us to our next destination, King John’s Castle. I was only sorry I did not know about the the night tours before we arrived as viewing the city by night is meant to be amazing. The Medieval and Georgian tour interests me also. Limerick City is due to receive The Purple Flag award in the near future which is the international accreditation for town centres in the evening and at night from 5pm to 5am. Like a Blue Flag, centres that achieve the required standards of 30 criteria can fly the flag. Purple Flag destinations distinguish themselves by being Vibrant, safe and Well-Managed. King’s John Castle is located in the heart of the city and a family would want to give themselves a few hours here. This is a must for any enjoying family breaks Limerick. There is a visitor centre bringing to life over 800 years of dramatic local history with state of the art interpretive activities, exhibitions, 21st century touch screen technology, 3 D models and discovery drawers which are many of the exciting techniques used to connect children to the tales of siege and warfare. Children will love the dazzling array of computer generated animations and ghostly projections as they travel back through time. The Education and Activity Room is bustling with tasks to stimulate curious minds. Once you have finished this section you will arrive in the busy castle courtyard, to discover a medieval campaign tent, a blacksmiths forge and scenes from a seventeenth century siege. The sights, scenes and sounds of King John’s Castle and its environs all combine to recreate the atmosphere of the era. You can then climb the windy castle stairs to the highest turrets of the castle and enjoy the views across Limerick city and the sacred Thomand Park! While there are many picnic tables dotted around the castle courtyard, the cafe offers some refreshing and tasting options in the glass atrium overlooking this space.
For the more adventurous of you Get West do kayaking on the river Shannon through this amazing city and brings you along the front of the imposing King John’s Castle. You would need to book this activity in advance. No trip to Limerick would be complete without a visit to Thomand Park to enjoy a guided tour, experience the history of Munster Rugby through visual aids & images and test your skills in the interactive game zone. My husband treated this like a pilgrimage to pay homage to the mightly one!!!! I don’t know would I command as much respect as this sacred ground! It is a very easy city to get around and good for shopping if you get a free moment or two. Now after all that fun in Limerick we were delighted to retreat back to the hotel. The Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel have made it their business to become a haven for families in search of a fun and relaxed family break. Not only do they have the large open spaces and playground outdoors there are also kids activities laid on for the kids in doors. During the peak holiday season a marquee is even erected to accommodate the families that come in their droves time and time again. Now don’t worry it is no Butlins but they have the room to accommodate families alongside other residents with great ease retaining the four star atmosphere.
On the Saturday night when we returned The Global Explorers was running from 5-9 and the children made their own pizzas for their dinner and after dinner had great fun water zorbing in the hotel pool. To be honest I could have been swayed to give up a quite romantic meal for this myself as it looked like enormous fun. The kids club is available both day and evening while the demand requires and not just in peak season. Now not many hotels can offer this so you don’t have to wait till the holidays to enjoy all this hotel has to offer us families. 5-9 is a perfect time for the kids evening activities as once you have dropped off the kids there is plenty of time to get dressed at your leisure, fit in a pre-dinner drink or as we did a cocktail at the cocktail bar before relaxing in the restaurant to enjoy the gourmet delights of the locally sourced cuisine.
We enjoyed the steak which was purchased in O’Connell’s Butchers in Limerick City which is an attraction in itself as we have popped in while walking around the city earlier that day and it is truly a traditional butchers offering a traditional service. It was one of the best steaks we have had to date. The previous night we dined in the bar and not only was it very relaxed but the staff were extremely helpful. There was a wide choice on the menu and plenty to suit all requirements.
There is a small but perfectly formed pool however there are scheduled children’s times so check these out before you head down. There is great availability in these times so don’t worry. Make sure you take advantage of the kids club hours and book into The Rain Spa, it is well worth a visit. The outdoor hot tub, fabulous thermal suite and warm relaxation rooms will refresh you alone. We brought a book and totally rejuvenated both our bodies and mind. I enjoyed the Soothing Hot Toddy Body’ which included a full body buff with lime and lemongrass body salt scrub and a warming cedarwood and frankincense back, neck and shoulder massage followed by a hot toddy drink while unwinding in the relaxation area. Now I am all for spending time and catching up as a family when we are away with the kids but I truly believe in taking a few hours out to yourself to read a book and indulge in the spa making for a relaxed mommy and daddy and thus more quality family time when you catch up afterwards!
The Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel in Limerick can cater for families of all shapes and sizes as it offers an excellent standard in family accommodation and the reception team are very welcoming and accommodating to all your needs. Dining is not a battle either as the standard and choices for the children were excellent. At certain times of the year, kids came make their own smoothies for breakfast which I am sure would be a cause for great excitement! We enjoyed dining at the hotel throughout as it was exceptionally delicious from breakfast through to dinner.
What I loved the most about the Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel in Limerick is that it allowed us to indulge in four star luxury in at relaxed atmosphere with the kids in tow. You are in the centre of so many different types of activities so the daily car trips are short and if you just want to chill the hotel is the perfect spot to do this. While they make a tremendous effort to provide the ultimate family experience they still can combine this with four star luxury, what more can you ask for!
Family Breaks Limerick
The Radisson Blu Spa & Hotel in Limerick are currently running a special offer for the midterm and if you have not booked anywhere yet make sure you check this out, as I love that kids eat dinner for free while dining with parents:
FEBRUARY MIDTERM GETAWAYS
Enjoy a family break at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick. Reconnect, relax and have fun with a 2-night stay in our Deluxe Family Rooms.
THIS OFFER INCLUDES:
Accommodation for 2 nights in a Deluxe Family Room (2 adults and 2 children)
Super Breakfast Buffet each morning
Complimentary access to Global Explorers Kids Club
3-course dinner in Porters Restaurant on 1 evening of choice
Children 12 and under eat dinner free from the children’s menu when accompanied by at least 1 parent paying full price for at least 1 main course
Kids stay and eat free at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick, a beautiful, refurbished, family-friendly 4-star hotel. Relax with a spa and leisure centre with landscaped gardens, a playground and lots of children’s activities. Located on Ennis Road, the hotel lies a stone’s throw away from all the fun-filled attractions the region has to offer. To help you make the most of your stay, we provide a list of discounted family day passes for many nearby attractions, so you can find an activity to suit everyone in your family. We particularly recommend:
The kids can enjoy complimentary access to Global Explorers Kids Club at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick. Activities are from 17:00 to 21:00 and are suitable for children ages 4-12 (February Midterm activities schedule to be confirmed).
On-site activities include:
Track and Trail
Make Your Own Pizza
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Booking start date: 1 Jan 2017
Booking end date: 22 Feb 2017
Offer is available for stays from 17-26 Feb 2017.
Package includes VAT and is valid for 2 adults and 2 children sharing a family room for 2 nights’ accommodation.
This package is available both midweek and weekends, subject to availability.
Additional nights can be reserved on request, subject to availability.