Lucky for us we live only a half an hour from Trabolgan and so we can make regular day trips with the kids. Trabolgan was one of my own favourite spots as a kid and I love to watch the kid’s excitement when we head down there now. Trabolgan day passes are great value as you get a full day of fun so get down early and plan it out beforehand!
Trabolgan Holiday Village is located on over 140 acres of woodland beside the sea, 30 mins from Cork city and operates as a holiday camp or day visitor attraction.
Family Things to Do at Trabolgan
We normally start at the playground so kids can have a run around and I a coffee. One word of advice take a good look at the activities timetable for the day at this stage as there may be shows that you want to see and some of the activities have specific time slots. I prefer to organise our swimming around the shows as the kids will be starving after swimming and you can get lunch into them while watching a show.
There is a glass roof over the main outdoor area and the main stage is under this so if you get a fine day like we did last week it is was perfect to sit outside and relax while actually enjoying a picnic while being entertained.
Our next port of call is normally the swimming pool and with the waves and slide we normally pass away an hour or two here. The water was actually quite warm last week and I was pleasantly surprised with the renovations in this area. There is new flooring running throughout the changing area and a new seated area for those who wishing to sit this one out.
After our picnics we head back to the playground for a walk out towards the water area. However, last week I stumbled across the duck pond which has been developed into a nature area. It is a gorgeous spot to sit with a prompt board to encourage children to search the surroundings for little titbits of nature. I am glad to see Trabolgan making use of their gorgeous natural setting more.
The sports centre houses a jungle gym (admission included in the day pass) and a coffee shop for more hours of fun and it is here you can buy tickets to any of the TAS activities. You can also use your day pass for these instead of the swimming pool but to be honest we would not do these everytime as there is so much without having to include them.
Places to Eat in Trabolgan
At this stage we would head back down for another show as they are normally getting quite tired. A great way to end the day is Sally O’Hara’s Restaurant in the main square so I don’t have to cook when we get home and I know they will be starving after going all day so they will eat a belly full. Along with the main menu a carvery is available which is brilliant for the kids. There is a family special at the moment of €45 for two adults and two kids. I have never been disappointed with the food here and they have excellent coeliac choices. The staff are extremely friendly and always so accommodating.
Other dining options are Costa Coffee for a quick snack or Big Als@Casey’s Fast Food so there is something for everyone!
I am delighted with the renovations they are doing every year but I hope they might add new shower cubicles some time soon as I am not too fond with the open showers!
At the moment the Trabolgan day passes are €12 per person/ €50 for a family pass which is outstanding value as you can have one of the main activities which are swimming, crazy golf, birds of prey, TAS (Trabolgan Adventure Sports). Follow Trabolgan on facebook and keep an eye on their website as there are always doing offers on Trabolgan day passes. Click here for more.
What the Kids Said about Trabolgan
“Next time we go we are staying so we can do more stuff”
We always associate really good holiday parks that include onsite family activities with the continent and it always surprises me that many Irish people do not realise that we have a couple a great family holiday parks in Ireland to enjoy so as to avoid the hassle and not to mention the expense of travelling abroad with the brood.
We discovered Rockhill Holiday Park last summer which is located in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal and one of the best holiday parks in Ireland. Now I know too many that the idea of trekking all the way up to the North of the country is a journey but to be honest it is a gorgeous part of the country and well worth a visit. Also, it can act as a great base to make day trips into Northern Ireland and all children should experience this amazing part of our country at least once.
We made a three day trip to Norther Ireland before our week in and journeyed along the Causeway route which is once of the most spectacular driving routes in the world. Donegal is not a huge county and Letterkenny is very well positioned that you can explore this county on day trips from here.
Rockhill Holiday Park is perched on the edge of a large lake and overlooked by mountains and gorgeous countryside, which is one of the great advantages of holiday parks in Ireland. It comprises of both wooden log cabins (similar to chalets you will find on the continent) and mobile homes. I love mobile homes for family breaks as they are small and neat yet perfectly sized for all your needs which mean we moms do not spend all our time cleaning, just 10 minutes morning and evening and you are done! The children adore mobile homes because they are cosy and remind them of little playhouses. Each mobile home had a decking and seating area outside for your al fresco dining!! The log cabins are that bit more spacious and more luxurious also offering hot tubs on their decking area so if you really wanted to indulge these would be the ones for you. We noticed that often two families or a family with grandparents were sharing a log cabin as they are very spacious and can sleep up to 10 in many cases.
The site itself was extremely clean and even though it was very family orientated it was a nice quite spot to relax in. There was an abundance of activities onsite for the children including free daily summer camps organised by the onsite team, Little Rockers (the indoor area for 0-4s), a wide range of arts and crafts classes to choose from (including pottery for kids), battery operated go-karts , jetty and pontoon area for water sports – canoeing, kayaking, sailing and water safety, bumper boats, forest challenge obstacle course, outdoor archery with viewing area, synthetic tennis court, synthetic 7 aside football pitch, adventure playground. Most facilities are free and there but there are charges for some like the watersports and pottery classes.
Pirates Island consists of bouncy castles, climbing wall, bungee trampolines, battery operated go-karts and
water walkerz and again most activities were free but some had a small fee.
Craig and Saoirse ventured out early one glorious morning for a canoeing session from the jetty and were very impressed with the set up. While in a double canoe they travelled in a group around the lake and to a small island. Saoirse was enthralled with the seals came up very close to her as well as the other wildlife that they encountered. This was a truly memorable experience for both. This trip catered for all ages and while a smaller group of older children and adults ventured further with their team leader, Craig and Saoirse were brought along an easier route home. Craig found the team leaders extremely helpful and concerned with safety at all times. There is an extra charge for canoeing but Craig was sorry we did not have time to experience it again.
Our two also loved the climbing wall which was free and offered four levels of to try, so they spent their week working their way through these levels. Even though we had rain from time to time it certainly did not dampen our fun and at no time did it get in the way of enjoying our days in Rockhill.
In the evening time, they also ran an activity for families like a treasure hunt or quiz which again was something to look forward to after our dinner on long summer evenings.
There was so much to do onsite that the children was constantly complaining that we were taking them area on day trips to some fantastic places I might add (for our research), as they would have been just as happy to unpack and not move from site for a week.
There is an office onsite that is open from early in the morning till late in the evening and the team here are on hand to provide local tourist information, help with any issues and ensure that you have a good time.
Other site facilities include the usual but I must say in an extremely modern and clean fashion:
24hr onsite security
Laundry, ironing and dry cleaning service*
Daily cleaning service*
Tourist information room
Library book service
Toy box hire*
DVD rental service*
The ones with the stars have a small charge.
The holiday park is located at the end of the small village of Kerrykeel which provides all you need in terms of a grocery shop, take-away, pubs and within a two minute walk. After a day or two onsite we discovered the most breath-taking beach, Port Salon. Now this is a treasure gem to discover as it was deemed to be the second most beautiful beach in the world by The Observer and well deserves its title. While we did not have beach beach weather we still enjoyed a few hours of sand fun as it is very well sheltered and you could soak up the views all day. Port Salon is approx. a 15 minute drive from Rockhill Holiday Park and if you only ventured over and back here you would be doing damn fine.
While we were in Donegal we had to drag ourselves away from Rockhill Holiday Park to explore the area so we could gather information for you all. First we visited Glenveagh National Park. We rented some bikes at the car park and enjoyed a 4 km cycle through the national park to the grand house that stands hidden deep in the park. The house and gardens is open to the public with a fascinating tour. There are glorious tea rooms located in the house so you can soak up the atmosphere while indulging in the gorgeous food before the glorious cycle back.
Another trip out that we enjoyed was Bundoran. Now we have all heard of the northern seaside town of Bundoran which holds a great tradition of seaside holiday making and in recent years there has been great investment in the development of its promenade area allowing the town to compete with any of its foreign counterparts. We took a dip in the Bundoran Waterpark with its many slides and water features before spending an afternoon in the funfair which is embedded in the history of this town before.
The town of Letterkenny is only a 25 minute drive from Rockhill providing all of your shopping requirements with its large shopping centre and Main Street. We also visited Lurgy Brack Open Farm just minutes from Letterkenny town. There are plenty of gorgeous restaurants to suit all budgets in Letterkenny and the one we choose and choose quite well was Yellow Pepper on the main street. The steak was the best we both had in a long time and the children’s menu was just perfect.
So we can confirm that Rockhill is very centrally located for touring families and as I have already said you could just while away the days lounging on your decking reading a book or two while the children burn their endless energy with the enjoyable the onsite activities or set off to explore the vast amount of family activities on your door step which we have only touched on. So the next time you are looking to book a no hassle family break and think that France may be the best option don’t forget that we have some gorgeous holiday parks in Ireland to enjoy with all the amenities that you can find abroad and Rockhill is a fine example!!
Westport House is one of Ireland’s best known and loved family attractions and Westport itself is one of the top destinations for families in search of adrenaline and action packed holiday in Ireland so where better to enjoy our latest break but you guessed it, Westport House. Westport House offers top of the range camping, caravan and campervan facilities right in the heart of their vast and adventurous pirate park. With our campervan fromCara Motorhomes in tow we found our pitch in a very spacious and clean camp site.
The campervans and caravans are in one site while the tents are in another. I must say from the outset we could see that the site was extremely clean and well kept. The toilet and washing facilities were some of the best I have seen so far and the site is well laid out so you never have to travel too far to the facilities but the best of all is that there is a large sand pit in the centre of the site offering the little ones plenty of entertainment while you relax. They also have bell tent options for those of you who have not invested in a tent yet or wish to enjoy the great outdoors without any of the hard work. We were booked in for three days which included a two day pass to the Pirate Adventure Park. There are plenty of packages to choose from which include most of the rides and you may extra for some of the bigger rides such as zorbing and archery.
On our first evening after a long spin we were glad to just hook up the campervan and stroll down to the pirate park to Gracy’s Gastro Bar just a few minutes away from the campsite. It is located in again some of the gorgeous historical work buildings of the original estate and not only offers an extensive Italian menu but also the most delicious stone baked pizzas cooked in the centre of the restaurant. It was the most perfect restaurant for families.
Picture this, seating outdoors under a canopy (as well as indoors) opening on to a large playground and grasslands for the little ones to explore while they wait for their kiddies meal from an extensive children’s menu with options to suit all needs including delicious healthy ones. Once our meal was over and as the evening became darker and colder we moved upstairs to an indoor play centre to run off the last of their summer energy to ensure a good night sleep for us all. What more could you ask of any family dining experience.
After enjoying a nice glass of wine and beautiful meal we walked back to our campervan and settled in for a good nice sleep. I was very impressed by the lack of noise once darkness was drawing in and was only woken in the morning to the sounds of the sheep in the adjacent field. It is clear that this camp site is very family friendly and offers the perfect solitude to sleeping children. There is nothing worse than a camp site where our sleep is broken by other late night or early morning guests.
Westport House is also open to day visitors but if you are coming for a day make sure you have a full day or even plan two days so you can enjoy the full experience. So the park is made up of a couple of sections. You can explore the main house with its many rooms displaying life as it was in a prominent manor house and even the children loved it as there was plenty for them to see and enjoy also. There is a quaint little café in the original kitchens where you can take a break and soak up the surroundings.
Outside, the park offers rides for young and old including Cannonball Run slide, Pirates Swinging Ship and Pirates Plunge log flume ride, Swan Pedal Boats on the lake and much more. The best part of all is that the rides will excite all ages and offers loads of opportunities for families to enjoy together. Most of these rides we took part as a family something that excites our kids the most. Even the large slides are open to families and we had a family tournament on one of these many slides. There is so much more including karting, bouncy castles, the train express and indoor soft play centres. We had great fun paddling the swan pedal boats on the lake to the rear of the house and this called for plenty of teamwork, the ultimate family challenge……
There is plenty to keep you entertained before you move onto the extra activities on site and these can be easily avoided if you don’t want to be saying no which I taught was quite clever. We started with zorbing which can be done wet or drive. The wet option is a lot easier and again we jumped into the zorbs as a family. This was the ultimate adrenaline ride and even though we were drowned at the end we would have done it again and again. Zorbing starts at €18 or €39 for three. You can team the zorbing up with the zip wire for a combo ticket starting at €20.00. The zip wire is well worth a go, even though it is from a scaringly large height. After a shaky start we could not get back up fast enough for our second go.
Some of the other extra activities on site included archery, tag archery and a sky challenge. We tried out the sky challenge on our second day. Starting at 3 meters in the air we worked our away around 26 different elements over 3 different levels taking you closer to the sky each time. When I say “we”, I mean Craig and the children as I chickened out after the first level. Thomas managed the first two while Saoirse and Craig completed all three.
Elements include; Steps in the Sky, Heebie Jeebie, Postman’s Walk & Swinging Bridge to name a few. The course finished with the Skyline, an adrenaline filled ride through the trees. And if that’s not enough we had to come down via a free fall jump to the ground.
Thankfully, there is a stairs for the less adventurous. The staffs were amazing here and encouraged the children all the way offering plenty of support. This activity takes an hour and you will need a rest once you are back on the ground.
The Sky Challenge starts at €18. We found archery great fun for the adults but I would recommend that this is an activity for older children with mum and dad but be warned, it can get quite competitive.
I would certainly suggest adding in one or two of the activities with your park tickets as they offer amazing adrenaline fuelled experiences which you are unlikely to experience that often. They were exceptionally organised and very good value.
All the activities encouraged children big and small to take a chance and come out of their comfort zone developing their confidence and improving their self-esteem.
The location of Westport House could not be more convenient as it is just a five minute drive and a 15 minute stroll from Westport town while situated in the park’s rich historical surroundings, enchanting forests and the action-packed adventure activities and attractions.
The gates open out in the centre of the large town of Westport. We choose to walk out to the town on our second evening for a bite to eat in one of the many family friendly restaurants in this beautiful town, The Milltimes Restaurant. There are plenty of little shops to catch your eye and we stopped off in some of the lovely bakeries to pick up fresh bread and treats to bring back to our campervan. We found Westport House to be an ideal base to explore Westport and many other locations beyond.
After a long day off exploring Westport House offered the perfect oasis for a family to unwind. You could just stay on site and enjoy all the park has to offer if you would never feel the need to go any further also. Westport House is well worth a visit either for a day or a fun relaxing break even so much so we are planning another trip to Westport this year as we did not get a chance to explore all that was on offer around this wonderful area and I don’t think we could tire of such an actioned packed park. To find out more click here!