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!!