Due to circumstances beyond our control it looks like staycations will be the most popular summer holiday this year. As a family we’ve holidayed all around Ireland and know what works for families, so here are some of our favourite family holiday destinations in Ireland, in no particular order. This list is far from exhaustive and I’ll try to put together posts to elaborate on some of it over the coming weeks.
In no particular order here are some of our favourite family holiday destinations in Ireland.
Dungarvan and the Copper Coast
Dungarvan is a great town for a break, the gateway to the Greenway, tons of great eating establishments and a really nice vibe. There are fabulous beaches and plenty to do in the area for all ages including a hike at Mahon Falls, a visit to Lismore Castle or some time in the many playgrounds. A trip on the Greenway is a must. We last visited at Easter 2019 and want to go back soon.
Hook Peninsula, Wexford.
This isn’t somewhere I go on holiday, it’s where I was born and reared, in the seaside village of Duncannon with a view out over Hook Head. We spend lots of time most summers in Duncannon and explore all that the area has to offer families – sandy beaches, playgrounds, JFK park, and the famous Hook Lighthouse. We love it and you will too. Read more about family holidays on the Hook Peninsula here.
Clonakilty, West Cork
West Cork is an ideal family getaway destination, and when we go our favourite place to base ourselves is Clonakilty. There’s access to beautiful beaches, the town itself is very welcoming and the Model Railway village is a big hit with kids of all ages. We stayed in Clonakilty on a weekend break in January 2020.
The Causeway Coast
We often forget about the beauty of our island’s Northern Coast, the area around the Giant’s Causeway has so much to see and do. The scenery is truly breathtaking, book ahead to visit the Carrickarede Rope Bridge if you have a head for heights. We last visited in 2018 and vowed to return again soon.
We rented a house in Clifden in 2014 and had one of our favourite staycations ever. Clifden is a great base to tour Connemara, we spent time exploring beaches down as far as Dog’s Bay and went to Connemara National Park several times. Read about our recommendations for things to do in Connemara with kids here.
Our favourite daytrip every year is our annual one to explore Dublin City. We often say that we need more than one day to see everything there is to see and some year we’ll stay for longer. Apart from the Zoo, where most kids get to visit at some stage in their childhood there are plenty of things other things that kids will enjoy on a visit to the capital. You can choose the free options like the Natural History Museum, the National Museum and National Gallery and or commercial attractions like EPIC Ireland and the Viking Splash Tour that we really enjoyed.
We spend a lot of time in Sligo as we have family there, but many people don’t realise what a fantastic holiday destination Sligo is. Playing on the dunes in Strandhill (you may have seen them in Ireland’s fittest family) followed by an ice-cream in Mammy Johnston’s is always our highlight, or a climb of Knocknarea if we’re feeling energetic, but there’s lots of woodland walks and nearby attractions to keep you occupied. We’ll definitely be found in Sligo as soon as restrictions are lifted enough that we can travel that far.
Combine a trip to Cork City with a visit to Fota Wildlife Park and the Titanic Experience in Cobh. We return to Cork city every few years as it’s somewhere we always enjoy to visit as a family. A trip to the English Market, some time in Fitzgerald Park and a walk across the Shaky Bridge make a great day. We stayed in Cork City in 2017 and you can read about our break here.
Donegal is like a world apart, its rugged beauty, majestic cliffs and shore will blow you away. There’s plenty to keep all the family busy, between beaches, hiking, Glenveagh National Park. It’s a huge county, to drive from Bundoran in the South to the top of the Inishowen peninsula would take nearly two hours. Don’t forget that it was voted National Geographic’s Coolest Place on the Planet in 2017! We definitely want to spend more time exploring Donegal in the next few years.
Killarney is king of the Irish holiday destinations, but Kerry has so much more to offer families too, from the aquarium in Dingle to the Crag Cave in Castleisland there’s plenty to keep the family occupied with beautiful beaches and world famous scenery. See the Skelligs, made even more famous by Star Wars, or get a ferry to the Blaskets. Visit Killarney and go for a ride in in a jaunting car with a jarvey or hang out on Banna Beach, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Kerry.
There’s always something happening in Galway City, you can spend hours watching street performers and just soak it all up. A walk on the prom in Salthill (touch the wall) and a trip to the Atlantaquarium will keep the kids busy, and there are lots of daytrip options nearby.
If you haven’t seen the Cliffs of Moher you need to put it on your staycation list. Kilkee and Lahinch are buzzing holiday towns with everything you’d need to enjoy a traditional seaside break. Ailwee Caves deserve a mention, and some day I’ll tell you about how we met Steven Spielberg in a pub in Ballyvaughan.
Kilkenny City is another great destination, the compact city makes easy exploring with a wander through its medieval streets and a stroll through the castle gardens. The National Reptile Zoo has recently relocated to Kilkenny from Gowran and Castlecomer Discovery Park is also worth a visit.
Yes I live there, but if you follow me on social media you’ll know that every day is a holiday here on the North Wexford coast. We’re blessed with beautiful beaches, our towns bustle and are full of great eateries, we’ve playgrounds, farms, castles, everything a family could want for a great staycation.
Where to stay?
Check out my lists of
Self catering on hotel grounds
and remember, if you book tell them I sent you!