We love nothing more than exploring the country and getting out of the house whether it is for long days out or just for a few hours we just love to do something with our time ! I like to share any of the places that we loved and I am not shy in letting people know about places that were really not as expected – Nothing worse than spending your hard earned money and wasting a family day out on something that is rubbish ! This week I have listed all of the kids favourite places that we have been so far ! The majority are in Munsters but to be honest we would travel anywhere as the kids are great at long distance travel ! So sit back and have a cuppa as this is a long one !
The Donkey Sanctuary
This is close to home and instead of an entrance fee you can give a donation , the kids love it here as they are fascinated by animals and the donkeys are so friendly ! You can bring a picnic as there are benches near the car park , well worth a visit .
We have been going to Fota Island with the kids since Noah was 10 weeks old , we have a tradition of going every year for his birthday , one we even kept up this year during a snow blizzard ! This is the best place to see and interact with animals as Kangaroo , ducks and peacocks wander freely ! We always bring a picnic as we tend to spend minimum 3 hours here at every visit ! I have previously blogged about Fota ( https://lorrainesworldblog.com/2017/03/22/fota-wildlife-park-review/ ) if you fancy a read !
Curraghchase is a place we have been going for years as kids and now go as a family – Its a lovely spot for a walk , to let the kids run around and to have a picnic – There are two playgrounds in the main park and a small playground , fairy trail and cafe in the caravan park which is owned by my fab brother in law ! It costs €5 to gain access to the forest park but you can spend hours here so its money well spent for sure !
Doneraile Park is the nearest forest park to where we live and I have always gone as a child , I introduced Jonathan to it many years ago and we started to bring the kids the day after we came from hospital ! They love it here , there is a really good enclosed playground for kids of all ages , though it can get quite busy depending on the time of day that you go ! The kids love looking for the swans , ducks and deer when we go and if you look hard enough you will even see some fish 😉 There is a coffee shop at the rear of the big house as well so it is a great place for a walk and a coffee and best of all it is free entry to the park !
The National Stud
The National Stud and Japanese Gardens is based in Kildare ( Not far from Kildare village 😉 ) – We have visited here a few times and the kids adore it ,the gardens are absolutely beautiful and you can spend hours wandering here , the horses of course are the main highlight and you will see some of the biggest names in Irish racing here ! For the smallies in your life there is a fairy trail and a lovely playground ( Which is located alongside a little coffee shop , which , trust me , you will need by the time you get that far ! )
I was clearly well travelled / spoilt as a child as this is yet another place we have always gone as kids and as adults ! I love it here as I am always intrigued by the history of the castle and the stories behind the cottages – It has evolved so much over the last few years with the introduction of a beautiful fairy trail and really good playground – You can bring a picnic but I highly recommend the scones and jam in the tea rooms 😉 You can read more about it on a post I did last year ( https://lorrainesworldblog.com/2017/07/09/saturday-wanderings-bunratty-castle/ )
Lough Gur is the most beautiful little lake and park that is on the doorstep of Limerick and also happens to be a stones throw from my husbands family home so we spent many a date here ha ha We like to go here throughout the year to blow away the cobwebs , have picnics and eat ice cream ! They have added a fairy trail here recently so it is a great place to entertain small kids , though there is no playground so bring a ball or a bike to keep them busy ! I wrote about our love affair with the lake which you can read on the blog (https://lorrainesworldblog.com/2016/10/02/great-memories-are-made-close-to-home/ )
The Zoo is always a must visit for any one with small kids , it has undergone a huge transformation over the last few years with the addition of new areas , new animals and plenty of playgrounds along the way ! It can be a long trip if your kids do not like to travel but it would be worth it the trek and you could always spend a few days in Dublin playing the tourist which is always fun ! We always bring a picnic as the food choices in the Zoo are not the best and are quite expensive .
Muckross House and Traditional Farms
We have being going to Muckross house for years but only visited the traditional farms at the start of this year ! We were pleasantly surprised by it , it is a bit like Bunratty just smaller . The only criticism I had was that toilets are only half way through the farm and no signs for them , which is not ideal when you have small kids ! I wrote a post on our visit if you would like a read (https://lorrainesworldblog.com/2018/05/14/family-day-out-muckross-traditional-farms/)
For any adrenaline Junkies out there Tayto park is well worth a visit , especially if you have kids from about 3 – 16 . It is one of the more expensive family days out you can do as entrance fees alone are huge , I would recommend bringing a picnic as food choices are limited and expensive but leaving that aside , you can easily spend 6-7 hours here and be throughly entertained , they have thought of everything from fab playgrounds , a zoo , a bird show and some heart stopping rides ! I wrote a guide for under 5s which you can read here (https://lorrainesworldblog.com/2018/08/22/the-ultimate-guide-to-tayto-park-with-under-5s/ )
Dreamland is a play centre that is open to every child , where all children of every ability can play together , a place where siblings can have fun and where parents are encouraged to join in and connect with their kids . We have been here quite a few times with the kids and they love it , Emilia loves to wander around the little supermarket and do her shopping and Noah loves the fire station and big slide – It is in an inclusive play centre so all children in a family can play together regardless of sensory issues or developmental issues – They have a fab sensory room , the only thing I did find on all our visits is that it is very noisy so some children may not react to that well , I have done a small review of Dreamland which you can read here (https://lorrainesworldblog.com/2017/05/31/dreamland-play-centre-review/ )
Mungret playground has been a fantastic addition to Limerick , it is a huge playground that is inclusive which for some families means that all of their children can play together out side , there is also a nice walk and one of the best cafes I have ever eaten in ( The Milk Thistle ! ) – It is a great place to spend a few hours with the kids .
Achill Island Aquarium
We have been going to Achill for the last few years and find it the best place to disconnect from outside world and get real family time ! The focus of Achill is connecting with nature and the sea , the aquarium, though small was one of the most interactive we have been too – There is a guy that works there that spends ages with kids talking about the fish , lobsters etc and letting them touch starfish and answering all the questions that they had , kids and adults alike loved that added touch and I would recommend it if you are staying on the Island as a way to while away a few hours .
If you are a science buff then you will really appreciate Birr Castle as it is home too the great telescope which was at one time the largest in the world and you can still see it today in the castle grounds ! The grounds and playground were worth the hour and a half drive , in fact it is one of the most impressive playgrounds we have seen in a while ! I have all the details in a post (https://lorrainesworldblog.com/2017/07/04/saturday-wanderings-birr-castle/ )
I hope you find this useful for your autumn day trips or to plan for next year !