Summer in Ireland won’t offer you and your family huge commercial theme parks or even guarantee you sunshine but you can be sure that you’ll experience nature like you’ve never seen it, discover history that you never dreamed of and find yourself immersed in a culture that can only leave you wanting more. Check out our top 5 things to do with kids in Ireland this summer.
1. Caves in Clare
There are few places in the world where you can imagine bringing your family to an underground cave situated on the side of a mountain, would seem like a brilliant idea. But, if you’re visiting County Clare, you’d be mad to miss a chance to visit Aliwee Cave. The cave leads to the heart of a mountain and inside, you’ll find an underground river and waterfall. The remains of bears can be seen inside the cave, and the air of mystery and excitement that surrounds the cave is enough to please any family! Oh, and as if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a Birds of Prey centre – allowing you and your kids to get up close and personal to Ireland’s biggest birds. The range includes Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and Owls from all over the world.
2. Dolphins in Dingle
Kids have a natural curiosity in sea life. For some parents, this means sealife parks; a commercial and often expensive solution. Dingle is not only one of the most beautiful areas in Ireland (The National Geographic once described the Dingle Peninsula as the “most beautiful place on earth”), full of the Irish language and quirky pubs and shops – but it’s also the home to Fungi, the resident Dolphin. Fungi came to Dingle in 1983, a wild Bottlenose Dolphin. Why did he come? Why does he stay? We’re not quite sure – we’re guessing he fell in love with Dingle, like most visitors. Fungi has never been fed in order to induce him to stay, play or perform – he just seems interested in playing with the boats and swimmers. We met Fungi last summer- the girls loved it!
3. Legend, science and scenery alive at The Giants Causeway
More history, legend and awesome scenery are found at The Giants Causeway, Co. Antrim. Storytelling comes to life here, telling the legend of two Giants (one Scottish, one Irish) fighting. The Irish Giant, Finn MacCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill) built the causeway so the two Giants could meet. The equally mesmerising scientific explanation tells us how the causeway is a result of intense volcanic activity, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded through chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau. The Giants Causeway is complete with a Causeway Visitor Centre – offering visitors all the information they need in order to make the most of this beautiful, unique and mystical visit!
4. See Dinosaurs in The Ulster Museum
The Ulster Museum is located in the scenic area on Botanic Gardens in Belfast and is home to a collection of fine art, applied art, local history, archaeology, zoology, geology and much more, frequently holding different types of exhibitions. The Museum is a rich collection of natural sciences, history and art and is a true feast of culture for any visitor but especially families! Parents can enjoy the educational experience, whilst kids can enjoy that plus so much more including a few live size dinosaurs and a fantastic arts and crafts area.
5. Experience the music…everywhere
Music is alive and well in every town, village, city and corner in Ireland. It’s a treat for all the family and an experience that you simply cannot avoid in Ireland…not that you would want to. Ask around and try and locate the local “session” (children are usually welcome at these events, until a certain time). The Irish are known around the world for their talent with music but there is nothing quite like a traditional Irish session. This mainly consists of older men and women, and some young (sometimes kids- depending on the time) sitting in a corner in a pub/bar or an outdoor area playing many of Ireland’s traditional instruments. They’ll be singing, dancing and beautiful music that will get your feet tapping and heart racing.
Whatever your plans for your Ireland vacation in 2014, don’t be afraid to experience the wild wonders of the land – you absolutely won’t regret it!