Family holidays in Ireland

Embark on an Emerald Isle adventure!

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Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

West CorkIreland is a country rightly revered throughout the world for its friendliness and joviality: in no country in the world can you be more certain of receiving a fond welcome. Travellers go there in droves to experience firsthand the famous “craic” that is all but guaranteed up and down the country, as well as the luscious scenery that adorns countless postcards. Understandably given its spirit, the Emerald Isle is usually considered a hotspot for anyone who enjoys a raucous night on the tiles: unfortunately, what most people don’t seem to recognise is the nation’s qualities for a family visit.

Away from the Guinness, whiskey and general St. Patrick’s Day debauchery lies a peaceful yet vibrant land, ideally suited for both children and adults looking to make the most of their family holiday. From Dublin to Galway, Dundalk to Cork, there is a plethora of hidden attractions to be found if you take the time to find them. To get you started, check out our quick guide to a selection of accommodation available to you. When your mind is set on jetting out to this unforgettable land, look no further than HomeAway to find the best rental accommodation for your stay.


Ireland family holidays: top attractions


Dublin Dublin

As is often the case with nation capitals, Dublin is a bustling hub of activity by day and night. The Temple Bar region is, of course, popular with party-goers, but explore the area and there’s plenty to keep both adults and kids entertained. The impressively comprehensive zoo in opulent Phoenix Park is a superb place to spend a day, as is the playground in St. Stephen’s Green. One of the best ways to view the city is on the Viking Splash tour, a bizarre amphibious enterprise where riders are encouraged to don helmets and roar like their hairy Nordic ancestors at random intervals. 

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Galway Galway

Over on the west coast lies possibly the most visually stunning town in Ireland. Galway sits on the bank of a sweeping bay overlooking the mighty Atlantic, and as such has something of a seaside atmosphere in places. Take the kids down to the promenade for a day at Leisureland, a water park that incorporates a 65m slide, an outdoor amusement area for when the sun rears its head, and a host of fitness facilities for mum and dad to enjoy. Kylemore Abbey is an achievement of architecture, resplendent with walled gardens, crafts and homemade delicacies in the castle tearooms. 

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Beaches Beaches

As any heat-starved Brit knows, only the most fleeting glimpse of the sun is required to justify a jaunt to the beach. OK, it’s hardly Mediterranean temperatures, but these fair isles boast more than their fair share of sandy retreats. Rest assured that Ireland is no exception to this rule. Enniscrone in County Sligo is a favourite haunt amongst surfers, while Tramore on the south-east coast has become increasingly popular with families. The latter is the choice of the locals, famed for its scenic Atlantic viewpoints and horse riding opportunities. The Splashworld leisure complex is another great option to keep the children amused. 

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Cork Cork

The southern city of Cork is a terrific hub of culture, architecture and tradition that you can’t help fall in love with. The place emits a certain charm that endears it instantly to anyone visiting for the first time, old or young. One centuries-old tradition is to ring the famous Shandon Belles, achieved by ascending the bell tower of St Anne’s Church. The noise is deafening, but the satisfaction of making the likes of Amazing Grace echo over the city is irresistible. For a slightly more peaceful venture, take a stroll through the English Market, thrust into the limelight when the Queen paid it a visit in 2011. 

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Belfast Belfast

One of the beauties of Ireland is that, even though it is for all intents and purposes a foreign country, crossing the border is as trouble-free as possible. That in mind, the chance to take in the Northern capital of Belfast is not to be missed if you’re based on the east coast. The whole family will adore a visit to the award-winning W5, an extensive science centre based within the impressive Odyssey Arena. Those with a sweet tooth will be naturally drawn to Aunt Sandra’s Candy Factory, whilst the Botanic Gardens make a perfect destination to relax in when the weather is balmy.

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Ireland Family Holiday Homes

Tranquil waterfront home in spectacular setting with stunning south facing views

Bay House, Durrus, Bantry, is situated in the most commanding waterfront position at the very head of Dunmanus Bay. It has five beautifully appointed bedrooms, consisting of three double bedrooms rooms looking out over the bay (each with a king-...

Clifden, Galway Beautiful Comfortable Home

We would love to share our holiday home with fellow travellers. This fully equipped house is the essence of luxury and comfort, with a large kitchen with all mod cons and an Aga range for all you foodies! The house has oil fired central heating an...

Spacious with fantastic views in Howth - 20 mins city centre - family friendly

Stroll to Howth Village in 5 mins and Dart to city centre in 20mins - Howth, it rhymes with boat, have you guessed it, it’s a fishing and yachting resort on the north side of Dublin and its only 15km north-east of the city centre. Howth Lodge is...

Kinsale Coastal Cottages @ Relax Island

Each cottage... has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and can sleep up to 8 people. Some pets may be accepted by prior arrangement. All bed linen and towels are supplied. Real open fires in every cottage. All modern amenities including satellite TV. ...

SEASPRAY, pet friendly in Bunmahon, County Waterford, Ref 915312

Seaspray is a welcoming detached cottage situated one mile from the County Waterford village of Bunmahon. This single-storey cottage sleeps six people in three bedrooms, consisting of two double and one twin, as well as a shower room. The cottage ...
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