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

4 star Connemara Seaside Property

Bru na Mara is a beautiful complex just outside Carna that combines traditional design with modern comfort. The site overlooks a small harbour, and has spectacular views of the sea, the historic Mason and St MacDara's islands, and the beautiful su...

Eco-friendly house beside the sea in the wildness and solitude of Connemara

Teach Greine is a Eco-friendly dormer bungalow (2700sq feet) on its own grounds. Heated by solar power, a heat recovery system and excellent insulation makes it a warm and comfortable house. Organic paints and natural oils were used through out t...

Holiday Cottage private Beach, Golf, Sea & Mountain views - up to 10 guests for more information & pictures. 4 double bedrooms, 1 en suite & 1 with bunk beds suitable for children. 4 beds have sea views & 1 double bed has mountain view. 3 bathrooms in total, including 2 electric showers, ...

Large Cottage in Castletownshend, a seaside village near Skibbereen, with WiFi.

The Phoenix is situated in the beautiful village of Castletownshend on the South West coast of Ireland. The cottage comprises a large hall, a lounge with an open fire (also central heating throughout) and doors to a secluded garden from the dining...

8 Bedroom Secluded house in Louisburgh on SPACIOUS GROUNDS. Fishing and Traditional Music!

Very peaceful.Ideally located by the sea and mountains, in the middle of real countryside and small farms. Owner a keen Fisherman and Angler will gladly give advice to interested parties. Also a Traditional Irish Musician and plays in the local pu...
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