Medieval castles. Sheep-shearing demonstrations. Music and step-dancing. Kissing the Blarney Stone. Every child in the world would jump at the chance for vacation fun like this. And it’s all part of an unforgettable vacation in Ireland.
Castles in the Air
The ancient castles of Ireland practically beg to be explored by inquisitive minds both young and old. And the best part is that you can actually stay in some of these spectacular, centuries-old strongholds, complete with towers and turrets, battlements, thick stone walls and stairways, and expansive gardens and grounds.
Embrace the aura of Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning PBS series Downton Abbey by visiting Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, a sprawling baronial estate in Connemara that’s surrounded by green countryside with amazing vistas and miles of walking trails. Or go all the way back to hail the 5th century at Dromoland Castle, an ancestral home of Gaelic royalty where the entire family can also take archery lessons and learn about falconry.
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Irish pubs are places to gather for food, music, and craic (pronounced “crack” and loosely defined as fun and enjoyment), and visiting one is a great way to meet the locals and feel like part of the community. Children are welcomed and catered to in pubs during daytime for meals and soft drinks. In addition, many pubs often have live music, featuring either a band or an impromptu gathering of local players.
Please note, children under age 18 are allowed in licensed premises only if accompanied by a parent or guardian, and only from 10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (or 10:00 p.m. from May to September).
Pro tip: Ask the locals which pubs are child-friendly and have live music.
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Sights & Sounds
A truly spectacular natural phenomenon, the Giant’s Causeway on the Northern Ireland coastline is an otherworldly treat for visitors of all ages, a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising some 40,000 hexagonal-shaped basalt columns tumbling down into the Atlantic Ocean. Go ahead and hop over the stones, or just sit and contemplate this puzzling geologic wonder that dates back to a volcanic age almost 60 million years ago.
Choreographed for maximum audience participation and full family entertainment, Celtic Nights is a showcase of energy and passion, spotlighting Irish music and traditional dancing every night of the week for the past 21 years in the heart of Dublin.
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Killary Sheep Farm is a working Connemara mountain farm featuring skilled sheepdog and sheep shearing demonstrations, bottle-feeding orphan lambs, guided walks along picturesque trails, and other attractions. Open from April through September, it’s set amid gorgeous green hills on the southern shores of Killary Fjord in County Galway.
Get ready for a legendary family vacation when your destination is Ireland. With the island’s wealth of unique attractions and things to see and do, your children will probably plead with you to extend your time. Contact your local travel agent today and start planning a journey to Ireland that every member of your family will treasure forever.