Insider Tips

Family Fun in Dublin

By Visit Dublin

10th September 2021

For those thirsty for fun and exciting experiences, there are amazing activities for all ages waiting to be enjoyed.

Escape to Dublin’s coast with the kids

Dublin Bay Cruises

Any Dub will tell you that the city looks great from all angles. But there’s something particularly special when you gaze back on it from the sea. As you take to the water with Dublin Bay Cruises you’ll have the perfect vantage point to spy famous landmarks, like the James Joyce Tower, Baily Lighthouse or Howth Head. The kids can watch out for birds as you pass Ireland’s Eye or the friendly seals on Dalkey Island.   

Malahide Castle and Gardens

Head north of the city centre and make your way to the charming coastal village of Malahide. Here you’ll find Malahide Castle and Gardens — a magnificent medieval castle, site of battles and bloodshed and home to the ghostly figures of court jester Puck and the Lady in White. The kids will love the Fairy Garden, and you can’t leave without visiting one of the best playgrounds in Ireland. It’s not just the usual swings and slides; your little ones can try out the cool roundabout, mini diggers, spring-loaded seesaws, and a zip line with button seats.

Malahide Castle exterior amidst trees

St Anne’s Park and Rose Gardens

On the way back from Malahide it’s worth stopping at the second-largest park in Dublin – St Anne’s Park in Clontarf, a real local treasure. You’ll soon discover why it was also named as one of the top five parks in the world. Nestled beside the coast but with its own river, ornamental pond and a great playground, it's famous for its many follies – ornamental buildings like the Herculean Temple. Wander the trails, stop for a picnic or check out the remote-controlled model car track on the Raheny side. There’s a food market on Saturdays, while Olive's Room at the Red Stables is a great spot for takeway coffee.

From farm to city centre as a family

Airfield Estate

It may be hard to believe, but there’s an actual farm just ten minutes’ walk from Ireland’s biggest shopping centre in Dundrum. A trip to Airfield Estate is like entering another world where the kids can help collect eggs, feed the calves and milk the Jersey cows. It’s fair to say that this peaceful oasis is one of Dublin’s most secret spots. You’ll love it, and their café brings you the best of produce grown on the farm itself. Not to be missed...

Newbridge House and Farm

Only a 30 minute drive from the city centre, this hidden gem in rural Fingal offers families the chance to step back in time and learn the history of Newbridge House, as well as having an outdoor adventure at a real working farm. Newbridge House is Ireland's only preserved Georgian mansion and estate, with a unique collection of furniture and paintings from the last 300 years. But it's the farm that will really add magic to your family day out. See piglets, goats, chickens and Connemara ponies on the Farmyard Discovery Trail and visit the "Mooternity Ward" to see the latest new arrivals. Afterwards take a break at Penny's Picnic and Play area. Don't forget to bring the sandwiches!

Dublinia and St Patrick's Cathedral

Back in the city, head to Christ Church where the earliest days of medieval Dublin are brought to life in Dublinia (complete with smells and sounds!). Take your seat on a Viking warship, try on Viking clothes, and visit the smoky dwelling where our Viking ancestors lived.   

Just a short walk away, you can visit St Patrick’s Cathedral where since 1432, the pupils of the Choir School have sung at service. Afterwards drop into St Patrick’s Park next door, and unwrap a picnic as the kids let off steam in the playground.

Children looking into medieval tent at Dublinia

Dublin Zoo

No trip to Dublin is truly be complete without stopping in the Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed park in any of Europe’s capital cities. Here you can rent a bike, spot herds of wild deer and enjoy refreshments in the park's quaint little tea house. This is also where you’ll find Dublin Zoo; spot giraffes or rhinos on the African Savanna or visit the Gorilla Rainforest. There are discounts if you book online and children under the age of three get to meet their furry friends for free.   

Make a splash together

Aquazone at the National Aquatic Centre

If your kids are water babies, this is one place they will absolutely love. Aquazone is an indoor water park and swimming pool with fun for all the family. Try out some indoor surfing on a bodyboard or float along the lazy river while the kids try out three of the most thrilling tunnel water slides Ireland has to offer: the Masterblaster, the Green Giant and the Black Hole (some height restrictions apply). Top off this adventure with the very life-like Pirate Ship that features slides into the surrounding water. Oh, and did we mention there’s a jacuzzi for parents who need to recharge their batteries? 

Kayaks on the River Liffey

City Kayaking

No doubt you’ll take the kids across the city’s famous Ha’penny Bridge at some point on your visit. But you can also paddle under the bridge on an exciting trip through the very heart of the Irish capital with City Kayaking.  
 

Where next to visit in Dublin?

It’s no surprise that there’s lots more to do in Dublin with your kids if you’re planning a longer stay. Here are some more family-friendly Dublin ideas to inspire. 

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