Insider Tips

Dublin's Never Felt Bigger: Family Fun

By Visit Dublin

19th June 2020

As the city eases open, it's finally resuming its role as a safe and exciting city destination for the entire family. 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 look back on it from the sea. As you take to the water with Dublin Bay Cruises (check their website for their new sailing schedule) 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

Hop on the DART and watch the sea whizz past as you make your way to the really pretty 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 Butterfly House and 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. Afterwards refuel in Avoca, where the scones are legend.  

Malahide Castle exterior amidst trees

Saint Anne’s Park and Rose Gardens

On the way back from Malahide it’s worth stopping at the second-largest park in Dublin – Saint Anne’s Park in Clontarf, which is 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 with the 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...

Dublinia and the Viking Splash Tour

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 and unwrap a picnic as the kids let off steam in the playground.

If you’ve been bitten by the history bug and fancy a bit of hair-raising (and shouty) fun, the Viking Splash Tour is one of the city’s top experiences for children over two years of age. It’s a great way to see the city and scare the daylights out of passers-by on the street as you ‘roar like a true Viking’. You’ll also find out why it’s called the Splash Tour as you drive into the water in Grand Canal Dock. 

Children looking into medieval tent at Dublinia

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.  

Kayaks on the River Liffey

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. This is where you’ll find Dublin Zoo where you can 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.   

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. 

Wherever you plan to go in Dublin, be sure to contact individual attractions and businesses in advance to confirm they're ready to welcome visitors again. And because our changed world means a new focus on public protection, social distancing and safe travel measures will be essential everywhere — as explained in the new nationwide COVID-19 Safety Charter.

Dublin has never felt bigger, and while you're mapping out your next adventure in our exciting city, read about more unique experiences in the capital.

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