Simply put, Ireland is the perfect destination for family travel! I discovered this in June, when my husband and I took our 6-year-old son to Ireland for two weeks. While some destinations in Europe are all about museums, architecture, and culture, Ireland offers a broad diversity of things to do, with castles, farms, and outdoor adventures tailored to a young boy’s passions!
The question is not if we will return to Ireland, but when. The next time we will bring my parents, and Ireland would make the perfect spot for a multigenerational trip. Country Kerry is the ideal homebase. You can stay in the center of darling Kenmare, within easy walking distance of the town ice cream shop and stone circle.
Or you can stay on a farm on its outskirts of town like we did. On a small family-owned dairy farm, we collected fresh eggs from the resident hens for breakfast, and our hosts became friends, They taught my son how to milk a cow, and took him out to watch hay baling.
Here are 8 reasons why Ireland is ideal for family travel.
The great outdoors
Explore the waterfalls and trails of Killarney National Park. Wade into the ocean along the shores of the Dingle Peninsula. Explore the forest gardens on the Beara Peninsula. So much of Ireland’s sights are out in the open. The best way to see this country is to be out in the middle of its immense green. It’s way more fun to active young people than plodding through museums.
Airfares to Ireland are among the lowest Transatlantic fares going. We paid just over $700 per ticket for travel in early June! Also, direct flights from many gateways into Dubin and even Shannon make it a simple and short hop across the pond.
A common language
It is easy to speak to the local people and learn from them. It is also easy to ask for help when you are in a pickle. We enjoyed spontaneous conversations with people in pubs and parks, and our son could chat and kick the soccer ball with the kids at the playground.
Animals and farming
In the southwest of Ireland especially, there is so much livestock. Dairy farms abound. But you’ll also see horses, goats, and sheep at every turn. There are so many farms that you can visit: historic farmsteads and modern working dairies. Kids are fascinated to learn where their food comes from. And beyond that, you will find horseback riding options and bay cruises like the Seafari in Kenmare that take you out on the water to spot dolphins.
Family friendly eating
There’s a lot for kids to love about Irish eating. All of our son’s favorite foods were well represented on menus: fish and chips, sausage and bacon, baked beans, and peas. Better yet, many pubs and even fine restaurants offer kids’ menus. And most restaurants seem to stay open between lunch and dinner, making it easy to grab dinner early. The early bird specials we found in Dublin meant we ate very well and affordably.
Most historic sites and museums we visited offered family deals, so for a hair more than the cost of two adult admissions, you could enter with two kids. That is a big money saver. In Dublin the major museums are free, so we could pop in for brief visits and leave when our guy got bored.
Ireland has such a wonderful musical tradition! And because the pubs are family friendly, the whole family can enjoy an afternoon or early evening trad session (traditional music) with live musicians playing guitar, tin whistle, fiddle, and the bodhran drum. It is another way to understand and bond with the local people. And it’s fun to dance!
Search for fairies and leprechauns. While they may be imaginary, there is a rich storytelling tradition around the magical creatures of Ireland’s wooded hills. Ask the locals about fairies and local legends. Explore a stone circle and imagine who moved these huge boulders into formation. Don’t be immune to Ireland’s magic! Your young travel companion certainly isn’t!