- Visit Dublin's interactive EPIC Museum and explore the history of the Irish people
- Give a good luck kiss to the famous Blarney Stone
- Follow the paths of Ireland's most notorious pirates via a guided kayak tour
- Walk through mystical forests on County Offaly's fairy trails
|Arrive in Dublin, Walking Tour, EPIC Museum & Famine Ship
|Drive to Kinsale, Cork, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Stone & Castle
|Scilly Walk, Family Kayak Tour & Beach Picnic
|Drive to Killarney, Bike Killarney National Park
|Gleninchaquin Park, Beara Way & Dursey Island, Toy Factory
|Drive to Dublin, Offaly Fairy Trails
Day 1: Arrive in Dublin, Walking Tour, EPIC Museum & Famine Ship
A céad míle fáilte, or welcome to Ireland! Your family adventure begins in the capital city of Dublin. This is the largest city in Ireland and has been the seat of government for over 900 years, going back as early as 840 CE. After you arrive at Dublin airport, head to your hotel for check-in, then start exploring!
Begin with a stroll through St Stephen's Green, a Victorian park with beautiful flower beds, a lake, and resident ducks and swans that the kids will love. Stop in at Trinity College to see the centuries-old Book of Kells and the beautiful Long Room Library, then walk along the River Liffey, crossing the iconic Ha'penny Bridge for views of the waterfront. If the kids are interested in getting out on the water, take a Viking Splash tour, an amphibious bus that transports you across both land and water, while sharing fun and informative stories about the city's landmarks and history.
Afterward, take the family to visit the EPIC Museum, which takes you through the history of the Irish people and how they've contributed to the world through art, music, sports, and science. The museum has interactive exhibits, and a "passport" book that the kids can stamp as they move through the various rooms. Nearby, you'll find the Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship, where you can learn about the more than one million Irish who fled during the great famine, seeking refuge in the United States and around the world. Relax with dinner at a local restaurant tonight before continuing your journey tomorrow.
Day 2: Drive to Kinsale, Cork, Rock of Cashel, Blarney Stone & Castle
Pick up your rental car this morning and hit the road, heading south. Your final destination is the village of Kinsale, with several noteworthy stops along the way. About halfway into your three-hour drive, you'll reach the town of Cashel, located in County Tipperary and home to the Rock of Cashel, a medieval site with Gothic and Romanesque-style buildings and a 12th-century round tower. From here, continue to the "Rebel City" of Cork, Ireland's second-largest city. Cork's nickname stems from its prominence in the country's struggle for independence in the 1900s.
Modern Cork is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with art galleries, coffee shops, and great restaurants alongside some truly amazing history. Take a lunch break here and stroll along the River Lee, then visit the Church of St Anne, where the kids can ring the famed Bells of Shandon while you take in views of the city. Just 15 minutes from Cork is Blarney Castle. The ruins here date from the 15th century, on the site where a 10th-century wooden castle once stood. Its most famous asset is the Blarney Stone, which according to legend, gives good luck and the "gift of gab" to anyone who kisses it.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Scilly Walk, Family Kayak Tour & Beach Picnic
Begin your day with the Scilly Walk, a guided tour that starts in Kinsale and follows the harbor to the star-shaped 17th-century military fortress, Charles Fort. Your guide will regale the family with tales of conquests, wine smugglers, and old battles, and the children can visit the lookouts and tunnels in this hands-on dive into history.
Then, take to the water and kayak along Kinsale's shore to where pirates once landed, fought, and roamed. The southern coastline of Ireland was often the site for raids by pirates over the centuries, and some of the most well-known pirates in Europe lived along these stunning coastlines. Relax and enjoy the peaceful waters as you learn about this fascinating part of Irish history. Afterward, have a family picnic on the beach while the kids play and swim in the ocean.
Day 4: Drive to Killarney, Bike Killarney National Park
Your next destination is Killarney, a picturesque town surrounded by the wild landscapes of Killarney National Park. The drive takes about 1.5 hours, and after you arrive and get settled at your accommodation, you can help the kids burn off some energy with a self-guided biking tour. Bicycles are a great way to see the sights of Killarney, which include Ross Castle, Muckross House & Gardens, Brickeen Bridge, Dinis Cottage, and Torc Waterfall. There are more than 16 miles (27 km) of bike trails throughout the park, most of which sit away from motor traffic. You can choose longer or shorter routes depending on your ability.
Day 5: Gleninchaquin Park, Beara Way & Dursey Island, Toy Factory
Today's glorious drive takes you along the Beara Peninsula, which offers endless ocean views and breathtaking scenery. Your first stop will be Gleninchaquin Park, a working sheep farm that is a true oasis of natural and historic beauty. Walk along the trails here and visit the waterfalls and lakes while the kids enjoy the friendly sheep grazing in the surrounding fields. Not far from the park, you'll find Uragh Stone Circle, a 2,500-year-old Bronze Age site with boulder burials and a large stone circle.
Continue to the Ring of Beara, where you can drive around the area and see its fantastic scenery, or stop for a hike at Beara Way, a trail that spans 128 miles (206 km). And if you're looking for high-flying adventures, continue to the town of Ballaghboy and hop on a cable car that takes you across the ocean to Dursey Island. Strong tides here make boat crossings unsafe, so those wishing to go to the island travel across open seawater, a quick and thrilling ride of about 10 minutes that both kids and adults will find entertaining.
Afterward, head to the nearby town of Kilnamartyra for a tour of the only toy soldier factory in Europe. Learn how the figurines are made, and the kids can paint their own soldiers at one of the visitor center's painting workshops for an amazing souvenir to take home. Tonight, have dinner at a local restaurant, and maybe catch some live music while you're there.
Day 6: Drive to Dublin, Offaly Fairy Trails
As you drive back to Dublin today, you'll want to make the most of your last full day in Ireland with a visit to County Offaly and its delightful fairy trails. Ireland is long recognized as the land of leprechauns and fairies, and it's said the fairies sometimes invite humans to catch a glimpse of their mystical world. Start with a visit to Lough Boora Discovery Park, a nearly 5,000-acre (2,000 ha) natural parkland with walking and biking trails. Take a magical journey down "Fairy Avenue," see the fairy homes, and stop at the "wishing seat" to share your hopes and dreams.
Day 7: Depart Dublin
It's time to wave farewell to Ireland today. Head to the airport, where you'll return your rental car and catch your flight home. Safe travels!
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