What to do on a family trip in Ireland
Modern families embark on vacation travel to Ireland in all shapes, sizes and loving combinations. And in matching a warmly extended 100,000 welcomes, Tourism Ireland reported that in 2019, 50% of travel to Ireland was, well, just for fun, and that’s family fun included. The best part about family vacations is that no family trip nor their Ireland family vacation are quite the same.
And, as each modern traveling family has a cast of characters, we at The Gab have put together some of our favorite experiences sure to keep your team off their phones (unless it’s for photos) and involved in the family game. Especially with the kid-friendly experiences they won’t want to miss.
The History Lover
Every family has one: the one with the map and the list of Very Important Locations for everyone to visit.
EPIC Irish Immigration Museum
Irish history is so much more than lists of names, dates and places - it is a worldwide experience. This fully interactive museum has been awarded as Europe's Leading Tourist Attraction 2019 & 2020 and gives you and your family a hands-on experience. Founded on the principle that a nation can be best understood by the people who came from it, EPIC not only introduces you to the experiences of 10 million Irish who left through letters, recordings and music, but brings you closer as you uncover your roots with a consultant from their professional genealogy service partners. Find your modern family’s Irish connection in the halls of EPIC.
Trinity College and the Book of Kells
Stately. Ancient. Revered. And full of books. When in doubt for your history lover, well, you know where to go. Considered by many as Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure, The Book of Kells is a 9th century manuscript collection of gospels painstakingly illuminated (illustrated) by hand, with handmade ink, on hand-cured vellum… you get the picture (there’s hundreds of them). Trinity College in Dublin itself is not just the home of this treasure, it is a historic icon in its own right. Founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592, it was the educational home of greats such as Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift and was also the home library to some literary mischievous wizarding friends.
The Foodie Traveler
You know them: They’ve got the best eats of the group and yes – you MUST try this. You’ll like it. Treat them (and yourself) to something good and keep the family palate happy on your Irish gastronomy adventure.
Galway Food Tour
Quaint and coastal Galway is also home to amazing examples of truly amazing Irish food. This culinary walking tour of Galway is guided by regional expert Sheena Dignam who charms your tastebuds with everything from local produce, cheeses, and seafood, to artisanal doughnuts, strawberry tarts and crafted beers. Galway is famous for its food culture and this tour guides you along the well-known, award-winning stops and gets you into hard-to-find secret gems.
A trip to Ireland isn’t complete with at least one pint of “The Black Stuff.” Ireland’s famous dry stout is known and served worldwide, so come experience the history of this brew at its home location, the Guinness Storehouse. The Storehouse is adjacent to Guinness’s original St. James's Gate Brewery, founded by Arthur Guinness 250 years ago. Here, you’ll learn the history of what was once the world’s largest brewery and how to pull the perfect pint – a must for any foodie in Ireland.
The Cinematic Genius
Who doesn’t like a good movie or a satisfying binge watch? This family member speaks in movie quotes fluently and has a ranking of the best from every genre. Let them show off a little and take your family behind the scenes with some cinephile fun.
Archery and Axe Throwing at Winterfell
As it happens, Winterfell from the HBO production of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is just 40 minutes away from Belfast. Here, you can make mans-best-friends with real-life direwolves (don’t worry, they’re more dog than wolf) and wander the iconic filming locations while on a self-guided bike tour with towers, crypts and red wedding location all integral to the show. Don a cloak and try your skill at archery or your arm in an axe throwing session at the Winterfell archery range.
Cliffs of Moher
Featured in The Princess Bride and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Cliffs of Moher have been soaring to amazing heights (120 meters/390 feet) for more than 300 million years. Gaze out dramatically over the ocean or set the scene using this ultra-photogenic backdrop, this location has been the site of stories for centuries and will surely be perfect as a starring role in your family home movies.
The Nature Lover
They just need to be outside and definitely work hard so their pet can have a better life. We love them for it, almost as much as they love an adeventure. Help them get some fresh air and make some new friends with outdoor and animal experiences the whole family can enjoy.
Falconry at Ashford Castle
Majestic and ancient Ashford Castle has served as the home of Guinness brewing royalty and home base for Hollywood royals like John Wayne as well. Flying higher on the marquee however, are the castle’s resident falcons. You can book a one-hour private Hawk Walk and under the guidance of a skilled instructor and set a Harris Hawk flying to follow you through Ashford’s magnificent woodlands. Utilized as an ecologically safe way to manage regional wildlife, falconry is an essential part of Ireland’s natural heritage and maintaining castle life.
For the outdoorsy one who wants to get some big steps in: Antrim’s coastal region and the Giant’s Causeway are perfect. Fresh air, gorgeous untamed nature and wildlife are everywhere. You can take a daytrip along one of the most spectacular driving routes in the world on your way to Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage site. Once at the visitor center, reservation in hand, you can roam in the footsteps of Ireland’s legendary giant Finn McCool and maybe, if you’re lucky enough, see the remains of a wrecked Spanish ship.
Ireland is home to so many amazing things to do on your modern family vacation, and this is only a sampling of some of our personal favorites. Brendan Vacations looks forward to being a part of your family trip memories, and reminds you to stay safe, check your reservations and tag us in your photos so you can “Share with the family.”