Places to visit: For Kids

National Wax Museum

National Wax Museum

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The Great Irish Writers Room is a salute to the literary legacy of our nation’s greatest writers. Figures featured include James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Sean O’Casey and George Bernard Shaw.

The Time Vaults of Irish History section offers the visitor the opportunity to explore the various stages of Irish history. One passes through the magnificent old Armoury vaults which formally housed the nation’s gold and armour. Visit St Patrick, the Celts, The Normans, the Vikings and the Famine, all the way through to Modern Irish History.

Meet Setanta and his wolfhound, watch out for the Viking slaying monk, witness a glimpse of the devastation of famine life, feel the tension of the 1916 Rising and meet the men and women who secured peace in Northern Ireland. Enjoy a history lesson in Irish culture and life, from the Bronze Age right up to the Good Friday Agreement peace talks in Northern Ireland, and stand side by side some of the nation’s most famous historical figures.

No wax museum would be complete without its very own Chambers of Horror. Feel your heart pounding and your hands sweating as you come face to face with the infamous Buffalo Bill, Hannibal Lector or Dracula.

In Wax World  you enter through the Wardrobe into a fantastical room that features all the greats and all the seasons of the year. Santa Claus sleeps in the Wax Museum 364 days a year. Harry Potter and Mad Eye Moody stand in Autumn. Children can sit with Peppa Pig and take a seat in the creative corner and draw and colour to their hearts’ content. Also featured are Sponge Bob Square Pants, the Simpsons, the Evil Queen, Harry Potter and Bob the Builder

The Science and Discovery Zone pays homage to Irish Inventors, engineers and scientists. Interactive touch screen technology helps bring this room to life, with real experiments and figures to examine and touch.

An Offaly man, Henry George Ferguson, revolutionised the farming industry by designing and building a plough with a 3 point linkage to the tractor. His invention and design is still widely used today. A sample of the back end of of a tractor is on view for all to see. Along with the tractor there are many more fun, weird and wonderful inventions and experiments on display throughout this section. Included is a commuter railway track, fibre optics displays and a link to the NASA space station.

Other scientists and inventors featured include John Philip Holland, the Clare man who developed the first US Navy Submarine; James Drum from Co. Down who invented the nickel zinc rechargeable battery; and Ernest Walton from Waterford, the first person in history to artificially split the atom.

Wax Hands give visitors a chance to have a copy of their own hand moulded in wax to take home and keep.

Visit Father Ted in an authentically Irish room set to capture one of the most influential cultural programmes of the 90s. Take a photo with more than one priest and spot as many Ted references as you can.

 Open Mon–Sun 10.00 am-7.00 pm. Last entry 6.00 pm.

Closed 24-26 Dec.

www.waxmuseumplus.ie

22-25 The Lafayette Building, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2

Tel: 01 671 8373.

Adults €16.50; concessions. Check for discount tickets online.

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The Phoenix Park contains over 700 ha. (1752 acres) and is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. Open to the public since 1747, the Park is home to a large herd of fallow deer, a Visitor’s Centre, a Victorian kitchen walled garden (2.5 acres) , the Zoological Gardens and Aras an Uachtarain (the President’s residence). There are many walks & cycle routes.

The Park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The walled kitchen gardens are open daily 10.00 am-4.00 pm all year round.

On the second Saturday of every month, visitors can meet the Park Gardeners between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm in the Kitchen Garden.

The Visitors’ Centre houses an exhibition on the history/wildlife of the Park. (Nearby is the fully restored Ashtown Castle, a medieval tower house).
Open May-Oct 7 days a week 9.30 am-6.00 pm. Nov-Apr closed on Mon & Tues, open Wed-Sun 9.30 am-5.30 pm. Tel: 01-6770095. Admission free.

Tours of Ashtown Castle are organised from the Visitors’ Centre all year round. The Castle tour times are Jan, Feb, March – Sunday to Friday: 12.00pm, 2.00pm and 3.00pm // April to Oct – Monday to Friday: 12.00 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm // Nov, Dec – Sunday to Friday: 12.00 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm.  Please note that no tours of Ashtown Castle are currently taking place due to maintenance works.

There are tours of Grangegorman Military Cemetery on Blackhorse Avenue (Dublin 7) from April 7 to September 29 on Thursdays at 11.00 am. Walkers assemble inside the Cemetery Gates. Admission is free and all are welcome. Please wear suitable shoes and clothing. For further information, phone 01-6770095.

The Magazine Fort is strategically sited on St Thomas Hill, off the Military Road, and close to the Islandbridge Gate. It was built in 1734 -1736 to store gun powder and ammunition for British Government Forces. One third of the British Army was stationed in Ireland and was regularly rotated around the Empire. The Fort was raided on two occasions: Easter Monday 1916 and the 23rd of December 1939.

Free guided tours are available. Tickets are limited and are issued from the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, on a first come first served basis on the day of the tour. Phone 01-6770095 the day before arrival as there can be short notice closures. Tours run from April 21 to September 22 at 10.00 am, 12.00 noon and 2.30 pm (April to August) and at 10.00 am and 12.00 noon in September. These tours have been cancelled until further notice. 

Visitors have access to a number of areas within the Fort including one of the magazines and two viewing platforms. Conservation works are ongoing within the Fort. Ground conditions are uneven so sturdy footwear is advised and suitable outdoor clothing should be worn.

www.phoenixpark.ie

www.heritageireland.ie (Phoenix Park)

www.heritageireland.ie (Peoples’ Flower Gardens)

www.heritageireland.ie (Visitor Centre, Ashtown Castle)

www.phoenixpark.ie (tours)

Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 8205800.

Admission free.

Rathfarnham Castle

Rathfarnham Castle

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

Dating back to the Elizabethan period, Rathfarnham Castle is a fine example of an Irish fortified house. Dating back to the Elizabethan period, the building houses the Berkeley Costume and Toy Collection of 18th and 19th Century toys, dolls and costumes.

The castle was built for Archbishop Adam Loftus, an ambitious Yorkshire clergyman, who came to Ireland as chaplain to the Lord Deputy and quickly rose to become Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Chancellor of Ireland and was closely involved in the establishment of Trinity College. The castle with its four flanker towers is an excellent example of the fortified house in Ireland. In the late 18th century, the house was remodelled on a splendid scale employing some of the finest architects of the day including Sir William Chambers and James ‘Athenian’ Stuart. The collection includes family portraits by Angelica Kauffman (1741-1807), Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), and Hugh Douglas Hamilton (1740-1808).

The Castle and Tearooms re-opened in October 2015 after major improvement works designed to significantly upgrade access to the principal floors of the Castle. In general, the rooms are fairly bare so the Castle is more an interesting look at a major restoration project in progress than a detailed finished product.

Open May-Sept: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm daily (last admission 4.45 pm)
Oct-Apr: Wed to Sun and Bank Holiday Mondays 10.30 am – 5.00 pm (last admission 4.15 pm)
Closed 24-27 Dec. Open 28-30 Dec.
Closed 31 Dec & New Year’s Day.

www.rathfarnhamcastle.ie

www.facebook.com

Rathfarnham, Dublin 14.

Tel: 01 493 9462.

€5 Adults; concessions. Free admission on the first Wednesday of every month. Guided tours are available throughout the day. You can also tour the house without a guide.

 

Science Gallery

Science Gallery

The Science Gallery was a Trinity College venue promoting current areas of science and art-science collaborations. It was noted for its knowledgeable, enthusiastic staff. There were 4-6 temporary exhibitions each year, as well as lectures and other events.

The Science Gallery closed at the end of January 2022. Trinity College thanked the Science Gallery Dublin team whose hard work, know-how and unwavering commitment over the last 14 years helped ignite curiosity where science and art collided for over three million visitors.

A message from the Trinity Provost, Linda Doyle, issued on 28th January 2022, said among other things –

“Looking back, the gallery has been wonderful, but it has had problems in recent years. Unfortunately, in its present form, with its substantial and growing debt, it cannot overcome those problems. The current operational model has run its course.

The gallery needs to be totally reimagined and work very differently from the way it does now. Closing the gallery affords us the time to address the problems and build a new, exciting and sustainable way forward.

Colleagues and students across Trinity are eager to be involved, as are many of the long-time friends and supporters of the gallery. We can also count on widespread public support, as well as the wisdom and support of Science Gallery International.

Over the past months we have also had excellent engagement with multiple Government departments who have come together in a very collaborative manner and pledged support for our future ambitions.

None of what I have said above takes from the fact that the gallery has been a source of delight and inspiration since it opened in 2008. We are proud to have inspired other cities around the world to adopt our vision to showcase research and ideas from science and technology in exciting new ways.”

https://dublin.sciencegallery.com

 

 

Viking Splash

Viking Splash

The Viking Splash is a pretty unique land and water tour of Dublin. Featuring engaging tour guides and authentic World War II military amphibious vehicles which go on both land and water, this is a deservedly popular tour. Entering the sea at Grand Canal Harbour is a spectacular experience.

The route takes in most of the major sights in the south city (Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Viking/Medieval/Georgian Dublin, Government buildings, Dublin Docklands). The vehicle is open-sided so expect to get a little wet.

Tour lasts 75 mins. Advance booking is strongly advised (currently by email only email info@vikingsplashdublin.ie). Tours run every 30 minutes during the high season; every 90 minutes off peak.

Departure point – St. Stephens Green North (directly opposite Starbucks / Dawson Street)

https://vikingsplashdublin.ie

Tel: 01-224 3852

Adults €29; concessions.

Trinity College Zoological Museum

Zoological Museum (Trinity College)

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

Getting your picture taken through the jaws of a shark and feeling the might of a crocodile’s teeth are just some of the thrills on offer at Trinity College’s Zoological Museum. This 250-year old collection houses 25,000 specimens. Despite over two centuries of disruption and change, much of the collection remains intact and provides a vital undergraduate teaching resource for the Department of Zoology.

The Zoological Museum holds some of the most amazing creatures on the planet.

  • Don’t miss the tragic tale of Ireland’s Last Great Auk. Extinct since 1844, only a handful of these beautiful birds survive in museums today.
  • Meet Prince Tom, the ‘Royal’ elephant who travelled the world with Queen Victoria’s son, Prince Alfred.
  • Have your photograph taken through the jaws of a Great White Shark.
  • Admire the world-renowned delicate glass artworks of sea creatures crafted by father and son team Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka in the 19th century.
  • Keep clear of the giant Gavial – Is it as fierce as it looks?
  • Hold one of the world’s strangest teeth – What animal do you think it’s from?
  • Look out for the Tasmanian wolf – Is it really extinct?

Open Mon-Sun 10.30 am-4.00 pm (1 June to 31 August only). Closed during 2022. 

www.tcd.ie/visitors/zoological/

Zoological Museum, School of Natural Sciences, Department of Zoology, Trinity College, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-8961366.

Admission €3.

 

Bog of Allen Nature Centre

Bog of Allen Nature Centre

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel. 

The Bog of Allen Nature Centre is an international centre for peatland education, conservation and research run by the Irish Peatland Conservation Council.

Explore the typical interior of a traditional Irish cottage, where the turf fire was the main source of heating and cooking in 19th century Ireland. See ancient treasures like bog butter, coins, the Great Irish Elk and an ancient dugout canoe, all recovered in an excellent state of preservation from the Bog of Allen.

Visit an exhibition celebrating the beauty of Irish boglands and their unique wildlife. Irish bogs have a valuable role in storing greenhouse gases and carbon, storing water, helping to control flooding, providing a refuge for plants and animals and providing spectacular places for recreation.

In the gardens at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre is a special feature called Flytraps, a greenhouse of insect eating plants which are found in bogs all over the world; it is the largest such collection in Ireland and Britain. You can see active insect trappers such as Sundews, Venus Fly Trap, Butterwort and Bladderwort. All these plants move to catch insect prey. You will also see passive fly trappers such as the Cobra Lily and Pitcher Plants (these plants use a range of tactics to lure insects to them, such as drugging them with “narcotic-enhanced” nectar).

The stages in the formation of a raised bog are shown in the gardens. See the reconstructed habitats of lake, fen and bog representing ten thousand years of history. Dip for mini-beasts in the wetland habitats and see sphagnum moss – the bog building plant that holds up to 20 times its own weight in water.

The wildlife conservation gardens at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre are situated on a one acre site to the rear of the centre. Work began on the gardens in 2004 with the aim of providing a refuge for biodiversity. The gardens are entirely peat free. Home-made compost is used to enrich the soil. The wild flower beds have been created to benefit insects. The gardens are managed without using pesticides, chemicals, peat based soil improvers or tap water. Pests such as snails are controlled by encouraging a healthy population of frogs and beetles.

Finish your day in the bog by visiting Lodge Bog, a living bog nature reserve in the Bog of Allen. Here you can find live sundews, feel the watery bog move and listen for the curlew calling. There is a boardwalk on the site and a seating area for you to take in all the sights and sounds.

Open all year from Monday to Friday: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (last visit 4.00 pm).
Not open at Christmas or on public holidays.
Some special weekend openings during the year ((in May for Biodiversity Week, in July for International Bog Day, in August for Heritage Week and in September for Culture Night). Please check the IPCC website under “Events”.

www.ipcc.ie

Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Bog of Allen Nature Centre, Lullymore, Rathangan, Co. Kildare.

Tel: 045 860133

Adults €5; family (2 adults, 3 children) €15.

Causey Farm

Causey Farm

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel. 

Causey Farm is a highly acclaimed venue for a variety of entertainment, tourism and educational programmes. The farm provides interactive cultural experiences in a friendly atmosphere for Irish and international groups, as well as seasonal events.

On their 300 acre farm, the Murtagh family breed Limousin-cross cattle, which they sell when the animals are around two years old. Their flock of Belclare ewes (an Irish breed famous for its high numbers of lambs) lamb in springtime; the lambs are sold, mainly to the French market, during the summer. The farm also produces winter wheat and spring barley, as well as curly kale, beet and turnips.

Causey Farm targets the school tours market, as well as corporate clients and international visitors (in groups). Typically, a group tour visit takes in a bodhrán workshop, a farmyard tour, céilí dancing, a trip to the bog & traditional turf cutting, a sheepdog demonstration, a nature walk and making your own soda bread. Prices start at around €14 per person. Definitely a 5-star experience for kids.

Tours are customised depending on the requirements of the group, so the price per individual can vary. Phone in advance to work out the package that suits you. Causey Farm also arranges popular hen party events, as well as hosting the chilling Halloween “Farmaphobia” extravaganza.

Farmaphobia is Ireland’s most horrifying Halloween Event. Journey through a frightful evening of screams and laughter… eerie corners, blood-curdling frights, ghoulish entertainers, heart-pounding, adrenaline pumping, life-threatening fear… your worst nightmares come true!

Farmphobia consists of five scare attractions with lots of other scaretainment taking place around the farm, guaranteeing a unique and different night out. The haunts include Dead & Breakfast, Vamporium, Field of Screams, Mutation Morgue and Scarecus.

You can opt for one of two Passes. The Scream Pass covers three Haunts (Mutation Morgue, The Facility and WWII Zombies) and costs €20 (Off Peak) or €22 (Peak). The X-Scream Pass covers all five Haunts and costs €30 (Off Peak) or €33 (Peak). The Peak Nights are 27th-31st October. Updated information about 2022 opening times/prices will not be available till the summer. 

www.causey.ie

www.farmaphobia.ie

Causey Farm, Girley, Fordstown, Navan, Co. Meath.

Tel: 046-9434135.

 

National Sealife Centre

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel. 

The National Sealife Centre  is an indoors aquatic Zoo with 30+ displays. It contains sea creatures from the world’s oceans: there are over 70 different species on view, including an impressive tropical shark lagoon. Check the Centre’s website for feeding times/talks [piranha, carp, tropical sharks, octopus, seahorses, sting ray]. Kids rate this a 5-star experience.

Open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day and St Stephens Day)
Winter hours: Open Monday to Friday 11.00 am to 4.00 pm (last admissions 3.00 pm )
Open Saturday/Sunday 10.00 am to 6.00 pm (last admissions 5.00 pm)
Summer hours: Open 7 days, 10.00 am to 6.00 pm (last admissions 5.00 pm)
Open Christmas Eve: 11.00 am-4.00 pm
Open New Year’s Day: 12.00 pm-6.00 pm
Closed Dec 25-26.

www.visitsealife.com

Seafront, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

Tel: 01 2866939.

Admission €11.50 per adult (if booked online; otherwise, the price at the door is €13.50); concessions