Places to visit: For Kids

National Transport Museum

National Transport Museum

The National Transport Museum is Ireland’s only comprehensive collection of public service and commercial road transport. It contains some very rare and some unique items. The oldest items date from 1883, the newest from 1984. There are five main standalone categories – Passenger, Commercial, Fire & Emergency, Military, and Utility. There are 180 vehicles in stock, and 60 on display.

Opening Hours:
Open Sat, Sun and public holidays 2pm – 5pm.

Contact & Pricing:
nationaltransportmuseum.org
Tel: 01-832 0427 (during opening hours) / 085 146 0499
Heritage Depot, Howth Demesne, Howth, Dublin 13
Adults €3; concessions

National Wax Museum

National Wax Museum

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.

Opening Hours:
Open 7 days: 10am – 8pm.
Open later during summer.
Closed 24 – 26 Dec.

Contact & Pricing:
waxmuseumplus.ie
hello@waxmuseumplus.ie
Tel: 01 671 8373
22-25 The Lafayette Building, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2
Adults €17.50; concessions

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park

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 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 Visitor Centre houses an exhibition on the history/wildlife of the Park.
Nearby is the fully restored Ashtown Castle, a medieval tower house. Tours of Ashtown Castle are organised from the Visitor Centre all year round.

There are tours of Grangegorman Military Cemetery on Thursdays. Walkers assemble inside the Cemetery Gates. Admission is free and all are welcome. Please wear suitable shoes and clothing. For further information, phone 01 677 0095.

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.

Conservation works are ongoing within the Fort, so tours are not currently available.

Opening Hours:
The park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Visitor Centre –
May to Oct: 7 days a week, 9.30am – 6pm
Nov to Apr: Wed to Sun, 9.30am – 5.30pm; closed Mon & Tues

The Walled Kitchen Gardens are open daily 10am – 4pm 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.

Tours of Ashtown Castle are organised from the Visitor Centre all year round.
Tours are at 10.30am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 3pm and 4.30pm, subject to availability.
www.heritageireland.ie/ashtown

Grangegorman Military Cemetery
Open all year round, 10am – 4pm.
Free guided tours may be available, on Thursdays at 11am.
Contact phoenixparkvisitorcentre@opw.ie to confirm availability.

The Magazine Fort
Guided tours will not resume until further notice.

Contact & Pricing:
phoenixpark.ie
heritageireland.ie/phoenix-park
phoenixparkvisitorcentre@opw.ie
Tel: 01 820 5800 / 01 677 0095
Admission to the park and all attractions is free.

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.”

The gallery may reopen soon. Check the website for the latest status:
dublin.sciencegallery.com

Trinity College Zoological Museum

Trinity College Zoological Museum

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?

Opening Hours:
Currently closed until mid-June, exact dates TBC.
June, July & August only: Mon-Sun: 10.30am – 4pm
Exact opening and closing days vary, check the website for confirmation.

Contact & Pricing:
tcd.ie/zoology/museum
mlinnie@tcd.ie
Tel: 01 896 1366
Admission €4

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.

Opening Hours:
Jun to Sept: 10am – 6.30pm
Tours run every 30 minutes.

Tour availability varies the rest of the year.
Advance booking is strongly advised.

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

Contact & Pricing:
vikingsplashdublin.ie
info@vikingsplashdublin.ie
Tel: 01 224 3852
Adults €35; concessions (Prices vary between high and low seasons)

Causey Farm

Causey Farm

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. 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!

Opening Hours:
Causey is a working farm that is not generally open to the public, but runs seasonal events and private group experiences. These range from children’s summer camps to Hen Party packages.

Check the events calendar for details of current and upcoming events.

Their biggest public event the annual Farmaphobia Halloween Event, generally runs for the month of October. Tickets can be booked from mid-September, with prices varying depending on the booking.

Contact & Pricing:
causey.ie
info@causey.ie
Tel: 046 943 4135
Causey Farm, Girley, Fordstown, Navan, Co. Meath

Emerald Park

Emerald Park offers the visitor a theme park and a unique zoo. You can experience a range of rides, adventure activities, and observe critically endangered big cats, fascinating meerkats, primates, astonishing birds of prey and much more.

The Junior Zone attractions include: Steam Train Express, Honey Pot Bears, Pony Rail, Shot Tower, Vortex Tunnel, Fossett’s Circus Show, the World of Raptors, and Super Hero Climbing Wall.

The Lemur Woods section showcases a troop of ring-tailed lemurs in Ireland’s largest lemur walkthrough.

Flight School is a 13-metre-high airport themed roller-coaster suitable for all the family.

Viking Voyage – With 1.7 million litres of water, a Viking village and replica Viking ships, families can expect to feel the splash on this unmissable attraction.

For older children and adults, attractions of note include the Cú Chulainn Coaster (Ireland’s first rollercoaster and Europe’s largest wooden rollercoaster with an inversion), The Rotator, Power Surge, Endeavour, Air Race, Windstar, Dino Dash, and the Sky Walk.

A brand new Tír na nÓg area is due to open in 2024. It will be the first fully themed and immersive land at Emerald Park, and will include two new rollercoasters.

Opening Hours:
The park is open most weekends and Bank Holidays throughout the year, and on weekdays during summer/school holidays. Opening hours vary monthly, and some attractions are only open during the summer.
The park may be closed from December 24 until March.
Check here for the latest opening hours.

All entrants must purchase a ticket, even if they do not wish to access any of the rides or attractions. A Junior Zone ticket is the cheapest option available.

Reduced rate tickets are available for senior citizens, persons with special needs (and their registered carers), as well as pregnant guests. On arrival to admissions, guests may be asked to provide documentation to confirm that they can avail of a reduced rate ticket.

Contact & Pricing:
emeraldpark.ie
Tel: 01 835 1999
Kilbrew, Ashbourne, Co.Meath
Junior Zone Only Ticket: €47 (€39 if booked online over 24hrs in advance)
All Access Ticket: €52 (€43 if booked online over 24hrs in advance)

Greenan Maze

Situated in the beautiful countryside of the Wicklow hills, only one hour south of Dublin, enjoy about 3 hours or more wandering around the farm in a relaxed, peaceful and friendly atmosphere. With loads of attractions to check out, the day will be packed full of things to do and will keep all the family and kids fully occupied.

Explore fun mazes, museums of traditional farming life and farm animals, and wander along nature walks including ponds, wetlands and woodlands. Try to crack the clues on the nature treasure hunt with real treasure at the end if you solve the riddles.  Younger children can toddle along the fairy tree trail and adults enjoy the crafts and coffee shop, picnic areas and undercover outdoor seating. The friendly helpful staff love to help visitors find some peace on a beautiful 50-acre farm.

Opening Hours:
10am – 6pm, last admission 5pm.
Opening days vary by month, but generally open weekends only from April to June and during September. Open 7 days a week in July and August.
Closed from October to March.
There may be exceptions to the above opening hours, so it is best to check here.

Contact & Pricing:
greenanmaze.com
contact@greenanmaze.com
Tel: 0404 460 00 / 086 884 5624
Ballinanty, Greenan, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow
Admission €8.50; concessions

Skypark Carlingford Adventure

Skypark Carlingford Adventure

Skypark is Ireland’s biggest Adventure Park, with a wide range of adventure activities in the air and on the ground. From the longest aerial adventure course in Ireland to zipline fun, footgolf, archery and aeroball, there is something for all ages and abilities.

In the zipline zone, “you can swing, scream, jump, climb and release your inner Tarzan.” Within the Aerial Courses option, you can test yourself on 30 challenges including cargo nets, skateboards, giant log swings, monkey bars and, of course, ziplines. Courses range in height from 6ft to 40ft.

The other broad range of activities includes archery, footgolf, frisbee golf, quazer, axe throwing and archery.

Opening Hours:
7 days a week: 10am – 7pm
Access to the various activities is by purchasing one of the different colour passes. The passes divide the activities up according to the recommended age restrictions, e.g., 4+, under 9 & over 9 years old.
Adults can purchase a 9+ pass to access the activities, or purchase an entrance pass if they only wish to supervise.
Prices vary according to season; discounts are available for advanced online booking.
Peak days are often sold out well in advance.

Contact & Pricing:
skypark.ie
info@skypark.ie
Tel: 042 937 3100
Dundalk Road, Carlingford, Co Louth
€50 for all-inclusive pass during peak periods. Restricted passes available at lower prices.