Fun for Kids

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Balmoral Show

Balmoral Show

The biggest event in Northern Irelands equestrian calendar, with the cream of show jumpers as well a show horses and young stock in attendance.

There is plenty for the non-horsey set to enjoy too, with livestock competitions, a large trade show, a food pavilion with cookery demonstrations and lots of fun activities for kids.

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Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

One of the earliest and most important Norman castles in Ireland sits high on a hill overlooking the river Nore at the heart of the city that grew up around it.

There are impressive grounds and gardens surrounding it and many of the other buildings in the area were in one way or another linked to life in the castle over the centuries.

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Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

A visit to Blarney Castle and a chance to kiss the Blarney stone are fixtures on many Irish tour itineraries, but is it actually a must-see or something of a tourist trap?

Well, the castle is pretty, there are good gardens around it and kissing the stone is a bit of harmless fun, but we’ll leave you to decide for yourself whether or not a visit is worthwhile.

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Phoenix Park

The Phoenix Park

This vast enclosed park in Dublin houses a Zoo, residences for the president of Ireland and the US ambassador as well as a herd of wild deer.

There are wide open green spaces, secluded glens, grounds for cricket, polo and other sports and a pretty good restaurant in the visitor centre. It’s a wonderful place to explore.

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Killykeen Forest

Killykeen Forest Park

Killykeen is a large forested area beside Lough Oughter in Co Cavan, which as well as good walks has an interesting ruined castle on an Island and a number of ancient megalithic structure, the largest of which is the Gartnanoul Court Tomb.

The park is in the care of Coillte, the Irish Forestry Board, and is also a popular area with anglers and bird watchers. Admission to Killykeen is free.

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Christmas at Farmleigh

Farmleigh, an estate within Dublin’s Phoenix Park, is the venue for this annual programme of Christmas events aimed at all ages, but with a specially good range of events for kids.

There are food markets and carol singers, horse & carriage rides and puppet shows, art exhibitions and concerts, most free to enter and all with a Christmassy theme.

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Hook Head Lighthouse

Hook Head Lighthouse

One of the oldest lighthouses in the world, the light from Hook Head has been shining its beacon more or less continuously for over 800 years.

Since then its gone from being a simple fire lit by a monk, through being oil and coal powered to today’s automated electric light.

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Charles Fort Kinsale

Charles Fort & James Fort

Charles Fort is a massive structure, with walls up to 6m thick and five defensive bastions around its perimeter. Its star shape provided better defenses than earlier round forts, and was a common style of fort throughout Europe and beyond.

Although much of it is in poor enough condition, battered by generations of battles, it is one of the best remaining examples of a star-shaped fort in Europe.

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Watergarden Thomastown

The Watergarden, Thomastown

This small garden is managed and staffed by the residents of Camphill, a movement composed of individuals, many with special needs, who live together in a mutually supportive environment.

Its a low key but lovely place, with an excellent restuarant and a small garden centre, also run by Camphill, alongside.

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Irish National Heritage Park

The history of early Ireland is brought vividly to life here, through reconstructed buildings and re-enactments of the life and work of Irish people in the distant past.

Although there are no original historic structures here, the reconstructions are historically accurate and were made using the methods of the time, so they are a close as it gets.

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Inside Marble Arch Caves

Marble Arch Caves

Marble Arch caves are Ireland largest caves, both in terms of the extent and the sheer hugeness of some of the internal spaces.

The caves have been open to the public since 1985, though first discovered in 1895, and are explored by guided tours which are partly on boats navigating subterranean rivers.

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Killary Harbour

Killary Adventure Centre

Located on the shore of the remote and lovely Killary Fjord, this busy and popular adventure centre offers, among other things, kayaking, wind surfing, high ropes, a climbing tower, Hobie cat sailing, gorge Walking, a zip wire and, in Winter, snow boarding.

There are also summer camps available for kids.

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