It is the time of year when we all embrace whatever sliver of Irish we have in our ancestry, or create an imaginary one. And as I look across the Internet at all the pictures of that charmed green isle, I dream of visiting Ireland. Since all of our family trips involve a little taste of adventure, I asked fellow family travel blogger Jody Halsted from Ireland Family Vacations for her ideas on ways to find family adventures in Ireland. Here is what she recommends…
With very little language barrier and a reputation of friendliness, Ireland is growing in popularity with families as a destination for their first European vacation. A land of magic and mysteries, history and hauntings, saga and scenery, adventure lies around every bend in Ireland’s winding roads.
Finding Family Adventures in Ireland
Family adventures in Ireland are as varied as the many shades of green. Soothe your spirit or activate your adrenaline by including these activities in your Ireland itineraries!
On the West Coast of Ireland
Ireland’s western coast is known for the dramatic Cliffs of Moher and the staggering beauty of Connemara
You’re spoiled for activities along the western portion of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. To get your adrenaline pumping contact Lahinch Adventures and learn to surf the waves that cross the Atlantic or climb the rocks above the crashing ocean.
A boat trip from Doolin or Galway can take you along the base of the towering cliffs or out to the Aran Islands where a day can be spent hiking or cycling through the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area).
Looking for more adventure? You’ll find archery, kayaking, horse trekking, and even yoga in Ireland’s ‘wild west’.
In Ireland’s ‘Sunny Southwest’
The counties of Cork and Kerry include some of Ireland’s most beautiful coastlines and picturesque villages
The southwestern portion of Ireland experiences some of Ireland’s best weather and outdoor activities abound! Coasteering- a sport that includes rock climbing, cliff jumping and cave swimming- is the ultimate outdoor activity!
Water adventures that don’t involve a wet suit can be found on boat tours to view whales, dolphins, and seals.
If you’re searching for adventures of the more serene kind, try pod camping at Top of the Rock Pod Pairc & Walking Centre in West Cork and set out from there for daily explorations to Bantry Bay, Mizen Head, Barleycove Beach, or the Sheep’s Head Peninsula.
Along the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland
The Causeway Coastal Route is one of the most dramatic drives in the world
Walk the cliffs’ edge- literally- at The Gobbins, a historic, dramatic, and exhilarating path. Not for the faint of heart!
Farther up the coast the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge was built by fishermen 350 years ago to span the chasm between the mainland and the tiny island of Carrickarede. The bridge may be more secure now, but it will still give your feet pause!
Follow the footsteps of giants as you climb the octagonal pillars and follow coastal pathways to discover the Giant’s Causeway.
Exit the coastal trail to explore the famed Glens of Antrim, home to the haunted Dark Hedges and the waterfalls of Glenariff Forest Park.
The cities of Belfast and Derry bookend the Causeway Coast. No visit here is complete without an experienced guide to lead you through the Troubles. In Belfast choose the Black Cab Tour (request Peter- he’s fabulous with kids); in Derry book your tour with Gleann Doherty of Derry Guided Tours.
Begin planning your Ireland itinerary with these adventures, then use the interactive map on Ireland Family Vacations to explore more activities, find family friendly lodging, and discover your perfect Ireland. Also check out Jody’s new ebook, Planning the Ireland Vacation of your Dreams.
Jody Halsted has been traveling across Ireland for over a decade with her own children, discovering the most family friendly sites and activities on the tourist trail and off. Dedicated to Ireland family travel, her website Ireland Family Vacations, provides exceptional advice for a magical Ireland vacation. For families looking for a perfectly tailored Ireland vacation, Jody offers Ireland vacation coaching, working with your family to help you choose the perfect lodging, destinations, and activities to fit your budget, interests, and expectations.