Dublin for Kids
Dublin has tons of things to do with children!
Either an open-air activity or an indoor attraction, Dublin offers loads of beautiful and interesting places to visit and spend time with kids, and it doesn’t matter what Irish weather prepares for you. There are options for all tastes and needs, from beautiful vast green spaces with enjoyable playgrounds and picnic tables; to museums, zoo, libraries, and bus tours.
We’ve selected 22 places where both adults and children are sure to enjoy and have a great time together!
Parks – Picnic & Playground time!
1. Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park is home to a herd of approximately 600 fallow deer and it is a real treat and thrill to see these beautiful creatures in the park. It is also the site of the Phoenix Park Nature Trail, which takes around 1 hour to complete. There are few designated stops along that route that highlight the flora and fauna of the park. Enjoy and play in the People’s Gardens Playground. This vast green carpet is the perfect place for lazing on a sunny afternoon while enjoying a picnic. Bike tour is one of the most exciting way to explore the wonders of the park. There are plenty of cycle lanes and off-road tracks in the park for the whole family to enjoy. Enjoy the beautiful Victorian Tea Room, which offers hot and cold dishes, snacks and freshly baked treats and was built in 1896.
2. Ardgillan Castle
This hidden gem has spectacular parklands overlooking the Irish Sea with a magnificent view of the Mourne Mountains. It offers great playground to toddlers, picnic tables and a range of facilities the public can avail of, including castle tours, theatre events, afternoon tea, plus much more!
3. Malahide Castle
It is surrounded by 260 acres of estate parkland and offers guided tours that will take you to the castle, through the grounds and the inside of the halls, and back. There is a café and a craft shop in the courtyard, along with other facilities such as exercise trail, several football, cricket and tennis pitches and a spot of golfing. There are also the Talbot botanical gardens, situated behind the castle, which features a beautiful collection of many plants from Chile, Australia and other parts of the world.
4. St. Stephen Green
This 9-hectare green space with extensive tree and shrub planting provide vibrant colour from early spring to late autumn. There’s an ornamental lake, which provides a home for waterfowl, and also a popular children’s playground. If you visit at lunchtime during the summer months, you might even catch a free concert. It’s just off the famous Grafton St.
5. Herbert Park
Herbert Park is in Ballsbridge, south Dublin. The park has football pitches, tennis, boules and croquet courts and a duck pond. It also has two playgrounds – one by Donnybrook which is more suitable to toddler and younger kids, and the other near Ballsbridge which is brilliant and works for kids of all ages. As well as having all the usual playground play units, swings and slides, there an elaborate climbing structure for older kids. The best part of Herbert Park is the Lolly & Cooks cafe! It's very kid friendly and perfect to grab a bite after running around the playground.
6. Father Collins Park
The Ireland’s first wholly sustainable park is managed by the Dublin City Council. Since the medieval times, it has been considered as farmlands, and is naturally comprised of woodlands and ancient hedgerows. It has a large lake - where kids can be fascinated by the ducks, swans and fountains - and a central promenade with 3 shelters offering shade and protection from the weather. Father Collins Park offers great facilities such as soccer pitches, a GAA pitch, a great playground, a skatepark and picnic sites.
7. National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland is Ireland's leading museum institution, with a strong emphasis on national and some international archaeology, Irish history, Irish art, culture, and natural history. Free Admission to all four of the museums, and booking is required. Opening hours are 10 am to 5 pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and 1 pm to 5 pm on Sunday & Monday.
8. National Leprechaum Museum
It’s a dedicated to Irish folklore and mythology, through oral storytelling experience, taking you on a trip to the Otherworld, home of leprechauns and other mythical creatures. Filled with your imagination and guided by the museum’s Storytellers, you'll go on a fantastic adventure. Explore the spaces, listen to the stories and learn about mythical Ireland.
9. The National Wax Museum Plus
In 2017, the museum has been re-imagined as the National Wax Museum Plus, and stepped outside the world of wax into the realm of interactive exhibits. It features few attractions for adults and children, such as The Vaults, Music & Entertainment, Science & Discovery, Chambers of Horror, Great Irish Writers, Father Ted’s Room, Wax World and Wax Hands. The Wax World is really focused entirely on kids’ imagination and their innate curiosity, with plenty of colour, cartoon wax figures and pillars painted like cake & sweets. The attraction promises to be the highlight of any fun filled family day out! The museum is open daily 10am – 7pm
Visiting Dublinia you have the opportunity to see what life was like onboard a Viking warship. Learn about the weaponry, the myths and mysteries surrounding the Vikings and their legacy. Also, discover how Dublin city is influenced by the Viking and Medieval eras, taking a flying visit over the Medieval city and immersive yourself in a new audio-visual experience, a story of one man’s life growing up in Medieval Dublin. Dublinia opens Thursday to Sundays, from 10.00am until 4.30. Recommended length of visit is 90 minutes.
11. The Old Library – Book of Kells
Get blown away by this tremendous cultural treasure and visit one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, the breathtaking Long Room. Home to 250,000 of Ireland’s most ancient texts, it has been a working library since 1732. Learn about the famous medieval manuscript and the rich symbolism and artistry behind the Book of Kells – a sacred text lavishly handcrafted over 1,000 years ago. Finish your tour in the gift shop, where beautiful items inspired by the Book of Kells and Trinity are available to take home. Discover all that Trinity campus has to offer, including the Science Gallery, Zoological Museum, summer accommodation, cafes, restaurants, and much more. It’s open Monday to Saturday from 9.30 to 17.00, and Sunday form 12.00 to 16:30.
12. Marsh’s Library – the oldest public Library
The library is a well-preserved library of the late Renaissance and early Enlightenment, one of the last 18th-century buildings in Ireland, and still used for its original purpose. It’s open Tuesday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm and on Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is €5 or €3 (students/seniors/concessions). Under 18s are admitted free.
13. Dublin Zoo
Officially Ireland’s biggest family attraction, not only offers a great day out for all, but also a journey of learning and discovery about the world’s precious wildlife. The animals can be observed in naturalistic spaces with vegetation, substrate and water features that reflects their native habitat. Dublin Zoo is part of a worldwide programme to breed endangered species, such as Rodrigues fruit bats, Golden lion tamarins, Siberian tiger, Asian elephants, hippopotamus, lion, giraffes, and more!
14. Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
It allows you to experience all the history and culture of Dublin in one visit. The City Tour Route - 1 hour 45 minutes and 30 stops visiting all the city's top attractions. Hop-off at any time to go visit the big bus tour attractions like Dublin Zoo, the Guinness Storehouse or The Book of Kells in Trinity College. Buses for the tour start at 9am daily from outside Dublin Bus Head Office at 59 Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin 1. The last tour of the day departs stop 1 at 17:00. Kids go FREE (1 under 15 with an adult), and you will receive a free Pat Liddy Walking Tour of Dublin, worth €15, with each Hop-on Hop-off ticket purchased. You can avail of free entry into The Little Museum of Dublin at St. Stephen’s Green, worth €10, an offer which is exclusive to DoDublin customers.
15. Kart City
For slightly older kids and adults alike Kart City is the place to go, over 1km of purpose-built track to race on and floodlit for night-time driving this is sure to get the adrenalin going.
Irelands largest indoor trampoline park, this is a kid’s paradise. Located just a 2 mins drive from Carlton Hotel Dublin Airport. If this doesnt tire them out nothing will!
17. Velvet Strand, Portmarnock
At Velvet Strand’s vast beach of smooth sand makes it the perfect play surface, a picnic spot or whatever your plan is. Portmarnock beach is five miles long and stretches all the way to Baldoyle and adjoins Malahide Beach. It’s one of the favourite beaches in Dublin with stunning views of Ireland’s Eye and Lambay Island. It has two car parks: North beach and South beach car parks. The North Beach car park gets full quickly especially in summer, so try the South Beach car park.
18. Dollymount Beach, Bull Island
Rich in flora and fauna Dollymount Beach is situated on Bull Island and is an addition to Dublin bay This Lovely sandy beach is 5 kilometres in lengths and is the closest beach to Dublin city.
Dollymount beach is also a home for some big annual events in Dublin – Battle of the Bay, Volleyball and the Kite Festival just to mention a few
The island has two golf courses and a number of car parks. The beach is also good for paddle boarding and kite surfing. In the North Bull Island Interpretative Centre you can discover more about the island’s history and its wildlife.
19. Sandymount Strand
It’s a large strand on the east coast of Ireland, adjacent to the village and suburb of Sandymount in Dublin. It’s a very popular destination for families, as it’s located so close to Dublin city. A beach where you can kick or throw a ball, jogging, run, play frisbee, have a walk, relax or enjoy a sunset. You can also walk to the lighthouse, but remember-it’s a long one!
20. Balcarrick Beach, Donabate
Located just 6 kilometres away from Dublin, Balcarric Beach is 3.5 kilometres long and is perfect for a walk, canoeing, running, jogging, meditating on the rocks or lying down on the beach. One of the favourite Dublin beaches, it offers walks along the beach and coast with scenery beautiful views of Lambay Island, Howth Peninsula and Malahide Estuary. And you can do some activities, such as play soccer, practice your golf swing or have a swim. Avail of a refreshing coastal walking route from Donabate beach to Portrane beach. It is a rocky path to walk on, so if you’re with your kids, keep an eye on them, because of the rocks and there are areas that are not secure with fencing and the drop down is drastic/dangerous. Car parking and toilet facilities are nearby.
21. North and South Beach, Skerries
The harbour town of Skerries (Skerries came second in the 2014 Best Place to Live in Ireland awards), which is about 38 minutes away from Dublin, is a home to two beaches. The North Beach is slightly less popular than the South Beach, which is two and a half kilometres in length. The South Beach is only two minutes away from the bustling Skerries town centre. It’s loved by locals and visitors, great for swimming and is serviced by lifeguards during the summer months. Amusements, promenade walks, play areas, rock pools, islands, breath-taking sunsets over the harbour and views out to the majestic black-and-white striped Rockabill lighthouse, which is 16 kilometres offshore.
22. Burrow Beach, Sutton
An award (the Green Coast Award for 2017) winning Burrow Beach in Sutton is a sandy beach with stunning views of Ireland’s Eye, pure white sand, Howth Head and Malahide on the horizon. It is 1.2 kilometres in length and connects Howth Head to the mainland. You can take a walk along the beach up to Howth, then you can walk the pier and replenish your heart with the stunning views. Burrow beach is a perfect family destination option for pleasurable time filled with tons of fun. The beach is monitored by Lifeguard station during the summer. It’s easily accessible by car and public transport. Take a bus no 31 or 31B to Sutton town or a dart to Sutton DART Station. The beach is accessible from there.