Manage episode 196713552 series 1207151
Anyone considering an Ireland family vacation will be looking for the best things to do in Ireland with kids. This week’s guest has a lot of experience in discovering Ireland for kids.
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Ireland with Kids: Building an Ireland Family Vacation Itinerary
Meet Jody Halsted, manager of the Ireland Family Vacations blog and a regular visitor to the Emerald Isle. Jody goes to Ireland with kids every year, and she still hasn’t seen it all. For a country the size of the US state of Indiana, Ireland is a culturally dense place to explore, with plenty of fun for the entire family. In this episode of Epic Education Radio, we discuss the food, the festivals and the fun that Ireland offers to families.
Why Ireland with Kids?
Ireland is full of fun, exciting and educational opportunities for traveling families. There are castles and stories of princesses and fairies. There are festivals, music, and art. In addition, Ireland has a history steeped in science and literature. Writers, scholars, astronomers and other scientists called Ireland home. Their stories are waiting to be explored in Ireland with kids.
Then there are the beautiful nature walks and the filming locations. Ireland’s natural beauty is unique in the world. That’s one reason why movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and TV shows like HBO’s Game of Thrones filmed here.
In addition to all this, Ireland is safe and full of friendly English-speaking people. Therefore, there is no language barrier for visitors from North America, Australia and elsewhere. Despite this, she says, Ireland family travel is not a focus of Ireland Tourism Board. There are families who want to explore Ireland with teens. There are young parents who want to visit Ireland with toddlers. However, Jody says that the country markets mainly to older travelers and honeymooners. Families just aren’t their target demographic.
This is an opportunity that Jody has taken advantage of. With her site, Ireland Family Vacations, she helps families who want to visit Ireland with children get the most out of their time there. In today’s episode, we discuss her travel tips for a great Ireland family vacation itinerary. Listen in for many fun and educational opportunities in Ireland for kids.
Best Times to Visit Ireland with Kids
Weather-wise, there is no one distinct season to visit Ireland with children. That said, there will be some rain almost every day, so plan your wardrobe accordingly. Even in the middle of summer, you should plan for the chance of wet weather and cooler temperatures.
Weather aside, Jody recommended visiting in the shoulder seasons. July and August are peak times. With this in mind, consider visiting Ireland with kids in May/June or in September. During these shoulder seasons, you’ll find smaller crowds and slightly better weather.
Events in Ireland for Kids
Jody talks about the music festivals and the Christmas Markets in Ireland. Whether you’re in Ireland with babies or in Ireland with teens, there will always be something great to see and do.
We also talk about St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, which is quite different than what many people might expect. Many an Ireland family vacation itinerary includes Saint Patrick's Day in Dublin or elsewhere. Yet you should be aware that it is not the booze-fueled party that you may find in North America.
Sure, a lot of bars in the big cities are cashing in on the holiday’s notorious reputation. But you can enjoy Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland with children without going on a beer-guzzling bender. For many Irish families, St. Patrick'ds Day is a holy day. In fact, for many places in Ireland, the pubs are closed and people are at home having a feast with their families.
Food in Ireland for Kids
When considering Ireland family travel, many parents want to know about food options. In case you’re wondering, yes, you’ll find lots of potato dishes when you visit Ireland, but as Jody explains, there is much more than that.
Most of Ireland is rural, she explains, so you can expect much of the menu items to be local. Local vegetables, meats, and fish, in particular. Picky eaters will find chicken cutlets, shepherd's pie and fish and chips just about everywhere, and menus are clearly marked for allergies.
If you don’t find what you’re looking for, she says, just ask. There’s a good chance that they can whip up some standard dishes for you off-menu.
10 Days in Ireland with Kids: Ireland Travel Itinerary
Jody has discovered that most people are looking for a nine to ten-day Ireland family vacation itinerary. That's usually five weekdays bookended by two weekends.
Most people fly in and out of Dublin. But if you want to see more, she recommends starting in Dublin but then flying out of Shannon or Cork.
Dublin with Kids
You could spend your entire trip in and around Dublin with kids if you wanted, says Jody. There is so much to do in Dublin with children, but Ireland is more than its capital city! If your Ireland travel itinerary is around ten days, then spend two days or less in Dublin with children.
One of her top recommendations here is the Museum of Archaeology. You can be in Ireland with tweens, teens, or toddlers, and you’ll find something interesting here.
More recommendations on Dublin for kids in the interview.
Cork with Kids or Kilkenny with Kids?
After leaving Dublin, Jody says it’s time to make some decisions. With limited time, you may need to decide between visiting Cork or Kilkenny.
In Cork, you have the Blarney Castle, the Black Rock Castle, and all of the history of the Titanic’s Voyage. You also have the tour of the Jamison Factory. Whiskey drinker or not, Jody says that this is a surprisingly interesting tour (I know I love visiting similar places).
In Kilkenny, you have one of the only round towers where you can climb all the way to the top. In addition, Kilkenny has something special for sports fans: hurling. This Irish sport resembles something between rugby and field hockey, and you can watch a game in Kilkenny.
Killarney, Limerick, & Much More
From here, Jody describes so many more things to do in Ireland with kids. We talk about the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle Peninsula. She tells me about the Bunratty Castle and its historical reenactments.
We also discuss the merits and dangers of visiting Skellig Michael. This is the UNESCO Heritage site where Star Wars: The Last Jedi was filmed, but it's not built for tourism. (Spoiler alert: don’t visit with little kids).
There is one of the most information-rich episodes I’ve ever recorded. If you’re planning am Ireland travel itinerary — or know someone who is — then this is the episode for you. I simply can’t write it all down here. Listen in and hear for yourself!
Timecodes: In This Episode
- 02:36 Intro
- 03:39 Homeschooling
- 05:27 Why Visit Ireland? Why Visit Ireland with Kids?
- 12:26 When to Visit Ireland with Children
- 20:50 Food in Ireland for Kids and Picky Eaters
- 27:18 Irish Destinations, Attractions in Ireland and Ireland Travel Itineraries
- 30:19 Dublin with Kids
- 33:42 Kilkenny or Cork with kids?
- 47:23 Where Else in Ireland? County Donegal & and more
- Names: Jody Halsted
- Hold passports from: USA
- Type of travel: Ireland Family Vacations
Travel Gear & What to Bring to Ireland with Kids
Links & Resources
Find Jody Online
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help your travel. We hope that this helps you find things to do in Ireland with kids. Are looking for things to do in Ireland with teens. Or visiting Ireland with toddlers? No matter what kind of Ireland family travel you have planned, I hope that my conversation with Jody helps!
Full-on family travel fundamentals. Epic Education Radio is interviews, stories and advice for people who decide to make travel a priority in their family's life...and for those who want to. Tune in each week to hear stories and advice from new traveling families, and hear how they've handled various family travel-related issues like education, socialization, working, budgeting, accommodation, road-parenting, safety, technology and more. We talk gear, websites, apps and other resources for traveling & nomadic families, and answer questions from those who would like to do something similar.