The family-friendly mischief of the Púca Festival digs down into Halloween’s native roots, with eerie events across the towns of Trim and Athboy from October 28 to 31. Bring the kids on a woodland walk or treasure hunt, marvel in the aerialist performances and all-ages fun at the Celtic Voyage Circus, or step back in time at the Déise Medieval living history village at Trim Castle. There's a mixture of free and and ticketed events on to explore across all four days.
Enjoy a day of interactive games and play for all ages in Ashbourne, County Meath. Tayto Park sends you down their Tricky Trail, a treasure hunt with storytelling and magical performances to spark little imaginations. Find your treat (or trick) and visit the Scare Chair for a ghastly group photo. Event entry is included in all Tayto Park ticket prices, and under threes go free.
Come nightfall, at Tayto Park After Dark experience the twists and turns of the mighty Cú Chulainn Coaster (Europe’s largest wooden roller coaster), or soar through the twilight on the Endeavour at dizzying speed. Tickets allow unlimited access to these white-knuckle favourites and more, though pre-booking is essential.
During warmer months, the Bee Wise Nature Trail blooms with bee-loving trees, shrubs and flowers across its five acres of woodland outside Trim. In October, the trail transforms into the spooky Bee Tricked & Bee Treated walk, where littles ones dressed in costume can meet friendly witches, ghosts and skeletons and get a treat from their cauldrons. Older kids can come back in the evening (accompanied by an adult) for the Forest of Doom night tour. Pre-booking is essential for these Halloween walks.
Have a ball at The Irish Military War Museum in Collon with Inflatables & Pumpkin Picking. Bounce through the obstacle course before grabbing a snack in the all-weather picnic area. Once you pick your perfect pumpkin, carve it in the marquee or take it away to make a macabre masterpiece later. It’s worth booking in advance, and children’s tickets include a free pumpkin.
At sundown, goblins and ghouls appear for Spooky Nights in the Museum. Each child is given a ghost-busting torch to ward off spectres as the museum comes uniquely alive after hours, and you can visit the pumpkin patch by starlight. Pre-booking is recommended (torch, pumpkin, entry into the inflatable paddocks, maze, and play area are included with every kids’ ticket).
With fanciful Halloween activities for families with 2 to 12 year olds, there’s something creepy afoot at Causey Farm near Navan. Pooka Spooka has a hayride that delights, alongside a spellbinding magic show. You can test your mettle in the Mirror Maze and end the day with a spot of severed Limb Throwing. Get a leg up by booking in advance (kids under two get in for free).
Join Boyne Boats on their Halloween Mythology Tour and float back in time on Ireland’s oldest canal. Board in Oldbridge for a 90-minute Púca Paddle with tales of history and mystery as you wind along. Learn of Boann, Goddess of the Boyne and find out how the Salmon of Knowledge got so clever as the Boyne Canal’s legends unfold. Suitable for all ages and best to book in advance.
Just two minutes from Newgrange and neighbour to the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre is the Red Mountain Open Farm. Visitors can choose from a range of indoor and outdoor experiences at the farm, from playing in the Halloween Barn and Witches’ Den to cuddling fluffy bunnies. Junior farmers can test drive a toy tractor, or take a family spin on the Ghost Carriage. Booking in advance is recommended.
Take in autumn in the Boyne Valley by walking or cycling the Carlingford Lough Greenway with the gang. The route passes old railway lines, and the panoramic views across the mountains of Mourne make for a stunning backdrop. With a mostly flat, gravel trail that takes about an hour and a half to complete by foot, it's not too tiring for little legs.
If it’s adventure you’re after, set a course for Carlingford and kick off an action-packed day. Drop into Carlingford Adventure Centre and choose from over 20 activities, including kayaking, water trampolining and rock climbing. There are three unique zones spread across Carlingford Lough and the Cooley Mountains, so no matter which activity you choose, you'll be surrounded by pretty autumnal landscapes.
The Loughcrew Historic Gardens in picturesque Oldcastle are as spellbinding for kids as they are for adults, with a medieval moat and Alice in Wonderland-inspired sculptures throughout the grounds. Little ones take particular interest in the Enchanted Garden, which transforms into a fantastic lightscape spectacle, dotted with fairies and figures from Irish mythology, starting in November.