You wouldn’t expect a historic country house to also have a log flume and a climbing wall on their grounds. But Westport House combines a beautiful heritage estate with the Pirate Adventure Park, named after former resident and pirate queen Grace O'Malley. There’s a cannonball run slide, a swinging ship and even a mini ferris wheel. On Easter Sunday, their Treasure Hunt will have you racing around the grounds to find clues and prizes, with chocolate eggs up for grabs.
There are plenty of high octane adventures to be had at Wildlands, like climbing walls, disc golf and a giant Zip ‘n’ Trek course (which is ideal for teenagers). But there are also some more chilled out activities for younger kids. On April 16th and 17th, there will be an Easter egg hunt through the fairy trail, where the Easter bunny is also said to be paying a visit. Keep an eye out for the resident wild rabbits and the Wildlands hare, who is often found hopping around the park.
With woodland trails weaving alongside the lake and carved creatures dotted throughout the forest, Hazelwood is always a great spot for a family stroll. But from April 13th to 15th everything will be taken up a notch at the Easter Family Trail, with games, a teddy bear’s picnic and the all important Easter egg hunt. Be sure to bring some breadcrumbs to feed the friendly ducks too.
The biggest adventure park in the country, Skypark is the place to be for kids with the thrill seeking gene. There’s footgolf, aeroball, quaser and archery, but the real draw comes when you strap on a harness and take to the sky. There are over 30 aerial activities on offer, with monkey bars, zip lines, giant swings and skateboards which will see you climb, jump and whizz through the sky up to 40 feet off the ground. You must be at least 1.2m tall to take part, but there is a fun junior version for kids aged between 5 and 8.
If you have any fairy lovers in the family, they’ll love the Easter Fairy Adventure at Fota House and Gardens. The interactive experience takes place on April 15th and 16th and will include dancing, theatre activities and games, with the kids getting their own fairy wings and wand as well as a flower crown. While they’re away with the fairies, you can explore the Arboretum and gardens, or sit with a pot of tea and a slice of carrot cake in the café.
You mightn’t find the actual Easter bunny in their midst, but the baby rabbits at the Clonfert Pet Farm are so cute it won’t even matter. Visit the farm for their Easter Festival and you’ll get to say hello to all the resident animals, from llamas to lemurs, meerkats to parrots. Held from April 9th to 17th, the festival includes a fun fair, treasure hunt and face painting as well as all the usual animals. There’s also a chocolate bunny for all the kids upon arrival.
The grounds of Belvedere House are great for kids, with hidden creatures in the fairy garden and mythical characters found along the Narnia Trail. But from April 15th to 17th, the Easter Treasure Trail will have even more to explore along the way, with goodies to win and an activity booklet to complete. Even better, children up to the age of 3 can attend for free, though they must be booked in along with the rest of the family.
Whether your kids want to clamber over the towers in the Adventure Play Kingdom or have a bash at ziplining in the forest, Lough Key Forest Park is a hive of adventure. But there’s also plenty that you can enjoy as a family, like the teamworking challenge of Boda Borg or the treetop canopy walk that’s suitable for all ages. The route takes you all the way through the forest and out to the Moylurg tower, where you have a great view of the lake and its islands.
Celebrate the start of the new season with the Spring Festival at Slieve Aughty Centre, where there are a huge variety of events and activities available every day from April 9th to 24th. You can take a family walk through the Enchanted Forest, meet the pot-bellied pig Winnie and tuck into some homemade pancakes in the café. Kids over the age of five can have a ride on the horses or ponies and make a spring craft in one of the workshops. Or you can leave the craftiness to the experts and make the most of the festival’s face painters.
For most of us, Easter and chocolate go hand in hand. But why do we eat eggs at Easter and what does the tradition look like around the world? Well, kids can find out at the history workshop at Richmond Barracks, led by Dublin’s Historian-in-Residence for Children, Dervilia Roche on April 14th. She’ll explain where the tradition of Easter eggs comes from and there will also be egg decorating and a hunt in the garden, too.