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10 ideas for families exploring Ireland's Ancient East
Take all the family on a trip to explore Ireland's Ancient East.
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Ireland’s Ancient East is full of wonderful, quirky things to do for the whole family. Explore the eerie dungeons of Wicklow Gaol, zip-line through the forest in Meath or travel back in time and visit the Dunbrody Famine Ship in Wexford.

Plan an epic family outing and see some of the treasures of Ireland’s Ancient East, try out these unique experiences now.

1Irish National Heritage Park, Wexford

Immerse yourself in five thousand years of Irish history at the Irish National Heritage Park in Ferrycarrig, Wexford. With 16 separate sites dotted through 35 acres of woodland and wetland, have a family sleepover in a replica 1,500-year-old ring fort. A bucket list experience for both young and old, why not plan your visit now? 

2Wicklow Gaol, Wicklow

Discover the history of Wicklow Gaol which operated between 1702 and 1922. Take the brilliant, interactive tour led by knowledgeable guides, visit the spooky dungeons and feel the chill as you listen to strange tales of haunted happenings in days gone by. 

3Carlingford Adventure Centre, Louth

Explore the pretty, medieval town of Carlingford and walk the narrow, winding streets, it’s the perfect family day out. Head to Carlingford Adventure Centre and check out the activities for all ages and levels of skills. Choose from zorbing, rock-climbing, abseiling and kayaking. 

4Emo Court House, Laois

Roam the gorgeous gardens and expansive parklands of Emo Court House, tire your children out with plenty of fresh air and outdoor games. Stroll around the picturesque estate with over 35 hectares of woodland walks, statues and a 20-acre lake. Find a pretty spot and break for a family picnic, making some special memories.

Emo Court
5Russborough House and Parklands, Wicklow

While this beautiful 18th century building is a Palladian masterpiece, the grounds of Russborough House are a dream for families. Kids can get lost in the 2000m beech hedge maze, have a go at rock climbing in the adventure centre or go wild in the playground. There are also looped walks of various lengths for a peaceful family stroll. 

6Irish National Stud, Kildare

The  Irish National Stud is one of the world’s leading thoroughbred breeding centres. Take a guided tour to see the magnificent creatures up close. Top your visit off with a wander through the Japanese Gardens – a true masterpiece designed by one of Japan’s great horticulturalists, Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. 

7Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience, Kilkenny

Book in for the Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience  and get a hands-on introduction to the ancient game. Learn about the finer points of blocking and free-taking, perfect for your mini sports fans.

8Castlecomer Discovery Park and Visitor Centre, Kilkenny

Enjoy some family fun at Castlecomer Discovery Park. Get a birds-eye view of the park from the Tree Top Adventure Walk and don't miss a chance to try out Ireland's longest zipline. Take a canoe trip on the lake and bring the little ones to see the Elf and Fairy Village before stopping for a coffee in The Canopy Café.

9Hook Head Lighthouse and Dunbrody Famine Ship, Wexford

Head to Hook Head Lighthouse, recognised as the oldest operating lighthouse in the world, its magnificent beacon has been guiding ships entering Wexford Harbour for 800 years. Journey on to the Dunbrody Famine Ship where the costumed characters and interactive tours capture your children’s imaginations.  

10Shandon Bells, English Market and Ballycotton Lighthouse, Cork

For a unique experience, visit the legendary Shandon Bells  in Cork City. Become a bell ringer for the afternoon, explore the inner workings of the famous clock and climb 132 steps to enjoy spectacular 360 degree views of the city. Afterwards, forage for a feast in the English Market and round off the day with a trip to the stunning Ballycotton Lighthouse.

With so many things to do in Ireland’s Ancient East, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained. Enjoy planning your trip to this interesting and exciting part of the country. 

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