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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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Filled with history and adventure, Ireland’s Ancient East makes for a great region to explore on a family day out. From the eerie dungeons of Wicklow Gaol to zip-lining through the forest in Kilkenny, there's plenty to keep the kids entertained.

Here are a few ideas for your next family outing in Ireland’s Ancient East.

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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, the whole family can wander through a reimagined Viking settlement and say 'hello' to the park's array of birds of prey. Cap the day off with a family sleepover in a replica 1,500-year-old ring fort.

People on tour of the Irish National Heritage Park in County Wexford.
Take an expert-led tour at Irish National Heritage Park.
2Wicklow Gaol, Wicklow

Discover the history of Wicklow Gaol, which operated between 1702 and 1922, through their interactive tour led by knowledgeable guides. As you peek into the spooky dungeons and hear tales of hauntings in days gone by, you're sure to feel a chill down your spine. 

Exterior image of Wicklow Gaol in Wicklow town
Discover the spooky history of Wicklow Gaol.
3Carlingford Adventure Centre, Louth

On your next family day out, explore the medieval town of Carlingford and walk its winding streets. For an adrenaline rush, head to Carlingford Adventure Centre and check out the activities on offer like zorbing, rock-climbing, abseiling and kayaking. 

Several kids kayaking at Carlingford Adventure Centre in County Louth
Have fun on the water at Carlingford Adventure Centre.
4Emo Court, Laois

Make your way to County Laois for a stroll through the gardens and expansive parklands of Emo Court. Explore the woodlands, lakes and statues that stretch across the 35 hectares of land, and even take part in the outdoor games as a family. Before you leave, find a pretty spot and break for a family picnic.

5Russborough House and Parklands, Wicklow

While this 18th century building is a Palladian masterpiece, the grounds of Russborough House are a dream for families. Take on 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 to help bring the day to a relaxing conclusion.

A little boy rock climbing at Russborough House and Parklands in County Wicklow.
Give rock climbing a go at Russborough House and Parklands.
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 – designed by one of Japan’s great horticulturalists, Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. 

Three kids petting horses at Irish National Stud in County Kildare
Say 'hello' to the horses at Irish National Stud.
7Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience, Kilkenny

Book in for the Kilkenny Way Hurling Experience and get a hands-on introduction to the ancient game. Here, sports fans big and small can learn about the finer points of blocking and free-taking. 

8Castlecomer Discovery Park and Visitor Centre, Kilkenny

Take the family to new heights at Castlecomer Discovery Park with their Tree Top Adventure Walk. Savour bird's eye views of the entire park while trying out Ireland's longest zipline. If heights aren't your thing don't worry, take the family on a canoe trip on the lake or visit the Elf and Fairy Village before stopping for a coffee in The Canopy Café.

A woman on the tree top obstacle course at Castlecomber Discovery Park in County Kilkenny
Swing from the trees at Castlecomber Discovery Park.
9Hook Head Lighthouse and Dunbrody Famine Ship, Wexford

Recognised as the oldest operating lighthouse in the world, Hook Head Lighthouse has been guiding ships entering Wexford Harbour for 800 years. Complete the nautical adventure with a visit to the Dunbrody Famine Ship where you can hear true stories of those who braved the trip from Ireland to the United States during the Famine through interactive tours. 

10Shandon Bells, English Market and Ballycotton Lighthouse, Cork

Head to Cork city and explore the inner workings of the Shandon Bells clock tower at St Anne's Church. Brave the 132 steps to the summit where you can not only enjoy 360 degree views of the city, you and the kids can also ring the bell yourselves. Afterwards, feed your appetites with a feast in the English Market before rounding off the day with a trip to Ballycotton Lighthouse.

Exterior image of the Shandon Bells at St Anne's Church in County Cork
Ring the iconic bells at St Anne's Church.
Uncover more of Ireland's Ancient East

Whether you're looking for a peaceful stroll or an action-packed adventure, there are plenty of family-friendly activities to do in Ireland’s Ancient East. Enjoy planning your trip to this must-see part of the country. 

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