Visit Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands
Plan a stay at Center Parcs, Longford and explore 400 acres of stunning woodland. Make family memories on a cycle of the scenic grounds or try water sports on the lake. Book dinner at one of the park’s restaurants or cook up a feast at your lodge. Choose from a lakeside or woodland lodge, there’s dog-friendly accommodation too if the family pooch is in tow.
If your dad fancies himself as a bit of an action man, head to Leitrim Adventure in Carrick-on-Shannon. Blow off steam with airsoft shooting, bounce around with a game of bubble soccer, get fast and furious on the track with some buggy racing, or hit the water on a hovercraft. Packages including overnight accommodation are also available.
Enjoy striking views and fresh air as you stroll through Lough Key Forest and Activity Park in Roscommon. The activity park’s Boda Borg Challenge is a great family bonding game, where you use brain and brawn to work your way through a range of puzzles. If you’ve a head for heights, swing your way through the Zipit highwire adventure.
Row your cares away on Lough Oughter when you hire a kayak from Cavan Adventure Centre. Take in the gorgeous lake views as you learn the history of Lough Oughter Castle, which sits on an island in the middle of the lake. Have a picnic and admire the area’s unique wildlife – this is a family experience you won’t forget.
If your dad loves to fish, an Angling Safari in Westmeath is the perfect day out. Local fisherman Alan Broderick brings you out on Lough Derravaragh’s calm waters, while sharing tips and tricks aboard his custom-built boat.
Ramble on the looped walkways, explore the fairy trail with the kids and check out the stunning sculptures on a trip to Lough Boora Discovery Park in Offaly. Hire a bike and cycle the scenic tracks – stop at the Sky Train for the perfect photo opportunity. Fishing fans can angle at Loch an Dochais and drop into the Visitor Centre café for tea and a chat afterwards.
7. Book a day out in Dublin
Treat your dad to a tour of Dublin Bay with Dublin Bay Cruises. Go from Howth to Dún Laoghaire or take the Howth to Ireland’s Eye cruise. Sit back with a coffee, drink in the sea air and look out for local landmarks along the way.
In Donabate, find Newbridge House and Farm. Children can meet and greet the gorgeous Shetland ponies, baby chicks and cute rabbits. Listen to stories from Georgian times with a tour of Newbridge House and grab some delicious treats from the Coach House Café.
Plan a family day out at Airfield Estate in Dundrum, where the kids love collecting eggs and saying hello to the friendly pigs and chickens. Stroll through the stunning gardens and pick up some locally produced food at The Farmers Market, open on Friday and Saturday.
Travel to Ireland’s Ancient East
Tee up a round of golf with your dad at Concra Wood Golf and Country Club in Monaghan. Brush up on your skills and see who comes out on top in this family competition. Later, stop off at the club restaurant for dinner, where the winner can have a creamy pint while looking out at panoramic views of Lough Muckno.
Go camping with your dad in the Glen of Aherlow. Take on one of the looped walks or rugged hikes and soak up the spectacular scenery. Catch brown trout in the River Aherlow and cook up a storm for dinner. Settle in for the night at the Glen of Aherlow Caravan and Camping Park before waking up to another day exploring this scenic part of Tipperary.
Treat your dad to a top quality go karting experience at the high tech Whiteriver Park track in Louth. The 1.2km long track is built to FIA standards, features precise computer timing systems and top of the line racing karts. Book in for a family day out with karts available for everyone from eight years old and up.
Go places you never thought you could on a fatbike, the extra wide wheels allow you to glide over rough terrain and soft sand as if it was a smooth greenway. Book in for a tour this Father's Day with Fatbike Adventures Cycling Tours and explore the incredible Wicklow Mountains National Park, gorgeous Wicklow coast and stunning forests.
If your dad is a history buff, don’t miss a visit to the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne in Meath. Go on a fascinating guided tour of the Neolithic monuments of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. Walk through the famous passage tomb and listen as a knowledgeable guide explains the unique features.
Journey to medieval times and learn the stories of the Fianna, Saint Brigid and the Normans on the Legends of Kildare VR Tour. After a guide in medieval costume greets you at the Heritage Centre, you’ll don a virtual reality headset and begin your adventure.
If your dad is a green-fingered guru, bring him to Altamont Gardens in Carlow. Walk around the magnificent old-world estate and admire the flowers in full bloom. Purchase a plant or two as a memento of your visit from the on-site nursery and stop by the café for a takeaway coffee. Dogs aren’t allowed in the gardens, so you’ll have to leave your furry friend at home for this trip.
Blow off the cobwebs and enjoy quality family time with a hike up the Slieve Bloom Mountains, which stretch across Laois and Offaly. Take a gentle walk through the Silver River nature walk or cycle the Baunreagh Trail – the team over at Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Centre have a fleet of rental bikes to choose from. The region has breathtaking views and unique wildlife.
Is your dad an adrenaline junkie? Then push him to his limits at the Irish Skydiving Club. For a one-off experience, try the tandem skydive where you jump from a plane at 3050m altitude at speeds of 200kmph. This one is not for the fainthearted.
Hop on board the Waterford Suir Valley Railway in Kilmeadan, Waterford, and travel back in time to the golden age of rail. The heritage railway is a 10km stretch of the unused Waterford Dungarvan line and trains leave on the hour for the 40-minute trip. Running alongside the tracks, the 46km walking and cycling trail is a picturesque route.
Stranded seals are found around the Irish coastline every year, and Seal Rescue Ireland always needs extra hands to join their network of volunteers. Book in for the Seal Rescue Training Workshop in Wexford with your dad and you’ll both be qualified to operate under the organisation’s Handling Licence. Workshops take place on several dates over the summer.
Enjoy the Wild Atlantic Way
Journey to Dromoland Castle, Clare, for an unforgettable day out with your dad. Get up close and personal with majestic falcons and owls on a Hawk Walk in the castle grounds. Play a round of golf or try your hand at clay pigeon shooting. End your day with some delicious food and the house special cocktail at the hotel’s restaurant.
Visit Tynagh, 40 minutes outside Galway City, for a day at Pallas Karting and Paintball. Unleash your inner Grand Prix driver on the 1500m track and hit speeds of 90kph – younger drivers can stick to the 500m beginner’s track. Make time for a competitive game of paintball, with four battle zones to choose from.
Book a cruise from Cong with Corrib Cruises and relax on the calm waters of Lough Corrib. Back on dry land, a stroll around stunning Ashford Castle and afternoon tea is the perfect way to finish the day.
On the list of great things to do with your dad, stargazing rates highly. Travel to Mayo’s Dark Sky Park which borders Wild Nephin National Park. Bring a picnic on a clear night and see the Milky Way, shooting stars, and meteor showers.
There’s lots to do near Fanad Head in Donegal. Take a tour of Fanad Lighthouse, walk by the coast to soak up the scenery of the Inishowen Peninsula or book a boat trip with Rathmullan Charters on Lough Swilly.
Water babies of all ages love Offshore Watersports in Mullaghmore, Sligo. Experience the thrill of scuba diving, explore the seabed with a spot of snorkelling, or take a spin in a powerboat. Activities can be tailored for children and beginners.
Keen cyclists enjoy the challenge of cycling the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails. Hire a bike, pick a route, and test yourself with mammoth climbs and tricky rocky routes. Check out one of the five trails or extend your break and make a weekend of it, there’s plenty of accommodation nearby.
Marvel at the wonders of the ocean with a Whale Watch West Cork boat trip. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, seals, basking sharks and minke whales. The Voyager boat departs from Baltimore Harbour, a 15-minute drive from Skibbereen town.
Take on a family challenge at Pat Falvey’s Irish and Worldwide Adventures in Killarney. Chat as you climb to the peak of Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest peak, or feel the force on a visit to Skellig Michael, where Star Wars classics The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi were filmed.
From the wilds of the Wicklow Mountains to the waters of West Cork, there are so many amazing things to do with your dad across the country. Book in for one of these experiences and enjoy a special day making memories together. For more inspiration on family fun, check out our list of Great Staycations.