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Ireland with Kids. Rolling green hills traversed by single lane roads lined with old rock walls connect tiny villages where locals gather in the town pub to play traditional Irish music sessions. Ireland is a vast and complex island, a place where Lewis Carrol’s phrase “the more things change the more they stay the same” rings very true. While Dublin is a very modern, cosmopolitan city, traditions remain strong with pubs blasting Irish music and an independent spirit that remains strong through generations. Once beyond Dublin, however, Ireland is mainly rural countryside punctuated with towns that seem lost in time. Many are saved that way for tourists, Killarney being a prime example, but even there an authentic Irish spirit prevails in traditional music sessions and Gaelic speaking locals. To the northwest, where tourism is less of a magnet, the real culture of Ireland with kids shines through in farm towns and rural lifestyles and historical castles dotting the coast
and countryside. The dramatic landscapes of the rugged Atlantic coast, the limestone crags of the Burren and Connemara and the beautiful peninsulas made so famous in film here provide a setting like no other and the family will love exploring it all!
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With rolling green hills dotted by fluffy white sheep and stone walls, a culture rich in song and dance and castles galore, Ireland makes an incredible family vacation…and now make it even more fun in the company of other like-minded families! Travel With Kids is offering a Family Adventure Tour to this magical island. Capitalize on the ten years of family travel expertise from the Travel With Kids team while enjoying fun family, and friend time! Learn about Ireland’s political history and their history in sports with hands-on activities in Dublin, including learning to play Gaelic games like hurling and handball. Head to the northwest coast to immerse in Gaelic culture – with Irish dance lessons and traditional music sessions. Witness nature at its most powerful in the geological formations on the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. Then, head south to Killarney for some good Irish “Craic” (fun). Plus, you can’t leave Ireland without getting the gift of gab by kidding the Blarney Stone and the whole family will love horseback riding along the Dingle Peninsula and learning the art of falconry while staying in a real castle!
Ireland with Kids Day 1:
After landing at Dublin Airport, transfer to your hotel independently where you can check-in and leave your bags before heading to the stadium where you will learn the art of Gaelic games and why they are so important to Ireland’s identity. Then, try your hand at hurling, Gaelic football and handball.
Overnight Ashling Hotel or similar.
Today, you are free to explore Dublin on your own. Travel With Kids provides you tickets and a map for the hop-on, hop-off bus, which gets you to most of Dublin’s tourist sites, as well as an exclusive scavenger hunt that will keep kids of all ages hunting through Dublin’s attractions to see it all!
In the evening, immerse in Gaelic culture at a local pub where you will learn to play the bodhran drum and Irish dance.
Overnight Ashling Hotel or similar. (B)
Depart Dublin and drive north to visit the Boyne Valley Visitor Centre to learn about the nearby passage tombs of Newgrange and Knowth constructed over 5,000 years ago. Learn about why they were built and how they were used as calendars. Next visit the actual tomb of Knowth, which is similar in size to Newgrange and is
surrounded by 18 smaller satellite mounds.
Continue on across Ireland to your hotel in Westport. Upon arrival check into your hotel and enjoy some time to settle in before dinner. In the evening join your fellow travelers for dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Overnight at Castlecourt Hotel or similar. (B, D)
Days 4 and 5:
Day at leisure to explore Westport. You many opt to peruse the shops of the quaint downtown area, or head south on Clew Bay to climb St. Patrick, a pilgrimage place for people from around the world, or let the kids play at Westport House, or take a ferry to Clare Island for some adventure activities.
Overnight at Castlecourt Hotel or similar. (B, D – on one day dinner included, on day dinner on your own)
Leaving Westport see part of the Burren Country, a region of limestone hills containing a wealth of rare flowers and prehistoric stone monuments. Enjoy a brief
stop in the town of Kilfenora to view the High Crosses. There are six today that still remain. Continue on to visit Poulnabrone Dolmen, one of the most dramatic stone grave markers built about 4000 years ago. Like a piece of sculpture, it is one of the most photographed in the world. Then travel along the coast to view the Cliffs of Moher, a wall of rock that plunges 700 feet to the churning Atlantic Ocean below.
Take a short ferry ride across the River Shannon Estuary to the mountainous countryside of Kerry. Arrive in Killarney and check into your hotel. Enjoy the balance
of the day to sightsee, shop and dine on your own.
Overnight Cahernane House or similar. (B)
Today discover the beauties of the Dingle Peninsula, made famous by David Lean’s movie, “Ryan’s Daughter.” Drive along the south shore of the peninsula for plenty of vistas of heathery mountains, sandy stretches of beach and rocky headlands. There will be frequent stops at strategic locations to admire the views and take photos.
Stop in the town of Dingle to start your horseback riding excursion along the Cnoc an Cairn Trail. At the mountain’s brow, the path splits so that riders can be separated based on experience. Beginners will see lovely scenery such as views of the Atlantic Ocean along with the rugged islands, located off shore. Meanwhile, those more accomplished riders, will set off on the canter track.
After a lunch on your own in Dingle Town, continue to the western tip of the peninsula. Here, the scenery becomes wilder as the influence of the open Atlantic
Ocean strengthens. You will pass early Christian monastic beehive huts and small fishing villages. Return to Killarney for a free evening.
Overnight Cahernane House or similar. (B)
This morning, drive a few miles outside of Cork to Blarney to climb to the battlements of Blarney Castle to kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence.” After your
visit, return to Killarney for a free afternoon and evening. You may like to visit St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral with its soaring spire; the Franciscan Friary with superb stained glass windows; and the Transport Museum containing a fine collection of vintage cars. You may like to take a walk to Ross Castle on the shores of Lough Leane or a jaunting car ride to Muckross House. Dine in one of the many pubs and restaurants and you may like to find a “singing bar” for some entertainment.
Overnight Cahernane House or similar. (B)
Leaving Killarney, drive north into the Shannonside region, where many castles and Shannon Airport are located. Arrive at Dromoland Castle Hotel, one of Ireland’s finest castle hotels. It is one of the few castle hotels that can trace its ownership back through history to Gaelic Irish families of royal heritage. The Castle offers all guests deluxe accommodation and the experience of living as "Landed Gentry,” surrounded by breathtaking scenery, absolute luxury and exceptional service.
In the late morning, attend a falconry performance, where you will see beautiful captive bred birds such as falcons, hawks and owls. Also, you get to hold and even
fly a few of the falcons. After your activity, check into your hotel and enjoy some time to freshen up before tonight’s festivities.
This evening join in the fun and feasting at Knappogue Castle. Your medieval-style banquet is served in the Great Hall of the 15th century castle during which the lords and ladies of the castle transport you in spirit to the Middle Ages with their songs and stories.
Overnight Dromoland Castle Hotel or similar. (B, D)
After breakfast, transfer to Shannon airport for your on-ward flight.
Visit the local sports stadium to learn about the history and significance of Gaelic games and why they are so important to the Irish people. After some instruction, try your hand at hurling, Gaelic football and handball.
TWK Exclusive: Hop-On, Hop Off Scavenger Hunt
Board your hop-on, hop-off bus to explore all the sites Dublin has for tourists. With your TWK scavenger list in hand, you will be propelled forward hunting in some obscure corners of Dublin’s main attractions and learning interesting bits of Dublin history along the way.
Irish Music and Dance Session
Music and dance are key components of Ireland’s culture as you will find out during your journey around the island. Get started on your journey right with some lessons on playing the bodhran drum and learning the steps of some traditional Irish dances.
Horse Back Riding on the Dingle Peninsula
Explore the rolling green hills, dotted by white sheep and farmhouses, they way they did in the Middle Ages: by horseback. Hop on your horse and saunter through the Irish countryside with amazing views of the hills and the Atlantic Ocean. Rides range from beginner to advanced.
Learn about birds of prey and how they were used in Middle Ages Ireland. Watch as they fly gracefully through the air and then return to their handler with ease. Then, take your turn holding and flying these graceful birds.
Attend a medieval banquet in a real castle. Arrive at sunset for drinks and greetings from the lady and lord of the castle. Be entertained by traditional music and dance. Then, dig in to a real medieval feast…you can even eat with your hands!
Visit and Admission Fees
Boyne Valley Visitor Centre & Knowth
Kilfenora (High Crosses)
Cliffs of Moher
Blarney Castle & Woollen Mills
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