Trips to Ireland with kids: tips for exploring Dublin, Cork, and Galway

Our Pit Stops for Kids international travel tips section is growing! Have you noticed? While the bulk of our travel focus remains on US and Canadian destinations, we encourage families to expand to international travel as well. Trips to Ireland with kids is often recommended because, in our experience, Ireland is one of the most accessible countries to visit with kids, and an easy place to start your international travel journey.

ireland with kids

In this post, we offer general tips for travel through some of the most popular destinations in Ireland–Dublin, Cork, and Galway–in typical Pit Stops for Kids’ fashion…by road trip!

Whether you’re a lover of the island or you’re a complete newbie, taking your children for an Irish adventure will be incredibly rewarding. Rather than choosing to stay static in one place, consider renting a car and exploring as much as possible – that way, your kids won’t get bored with a city break and they’ll have plenty of experiences along the way.

For example, start your journey in Dublin, drive down the coast to Cork and finish off on the west coast at one of the hotels in Galway. Incorporate plenty of child-friendly activities in your itinerary as well as those that the grownups want to do – that way, everyone in your party will be happy! We love that Ireland is filled with outdoor splendor in the form of hikes, caves, and castles…kids and adults enjoy the history and beauty, and kids get plenty of exercise.

If you chose to start your road trip in Dublin, book a couple of nights in your first hotel rather than feeling like you’ve barely seen the city. While much of a city break focuses around adults and their interests, you’d be surprised at how much the Irish capital has to offer for little ones too. From exploring Dublin Castle and all its medieval delights to Dublin Zoo, located inside the massive Phoenix Park, youngsters will be happy with a couple of days here before heading off towards Cork.

The great thing about driving along the coast is there are always places to stop a while to absorb the beauty of what’s around you. Make sure you pack travel bags with plenty of goodies for your children to play with and snack on, to keep them occupied on the drive. Games consoles, coloring books and portable DVD players are ideal to keep them quiet! Think of some family games for the drive too – there’s nothing with a traditional round of I-Spy!

During your stay in Cork, stop by the Fota Wildlife Park, found on Fota Island – the only wildlife park in the country and well worth a visit to see the animals roam free.

Once you’ve made your way around the southern tip of Ireland, you’re on the home stretch towards County Galway, home to the incredible Connemara National Park and the Aran Islands, great trips with plenty of hiking for active kids. Bring your hiking or walking shoes!

While the drive between these cities will take less than three hours per leg of the journey, what can be found in between adds to the holiday even more. A week exploring as much as you can will be ideal, although if you want to see as much as possible, perhaps a fortnight would be better.

Photo credit.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids

AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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  1. Having just driven from Galway to Dublin, I can tell you that, non stop, the drive takes nearly 4.5 hours. And Cork to Galway is a bit longer. Though Ireland is small, drives take longer than you might imagine.

  2. Thanks for the info! I am definitely guilty of thinking Ireland is smaller than it is!

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