Category Archives: Family Activities

Wonderful Waterford!

Waterford is located in Ireland’s Sunny South East, and is one of Ireland’s oldest cities. Founded by Vikings in 914 A.D., a part of its ancient walled core still remains. The city is most famous for one of its exports, Waterford Crystal, a legacy of the city’s glass making industry.

Before you set off sightseeing in Waterford you might want to sample a Blaa, a large, soft, and fluffy bread roll that is exclusive to Waterford!

Waterford Viking Triangle is the city’s Cultural and Heritage quarter and many of its visitor attractions are here. The quarter is characterised by narrow streets, atmospheric public spaces and a collection of cultural & historic attractions.

On your travels you may wish to pay a visit to;

Reginald’s Tower

This landmark building is the only monument named after a Viking. Situated at the apex of the Viking Triangle, the tower was originally part of the cities defences. The building was once used as a mint, a prison and military store; it now displays an exhibition on Viking Waterford.

Reginalds Tower Waterford Ireland
Reginald’s Tower
The Bishops Palace

The Bishop’s Palace is located in Cathedral Square and gives the visitor an insight into the Georgian and Victorian periods in Waterford.  The first two floors are laid out as a historic house with displays of 18th century glass, silver, furniture and paintings.  The oldest piece of Waterford Glass in the world is a highlight.

Bishop Palace Museum Waterford, Ireland
Bishop Palace Museum
The Medieval Museum  

The Medieval Museum is located between Cathedral Square and the Bishop’s Palace in the heart of the Viking Triangle. The Museums main architectural features include two medieval chambers, a 13th century Choristers’ Hall and a 15th century Mayor’s Wine Vault. One of the museum’s most precious artefact is the only surviving piece of clothing worn by Henry VIII, a cap of maintenance.

Medieval Museum Waterford Ireland
Medieval Museum
Theatre Royal

The Theatre Royal is locally referred to as “the people’s theatre” and has been the traditional venue in Waterford for the arts throughout generations. The theatre is the home of several amateur societies and has hosted the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera since its foundation in 1958.

Theatre Royal, Waterford, Ireland
Theatre Royal, Waterford, Ireland
House of Waterford Crystal

The origins of crystal production in Waterford date back as early as 1783 when George and William Penrose began producing extremely fine flint glass that became world-renowned. Waterford Crystal continues this tradition and its facility in the city offers visitors the opportunity to take guided tours of the glass making process from start to finish.  The on-site crystal store showcases the world’s largest collection of Waterford Crystal.

09-Waterford Crystal 3

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about Waterford in Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

Share This:

The Aran Islands

What are The Aran Islands and why are they interesting?

The Aran Islands; Inishmore (Irish Spelling Inis Mór), Inisheer (Inis Oírr) and Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) are located off the coast of Galway.  The islands lie about 13km (8 miles) from the coast of Galway. This distance to the mainland has made the islands far more traditional than the rest of Ireland. Many traditional farming and crafts can still be seen on the island and the people speak Irish as their first language here.

The landscape on the Aran Islands may be like nothing you have seen before. It is karst and rocky and you will find land made fields surrounded by stone walls.

The Aran Islands Inisheer (Inis Oirr)
The Aran Islands Lanscape, Inisheer (Inis Oirr)

How to get to the Aran Islands –

This information was a bit long for this blog post so please see our separate post on How to get to the Aran Islands

Some Aran Island Traditions –

Clothes – The Aran Islands are famous of course for the traditional Aran Sweater but some other clothes are also unique to the island; the men for example wore a woven belt called a Crios and leather shoes called Pampooties! You can find out more about traditional Aran dress in the Stitches in Time exhibition at the Aras Eanna centre on Inisheer.

Land Making – The land on the Aran Islands is karst and rocky so the locals have to create land, they do this by mixing sand and seaweed and placing on top of rocks to create fertile soil.

Currachs, Inisheer (Inis Oirr)
Currachs, Inisheer (Inis Oirr)

Currach Boats – you may see these lying on the beaches on Aran Islands, they are a traditional Irish boat with a wooden frame over which animal skin would have been stretched over, although modern Currachs are now covered with canvas. These Currachs were a lifeline for Aran natives in times before motor powered boats and ferry crossings.

Day Trip or Stay Overnight?

Many of our clients take day trips to the Aran Islands. We recommend getting the morning ferry or flight and taking the evening ferry home. Make sure you leave in plenty of time and arrive at your departure point about 30 minutes early. The ferries usually leave on time and the journey to ports can sometimes take longer than expected. Calculate the time it will take you to get from your location to the port and add an hour to it!

There is ample accommodation on all of the islands, should you wish to stay overnight. There is a hotel on Inishmore as well as several good B&Bs, Inisheer has a small hotel/guesthouse and several good B&Bs and Inishmaan has several good quality B&Bs.

Get in Touch with us about booking your Ireland package including the Aran Islands and we can secure you the best available accommodation.

Aran Islands & Disabilities –

Although some of the ferries may have wheelchair access, access to the ferry is often by floating pontoon which may not be suitable for wheelchair users, depending on tides. The best thing to do is to check with the ferry company a few days in advance.

The islands themselves are not totally disabled friendly, the tour companies on the ground do not have wheelchair adapted buses and the ground can be quite uneven in places and so is not ideal for maneuvering wheelchairs around.

Get in Touch-

The best way to learn about the Aran Islands is to visit yourself. Contact us today to book your trip!

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

Share This:

How to get to the Aran Islands

About How to get to the Aran Islands –

Our final blog post in our Aran Islands series explains how to get to the Aran Islands by ferry, flight or as part of a bus or rail tour.

How to Get to the Aran Islands Option 1: Ferry –

You can get to the Aran Islands by passenger ferry from Rossaveel which is about an hour west of Galway City or from Doolin in County Clare.  You cannot bring a car across on the ferry.

Weather permitting; the ferries from Rossaveel go year round whereas the ferries from Doolin usually go from around March to October. The ferries can be cancelled if the weather is too bad as the crossing would be too dangerous. The ferries from Rossaveel have less cancelled sailings per year than there are from the Doolin port.

How long does the ferry to the Aran Islands Take?
  • Rossaveel to Inishmore – About 45 Minutes
  • Rossaveel to Inishmaan –  About 55 Minutes
  • Rossaveel to Inisheer – About 65 Minutes
  • Doolin to Inisheer – About 30 Minutes
  • Doolin to Inishmaan – About 40 Minutes
  • Doolin to Inishmore – About 90 Minutes

The ferry crossing to the Aran Islands can get very rough, if you suffer from travel sickness, then you should think about your journey before setting off. Think about visiting the island closest to port (Inishmore from Rossaveel and Inisheer from Doolin) and pick up some motion sickness pills before you go.  I find sitting outside, looking out to the horizon helps me!

How to Get to the Aran Islands Option 2: Bus Tour/Ferry –

There are a number of companies offering bus transfers with ferry tickets from Galway city. You take the bus as far as Rossaveel and then take the ferry. If you don’t want to drive, this option is included in our Independent Rail Tours.

How to Get to the Aran Islands Option 3: Fly–

You can fly to the Aran Islands in a small passenger plane from Connemara airport. The flight takes about 10 minutes and there is a maximum of 8 people allowed in the plane, depending on the weight of the passengers, there could be fewer than 8. Connemara Airport is located in Inveran which is about 40 minutes west of Galway City. You do need to book your flight in advance with Aer Arann Islands.

Get in touch with us today and take the hassle out of booking your trip to Ireland and the Aran islands!

USA & Canada          1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone              0800 096 9438

International              +353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

 

 

Share This:

Inishmore (Inis Mór), Aran Islands

About Inishmore (Inis Mór), Aran Islands

Inishmore (Irish Spelling Inis Mór) is the biggest and most populated of the famous Aran Islands off the coast of Galway in Ireland.  The entire island is about 30km squared. As with all of the islands the spoken language is Irish although locals can usually speak both English and Irish. The locals are dedicated to preserving traditional Irish culture and traditional Irish music is very much alive in Kilronan, the islands main village.

When you arrive on the island there are usually mini buses lined up, waiting to take prospective clients on tours around the island which feature all the major sites. There is a small fee for these tours. You can also usually take a tour of the island by horse and trap which is more expensive than the bus tour. There are also several bike hire companies, should you wish to see the island that way!

Some of the main tourist attractions on the island include –

Dún Aonghasa Fort & Visitor Centre: A superb example of an Iron or Bronze Age Promontory Fort, standing dramatically at the edge of a 100 metre high cliff! The on-site visitor centre will tell you more about how and why it was built.

Dun Aengus, Inismore, Aran Islands
Dun Aengus, Inismore, Aran Islands

The Worm Hole: A natural rectangular shaped pool at the bottom of the cliffs south of Dún Aonghasa.

Dun Duchathair (The Black Fort): This fort is situated on the cliffs near Cill Éinne. It is a lot quieter than Dún Aonghasa in terms of visitor numbers. The fort is not easy to access, wear good walking boots and prepare for a bit of a trek if you wish to visit!

Kilmurvey Beach: There is a beautiful sandy beach on the island just off the road between Kilronan and Dun Aengus.

For more general information on the Aran Islands see our Aran Islands blog post here, or for information on getting to the islands click here. 

Want to book a tour that includes Inishmore?

The best way to learn about Inishmore is to spend time there! Contact us today for a quotation including this location in your Ireland tour!

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

 

 

Share This:

Inisheer (Inis Oírr), Aran Islands

About Inisheer (Inis Oírr), Aran Islands

Inisheer (Inis Oírr) is the smallest and most easterly of the famous Aran Islands off the coast of Galway in Ireland. The entire island is about 8km squared and has a population of around 300. Like the other Aran Islands the spoken language is Irish although locals can typically speak both English and Irish.

When you arrive on the island there are usually coaches lined up, waiting to take potential customers on tours around the island which feature the major visitor attractions. There is a small fee for these tours, payable directly to the driver.  You can also usually take a tour of the island by horse and trap which is more expensive than the bus tour. You can also hire a bike to get around on the island if you prefer.

The main village is called Baile an Lurgáin and you can walk to it from the pier.  In the village you will find the local shop, pubs, B&Bs and restaurants.

Some of the main tourist attractions on the island include –

The Wreck of The MV Plassey: The MV Plassey ran into Finnish Rock on Inisheer in 1960 and the entire crew were rescued by a group of local men. The wreck was made famous when it featured in the opening credits of Father Ted.

Plassey Wreck, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands
Plassey Wreck, Inisheer (Inis Oirr), Aran Islands

O’Brien’s Castle: This castle ruin is located on one of the highest points of the island overlooking the beach and pier. This castle is thought to have been built in 14th century.

An Trá Beach: As you approach Inisheer by boat you can’t miss seeing the white sandy beach known simply as ‘An Trá’ which in English means ‘The Beach’! On a fine day, the water is a beautiful shade of blue.

Áras Éanna Arts Centre: Inisheer has a dedicated arts and culture centre which displays traditional Irish and modern arts. The centre has a programme of events and exhibitions from artists resident on the islands which changes frequently.

For more general information on the Aran Islands see our Aran Islands blog post here, or for information on getting to the islands click here. 

Want to book a tour that includes Inisheer?

Learn more about Inisheer by spending time there. Contact us today for a quotation including Inisheer today –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

 

Share This:

Inismaan (Inis Meáin), Aran Islands

About Inismaan (Inis Meáin), Aran Islands

Inishmaan (Inis Meáin) is the middle island of the famous Aran Islands off the coast of Galway in Ireland. The population of Inishmaan is around 160 which means it is the smallest of the three Aran islands in terms of permanent residents. It is also the quietest of the three Aran Islands in terms of visitors and the most traditional of the three islands. The island was loved by author JM Synge who regularly visited.

The island is about 9km squared. The spoken language in Inishmaan is Irish like the other islands but the residents can usually speak English also. You can get around the island by horse and cart tour, by guided mini bus tour or by walking.

Lisheen, the main village is located just seconds walk from the pier and the beach. You will find a number of restaurants on the island and there is one pub known for its traditional Irish music sessions, Teach Ósta.

Some of the main tourist attractions on the island include –

Dún Chonchúir:  An imposing oval fortress measuring up to 20ft in height. Built on a great height, it has great views of the Island and the other Aran Islands.

Dún Fearbhaí : Another stone fort on the island that overlooks the main pier, this fort is most known for its uncommon shape, it is square as opposed to the normal round shape.

Cill Cheannanach: A well-preserved 8th Century church with excellent views over the Islands.

Teach Synge – John Millington Synge’s Cottage & Museum: The summer home of writer John Millington Synge. Synge spent the summers from 1989 to 1902 here working on his upcoming plays. The cottage has been converted to a small museum in his honour.

Teach Synge - Inismaan- Aran Islands
Teach Synge – Inismaan- Aran Islands

Cathaoir Synge (Synge’s Chair): This was the writer’s favourite place to sit on the island, it has great views overlooking Inishmore Island and the Atlantic.

For more general information on the Aran Islands see our Aran Islands blog post here, or for information on getting to the islands click here. 

Want to book a tour that includes Inishmaan?

Discover Inishmaan for yourself! Contact us today for a quotation including this beautiful island –

USA & Canada1877 298 7205

UK FreeFone0800 096 9438

International+353 69 77686

http://www.irishtourism.com/

 

 

 

Share This:

Top Outdoorsy activities to do in Ireland with Kids

By Orla Spencer

Wondering what kind of outdoor experience there is in Ireland for kids and families to enjoy? Then look no further!
With plenty of green fields, national parks, wildlife reserves and farms, there is no shortage of outdoorsy places to visit with the kids in Ireland! Some outdoorsy suggestions;

1-Visit one of our Fantastic Zoo’s or Wildlife Reserves

We’ve got a few Zoo’s and Wildlife Park to choose from;

Dublin Zoo, Dublin: in the Phoenix Park in South Dublin is the biggest wildlife reserve in Ireland. Spanning over 28 hectares of Phoenix Park, it is divided into areas named World of Cats, World of Primates, The Kaziranga Forest Trail, Fringes of the Arctic, African Plains, Birds, Reptiles, Plants, City Farm and Endangered Species.

Tayto Park, Meath: If you know the Irish, then you know that we have a bit of an obsession with Tayto Crisps! A number of years ago Tayto developed their own family fun Park and Nature reserve. I have been here a few times with my family and I have to say, it’s a great day out. They’ve got lots of animals and birds to see including Owls, Cranes, Geese, Goats, Cattle, Sheep, Pigs, Mountain Lions, Leopards and Tigers. They also have several playgrounds, one of Ireland’s longest zip wires, a sky-walk and climbing wall. Please note, some things require additional cover charge.

Fota Wildlife Park, Cork: The Fota Island estate was the home of the Smith-Barry family for about 800 years until it was sold to the University of Cork in 1975. The wild-life park opened to the general public in the summer of 1983 and now welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Animals include Tigers, White-faced Saki, Gibbon, Giraffe, Lemurs, Ostrich, Meerkat, Zebra and Kangaroo. The Park also has a great playground.

Fota Wildlife Park, Cork
Fota Wildlife Park, Cork

2- Go Farming!

Ireland is known for its ample green fields and prosperous farming community. Many farms are now open to the public and they are a great day out for families. Some of our favourites include;

Kissane’s Sheep Farm, Kerry: Kissane’s is a working sheep farm with more than 1000 working mountain sheep and hundreds of lambs. The family have two border Collies who expertly move the sheep where the farmer requires them. Sheepdog demonstrations as well as sheep shearing demonstrations are done regularly for guests.

Cows!
Cows!

Rathbaun Farm, Galway: A visit to Rathbaun typically consists of watching the family’s trusty sheepdog ted rounding up the sheep, followed by a sheep shearing demonstration and time feeding the cute baby lambs! Who can resist some time with a cute baby lamb?!

Stonehall Farm, Limerick: Stonehall is located in Curraghchase Forest Park (which has lovely forest walks by the way) in county Limerick. You will find an array of exotic and domestic animals on the farm including Ostriches, Emus, Llamas, Alpacas a variety of Birds of Prey and the domestic animal breeds including, Sheep, Ponies Ducks and Geese. They also have some great kids play facilities and a nice picnic area.

Geese
Geese

3- Check out some of our Cool Caves!
Ireland’s Karst Lanscape has provided us with a vast system of Caves throughout the country and many of them are open to the Public. Some of our favourites for families include;

Crag Caves, Kerry: This 350m wonder offers an amazing insight into how caves are formed. Here you will find fantastic examples of pillars, stalagmites, stalactites, curtains, flowstones and straws that have been changing over the last 15,000 years. Crag Caves also have a great indoor and outdoor play area for kids and recently began to offer Falconry demonstrations where Eagles, Hawks, Falcons and Owls can be seen up close and personal!

Crag Caves
Crag Caves, Kerry

Mitchelstown Caves, Tipperary: On a guided tour of Michelstown Caves you witness caverns as high as 31 meters high, stalactites, stalagmites and one of Europe’s finest columns; the Tower of Babel.

Mitchelstown Caves, Tipperary
Mitchelstown Caves, Tipperary

Doolin Caves, Clare: We like Doolin Caves for families because it’s got a great Cave system featuring the longest stalactite in the Northern Hemisphere but also because they have a great nature trail that kids love! The trail features goats, cattle, sheep and chickens and is included in the cave entry price.

Aillwee Caves & Birds of Prey Centre, Clare: A tour through the caves in Aillwee caves entails a 30 minute stroll through their beautiful caverns, with internal bridges across the caves chasms witnessing unusual formations and by a really cool underground waterfall! On site, one can also find a Birds of prey centre with Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and Owls from all over the world.

4- Visit some of our Free Entry National Parks
There are 6 National Parks in Ireland, they are all free entry, offer great walks or bike riding opportunities and are especially great for sunny days! Some of our top park pics include;

Killarney National Park, Kerry: This Park contains many features of national and international importance such as the native oakwoods and yew woods, and a herd of native red deer! The Park is great for walks and cycling and bikes can be rented from a few places in Killarney town. Do check out Muckross House if you get the opportunity.

Killarney National Park Deer
Killarney National Park Deer

The Burren National Park, Clare: Situated in the south-eastern corner of the Burren, this park includes great examples of Limestone Pavements that are almost moonlike in appearance. The Burren region is internationally famous for its unusual landscape and unique flora, found here are certain species of flowering plants which although rare elsewhere are abundant in the Burren.  Even more remarkably they all survive in a landscape that appears to be composed entirely of rock!

Connemara National Park, Galway: This Park covers around 2,957 hectares of rocky mountains, bogland, heaths, grass and woodland. The park contains many wildlife, flora and fauna. Kids love the heard of Connemara Pony that can be seen here. Although typically a domestic animal, this pony is very much part of the Connemara countryside.

Connemara National Park
Connemara National Park

Wicklow Mountains National Park, Wicklow: The beautiful open vistas are broken up only by forestry plantations and the picturesque winding roads. Fast-flowing rivers descend into the deep lakes of the wooded valleys and continue their course into the surrounding lowlands. The most visited area is the attractive Glendalough Valley where the ancient monastic settlement of St. Kevin is located.

Get in Touch-
The best way to learn about Ireland is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –
USA & Canada1877 298 7205
UK FreeFone0800 096 9438
International+353 69 77686
www.irishtourism.com

Share This: