Southwest Ireland with Kids

Ireland may be a small island, but it packs quite a punch for travelers. With bustling and historic cities, wide-open countryside and rugged beaches, Ireland is a great locale for families of all ages. For those traveling with the kids this summer, explore Southwest Ireland like a pro with this must-hit list.

Surf and Sail

One aspect of Ireland that tends to get looked over is the country’s coastline. The Atlantic waters move south around the Caribbean and back through the coast of western Ireland offering warmer waters than you’d expect — perfect for surfing and sailing in the summer.

Head to Kinsale Harbor, one of the most famous historic harbors in Europe, and take the kids out for a sailing lesson. The waters are known to be steady and ideal for beginners. Pick a beach, any beach, and picnic with the family, jump in the water and enjoy a classic summer activity in a new way.

Kinsale. Ireland

Kinsale, Ireland © Arsty |

Explore Sea Life

Adventure travelers and active locales know Southwest Ireland to be a top destination for caving and sea exploration, but there is a kid-sized marine world to explore. Get out and observe varied species of dolphins, whales and sea life from a rented boat or cruise. The kids may be tempted to jump in and swim with the wildlife in their natural habitat.

Roam the Countryside

When you picture Ireland, you may see rolling green hills, castles and incredible natural beauty — you’re right. Book a tour and explore with a local expert and enjoy your freedom to roam, or head to the famous pass through The Gap of Dunloe. Walk along mountain ranges or rent bikes and explore local paths through Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. The path extends seven miles through beautiful varied terrain.

Bring the kids to Killarney National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and Special Area of Conservation, and head out on a hike. Watch for rare local Red Deer and feel transported to another realm with views of dreamy forests and seemingly untouched lakes.

Newman`s Mall and Market street in Kinsale

Newman’s Mall and Market, Kinsale © David Ribeiro |

Local Culture

The kids have to eat and you’re bound to need a break from all the activities. Head into local towns like Kinsale, Baltimore and Dingle for traditional Irish fare. Rest up for a bit, enjoying the quaint village atmosphere and taking in all the quintessential Irish charm.

Rent a car and roll from town to town on a mini road trip, perfect for the kid’s attention spans and for maximizing your time in Southwest Ireland.