If you haven’t been to Ireland, it’s a magical place. A perfect mix of beautiful landscapes, vibrant cities, and rolling countrysides. Of course the green fields are striking, the Irish brogue is charming, and the Guinness is extra creamy. But the thing I love most is how easy it is to travel to, and how family friendly it is! To inspire you to visit it soon, here are my 5 tips for family holidays in ireland!
Quick summary: the west coast is rugged and beautiful, with various peninsulas jutting out into the Atlantic. A visit to one is a must (they are multiple). I recommend the Dingle peninsula as it is the most stunning. But, the drive is quite winding, so it is not for the faint of heart! There is a big travel initiative called The Wild Atlantic Way, which can help you with planning your trip to the west coast.
Family Holidays in Ireland Tip #1: PLAN
But, don’t overdo it. I found that it’s best to do one activity a day. So plan your day with ample rest time. If you are planning on doing a big drive in the afternoon, save the national park outing until the next day. Which leads me too…
Family Holidays in Ireland Tip #2: THE DRIVE
We should have known this, but don’t trust google maps time-wise while traveling in Ireland. The motto we learned was: don’t chase daylight! The routes take MUCH longer than anticipated. And the last thing you want is to be stuck in the dark, driving on a country road. It can be scary, especially when driving on the opposite side of the road.
Rent the best vehicle you can afford. US infant car seats work with the seatbelt in the UK, so feel free to gate check yours — it’s free! Download youtube and watch how to install on the go, it will be useful when hopping in a cab before you pick up your car!
Family Holidays in Ireland Tip #3: STAY
Airbnbs all the way! They are much more streamlined and official-feeling in Europe (as opposed to the US) and have all the benefits of a home — most with a full kitchen! Pick a place about halfway through your trip with a washer/dryer, and you’ll be able to pack half of what you think you’ll need to bring. Bonus is that the hosts will tell you the great local pubs, which places have wifi (score!) and which trails and activities are family friendly, as well as which tourist attractions you should skip.
Family Holidays in Ireland Tip #4: SETTLE IN
One of our biggest regrets is that we didn’t stay in one place long enough.
The longest stretch of time we had was in Galway, and it was wonderful. It was great having a couple of drive-free days, so if you can work that into your plans, I recommend it. Minimum would be three nights for this type of stay. Less than that and you won’t truly feel the benefits.
Family Holidays in Ireland Tip #5: EMBRACE THE LOCALS AND CULTURE!
We absolutely loved chatting with the locals. A baby makes this easy — use him or her to your advantage! Ask someone to take a picture of your family. You’ll have a new conversation, maybe even a suggestion for his favorite sandwich shop, a brand new memory, and even a great picture for the baby book.