Ireland is an amazing place to visit, full of historic castles and ancient mythology combined with modern art and architecture. Most hotels are family-friendly, offering children's menus in the restaurants, fun activities and special amenities for kids. Our list of top 10 family vacation ideas in Ireland includes historic castle hotels, grand estates and modern city hotels. Many offer incredible golf, relaxing spas and pools, letting you relax and rejuvenate in a beautiful setting. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Dromoland Castle

Dromoland Castle  

Dromoland Castle is a historic castle hideaway, surrounded by green pastures, forests and historic attractions. The estate features a spectacular 18-hole golf course, a luxurious spa and a number of outdoor activities. The 16th century baronial castle traces its history back to Gaelic royal families. The gardens on the 410-acre estate feature a formal rose garden and lily pond. Enjoy golf, tennis, fishing, clay shooting, boating, and biking. At the end of the day, soothe your muscles with a relaxing massage at the spa in swim in the indoor pool.

The golf course features 18 scenic holes surrounded by the beautiful Irish countryside and spectacular views of the 16th century castle. The 2003 golf course renovation retained the original layout and added new tee boxes as well as firm, fast putting surfaces. The course is open to players with a certified playing handicap of up to 28 for gentlemen and 36 for ladies. The Golf Club has a restaurant, exercise equipment, a sauna, a steam room and a swimming pool. From March through October, golf rates start at £ 110; from £ 50 in low season. Check for stay and play packages when making your reservation.

The hotel has 87 individually decorated guest rooms and 13 luxury suites with antique furnishings, damask wall coverings and custom carpeting. At the Earl of Thomond Restaurant, guests can have an elegant meal featuring locally grown ingredients and music by a resident harpist. Afternoon tea is served in the Drawing Room; the Fig Tree Restaurant at the Golf Club serves meals in a more informal setting. Room service is available 24-hours per day. Dromoland Castle is located 8 miles from Shannon Airport, Ireland. Rates start from £ 417 per night from May to September; and from £ 225 during low season.

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2.Hayfield Manor

Hayfield Manor  

From interconnecting family-friendly rooms to great activities, Hayfield Manor is a fantastic holiday destinations for families. Swim in the indoor pool, play in the gardens and tuck in at night with milk and cookies. The estate has a putting green, rabbits and an aviary. In the guest rooms, children find mini bathrobes and a selection of DVDs and games.

Hayfield Manor’s Beautique Spa offers seven treatment rooms and a diverse menu of therapies which incorporate Elemis Spa essential oils. The hotel is located within walking distance of the Cork city center where you will find shops, restaurants and tourist attractions. Have a picnic in Fitzgerald Park, visit Blackrock Observatory and Fota Wildlife Park. Rooms at Hayfield Manor start at 179 GBP per night.

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3.Killarney Park Hotel

Killarney Park Hotel  

Explore the historic town of Killarney and rejuvenate at the European spa while you stay at the stylish Killarney Park Hotel. The hotel spa has eight private spa treatment suites, a fitness club and an indoor swimming pool. Choose from a variety of massages and other therapies on your spa vacation. Other spa facilities include whirlpool, bubble pool, outdoor hot tub, plunge pool, spa relaxation room, caldarium, and sauna.

When booking your stay at the hotel, first consider whether you prefer classic or contemporary decor because the hotel offers a choice of both. The second thing to consider is the view. Some rooms have a view of the hotel gardens while others overlook the historic town of Killarney. Junior Suites with a fireplace are especially cozy. The hotel offers several dining options, from fine dining in the Park Restaurant to great Afternoon Tea and the casual Garden Bar. Room rates at the hotel start at 232 Euro per night.

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4.Castle Leslie

Castle Leslie  

Castle Leslie is one of the top castle hotels in Ireland, set on 1,000 scenic acres filled with forests and pristine lakes in Glaslough, Monaghan, just 80 minutes from Dublin and 60 minutes from Belfast. The hotel has a luxurious spa, Equestrian Centre and many outdoor activities, perfect for a romantic getaway or a family holiday. The beautiful Drawing Room has a grand piano and De La Robbia fireplace. You will be able to choose from diverse accommodations which range from historic rooms in the castle, to lodge rooms and charming cottages in the village of Glaslough, a five-minute walk from the main facilities.

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5.Aghadoe Heights Hotel

Aghadoe Heights Hotel  

The Aghadoe Heights Hotel is a five-star getaway overlooking the Lakes of Killarney. The hotel has a spa which offers an array of Aveda treatments as well as lifestyle packages ranging from yoga and Pilates to learning how to quiet your mind and relax through meditation. Room choices include Classic Rooms, Lake Side Rooms, Deluxe Garden Rooms, the Aghadoe Suite, Garden View Suites, Lake View Suites, and the Penthouse. The rooms all have crisp modern interiors and wireless internet access. If you want to have scenic views of the lake, book the Aghadoe Suite which features a four poster bed, private kitchen, a balcony and a separate sitting room. Lake View Suites, although smaller than the Aghadoe Suite, also overlook the Lakes of Killarney. They have a free standing bath tub, Aveda products and walnut wood interiors.

The Lake Room Restaurant Restaurant has been awarded the AA Triple Rosette for its culinary creations. The abundance of fresh produce and the panoramic views make the meals at the Lake Room Restaurant quite memorable. The hotel is reachable by car from Cork or Limerick. Rates range from €200 for a Classic Room, €330 for a Garden View Suite, and €2,000 (in the high season - June to September) for the Penthouse (+ 353 64 31766, website).

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6.The Conrad Dublin

The Conrad Dublin  

Overlooking the National Concert Hall, the Conrad Hotel Dublin enjoys a central location in the heart of Dublin. Whether you are interested in exploring Dublin's cultural heritage with your kids or shopping on your city honeymoon getaway, the hotel is a great starting point for exploring the city. The hotel has 191 guest rooms, including nine suites with scenic views. All rooms are equipped with executive desks, three direct dial telephones and dataports. The hotel offers a fitness center, and distributes jogging maps of the city.

The Plurabelle Brasserie at the hotel is a fine restaurant with wood paneling and comfortable armchairs. After dinner, visit the hotel's traditional Irish Pub Alfie Byrnes. Room rates start at € 220 per night, depending on availability. The hotel is 15 minutes from Dublin International Airport. Taxi fares from the airport start at about € 15 (+353-1-602-8900, website).

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7.Sheen Falls Lodge

Sheen Falls Lodge  

Sheen Falls Lodge is a privately owned country estate in Kenmare, South West Ireland, surrounded by scenic mountains, waterfalls and woodlands. Get pampered at the spa, play golf on one of the courses in the area or hike on the 300-acre estate. From April through September, Wild Atlantic Salmon and Brown Trout fishing are offered along the 15 miles of private river bank at the lodge. Other summer vacation ideas include tennis, clay pigeon shooting, bicycling and horseback riding. The spa at the hotel offers an array of treatments, including massages, aromatherapy, Reiki, and facials. After your treatment, relax next to the indoor swimming pool, in the sauna or in the whirlpool. Guests who like to stay active on their summer vacation can work out at the hotel gym.

The hotel offers 75 luxury guest rooms, suites and cottages with custom made beds and en suite marble bathrooms with a twin vanity. Before you arrive, the lodge librarian will place a customized selection of books in your room. If you are a returning guest, the hotel will add other personal touches to accommodate your preferences. Ask for one of the rooms with a view of the falls. The lodge has two restaurants: the elegant La Cascade restaurant where you can have a romantic dinner. Or head to Oscar's bistro for a casual meal. The Sun Lounge serves tea and coffee, and light snacks throughout the day, while the Cocktail Bar offers drinks in a club-like atmosphere. The Wine Cellar is stocked with 13,500 bottles in 950 bins from 17 countries. Fly to Kerry Airport (Killarney) which is located 35 miles from the lodge. Daily flights are available from London Stanstead, Frankfurt Hahn and Dublin. Room rates start at € 280 in low season; from € 425 in high season (+353-64-41600, website).

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8.The Morgan Hotel

The Morgan Hotel  

The Morgan is a modern city hotel, located in the center of Dublin. The hotel is near the shops of Grafton Street, theaters, historical sites and the International Financial Services Center. The hotel is stylish and the staff is helpful, ready to offer their recommendations for dining, shopping and clubbing. To relax after a day out and around the town, request a massage in your room on your romantic getaway. The Morgan has 121 guest rooms which have broadband internet service, wireless access and voice mail. The walls are decorated with paintings by Irish artist Siobhan McDonald.

The Penthouse Suite offers panoramic views of Dublin from its roof top terrace. If you are planning an engagement party or a special celebration, book this scenic suite. Room service is available from 7am to 10:30pm. The Morgan Bar is a sophisticated meeting place in Dublin. Featuring soft brown leather seating, wide mirrors and comfortable red sofas, the bar serves wines, beers and exotic drinks, such as the Morgan Mai Tai. Guests receive complimentary access to a nearby fitness center where you can relax in the sauna, steam room and next to the pool (+353-1-6793946,

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9.Adare Manor

Adare Manor  

Check into this grand estate to enjoy massages, scenic golf, fishing and beautiful gardens.

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10.The Westin Dublin

The Westin Dublin  

Following a renovation of its guest rooms, the Westin Dublin unveiled nine rooms named after Irish writers. The idea was inspired by its location at the heart of a UNESCO City of Literature in Europe. Each of the Writers' Rooms has a quirky layout, a balcony and a scenic view. Choose from rooms with names like Patrick Kavanagh, Bram Stoker, Flann O'Brien, John Millington Synge, Sean O'Casey, Dion Boucicault, Jonathan Swift, Edmund Burke and Maria Edgeworth. The hotel has 163 guest rooms decorated in either a modern or more traditional style. The renovation of the Contemporary rooms on the 2nd, 3rd and 5th floors was overseen by leading interior designers HBA London. The hotel is home to four luxury Library Suites named after famous writers: George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde.

Dining options include The Exchange Restaurant and The Mint Bar serving classical dishes and healthy menu options. Guests can indulge in in-room spa treatments and work out at the gym. The hotel concierge can help you plan your visit of Dublin. The hotel is located directly opposite Trinity College, just minutes away from Grafton Street shopping and the River Liffey. Nightly rates start at Euro 185 (

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10 Great Kid-Friendly Getaways in Ireland

Must-see on Your Family Trip to Ireland

Start your trip in Dublin before heading to one of the country estates. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Ireland.


Dublin is a lively city with a compact historic center which makes it easy to see many things in a day or two. Visit the 13th century Dublin Castle where you can tour the royal chapel and state apartments. Dublin Zoo is a favorite with families who flock here to see tigers, hippos, red pandas and other animals. This zoo is one of the oldest in the world. Admission is free at the National Gallery of Ireland where you can view contemporary Irish art as well as Renaissance and Baroque pieces. Book of Kells in Trinity College is known as one of the most beautiful books in the world, created by monks in the 8th century. Saint Patrick's Cathedral dates back to the 12th century.

The Rock of Cashel

Located in County Tipperary, the Rock of Cashel is a huge historic structure where the King of Munster was converted by St. Patrick in the 5th century AD.

Giant's Causeway

Giant's Causeway on the northeast coast of Northern Ireland consists of 40,000 basalt columns which were created by a volcanic eruption. Enjoy spectacular sea views as you tour this unique attraction which was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The volcanic columns have inspired the imagination of story tellers for generations and are a fun spot to visit with kids.


Built for kings over 5,000 years ago, Newgrange is an an ancient tomb and the world’s oldest solar observatory, the perfect place to learn about Celtic culture.

The Blarney Stone

The myth has it that kissing The Blarney Stone gives you the gift of eloquence and flattery. It is located at Blarney Castle which also offers beautiful gardens, perfect for a romantic stroll.

The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry in southwestern Ireland is the most scenic drive in Ireland – follow the 179 km circular loop and enjoy the views.

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Attraction Spotlight: Muckross House, Gardens, and Traditional Farms

The Muckross House, Gardens, and Traditional Farms, located in Kerry, Ireland, is a longstanding and historical attraction designed to be a full day, family experience. Complete with guided tours, a full-scale restaurant, and frequent events, this local attraction should not be missed.


The Muckross House was built at Henry Arthur Herbert (along with his wife, a watercolor artist named Mary Balfour)’s request, making the house the fourth successive home owned by a Herbert in a period of 200 years on the grounds. It was built between 1839 and 1843 by Scottish architect, William Burn. After passing through multiple hands, in 1932, it was gifted to the Irish government and it became the very first national park in Ireland (sitting on 11,000 acres).

Permanent Attractions

Visiting the Muckross House with a guided tour is the best way to see the house and its many historical exhibits. Below are a few of the highlights.

? Scenery - First and foremost, make sure to take the time to take in the beauty of the scenery before entering the house. The stately Victorian mansion has Killarney National Park as its stunning backdrop and it sits on the shores of one of the park’s three lakes, Muckross Lake. The scenery is especially beautiful in the spring and fall due to the considerable number of trees.

? Gardens - The gardens surrounding the Muckross House are also something guests should pay special attention to during their guided tour. Originally created in 1850 in advance of a visit from Queen Victoria in 1861, the forethought put into creating the garden is obvious. After the house was purchased from the Herbert family in the early 20th century, additional gardens were added (the Stream, Rock, and Sunken Gardens).

? Furnishings - The staff at the Muckross House have paid special attention to detail when it comes to the furnishings that are found in each of the rooms. Each room has been decorated with period specific furniture and style, which shows the elegant lifestyle that the Herbert’s lived.

? Craft areas - Also located at the Muckross House are various traditional craftsman showcasing their work in the way it would have been done when the Herbert’s lived there. Visit Mucros Weavers (who spin and weave their wares on site) as well as Mucros Pottery (who showcase their crafts on an old-fashioned potter’s wheel). It is a unique way to see how those types of crafts were originally made. Guests can even purchase a small selection to take home and commemorate a visit.

When visiting Traditional Farms, guests should be prepared to feel like they are stepping back into 1930s Ireland. There are three separate “working” farms - one small, one medium, and one large - with a variety of produce, machinery, and animals (including poultry). Visit the homes that these farmers inhabited when working the farm, which have been furnished with historical accuracy. Also make sure to check out the Carpenter’s Workshop, the Blacksmith’s Forge, and the Laborer’s Cottage. There is an online and printable map of the area for visitors to check out ahead of time as well, to make sure they are seeing every important part of the farm.

Another unique building at the Traditional Farms is the schoolhouse, which was built in 1910. It has been divided into two rooms, as teachers often taught specific subjects in one or the other. The students were required to bring sod with them for the fire, and the restrooms were segregated by gender.

For the children, there is a small petting zoo and bouncy castle. There is also a small park area here, with slides and swings.

Special Events

There are special events held nearly every week at both the house and the farm. The website contains a full, interactive calendar listing all of the events, including date, time, and cost.

In April, guests can come to the grounds and help celebrate Biddy’s Day. This free afternoon is full of music and dance in celebration of St. Brigid’s Day while also helping to support The Kerry Parents and Friends Association charity. Complete with a traditional Brideog (corn dolly), guests can also learn how to make Biddy Hats and St. Bridget’s Crosses from an on-staff craftsman.

The Research Library portion of the house will also frequently put on educational talks that relate to local history. Recently, the library staff held a program that detailed the history of the women in Ireland winning the right to vote, and Irish feminism in general. Often these talks are held in two parts, and mainly put on at the Garden Restaurant free of charge.

There are also frequent musical concerts and plays held on the grounds of the house and farm. Many of them feature traditional Irish music or religious folklore plays that have something to do with the history of the local area or sometimes even the former occupants themselves. Recent concerts have been put on by Sean Keane, Brian Kennedy, and Frankie Gavin.

One final series of events that are held on the grounds are frequent “camps” that are put on specifically for children. One of those events is the Kerry Cultural Festival, which hosts a full week series of interactive and hands on activities for children (from third to sixth grade). The camps and workshops are meant to introduce children to culture and history on their level, while also letting them leave with a handmade craft they made themselves to breed interest in history as well as their own creativity.


Located in the Traditional Farms area is a small play area (Woodland), where guests can bring a picnic lunch and use one of the sheltered areas to take a break from the sun and eat. Guests can also head to the Garden Restaurant for a relaxing meal. The restaurant seats 170 people and serves a hot buffet as well as a variety of Irish dishes for both meat eaters and vegans alike. Light snacks are also available, as well as dessert options like cheesecake and banoffee pie. Catering is available. It is strongly urged that large groups make reservations ahead of their visit to ensure prompt service.

Muckross House, Gardens and Traditional Farms, The National Park, Killarney, Co Kerry, Ireland, Phone: +353-06-46-67-01-44

More Things to Do in Ireland

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Hotel Spotlight: Castle Leslie in Ireland

The Lodge

The Lodge houses 29 guest rooms and the spa. It is situated close to the Equestrian Centre. Complimentary WiFi is available in all public areas and bedrooms at the Lodge. Book one of the superior bedrooms which have balconies overlooking the Equestrian Centre's courtyards.

Guest Cottages

Village cottages offer four- and five-bedroom layouts which are perfect for family reunions and groups. The cottages have sliding sash windows and nine-foot ceilings. The cottages can accommodated up to 10 guests and have spacious living areas with an open fire, TV, DVD, stereo music player and complimentary WiFi. The open-plan modern kitchen is fantastic for preparing a great family meal and hosting a party.


Dining at Castle Leslie is a treat for the senses. Enjoy daily-baked breads and scones, homemade preserves, and dishes prepared using fresh locally-sourced ingredients. Executive Chef Andrew Bradley put a modern twist on the centuries-old family recipes. Celebrate a special occasion with a candlelit dinner at the award-winning Snaffles restaurant, have traditional Afternoon Tea in the Drawing Room and visit Conor's Bar to relax with a drink.

Romantic Weddings

The estate can host wedding parties of up to 260 guests. Plan a grand wedding at the historic Castle, a more casual ceremony at the Lodge or a large wedding in the Pavilion which overlooks Glaslough Lake.

Travel Tips & Best Time to Go

The estate is open year round. While each season has its charms, visit during the warmer season to take riding lessons, go fishing and explore the grounds. Holidays at the Castle are especially magical, perfect for a multi-generational family reunion. If you are looking for a romantic spot to propose, get in touch with the hotel concierge who can help you pick the perfect spot to pop the question.

The Cost

The hotel offers many great packages with rates starting at 125 Euro per person including dinner.

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