12 Things to Do in Dublin with Kids

Dublin with children is always a good idea, but traveling with them always requires looking for specific plans so that they don't get bored.

Matteo Gramegna

Matteo Gramegna

9 min read

12 Things to Do in Dublin with Kids

Dublin, Ireland | ©Sean MacEntee

The large number of monuments and plans that Dublin offers make the city a great destination to spend a few days of vacation. However, if you are traveling with children, you may have some doubts about what you can do with them so they do not end up bored.

Luckily, the Irish capital is an ideal destination to get in touch with nature without leaving the city. During the warmer months you can stroll through the parks and along the coast. In winter, there's no shortage of indoor activities for the whole family either - read on to find out what they are!

1. Look for the local elves

At the Leprechaun Museum| ©Darren N
At the Leprechaun Museum| ©Darren N

In Irish folklore, leprechauns are tiny, bearded men dressed in a green suit, buckled shoes and a top hat. Solitary by nature, they live in remote places and guard treasures. According to legend, they find buried gold coins, dig them out and hide them in pots at the end of rainbows.

The Leprechaun Museum is the ideal place to learn about Irish myths and take a trip back to childhood. One of the most appreciated environments is the room with giant objects so that children can feel like real leprechauns.

The cultural institution is located in the heart of Dublin, halfway between the River Liffey and the central Parnell Street (Jervis Street 1). However, if your children are a little older, you can opt for a ghost bus tour where you will hear typical Irish spooky stories.

Book a ghost bus tour

2. Cross the city without walking too much

Sightseeing bus through Dublin streets| ©bug weiser
Sightseeing bus through Dublin streets| ©bug weiser

Dublin is a medium sized city and is easy to walk around. However, when traveling with children it is best not to walk long distances. A good way to do this is to book a hop on/hop off bus

There are several routes available, some focusing on the old town of the Irish capital, while others reach points further afield such as the waterfront or the Guinness factory. Tour buses are often included in the Dublin Pass.

Book your Dublin sightseeing bus

3. Escape to Cork

West Cork Model Railway Village| ©njaminjami
West Cork Model Railway Village| ©njaminjami

If you stay in Dublin for about five days, you can take the opportunity to visit a nearby town. For family trips I always recommend a trip to Cork, Ireland's second city. Its size is tiny and there are thousands of activities designed for the little ones in the family.

It is located on the southern coast of the island and is easily walkable. After a stroll at the foot of St. Fin Barre Cathedral and Blarney Castle, you can spend the rest of the day at the following attractions:

  • Inish Beg Estate: a treasure hunt specifically designed for the little ones (Baltimore, West Cork).
  • West Cork Model Railway Village: a miniature of the villages that grew up along the old railway. It also has a small train where children can climb (Inchydoney Road, Clonakilty).
  • The Donkey Sanctuary: a shelter that gives shelter to more than 1,800 donkeys and mules, docile animals that children can pet without problems (Liscarroll, Mallow).
  • Airtastic: a large indoor area with inflatables, trampolines, bowling and other attractions. A good option in case of rain (Unit 5, Eastgate Retail Park, Little Island, Co. Cork).
  • Toy Soldier Factory: a miniature factory that organizes painting workshops so that children can color the figures they want. Their reviews are excellent (Kilnamartyra).
  • Fitzgerald Square Playground: a very complete playground. It has a 2.6-meter climbing wall, a castle and a wooden boat, slides, swings and a climbing pyramid.

Book your excursion to Cork

4. Tour Dublin the fun way

Biking for kids|©C.e.r.e.z.a.
Biking for kids|©C.e.r.e.z.a.

Children are not usually big fans of spending hours and hours touring a city on foot, and this is something that can make traveling with them a bit difficult. But the good thing is that in Dublin, as in other tourist cities, there is usually an alternative that the little ones are always attracted to: the bicycle.

In Dublin you can book a bike tour of the city and discover it while your children have a good time. These tours usually last about two and a half hours, a more than acceptable schedule so that children do not start to get tired.

In addition, the best of all is that there is a stop to refuel, which will also help children to continue with the route without difficulties. From my point of view, bike tours are the best way for adults and children to enjoy discovering a new city together.

Book a bike tour in Dublin

5. Discover the city from the water

Captain on the boat|©Janspen
Captain on the boat|©Janspen

If there is another form of transport that children like as an alternative to walking, it is undoubtedly the boat or cruise. And, of course, the older ones also like it a lot.

The little ones usually enjoy the views from the water and are fascinated to be on board of this kind of boats. In addition, the tours do not usually last more than an hour, which helps them not to despair and fully enjoy the whole experience.

The views of the whole city will be incredible and you can see in the distance landmarks such as the Ha'penny Bridge, the Custom House and the Docklands neighborhood, among others. I recommend you to book a Dublin cruise in advance if you really want to enjoy the experience, especially in high season if you do not want to run out of room.

Book a Dublin cruise

6. Explore the main park of the city

Phoenix Park| ©Alain Rouiller
Phoenix Park| ©Alain Rouiller

Phoenix Park is the green lung of Dublin. The park was created in the 18th century by James Butler, Duke of Ormonde and Viceroy of Ireland. If the area was originally intended for military maneuvers, it was soon converted into a hunting reserve for the nobility. The deer trotting in the meadows are the descendants of those deer introduced centuries ago.

Today, the Phoenix Park covers an area of more than 700 hectares and is one of the oldest in Europe. If you want your children to see these Bambis up close, I recommend you to visit it during the week, preferably in the mornings.

Recommendations for visiting the park

  • The deer are usually in the field near the Papal Cross, in front of the residence of the American ambassadors and in the vicinity of Castleknock.
  • You are not allowed to feed the deer or pet them.
  • If you are traveling in December it is a must stop, as there are flea markets, magic shows, puppet shows and horseback riding.

7. Relive the past in Dublinia

Dublinia| ©DXR
Dublinia| ©DXR

Would you like to know how people lived in the Middle Ages? Do you want to know what life was like on a Viking ship? To find an answer to these questions I recommend you take your kids to Dublinia, an interactive museum dedicated to the history of Dublin, from the time of the northern warriors to the present day.

Dublinia tells the story of the city's major landmarks through interactive exhibits and other activities, including some for the little ones. The museum is located in Saint Michaels Hill Christ Church and is open from 10:00 to 17:30.

Within walking distance is one of the city's major landmarks, Christ Church Cathedral, so adults can enjoy the visit as well.

8. Discover the beautiful Irish beaches

Dollymount Strand Beach| ©Darren Sweeney
Dollymount Strand Beach| ©Darren Sweeney

Visiting Dublin in summer will give you the opportunity to enjoy the coastline. Ireland is a natural paradise and has wonderful beaches such as Banna Strand, Inchydoney or Dog's Bay. However, to enjoy the sea you don't have to go too far from the capital.

Read on to discover the best waterfronts near Dublin where kids can swim, play and build sandcastles.

  • Bray: if your kids are between 8 and 16 years old they can try their hand at surfing, kayaking and SUP. Other popular activities include Squirrel Scramble, Bray Head Hill tours and the Sea Life Aquarium. From Dublin, just take the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) electric railroad to the Bray (Daly) stop.
  • Dollymount Strand: it is the closest beach to the center of Dublin and while the kids play in the sand, you can have a coffee at Happy Out. To get there from the center, just take bus 20 and get off at the Bull Beach stop.
  • Howth: before reaching the beach, walk between the harbor and the pier to see the seals. There are four beaches in the town and the most suitable for families are Claremont and Balscadden Bay. To reach this locality is very easy, you will have to take the DART and get off at Howth.
  • Dun Laoghaire: families with small children usually choose Sandycove for its calm and shallow waters. Again, you can get here by DART (to the Sandycove and Glasthule stop).
  • Portmarnock: the most beautiful beach is undoubtedly Velvet Strand. Take the H2 bus to the Coast Road stop, Stop 3616.

9. Enter the chocoholics paradise

The Chocolate Warehouse.| ©crashburns
The Chocolate Warehouse.| ©crashburns

On the outskirts of the Irish capital is a must-see destination for those with a sweet tooth: The Chocolate Warehouse. Tours begin with a short video explaining the history of chocolate.

Next, you'll see how chocolates and Easter eggs are made, but the best part comes later. The third and final part is a workshop: you'll be put in an apron and get to decorate the chocolates!

The Chocolate Warehouse is run by Natasha Caffrey, the granddaughter of Thomas Caffrey. The name may not mean anything to you but Thomas Caffrey is a true institution. Known as "The Irish Willy Wonka" he started making sweets in 1930 when he founded the Caffrey Confectionery. His most famous creations are Big Time bars, Snowballs (chocolate-covered marshmallow) and Tea Cake chocolates.

10. Admire wild animals up close

Feeding the animals at the Zoo| ©Sean MacEntee
Feeding the animals at the Zoo| ©Sean MacEntee

Near the Phoenix Park is another must-see stop on any trip to Dublin: the Zoo. It is made up of different habitats and the highlights are:

  • Wolves in the Woods: recreates the jungles where gray wolves live and hunt.
  • Kaziranga Forest Trail: the home of the Asian elephants.
  • Sea Lion Cove: the environment that hosts a colony of California sea lions.

To get here you can opt for the bus. Routes 25, 26, 46A, 66, 66A, 66B, 67 and 69 stop near the Dublin Zoo.

11. Enter Dublin's largest adventure park

Fort Lucan Park| ©datarite
Fort Lucan Park| ©datarite

If you visit the Irish capital in spring or summer you can spend a day at Fort Lucan. It is a classic of the city and is visited every year by thousands of tourists and locals.

Your kids can slide down its long slides, climb the nets of a pirate ship or test themselves in the Crazy Golf, a Viking-themed mini-golf. You can get there easily by bus (line C3 from Merchant's Quay stop).

12. Take refuge in the Wax Museum

Exterior of the Wax Museum| ©Andrew Milligan sumo
Exterior of the Wax Museum| ©Andrew Milligan sumo

In case of rain and winds, you can opt for a classic family attraction, the National Wax Museum. It is housed in the Lafayette Building on Westmoreland Street, a short walk from the River Liffey and the statue of Daniel O'Connell, one of the city's most important monuments.

Its most outstanding rooms are the Chambers of Terror (with creepy Hannibal Lecter and Dracula) and Wax World, a space with Batman, Peppa Pig, Harry Potter and other famous characters.

Is Dublin a good city to go to as a family?

Park Day| ©Giuseppe Milo
Park Day| ©Giuseppe Milo

Of course it is! First of all, the Irish capital is small in size and you can easily get around on foot or by public transport. Besides, Ireland is famous for its splendid landscapes and the warmer seasons (e.g. May) are ideal for walks.

The most advisable urban routes are:

  • North Bull Island
  • South Wall Walk: a walk that starts at Pigeon House Road and ends at the Poolbeg Lighthouse.
  • Dodder Walk: a path along the creek of the same name.

Dublin's parks are perfect for running and letting off steam and in case of rain you can still enjoy nature at the National Botanic Gardens which houses plants, flowers and shrubs in large greenhouses.

Other indoor options are Funtasia Drogheda (a water park with slides, zip lines and other attractions) or Jump Zone, a sports park with trampolines.