Take a visit to the country of the four-leaf clover and laughing Leprechauns this winter and have yourself a fabulous city break!
The divine city of Dublin is only a mere 45 minutes away from London by aeroplane. Ryanair and their national carrier AerLingus have multiple flights to the city daily and the short flight will ensure the little ones don’t get too bored while in the air. The Dublin airport is located just outside the city but it is very easy to get into the heart of the city quickly. There are public buses that will take you directly into Dublin, try the Number 16 bus- but be advised, you must have the correct change for a bus ticket. There is also the Airport bus, that is a bit more expensive but it is purely for the airport and doesn’t have many stops along the way, unlike the public buses. You can also take a taxi, which are plentiful by the airport.
Dublin is a fairly small and condensed city which is easy to get around by foot or by stroller. Dublin’s public transport system within the city is run mainly by buses. Taxis are also all over the city and it’s very easy to find one. If you want to explore the little towns and attractions just outside the city, the DART light rail can be taken from the city center from a number of stations dotted around. Children under 5 travel free on Dublin’s public transport. Taking the Hop-on-Hop-off bus around Dublin is also a fantastic way to see all the city’s main sites and the little ones will enjoy being on the double-decker bus, especially at the top!
Where to stay
When travelling to Dublin with little ones in tow, the best bet would be to stay in a hotel that caters to families. Staying in the center of town is the best option as you will be in short walking distance of everything. The Temple Bar and Trinity areas are your best bet. A fabulous option for families is the Adams Trinity Hotel
in the heart of the Temple Bar area. This friendly hotel is located in the heart of Dublin's commercial, shopping and entertainments area. This family friendly hotel has family rooms available with all the amenities for baby on offer) and children under 10 stay for free! Keep in mind, Dublin is a relatively noisy city- especially in the evenings with its buzzing nightlife and pub culture.
What to see and do in Dublin
Dublin is brimming with attractions for the little ones- which mum and dad will enjoy too! Take a visit to Imaginosity; Dublin Children's Museum which is especially is designed for children up to 10 years. At Imaginosity, children’s imaginations and their innate curiosity are released! This fantastic attraction is jam packed with colourful, expertly designed exhibits developed in collaboration with educators, parents and children, for a museum experience unlike any other for the whole family to enjoy!
Take the 42 Bus from Dublin to Malahide Castle that has plenty for the little ones. Not only is the actual castle enchanting for children but there is also the wonderful Museum of Childhood, which is located in the beautifully restored old Corn Store building in the Courtyard of Malahide Castle. The museum is a treat with its antique toys, historic childhood bygones and dolls' houses dating back over 300 years. A highlight to see there is Tara's Palace, one of the world's most significant and famous Dolls Houses. Also at Malahide Castle is The Fry Model Railway is a unique collection of handmade models of Irish trains, from the beginning of rail travel to modern times, a thrill for the little boys!
Just south of Dublin, is Monkstown, easily accessible by the DART, where there is the wonderful Lambert Puppet Theatre and Museum. The little ones will be delighted by the imaginative puppet shows and puppet museum.
A visit to the Dublin Zoo is a must-do when in town! The historic and beautiful Zoo is close to the city centre. Go there to see elephants, tigers, gorillas, chimpanzees, and orang-utans, rare monkeys, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, and many more exotic and endangered species. The little ones will love the pets' corner, the unique Meerkat restaurant, City farm, and the Nakuru safari ride around the African Plains area of the Zoo.
Seeing Dublin by boat is also a wonderful attraction to do with the kids. Daily sight-seeing cruises on the Liffey River. This unique experience gives the visitor an intriguing insight into Dublin folklore and history from the vantage of Anna Livia boat! All sailings depart from and return to Bachelors Walk and are 45 minutes in duration with full commentary on board.
A visit to Dublinia is also a fun option to do while in Dublin. Dublinia and The Viking World is a heritage centre, located in central Dublin and takes you into the heart of the medieval city. These exciting exhibitions contain life-sized reconstructions and will take you back to medieval Dublin using wax dummies, hands-on displays and recreated streetscapes. The Viking stuff is a hit with the kids, especially the longboat! Also check out The Viking Adventure, an exciting, live and interactive experience of life in Viking Dublin. The Norse guide takes you on a fascinating journey through a Dublin of long ago. Walk the narrow streets of the Viking Town of 'Dublin' where you can chat to the locals, observe their daily work and even experience the sounds and smells of the city, imaginatively and accurately recreated and brought to life!
Another attraction worth visiting is the Dublin National Wax Museum where there wax figures galore! Children will especially enjoy the "Children's World of Fairytale and Fantasy". This is an entertaining adventure for kids as they wander through the Fairytale Kingdom in search of the magical lamp and the genie! The very popular Punch & Judy Show is also performed at the Museum four times daily. It is inclusive in the admittance price.
Where to eat
Dublin is known for its pub culture and there plenty of those around! Take the kids for a pub lunch (and you can have a traditional Guinness) for an authentic Irish experience. Pubs don’t admit children under the age of 16 after 7pm.
There is a host of child-friendly eateries that will keep a smile on their faces. Try Gotham City just off trendy Grafton Street. This ‘New York’ style restaurant caters to the little ones with its smiley face Pizza’s, simple pasta dishes and friendly service. In the Temple Bar area, Luigi Malone’s is great for the kids with a special kids menu where they can build their own pizza!
For burgers and fun, Captain Americas is a treat for kids. With lots of yummy food, clowns and colouring competitions it’s a winner.
Hints and tips
The Irish are very friendly and helpful! So if you are lost- ask for directions and they will be only too happy to oblige. They are also very accommodating and will go out of their way to help so travelling with children is a fantastic.
Dublin works on the Euro and is known to be a very expensive city. Try to take some snacks while going around the city, as buying snacks constantly will be very expensive.
The weather is very unpredictable and it is very cold in the winter. Make sure you take the kids beanies, gloves and scarves and of course rain jackets!
Keep a good eye on your belongings as in all European cities there are pickpockets waiting to pounce on unsuspecting tourists.