The following itinerary is organized by county. Each county features one family oriented accommodation and many wonderful educational activities. As a family, we completed this entire itinerary in one trip, over the course of sixteen days, which was fantastic. If you are planning a to use this itinerary for a trip, you might want to select one or all of the counties to visit. Each county has a culture in and of itself and a beauty all its own.
Note: We spent five nights in Dublin and I would suggest that you allow yourself roughly that many at least. There is an endless number of things to do in Dublin and you will easily be able to fill your days.
Dublin City Center Apartment
This apartment was wonderful, very convenient, and so comfortable. It was perfectly located- central enough to walk to everything or take a short taxi ride, but out of the way just enough to be completely quiet at night so that all of us could get a good night’s sleep, which is so important when staying in a city. The rooms were very comfortable, each with its own balcony, and the living room was comfortable and cosy as well. The kitchen was very convenient and had everything we needed.
Within a two minute walk there is a fantastic grocery store with a wide variety of prepared foods at a great price, so we were able get dinner precooked and warmed it up at home for a fraction of the cost of eating out. Also, within a 1 minute walk is The Cobblestone, which is one of the most popular pubs for traditional Irish music. It wouldn’t be appropriate to bring children at night but the music starts at roughly 4 pm, and if you show up then the kids would have a great time watching and listening to a traditional session.
Paul, the owner of the property, is a wonderful man who welcomed us with such warmth. He has a wealth of knowledge of the area and walked me around the neighborhood pointing out what was nearby. He also has a wealth of knowledge of Irish history and makes for a fantastic conversationalist.
An added bonus is that the apartment has both a washer and a dryer.To Book a Stay at this Dublin City Center Apartment Click Here
Things to Do in Dublin:
Follow in the Footsteps on 1916:
If you are a history lover then you will want to follow in the footsteps of 1916. The moment we arrived we visited the sites associated with the 1916 Easter Rising. It was a powerful experience. Though my seven year old son didn’t know much about it other than the outline, he still enjoyed the sites. My ten year old daughter was very involved.
Following are the sites we visited:
The GPO (The General Post Office) – This site was where the 1916 Easter Rising began in a sense. It is a historic site and there is a fantastic museum in the Post Office dedicated to the 1916 Rising. It is very powerful and absolutely worth the visit.
Dublin Castle– This was the seat of English authority in Ireland for quite some time. The courtyard is where the liberators of Ireland were all gathered after their arrests. You can walk the grounds of Dublin Castle or you can book a tour to view the inside of the castle as well.
The Four Courts- This was a central site in the Easter Rising and much of the fighting took place here.
Kilmainham Gaol is the prison that held the liberators of Ireland as well as many of the brave women who fought for Ireland. It was converted into a museum and the tour is tremendous. I really don’t have words that can adequately describe this experience. The tour guide had the power and passion of a political orator and this experience was absolutely moving and extremely educational.Book a Visit to Kilmainham Gaol
Dublinia – A Museum of Viking and Medieval Dublin
This is a fantastic and interactive museum that teaches people of all ages about the rich and fascinating history and origin of the city of Dublin. Every experience is interactive and hands on and your family will definitely leave this museum having a far deeper understanding of the city of Dublin.Book a Visit to Dublinia Museum
Tour to Newgrange and the Hill of Tara:
Newgrange is a megalithic passage tomb built during the Neolithic period that predates both the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge. It is a tremendous monument that inspires both awe and wonder. This site cannot be visited except with an archaeologist as a guide and so it is in excellent condition.
The Hill of Tara is a site that contains many ancient monuments and was said to be the seat of the ancient High Kings of Ireland. Even though my youngest didn’t quite understand how ancient the site was, he had an excellent time running through all the dips and rises in the circular impressions on the land. This is another site that inspires such a feeling of wonder and is an experience that will be remembered for a long time to come.
This tour with Mary Gibbons was a fantastic one. The bus was extremely comfortable and the stop for lunch was perfect. The site you stop for lunch might vary. We stopped at a beautiful farm called Newgrange Farm and had a fantastic lunch after which the children went out and played with all the lovely animals.
Mary’s tour will also take you over the River Boyne to the Newgrange Visitor’s Center where, through an exceptional exhibit, you and your children will learn all about the ancient people who are responsible for the building of Newgrange.
This was a fantastic day and a wonderfully planned and beautifully executed tour. We didn’t feel rushed at all in either site nor did we feel rushed during lunch. I thought this day would be exhausting for the children but it felt extremely relaxing and peaceful. I highly recommend this tour with Mary Gibbons.Book a Tour of Newgrange and The Hill of Tara
Celtic Nights Music and Dance Show:
Celtic Nights is a performance of traditional Irish music and dance held in the Arlington Hotel in the center of Dublin. Although it is the pinnacle of a touristy activity, it was a fantastic show. The musicians were phenomenal and the dancing wonderful. We had a great time. Dinner is served at the show. One note: When you make a reservation, call and mention that you are bringing children and want seats that will allow them to see the performance. There are many tables from which not a bit of the stage can be seen.Book Tickets to Celtic Nights
The Temple Bar is a region of Dublin just south of the Liffey and can be accessed by crossing the Ha’Penny Bridge. It is a super fun and touristy part of the city with lots of great shops and restaurants with live music.
Other Wonderful , Exciting, and Educational Experiences:
(Click on any of the links below to be directed to a website where you can book tickets)
The Leprechaun Museum
The National Museum of Ireland Archeology
The National Museum of Ireland Natural History
The Viking Splash Tour
Jeanie Johnson’s Famine Ship
Copper Beech Farm
Pulling into Copper Beech Farm was an absolute treat. It is so beautiful, clean, and serene. The accommodation itself is absolutely wonderful. So charming on the outside and so clean and beautifully done on the inside. There were freshly baked scones waiting for us with tea available and fresh milk from the cows on the farm in the refrigerator. The beds were so comfortable, as was every room in this stunning accommodation. There are two bathrooms, two bedrooms, three beds, a washer and a dryer, a lovely kitchen, and a wood burning stove. The balcony opens from the living room upstairs and overlooks a pasture that was so picturesque.
Michael was the kindest man and welcomed us so warmly, offering the children to help him with the feeding of the calves in the morning. My children jumped out of bed at 8:30am to run outside and feed the calves and spend time with them. They were also invited to watch the milking process, which was pretty amazing.
This property also has a park with a trampoline and swings. I cannot say enough about Michael’s place. It was truly a magical getaway and absolutely perfect for families.
Things to do in Cork:
Visiting Blarney Castle is a must do if you visit Cork. Legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney Stone then you will receive the gift of gab. This castle is pretty incredible. The climb of the stairs is not for the faint hearted, nor is the sight from the top.
Make sure you visit the Seven Sisters Stone Circle located in the gardens of the castle as well as the village tea and scone shop.
You don’t need to prebook tickets to this. Just simply arrive and pay at the front.
Gougane Barra National Forest:
Gougane Barra is nicknamed the Fairy Forest- and for good reason. This forest truly looks like a real fairy forest with tiny hollows at the bottom of every tree and mounds of mosses covering the ground and tree trunks. It is so magical.
The lake at the entrance is gorgeous and so serene, with swans swimming gracefully, and the picturesque church at the center of the lake is truly breathtaking.
This is definitely a must experience spot.
Killarney Town and National Park:
Killarney town is in County Kerry, just west of County Cork, but is an easy drive from Cork. It is a beautiful town with an old world feel and many wonderful shops. You can also visit the Killarney National Park, which I suggest doing while on a jaunty (horse and carriage). We took a wonderful jaunty tour through the Killarney National Park. The driver takes your family alone. There are many jaunty tours to choose from, but the tour of the National Park and Ross Castle is a wonderful one for families. After your tour you can stroll through the town, shop, and have lunch.
It makes for a wonderful day.Book a Horse and Carriage Tour of Killarney
Drombeg Stone Circle:
Drombeg Stone Circle is an ancient circle located in the beautiful country of County Cork. The site is so quiet and peaceful and the chances are that you might be one of the only people there. It is a bit of a drive to get there, but it is absolutely well worth every bit of it. There is no admission fee or entrance to it. You simply park and walk down a lane to it.
This was really interesting for the kids. This was a huge fort (English) that was in use up through the Irish War for Independence. Now it is in ruins but there are tons of broken building to run through as well as walls to walk along. The moat is enormous which is a fascinating sight and the entire fort sits right on the coast, which makes it quite an interesting combination of beautiful, exciting, and quite sad (as this was an English fort and barracks – meaning a seat of oppression of the Irish).
Kinsale is a beautiful town on the southern coast of Cork. It is about a 7 minute drive from the featured accommodation and Kinsale has beautiful shops, restaurants, and many pubs with live music in the evenings. The Blue Haven is a restaurant/ hotel that has live sessions and is appropriate for children.
Sandhills House is a treasure of a place to stay for a family. Nuala, the owner, is so wonderfully kind and welcoming. The house itself is spacious and spectacularly clean. The beds are so comfortable, the bathrooms, of which there are three, are luxurious. There are three bedrooms and four beds; three of which are queen sized and one of which is single. The living room is spacious and the kitchen is quite large with a door that opens out to the garden. This house also has a washer and dryer. Not only that, but you are welcome to collect eggs from her chicken coop for your breakfast!
We could have easily filled our time just relaxing and staying home at this house as there is endless grass to play on, a trampoline, swings, balls and a goal, a beautiful garden, and five fairy houses hidden in the garden for the children to seek out. Also, within a 4 minute walk is a beautiful beach, and Nuala has buckets, shovels, rain boots, and picnic blankets that her guests are welcome to use. Not only that but there is a go-cart the children can drive to the beach!!!
Nuala has a wealth of knowledge about the many wonderful places to visit and how to arrange your time in Clare to see the most. She spent some time with us showing us on the wonderful maps she has all the different sites we could see and how to group them together to see the most in a day. Her knowledge was most helpful.
We had such a wonderful visit at Sandhills House and we absolutely miss walking down to the beach for the beautiful sunsets.
A few of the hidden Fairy Homes:
Below are pictures of the garden and the beach that is within a 4 minute walk from the house:Click here to book a stay at Sandhills House
Things to do in Clare:
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park:
Bunratty Castle and Folk Park is a wonderful family experience. Bunratty Castle was built by the McNamara family around 1425. The castle is furnished and extremely exciting to explore at your own pace. You don’t need a tour for this one. Again, the stairs are not for the faint hearted, but they are worth the climb.
The Bunratty Folk Park is really the jewel of this experience. Replete with fully furnished thatch roof cottages and a full 19th century village, this experience is truly an educational and exciting one. Give yourself about 3 1/2 hours to explore the castle and folk park- especially if your children love animals. We were paused at the baby pygmy goats for roughly 45 minutes.
At Craggaunowen you will experience what life was like for bronze age people in Ireland. You will explore crannogs, ring forts, and aspects of Celtic daily life. On site is also a 16th century castle ready and waiting to be explored.
Craggaunowen is yet another wonderful living history site that will allow your children to experience what life was like in times past.Book tickets to Craggaunowen
Cliffs of Moher:
There is not much I can say about the Cliffs of Moher other than it is one of the most breathtaking sights you will ever see and one you should definitely try to see if you are in Ireland. There are some pretty intense trails that run right along the edge of the cliffs. I would advise you not to take those trails with kids. We stayed just along the wall the runs along the beginning all the way to O’Brian’s Tower and allows for a wonderful view.
The Burren is a fascinating region of Ireland where the ground is composed of limestone with crevices in the stone called grikes. The isolated pieces of stone are called clints and let me tell you- your children will love jumping from clint to clint. There is also a 5,500 year old tomb called a dolmen that is a fascinating sight as well a tours through the Aillwee Caves.
Teach na mBo
This was a lovely fully renovated cottage with a true turf burning stove. The bedrooms were clean and very comfortable and the living room was spacious and cosy. The kitchen is very convenient. There are two bathrooms, one of which has a shower and a separate bath. This cottage also has a washer and dryer.
There is a small grocery store about a two minutes drive from the cottage and also within a few minutes drive is the water.Book a stay at Teach na mBo
Things to do in Galway:
We did things a bit different in Galway. As it is known for its wild beauty and nearby islands, we basically roamed freely all over Galway. Here are some of the places we visited and suggestions for others.
The Connemara National Park–
Just driving through Connemara was stunning. Seeing the bogs, the turf cutters, the Connemara ponies and babies- it was all just breathtaking. I’m sure there are walking tours available, but we just roamed all over Connemara freely.
Of the islands, we chose to visit Inishbofin, which is off the westernmost coast of Galway. Inishbofin is a beautiful small island with a population of 150. The island has many beaches and beautiful walks as well as a small town near the harbor. You can explore the island on foot. There are also tours available and a small museum. To get to Inishbofin you take a ferry from Cleggan. Some families even spend from a week to all summer on Inishbofin.Book a tour on inishbofin
Aran Islands- We didn’t visit the Aran Islands, but it is a very popular site to visit as the islands are known far and wide for their beauty. Here is a link with tours to the Aran Islands. Again, we did not visit the Aran Islands, so I cannot personally recommend this tour, but it looks wonderful.Book a tour to the Aran Islands
Galway City is a wonderful and exciting city. The central part of the city would be Quay Street. This is a street unaccessible to cars. I highly recommend visiting as this is also the home of the Claddagh ring and there are many shops where you can purchase them. There are often street musicians playing all along the road and the entire street is filled with the sounds of music.
The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren:
Both of these sites are often visited from Galway as they are in northern Clare. Both of these sites would be well worth the drive and can be viewed in the same day from the accommodation above if time is an issue.
Thoor Ballylee is the tower that Yeats spent much time. It has now been turned into a museum and is supposed to be a wonderful place to visit, especially if you are a lover of Yeats. Note: This also was home to Lady Augusta Gregory. We had hoped to visit this site but we were unable to as we had planned too many things. This will definitely be on our list for our next trip.
HOME COUNTRY STUDIES:
On our Country Study Pages you will find month long, complete geography and culture curriculums for selected countries. For each individual country study, you will find a booklist, an introduction to the country and the beauty of the region, mapmaking projects, projects based on traditional folktales, projects based on the traditional clothing of the region, recipes for cooking traditional meals, art projects, links to become familiar with the traditional music and dance of that country, and more.
By clicking on our “Explore Nature” tab you will find an ever growing wealth of resources to help you make nature study a wonderful and intrinsic part of your homeschool. From wildlife sketching video tutorials from John Muir Laws, to activities to get your children out and excited about nature, to wonderful products to help you educate your children about natural history. This section of our site will be replete with ideas to help you educate your children about nature, as well as give them the opportunity to create a life long bond with nature.
Please keep up with our blog! Topics will range from all things homeschooling, to topics of interest to mothers and family life, as well as much more!
Very soon I will have an “Explore Literature” tab on the menu. This section of the site will include booklists for various ages, as well as wonderful literature for mothers. Literature and reading are cornerstones of our homeschooling, as well as my life personally, and I hope to share with you the titles that have brought wonder, joy, empathy, ethics, and adventure into our lives.
TRAVEL ADVENTURE PAGES
Next year I will begin creating travel adventure pages. These pages will offer full educational travel itineraries for various countries to help you create the educational trip of a lifetime. In each region, accommodations, historic sites, museums, historic re-enactments, cultural activities, and nature sites will be highlighted. There is nothing that compares to real life learning, and traveling is an amazing way to experience that.