If you are lucky enough to be off this mid-term, you may well be plotting your escape from daily life. We’ve selected some excellent places around Ireland that may fit the bill, with activities to keep you busy during the day and comfortable rooms to keep you happy at night – not forgetting the all-important wifi so you can share your experience!
Photo by Andrew Parnell, used under CC BY 2.0 licence
Spring into action and do the Spring Activity Trail at the National History Museum, Merrion Square. Discover The Story of Medieval Dublin in Dublinia on Winetavern Street. Get creative at an Art Workshop led by Jane Bowe at the National Gallery; admission is free and no booking is required.
If you want to holiday sur le mer, there are a number of AA-approved hotels that you should definitely SEA (get it? coastal… sea…), including Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, Killiney. If the sun manages to break through, Killiney beach is a stone’s throw away – however, we all know that Irish weather is unpredictable. Thankfully, Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel has its own 20m swimming pool and a children’s pool.
You can really enjoy the best of both worlds in Killiney; the wonderful scenic coastline with the bright lights of Dublin’s city centre just a 20-minute DART journey away. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to stay on the north side of the city, Clontarf Castle Hotel is an option. Their Family Fun package covers a two-night family stay plus breakfast each morning and dinner on one evening in the award-winning Fahrenheit Restaurant.
Head a little further north and you’ll find Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links for a relaxing seaside escape. Their larger family bedrooms offer additional space for families, so everyone will be comfortable.
Try The Octagon at Castlecomer Discovery Park, their high ropes course or visit their Elf and Fairy Village which has a café, underground bunker and a fairy HQ! If you want a walk on the wildside, an afternoon at the National Reptile Zoo in Gowran isssss a ssssuper idea. Get up close and personal with spiders, tortoise, lizards and ssssnakes. Animal lovers may also enjoy Nore Valley Park in Bennettsbridge. Its pet farm allows children to bottle-feed lambs or goats and feed ducks. There are indoor facilities too in case it starts to pour, so the day trip can’t be spoiled.
Lyrath Hotel on the Old Dublin Rd has an offer for a one-night break during the February mid-term which includes bed and breakfast, dinner and complimentary on-site activities such as biking, private cinema and use of the swimming pool. If you want to enjoy a grown-up dinner alone, the hotel’s ‘Fun Club’ will keep children entertained when the sun goes down.
In Thomastown, Mount Juliet Hotel also comes with the AA seal of approval. This mid-term, their ‘fabulous, fun-filled’ family break includes a two-night stay for two adults and two children in a two-bedroom lodge. While the adults have dinner for two in The Hound at Hunter’s Yard, Mount Juliet Juniors Club will keep children over four years old busy.
Photo by C O’Flanagan, used under CC-BY-SA-2.0 licence
Spend a day at Delphi Resort kayaking, surfing and paddle boarding. While the children are outdoors in the fresh air, you could avail of a treatment in their spa. Everyone wins! Turoe Pet Farm in Bullaun, Loughrea has an indoor play area, nature trail, picnic area and a pet corner. If the sun’s out (perhaps unlikely in February), a dip at Salthill (pictured) will build character.
Cashel House Hotel, is a perfect choice particularly at this time of year with its cosy turf fires so you can all stay snug. The hotel has four family rooms, dogs are allowed once arranged in advance and there is free wifi. Glenlo Abbey Hotel offers not only luxurious accommodation but beautiful grounds too, and it’s part of a 138 acre, lakeside estate which includes Glenlo Abbey golf course. Print off a map from reception, get on your bike and explore. Later in the day, take it easy at the Abbey private cinema where films show at 3pm and 10pm daily.
There is a good selection of AA-approved hotels in the area to choose from. The Kingsley in Victoria Cross is a half-hour drive away from Cobh, while Hayfield Manor in Cork city centre about a 40-minute trip. Hayfield Manor has a family deal which includes two nights’ family bed and breakfast each morning, plus dinner on one evening, for two adults and two children under 12 (terms and conditions apply, of course). Babysitters can even be arranged so you can have time alone.
Another AA-approved hotel, Maryborough House Hotel and Spa, is a 20-minute drive away in the suburb of Douglas. It is also offering a special family break offer which includes breakfast each morning for all the family, dinner in their double-AA Rosette Bellini’s Restaurant for two adults on one evening and a complimentary dinner for the kids from the children’s menu.
Trek along the beach and trot off into the sunset on a horse-riding lesson (book before you arrive to avoid disappointment). Sligo is famous as a surfing destination so take advantage of the waves at one of the many surf schools along the coast. If you prefer to stay dry-ish, a day on the open waves, cruising on Lough Gill should make your list.
Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa is family-friendly and offers free beds and dining for younger members of your family (again, there are terms and conditions). The beach is on your doorstep but there is also a children’s pool if braving the sea is too much. Upon check-in, the junior members of your family will be given a Global Explorers Entertainment pack complete with things to colour, small games and sweets.
Venture a little further south and you’ll love Queens and Kings at Castle Dargan Hotel, Ballygawley. Children are very welcome but there is also a spa and a Darren Clarke-designed golf course to keep the adults amused. If you’re up for a spot of shopping, Sligo Town is a mere 10-minute car journey away, making Castle Dargan a great base from which to enjoy the county.
All offers correct at time of publication.
All images public domain unless otherwise stated.