Visiting Dubin with your kids can be fun if you plan a little bit ahead. Though traveling with children can be a challenge at the best of times, it need not be a nightmare, especially not in a busy, quirky city like Dublin. Keep the kids amused and everybody will have a great time. Fortunately, Dublin provides a lot of entertainment for young persons that the older generations might also enjoy.
01 of 07
Most kids love zoos, from the budding veterinarian to those who look for the deadliest predators (preferably at feeding time). Dublin Zoo has everything, including the deadly (the Amur tigers, for instance) as well as the cuddly (red pandas) or funny (meerkats and penguins). It will keep most visitors interested and occupied for anything between two hours and a whole day. Try to avoid weekends, though, when all families in the greater Dublin area head for the zoo.
The best areas for viewing, all created in recent years to get the best out of the zoo for visitors and animals alike, are the African Plains, the islands that house chimpanzees and gorillas, the new Orang-Utan habitat (where the big beasts actually may cross your path, high above), and the African forest for the elephants. And don't underestimate the attraction of the City Farm!
02 of 07
Medieval life was simply great... at least in this (largely) sanitized version. You can watch a plague cart carry the dead away without fear of catching your own death, you can hit the guy in the stocks with simulated rotten apples and you can sell smaller siblings at the slave market. Dublinia (and its extension "The Viking World") are simply fun, but educational too. Spend an hour or two, maybe taking in Christ Church Cathedral as well.
03 of 07
"Oh no, not another church ..." "But this one has real mummies and brutally slaughtered rebels in the cellar." "Yeah, let's go!" The mummies of Saint Michan's are not for the squeamish. Neither is the knowledgeable tour, parts of which are told with glee. You will learn what to be "hung, drawn and quartered" really meant. Maybe not suitable for younger kids, but great for everyone else up for an hour of spine-chilling fun.
04 of 07
All right, museums are boring. Take your loved ones to the National Museum in Kildare Street or in Collins Barracks and they might just be convinced otherwise. Look up their special activities for children on the internet or simply drop in. Popular exhibitions in Kildare Street are "Kingship & Sacrifice", "Viking Dublin" and "Medieval Ireland". In Collins Barracks, the sections on the Easter Rising and "Soldiers & Chiefs" are an exploration of Ireland's military history.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Need to get out more? On a dry day, Howth is good for a few hours or the whole day. Do the cliff walk, visit the National Transport Museum, stroll along the piers, watch the seals, have fish and chips al fresco. If you play your cards right your kids will be happy, but dead to the world in the evening. Keep a close watch on them near the water and the cliffs, as the seaside can be (fatally) dangerous in places.
06 of 07
Another great place to spend a few hours and exhaust even hyperactive kids to within an inch of their life. The extensive grounds of St. Anne’s Park invite games, a decent playground provides challenges and the winding walks along mysterious towers and ruins add fantastic sparkle. When the novelty wears off, head just over the road to Bull Island - where you can enjoy views of Dublin Bay, a hunt for the Bull Island mouse, long walks or a good view of a hapless driver's vehicle being swallowed by the tide (a time-honored tradition immortalized in folk songs).
07 of 07
Show your kids that soccer is for overpaid weaklings. Gaelic football is played exclusively by amateurs and is faster, more creative and fun for the spectators (if you don't mind the occasional stretcher party retrieving the wounded from the field). Hurling is even faster and will show you inventive ways to handle a stout piece of wood. Girls will love camogie, also dubbed "chicks with sticks" - just don’t encourage your little sunshine to unilaterally adopt Gaelic rules for his or her next school game.