Kinder Travel Guide is based in Cork, Ireland so Ireland is our speciality! It’s a fantastic, unique, family friendly destination and it won’t disappoint
Ireland offers an abundance of outdoor activities, fantastic cuisine, culture and stunning scenery. There are loads of family friendly hotels and you will find changing facilities and high chairs in most restaurants and department stores. There are plenty of activities for toddlers and kids such as pet farms, play grounds, parks, zoos and indoor play areas to cater to kids on rainy days.
Irish people are very warm and friendly and children are welcome everywhere you go. The country is small but diverse and it is vital to plan your trip well, particularly when travelling with babies and toddlers, to ensure that you get the most from your visit.
Where to go
Some of the most popular destinations include; Dublin (Ireland’s Capital) and Counties Kerry, Clare, Galway and Cork. Dublin is a cosmopolitan city and has the same facilities and services as any other large European city. This West coast has recently been rebranded as the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ and you will find some of the most dramatic, rugged scenery, loads of family friendly hotels, campsites, restaurants and activities along this route. In some areas people still speak the Irish language (although everyone speaks English also) and you will be able to see traditional Irish dancing and music in the pubs and at other cultural events. County Cork is located in the South of Ireland.
Ireland has some fantastic family friendly accommodation from luxury hotels, country estates, farmhouses, independent hotels and international hotel chains. Most will have facilities for babies and toddlers such as changing areas, high chairs, baby bowls (a mix of mashed potato, vegetables and gravy) and kids menus. Bed and Breakfasts are also popular just remember to check in advance that they have cots for younger guests. You might also opt to stay in self catering accommodation.
When to go
Ireland has a mild climate and can be visited at any time of year. Ireland has a mild climate and can be visited at any time of year. January and February can be quite cold and temperatures can dip to 0 degrees at night. there is rarely snow however but roads can be a bit icy during the winter months, early in the morning. Spring and Autumn tend to be mild although February and March can be quite cold. The summer is mild also and temperatures range from about 17 to 22 degrees. Flight fares and hotel prices are slightly higher during the summer months. It is important to remember that it rains all year round and it is essential to bring a good rain cover for your stroller and for your sling/ baby carrier along with warm clothing as even in the summer, you cannot be guaranteed clear, warm days.
There are three main international airports in Ireland, which are located in Dublin, Shannon and Cork. Cork airport mostly has routes within Europe so if travelling from outside Europe you will need to fly to Dublin or Shannon. The national air carrier is Aer Lingus and Ryanair offers low budget flights to and from many European Countries. There are also two smaller airports located in Kerry and Mayo. Kerry’s Farranfore Airport serves Dublin, London and Frankfurt and Knock Airport in County Mayo has flights to and from London, Manchester and Bristol.
Ireland’s airports have taxis and buses connecting the major towns and cities. If you are travelling onward from where you land you will be able to take a bus to the nearest bus terminal or train station. Taxis are exempt from the law requiring the use of car seats although it is also safer to use one.
Many taxi companies will be able to provide a car seat but again, make sure you pre book this service to ensure availability. The following companies offer car seats: Cork Airport Taxis, Dublin Airport Taxis and Shannon Airport Taxis. You can also ask your hotel to arrange a taxi with a car seat when you are travelling around locally.
Renting a car is the best way to see the country and there are car rental agencies located in every airport. Remember to pre book a car seat for babies and toddlers however to ensure availability. Ireland has an excellent road network and driving is on the left side of the road. A motorway connect Dublin and Cork and Dublin and Galway and there are also a number of well maintained national and regional roads connecting other parts of the country. Some roads, particularly in the West of Ireland are quite narrow and may only allow for one car to pass at a time however there are usually areas where the road is widened enough to pull in and let another car pass.
Ireland is well serviced by stroller accessible buses and trains and you will be able to travel easily around the country. The Luas tram system in Dublin is also stroller accessible and connects the train stations to the city centre and also services many of the more popular tourist spots. There are air coaches which connect Dublin, Shannon and Cork. Internal flights are available between Dublin and Shannon and Dublin and Farranfore. There is an express train from Dublin to Cork (2 hours 30 minutes) and there is also a trains between Dublin and Galway, Dublin and Limerick, Dublin and Killarney and many towns in between. See Iarnrod Eireann’s website for more information on train routes and schedules within Ireland. Where you cannot get a train you will be able to get a bus. See Bus Eireann’s website for more details.
Many private tour companies also arrange coach tours around Ireland and these make traveling hassle free however these are only useful if you have a toddler who is happy to sit still for a few hours while travelling and many of the sights may not interest your child so bare this in mind while booking! Some tour operators offer family friendly bus tours which will have small groups with other kids so this might also be a good option.
Anyone visiting Ireland should try the seafood which is generally fresh and many of the restaurants use locally produced, organic foods. You will find a mix of restaurants selling both local and international cuisine in the towns and cities.
Many of the larger restaurants, particularly in cities will have baby changing facilities and most will have high chairs also. In the countryside you may not be able to find changing facilities in all restaurants however someone will direct you to an appropriate place to change your child. The pubs in Ireland tend to do excellent food and often have live entertainment in the more touristy towns. Remember though that children (under 18s) are not permitted by law to be in pubs after 9pm. All of Ireland’s restaurants and pubs are smoke free but when sitting outside you will not be able to find a non smoking section. Bear in mind that many restaurants in Ireland can have small entrances so a smaller stroller can be useful for a trip here if possible.
Top 10 baby and child friendly hotels in Ireland
Baby and toddler essentials in Ireland
Where to Stay – Dublin
Where to Stay – Cork
Where to Stay – Galway
Where to Stay – Kerry
Where to Stay – Clare
The Huffington Post – 9 Reasons you Should Bring Your Toddler to Ireland