I could give you a dozen good reasons to visit Ireland. That's easy. It's not hard to convince anyone to travel to a land of such magical beauty, where the Guinness and whiskey flow, the castles are stunning, the coastline is rich and varied, and the bacon is even better than normal. And I know what you're thinking. How can bacon taste better? But believe me, in Ireland, it is better.
I digress. Do you want to know the number one reason to visit Ireland with kids?
The people. The Irish are some of the most affable, cool, and considerate people I've ever met in my life. They have that rare insta-friend quality. When you ask an Irish person for help, you know you are going to get it. Often, they pepper their advice with a couple of great stories or jokes. They are fun, honest, good people. And what's more? They love children.
Visiting a place where the people are friendly and willing to share their insight and advice greatly enhances the travel experience. It makes vacation all that much more fun, interesting, and memorable. Kids and parents will be more relaxed - and isn't that what we're all going for, anyway? Yes, so Ireland. If you want to explore, but slow it down a notch, and be assured a great level of local affability, think no farther than Ireland.
Traveling to Ireland with Kids
Here's the main thing you need to know about traveling to Ireland. You can't do it all in one go. Forget it, you just can't. Ireland requires multiple trips. There is so much to see and explore - beaches, national parks, forested areas, castles, coastlines, heaps of great, small Irish towns, and Dublin - let's not forget Dublin! We spent nine days in Ireland last spring. We managed Dublin (2 nights), Sneem, along the Ring of Kerry and Wild Atlantic Way (3 nights), Dromoland in County Clare (1 night), and Galway (2 nights). We needed more like one month. And to do other parts of Ireland - Wicklow, Waterford, Cork, Sligo, Mayo; towns like Ballymaloe, Dingle, Killarney (we did make it to Killarney, but only for lunch one day); and islands like Inishbofen and the Aran Islands . . . we would have needed more like two months - or an entire summer. Ireland is so rich with things to do and see, you just have to pick your priorities, start there, try no to do too much in one visit, and promise yourself you'll go back and do the things you missed the first time . . . or second time . .
As far as lodging goes in Ireland, after your requisite castle stay, know that B&Bs are definitely the way to go. We were completely spoiled by a wonderful family on the coast in Galway, Ireland. The family has been hosting guests for 30 years. Their knowledge on the area was incredible, and their home warm and comfortable. They were wonderfully gracious and welcoming of our family.
So, go to Ireland for the landscape. Go for the Guinness. Go for the Irish whiskey. Go for the Murphy's Dingle Sea Salt ice cream. Go for castles. Go for the Ring of Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way. But definitely, go for the people. Because they are some of the best I've come across on this planet.
Later this week I'll share our Ireland itinerary - where we stayed in Dublin, along the Ring of Kerry, in Galway, and our 5-star castle stay. I'll also share what we did with the kids in each location - so stay tuned!
What would you say is the best reason to visit Ireland with (or without) kids? Let us know in the comments below!