04/02

Connacht, Leinster, Munster, Ulster

5 Irish Castle Family Staycations

Fall in love with Ireland all over again in 2023. Create memories

Fall in love with Ireland all over again in 2023. Create memories to last a lifetime with a whimsical castle family staycation. The ideal choice to mark a milestone celebration with the kids or extended family, a castle staycation promises to surprise and delight all ages. 

We’ve curated a list of five staycation favorites, plus an educational day-trip if you’re planning to stay at home this mid-term with a calendar of activities filled with magic and excitement for the kids. 

 

Ballyseede Castle, Kerry

Nestled on the outskirts of Tralee, Ballyseede Castle is a home away from home for families. Filled with magic and charm, a warm welcome awaits from the moment you arrive at the castle’s signature red front door. The resident Irish Wolfhound Molly and her four-legged pal Hope will be on-site to greet the kids before you check in and settle in your family castle room. 

With over 30 acres of gardens and woodland to explore, you certainly won’t be short of outdoor adventure with a host of wildlife to discover including nearby ponies, donkeys and more.

In the evening, children are welcome in the wholesome Pappy’s bar with food served between 12.30pm and 8.30pm. Stories can be exchanged by the fireside in colder months with tall tales from the friendly barman Tim. 

Nearby family-friendly activities:

  • Visit the Aquadome, Tralee
  • Ring of Kerry 
  • Dingle Peninsula 
  • Killarney Lakes 
  • Splash Sports, Kerry

 

Waterford Castle 

A little piece of heaven on a secluded private island. A family staycation at Waterford Castle is a real treat. The excitement starts from the moment you embark on the private car ferry across the King’s Channel. A short ride away, you will arrive on 310-acres of enchanting woodland views along Ireland’s Ancient East, and if you’re lucky some of the resident island deer will be waiting to greet you. True privacy and elegance awaits in the historic 16th century luxury castle. 

Choose from luxury castle rooms or a spacious family lodge experience for ultimate relaxation during your staycation. Self-catering lodges feature three large bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and patio area. The best part? The nearby children’s playground and island fairy trails will keep the kids entertained for hours. Mid-term breaks are filled with fun and activities. The castle hosts complimentary family movie screens, treasure hunts and so much more. 

Nearby family-friendly activities: 

  • Waterford Greenway
  • Visit Tramore 
  • Waterford Crystal 
  • Hook Lighthouse 
  • Mahon Falls and the Comeragh Mountains

 

Ashford Castle, Co Mayo

Carefree – the one word every parent wants to hear before booking a staycation. A staycation at the 800-year-old Ashford Castle will be a memory to last a lifetime for any family. Sitting on a 350-acre estate with an emerald lake, woodland and manicured gardens, the unique experiences of Ashford Castle makes this a truly magical bucket list destination. 

The team at Ashford Castle prides themselves on rolling out a VIP experience for families with a welcome that is a home away from home. Children are at the heart of every stay with an exclusive range of facilities for young guests with access to a junior menu, board games, personalized bedtime story book, morning welcome from the resident Irish wolfhounds, a matinee movie with popcorn and much more. For an additional charge, make your stay extra special with a range of services including a LEGO Butler, junior golf lessons, children’s afternoon tea, falconry, horse riding, tennis and more. 

Meal times are a breeze with adaptable seats, special cutlery and flexibility from the culinary team providing meals on request where possible. The in-house American diner Stanley’s is also a firm favourite with the little ones.

Nearby family-friendly activities:

  • Traditional guided boat trips of Lough Corrib
  • Discover the Wild Atlantic Way
  • The Quiet Man Museum 
  • The Cong Heritage Trail 

 

Lough Eske Castle, Co Donegal

Luxury family fun at its finest! Lough Eske Castle is a picture perfect base to explore Donegal with the entire family. Nestled along the shores of Lough Eske and with views across the Blue Stack Mountains, Lough Eske Castle is an award-winning destination resort steeped in history spanning over 150 years. 

Family rooms include roll-away beds and interconnecting room options for those with younger children. Lough Eske also features a number of self-catering options for larger families or wider family celebrations including contemporary houses overlooking Lough Swilly and a cosy traditional cottage in Buncrana.  

Keep busy with complimentary daily history tours of the castle, use of bikes to explore the castle grounds and more. 

Nearby family-friendly activities:

  • Donegal Craft Village 
  • Rossnowlagh Surf School
  • For thrill seekers and older family members, try sea stack climbing
  • Bundoran Beach 
  • Donegal Equestrian Centre
  • Donegal Waterbus
  • Golfing 

 

Clontarf Castle, Dublin 

Clontarf Castle Hotel is the ideal base to discover the best of family-friendly Dublin. Enjoy 12th Century castle surroundings with a contemporary touch. Clontarf Castle boasts generations of history within its walls, the regal colour schemes, gothic architecture and art features (plus the odd knight in the corridors) that are sure to mesmerize the kids and keep them busy exploring throughout your staycation. 

Nearby family-friendly activities:

  • Visit Dublin Zoo
  • Dollymount Strand 
  • Howth Adventures 
  • Visit the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship 
  • Malahide Castle & Gardens 
  • Trinity College 
  • 30 minute drive to Emerald Park 
  • EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum 

 

A Castle Day Trip: Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork City 

Add a visit to Blackrock Castle Observatory to your mid-term break day trip itinerary. Brimming with over four centuries of history, Blackrock Castle is a fun and educational activity if you have kids of school-going age. Overlooking Cork Harbour, the castle is lovingly restored and boasts an award-winning science center and telescope dome at the tower top. Learn about how the fort was originally built to deter pirates from entering Cork Harbour, far away galaxies and alien worlds, plus much more. 

Enjoy a coffee or spot of lunch at The Castle Café following your visit or drive to the nearby Mahon Point Shopping Centre Food Court. 

Guided tours and astronomy shows start from 5 euro per child.

Have recommendations? We’d love to hear your tips for family-friendly staycations around Ireland. Submit your tips and reviews in the comment section below or share with us on Instagram @thefamilyedit 

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