Things to do in the West and North West for kids

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Things to do in the West and North West for kids


Being a Mum of two, I’m always on the look out for things to do with the kids. I’ve picked out some fantastic things for families to do in the North West of Ireland, a mix of free and paid for activities that are sure to entertain the whole family. 


Silver Strand Beach
Silver Strand Beach near Barna is only a short drive from Galway city, take a left as you come out of Galway before you reach Barna. It’s a lovely beach, it’s safe with a big sandy section perfect for paddling or even a dip. It also has a section with rocks to climb on and paddling pools to explore which the kids love. It does get busy during summer months particularly when the weather is warm, but it’s a great place at any time of the year to go for a walk by the beach.
Toodlelou Creativity Lab
Toodlelou Creativity Lab in Oranmore is themed around STEAM, that is Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics and gives youngsters from toddlers to teens a place to create, tinker, experiment, explore and make. From free play classes, to mini-maker sessions, open studio and birthday parties, there is something for all ages. Open weekdays and Saturday mornings.
More fun things to do with kids in Galway

National Museum of Ireland Country Life
At the Museum of Country Life near Castlebar you’ll find the traditions of rural life in Ireland brought to life. Exhibitions are full of wonderful objects from long ago. See what schools were like, the toys children played with, and how they marked special events like Halloween & Christmas. Learn about how people lived in the towns and countryside, cut turf, caught fish and worked in the home. Workshops, exhibitions and family programmes for all ages. Free entry – it’s perfect for those rainy days.
Westport House
Winner of Best Leisure Tourism Innovation at the Irish Tourism Industry Awards 2017, a family visit to the West is not complete without a trip to the home of family fun at Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park set on a 480 acre estate. Explore the House and Gardens, or have some fun in the Pirate Adventure Park – a treasure trove of family fun with its Grace O’Malley-themed amusement park with rides and activities. Take a trip on the Westport Train Tour which runs right through the grounds. Visit the Birds of Prey Centre. Or enjoy a range of activities from milder to wilder including zorbing, zip wire, archery, combat games, high ropes frame as well as tree climbing and archery tag. 
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Lough Key Forest and Activity Park
Located in Boyle, Co. Roscommon and set in the grounds of the old King-Harman Estate on the shores of island studded Lough Key, the Lough Key Forest & Activity Park, offers hours of entertainment for all the family. A wonderful enclosed Adventure Play Kingdom will entertain the smallest visitors, while the Boda Borg Challenge will test the mental skills and physical agility of everybody over seven. Be guided back in time through 19th Century tunnels and stroll Ireland’s only Tree Canopy trail on the Lough Key Experience. Take a well-earned break and enjoy the vista of Lough Key in the Lakeside Café. You can even stay over in the landscaped Caravan and Campsite.
Loughnaneane Park
Loughnaneane Park is a huge recreational area beside the ruins of Roscommon Castle which is a dramatic and imposing 13th Century Norman Castle. The Park includes a crannog known locally as the Hill o’ Bones, a wildflower meadow, bird walk, lake feature, mounds, children’s playground and car park.

More fun things to do with kids in Roscommon

Eagles Flying
Eagles Flying near Ballymote is Ireland’s largest sanctuary for Birds of Prey and Owls. The highly entertaining and interactive shows at the Irish Raptor Research Centre deliver excitement, photo opportunities and the chance to get up close with birds of Prey. Experience Eagles, Hawks and Vultures flying right over your head or landing next to you. There are more than 100 birds of prey – some with a wingspan of more than 3 metres. If you are lucky, you can fly or touch one of them during the show. If you like more cuddly creatures you can visit the animals in their large supervised pet-zoo.
Hazelwood Sculpture Trail
Only 3km from Sligo town at half Moon Bay on the shores of Lough Gill is the Hazelwood Demense which is well known locally for its forest trails where you will find a unique series of outdoor sculptures from Irish and International artists, a quiet picnic area and beautiful lakeside views. The demense is located on an area between Lough Gill and the Garavogue River. The nature trail forms a loop of about 3km with two shorter alternatives available. All are clearly marked and begin and end at the car park.
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Arigna Mining Experience
At the Arigna Mining Experience near Drumshanbo, you can take a unique underground tour in what was Ireland’s last working coal mine. You’ll get an insight into what coal mining life was like in the Arigna Valley, since its beginning in the 1700's until closure in 1990. With an ex-miner as your tour guide, you will have the opportunity to walk through an underground coal mine and learn about  how coal was mined and extracted.. With a coffee shop and picnic area, the centre is open all year.
Glencar Waterfall
Glencar Waterfall served as an inspiration to the William Butler Yeats and features in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’
‘Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star’
The waterfall is situated near Glencar Lake, 11 kilometres west of Manorhamilton in County Leitrim. It is particularly impressive after rain and can be viewed from a lovely wooded walk with facilities on site including children’s playground, picnic areas, café facilities, tourism information and ample parking.
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Glenveagh National Park.
Entry to Glenveagh National Park is free and the scenery is jaw-dropping and is a truly great day out for all the family.
There is an abundance of things to do and see. For example, you can wander through the beautiful gardens which are signposted and takes about an hour. A guided tour of the castle (paid) takes approximately 30mins. There is also a Visitor’s Centre and restaurant. Throughout the summer months, family events are organised for most weekends, these often include Children's Story-time, bird of prey display, medieval weaponry displays and more.

Sliabh Liag Cliffs
Sliabh Liag/Slieve League are the highest sea cliffs in Ireland standing an astounding 601 meters at their highest point, they are 3 times higher than the Cliffs of Moher. With 2 car parks you can opt to leave the car at the lower level and walk the road to the base, or drive along the winding road to the upper parking level.From here enjoy the view across the mighty Atlantic to Sligo, Leitrim and Mayo. 
The cliffs cater for all levels of climber, with a rocky path leading you to the top. Look out for the giants chair and table, a unique rock formation in the sea below and the more adventurous climbers can ascend to the ‘one mans pass’ where, as the name suggests, only one person can traverse the narrow ridge at a time as the cliffs fall away to the sea. 

For those wishing to get a view of the cliffs from the sea, head to Teelin Pier where  Sliabh Liag Boat tours offer boat trips around the cliffs with an opportunity to dive into the crystal clear waters of the many coves. And if your lucky, you may even spot dolphins, porpoises, seals and even whales and basking sharks. 

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