We are here in Ireland for 5 weeks so I’m always looking for ways to keep my girls entertained, preferably without having to break the bank.
With this in mind, I want to share some great but relatively low cost days out we’ve had.
Number 1: Powerscourt Waterfall
This is my girl’s favourite day out in Dublin. When we are planning our trip back and I ask them what they are looking forward to, this is top of their list on the Dublin part of our trip.
Powerscourt is the tallest waterfall in Ireland – it’s no Niagra Falls but it has a lovely setting surrounded by rolling green fields and forestry.
It’s definitely a trip for a sunny day as the girls love to splash around in the water. My 8 year old was all talk about how she was going to swim around the pool at the bottom of the waterfall and under the waterfall itself. Something like from an old 1980’s Timotei Shampoo advert is what she was picturing in her head, I think.
However, this was actually the reality:
After dipping one toe in the cold water, she quickly changed her mind. She only got this far because I told her I would buy her an ice-cream if she dared to sit down in the water.
My girls had so much fun scrambling over the rocks down through the stream. Clearly, we were not the only ones to think of going to Powerscourt on this sunny day – plenty of kids were enjoying a splash in the cool / cold stream and a picnic on the banks.
Unlike the girls, silly Mummy did not take her shoes off and guess what happened…..
We finished off with a play in the playground (the girls that is, not me) and the obligatory ice-cream.
Two tired happy girls driving back to Gran’s that day – contented lady-like little snores radiating from the back seat of the car.
We brought our own picnic lunch with us so didn’t buy food from the on-site kiosk. We did have to pay an entrance fee to the car park of 13 Euro (for 1 adult and 2 kids) and, of course, we had ice-creams.
For info: https://powerscourt.com/waterfall
Number 2: The Library
My 8 year old is a real little bookworm – if she’s enjoying a book, she devours it. She is a little girl with a big imagination and plenty to say and I don’t doubt that this has something to do with her love of reading.
I overheard her on the bus in Hong Kong one day telling the lady next to her that she’s South African (she’s not) – coincidentally though, the girl in the book she was reading at the time was South African.
One day I collected her from her old school and was congratulated by her teacher on my recent marriage (news to me and my husband!).
To get into her current school she had to do an interview. Afterwards, I asked her what she had to do during the interview and she told me that she was asked to write a list of the people in her family so she wrote down the 6 people in her family. With trepidation (as there are only 4 people in our family and we really wanted her to get this school place) I asked her who she wrote down and she replied – Mummy, Daddy, Me, my little sister, Katy (her imaginary sister) and Gerald (her imaginary dog)! She got the school place and I’m still not sure whether it was because they believed her or because they liked her sense of imagination. I’m just hoping that I don’t ever get asked to bring Gerald in to meet the class.
She has recently become very interested in reading about all things Egyptian so it will be interesting to see what stories she comes up with now…..
Her appetite for books is easily fed at home where she has all her own books, the school library, our local public library, she swaps books with friends and we have a great facebook forum where we live in Discovery Bay to buy and sell second-hand books, so she has access to a constant supply.
When we come for our big Irish summer trip, I can’t bring enough books to keep her going for the summer. We usually pay a trip to the local charity shop and sometimes she finds some books she likes but sometimes not.
This year, my husband had the brainwave that we would join the library when we got here. Actually, we were able to register online from Hong Kong and then just pick up their library cards from our local library in Dublin when we got here – super easy.
We spent a very pleasant afternoon in Rathmines Library where the girls stocked up on their favourite authors and had fun discovering new authors from here. They are absolutely fascinated by the books on Irish myths and legends. My 8 year old laps up the stories of fearless warriors whereas my 5 year old princess is a bit disappointed that the females in the stories don’t tend to be interested in waiting around to be rescued by a prince, those girls would definitely slay their own dragons!
I saw a poster in the library for weekly story times which I will bring my 5 year old back for and a leaflet for the “Summerstar Reading Adventure” which is a reading challenge whereby children get a Reading Card to record the books they read. My oldest would love doing this.
Our afternoon at the library was absolutely free, I’m pleased to say. They had a lovely afternoon and will continue to enjoy the books back at Gran’s – maybe even Mummy and Daddy will get a quiet hour to sit down and have a coffee while the girls catch up on the latest adventures of Geronimo Stilton.
As Oscar Wilde, one of Ireland’s most famous children said:
Number 3: The Museum of Natural History
Ok, yes, this place is full of stuffed dead animals and skeletons and you may think that this would freak kids out but, no, they love it!
My two loved pottering about checking out mammals of the world along with creatures of Irish fauna both past and present. Did you know that, during the ice age period, Wooly Mammoths and Brown Bears roamed the Irish landscape?
Us adults also found it interesting – the Giant Irish Deer (skeleton pictured below) became extinct as it’s antlers became so big that the Deer could no longer hold up their heads and the antlers continually got caught in tree branches.
I did, however, keep thinking how creepy it would be to accidentally get locked in there overnight. Imagine if the Night in the Museum movie was set there…..
There is no entrance fee to go into the museum. There is a box in the lobby suggesting a voluntary donation of 5 Euro which I was happy to contribute.
A fun outing and great to have in your pocket for a rainy day (trust me, there will be some!).
For Info: https://www.museum.ie/Natural-History
Number 4: The Park
We are spoiled where we lived in Dublin with a number of great local parks on our doorstep.
My favourite has always been Pearse Park named after Patrick Pearse who led the 1916 Rising, as it was where Patrick lived and ran his Irish speaking school from.
Lots of green space for playing chase and trees for climbing. The girls love the nature room with the fish tank and the animal exhibits and Mum is quite fond of the cafe there.
Just across the road from Pearse Park is Marley park with its huge adventure playground, ducks to feed and it farmer’s market at the weekend with some seriously good food stalls – tapas, crepes, falafels, pies, homemade breads and cakes. Yum!
Dartry Park is where Grandad takes the girls, they love their special time with Grandad here. Although I suspect, along with quality bonding time with his Granddaughters, that Grandad also has an ulterior motive – trying to run off that endless kid energy so that he can read his newspaper in peace later….
One of my sisters lives in Swords and we like to meet her and her little boy at nearby Newbridge House where there is a fantastic playground as well as the House grounds to wander around. We have not done so but you can buy a ticket, which I believe, includes a tour of the house, and entry to the farm.
There are plenty of choices for a day in the park wherever you live in Dublin. Even right in the city centre you can feed the ducks in St. Stephen’s Green, check out the Oscar Wilde statue at Merrion Square (did you know that there is an underground WWII air raid shelter under the grass?) or visit Phoenix Park which is the largest walled park in Europe – you might even spot the President popping out of his home in Aras an Uachtarain.
Number 5: Poolbeg Lighthouse
I’d never done the Poolbeg Lighthouse walk and having now done it, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long. It will definitely be an on my list of must do things again next Summer.
Wow – a long open walkway stretching out into the sea to reach the red lighthouse at the end with the iconic Poolbeg Twin Chimneys behind you.
The walk is not suitable for buggies as the path has wide cobbled blocks and you would definitely need to check the weather before doing this one. It’s an absolutely great walk and in the winter I can imagine it being beautiful in a wild blustery way with waves crashing over the open pathway.
We didn’t spend a cent on this excursion (beyond fuel in the car to drive there). We brought our own sandwiches and had a little picnic sitting on the rocks along the way.
We had a great day and this is definitely a happy day in our memory piggy bank.
Dublin – it’s good to be back!
Happy summer holidays from Our Girls Gang everyone xxx