2021 in-person summer camps in Ireland: Our guide to the best and most popular

In-person Summer Camps: Programmes across the island cater for all interests, including sport, tech and art

 
This summer, The Irish Times will offer tips, advice and information for parents on how to help their children thrive during the holiday months. Read all about it at  irishtimes.com/summeroffamily

In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many summer camps for children and teenagers were either severely scaled back, or didn't take place at all.

The good news is that almost all are back up and running this summer – and parents will be looking forward to sending out the young occupants of the house to the many camps dotted around the island.

Choosing a summer camp, or two (or six or seven!), can be an expensive and arduous task, so here is a handy list to help you, and your children. 

Alive Outside

The Alive Outside Camp experience is all about the outdoors, fresh air and nature - essentially it's back to basics for your children. Activities include kayaking, archery, bushcraft, as well as arts and crafts.
Location: Killruddery in Bray, Co Wicklow. 
Dates and times: Five days, six hours each day, June 28th to August 27th.
Ages: 7-12 years.
Cost: €165 per week.
Website: aliveoutside.ie

Anyone4Science

The camp is offering two sets of activities – so some young science fans may want to do both camps. Option one is all about bubbles, geology, separating mixtures, pneumatics and hydraulics and marine biology. Option two has a Roald Dahl theme – the Twits, Charlie and the Chocolate factory, George’s Marvellous Medicine and more. For teenagers, the camp promises to be packed with fun, hands-on genetics, electricity, spectroscopy, marine biology and rocket activities.
Locations: Camp venues include Lifetime Lab, Cork; Donnycarney, Castleknock and Firhouse in Dublin; Ashford, Co Wicklow; and Greystones (for teenagers).
Dates and times: From June 21st to August 20th. For primary school children, times are 10am-12.30pm and 1.30pm-4pm. Camp for teens runs from 10am-3pm.
Ages: Primary school to 3rd year in secondary school.
Cost: Costs €99-€200 for five-day camp. Family discounts apply.
Website: anyone4science.com

Artzone

For the creative person in your house, the camps are run by qualified art teachers. The academy camps promise drawing, painting, illustration, fashion, sculpture and clay construction. There’s also stories and games, with all equipment supplied by the organisers.
Locations: Rathfarnham, Dundrum and Glenageary.
Dates and times: Five-day camps,
Ages: 7-16 years
Cost: €140
Website: Artzone.ie

Astro Park

Astro Park is back open this summer with its multi-activity outdoor camps in Dublin. The emphasis is on ensuring children are provided with a fun-filled, safe and healthy environment. The camp offers more than football-based activities – the children will also get to try new games, such as Bubble Football and Nerf Astro Wars.
Locations: Tallaght and Coolock, Dublin
Dates and times: Five-days, 9am-3pm. The camp will run for nine weeks, starting on June 28th.
Ages: 4-12 years
Cost: €110
Website: astropark.ie/camps

Athletics Ireland

For obvious reasons, only four summer camps were held last year, but the Athletics Ireland camps are back in business this summer. Used by clubs to attract new members, participants are treated to a week-long schedule of run, jump, and throw activities and are given a chance to try out disciplines that they may not have experienced before. Participants receive a spike bag, water bottle, t-shirt, medal, and certificate of participation.
Locations: In 2019, camps took place in 15 counties, so something similar is likely in 2021.
Dates and times: Five day camps, usually between 10am and 2pm, through July and August.
Cost: €65 (€55 for each additional child in a family).
Website: athleticsireland.ie

Bricks4Kidz

A nice way to bring out the creativity in children during the summer with Lego-themed camps. Bricks4Kidz is an international children’s franchise which provides play-based educational programmes, with STEM being at the heart of the camps (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
Locations: Not quite nationwide, but there are camps from Antrim to Cork and Donegal to Wexford.
Dates and times: Five days -- June, July and August
Ages: 3-6 years
Cost: Prices vary, but generally €99-€135.
Website: brickz4kidz.ie

Connemara Maths Academy

The CMA camps are a mix of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) and adventure activities. Rockwell College is well known for its sporting and leisure facilities – so it’s a paradise for those who enjoy field and water sports. The camps are popular with overseas students, so airport transfers are offered.
Location: Rockwell College, Co Tipperary
Dates and times: One week (residential), June 27th-August 6th
Ages: 8-17 years
Cost: €750-€875
Website: connemaramathsacademy.com 

Cool Food School

Children have been spending more and more time in the kitchen over the past year, learning about cooking and baking.

Deirdre Doyle is running a cooking camp in July where pre-teens can learn about the joys of healthy eating. The young participants will only need to bring themselves and a drink, as all the food will be provides each day.
Location: At a covered outdoor venue in Kilpedder, Co Wicklow.
Dates and times: Five days, 10am-1pm, July 19th-23rd.
Ages: 8-11 years. 
Cost: €120.
Website: thecoolfoodschool.ie 

Designer Minds

Coding and robotics, sports science, circuit building, engineering and design, creative challenges, architecture, team-building games, Minecraft . . . there should be enough at one of these camps to make sure your child does not get bored.
Locations: There are camps in about 12 counties.
Dates and times: Five days, July and August
Ages: 7-13 years
Cost: €100-€125
Website: designerminds.ie

Deucepoint Tennis

With tennis one of first sports back after lockdown, tennis summer camps are sure to be popular. Dublin-based Deucepoint Tennis Camps are run in tennis facilities but also provide an array of other sports in their camps. These camps provide co-ordination drills for all campers and cater for all skill levels from complete beginners to advanced players.
Locations: Terenure College and Castleknock College.
Dates and times: Five days. July 5th to August 20th in Terenure College (2.30pm-4.30pm). July 5th and August 16th in Castleknock College (10am-12.30pm).
Ages: 5+ years
Cost: €65
Website: deucepoint.ie

Fota Island Adventure

A 500-metre obstacle course at an adventure camp – what more needs to be said? There’s also archery, field games, survival skills, orienteering and lots more, including something called Battle Royale – an adventure game pitting two teams against each other – which would definitely appeal to many.
Location: Fota Island Resort, Tullagreen, Cork.
Times: Five days, 9am/9.30am/10am-1pm/1.30pm/2pm.
Ages: 7-15 years.
Cost: €150.
Website: fotaadventure.com

Gaelic Games

Even this summer, it is still likely to be the biggest of them all. The week is about learning new skills in football, camogie and hurling. And having fun. Compared with other camps, the relatively low cost of signing up is obviously a big incentive – especially as each child also receives a backpack, jersey and zip-top.
Locations: Camps will take place in all 32 counties. If you have a hurling, football or camogie club near you (and you definitely do), then you probably have a Cul Camp near you.
Dates and times: Five days, 10am-2pm
Ages: 6-13 years
Cost: €65 (£55) for first child; €60 (£50) for second; €50 (£45) for third. There’s a kit delivery charge of €7.80/£7.20
Website: kelloggsculcamps.gaa.ie

Independent Theatre Workshop

The Independent Theatre Workshop are running a wide range of Performing Arts Camps including Camp Broadway for all ages and abilities from June to August. Highlights this year include weekend and week-long intensives in dance, film making, musical theatre, acting for teens, and animation. The teen camps look particularly exciting this year with West End performers, a Netflix animator, a casting director, RTÉ TV presenter, acrobatics coach and a stage combat teacher alongside regular professional singing, dancing and acting tutors.
Locations: ITW Studios in Clonskeagh and Drumcondra and Beechwood Centre, Ranelagh.
Dates and times: Five-day camps, Monday to Friday, from 9am-12.30pm and 1pm-4.30pm (3-7-year-olds), 1-6pm (8-14-year-olds), 10-2pm or 1-6pm (15-18-year-olds). Weekend camps, 10am-2pm, Saturday and Sunday.
Ages: tots 3-7yrs, juniors 7-9yrs, inters 10-12yrs, seniors 12-14yrs, young adults 15-18yrs.
Cost: €75 for weekend courses, €130-€160 for week-long courses
Website: itwstudios.ie

Learnit

Camps which encourage children to explore the STEAM subjects in fun ways are always high on the summer lists for parents and children. The Lego-themed camps are split into Junior Engineers (6-8 years), Senior Engineers (9-12), Robotics (8-12) and Senior Robotics (11-14).
Locations: Currently Limerick and Dublin
Dates and times: Five-day camps in July
Ages: 6-16 years
Cost: €120-€135
Website: learnit.ie

Let’s Go!

One of the biggest and most popular camps in Ireland, Let’s Go! are back in most of their venues this summer. The camps offer children the opportunity to play, try new sports and just have fun with their friends new and old in a safe fun environment. It’s a fun-filled week, with a range of outdoor activities from KMX karting, human table football, inflatable games, hockey, flingsock games, lacrosse, field games, team challenges, wrecking ball, pony cycles, roller racers and lots more.
Locations: More than 155 venues nationwide.
Dates and times: Five days, 9.30am-3.30pm, from July 5th to August 20th.
Ages: 5-12 years
Cost: Starting from €105 (family discounts apply)
Website: letsgo.ie

Killary Adventure Company

These residential and non-residential, multi-activity camps, offer everything from hill walking to kayaking, archery to ringo rides. Killary also offer a Spanish Language Camp (based around the normal activity schedule, but with a Spanish element) and a Camping Expedition Camp (for teens aged 14-17).
Location: Leenane, Co Galway
Dates and times: Five/seven and 14-day camps, from June 6th to August 15th
Ages: 8-17 years
Cost: €445-€1,133 (residential)
Website: killaryadventure.com

Lingotot

Run by qualified language and native teachers, Lingotot is bringing engaging and fun-filled French and Spanish language camps for kids to Dublin and Limerick in July. Each day will have a different theme and will be filled with active language learning, language games, team challenges, craft activities, stories, singing and the best part is it will all be outdoors. The camp will provide all of the fun of your typical summer camp, with the added bonus of learning another language.
Locations: Monaleen, Co Limerick and Glenageary, Co Dublin
Dates and times: Five days, July, 9am/10am-2pm
Ages: 5-11 years
Cost: €120
Website: lingotot.com

Little Lingua

Sinéad McKeever, founder of Little Lingua: ‘Our language camps have always been small and full of outdoor activities’
Sinéad McKeever, founder of Little Lingua.

Fun, with the added value of learning a foreign language. What’s not to like? The Little Lingua school promises that the children at their camps will “absorb” the language through indoor and outdoor games, role playing, art and songs.
Location: Bray and Greystones.
Times: Five days, July and August.
Ages: 6-12 years
Cost: €110
Website: littlelingua.com

Next Stage

The Theatre School, now in its 12th year, is back this summer with its performing arts camps. Summer Stage involves singing, dance, drama & fun, culminating in filmed performances for parents on Friday. The focus is on building confidence, having fun, making friends and improving performance skills in a Covid-safe, friendly and non-pressurised environment. Next Stage also has a four-4 day special needs camp, which caters for teens and young adults with special needs from age 15 upwards, 11am-3pm daily.
Locations: Naas and Castledermot, Co Kildare; Dunboyne, Co Meath; and Balally and Donnycarney, Co Dublin.
Dates and times: Five days, 10am-3pm, in July and August.
Ages: 4-13 years.
Cost: €85.
Website: nextstage.ie

Olympian Gymnastics

For the little gym monkey in your house, Olympian Gymnastics summer camps are back this year. This summer they have doubled their camp programme so that every budding gymnast has a chance to get involved. All the activities, Gymnastics and games, are developed to ensure that they benefit fully during the week and help improve their coordination, balance, skills and social development.
Locations: Four locations this year – Greenhills(Olympian HQ), Knocklyon (St Colmcille’s Community School), Templeogue (Templeogue College) and Milltown (Alexandra College).
Dates and times: Five-day camps from July 5th to August 27th (9.30am-1.30pm and 2.30pm-6.30pm).
Ages: 3-16 years
Cost: €75-€ 120
Website: olympiangymnastics.com

PlayAct

For junior campers (4-12 years), the camp is an opportunity for children to immerse themselves into the magical world of make-believe, unleash their creativity, bring their ideas alive, make new friends, and have loads of fun. For teens (13+) the focus of the camps is on making a movie, with script writing, directing, acting, story boards, costume, props and lots more.
Location: Dún Laoghaire
Dates and times: 9.30am-1.30pm, July and August
Ages: 4-17 years
Cost: €150-€165
Website: playact.ie

PSA Rugby Academies

Co-founded by a team including French rugby legend Philippe Saint-Andre and ex-Munster player John Murphy, the academies offer a high-performance rugby academy programme. The development camps see coaches from the pro-rugby game deliver a high level skills and physical development programme during the day, including rugby testing analysis videos, and a full post-camp development report for each player, with interactive sports science webinars each evening.
Locations: There are four camps in Ireland – in July at Midleton College in Cork (non-residential only, July 12th-16th) and Kilkenny College (July 18th-23rd); and in August at Newbridge College in Kildare (non-residential only, Aug 9th-13th) and Castleknock College in Dublin (Aug 16th-20th). They also run a camp for two weeks (Sat 10 - Sat 24 July) in Tignes in the French Alps.
Times: For Irish Academies, Sunday, 5pm to Friday, 5pm, residential. 8.30am-3pm, non-residential. Online evening programme, 6.30-8pm.
Ages: 10-16 years, boys and girls
Cost: €205-€445 for the Irish Academies (10 per cent sibling discount available), €985 for seven nights full board sharing & transfers for the Tignes Academy
Website: psaacademies.com

Rebelle Surf

An opportunity for children to learn to navigate and surf the Ocean waves and shores safely, with confidence, excitement and respect. The camps teach beginner, intermediate and advanced surfing techniques, with all levels of confidence and fitness welcome. Water safety, reading the Ocean waves, currents and tides are all weaved throughout the week. Equipment is provided. Rebelle Surf also offer yoga surf sessions and Ju jitsu self defence classes.
Location: Strandhill Beach, Co Sligo
Dates and times: Mornings and afternoons, July and August
Ages: 6-17 years
Price: €150
Website: rebellesurf.com

Rossnowlagh Surf School

Live the dream and learn to surf with ex-Irish surf team members and passionate ocean lovers at this fabulous Co Donegal Surf School. This award-winning kids camp guarantees each surfer to learn the fundamentals of surfing and ocean safety in a fun and relaxed environment, under the watchful eye of surf instructors. Parents can book in for lessons, or join their child in one of the group sessions run every day throughout the summer.
Location: Rossnowlagh Surf School, Rossnowlagh Beach, Co Donegal
Dates and times: June and August, Monday-Friday, 9am-11am
Ages: 8-16 years
Cost: €105
Website: rossnowlaghsurfschool.com

Rugby

After missing 2020, the popular camps return this summer and are for those who have never held a rugby ball before, as well as those already envisioning themselves playing for their province in a Champions Cup final. For some, the camps will be about improving their rugby skills – for others, it’s an enjoyable introduction to the sport and the children often end up playing in school and joining a local club.
Locations: Islandwide – most rugby clubs will host a camp this summer, which leaves only a few counties without one. For example, Leinster rugby are running 37 camps in 29 venues during July and August. They are also hosting three-day inclusion camps – in Greystones, Mullingar, Navan, Coolmine and Newbridge – which are open to children with disabilities aged between eight and 12 years.
Dates and times: Five days, 9am/9.30am-1pm/1.30pm. (Connacht are running one-day and three-day camps).
Ages: 6-12 years
Cost: €80-€90 for first child; €75-€80 for second; (€65 in Connacht)
Website: The provinces run the camps in their areas - connachtrugby.ie, leinsterrugby.ie, munsterrugby.ie, ulsterrugby.com

School of Irish Archaeology

The camps provide a new and fascinating alternative to sports-themed camps and other school-break activities for children aged between 7 and 12-years-old. If your child is a curious explorer with a thirst for knowledge about their past, why not let them try the School of Irish Archaeology? The camps are run year round, and they introduce children to the mysteries and adventures of our past in a fun, practical and hands-on way.
Locations: Harold’s Cross, Sandyford and Malahide in Dublin, as well as Limerick and Monaghan.
Dates and times: Five days, 10am-3pm, from July 5th to August 20th
Ages: 7-12 years
Cost: €140 - €160
Website: sia.ie

Santry Summer Camp

Run by Trinity Sport, this is a camp that promises a wide range of activities for children – including volleyball, GAA, soccer, hockey and other fun games.
Location: Santry Sports Grounds, Santry Avenue, Dublin 9
Dates and times: Five days, 10am to 1.30pm, July 12th to August 6th
Ages: 7-13 years
Cost: €65-€70
Website: tcd.ie/Sport/children

Searsol

If your child loves computers, perhaps this is the camp for them. The course covers a range of topics, including touch typing, word processing, presentation slides, image editing, creating cards, avatars, comic books, collages and 3D animation with children divided into two age groups: 8-12 (Level 1) and 13-18 (Level 2). The camp is suitable for children with learning differences such as dyspraxia or dyslexia.
Locations: Dundrum, Artane and Lucan in Dublin
Dates and times: Five days, mornings and afternoons, during July
Ages: 8-18 years
Cost: €100 for first child
Website: searsolcomputercamps.com

Soccer

Summer camps have proven a useful way for clubs to attract new members, and parents to allow their children to try a new activity before deciding whether to commit. This is the 25th year of the FAI Summer Schools, and hopefully this edition will see numbers participating building back up again after the write-off that was 2020. All participants get some kit, including a football and backpack.
Location: Countrywide. In Northern Ireland, the IFA organises the summer camps.
Dates and times: Five days, 10.30am-3pm
Ages: 6-14 years. (In Northern Ireland, it is 5-13 years)
Cost: €70 for first child; €60 for second. (In Northern Ireland, price is £42, or £72 for two children)
Website: summersoccerschools.ie (in Northern Ireland, see irishfa.com)

Sport Ireland Camp

The “all-rounders” will love this camp at the National Sports Campus. There’s track and field sports, Gaelic games, unihoc, gymnastics, volleyball, etc – children get a go at many different sports over the week.
Location: National Sports Campus, Blanchardstown, Co Dublin.
Times: Five days, running for eight weeks from July 5th
Ages: 5-15 years. (Kids camps are for 5-12 years, with teen camps for 13-15 years)
Cost: €100
Website: sportirelandcampus.ie

Starcamp

A camp for the little person in your life who enjoys singing, dancing and acting – with summer 2021 seeing the addition of some outdoor activities. Apart from the obvious, the activities listed also includes magic tricks, comedy, arts and crafts, and Tik Tok dances.
Location: Countrywide (including Northern Ireland)
Dates and times: Five days, 9.30am-2.30pm (staggered drop-off/collection times), through the summer months.
Ages: 4-12 years
Cost: €99 (£85)
Website: starcamp.ie

TechKidz

From basic computer skills to animations, coding to robotics, this is for children who love technology. The classes are divided by age, with smaller children having fun with animation, coding and paint, while older children get experience with 3D design, game making and Raspberry Pi. Children will also be taught about staying safe online.
Locations: Venues in Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick
Dates and times: Five days, 10am-12.30pm or 2.30pm-5pm, June 28th to August 20th
Ages: 7-13 years
Cost: €115
Website: techkidz.ie

Trojan Gymnastic Club

Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, Trojan GC is a well-known name in the Irish sports scene, having seen much success over the decades in national and international competitions. With over 13,000 sq. feet in their new full-time gymnastic centre, your child will learn new skills and gain confidence stretching, jumping, swinging, rolling, balancing, and turning upside-down.
Location: Holly Avenue, Stillorgan Business Park, Co Dublin
Dates and times: Five-day camps, 10am-2pm, from June 28th - August 27th
Ages: 4-13 years
Cost: €100/€150
Website: trojangymnasticclub.com/summer-camps

Whizzkids

Whizzkids has delivered its popular blend of education and entertainment to children across Ireland since 2003. WhizzKids Summer Camps are high-tech camps that blend digital skills classes on topics such as web-design, 3D Modelling, game design, coding, animation with sports and a host of fun hi-tech challenges. Designed for children of all abilities, no prior experience necessary and classes are broken by age. Groups are small and all lessons will be suited to that age category. There are half-day and full-day options.
Locations: Cork, Dublin, Limerick and Tipperary
Times: Five days, 9.30am-3.30pm (half-day camp, 9.30am-1pm)
Ages: 8-15 years
Cost: €175 (half-day camp, €120)
Website: whizzkids.ie

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