You may be more familiar with Travel Department for their escorted trips to far-flung spots, but they’ll also bring you to some Irish gems, where you’ll find yourself in a happy group of explorers, with everything taken care of. Try Irish Castles and Treasures, taking in stays in Limerick, Cavan, Westport and Galway, including a castle sleepover at Cabra Castle, a river cruise, and a couple of whiskey tastings for good (ahem) measure. Departing August 20th and September 17th, four nights B&B with two dinners, plus lots of extras, from €999pp. Book before July 31st and change your dates for free. traveldepartment.com.
By land and sea
The Áras Éanna arts centre has been doing brilliant things on Inis Oírr for 21 years. Celebrating being grown up (in all the good ways), they've commissioned 21 artists – including Dolores Lyne, Mick O'Dea, Breda Burns, John Behan (pictured) and Aine Philips – to do magical things to 21 sculpted currachs. Get a map, and find them dotted around the island until September 6th, aras-eanna.ie. The Galway Arts Festival also brings Laethanta Sona, an Irish language version of Sam Beckett's Happy Days to the island with Company SJ, from August 30th to September 5th, €35, giaf.ie. Stay at Óstán Inis Oírr from €84 per night, hotelinisoirr.com, or take the ferry €15 children/ €30 adults return, aranislandferries.com.
Camp it up
Getting away to the countryside is all very well, but if you happen to live in the countryside already you might want to escape the ravening hoards and bring your tribe on a Dublin mini-break instead. The Conrad, just off Stephen's Green, has a Junior package including interconnecting king and twin rooms, an in-room teepee for weatherproof camping craic, colouring books and bedtime stories from a selection by Chris Haughton (whose exhibition is on at MoLI, the Museum of Literature Ireland). Find family fun across the city, including at the National Gallery and the zoo. The Conrad concierge promises to make it all a breeze. From €449 for four, B&B including car parking, conraddublin.com.
Wild Atlantic Way
The lovely Hunt Museum in Limerick not only has a gorgeous summertime garden cafe, they're also showing some Irish greats celebrating A Wild Atlantic Way, including Donald Teskey, John Shinnors, Camille Souter and Jack B Yeats, until October 3rd, tickets €10, children free, huntmuseum.com. Stay at the Absolut Hotel, just minutes from the Hunt, where the City & Sea package gets you out in the Wild Atlantic for real, with two nights B&B, one dinner, and two tickets to Inis Mór (as clearly all waterways lead to the Aran Islands!) with the Doolin Ferry Company, from €141 per night, absolutehotel.com.