15 things to do with the kids this weekend, rain or shine
Whether hunting for Lego or literary prowess, there’s something for everyone
Super Milk Wild Air Run: Fota Island has an inflatable obstacle course on Saturday, July 14th
The Gruffalo’s Child Live
Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Saturday and Sunday, July 14th and 15th, paviliontheatre.ie
For theatre lovers big and small, The Gruffalo’s Child Live is a musical adaption of the popular picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Since finishing a six week season at the West End , the show has been touring the world. The performance promises songs, laughter and spooky fun for all the family aged three and up. Tickets €15/13 (families €49).
St Michael’s Hill, Christ Church, Dublin, events run year round, dublinia.ie
If you are looking to brush up on your Irish history, Dublinia offers a host of interactive family events. Permanent exhibitions include Viking Dublin, Medieval Dublin, History Hunters and the newly renovated St Michael’s Tower. From July to August visitors can befriend Olaf the Viking Coin Minter, as he demonstrates the old art of making coins and shares his knowledge of Viking arts and crafts.
The Chocolate Garden of Ireland
Rath, Tullow, Co Carlow, events run year round, chocolategarden.ie
An ideal weekend activity for any chocoholic, the Chocolate Garden of Ireland is holding chocolate making workshops this Sunday at 3pm. Booking is essential. It also offers mould-making classes, which require no booking (and you can gorge on ice cream while you wait for your creation to set). Chocolate making €13.50; mould-making €10.
Earagail Arts Festival
Various locations across Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way, until July 29th, eaf.ie
This bilingual festival (English and Irish) is bursting with events. On Saturday families can create their own masterpieces in the Drop-In, Hands-On Art Room. On Sunday visitors can look forward to the Foyle Punt, an outdoor theatre piece which tells the story of boatbuilder Philip McDonald, and the Donegal International Folk & Roots barbecue at Castle Grove.
West Cork Literary Festival
Bantry Library and St Brendan’s School Hall, Bantry, until July 20th, 027-52788, westcorkliteraryfestival.ie
This festival could be the perfect outing for budding bookworms. The weekend schedule includes a free poetry workshop with Inua Ellams and a reading by Louise O’Neill from her latest novel, The Surface Breaks.
Medieval Mile Museum Lego hunt
Medieval Mile Museum, 2 St Mary’s Lane, High Street, Kilkenny, until August 31st, medievalmilemuseum.ie
The Medieval Mile Museum is adding a dash of imagination to Irish history with its summer Lego hunt. Ten historical figures will be dotted around the 800-year-old building in Lego form for visitors to find.
National Museum of Ireland
Location varies depending on event, events run year round, museum.ie
The National Museum of Ireland always has a packed schedule. This weekend, follow Sarah Sarsfield on the Dead Zoo Tour to learn how the Natural History Museum, on Merrion Street, acquired its polar bear. Or travel back to the Stone Age in How to Catch your Dinner, at the Kildare Street building, to discover how people used to hunt, collect and fish for their supper.
Super Milk Wild Air Run
Fota Island, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, Saturday, July 14th, wildairrun.com
The Super Milk Wild Air Run is an ideal way to squeeze some exercise into your weekend. The inflatable obstacle course includes what is billed as Europe’s largest inflatable water slide. Participants need not worry if it’s another hot day, as each runner is given a water gun to drench each other along the course. Children €18.50, adults €32 and families €80.
Phoenix Park, Dublin 8, Saturday and Sunday, July 14th and 15th, dublinzoo.ie
This weekend Dublin Zoo is hosting two special events, Wild About Gorillas, a family-friendly activity where visitors can learn about the largest of all the apes, and the Rare Breed Farm Animal Weekend. Both activities are at no additional cost to the standard entry fee.
Waterford & Suir Valley Railway
Waterford & Suir Valley Railway Company, Kilmeadan Station, Kilmeadan, Co Waterford, open daily until September 30th, wsvrailway.ie
The Waterford & Suir Valley Railway allows visitors to experience the beauty of the Suir Valley from a partially open train carriage. Choo Choo fun days are held every Wednesday and Sunday in July and August. Children can meet teddy bears before climbing aboard or see falcons from Mayfield Birds of Prey. If the weather is fine, bring your bike for a cycle on the Waterford Greenway, right next to the station. Family tickets start at €20.
Irish Famine Exhibition
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, Dublin 2, until September 30th, theirishpotatofamine.com
For children aged 12 and up, the Irish Famine Exhibition (on the second floor of the centre) has 50 display panels, a 15-minute film and an original workhouse coffin carrier. A family ticket (two adults and two children) costs €25.
Kilmore Quay Seafood Festival
Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, until Sunday, July 15th, kilmorequayseafoodfestival.com
This maritime festival sounds as if it has something for everyone. Saturday’s schedule includes a seaweed-foraging walk, teddy bears’ picnic and sea kayaking excursions. The day will draw to a close with the seafood festival run at Forlorn Point. Sunday’s high points include sunrise yoga and a céilí on the quay.
Mad Scientist Weekend at Fota Wildlife Park
Fota Wildlife Park, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, Saturday and Sunday, July 14th and 15th, fotawildlife.ie/contact-us e
Science fanatics are invited to Fota Wildlife Park for the Mad Scientist Weekend. There will be experts from the Learnit Lego education workshops and Fota’s education team to help kids explore the wonders of science in a fun and interactive environment. The event is included in the ordinary admission price.
Dingle Oceanworld Aquarium
The Wood, Dingle, Co Kerry, dingle-ocean world.ie
Visitors can lock eyes with nurse sharks, make friends with polar penguins, stroke rays or even hold a starfish at the aquarium’s Touch Tank. There are also Asian otters and reptiles to keep the family occupied. To make the most of your visit stick around for feeding time. Access to the Kids’ Zone, which offers free face-painting, puppet shows and interactive experiments, is included with admission.
Laya Healthcare City Spectacular Cork
Fitzgerald Park, Cork, Saturday and Sunday, July 14th and 15th, cityspectacular.com
The annual showcase of international street performers features the It’s Good to Live stage, where families can dance, drum, jump and take part in health classes. The DSPCA has helped create a pet area, with dog training, agility demonstrations and a doggy adoption parade. Entry is free, with some free family activities, making it an affordable summer event where even canine companions are welcome.