Learn to dance? Go to France? Camp it up

The long summer holidays enable kids to learn skills, make friends and keep busy

Where would we be without summer camps? At home driving each other bonkers, that’s where. The summer camps market has exploded in the past decade with great new options coming on stream each year. Many parents will choose the local summer camp in their national school or community centre. However, if you want to spread your wings or fill up the whole two months, why not try something new, like a trampolining camp or a course on how to use your smartphone to take professional-grade photographs?

Big this year are the raft of new courses in science, technology and business. It's not enough to get the kids out of our hair any more – we want them to learn something useful in the process.

Sports camps

eFlow FAI Soccer School camps, nationwide
The hugely popular camps, now in their 17th year, cater for boys and girls aged 6-14 of all abilities, with participants grouped together based on age and ability. The camps also cater for children with disabilities. There's skills development in the morning, followed by mini-leagues in the afternoon.

Separately, a number of FAI Goalkeeper Camps will run from Tuesday to Thursday, 6pm-9pm, or at weekends, 10.30am-3pm.
Dates Camps run for one week on dates throughout July and August.
Price €65 for the main camp, €50 for the goalkeeper camp. There is also a family discount, with €10 off for brothers and sisters.
Contact Tel: 1850-653653, summersoccerschools.ie.

Kellogg's GAA Cúl Camps, nationwide
The annual GAA camps take in football, hurling, camogie, handball, and rounders, for children aged 6-13 and with a strong focus on skill acquisition.
Dates Camps run for one week on dates throughout July and August, from 10am-2.30pm.
Price In the Republic of Ireland, €55 for the first child; €45 for the second child; and €40 for third and subsequent sibling.


Discount coupons on promotional packs of Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Kellogg's Rice Krispies. In Northern Ireland, €42 for the first child; €36 for the second child; €36 for the third and subsequent sibling.
Contact kelloggsculcamps.gaa.ie

IRFU rugby summer camps
Week-long summer camps for boys and girls aged 6-12, at locations across the Republic of Ireland. In Northern Ireland, there are camps for ages 6-12 and 12-17 as well as a rugby camp for children with special needs. All camps are managed and run by fully accredited IRFU coaches.
Dates Camps run for one week throughout July and August.
Price Varies according to province. Leinster rugby camps cost €70 until June 1st. After that, camps cost €89 per child, falling to €80 for each additional child.
Contact irishrugby.ie/camps

Cork Parks Tennis
Cork Parks Tennis offers summer camps in various locations around Cork city and county for children aged 6-8, 9-11, and over 12.
Dates July and August. Times vary; some from 9.30am-12.30pm, others 1.30-3pm. Most camps run four to five days.
Price Four-day camps, €40; five-day camps, €50.
Contact corkparkstennis.com

Parks Tennis daily coaching
Not a full summer camp as such, but Parks Tennis coaching operates for an hour, or up to an hour-and-a-half, throughout July, for beginners and improvers, aged 6-17. And it's very affordable. Prices vary but a good indicator is that the maximum price for a full month of daily tennis lessons in Dublin is just €35, with all equipment included.
Contact parkstennis.com

Hockey camp

The Irish Hockey Association is running 10 summer camps for boys and girls, from beginners to advanced, aged 9-17, with locations in Dublin, Kildare, Cork, Wicklow, and Belfast.

All camps guarantee no more than 10 children to each hockey coach. Some of the coaches include Irish international players and coaches.
Dates July and August, from 10am-3pm.
Price €160
Contact hockey.ie; tel: 01-716 3261.

Basketball camp, Co Meath
A residential, week-long basketball camp at Gormanstown, Co Meath, is proving very popular, with the first week already booked up for boys. Limited places remain for girls, and there are places for boys and girls on week two.
Price €375, includes coaching and camp, accommodation and food.
Dates July 7th-12th and July 14th-19th, but this is subject to change.
Contact basketballireland.ie and follow the camps link, or tel: 01- 4590211.

UCD summer sports camps
A little bit of everything at these week-long multi-activity sports camps for children aged 4-12. Soccer, basketball, orienteering, squash, cricket, trampoline, rock-climbing, archery, swimming and dance are among the many sports and activities on offer. Camps run for five days, except one four-day camp after the August bank-holiday weekend.
Price €115, from 10am-2.30pm and up to €190 including pre- and after-care, from 8am-5pm. There is also a daily rate.
Dates July and August.
Contact ucd.ie/sport/sportscamps or Facebook.com/UCDSportscamps.

Golf camps, Maynooth, Co Kildare
These week-long camps are run by the GUI National Golf Academy, which includes a driving range, putting green, short game area and bunker complex. Classes for both basic skills and advanced skills will be held, subject to demand. Louise D'Arcy PGA is the course tutor.
Dates Four one-week camps in July and one in August, 9.30am-12.30pm, ages 7-12; 1.30pm-4.30pm, ages 11-15.
Price €125 per child, €200 for two siblings.
Contact The GUI National Golf Academy, tel: 01-5054040, bettergolf.ie

Adventure and outdoors

Horizon Adventure Camps
Five residential camps at Clongowes Wood College, Clane, Co Kildare; Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin; Gurteen College, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, and Headfort College, Kells, Co Meath, offering sports and activities for boys and girls aged 7-17. Activities vary in each location.

Horizon also offers an Adventure Xtreme programme at Westport Adventure Centre, Co Mayo which includes surfing, kayaking, peak climbing, bungee jumping, archery. Suitable for children aged 10-13 and 13-17.
Dates July and August
Prices €447 for multi-activity camps, and €497 for the Adventure Xtreme camp in Westport.
Contact horizonireland.com

Let's Go summer camps
Well-established multi-activity camps for children aged 5-6 and 7-13, with locations throughout the country. There's an almost dizzying array of activities on offer. The younger kids can partake in ball games, frisbee, scavenger hunts and teddy bears' picnics, a new spider climbing tower and more.

Activities for children aged seven and up, include karting, crazy golf, orienteering, soccer and rugby, and various camp games.
Price Varies by camp and region, many cost €90 for the first child, €70 for the second and €50 for the third sibling.
Contact letsgo.ie or call 1890-538746.

Wet, Wild and Wonderful Summer Nature Camp, Lullymore, Co Kildare
Get the kids outdoors and cram their minds full of facts about the outdoor world at the Irish Peatland Conservation Council's annual summer camp.

Creepy crawly safaris, butterfly catching, frog searches and nature walks tie in with the national primary school curriculum and give children a hands-on, adventurous week and a memorable sensory experience in one of Ireland’s most beautiful natural habitats.

Suitable for children aged 6-13, although younger children can be considered on a case-by-case basis, usually if they have an older sibling with them.
Date The one-week camp is at the end of July from 10am-1pm.
Price €50.
Contact ipcc.ie/events.
Delphi Summer Camps, Leenane, Co Galway
Possibly the best-known adventure centre in Ireland, set in the rolling wilds of rugged and gorgeous Connemara. Adventure and fun for children aged 8-17.

Kayaking, rock climbing and raft-building are among the daytime activities, while evening activities include soccer, basketball, discos, beach parties and talent shows. Boys and girls stay in separate dorms.
Dates Four summer camps run for a week each, throughout July.
Price Residential, five days, €429, Monday-Friday; residental, seven days, €499, Sunday-Sunday; nonresidential, one day €45, 9.30am-5pm; nonresidential half-day, €30, 9.30am-1.30am.
Contact delphimountainresort.com, tel: 095-42208.

Fota Wildlife Summer Camp, Co Cork
The ever-popular summer camp in the Cork wildlife park is perfect for children, aged 5-12, with a grá for the natural world. Ecology and nature studies are among the areas covered. One staff member for every eight students. A supervised train service, from Kent Station to Fota at 9.30am each morning serves as a convenient way to get the kids to and from camp, at an additional charge of €20.
Dates Three one-week camps in July and August, from 11am-4pm daily.
Price €95 per child per week, with a 10 per cent discount for members or three or more siblings.
Contact fotawildlife.ie/education, tel: 021-4812678.

Extreme sports

Whoever heard of a blokart? These small three-wheeled karts, allowing people to "sail" on land, are among the more unusual activities on offer at these extreme sports camps with locations throughout the country, including Dublin, Derry, Sligo and Kerry.

Different locations offer different activities, including bungee jumping, abseiling, assault courses, rock-climbing, laser combat, mountaineering and survival skills.
Dates Throughout the summer, with different times and durations.
Price Varies based on activity and location. Contact extremesports.ie.

Brigit's Garden summer camps, Galway
Kids will love the nature and survival skills camps in this magical spot.

The nature camp, for children aged 5-8, includes nature walks, bug hunts, arts and crafts and Celtic games. The survival-skills camp, for children aged 9-12 features bug hunts, hut-making, crafts, and outdoor cooking.

The nature and leadership camp, for children aged 13 and over, focuses on fire-making skills, wild and medicinal plants, survival skills, empowerment and leadership.
Dates Week-long camps in July and August.
Price €55 for members, €60 for non-members, and €5 off for a third sibling.
Contact brigitsgarden.ie, tel: 091-550905.

Irish language

A trip to the Gaeltacht is a time-honoured rite of passage for many Irish teenagers. Concos, a network of 47 Irish colleges in all parts of Ireland, lists a range of colleges. Most two-week courses cost around €900, including accommodation and classes, although cheaper options are available. Contact concos.ie.

Coláiste Naomh Eoin Irish college
Non-residential courses at centres in Dublin, Meath, Wicklow, Kildare and Kilkenny. As well as programmes for Junior and Leaving Cert students, there are Irish-language summer classes for primary-school children from second through to sixth class.

As with most Gaeltacht courses, they are built around improving students' oral, aural and written Irish with the familiar routine of morning classes, afternoon activities such as sport and drama, and evening entertainment including céilis.
Dates Two-week courses run in a variety of locations from June to August.
Price €360 for two weeks.
Contact colaistenaomheoin.com, tel: 01- 2985287.

Foreign languages

Horizon French and Spanish classes, Tipperary and Dublin
Horizon runs two residential language camps, with one-week, two-week and three-week courses. Separate courses run in Gurteen College, Roscrea, Co Tipperary for Junior and Leaving Cert students. Courses at Alexandra College, Milltown, Dublin are for Junior-Cert level only. All courses feature a mix of classroom-based learning and multi-activity events in Spanish or French.

Staff to student ratios of six students to one teacher.
Dates From late June to mid-July.
Price €450 for one week, €800 for two weeks, €1,200 for three weeks, inclusive of classes, activities, accommodation, and food.
Contact horizonireland.com, tel: 098-35844.

A language programme that facilitates two-way exchanges between families in European countries, including France, Spain, and Germany, as well as one-way stays. Families deal directly with each other, rather than through an agency. Registration costs €58 per child per year, with occasional discounts for speakers of selected languages (including English), as well as discounts for subsequent children.
Contact lingoo.ie

Study Abroad
Heading abroad for the summer to improve your language skills may not be the cheapest option around, but it is one of the best. EIL Intercultural Learning organises Leaving Cert preparation courses for between two and four weeks in France, Spain and Germany. Courses are suitable for students from Transition year through to sixth year, with flexible dates. The study abroad option includes classes, activities, and a stay with a host family. All participants are Irish.
Price From €1,540 for a two-week course, including flights, full board, classes, activities, books and excursions.
Contact studyabroad.ie.

Alliance Française classes
In Dublin, the French institution offers two-week, non-residential French courses throughout the summer months. The summer programme for teenagers, ages 12-17, focuses on improving language skills through conversation and activities, with separate courses for Junior and Leaving Cert students. A children's camp caters for pupils aged 4-11.
Dates June, July and August.
Price From 1st-4th year students, Monday-Thursday, 10am-12.30pm, €240; day class, 5th and 6th year students, Monday-Thursday, 10am-3pm, €350. Children's camp, ages 4-6, Monday-Thursday, 10am-2.30pm, €180; children's camp, ages 7-11, Monday-Thursday, 9am-4pm, €220
Contact alliance–francaise.ie, tel: 01-6761732.

Arts and crafts

Giddy Studios, Dundrum, Dublin
Art and pottery painting studio based in Dundrum Town Centre. Flexible – choose one to five days, ages 5 to 12.
Dates July 1st to August 30th, 10am- 3pm, early drop off and late pick-up available.
Price: €30 per day.
Contact giddystudios.com, tel: 01 -2960303.

Art Zone
Art, crafts, stories and games. Venues include Castleknock, Clonee, Drumcondra, Dunboyne, Dundrum, Glenageary, Greystones, Killester, Leixlip, Lucan, Malahide, Naas, Navan, Newbridge, Raheny, Rathfarnham, Rathgar, Sandymount and Tallaght.
Dates July and August, weekly, 10am- 2pm.
Price €109, sibling discounts.
Contact artzone.ie/camps/summer, tel: 01-4990614.

Business and technology

Riptide Academy, Mount Merrion, Dublin
Kids aged 10 to 14 play a business and technology game that includes a tech start-up company in a team project, competing for the best app concept while developing valuable skills. It's at Mount Merrion Community Centre and a second location to be announced in north Dublin.
Dates Several weekly camps between mid-June and end of August. Monday-Friday, 9.30am-1.30pm.
Price €85 per week.
Contact email stephen@riptideacademy. com.
Innovative and fun technology classesin south Dublin: in Dundrum, Loughlinstown and Rathfarnham. Children explore a new world of technological activities both on and off the computer including app and web design, coding, stop-motion animation, robotics and blogging. Outdoor activities include GPS and QR Code treasure hunts, rocket launching and more, for ages eight and over.

Also two-week June camps for early teens, ages 11 and over, in Taney Parish Centre, Dundrum.
Dates Weekly in July, 9.30am- 2pm.
Price €110 and sibling discount, early bookers discount.
Contact dublinsouth.computerxplorers.ie, tel: 01-4943372.

Camps in Dublin, Kildare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Galway. Children aged 8-15 learn to design and programme their own video game, create a website about a favourite band or football team or learn how to track down double agents in the Spy Academy. New activities are added each year and the kids get to bring home a DVD of their work. Mixture of indoor and outdoor activities.
Dates July-August, 9.30am-3.30pm, Monday-Friday, 8-15 year olds; 9.30am-1pm, Monday-Friday, 8-11 year olds.
Price: €149 per week; half-day camp, €80.
Contact whizzkids.ie.

Let's Go
Activity summer camps and iPad summer camps in several locations throughout the country, for children aged 8-13 years. Children work in pairs on Apple's iPad tablet to create music, movies, comic strips, multi-media shows, video documentaries, presentations with animation and effects. The iPad camp is designed to help your child explore multimedia activities that incorporate both indoor and outdoor activities.
Dates July 2nd-August 11th, 9.30am- 3.30pm.
Price €95 per week, sibling discount.
Contact letsgo.ie.

Summer Intense Typing Course for Children, Ballinteer, Dublin
Children learn how to touch-type aided by a trained tutor.
Dates One hour in the evening from 6pm, for four weeks in July.
Price €100 per week.
Contact Tel: 01-6303384, email info@searsol.com.

Drama and dance

Stagecoach Theatre Arts School Summer Camps, for ages 4-18 in south Dublin, in Blackrock and Killiney. Classes in drama, dance and singing, plus rehearsals for a live performance. Students have to learn lines, songs and dances quickly which takes both discipline and effort.
Dates July and August.
Price €95 to €150.
Contact stagecoach.ie.

The Gaiety School of Acting
Young Gaiety summer camps in Temple Bar, Dublin and The Granary, Cork. Classes for children over seven years old. Summer Drama Camp, where children learn acting from the experts or Make a Movie camp where children write, act and do movie sound. Also Musical Theatre camp. Teenagers, aged 14-18, develop singing, dancing and acting skills in Triple Threat Bootcamp or develop their screen acting skills in Acting for Film & TV. Drop-off before and after class club.
Dates July and August.
Price €100-€200 per week, depending on course.
Contact gaietyschool.com, tel: 1890-258 358.

Independent Theatre Workshop
At locations in Clonskeagh, Ranelagh, Drumcondra – all in Dublin. Camps in musical theatre, film and television acting and production as well as dance workshops and toddlers' fun, for ages 3-18. Early drop-off and late pick-up available.
Dates From June 4th, weekly, two week and weekend courses.
Price €110-€150 per week, depending on course.
Contact: itwstudios.ie, tel: 01-2600831.

Summer Stage Performing Arts Camp
In Swords, Donnycarney, Rathfarnham, Dundrum – all Dublin. For children aged 4-13. Week-long camps with singing, dance, drama and theatre games, culminating in a small end of week performance for parents. Emphasis on having fun, making friends and building confidence through learning about performance in a non-pressurised environment.
Dates July and August.
Price €80 per child, with family discounts.
Contact summerstage.ie.

Name in Lights
Summer camp from Verdant Productions at the Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin for 5-11 year-olds and 12-17 year-olds, with Joe Conlan from the Gaiety/Tivoli pantos and Debbie Kiernan, the choreographer on The All Ireland Talent Show. Participants learn new musical theatre skills, music and songs from hit Broadway and West End shows. Free showcase on Friday 5th July, 2pm.
Dates July 1st, July 8th.
Price €99; two siblings, €149.
Contact paviliontheatre.ie, tel: 01-2312929.

Winner on RTÉ's Dragon's Den and award-winning music, dance, drama camp in multiple locations around the country for boys and girls aged 4-13. Friday finale for all.
Dates July 1st- August 12th, 9:30am–2.30pm.
Price €90 per week, €150 for two siblings. Contact starcamp.ie.

Ballet Ireland Summer School
Ireland's national ballet company returnswith ballet summer schools throughout the country. This year's theme is The Bluebird and Princess Florine, inspired by Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty. Participation is open to all, from age six and upward, boys and girls, dancers young and old, experienced or first-timers.
Dates July and August, various locations. Price From €80.
Contact balletireland.ie, tel: 01- 462 747 (Tallaght); 065-684 3103 (Ennis); 074-9120777 (Letterkenny); 028-867 69949 (Cookstown); and 045-88303 (Naas).


The Music Room
Summer Music Camp this July at The Music Room, Dundrum, Dublin. Learn to write and perform an original song and design and record a CD. Focus will be on creativity and having fun while making music. Explore instruments and musical styles from around the world, learn about writing melodies and lyrics.
Dates: July 8th-12th or July 22nd-26th, four-nine year-olds; July 15th-19th or July 29th- August 2nd, 10-15 year-olds.
Price €90 for a week.
Contact themusicroom.ie, tel: 01 -2965570.

Rock Camp
Five-day camp in Donnybrook, Dublin, where students get involved in the fun and excitement of playing live in a rock band every day. They write an original song, record a demo of that song and prepare a set of songs that they can perform live at the end of camp concert. Rock Camp caters for all levels of experience.
Dates From June 29th to August 9th, 10am - 3pm.
Price €295.
Contact rockcamp.ie, tel: 01-6303469.

Dunboyne School of Music, Meath
Activities include lessons in guitar, drums, bass, keyboard, singing, performance, arts and crafts and much more. Age 4-14 years. Early pick-up and late collection available. Younger students will take part in a play and older students can choose to enter a Battle of the Bands.
Dates July and August, 10am-3pm.
Price €120 per week, family discount available.
Contact dunboyneschoolofmusic.com.

Dublin Youth Orchestra Summer Camp
Dublin Youth Orchestra has been running a residential summer camp at Aravon School near Bray, Co Wicklow, for the past 27 years. There are two courses: a senior course for secondary-school age musicians (strings, woodwind and brass) and a shorter junior course for primary-school age musicians (strings and percussion). The courses aim to develop the chamber music and performance skills of young musicians while offering all the traditional summer camp fun activities.
Dates June, July, day and residential
Price €285-€445 depending on course day/residential.
Contact dyo.ie.

Other fun camps

Food Active
One to two-week course in St Conleth's College, Ballsbridge, Dublin, designed to maximise children's exposure to different foods and culinary techniques in a safe, fun environment. The programmes give young people the opportunity to participate in a variety of sporting and outdoor activities and educational field trips. Demonstration cookery classes by qualified chefs. Sporting activities every day.

Course fee covers tuition and excursions, ingredients and food including snacks and a two-course lunch cooked by the in-house chef, dietary information, chef's kit, and the FoodActive Cookbook.
Dates June 24th-July 26th.
Price €195 one week, €350 two weeks.
Contact email: info@foodactive.ie.

LearnIt Lego Camps
A variety of camps in locations throughout Dublin and surrounding areas. Each camp covers different themes such as robotics, mechanics engineering, construction, science and creativity. Children learn science and engineering concepts through daily challenges which are age and ability appropriate.
Dates Weekly throughout July and August, 10am-2pm.
Price Junior Engineers, €110; Machines & Mechanisms, €125; Mindstorms, Normal, €135.
Contact learnit.ie, tel: 01-5240004.

Dig It Kids
Bringing history and archaeology to life for ages 6-12 at Willow Park School in Blackrock, Co Dublin and Trim, Co Meath.
Dates Weekly from 17th June 17th- August 16th, 9.30am- 3.30pm.
Price: €145, €120 for week of August 6th, sibling discounts .
Contact Tel: 01 -2968190, email: enquiries@digitkids.ie.

MKF Institute , Dublin
Learn how to take photos using your phone camera this summer with the digital photography summer camps provided by the award-winning MKF Institute, Dublin. Creative and educational summer camp teaching the basics of digital photography.
Dates From July 1st to August 30th, 10am-3pm.
Price €75 per week, discounts for siblings or friends booking together and for two or more weeks.
Contact mkfinstitute.com

Jump Zone,
Located in Stillorgan, Dublin, the Jump Zone Summer Camp combines trampolining with dodgeball, trampolining games and arts and crafts, for 6-12 year-olds.
Dates 9am to 12.30pm, June 10th-14th, July 15th – 19th.
Price €150, sibling discounts.
Contact jumpzone.ie, tel: 01-293 93 56.

The Ski Centre
Summer camps at Ireland's only indoor ski centre at Sandyford, Co Dublin, will start this June and run weekly during the summer. Designed to develop ski techniques on the never-ending ski slopes. Activities include ski snowboard mountain rescue training, ski pit stop challenge slalom races. All ski and snowboarding equipment is supplied.
Dates June- August, Monday-Friday, 10am-1pm.
Price: €99 .
Contact skicentre.ie, tel: 01-2930588.

Eclipse Pony and Activity Camps, Killarney, Kerry
Look after a horse for the week. Go for a morning ride, trek, lesson, vaulting or competition practice. Evening competitions in dressage, show jumping or poles, riding road safety.

Afternoon activities include raft-building, archery, assault course and more. Accommodation in holiday homes.

Residential and day camp options available.
Dates July - August, day and residential.
Price: €48 a day, €200 a week.
Contact eclipseireland.com, tel: 064-6682965.

For more information see the summer issue of Primary Times (primarytimes.ie)or visit schooldays.ie. Dates and prices may change; check with camp organisers.