Dublin is one of the most kid friendly cities we have ever visited. There are amazing playgrounds and parks. The food is about as kid friendly as you get and when it comes to bringing kids to museums… leprechauns and Vikings surely peak their interest. Plus there are a ton of family friendly pubs with music and dancing to entertain the kids and Irish beer for the parents. Here’s our Dublin itinerary for kids:
Dublin Itinerary for Kids
Before going with the kids this summer, I had been to Dublin twice before: once as a student and once with the kids. Last time we were there with the girls they were only 6 months old and 2, so it was more of an adult trip with kids in strollers. This time we’d be going with my parents. They would have 4 days in Dublin without us to do all of the “more adult things” so the 4 days we were there with them I planned it to be as family friendly as possible.
Where to Stay in Dublin with Kids
We opted to stay in the Phibsborough neighborhood. It was the perfect spot in the city for families. There is a large grocery store, great spots to eat and the Luas that loops through the city center is right there. I am never great with figuring out public transportation when I am in a new city… actually even in NYC I still rarely take it because I always get confused (sad I know since I’ve lived outside NYC my whole life). So… if I could figure out the Luas, anyone can!
Phibsborough is far enough from the city center to feel a little quiet at the end of a busy day but close enough to walk to the city center on a nice day. So many people have asked for info on the spot we rented in Dublin since I shared so much about our Clare rental but I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the Dublin rental so hesitate to link to it. The rental was “ok” but the neighborhood was excellent.
Day 1 in Dublin:
Day one is the day we arrived… I am a firm believer that the only way to approach jetlag with kids is to immediately switch to the new time zone. Naps and rests after landing make for body clocks you’re trying to adjust for days. The kids all slept on the flight over. We landed, grabbed breakfast and dropped our bags at the rental. The rental wasn’t available until 4pm but it’s always worth asking your rental or hotel if you can leave your bags. Oh… and make sure you have coats and warm clothes ready: when we left NJ it was 95 degrees and when we got to Ireland it was about 50 and raining.
Walk through St. Stephen’s Green with ice cream
We took the Luas and got off at Dawson. We walked towards St. Stephen’s Green and stopped at Sun Bear Gelato. It gave the kids a little pick me and we ate it while we walked through the park.
We cut through St. Stephen’s Green and walked to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s a must see in Dublin and even tired and jetlagged the kids were amazed. There is a whole area of hands on activities too, which I have not see in a church visit before. There were brass rubbings they could try, headphones to put on to hear old instruments, etc.
We walked back the same way we came and before getting on the Luas we visited Hodges Figgis Bookshop. This was on my list to see in Dublin and it’s a book lovers dream. There’s a wonderful kids section where the kids browsed books and toys. I also packed no toys or books for the trip to save space packing and let them each pick a book and activity book to use on the trip.
Then we got settled into the rental and enjoyed dinner at home and early bedtimes.
Day 2 in Dublin:
I booked an 11am tour. So we got up, had breakfast and headed into the city center. The Little Museum of Dublin is a must. It’s the cutest city museum I have ever visited. It’s in an old house on St. Stephen’s Green and is packed with amazing things to see. Definitely book the tour. I usually shy away from tours with kids but this one is quick, funny and well worth it. My kids were engaged the entire time. Then you can explore a bit on your own.
St. Stephen’s Green Playground
After the museum we walked into the park and spent some time at St. Stephen’s Green Playground.
I usually do my best to follow up a museum and/or tour with a playground/park. The playground at St. Stephen’s Green is awesome. All 5 kids enjoyed it and I actually got to sit down on a bench and relax with a coffee because it’s fully fenced in. While the kids ran around at the playground for a little over an hour, I sent my Mom & Dad to the Literature Museum. Then we would meet up after for lunch.
Lunch in Temple Bar
We walked over to the Temple Bar neighborhood for lunch. It’s such a cute, lively spot and the kids loved it. We popped into The Temple Bar to hear some Irish music and then ate at The Shack Restaurant. While you’re in that neighborhood you can walk over to the river and see the Ha’Penny Bridge.
After lunch we made our way over to 14 Henrietta Street. This museum was a stark contrast to the lively, cheerful history museum in the morning (The Little Museum). 14 Henrietta Street shows one building’s Georgian beginnings to its tenement times. It’s the most intact collection of early to mid-18th century houses in Ireland. You go through the house in a small group with a guide and truly learn what tenement houses were like. It’s a very moving experience and educational for all ages. They were wonderful with the children and made sure to engage with them along the tour.
Day 3 in Dublin:
We got up early in the morning and had a car take us to Malahide Castle. It’s only about a 20 minute drive outside of the city center. I booked a castle tour/entrance for 9:30AM but wanted to arrive early to do the playground.
Malahide Castle Playground: The playground at Malahide is amazing. My kids could have stayed there all day and asked the rest of the trip if they could go back to it. There’s plenty for every age: the toddler on up to the tweens loved it. There’s a little kid area, giant slides, a zip line and more.
Malahide Castle Tour: After they ran around and enjoyed the playground for a while we walked over to the entrance. The tour guide was excellent with the kids and told them all kinds of cool stuff about the castle from secret passages, to ghosts to a painting that the eyes follow you wherever you go.
Malahide Fairy Trail: After the castle tour we went outside where there is an amazing fairy walk through the gardens. The kids loved it. Once it was time to meet our driver we met him back at the Malahide visitor center where the kids visited the gift shop, used bathrooms etc.
We had the car drop us near the Dublinia Museum where we had a 2:30 ticket. We found a great little spot for lunch nearby to eat first: Bittersweet Cafe.
Dublinia is a Viking and Medieval Dublin museum. It’s very hands on and awesome for kids. They can try on chainmail, see what life was like on board a Viking ship and plenty more exciting things.
At the end of the museum you can climb the original Medieval tower to the top to for some spectacular views of the Dublin. There’s also an option on their site to do a combined visit of Dublinia and Christ Church. We were beat after the long day of touring but I had hoped to add that on.
Day 4 in Dublin:
Dún Laoghaire is a coastal suburb of Dublin. I wanted to show the kids the coast while we were in Dublin and after much research, this seemed like the perfect little spot. We took the the Dart there first thing in the morning. It was easy to figure out and you get off the Dart right at the seafront in the center of Dún Laoghaire.
Our first stop was a little playground right near the station. Then we continued walking towards the pier. Of course we had to visit Teddy’s Ice Cream! This ice cream shop has been in Dún Laoghaire since 1950. It’s absolutely adorable and you feel like you stepped back in time.
From there we explored the waterfront and the park. You can take a walk out to the lighthouse, grab some fish & chips and truly enjoy a day by the Irish seaside. There is a Maritime Museum (in an old church) that I had planned to visit but my kids spotted a cute little amusement park area when we got off the train that they really wanted to go to. Since we had already done quite a few museums the days leading up to Dún Laoghaire, I figured the rides were a great choice.
There were the perfect amount of rides and carnival treats. The people that worked there were great. The kids finished up their cotton candy (or as we learned it’s called in Ireland: candy floss) and hopped back on the Dart.
We got off the Dart, hopped on the Luas and arrived near our lunch reservation at Cafe Seine. This spot was recommended by my friend @maryandcrew as a fun spot for kids. We felt like we arrived in Paris for lunch! It’s coolest lunch spot with big hot chocolates for the kids and delicious food for all ages. When inside you feel like you are sitting in a little square in France.
After sitting through lunch the kids were itching for some time to run wild. We still had one park on our list: Merrion Square Park. The playground here is so cool! Make sure this is a stop while you are in Dublin with kids. You can also stop and see the Oscar Wilde statue at the entrance to the park.
Our last stop on our Dublin adventure was Trinity College. I can remember walking onto the campus as a college student years and years ago. There is plenty of open space for the kids to get some energy out and you can take them in to see the Book of Kells if they’re up for it. We took a walk over to the green to find a bench dedicated to a friend’s wonderful sister and while we were over there the kids also got to see their first cricket match.
Then we made our way back to the rental for dinner and packing before heading to County Clare the next morning.
On day 5 we continued our Ireland trip in County Clare. For details on that part of the trip, click here.