Best Educational Places in Ireland for Kids

Entertaining kids can be hard, especially during school summer holidays and those dreaded mid-term breaks. But there are some attractions that are worth visiting as they can be fun but also offer a learning experience at the same time. In this post, I am sharing some of the best educational places in Ireland for kids that combine learning with that all-important factor, fun!

Occupying the children during school holidays, breaks, or even on the weekends is not always easy. It is something that can fill many families and parents with fear. Keeping children stimulated, having fun, while also making sure you are not spending a fortune every time, are all priorities.

Forward planning for these things, especially time off from school, can be a huge help. While you may want to do something, you might also want to make a day trip out worthwhile and educational. So, if you are considering this then here are some of the best places in Ireland to visit with kids that are perfect for your kids and educational at the same time. 

Best educational places in Northern Ireland for kids

Northern Ireland is a lovely part of the UK, and many people don’t realise that there are some extra special places and educational attractions that you can explore. So, if you want to find the best places in Northern Ireland to visit with kids that are also educational, then here are some of the attractions to consider. Whether you are enjoying a staycation in Northern Ireland, or are lucky enough to live there, these are great places to consider bringing the kids to.

National Museums of Northern Ireland 

One of the places to visit in Northern Ireland for kids is the National Museums of Northern Ireland. This is a collection of museums in Ulster that are hugely educational.

Here you will be able to explore a selection of museums including Ulster Museum, Ulster Folk Museum, Ulster Transport Museum, and the Ulster American Folk Park. All are in different parts of Ulster, but you can experience some or all of them during your trip here. As there is a variety of things to see, you will likely appease the whole family. The National Museums of Northern Ireland is a great option to consider. 

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: 153 Bangor Rd, Cultra, Holywood BT18 0QE

A picture of double decker buses at the Ulster Transport Museum, Northern Ireland
Picture Source: NearEMPTiness, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Common

The Giant’s Causeway 

The Giant’s Causeway is an amazing location to explore and is one of the top 10 places to visit in Northern Ireland. It is a National Trust site, so you can expect some events to take place throughout the year. It is always worth looking online first.

There you will find incredible walking trails to enjoy, some are specified to ability so you will find something perfect for the family to enjoy. There are six must-see sites while you are here including the wishing chair, Grand Causeway, Giant’s Boot, The Camel, Clifftop Trails, and the visitor centre which is full of useful information. As one of the best natural places in Ireland, the Giant’s Causeway makes for a lovely day out that the whole family will enjoy. 

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Bushmills BT57 8SU

The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland with blue skies overhead and water among the rocks

City Walls

In Derry, what you will find is a walled city crammed with excitement within it, which makes it a historical site to explore. It is the only remaining walled city in Ireland and is one of the best examples of a walled city in Europe. It is a pretty special location.

The walls are approximately 1.5km in circumference and can be walked along and explored. There is a lot of history here, so you may find that your visits extend from the city walls and head into the city itself. It is a beautiful example of ancient architecture and definitely a great place to take the family for an educational day out. Make sure to also pop into some of the museums in the city.

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: City of Derry

A picture of the Derry City Walls and cannons, Northern Ireland

Titanic Belfast

Titanic was one of the most iconic ships ever built, and with such a tragic ending on its maiden voyage, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you can now understand the history of the famous ship where it was created, right in Belfast itself. Titanic Belfast is one of the top 10 places to go in Northern Ireland for kids and their families and one of the best things to do with kids in Belfast.

Here you will get to explore the design of the ship, the working of the Titanic and delve deep into the ocean and see footage of the wreck. There are nine interactive galleries for visitors to enjoy during a self-guided tour, or you can join a guided Discovery tour. No matter which you choose, it is a great attraction. Even if kids are unsure about what Titanic is when they first arrive, they soon will do by the end.

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: 1 Olympic Way, Queen’s Road, Belfast BT3 9EP

A picture of the exterior of the building of Titanic, Belfast

Whitehead Railway Museum 

Got a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine, or trains in general? Then one of the best places to go in Ireland with kids is the Whitehead Railway Museum.

This is a fascinating five gallery museum that allows you to rub shoulders with the giants of steam. Perfect for children who have a love for trains, you can step on the footplate of a 140-year-old engine, and even get on board a 1950s carriage from the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland’s collection. You will also get to see restoration workshops and learn the history of these amazing locomotives. 

So, make sure to add this great museum to your next Northern Ireland itinerary.

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Castleview Rd, Whitehead, Carrickfergus BT38 9NA

Dunluce Castle 

Dunluce Castle is a medieval castle on the Antrim coast and is a great day out for kids and adults alike. It is one of the most picturesque, and some say, one of the most romantic Irish castles.

There are archaeological displays and historical exhibits for you to see on your trip here. It dates back to the 16th century, and the ruins today have an air of mystery about them. Let your kids pretend to be knights and princesses while they enjoy a lovely historical trip out. 

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: 87 Dunluce Rd, Bushmills BT57 8UY

A picture of Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland bathed in sunlight with the sea in the background

Ulster Aviation Society 

Whether it is incredible aviation vehicles or learning about the history of iconic aviation events, this is the place to go for some educational fun with kids in Ireland. As well as aviation aircraft, there are other vehicles to see, and a host of specialist rooms such as a First World War Room and an Aviation Library that are the perfect place for learning.

There are also many events that take place throughout the year so make sure you check out the website for more information. 

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Gate 3, Maze Long Kesh, 94-b Halftown Rd, Lisburn BT27 5RF

Castle Ward

Another National Trust property and location, but a great one to explore is Castle Ward. One half is built in the classical Palladian style, with the other half which faces out across Strangford Lough built in the more elaborate Gothick* style.

Any Game of Thrones fans will also spot some areas where iconic scenes were shot in the first season. It is a lovely location that the whole family will enjoy. If you are looking for another great castle in Northern Ireland for kids, head to Castle Ward.

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Strangford, Downpatrick BT30 7BA

A picture of the tower of Castle Ward, Northern Ireland

Best educational places in Ireland for kids

The Republic of Ireland is another great place to explore with children, and it could be a great place to find some educational attractions perfect for a day out. So here are some of the best educational places to go to in Ireland as a family. 

Brigit’s Garden 

Brigit’s Garden is an award-winning Celtic Garden and one of the best places to bring children in Ireland. Discover Celtic heritage and mythology on a magical journey through 11 acres of woodland and wildflower meadows. There is also a fairy fort (ring fort), a reconstructed roundhouse (crannog), and the largest sundial in Ireland.

Brigit’s Garden also has a family-friendly discovery trail and playground for kids to enjoy. There is lots of opportunity for discovery and learning in one of the best places to visit in Galway with kids.

Brigit’s Garden is a lovely place that the whole family, specifically younger children, will enjoy. 

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Pollagh, Rosscahill, Co. Galway

A picture of stone walls at Brigit's Garden, Galway
Picture Source: Sheila Russell / Brigit’s Garden, WikiCommons

Cool Planet Experience 

Climate change is a hot topic and one I feel kids should know about. And a great place to go to learn more about this topic is The Cool Planet Experience. This museum in Wicklow is an interactive journey to discover what climate change is all about, so kids will come away informed about the future we are facing with climate change.

Experience the highs & lows of our changing climate through immersion, gaming, and competition, and discover exciting innovations and solutions that you can embrace to solve the problem.

The Cool Planet Experience is a great immersive day out for the whole family and since it is located on the Powerscourt Estate, you can enjoy a full family day out in one place. 

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Powerscourt Demesne, Co. Wicklow

Fota Wildlife Park 

One of the top places to go in Ireland with kids to learn about animals is in County Cork. Fota Wildlife Park, part of the Zoological Society of Ireland, is located on 100 acres at Fota Island 10km east of Cork City.

Fota is the perfect place to take any member of the family that loves animals. You will get to see them explore their surroundings and throughout the day there are events and talks where you can learn a little more about them and watch them eat their food. Ride the train around the park, or enjoy several hours wandering on foot while you discover animals such as cheetah, tigers, red panda, and more.

Allow at least half a day for your visit to Fota and help the kids learn more about the animals by reading the informative plaques at each enclosure. If you are looking for one of the best places to visit in Ireland with kids for educational fun combined with animals, you won’t go wrong with Fota Wildlife Park.

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Fota Wildlife Park, Fota, Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork

A red panda at Fota Wildife Park, Cork

Dublinia 

If you are looking for one of the most amazing places in Ireland to bring the kids to learn about the history of the island, then head to Dublinia.

Travel back to Viking and Medieval times at Dublinia, in the heart of the old city at Christchurch,

and discover how Dublin was established and how it evolved through the centuries.

This is a living museum, so throughout the museum, you will find character actors on hand to answer any questions you might have. Dress up as a Viking, visit one of their houses, and peer into a medieval “medicine” cabinet to discover how they ‘cured’ ailments and diseases half a century ago.

Spanning three floors, you travel through different eras in Dublin’s history. You can climb St Michael’s Tower afterward, and you could also combine your visit to Dublinia with one to Christ Church Cathedral.

Dublinia is a very educational attraction for kids and is one of the best places to visit in Ireland for families. If you are looking for educational things to do in Dublin with kids, don’t miss out on Dublinia.  

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: St Michaels Hill Christ Church, Dublin 8

A picture of some of the models at Dublinia, Dublin

National Bird of Prey Centre

If you are looking for fun places to go in Ireland for kids and are based or visiting Wicklow, then this is the place to go to. The National Bird of Prey Centre, located at Russborough House, is an outdoor educational Bird of Prey Centre where Eagles, Hawks, Falcons, and Owls can be seen on display.

Visitors can get a chance to meet Birds of Prey from around the world including Native Golden Eagle, White-tailed Sea Eagle, and Red Kite. You can also hold hand-reared birds such as owls.

Visitors to the National Bird of Prey Centre will join a guided tour and talk by a member of staff. There are also other bird experiences to enjoy including a Hawk Walk and Owl experience. This is a wonderful trip out for the family, especially combined with a trip inside Russborough House and a walk in the gardens. Don’t forget to try escaping the hedge maze too!

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Russborough, Co. Wicklow

Natural History Museum 

As well as being one of the best museums in Ireland, the Natural History Museum is also one of the top 10 places to visit in Ireland for kids. Located in Dublin on Merrion Square, it is known locally as the Dead Zoo and it is full of exhibits and interactive activities that the children will love to be part of.

Exhibits from the natural sciences include specimens from around the world, specimens of now-extinct Irish wildlife including the Giant Irish Deer, the skeleton of a basking whale, and more. There is a lot to see and do here, although visitors are limited to the first two floors as the upper floors are still closed to the public after a staircase collapsed in 2007.

The ground floor is dedicated to the fauna of Ireland, while the first floor is all about specimens from across the world. The museum is free to visit operating on a donation basis and is a great place to visit when it is raining in Dublin.

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Merrion St Upper, Dublin 2, D02 F627

The skeleton and horns of an Irish Red Deer in the Natural History Museum in Dublin, Ireland

Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum 

One of the best places in Ireland for kids is the Foynes Flying Boat and Maritime Museum.  Home to the world’s only full-size replica of a B314 flying boat, this museum share stories of pioneering aviation history and passenger travel, tells visitors about the rich maritime history of the River Shannon and beyond, and also about the creation of local Irish coffee.

Visitors can enjoy interactive and informative exhibits, flying in a simulator, and explore Foynes’ role in early passenger flights across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the legendary flying boats that came and went carrying celebrities, royalty, rich and famous, and desperate refugees alike.

There is so much to see and do in this interesting attraction and with lots of information in the displays and exhibits, it provides lots of educational opportunities too. 

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Aras Ide, Main St, Ballynacragga North, Foynes, Co. Limerick

National Gallery of Ireland 

Also located on Merrion Square, and conveniently beside the Natural History Museum is the National Gallery of Ireland. As one of the best free museums in Dublin, visitors can view artworks from Irish painters including paintings, prints, sculptures, and more.

Your free general admission ticket will give you access to the permanent collection as well as other free exhibitions. There are also other exhibitions that take place throughout the year that may have a small charge to them.

Families are also catered for at the National Gallery with engaging activities to help develop artistic creativity and fine motor skills. If you have a budding artist on your hands, the National Gallery can be an interesting day out for the whole family to enjoy. 

Check out the website for more information. 

Address: Merrion Square W, Dublin 2, D02 K303

A picture of a statue outside the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

These are just a selection of some of the best places in Ireland for families seeking both fun and educational days out. With ideas for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, I am sure you will find something on the list to entertain your kids.

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