Spring is one of the most beautiful times to visit Ireland’s capital city, Dublin. We found it to be an easy place to visit with kids for many reasons. The people are friendly, the city is easy to get around, and they speak English (with a wee bit of an accent). A dear friend is planning a trip to Ireland this summer, so I thought I would put together a list of our five favorite sights to see with kids in Dublin.
Viking Splash Tour
I could always recommend a tour bus, but how about something different? Try the Viking Splash Tour in Dublin and you won’t be disappointed. Similar to a Duck Tour in the U.S., tourists are given Viking helmets as they board the boat. The tour guides are part drivers, part comedians and are great at providing commentary and insight throughout the tour. The vehicles drive along the street before they head out into the water and then back to shore. They may even let your kid steer the boat. Now that’s a fun way to spend the day!
Dublinia/Christ Church Cathedral
Centrally located and attached by bridge to Christ Church Cathedral, this is a perfect place to introduce the kids to Dublin history. There are three different parts to this interactive museum: a Viking area, a Medieval Dublin area, and an archaeological area. Kids will enjoy trying on Viking clothes (and snapping incriminating photos of each other), examining weaponry, and exploring different artifacts. There is also a tower you can climb for a beautiful panoramic view of Dublin. A combo ticket for Dublinia and the cathedral can be purchased. The cathedral has a large crypt and treasury that can be visited or a guided tour can be arranged.
Trinity College Library: Book of Kells
Normally I would not recommend taking your kids to tour a library, but the Book of Kells is probably one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen. You have to queue in line to see it, but the line moves quickly. Children under 12 are free, and the presentation of the book will keep everyone’s attention. After you walk through the exhibit, you find yourself in the Long Room which is an amazing library with books as far as the eye can see. Afterwards take a stroll around the campus or grab a bite to eat on nearby Grafton Street.
National Museum of Archaeology
This is one of our favorite places to visit in Dublin. Admission is free and the interior architecture is spectacular from the tiles on the floor to the columns surrounding the exhibit space. Kids will love to learn about the bog people, the 4,500 year old log boat from Galway, and the extensive collection of weaponry. The museum is centrally located and afterwards you might want to make your way to St. Stephen’s Green for a stroll in the park or an afternoon picnic.
Phoenix Park/Dublin Zoo
At over 1700 acres, Phoenix Park is one of the largest and most beautiful urban parks in Europe. This is a great place for a walk with the kids, a bike ride, or a picnic next to one of the ponds. Keep an eye out for the deer that roam the park or enjoy one of the many concerts or sporting events that are held throughout the year. Entrance to the park is free and there is a restaurant located at the Visitors Center. The Dublin Zoo is located within the park, and it is compact enough that you can visit it all in just a few hours. There are play areas located throughout the zoo, which smaller children will enjoy, and children and adults of all ages will appreciate the variety of animals and the information the zookeepers have to share. A note about food: bring your own, or eat before or after your visit, as there are better choices elsewhere.
Dublin is one of the world’s great cities famed for its literary history, street musicians, architecture, and lively pubs. It is also a great place to tour with your kids. There is so much to see and explore, it’s a city that should be on everyone’s must see list.