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Ireland for Families

Ireland for Families

The Best Pizza in Cork

 

best pizza in cork

Pizza is my absolute favourite food! Last time I was in Italy I actually ate myself sick because I ate so much pizza!!!  Thankfully the kids love it as much as I do. It doesn’t take much in this house to make an excuse for pizza night! We love to stay at home and make our own pizzas (Aldi and Lidl both do great bases so we always have some in the freezer). But of course nothing beats being served up a freshly made pie!

There are so many great restaurants in and around Cork serving up some great pizza!  Here are some of our faves (in no particular order)

Luigi Malones 

Emmett Place, Cork

Ok I am a little nostalgic about Luigi Malone’s since it was actually where ThisIrishDad took me on our very first date!  Its become a family favourite and while the menu is pretty diverse we almost always end up sharing a

Toons Bridge Fairy Café

pizza (and wings of course)!!!  It makes for a great value pizza night out with the kids!


Toons Bridge Dairy

Toons Bridge, Macroom, Co. Cork

This might be the best kept secret around Macroom!!  We first visited Toons Bridge when we went to the Toy Solider Factory.  The pizza is fantastic but to be honest everything in here is!!

Pizzeria San Marco

Main Street, Midleton, Co Cork

Tasty authentic pizza on Main Street in Midleton.  The bunny shaped pizzas are a real hit with the kids! The place is always packed and the service has always been great.  Sometimes its nice not search for parking in Cork City.  Middleton is a buzzing with plenty of great restaurants and Pizzeria San Marco can hold its own here. The Giro Pizza is a great way to enjoy unlimited pizza with a large group of friends!!

Uncle Pete's Pizzeria

Uncle Pete’s Pizzeria

Paul Street, Cork

Uncle Pete’s has quickly become a family favourite.  Uncle Pete’s is they type of place you walk in and its like you’re being welcomed to a friends home.  Great hospitality topped only by great pizza.  The whole menu looks great and offers many gluten-free options.

Novecento Pizza

Mac Curtain Street, Cork 

The only downfall to Novecento is its far too close to work and I walk past it regularly. The struggle to keep on walking is real!!!  I don’t think I have every walked by without there being a smell of fresh pizza.

Fast Al’s

Cork 

Nothing beats Fast Al’s for a quick slice on the run.  Whether lunch time or before heading home after a night out in town sometimes eating a slice of hot pizza on the street is the best thing in the world.

 

There are so many other great places for pizza in Cork! Tell us your favourite so we can try it if we haven’t already!
Ireland for Families

Molly Gallivan’s Cottage and Traditional Farm

Visit Molly GallivansAt the start of summer we spent two nights in the magical Top of the Rock Pod Pairc in Drimoleague, Co Cork.  During our stay we spent a day exploring Glengarriff and the area.  Part of our day was spent visiting Molly Gallivan’s Cottage & Traditional Farm.  It was a spontaneous stop off and we weren’t expecting much – boy were we wrong!    A visit to Molly Gallivan’s ended up providing us with memories to last a life time!

 

 

visit Molly Gallivans

Molly Gallivan’s is a cottage over 200 years old located outiside Kenmare, County Kerry.  As well as a cottage and farm there is also tea rooms and a gift shop.  Stepping into the shop you immediately feel as if your stepping back in time.  With low ceilings, exposed walls and the smell of turf in the fire Molly Gallivan’s is old world charm.

Before heading out to the farm visit the original cottage.  Have a look at Molly’s homestead. Visitors are welcome to wander around Molly’s traditional farm which remains much like it was from years gone by.  The farm is home to some animals and an impressive neolithic stone row.

Visit Molly Gallivans

Admission to the farm is simply a donation of your choosing that is paid after your visit.  Visitors get a map and a cup of animal feed at the til.  We spent just under an hour at Molly Gallivan’s learning about life in the past and being ‘chased’ by donkeys. The famine house & neolithic stone row were standouts for us. It was a spontaneous and memorable visit and well worth a stop!

 

This Irish Family Top Tips

  • Less than 20 minutes from Glengarriff, Co Cork follow the mountain pass towards Kenmare.
  • Plenty of parking across the road.
  • The farm walk is about 500 metres.  The path is decent but leads up a hill and is not entirely buggy/wheelchair friendly.
  • The two donkeys love bread and send This Irish Boy running up the hill,  but I think they were for most part friendly.
Ireland for Families

72 Hours in Belfast with Kids

After our week exploring Co. Donegal last week we headed over to Northern Ireland and Belfast for a few days. For anyone who has never been to Belfast it is most definitely worth a visit. The city is buzzing! Belfast has something for everyone and PLENTY for families. With 72 hours we were spoiled for choice in how to fill our time.

Open Top Bus Tour

It may seem terribly touristy but one of the best ways to get a sense of a city is an open top tour bus.  There are two major tour operators in Belfast and we chose the Titanic and City bus tours. Both

Ulster Museum

Discovery Room in the Ulster Museu

bus tours do the same loop essentially.  This tour company just happened to be outside where we were eating breakfast and drove us around to the start of the tour.  We were also able to also negotiate on price!!

Aside from convenience and price, the tour operators were informative and went out of their way to make

the trip fun for the kids. Local tour guides oozed pride in their city. The tour stops at all the key points around the city and is valid for 3 days. It’s a great way to get your bearings in a new city with hop offs pretty much anywhere you would want to stop.

Ulster Museum

ulster museumDuring our bus tour we hopped off at Queens University and visited the nearby Ulster Museum.    The Ulster Museum needs to be on your MUST SEE in Belfast list!! The museum has exhibits showing natural sciences, human history and art.  There is so much to see here you could easily spend hours.  Even though a lot of the exhibits have a lot of reading, there was plenty to occupy the kids. Each exhibit includes a hands on discovery room* where kids can learn through their own exploration. The natural sciences exhibit was a big hit with our family. The kids loved learning about the ice age and dinosaur extinction!

While we would have paid for our visit, the Ulster Museum is entirely FREE!!  *Discovery rooms close for an hour at lunch time.

W5

W5 belfastThe W5  is a hands on kids exploration museum located in the Odyssey Pavilion. Spanning three floors kids have an opportunity to play and explore in a village that includes a cafe, shop, construction etc. They can get hands on and learn about health, hygiene, circuits, construction, robotics, technology and much more! Admission also includes a ticket to the live science demonstration. The demonstration was a dramatic science show that captivated young audiences while W5 Belfastteaching science. The kids loved the chance to get hands on and played for several hours. We all enjoyed working together to figure out things on a number of the exhibits.

In July W5 was busy as expected.   Arrive early to beat the crowds. We arrived at opening and had much of our visit completed before it got over crowded.  Throughout our visit a number of staff  were cleaning and maintaining exhibits and play areas. However I did find some of the touch screen activities were broken or difficult to work. Although I found this a bit disappointing, the kids didn’t seem to mind.

Titanic Belfast & SS Nomadic

Titanic BelfastI have to be honest I was in two minds about going here.  I had heard the museum contains a lot of reading which is lost on young kids.  Our previous visit to the Titanic Experience Cobh  has really peaked an interest in the Titanic with both kids and they really pushed to go.  Titanic Belfast focuses on the famous shipyard that built the Titanic and employed much of the city at the time. Titanic Belfast takes visitors on a tour of the shipyard where you can walk the decks and learn what life was like working on the building of Titanic and other ships.  The focus of this exhibit is really on Boomtown Belfast and the building of the Titanic. As you can’t talk about Titanic without acknowledging the sinking the museum does touch on this but the main focus remains the building of Titanic and the city at the time.

The kids received their own treasure map and were challenged to find a number of characters throughout the museum.

It’s true there is a lot of reading throughout the exhibition. If we hadn’t had the kids in tow I agree that us grown-ups possibly would have read and learned more. However, the Titanic Belfast  has gone to lengths to make it accessible to children. This Irish Girl and This Irish Boy enjoyed seeking out staff members to ask specific questions to complete their scavenger hunt. Huge kudos to the staff who all interacted with the children and helped them learn more about Titanic.

Don’t miss  the SS Nomadic, Titanic’s “sister ship.”  This ship was built alongside Titanic and has been restored to great condition. Admission to the SS Nomadic comes with your ticket. The kids loved roaming around the ship and we all got a better sense of what life was like back in the early 1900s.

**If I had more time in Belfast I would have totally booked afternoon tea for myself and This Irish Girl at the bottom of a replica of Titanic’s grand staircase (the replica isn’t included in admission to the Titanic Belfast).

Gruffalo Trail

Gruffalo Trail Belfast

Before we hit the road home to Cork we wanted to burn some of the kids’ energy  and paid a visit to the Gruffalo!  The Colin Glen Forest Park is located just outside of the city centre and is home to the Gruffalo Trail.  A forest walk where visitors wander along the path and encounter sculptures from the beloved children’s story. Admission to the park is FREE.  The path is paved and accessible to all. There are just enough inclines that tired the kids for part of our trip home!

You can visit on your own or book into one of the special events which includes a story reading along the walk.  There is a tea room and gift shop as well as toilets at the entry to the park.Gruffalo Trail Belfast

This Irish Family Top Tips:

Where we stayed:  We stayed in the Premier Inn on Alfred Street.  It was reliable and affordable.  The city centre location suited us and the walls were well insulated so our stay was quiet.  Parking and breakfast however were not included.

Where we ate: The city has plenty of restaurants to choose from.  We did enjoy Brooklyn Sq kid friendly, good prices and  HUGE portions.

Where we shopped: Victoria Square shopping centre is Belfast’s largest shopping centre. There are plenty of family friendly restaurants as well as fast food outlets if you’re hungry.  We didn’t get much shopping done beyond visiting Build-A-Bear which of course the kids loved!  It was our first time at Build-A-Bear and we spent way more than we thought we would.

It was a great few days in Belfast and there is plenty we didn’t get to see or do. This Irish Family will definitely be back again. It was great to see a booming city that has so much to offer. Although we were with the kids it was apparent that there is a great nightlife to Belfast.  With so much to do trips to Belfast can grow with our kids! We already can’t wait to take the kids back to all the museums when they are a bit older!

Belfast has clawed back from its challenges of the past to a vibrant and thriving city today that all families should visit!

Ireland for Families

Our Visit to Top of the Rock Pod Páirc

top of the rock pod páirc

When we sat down several weeks ago to write our Summer Bucket list, camping was the first pick from the kids….

I quickly edited this glamping!

On the last day of school we picked up the kids and surprised them with a fully packed car and a two night adventure at Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre in Drimoleague, Co Cork.

Top of the Rock is a pod camping experience in the heart of West Cork. The first of its kind in Ireland. Top of the Rock offers a unique camping experience for couples, walkers, and of course families.

Upon arrival at the páirc we were greeted by the gentle and kind-hearted David.  David and his wife Elizabeth opened the paírc after identifying a need for specialist accommodation for walkers. In the short few years since, the pod paírc has become a special place for families visiting West Cork.

With great patience David greeted two over excited kids as they bound out of the car. With a very brief (thanks to the kids) tour of the facilities David handed over the keys to our pod. While ThisIrishDad and myself unloaded the car ThisIrishBoy and ThisIrishGirl set off to explore the grounds and play area.

Top of the Rock Pod Paírc Playground

One of the best things about Top of the Rock Pod Páirc is it’s safety.

Visitors to the páirc are reminded to keep the gates closed at all times. The páircthough spacious is laid out in a way that allows parents to keep an eye on children wherever they roam. The playground area though small was plenty adequate for the kids and they soon made friends with other children staying at Top of the Rock.  The children loved playing long into the evenings during our stay.Drimoleague Heritage

Literally situated on top of the rock, the páirc overlooks the stunning countryside. Due to its location along the Drimoleague Heritage Walk and St Finbarr’s Pilgrimage, Top of the Rock is well suited as a Walking Centre. Families will enjoy the Drimoleague Heritage Walk.  Upon leaving the páirc take the casual walk down the hill to the river. From here the river walk stretches about a mile criss-crossing across the river using magical stepping stones and footbridges.

Top of the Rock is a working farm.

Top of the Rock is home to a number of animals, some whom take residence in the pasture near the pods. The kids loved watching the animals feed.  They spent time talking to them over the fence each morning. They were fast friends with David’s dog Daisy who was never too far behind. During our stay the children to feed a young goat and two baby calves were born.

 

Top of the Rock Pod Paírc Goat

Top of the Rock Pod Paírc

In the evening time, David lit the camp fire and everyone gathered around roasting marshmallows. It wasn’t long before ‘Marshmallow’ the sheep joined us by the fire and cleared all the marshmallows the children had dropped.

The Celtic pod is one of two luxury pods available.

We were fortunate enough to have secured the Celtic Pod for our stay. A luxury pod includes a double bed, pull out couch, toilet and kitchenette with sink, kettle, microwave and fridge. The pod was surprisingly spacious and made perfect accommodation for ThisIrishFamily’s first ever camping experience. I was pleasantly surprised that it was stocked on our arrival with basic kitchen ware and cutlery, hand soap and toilet roll.

Celtic Pod Top of the Rock Pod Pairc

Celtic Pod Top of the Rock

Celtic Pod Top of the Rock

The bed was comfortable. With all the fresh West Cork air the kids slept soundly on their pull out couch (which we brought our own bedding for). The pod had electricity and a small heater if needed. We had packed easy meals and enjoyed eating on our own picnic table located next to the pod. Had  we needed it the main building housed a full kitchen for the guests use. Each pod had it’s own kitchen press to store supplies in.

Farm Hands at Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock welcomes children to join them on the farm on Wednesday and Saturday mornings to learn about life on the farm. Sadly our stay didn’t coincide with Farm Hands, but since it’s open to anyone we plan on heading down for the day soon. Every other family we met on the Wednesday night highly recommended it.

This Irish Family Top Tips:

• Top of the Rock is easy to get to with signs in Drimoleague showing the way.
• While luxury pods are en suite not all pods are. A bit of luxury was nice but the toilet facilities in the main building were clean and modern.
• Bring €1 coins. Shower facilities in the main building cost €1 per 5 minutes. This was a great lesson to the kids that 5 minutes is more than enough time for them both to shower! The showers like the toilets were clean and well-tended to.
•The main building provides kitchen facilities. To my surprise they were well stocked with kitchen basics including cutlery. Each pod receives their own press and key.
• There is free wi-fi in the walking centre and 3G/4G throughout the páirc.
• The main building also houses a laundry room as well as reception and games room. I can’t speak on the games facilities – we Top of the Rock Pod Paírc Marshmallowwere lucky with dry weather and the kids barely went inside during our stay.
FARM HANDS is Wednesday and Saturday mornings and is open to the public so best to book ahead.
• Extra mattresses are available if needed in the main building. Depending on your booking you may need to bring your own bedding.
• The Centra in Drimoleague is big and has a great bakery section and ice cream! They also do cooked chickens which make for a handy dinner back at the pod páirc.
• Don’t forget to pack marshmallows 🙂

David and Elizabeth have truly created something special with Top of the Rock Pod Páirc and Walking Centre. For ThisIrishFamily it was a chance for us to be together and make memories  family. We were all sad when it came time to leave and will most definitely visit again.

 

Thanks to David and Elizabeth who allowed ThisIrishFamily to stay in the Celtic Pod at a reduced rate.  All opinions are as always our own.

Ireland for Families

Visit Blarney Castle

Every family should visit Blarney Castle.

As an American expat living in Cork for nearly 13 years I have made multiple visits to Blarney Castle. Over the years there have been great additions to the castle grounds that make this a perfect day out for local families as well as tourist families.

Kids under 8 are FREE

Let’s be honest – we all took advantage for the ‘kids under 3 FREE’ policy that many places have,  but just as the kids are old enough to enjoy some of these places you have to start paying for them!  Not at Blarney Castle –  in Blarney Castle kids under 8 go FREE.  Ok, sure small children will have a tough time climbing the Castle stairs but with much more to explore on the grounds they won’t miss out.  During out last visit we split the party and one adult took the 4, 5 and 8 year olds up to the top while I stayed on firm ground with a cautious 3 year old.

“I don’t want to kiss a dirty stone”

Then don’t!!  You’ll never meet a bigger germaphobe than me. While I did kiss the stone on a visit to Ireland in my early 20’s the thought of doing it now totally grosses me out.

A visit to Blarney Castle & Gardens is about so much more than just the Blarney stone.  If I’m honest  Blarney Castle isn’t even the best persevered castle in Cork.  Visitors will be disappointed if they are expecting to find restored rooms with period furniture – Blarney Castle doesn’t have that.  What is does have is small staircases with ominous rooms in ruin where your imagination (and certainly a child’s imagination) can run wild.  The view from the top on a fine day is worth the climb even if you don’t kiss the stone.

With multiple gardens and at least 4 different walks available, families can take all day exploring.

Exploring the gardens will lead you through dungeons and caves, a poison garden, wishing steps, the witch’s kitchen and so much more!  Blarney is full of myths and enchanted stories that older children will enjoy.

Why not pack a picnic?

While the Stable Yard Café at the bottom of the castle service sandwiches and light snacks.  In our opinion Blarney is best enjoyed wandering the gardens and finding a sunny picnic spot.  Visitors who have the time to wander and explore the grounds will be rewarded.  Unfortunately you might need to get out of the way of those traveling on bus tours who have a limited amount of time to whip around the gardens.

There are even play areas.

In recent years two modest but enjoyable play areas for children have been added.  They are the perfect size to entertain the children in your family without being too large to cause an argument when you’re ready to move on.

For many locals who haven’t visited Blarney it’s well worth a trip with the family at any time of year.  We usually save our trips to the castle for when vistors are in town.  It still remains one of Cork’s best known attractions internationally so visitors are always keen to go.  We’ve been many times and each time we’ve discovered something new and the kids especially have had a ball!

This Irish Family Top Tips:

  • The castle steps are steep, narrow and  made of stone.  Use caution and your best judgement with people who are likely to find this difficult.
  • Book tickets online to avail of greater discounts.
  • Don’t always trust the sign at the bottom of the castle indicating how long the wait is to kiss the stone.  Twice it has been an over estimate of how long it takes.
  • The area around the Druids Circle, Witches Stone and Fairy Glade is our favourite part.
  • The kids love the ice-cream outside Blarney Woolen Mills.
  • Tourists not travelling by coach should stop in SuperValu in Blarney for picnic supplies.
  • Locals should remember it’s Blarney Castle so there will be plenty of coaches and tourists…smile and go with it they are spending their money in Cork!!
Ireland for Families

Fairies of Moanbaun Wood

Fairies of Moanbaun

Moanbaun WoodOne of This Irish Family’s favourite ways to spend time together is to pack a picnic and off to a park or wood for the day.  The weather has been good for about a week now and we’ve already had 4 picnics together!!

Moanbaun Wood

The other day ThisIrishDad and the kids headed off for the afternoon at nearby Moanbaun Wood.   Moanbaun Wood is a Coiltte forrest just outside of Watergrasshill, Co Cork.  The wood is a local favourite for walkers, and joggers alike.  When the weather is fine the wood is popular.  Local orienteering groups run events regularly.

The 3.5km walking path is easy for the whole family.  For the most part its level with a few small inclines but nothing too intense and the path is well maintained.  The highest point along the walk sits atop a plateau and provides spectacular reviews of the Galtee Mountains. More adventurous types who venture from that path will be rewarded with scenery that is rich in colour with lush green moss covering the trees.

The Fairies of Moanbaun Wood

Fairies of Moanbaun

 

Over the past year or so, some cheerful and creative locals have started a fairy forrest  within the wood.  ThisIrishGirl and ThisIrishBoy love stomping around and seeing all the man made fairy doors and houses among the natural ones! With each new visit the fairy wood seems to grow. There is even a tent- like structure to provide shelter from the rain. The fairies of Moanbaun Wood are a magical addition to this perfect wood for families.

 

 

 

ThisIrishFamily Top Tips:

  • Moanbaun Wood has a picnic area near the parking area but we love to bring a picnic blanket and stop in any number of clearings in the wood along the way.
  • Don’t let the rain stop you!  Moanbaun is well cared for and the path remains intact throughout the wet weather.
  • There are no toilet facilities in the wood but plenty of trees to hide behind if nature calls!
  • Watergrasshill village nearby has two shops for all your picnic needs!

Getting to Moanbaun:

Take M8 North and exit at Watergrasshill, take the 4th exit at the roundabout (taking the bridge over the motorway) at the next roundabout take the first exit.  Follow the signs and turn Right towards Leamlara & KartWorld.   Moanbaun Wood is about 3 km down the road.

Ireland for Families

Titanic Experience Cobh

Everyone from Cork knows Cobh (formerly Queenstown) was the last port of call for the Titanic in 1912.

Titanic Experience CobhThe Titanic Experience Cobh is a part guided, interactive tour that takes visitors back in time to that fateful day in April 1912 when 123 passengers boarded the Titanic from Cobh.

Located in the historical building that is the original White Star Ticket Office, The Titanic Experience Cobh allows visitors to wander a building where thousands of Irish departed from in the early 19th century.

The Experience starts with ‘passengers’ checking in and receiving their own boarding card outlining a real life passenger that boarded the Titanic from Queenstown, Ireland. A 30 minute guided tour takes you on board the Titanic with replicas of dining areas and cabins for various class members.

A poignant moment for anyone who has had family members emigrate from Ireland is the opportunity to stand outside and look upon ‘Heartbreak Pier.’  The remnants of the original structure where millions of people (including my own great great

Heartbreak Pier, Cobh

Heartbreak, Pier

grandfather Daniel Looney) left Ireland from.  The tour ends with a harrowing film based experience of the sinking as experienced from those on lifeboats.

After the guided tour, hang out and interact with a number of exhibitions going into further detail from the ill-fated ship.  There are multi-media exhibits as well as fun game like activities. As passengers leave they learn of the fate of the passengers they were given as they embarked.

The Titanic Experience with Kids

We’ve visited The Titanic Experience Cobh twice and brought the kids both times.  The whole experience takes about 2 hours.  (although I think we could have spent more time if we didn’t have kids rushing us along)  Both times our guides were friendly and kind to the kids. Both tours were interesting and fact filled for the adults while remaining engaging for the kids. There are kid friendly interactive exhibits.

Titanic ExperienceAlthough the whole ship sinking scenario can be a bit scary the kids were O. K.

Both visits all the kids we were with lived (women & children first right?) and we glossed over the fact that some of the grow-ups in our party didn’t make it.

 

Overall it’s an important piece of local history.

The older kids and young teens seemed to learn a lot. I can’t wait to take our kids again as they get older.

ThisIrishFamily Top Tip:

  • It gets busy especially during peak season.  Book online to secure your spot on a tour and avoid disappointment.
  • Free parking in Cobh up next to the Cathedral.
  • Lunch at Titanic Bar is decent and reasonable, sit outside if the weather is fine.
Ireland for Families

The Best Family Friendly Things to do in Cork this June

June might be our favourite month to be in Cork! With so many family friendly festivals and events in can be hard to choose.  Don’t worry, we’ve got your covered!!  Here’s our list of ThisIrishFamily’s favourite things to do in Cork this June!!!

Cork Summershow, Curaheen Showgrounds

 

corksummershow.com

The Cork Summershow become a tradition for our family when we lived in Ballincollig. The event is well worth a visit even if you’re further afield. Over 200 years old, the Cork Sumershow has had plenty of time to perfect family summer fun!! For one weekend in June the Showgrounds at Curaheen are transformed into an agricultural fair complete with animals, stalls and traders, music & food, rides for the kids and much more!!! I might love it because it is the closest thing to a county fair back home….I also love that it is run with precision from parking to the lay out of the whole show. There is plenty of parking but also a  shuttle from Ballincollig so it is easy to make it by bus. Best of all….kids under 12 are FREE!

If you haven’t been to the Cork Summer Show it is an absolute must for your summer bucket list! For full details on schedule and line up visit the Cork Summer Show website. 

Cork City Marathon

www.corkcitymarathon.comWhether you’re an athlete or not you can’t beat the buzz around Cork City on marathon day! The kids love to head down to the race
course to cheer on the athletes who have trained for the race. In recent years the marathon has put runner’s names on their bibs which allows us to cheer for individual runners on a more personal level. Whether your near the finish line or on the outskirts of the city if you’re not running in the marathon pop down to the racecourse and give a boost to all those participating in the Cork City Marathon!

Cork Harbour Festival & Ocean to City- An Rás Mór

The Cork Harbour Festival is jam-packed with family friendly activities around the harbour. From free tours, open days to historical sites and family fun days there is plenty to do during the week-long festival. The flagship event of the Cork Harbour Festival the Ocean to City Race . The Ocean to City race is Cork’s own long-distance rowing race that attracts hundreds of participants each year. There are a range of boat types each year and spectators can play Spot the Boat from land. The race finishes in Lapp’s Quay in the city with free family friendly entertainment and food stalls.

Hillfest, Watergrasshillmouse roulette

Each June Bank Holiday weekend the community of Watergrasshill in North Cork puts on a village fair like no other. The 4 day Hillfest has a programme that includes a variety of activities the whole family will love.  From warring pubs (tug-o-war), mouse roulette, family fun days,orienteering, soccer tournaments, music
festival and perhaps the highlight of the festival popular PIG RACES!! The main road in Watergrasshill will be closed and lined with bales of hay and crowds to watch the pig races. With local punters putting odds on each race. Hillfest has that small town festival feel with good, wholesome family fun. All proceeds go to local community organisations- we love that!

Cork MidsummerFestival

It isn’t June in Cork without the Midsummer Festival. Since 2008 the Cork Midsummer Festival has brought 10 days of arts to the city each year. The festival grows from strength to strength with events to suit just about everyone! A ThisIrishFamily festival favourite is most definitely the Picnic in the Park at Fitzgerald’s Park. The picnic brings a day of free arts and entertainment to Cork’s finest park.

With all that our June will be jam-packed for sure but there is much much more! Don’t forget to check out Live at the Marquee, Festival Cork’s DessertFest and Shandon Street Festival.

June really is a great month to be in Cork so get out there!

Ireland for Families

5 Products You Need if You Travel with Kids

Life as an expat often means a life of regular travel.   We are incredibly lucky that we have been able to make regular trips to America. Both ThisIrishGirl and ThisIrishBoy had flown across the Atlantic at least once before they were on solids!Top 5 Products for Traveling with Kids

Through all those transatlantic flights with kids we have come across some products that have made our trips easier and a few that were a waste of time and money.  With a million products out there here are This Irish Family’s 5 must have products for travelling with kids.

Ear plugs

If your kids (or you) suffer from ear plan when flying, Earplane Kids ear plugs act keep inner ear pressure constant and sooth ear pane associated with fluctuations in cabin pressure.  A pilot friend recommended them and they did help ThisIrisGirl when she was younger. Luckily now both kids do ok with the fluctuating cabin pressure.

Car Seat Bag

As if hiring a car isn’t expensive enough.  Renting the carseats for the kids run about $80 per week PER CAR SEAT.  Did you know pretty much every airline (including Ryan Air read the fine print) will check car seats free of charge!  We love the JL Childress Gate Check Bag for keeping our car seats protected when we travel.   Checked items can get pretty beat up in transit so using the JL Childress Gate Check Bag has kept our car seats in good shape.

*we’ve managed to fit two car seats in one bag

ID Bracelet

Once ThisIrishGirl started walking I knew travel through airports was about to get a whole lot more stressful for me.  To help keep her safe – and for my own peace of mind- we got an IDme wristband  for her to wear through airports.  The ID bracelet holds your contact details as well as allergy information in the event of an emergency.  We like the IDme wristband because it’s strong but comfortable to wear while being difficult for a toddler to take off.  We also use them when we’re going to events where we know there will be a crowd.

Mummy Clip

Ok everyone needs one of these!  Even if you’re not travelling.  We’ve tried about a dozen different bags, back packs and suit cases for the kids when we travel.  They all have one thing in common….the kids don’t carry them….at least mine don’t.  So rather than argue at security or break a sweat carrying the kids bag as well as our own we used our Mummy Clip  to clip back packs on the end of the buggy.

*this life hack only lasts so long last year when we flew without the buggy for the first time I minimised my own hand luggage in anticipation of having to carry the kids….I’ve never missed pushing a buggy so much!

Kids Headphones

Ok I have to admit we haven’t gone too far with these ones yet but I know they will be so handy when we travel.  We were sent two kids sets  CozyPhones Kids Headphones and the kids love them already.5 Must Have Products when travelling with kids

CozyPhones are made of fleece and come in adorable styles like unicorns, and pandas and frogs.  The fleece headband is washable and the light weight speakers ensure a comfy fit. I just know they are going to make falling asleep while watching a movie or listening to music so much more comfortable…I might have to get a set for myself.

We’ve done our share of travel – and we want to do so much more together as a family.  We’ve tried lots of products to make our lives easier when we travel and we genuinely love the products mentioned in this post.

We’d love to hear more about what products your family loves when you travel.  I’m sure there are more things out there we could try!

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  Two sets of Cozy Kids Headphones were sent to us free of charge for the kids.  As always all opinions on products are 100% genuine and our own. 

 

Interested in more travel tips for Travel with Kids?  Check out Top 10 Tips for Flying With Kids This Summer 

 

Wanderlust Kids

Ireland for Families

Glenview Gardens

Glenview Gardens This Irish Family We are so lucky that we have lots of friends and family who come to visit us from the US.  The trouble with visitors is the tourist scene can get tedious to us locals.  Sometimes though we find some amazing places that literally make the kids jump up and down when they hear we get to visit them again and again.

One of these special places is Glenview Gardens in Enniskeane, West Cork.

Glenview Gardens is a charming 3 acre garden that is home to 10 unique gardens, a woodland fairy walk and Ireland’s very own Hobbit House.

Located outside Enniskeane, Co Cork, the gardens are a fair bit from the main road but well worth the detour through this scenic part of Cork.  While there is ample parking for cars and coaches the place is so popular many often end up parking on the road.  As you approach the gardens you come to find out that you’re actually visiting someone’s home and it adds to the charm of it all. You ring the front bell to gain access to the gardens.

At €5 per adult & €3 per child its money well spent for an afternoon getting lost in Glenview Gardens Teddy Bear's Picnicthe unique gardens.

I’m not going to lie-  ThisIrishDad and I bit off more than we can chew when we bought a house and almost and acre of overgrown garden.  But that doesn’t stop us from enjoying a well planned and well cared for garden- especially on a fine day with a packed picnic!

Glenview doesn’t disapoint.  Despite a jam packed car park there is enough space to amble around the gardens and it doesn’t seem over crowded.   The kids love playing hide and seek and getting lost on each other in each garden.

Small children will love to sit and have a cup of tea  with the teddy bear’s at their picnic table.  Those who love hunting for fairies will run with delight in search of fairy doors walking the woodland fairy trail. Even the biggest kids will enjoy Glenview Gardens This Irish Familyvisiting Cork’s only Hobbit House.

Throughout the gardens there are plenty of  picnic areas and even a self serve tea room.  While it is easy to loose little ones among the plants and trees the gardens are secure, safe and wheelchair accessible.

Glenview Gardens is a local treasure not to be missed by locals or visitors.  Pack a picnic and spend a few hours getting lost in the charm of Glenview Gardens.

 

 

Desert, Enniskeane, Co Cork

GPS Google Maps:  51.7311 -8.9012