Going green

One of the least explored, deepest green and most welcoming destinations in Europe is on our doorstep – and by catching a ferry to Ireland, it can be all yours. Dublin, likely to be on most families’ bucket list, is home to Europe’s oldest and largest zoo. Other family favourites include renting a cruiser on the longest inland waterways in Europe. You can go whale and dolphin watching from Cork, where the creatures are drawn to the shore by sprat and other fishy morsels. Or tap a rich seam of Celtic history on the Dingle Peninsula, thick with pre- and early-Christian sites, including beehive cells, ruined churches, standing stones and hermit hideaways.

Another wonderful scenic drive is to follow the Antrim coast road, daring the kids to cross the rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede, slung 82ft above the sea, and stepping over the Giant’s Causeway, a honeycomb of 40,000 basalt plugs formed by cooling lava.

Belfast Zoo is the top fee-paying visitor attraction in Northern Ireland, while the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, home to Ireland’s largest mainland seabird nesting colony, are the most visited natural attraction. In spring, visit the Burren. The pale-grey limestone desert is an unlikely stage for one of the greatest floral displays in the British Isles.

family-on-ferry

How to get there

Irish Ferries

08717 300 400; irishferries.com

Routes and fares:
Holyhead-Dublin: From £293
Pembroke-Rosslare: From £293

P&O Ferries

0800 130 0030; poferries.com

Routes and fares:
Liverpool-Dublin: £268
Cairnryan-Larne: £310
Troon-Larne: £310

Stena Line

08447 707070; stenaline.co.uk

Routes and fares:
Cairnryan-Belfast: £246
Liverpool-Belfast: £338
Holyhead-Dublin: £288
Fishguard-Rosslare: £288

On an family holiday in Ireland, boredom simply isn't an option. Discover the varied and fun activities for kids in Dublin.