Where can you stay in centuries old castles, kayak with a frolicking dolphin and learn a completely new sport all on the same vacation? It might surprise you, like it did me, that all of this and more is on offer on the Emerald Isle of Ireland.
Actually, when I first started planning a family trip to Ireland, I hesitated, wondering if there would be enough to do to keep my 15-year-old son, Aidan engaged. I needn’t have worried; it turns out Ireland is a no brainer for a family vacation. The Irish are famously friendly, family-oriented, and happy to share their gift of gab with adults and kids alike. And the small country the size of South Carolina with a population less than New York City is perfect for exploring, so you don’t have to stay in one spot. In fact, most Irish vacations follow a loop, starting in Dublin and then exploring the small villages and big scenery to the south and west.
Since it was my first time in the Emerald Isle I wasn’t sure where to start planning, so I called on the experts at Brendan Vacations known for creating custom family trips around Ireland. They presented unique activities I would have never uncovered on my own that thrilled my teen while still being a fit for me and my slightly less adventurous husband. Best of all, private tours include a chauffeured car. Not only did this let us bypass our usual “which way should we go” arguments, but our professional driver also acted as a personal tour guide and concierge, calling ahead to confirm reservations, taking us to off-the-beaten-track attractions and cafes, and even rescheduling our activities one day when I wasn’t feeling well. We all had so much fun that one night at dinner Aidan even proclaimed the magic words, "This is a really great vacation!" I couldn’t agree more.
Read on to discover everything from where to go and stay to what to do for an unforgettable Ireland family vacation.