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THE WILD BUNCH: FUN FOR KIDS ON THE COAST



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Sunglasses, raincoats, sunscreen and welly boots at the ready? Then you’re all set to take off on an adventure with that special gang of people who give life meaning.

And the Wild Atlantic Way? Well, that’s just the perfect backdrop to memories worth making.

Discover 10 terrific ways to have 2,500km of family fun below:

 
  • Explore Donegal on an electric bike
 

1. ELECTRIC EXCURSIONS IN THE NORTHERN HEADLANDS

Head for the hills in the saddle of an electric bike and enjoy the sweeping vistas and weather-beaten landscape of County Donegal. Environmentally-friendly and perfect for helping tired legs last a little longer, hire your gang some bikes from one of Grassroutes’ three bases. 

Map in hand, family in the saddle and pedal power behind you, set off from your choice of lush Glenveagh National Park, the pretty seaside village of Downings or even wild and wonderful Tory Island.

 
  • Surf's up for the whole gang
 

2. BEACHES & BOARDS ON THE SURF COAST

A wetsuit’s your family’s best bud and a gateway to wave-splashing fun in Strandhill, County Sligo. Zipped up and armed with a sense of adventure, take your pick of surfing or stand-up paddleboarding and dive into those refreshing swells. 

The team at Strandhill Surf School will give lessons to all ages and will even take you out to Culleenamore Bay, a stunning tidal reserve and seal sanctuary.

 
  • Guaranteed to make kids out of anyone
 

3. SPINNING AROUND ON THE BAY COAST

Want to get the kids head over heels for something really different? Zorbing is tumbling down hillsides taken to the next level. Adventure West in County Mayo will strap two to three of you into a transparent inflatable ball and spin you to your hearts’ content as the Westport sky and shores of Clew Bay whizz past. 

 
  • Come on in, the water's fine!
 

4. FINS & FLIPPERS ON THE CLIFF COAST

Just when they thought they'd left school behind, a different kind of learning experience awaits the little ones beneath the waves in County Clare, where a pod of dolphins will be the teachers. 

All aboard the ‘Dolphin Discovery’ in Kilrush Marina for a cruise along the north shore of the Shannon Estuary, home to Ireland's only known resident group of bottlenose dolphins. With a 98% success rate of encountering those flippers and fins, squeals of delight from your little skippers are highly likely, too.

 
  • Snapchat's great-grandfather
 

5. CABLE COMMUNICATION IN THE SOUTHERN PENINSULAS

Particularly prescient if you’re road-tripping with technology-loving teens, discover a different era (and pace!) of communication on Valentia Island, County Kerry. Hop the ferry over to the idyllic island and visit Valentia Heritage Centre, housed in a 19th-century schoolhouse, to learn all about island life and discover tales of the transatlantic telegraph, too. 

The island was the base of the very first attempts to lay a transatlantic cable under the sea between 1857-1858, and is home to the oldest Atlantic Cable Station in the world. Stop off at the Cablemaster’s Residence and have fun explaining to your internet-era children how every message crossing the Atlantic passed through the island’s station. And before that? Communications were sent by boat - weather permitting!

 
  • A larger-than-life experience
 

6. A WHALE OF A TIME ON THE HAVEN COAST

Wind your way down to Baltimore Harbour in lively West Cork and watch your kids play hide-and-seek with some of the Atlantic’s most characterful creatures. Clamber on to Whale Watch West Cork’s vessel ‘Voyager’ and keep those eyes peeled to spot inquisitive dolphins, cheeky seals and beautiful basking sharks, as well as majestic minke and fin whales.

Want an even more magical family memory? Take the evening sailing and huddle up together out on the water as the sun sets over Cape Clear Island.

 
  • Don’t forget to break out those kumbaya campfire classics
 

7. CARRY ON CAMPING

Is there a better feeling than cuddling up with your brood, all snug as bugs under a blanket of stars? Luckily, camping (of all sorts) is an option just about anywhere on the Wild Atlantic Way. 

For caravan parks a stone’s throw from Blue Flag beaches on the doorstep of The Kingdom, try Wave Crest in County Kerry. To set up HQ near the otherworldly Burren, Aran Islands or the Cliffs of Moher, try Nagles in Doolin, County Clare. If your gang would be happier glampers than campers, why not glam it up with yurts, bell tents or pods in your pick of scenic spots.

 
  • The Wild Atlantic Way boasts five of Ireland's six national parks
 

8. WOODLAND WONDERS

If losing yourselves in the midst of wildlife and woodland is your idea of really getting away from it all, then you’ll simply revel in the undulating parkland dotting the coastal route. With five of the country’s six national parks showcased on the Wild Atlantic Way, you’ll be spoiled for choice between GlenveaghBallycroyConnemara, the Burren and Killarney National Parks spanning counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry. 

Brimming with exceptional walking routes for all ages and abilities and home to bats, badgers, foxes, deer and more rare wildlife, prying yourselves away from the nooks and crannies of these natural havens will be your only problem. 

 
  • Unmissable attractions pepper the route
 

9. SPOT SOME SIGNATURE DISCOVERY POINTS 

Can’t decide where to start or what to include on your family road trip? With 15 Signature Discovery Points scattered across the coastline, ticking some must-see spots off the list is a great way to delve into a treasure trove of unique experiences. 

A mix of sandy seascapes, glorious edge-of-the-world vistascreviced clifftops, salty-aired headlands, scenery that’s made history and island hideaways are ready to be explored. Get the gang a special Wild Atlantic Way Passport and you can even mark each stop on your journey with customised stamps.

 
  • Things to do in all weathers
 

10. RAINY DAY FUN

As beautiful as it is, a touring route that encompasses 2,500km of coastline is bound to have its share of rainy days. But who said fun was weather-dependant? There’s still plenty to entertain and engage indoors on the Wild Atlantic Way. 

Westport House & Pirate Adventure Park in County Mayo will surely shiver the timbers as the kids learn all about Connaught pirate queen Grace O’Malley. County Cork’s Mizen Head Visitor Centre demonstrates the perils and pleasures of life as a lighthouse keeper and showcases some stunning panoramas. Would-be pilots, marine enthusiasts and Irish coffee-lovers are all catered for under the roof of Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum in County Limerick, while at the Galway City Museum you can learn all about the history of the City of the Tribes and see all 28 feet of the traditional boat, the Galway Hooker, hanging in the atrium.

Whatever way you discover it and no matter what age your brood may be, the memories you’ll make on the Wild Atlantic Way will only whet your appetite for even more adventures out west. 

Discover more family-friendly activities to enjoy here and explore the Wild Atlantic Way regions here

 
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