From skydiving to wakeboarding, coasteering to cultural experiences, I’ve got 10 great ways to holiday in Ireland with teenagers this summer.
Holidaying with teenagers can be tricky. Family activities may not be on high on their priority list, and many teens are happy to be left alone once they have fast WiFi. However, the number of years where you will be holidaying together as a family is diminishing all the time, so it is important that when you think about a holiday in Ireland with teenagers, that you try to create life long memories.
I have selected ten destinations across Ireland that teenagers should love. I have included lots of outdoor adventure activities, as well some cultural experiences that should be of interest, and I have added some suggestions on where to stay in Ireland with teenagers too. I hope when planning a holiday in Ireland with teenagers that these ideas will prove helpful to you.
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It is important to note that some of the activities and hotels may have restrictions in place, and that activities and facilities are subject to change. It is important to check with the individual hotel or attraction for clarification. Some of these hotels or holiday homes contain affiliate links, where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.
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If you are planning to holiday in Ireland with teenagers, Antrim is hard to beat. It is rare to find a county where its top attractions are equally enjoyable for both adults and teenagers. Teens will love walking across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and posing for photos at the Giants Causeway.
The Gobbins Cliff Path Walk is a unique two-mile-long cliff walk that has been carved from rock. It has suspension bridges, a staircase, caves and tunnels – this must be one of the top things to do in Ireland with teenagers. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I get to walk it this summer.
As well as being home to some of Northern Ireland’s top attractions, teenagers will love Aquaholics‘ water activities. They are renowned for their super sea safaris, and if you have teens that are thrillseekers, they may like coasteering – a combination of rock climbing and jumping into the sea. The numerous Game of Thrones filming locations should also prove popular, especially Dunluce Castle and the Dark Hedges.
As well as great coastal activities, teenagers will love Belfast too. The Titanic Belfast is a must visit, but depending on your children’s ages, you may also be interested in a Black Cab tour. Learn the history of Northern Ireland, marvel at the murals, and combine some culture with your family staycation this summer.
Thrillseekers will love Vertigo, home to a massive inflatable park, an action packed Ninja Master Course and Ireland’s only indoor Skydiving Tunnel.
Where to stay in Antrim with teenagers
Letsgohydro is a unique adventure resort offering numerous activities including an inflatable water park. There are camping pitches, glamping pods and self catering houses available on site.
Islandcorr Farm Lodges are a great choice for families looking for glamping pods that can accommodate up to six, they boast a patio and garden area with barbecue and picnic table, and the Causeway Coast is just minutes away.
The Hilton Belfast Templepatrick Hotel is ideally located in a countryside setting, but is just 20 minutes from Belfast City Centre and the Causeway Coast. There is a golf course, pool, spa and gym available, as well as a choice of dining options. Family deluxe rooms can accommodate two adults and four children – this is one of the few hotels with large family rooms in Northern Ireland.
If you are looking for a beachfront holiday home, then look no further than this luxurious three-bedroom penthouse overlooking Whiterocks Beach. The Causeway Coast’s top attractions are on its doorstep – Dunluce Castle is just 5 km from the apartment.See more here
2. Center Parcs
Center Parcs probably needs no introduction, but it is one of the few places where you can holiday in Ireland with teenagers and not feel the need to leave. We were fortunate to visit twice, and I can wholeheartedly say that it is a superb family holiday experience.
The lodges are spacious, come with fast WiFi, and some of the larger executive lodges also have games rooms. There are plenty of dining options and there is a Sports Bar with pool tables and a bowling alley that teens will love.
Children of all ages, especially teenagers, will love the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. It is heated to 29.5 degrees all year round, so regardless of the weather, you can enjoy some quality family time here. Tropical Cyclone with its 45-degree drop was superb, and it was a slide that the four of us were able to go on together. There are three water slides suitable for teenagers, as well as wild river rapids and a lazy river.
We also loved the river rapids. They have strong currents but I have no doubt they will be a big hit with teens. There are also play areas with mini slides, fountains and splash pools for younger children. The swimming pool turns into a wave pool every half hour, but if you want to relax and enjoy the warm temperatures, there are jacuzzis and even cabanas available. It is Ireland’s largest indoor aquatic park and it is superb.
Teenagers will also love the Aerial Adventure which finishes with a long zip line across the full width of the lake at Centre Parcs. We also tried Laser Combat and Laser Clay Shoot – activities I’m sure teens would love.
Note all activities except the Subtropical Swimming Paradise incur additional charges and must be pre-booked. I wrote this review pre-Covid so activities are subject to change depending on when you travel, but you can see all of the many activities available here:
Ireland’s largest county is as you might expect, home to plenty of top family attractions. Fota Wildlife Park is one of those places that appeals to people of all ages, and teenagers will love to see kangaroos roaming free, as well as Fota’s family of cheetahs – the fastest land animals in the world.
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If your budget allows, I highly recommend booking the VIP family experience at Fota, where you are brought on a guided tour of the wildlife park and have the opportunity to feed giraffes and get up close to many animals. We did this many years ago and my children still talk about it.
If you are in the neighbourhood, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Spike Island, Cork’s top tourist attraction. This was once a remote monastery, a fortress built to defend against invasion, and the world’s largest prison. Teenagers are bound to be impressed by Ireland’s equivalent of Alcatraz. The Titantic Experience is also located in Cobh, so as you can see, this is a great family destination.
Cork is also home to some of Ireland’s best beaches, with numerous water based activities suitable for a holiday in Ireland with teenagers. Garretstown Surf School run surf camps and lessons, while Bantry Bay Boat hire organise kayaking trips for adults and children.
Teenagers will love Ballyhass Lakes. We visited a few years ago and had a blast. We took the zipline across the lake to try crate-stacking. This was a new activity to me, but was such good fun – teens would love it.
We also spent some time in the Aquapark. There are numerous inflatable slides and bouncing castles on the lake, but had the best fun on the ringos – we had to hold on to inflatable rings while we were zipped across the surface of the water by a cable at speeds of 25km per hour!
There are over 20 different outdoor activities here, including wakeboarding, kayaking, raft building and high ropes. We also tried axe throwing – another first for me, however it is only suitable for ages 16 and above.
Where to stay in Cork with teenagers
The Clonakilty Park Hotel is a popular choice with families with teenagers due to its superb facilities. There is an award-winning leisure centre with separate teen area, a three-screen cinema, high ropes and zip wire adventure centre, and family friendly dining options. The hotel has large family rooms sleeping up to five, as well as two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom holiday homes.Check prices here
Fota Island Resort is one of my top recommendations for a holiday in Ireland with teenagers. Not only for its proximity to some of Cork’s top attractions, but also for the spacious self catering lodges on site which allow you to use the facilities of the five-star hotel.
The beachfront apartments and houses in the Quality Hotel Youghal are also very popular and are a great value option. If you prefer to stay in a holiday home, check out this seaside home near Clonakilty.
There has never been a better time to visit Dublin – you can enjoy Dublin’s top attractions without the thousands of international visitors that are usually crammed into the city during the summer months.
Teenagers will love Wakedock, Ireland’s first cable wakeboard park, located in the Grand Canal Dock. A wakeboard cable pulls the rider along an obstacle course on the water, and tuition is available for adults, teens, and children from eight years.
Kayaking is available on the Royal Canal Blueway as well as on the sea in Dalkey with kayaking.ie, and enthusiastic bikers with love The Gap Adventure Park in Glencullen. They have a great uplift service, a host of intermediate and advanced bike trails, and make sure to reward yourself with one of their amazing burgers at the end.
A trip to Croke Park is not just for football fans. The Skyline tour is one of Dublin’s top attractions, and I am sure it is one teenagers would love. The views from the top are incredible and the admission includes entrance to the GAA museum afterwards. I enjoyed this tour myself it is one that the whole family should enjoy.
Kilmainham Gaol should also be on your list if staying in the capital – it also happens to be the top thing to do in Dublin according to TripAdvisor. It is one of the most moving places I have ever visited and I believe many feel the same.
Teenagers should have covered this part of history in school, and will be able to see into the jail cells and stand in the courtyard where the leaders were executed in 1916. Make sure you pre-book the tour in advance, and take a stroll in the War Memorial Gardens afterwards, located just minutes from the museum.
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No visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to Dublin Zoo. After your visit take time to explore Europe’s largest capital city park. Phoenix Park bikes have a wide selection of bikes for hire including electric bikes and tandems. Make sure to seek out the many resident deer, they are very comfortable with visitors and you should be able to get some great photographs. After a busy day in the park, reward yourself with some tasty fare in the iconic The Hole in the Wall pub.
Where to stay in Dublin with teenagers
With hotel prices in Dublin at an all time low, this summer might be a good time to splash out on a luxury hotel stay in the capital. We had the pleasure of staying in the Intercontinental Hotel recently and loved the experience. The standard family rooms are extremely spacious, however if your budget allows, upgrade to one of the executive suites which have a balcony and can easily accommodate a family of five.
If you prefer a self catering option, the Staycity apartments are a relatively new edition to the capital. Rated number 1 on Tripadvisor, these two-bedroom apartments can sleep up to six and have all the city highlights right on your doorstep.
5. Fermanagh / Tyrone
The Fermanagh Lakelands offer many opportunities for an active holiday in Ireland with teenagers. If you are finding it difficult to rent a Shannon cruiser, you might have better luck in Fermanagh. There are many companies that offer cruising and boat hire in Fermanagh and there are 154 islands to discover! With these massive lakelands you can expect countless water-based activities, including hydro bikes from Castle Archdale.
Fermanagh is also home to the famous Cuilcagh Mountain or Stairway to Heaven walk. Although not a walk for younger children – it takes about six hours to complete, it is one of Irelands best instagram locations, and one that teenagers will appreciate.
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Depending on the location of your hotel in Fermanagh, you may find a day trip to neighbouring Tyrone is worthwhile. There are over 20 action-packed activities available at Todds Leap Adventure Centre, including Off Road Driving, Clay Pigeon Shooting, a 500m ZipLine, a Giant Swing and a Free Fall Drop Zone.
Blessingbourne Estate is home to 13k of Mountain Bike Trails and is one of the best places in Northern Ireland for mountain biking experiences. There are many trails that teens will love including jumps, table-tops, berms, rock-gardens and drops, but younger children are not overlooked, with plenty of runs for the faint-hearted too.
Where to stay in Fermanagh with teenagers:
The five-star Lough Erne Resort have gorgeous holiday homes on site, we stayed here a few years ago and loved it. However, if you are looking for something more reasonably priced, check out this Lakeside Cottage for rent on top vacational rental site VRBO.
Galway has always been one of our favourite holiday destinations, and it is one of those counties that caters extremely well for teenagers. Salthill is home to Ireland’s National Aquarium, as well as Leisureland which as a 65m water slide and inflatable obstacle course. You will also find a myriad of indoor and outdoor activities including Zip n Trek, Challenge Rooms and Archery at Wildlands adventure centre.
Of course Galway is also home to some of Ireland’s best beaches, so you can expect to find many water based activities available too. Teenagers will love Real Adventures kayaking, surfing, SUPing and rock climbing adventures, while Killary Adventure Centre and Delphi Adventure Centre offers numerous activities for children of all ages, as well as accommodation on site.
Where to stay in Galway with teenageotrs
Delphi Adventure Resort is one of Ireland’s best known adventure resorts, but it is also home to a four-star hotel with a luxurious thermal suite – it sounds like the ideal choice to me!
The Connacht Hotel near Galway city is a great value choice for a holiday in Ireland with teenagers. It offers superb leisure facilities and wide selection of family suites as well as self-catering apartments.Check prices here
If you prefer to stay in a holiday home, it doesn’t get much better than this three-bedroom contemporary home overlooking Mannin Bay.
If castles and culture are not big on your teenagers wish list, don’t worry, Kilkenny offers so much more. We visited Kilkenny last summer and I was surprised by how many great activities are available to families. Kilkenny is a super destination for a holiday in Ireland with teenagers.
Most teenagers like water based activities, but don’t be put off that Kilkenny is not on the coast. Local company gowiththeflow.ie have a wide variety of activities to choose from on the River Barrow. There are family river safaris, canoeing adventures, whitewater rafting, and even wild camping experiences. Pure Adventure also offer kayaking trips and SUPing in the picturesque town of Graiguenamanagh.
Kilkenny is also home to Ireland’s longest zip line at Castlecomer Discovery Park. We visited here last summer and had a blast. There are activities here for children of all ages including tree trekking, paddle boats and archery. I love that the park is free to enter, so you just pay for activities as you go.
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For a private and unique family experience, check out Hawkeye Falconry. You will be treated to a guided tour of their falconry school, where you will meet the friendly Harris Hawks and the cute owls, before taking to the field for some free flying. Each member of the family will be able to call the bird from the trees to land on gloved hands for superb photos and videos.
Where to stay in Kilkenny with teenagers
Check prices here
The Newpark Hotel is one of the best family hotels in Ireland – the fact that there is a wildlife park and a go-karting track (8+) on site might have something to do with that! There is also a treetop zip line and a swimming pool onsite. Superior family rooms can sleep families of five and interconnecting rooms are also available.
If you prefer to opt for self-catering, Croan cottages have two and three bedroom cottages to rent, and some are pet friendly too.
8. Meath / Louth
It wasn’t until I wrote this post recently on family activities less than an hour from Dublin that I realised how much there was to do so close to my home town.
I think it goes without saying that teenagers will love Tayto Park, but this region offers so much more. Kayaking tours with Boyne Valley activities are a great activity for all the family, and Navan Adventure Centre offers a wide selection of activities for children of all ages. Football fans will love the human foosball and football golf, while archery, mini-golf and the adventure obstacle course are popular with teens.
Did you know that Louth is home to Ireland’s largest adventure park – Skypark? It has the largest Aerial Adventure Course with more than 30 challenges, including cargo nets, skateboards, log swings, as well as seven zip wires. There are also loads of land activities too including Quazer, Footgolf, Archery, Bungee trampolines, Water Wars and Gyro, as well as plenty of activities for younger children.
Funtasia’s 35,000 sq ft Water Park is also in Louth and offers plenty of water activities for children of all ages, while outdoor karting is available at White River Park for children aged 14 and above.
Where to stay in Meath with teenagers
The multi-award winning Knightsbrook Hotel boasts an 18-hole championship golf Course, a leisure club and spa, and a games room on site. It is close to Tayto Park and Newgrange, and offers family rooms that can accommodate five, as well as self catering cottages.Check prices here
Roscommon is often overlooked when considering holiday in Ireland with teenagers. However, did you know it is home to multi-award winning Lough Key Forest Park? There are plenty of activities to keep children of all ages occupied, such as lake swimming, boat tours, segway tours, cycling the forest trails, and Zipit high wires. Lough Key also have a camping and caravan park should you wish to stay onsite.
Roscommon is ideally located to explore the nearby lakes of Leitrim and Fermanagh and to explore Sligo’s stunning beaches. The famous Cuilcagh Mountain or Stairway to Heaven walk in Fermanagh, Ireland’s largest inflatable waterpark, Baysports, or Leitrim’s highly rated Blueway waterpark are ideal options for day trips.
Where to stay in Roscommon with teenagers
As mentioned above, you can choose to camp in Lough Key Forest Park, but if you are looking for something more luxurious, Kilronan Castle offers holiday homes on the grounds of the hotel that allow access to the hotels facilities. Many of these are privately owned so you can quite often secure them via Booking.com or VRBO.Check prices here
Wexford is packed with adventure, culture and fun, and is an ideal choice for a holiday in Ireland with teenagers. Wexford is home to 275km of coastline, so beaches are without a doubt some of Wexford’s top attractions. The Surf Shack at Curracloe beach offer surf lessons and stand up paddle boarding, while Hooked Kite Surfing offers lessons for children over 12 years if accompanied by a parent. The Irish Experience also offers a variety of experiences including sea cave kayaking from Fethard-On-Sea.
But Wexford offers so much more than water based activities. If you haven’t visited the Irish National Heritage Park – make sure you put it on your list. Seeing 9,000 years of Irish history in one place was remarkable. We loved it and it will be a great help for teenagers learning Irish history in school.
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Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operational lighthouse in the world and tours are available.
Ireland’s only Seal Rescue centre is located in Courtown. It rehabilitates over 120 seals a year and returns them to the wild. It is a charity organisation and free tours are available from 10am to 5pm every day – teenagers will love this experience.
And if you still need inspiration to visit Wexford with teenagers, then check out the IOAC – the International Outdoor Adventure Centre. Home to high ropes, crate stacking, archery, and kayaking on its purpose-built activity lake – this is a teenagers paradise. You can also choose to stay here, with camping pitches, glamping pods and an RV park on site. It is also pet-friendly.
Where to stay in Wexford with teenagers
Amber Springs is one of the best family hotels in Ireland. Teenagers will love the VR room with gaming consoles, as well as the cinema, swimming pool, birds of play display and reptile show. There is a wide selection of family rooms to choose from, including the Amber family den suite, which has two sets of bunk beds, sleeping up to four children.Check prices here
The Riverside Park Hotel and Leisure Club offer superb value family breaks in Wexford. There is a leisure centre onsite and the hotel has selected superior family rooms that sleep up to six, with individual TV’s and headsets available for children. Family offers include a family pass to one of Wexford’s top attractions.Check prices here
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I hope you liked this post on where to holiday in Ireland with teenagers. It is important to note that some of the activities and hotels may have restrictions in place, and that activities and facilities are subject to change. It is important to check with the individual hotel or attraction for clarification.