Kelly’s Resort Hotel

Holidays in Ireland

Top 10 Things to do in Wexford With Kids

Alex Wells House & Gardens (1)

From Meerkat Experiences, to Enchanted Woodland Walks, adopting seals to pirate adventures, check out my top things to do in Wexford with kids.

Wexford in Ireland’s sunny South East, is home to 275km of coastline, with an abundance of wide open sandy beaches. However, it was the animal experiences and woodland walks that captivated us on our recent visit. There are so many things to do in Wexford with kids, we needed a few visits to see them.


A few years ago were invited by Visit Wexford to go for the weekend and enjoy some of the family activities available. We were stayed in Kelly’s Resort Hotel, one of Ireland’s best family hotels. In truth, it was difficult to leave it, but we managed to take in a few of the family activities in Wexford during our short visit.


Luckily we managed to return this year for an overnight stay in the Riverside Park Hotel. This 4-star hotel offers spacious family rooms and superb dining options and is great value for a family stay. We visited some more of the top family attractions in Wexford this year, so I have updated this post to bring you ten great things to do in Wexford with kids.



1. Visit Irish National Heritage Park

Our visit to the Irish National Heritage park was a big surprise for me, and is one of the best things to do in Wexford with kids. Seeing 9,000 years of Irish history in one place was remarkable. You can opt for audio or self guided walks, but we took the guided tour which I would highly recommend. Our guide, Ben, had a vast knowledge and was clearly well used to leading children on guided tours. Dressed in full costume, he kept all the kids entertained for ninety minutes.


The tour showed us how Irish people lived through the Stone Age, Bronze Age, when the Vikings came, right up to when the Normans came in 1169. There are 16 different sites including a Megalithic tomb, medieval ringfort, stone circle and a crannog. The Irish National Heritage Park is a wonderful open air museum.

things to do in Wexford with kids

Most of the children had some knowledge of crannogs and tomb stones from their school history. Ben, our guide, picked up on this and asked questions to keep the kids interested. The replica of a 1,500 year old ringfort is remarkable. You can even stay over night here – check out my post on Airbnb glamping sites in Ireland here

top things to do in Wexford with kids - visit National Heritage Park

As well as being an educational day out, there are resident ducks, friendly birds and two adventure playgrounds on site. Kids can also pan for gold and if they find some, they will get a certificate from the reception desk after the tour. The National Heritage Park is a great family day out and shouldn’t be missed.

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2. Enjoy enchanted walks and animal experiences at Wells House & Gardens

The Gruffalo Walk is one of the best things to do in Wexford with kids

Boasting 400 years of history in 450 acres of gardens, woodlands and parkland, Wells House and Gardens is one of those rare treats that is equally appealing to young and old. We visited recently and my only complaint was I didn’t have enough time to see everything! House tours are available on Saturday and Sunday, but are restricted at the moment due to Covid. However the enchanted walks are cause enough to visit.


The much loved Gruffalo Walk, which is also one of Ireland’s best fairy trails, is superb. Who doesn’t love the Gruffalo? This is not only perfect for toddlers – my 10 year old loved it too. But for older children who may think they are too cool for a Gruffalo Walk – Mogue’s Enchanted Woodland Walk is sure to please. With trolls, bears, wizards and a 20ft high Dragon, it will captivate children of all ages.


But that’s not all…

The animal farm has goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, budgies, meerkats, racoons, and two tortoise! Entrance to Wells House and Gardens includes entry to the farm and Woodland Walks, but you can also book animal experiences. There are two options available, both are priced at a very reasonable €30 per family on top of the admission price.


During the Exotic Animal Experience we learned how the racoons and tortoise are looked after, and how they came to Wells House and Gardens. We were also able to interact and feed them. The Meerkat Experience was another wonderful experience where we got up close to this cheeky family of furry friends – these are superb family experiences that children will love.


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I recommend spending at least four hours in Wells House and Gardens, and even longer if you want to enjoy some lunch at Brambles Restaurant, or take a tour of Wells House. 

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3. Adopt a seal at Ireland’s only Seal Rescue Centre


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We had the pleasure of visiting Ireland’s only seal rescue facility and saw first hand the incredible work that these people do – they rescued 170 seals in 2020 alone! It is a charity organisation and tours are available at just €20 per person  – although I would highly recommend adopting a seal too.


For a mere €25 you can adopt one of these gorgeous pups, to help the centre rehabilitate and release seals back into the wild. My daughter and her friend are now the proud parents of Giant Otter ( this year all rescued seals were named after endangered animals).

They got their names on the adoption certificate and will receive updated information and photographs on her progress to ‘fishing school’ and her release back into the wild – 70% of all rescued seals are released back to the sea.

Adopt a seal at the Seal Rescue Centre is one of the top things to do in Wexford with kids


The tour includes a brief introduction on why seals need rescuing, the results of over use of plastics, and why we need to protect our oceans. We were able to see the seal ICU, their kennels, and the pools that the rescued seals are eventually moved to. We were also able to feed the seals – something the kids loved.

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4. Splash about at Pirates Cove

On a fine day, it is hard to beat Pirates Cove in Courtown. We visited here a few years ago when the kids were younger and they loved it. There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages. We were blessed with blue skies, so the bumper boats were a big hit for all of us.

Although contained in a small space, we managed to have lots of fun. The adventure golf course is great and is worth the trip alone, but we managed to fit in a few more activities while we were there!


The kids loved the bubble rollers (zorbs), but there are also paddle boats and go karts for younger children. If you are unlucky with the weather there is a ten pin bowling alley and fun caves, complete with bouncy castles and ball pools.
things to do in Wexford with kids


During school holidays in the Summer months there is an Aqua Zone on the beach, with a giant inflatable trampoline, rope swings and a 20ft water slide. I love that you don’t have a large entrance fee. If you want to play golf and nothing else, then that’s all you pay for. Likewise with bowling, bumper boats etc, each activity is priced separately.

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5. Visit Hook Lighthouse


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As the oldest operating lighthouse in the world, I couldn’t leave it off this list of things to do in Wexford with kids. Not only is it one of Wexford’s top attractions, but it is one of Ireland’s too. I have visited the Hook Peninsula, and love its stunning scenery, but I still haven’t managed to take the tour of Hook Lighthouse – I will have to make sure I do this on my next visit to Wexford.


The location is enough reason to visit, standing on the top of the Hook Peninsula, in the corner of Ireland’s Ancient East, it is a photographers dream. The tour involves climbing 115 steps to the top of the tower where you can see panoramic views of the Southeast of Ireland. 


You will also hear tales of life as a lighthouse keeper in Ireland. During the Summer months there are free games on the lawn most days, as well as art classes, BBQ’s and entertainment at weekends. Tours are available seven days a week, including special sunset and sunrise tours.

Note due to Covid restrictions indoor tours are unavailable, but outdoor guided walking tours are available, and the visitors centre is currently open.

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6. Spend a day at the beach


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Wexford is home to plenty of wide sandy beaches, including the famous Curracloe Beach that was used in Steven Spielberg’s movie, Saving Private Ryan. There are six with Blue Flags and eight with Green Coast awards. The hardest decision is which one to choose.


Curraloe is home to the Surf Shack adventure centre, which offers family surf lessons, paddle boarding and summer camps. If you don’t fancy getting wet, they also offer sand boarding. Duncannon beach is another popular choice, and is very popular with kite surfers and sea kayaking. The Irish Experience organise water based family activities here.


There are also many quiet secluded beaches, if you fancy some quiet beach time. Check out Dollar Bay and Booley Bay on the Hook Peninsula or better still, go find your own!

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7. Have lunch in The Kitchen


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We stopped at The Kitchen Restaurant in Gorey on our way down from Dublin, and we were very impressed. There is a wide selection of tasty meals including light lunches, sandwiches or substantial mains, as well as a sizeable kids menu. All food is prepared on site using local, organic ingredients, that are in season.


I enjoyed a tasty Chicken Caesar salad and my husband Cormac love his Bresaloa on toasted Ciabatta.  There are burgers, wood-fired pizzas as well as pasta and curry, it is safe to say that all tastes are catered for here. The Kitchen is also the proud winner of the ‘Best Casual Dining in Wexford award at the Irish Restaurant Awards.

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8. Visit Secret Valley Wildlife Park

Secret Valley Wildlife Park, Wexford

The award-winning Secret Valley Wildlife Park is a place I haven’t had the chance to visit yet – but it is on my list! With everything from creepy crawlies to pony rides, alpacas to lemurs, there is plenty here to keep your children entertained. Children are able to interact and feed some of the animals, while outdoor play areas and keeper experiences complete this fun family day out.

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9. Hang out at the International Outdoor Adventure Centre

IOAC family campsite in Ireland is a great choice for holidays in Ireland with teenagers.

A visit to the  IOAC, International Outdoor Adventure Centre, is one of the best things to do in Wexford with kids. 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.

Read: Where to holiday with teenagers in Ireland

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10. Go in search of puffins on the Saltee Islands


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A trip to the Saltee Islands is a popular day out for families looking for adventure. Located just 5km from Kilmore Quay, a 20 minute boat ride will take you to these unspoilt islands which are a Special Area of Conservation. You should see a remarkable collection of seabirds and wildlife including puffins and gannets, although it is important to note that the puffins tend to vacate the islands in mid July.


You should also be aware that there are no facilities on the island and there is a chance that you will get your feet wet at the landing point. This trip may not be suitable for younger children, and is definitely not suitable for buggies. However, if you are looking for true adventure in Wexford, with a taste of the exotic, the Saltee Islands might just tick that box. 

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I hope you enjoyed my top 10 things to do in Wexford with kids. Let me know your favourites by commenting below.




Family HolidaysHolidays in Ireland

Is Kelly’s The Best Family Hotel in Ireland?

Kelly's Resort Hotel, Wexford

Perched on five miles of sandy beach, with award winning cuisine and a host of activities for children, is Kelly’s the best family hotel in Ireland?


For years I have heard friends boast of Kelly’s fine food and fantastic kids facilities. The Irish Independent’s reader awards named it as their favourite place to stay for 2018 and it was voted the most family friendly hotel in Ireland in last years Gold Medal Awards. These are on top of a plethora of other awards that Kelly’s has received for as long as I care to remember! I was interested to see what all the fuss was about, so when Wexford Tourism invited us to stay I jumped at the chance.

Waiting in line to check-in was bizarre. I overheard two separate couples rebook for the following year. There was no question of cost, they were confirming their booking for the same time, a year later. I asked the receptionist if this was normal and she said she has seen four generations of families staying at Kelly’s since she started working there – a startling statistic. I recalled that I have ever holidayed in a place that my parents stayed….

I couldn’t help but notice that throughout the hotel there were multi generational families holidaying together. Kelly’s is a bit on an anomaly – it manages to cater superbly for children but also for adults, even grandparents! It is not only the clientele that come back year after year. It was heartwarming to see so many long-serving members of staff, who recognised guests from previous visits, a rarity in the hospitality sector these days.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

There is entertainment around the clock. It starts after breakfast when the kids club opens at 930am. Kelly’s have a ‘Pirates Club’ for kids aged 4 and over.  There are arts and crafts, drama and dress up, musical games, painting, pool games and much more taking place throughout the day. The ‘Starfish Club’ caters for younger children from 8.30 am – 5.00pm, however a fee of €3.00 per child per hour applies. Parents are free to spend a day at the beach, play a round of golf at the nearby championship course, or relax in the multi award-winning spa. A word of warning, prebook your spa treatments, the spa looked seriously impressive! As it was our first time to visit,  I didn’t realise how popular it was, it was booked out for our entire stay.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

Lunch is served from 12.30pm. Families dine together and enjoy an array of delicious hot and cold options from the buffet. I am not normally a buffet fan, but we ate here on our last day and it was excellent. The selection of salads was superb, not to mention desserts! They even had a selection of homemade ice cream with cones for the kids. If you don’t fancy buffet dining, you can also choose to opt for waiter service in Beaches, the à la carte restaurant, for breakfast or lunch.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

Dinner is a whole different ballgame. After an afternoon full of activities, children are encouraged to dine at the ‘kids buffet’ at 5.30pm. Personally, I found this a tad early! We happened to be out all day so this wasn’t an option for us anyway, but the idea is that kids dine separately with their new found friends. Dinner is followed by a kids disco and then back to the kids club for a movie. There is complimentary child-minding for all children from 7pm – 9pm so parents can enjoy a ‘date night’.



I spoke to a few families while I was there and they loved this arrangement. In fact this was one of the main reasons they return to Kelly’s year after year. They get to enjoy fine dining in Beaches alone, while the kids watch a movie. Kelly’s also have a remote intercom system so when you put the kids to bed, you can leave the phone off the hook and dial in to make sure there is no one awake. You can also hire staff babysitters ( €10 per hour), if you have young children or are not comfortable with this arrangement. I doubt this would be used much in international hotel chains, but Kelly’s has been a family run hotel for over 100 years.

Originally opened as a tea rooms in 1895, Kelly’s has been passed from generation to generation and has always remained a family run hotel. Kelly’s is now run by the fourth generation Bill Kelly and his wife Isabelle. Isabelle happens to be the daughter of leading French wine-makers from Chateauneuf-du-Pape – so no wonder the wine list is so good!

Laura Kelly, the fifth generation Kelly has also taken the helm beside her father. Like her father and grandfather, she studied in the famous Hotel Management school of Switzerland and has since worked in top class family resorts around the world, including Club Med. The reason I mention this is because Kelly’s has a Mediterranean resort feel to it. It is not like a typical Irish hotel. Most people book the full board package, which includes all meals, even afternoon tea! Kelly’s reminded me of an all-inclusive family resort in Spain, I don’t think I have seen anything like it anywhere else in Ireland.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

We ate in Beaches twice, albeit with the kids! For a large hotel restaurant, Kelly’s not only manage to serve delicious food but the atmosphere felt more like a local restaurant than a large hotel dining room. It should be noted that young children are not allowed to dine in Beaches. The menu actually states ‘adults only’ but when I had a mild panic attack, I was told it was not enforced for older kids.

Looking around the restaurant I don’t think there was anyone under six. If you want to dine with young children you can reserve a table in the bar area and enjoy the Beaches menu there.  I thought this a little autocratic initially, but it works!

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

The food in Kelly’s is superb. Whether you dine at the buffet or in Beaches, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you are guaranteed delicious meals and super service. In Beaches I enjoyed a tasty goats cheese salad starter and Cormac, the crab salad. There was no separate kids menu but there were ample dishes for kids to enjoy.

However if you have fussy eaters, they are only too happy to provide children’s food off menu. The fillet of beef was perfectly cooked, as was the scallops and black pudding. The desserts were delicious too. After one day in Kelly’s I understood why people were so obsessed with the food – it really is that good! Mr Kelly played the perfect host, checking in with all guests asking about their day and if everything is ok with their meal.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

There are also lots of things that families can enjoy together. There are two large swimming pools with no restrictions on swim times, and of course the beach is on your doorstep. With miles of sandy beach and rock pools for kids to explore, a day at the beach is inevitable.

Watersports enthusiasts will love the windsurfing, kayaking and sailing lessons provided by the Rosslare Watersports centre during the Summer months. There are also indoor and outdoor tennis courts, boules and a great mini golf course, which we played on a few occasions.  As well as the kids club there is also a large pirate ship playground and a games room for kids to enjoy.

kelly's the best family hotel in ireland

Kelly’s is unique. It is a family-run resort hotel, where parents dress up for dinner while their kids play elsewhere. Kelly’s offers escapism. Kelly’s is located in County Wexford, in Ireland’s sunny South East, which was given the name because Wexford has lower average annual rainfall than any other county in Ireland. Having lunch on the sunny rooftop balcony on our last day we almost forgot where we were. It was like the Mediterranean. With fine beaches on your doorstep, non stop entertainment for kids, mouthwatering food and a wine list to die for, it is not surprising that many believe Kelly’s is the best family hotel in Ireland. Go see for yourself!


For more details visit  and check out my blog on things to do in Wexford with kids.




The Travel Expert
Family HolidaysFeaturedHolidays in Ireland

5 Luxury Family Hotels In Ireland


Five Star hotels and kids don’t always go together, but I found five luxury family hotels in Ireland that managed to tick all boxes.


With more of us holidaying at home, luxury family hotels in Ireland are in high demand. Sometimes it can be hard for hotels to get the balance right – we might want a five-star experience, but it is also important that hotels are family friendly. I’ve stayed in all of these hotels with my family and can highly recommend them. Some hotels have family rooms or interconnecting rooms, while others have lodges on the grounds of the hotel.

luxury family hotels in Ireland - Mount Juliet

It is important to note that some facilities listed below may have restrictions imposed. I always recommend booking a room with free cancellation incase there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you, or if you have to change your plans at the last minute. However, if you are booking a non-refundable room, check out



1. Fota Island Resort, Co. Cork

One of our favourite luxury family hotels in Ireland, we have visited Fota Island Resort on a many occasions. While the hotel is perhaps not as luxurious as some of the others on this list, the hotel facilities and the on site self catering lodges are superb for families.


We stayed in one of the new three bedroom Fushia lodges last year and loved it. Not only were they very spacious, but the modern interiors were some of the best I have seen. The children loved playing in the large back garden and we even had some resident rabbits join us each morning for breakfast! 


Fota Island Resort has a large outdoor playground, an indoor pool and a kids playroom. There are also lots of kids camps to choose from during school holidays. Camp Fota (€10 per session) operates for 4 – 12 year olds with indoor and out door games in their own dedicated kids lodge. There are also golf camps and an adrenaline adventure centre (age 8+ ) with kayaking, bush craft and lots more (€20 per session).

The restaurant has supervised kids buffets at 6.30pm followed by movie nights and quizzes so parents can even have a date night!  However, It is important to check that these camps and facilities are still running when you are booking.


We also stayed in the hotel rooms at Christmas time when we were lucky to see the Fota Beyond Christmas experience. This is one of Ireland’s best Santa Experiences and one I would highly recommend. The dark furnishings in the hotel lend itself perfectly to the festive period. With warm fires and lavish decorations, this is a great time to visit. All children also receive a large teddy bear in their room, Bea, which soon became our new family pet!

Luxury Family Hotel Breaks In Ireland
One of the advantages of staying in Fota Island Resort is its close proximity to Fota Wildlife Park. To witness many animals including kangaroos and lemurs roam free, is something that we all loved. Fota Wildlife Park also runs a Summer camp for children aged 4 and above, that focuses on the importance of animal conservation through five themed days.

Fota Island Resort is also very close to Cobh where you can take the Titanic experience tour, or take the boat trip to spooky Spike Island, to explore the fortress that once held 2300 prisoners. 

Read: My review of Fota Island Resort

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2. Castle Leslie, Co. Monaghan

One of my favourite hotels in Ireland, Castle Leslie is not like a traditional hotel. The Leslie family still live here at times during the year and the hotel even closes at Christmas time for a large family get together. The minute you enter the hotel you get the sense that you are visiting someone’s home. Although it is less grand than Ashford or Dromoland Castle, it has a relaxed, cosy atmosphere that is extremely inviting.


The grounds are spectacular with plenty of activities available for guests. It doesn’t have a swimming pool, but it makes up for this by having one of Europe’s finest equestrian centres and one of Ireland’s best preserved lakes for fishing. You can also try kayaking, clay pigeon shooting or even take a hot air balloon ride.


The lodges are located in the village of Glaslough, about five minutes walk from the Lodge at Castle Leslie. These four and five bedroom lodges are more like luxury town houses. All have open fires, nine foot ceilings, are lavishly furnished and cater for 8 – 10 people. They are located only a few minutes walk from the village of Glaslough and the Lodge at Castle Leslie, and about ten minutes from the Castle.


The village of Glaslough is an attraction in itself, with quaint shops and family friendly pub in the centre. Make sure you pop in to Ambledown Cottage for some great pizza in a beautiful, albeit quirky setting. Another must do is a visit to nearby Lake Muckno. Located in Castleblaney, this lake is undoubtedly Monaghan’s finest, with spectacular scenery from all sides. Take the time to do the Black Island walk. Enjoy the forest trails with fairy doors and Wilbert’s adventure playground. We tried kayaking and loved it. The water was so calm, it was even suitable for small children. You can wakeboard, waterski or take a boat out on the lake and prices are very reasonable. 

Read: Captivated my Castle Leslie

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3. Lough Erne Resort, Co. Fermanagh

Luxury Family Hotel Breaks In Ireland

This luxury hotel is situated on a 600 acre peninsula overlooking two championship golf courses and lower Lough Erne lake. The lodges are a huge attraction, with conical roofs that look straight out a fairytale. The food at the hotel is superb and there are are lots of options to choose from, with a fine dining restaurant, a Loughside Bar and Grill, as well as some tasty bar food.

The large indoor pool allows for family swims from 8am – 11am  and 4.30pm-530pm. There is also an unsupervised play room, Ernies Den, with table football, air hockey and lots more. 

Luxury Family Hotel Breaks In Ireland

There are some excellent walks around the hotel golf course with stunning views over the lakes. There are also more arduous walks close by, the famous Stairway to Heaven boardwalk at Culcaigh Mountain, being one of them. This is more suited to older children as it is a 15km round trip with 450 steps. A popular spot for social media enthusiasts, no doubt teenagers will enjoy taking selfies at the top!


Marble Arch Caves and Lough Navar Forest Park are also close by as well as Corralea activity centre. The town of Enniskillen is only 5 minutes drive from Lough Erne if you fancy a change of scene. Make sure you pop into Francos for some good food in family friendly surroundings.

Read: Living it up at Lough Erne Resort

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4. Kelly’s Resort Hotel & Spa, Co. Wexford

Kelly's Resort Hotel, Wexford - luxury family hotels in Ireland

Perched on five miles of sandy beach, with award winning cuisine and a host of activities for children, it is no surprise that Kelly’s Resort Hotel is considered one of best luxury family hotels in Ireland. Although officially only a four star hotel, the service and facilities on site deserve five stars. There is non stop entertainment for both adults and children available, with kids clubs, mini-golf and a multi-award winning spa, all on site. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the hotel, (many don’t), there are lots of things to do in Wexford with kids.

The food is superb, with an extensive buffet (probably one of the best I’ve seen) and an a la carte restaurant, where parents are encouraged to dine alone, while the kids enjoy the buffet with their new found friends. There is complimentary child minding from 7-9pm which allows for a romantic dinner for two, a rarity for parents with young children. 

Read :Is Kelly’s is the best family hotel in Ireland?




5. Mount Juliet Estate, Co. Kilkenny

luxury family hotels in Ireland

Mount Juliet is one of Ireland’s finest hotels and is one of the most popular luxury family hotels in Ireland. We stayed here recently and had a fantastic experience. The grounds, the facilities and the choice of dining options are superb. You can choose to stay in the Manor House, as we did, or the more modern Hunters Yard, which I’m told caters extremely well for families, and offers great value too.


I was surprised at how much children’s activities are available in Mount Juliet. There is a large playground with a zip line, as well as a fairy trail located in the gardens. Extensive kids clubs operate during school holidays, (extra charge applies), so parents can enjoy a round of golf or spa treatment while the kids avail of the supervised activities. 


There are two kids clubs, one from age 5-12 and the other 12+. Activities range from archery, equestrian and meet the owls, to baking, golf, treasure hunts and arts and crafts. It is important to check activities in advance with Mount Juliet as some activities may change. There are also evening activities such as a talent show and movie nights, and children can dine with their new pals giving parents the opportunity to have a date night.  


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There is also a leisure centre and equestrian centre which we loved. I tried horse rinding for the first time with my daughter Alex and it was fabulous! We trotted past the Manor House, through the woods and along side the golf course – it was an experience I would highly recommend. 

Read: My review of Mount Juliet Resort

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I hope this post on luxury family hotels in Ireland will help you plan a family break soon. It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed may not be operating to full capacity – please check with individual hotel for clarification. I always recommend booking a room with free cancellation incase there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you, or you need to cancel due to personal reasons.


Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.  Read more in my privacy policy.


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