Family travel to Ireland is about shamrocks and leprechauns, St. Patrick and Celtic mysticism, emerald scenery and outdoor adventures. See medieval castles, carved dolmens and round Norman towers. Visit the cosmopolitan cities of Dublin and Cork. Experience rural Ireland in Killarney and the Irish seaside in Kinsale. Kiss the bluestone at Blarney Castle and get the gift of the gab. Go birding at the Cliffs of Moher or on the island of Small Skellig. Marvel at a Stone Age temple in Newgrange. Hike the Dingle Peninsula. Relax on Kerry beaches. Cruise the Shannon and Erne waterways. Sense the spirit of Gaelic Ireland on the Aran Islands. Discover a land that has inspired many a writer and poet.
Low cost airlines have made it cheap and easy to fly to Ireland from the UK and continent. Most intercontinental flights arrive/depart Dublin, capital of the Republic of Ireland. Ferries are a valid alternative for families traveling from England, Scotland and France. A variety of ferry services including Brittany Ferries, Isle of Man Steam Packet, Stena Line, Irish Ferries, P&O Irish Sea and Swansea - Cork Ferries operate regular sailings to Ireland. Family Travel Tip: European airfare consolidators, such as Momondo, are more competitive than their American-based competitors on flights within Europe.
The best way to travel Ireland is hire a car as it offers the greatest independence. The Republic of Ireland has an extensive bus network making bus travel a good budget option. Travel by train is pleasurable but the limited rail system only connects the main cities. Domestic air travel is a valid option for families with limited time and deep pockets. Luas, a light rail tram system, makes getting round Dublin quick and easy. Taxis are readily available in the principal cities. Family Travel Tips: Driving is on the left, cars are right hand drive. To calculate drive times requires more data than distance. Ireland is largely rural and many roads are single carriageway.
A valid national identity card is required for citizens of EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Switzerland and Norway. A passport valid for the length of stay is required for all other travelers. A visa is not required for tourist stays of up to 90 days. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland share an open border.
The weather in Ireland is mild, moist and fickle. The average mean temperature is 10° C (50° F), the average annual range is a mere 16° C (29° F). The warmest months are June through August with an average high temperature of 19° C or 66° F. The coldest months are January and February with an average low of 3° C or 37° F. It rains, on average, 150 days a year. The driest months are April through June, the wettest December and January. It rains four times more in the west than it does in the east. It's possible to experience a variety of weather in a single afternoon and a variety of seasons in the month of June.
While there are no specific health risks or vaccinations required for a family holiday in the Republic of Ireland, children should be up-to-date on routine childhood immunizations prior to traveling internationally.
Pack for all seasons in summer. Pack raingear always. Think about footwear. - There's nothing worse than cold wet feet. Slick trails call for shoes with traction. - Plan to dress in layers whether traveling in June or January.
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Books for Kids about Ireland
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