Ireland’s Scenic Southeast
This itinerary is a perfect blend of sight seeing and kid friendly activities for 5 days outside of Dublin with a toddler.
This trip we left the city to visit the Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny City and Castle, went camping and sightseeing in Co. Wexford, explored more of Glendalough, and enjoyed the scenic drive through the Wicklow Gap.
We had vowed to visit Ireland in the summer months so we could see their “true green” and the purple Heather blooming. This was our 6th visit to Ireland and finally it was in August!
Lucky are we to have family to host us tirelessly on our adventures in Ireland and share their favorite corners of the island with us.
Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary
Atop a hill’s limestone outcrop stands incredibly well maintained set of religious buildings ranging from 600-900 years old. Legend has it that St. Patrick visited The Rock of Cashel in AD 432 and baptized the presiding king. On accident during the ceremony, St. Patrick lifted and floored his cane stabbing it right through the King’s foot! The King didn’t react, assuming this was all part of the baptismal ritual. Sweet Jesus.
Inside the museum you can find the original Cross of St. Patrick (Interestingly, formed in Latin style rather than Celtic).
As a Wisconsinite, we found this fun fact quite memorable: Part of the tower crumbled in the early 1900s when a storm swept through the lowland of the country. It turns out, that rubble was sent to Wisconsin at an Irish Priest’s request to use it as the cornerstone of his new church. (This church is only 30 minutes from where we live, I’ll be sure to check it out.)
Price: Adult €8 / Child €4
A tour is included with the entry fee and it’s worth the investing the 40 minutes. With our little one, we took turns listening to the tour vs. entertaining Liam while he hobbled about the grounds. Inside the church you’ll learn about the remains of a precious and fascinating fresco.
A wonderful, Michelin rated lunch spot a block from the Rock is called Café Hans. The prices were fair for the quality and quantity of food we were served. We had to wait about 15 minutes for a table as it is a popular spot; even for locals.
The jewel in the crown of an enchanting medieval city.-Heritage Ireland
The castle was originally built in the 12th century. For 600 years of its existence, it was the seat of the Butler family. This family fueled the growth of Kilkenny City whose energy can still be felt today. In 1969, it was officially turned over to the Irish State for a mere £50. Renovations were a massive undertaking and are still underway today, but much of the estate has been restored to its Victorian beauty.
The most memorable room in the Castle was the Picture Gallery, which is filled with portraiture and a jaw dropping painted wooded, vaulted ceiling.
Co. Wexford and the Wild Irish Coast
We stayed at Morris Castle Campground which was filled with amenities for tent campers, vehicle campers, and even offered year round bungalows right on edge of the (sometimes angry) Irish Sea. It had beautiful dunes on one side and a quiet, but large, beach on the other. We even saw a seal! This was a great spot for rock skipping and collecting. I couldn’t believe all the different color rocks we’d found.
A storm rolled through our first night; the rain and winds were insane and even though we had a sturdy tent the noise from the flapping fabric was intense. We had Irish Luck on our side, as while the thundering canvas kept the adults awake, our toddler slept soundly. Be prepared for unpredictable weather.
We drove down the coast one day, stopping for a nature walk in Blackwater and soaked up a sunshiny day at the sprawling Curracloe Beach. Scenes from Saving Private Ryan were filmed here.
A Gem in Ireland’s Ancient East
Glendalough is an important monastic site founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. It is part of the “Ancient East” collection of sites and has endured attacks by the Vikings and Normans.
We had been to Glendalough before, but it’s sprawling park offers too much to see in one day. This time we had a picnic, did a short hike up to the waterfall and then sought out St. Kevin’s cell (a massive cave cliffside off the lac).
Wicklow Gap, Co. Wicklow
We caught the Heather just as it was beginning to bloom!
The lake below and its beach are where much of the filming for the TV Series “Vikings” takes place.
“Go To” Favorites in Co Kildare when Traveling with Kids
These two stops are certain to bring out extra wonder in kids’ eyes.
Take a leisurely stroll through the woods and feed the ducks some peas or corn rather than bread.
Wallaby Woods Petting Zoo
Bring a picnic and dine with the animals; maybe under the scornful eye of this owl.