Dublin (Ireland)

Dublin is a fun and easy-to-navigate place to take your kids when you want to see a large European city but don’t want to deal with hordes of tourists that descend upon Paris, Rome, and London.  It is a great way to get the European feel with all of the Irish friendliness!

The city itself has enough to entertain kids for several days and is a good home base for side trips into the nearby countryside.  Your kids will love learning about Irish culture and history, and you will enjoy the ease of traveling around and the temperate weather!

General tips on a Dublin vacation with kids:

  • Transportation: Dublin is a compact and walkable city.  All of the major sites are within a 30-minute walk from the center of the city (except for Kilmainham Gaol).  Buses and the light rail are also easy to use and readily available.
    • Getting to and from the airport: Taxis or car share services are the best way to get into the city.  Do not rent a car here and drive into Dublin! The streets are hard to navigate and parking is a nightmare.  If you plan to see the Irish countryside, I recommend taking a taxi into the city, spending your time in Dublin, and then only renting the car when you plan to leave Dublin.  There are several car rental facilities on the outskirts of the city that are easily accessible.
      • Note for the airport: If you are flying out of Dublin to America, be sure to get to the airport early, at least 3 hours before your flight.  Travelers flying from Dublin to America go through U.S. Customs in Dublin, after security.  This will add at least 30-45 minutes to your pre-flight check-in procedures.  There is also an additional security checkpoint with the customs area so be prepared for this.  There are not many snack or restaurant options after customs so be sure to eat before you go through.  The bonus is that when you land in America, you don’t have to go through Customs!
  • Food: Restaurants in Dublin are mostly kid-friendly and accessible.  Kids can order goujons (chicken or fish fingers), burgers made from Irish cattle, or fish and chips (fries) at about every restaurant.  Irish pubs do not necessarily serve food so double check before entering. The Temple Bar area is a large tourist destination for food and drinks but should be avoided after 4 pm with kids.  
  • Lodging: Dublin hotels are like most European city hotels – small!  If you have more than one child, you will have to reserve two rooms or more unless you can reserve rooms with more than one bed.  Breakfast will likely be included with your room rate.  I recommend staying in hotels near St. Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street.  Also I recommend only staying in 4 and 5 star hotels in Ireland and double check that your hotel is air-conditioned.  Unlike the other towns in Ireland, Dublin does have the larger chains from American (Hilton, Westin, etc.).  We stayed at The Westbury near Grafton Street and I highly recommend it!  They had teddy bears and coloring books waiting for the kids in our room!  We were able to stay in only one room here but had to get multiple rooms at other hotels around Ireland.


Don’t miss attractions with kids:

  • Walking tour of Dublin: We arranged a 4-hour walking tour of Dublin for our second day there and it was fantastic.  The guide was engaging and told lots of great stories to keep our kids excited. You can easily cover most of Dublin in 4 hours, including a stop at the Book of Kells at Trinity College.  Our guide was set up through Ciao Bambino and they can ensure that the tour and guide are kid-friendly.
  • Viking Splash tour
  • Grafton Street: Pedestrian-only street full of shops and restaurants


Historical Sites: Check back often for more of these sites to be reviewed by The History Mom!  Note that only sites reviewed by The History Mom are marked with *.  Other links are external links to the museum’s own web site.  


Books to Read:

This page is continually updated.

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