Our Guide to Where to Stay in Dublin with Kids
Heading to the Irish capital with the whole family? Here we're sharing some of our favourite areas perfect for all of you.
So, you thought Dublin was all about adult treats, from Guinness and whiskey to a vibrant nightlife and eclectic culture. Well, those things do feature pretty heavily, and you may find yourself gazing longingly at the Guinness Storehouse Brewery while your child is having a tantrum in the street. Fortunately though, the city also has much more in store for family holidays, and Plum Guide is here once again with our expertise to steer you in the right direction.
With that in mind, we’ll be delving into where to stay in Dublin with kids. We’re talking about the safest and most secure spots, as well as the locations that are closest to that much sought-after family entertainment. With 24 districts in the city of Dublin, it may seem like a bit of a minefield, but one (detailed) glance of this article will solve all your problems. (Disclaimer: no, it won’t.)
OK, so its name might appear a little too adult for a list of where to stay in Dublin with kids, but this is the lively hub at the heart of Dublin. It’s carved up with cobbled lanes and quaint, historic edifices. Many of these old-world buildings contain raucous pubs and clubs full of tourists in the city for a long weekend and locals alike. That said, you’ll also find an array of family-friendly establishments for lunch or dinner with traditional folk music performances. It’ll make for a bit of a magical experience for the kids, while the parents secretly get sloshed. After all, there’s nothing like a pint of Guinness from an authentic Irish bar.
You’ll find a great range of cuisine, from American and Irish delights to Asian and other international treats. Pop in and out of the idiosyncratic boutiques lining the narrow alleys and teach your kids about modern art in the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios. Stroll across the 200-year-old Ha’penny Bridge, so-named for the former toll to cross it. Take a tour of the Trinity College Dublin to give your kids a vision of the future they’ll hopefully experience.
A more piously-named neighbour to the Temple Bar district is Christchurch, where you’ll find its eponymous cathedral. Remaining on the lively south-side of the River Liffey, this neighbourhood is a quieter alternative to the aforementioned area, with several ecclesiastical vestiges and the Dublin Castle. Take a look around the impressive City Hall and chat with some of the buskers and street performers that give Dublin its unique character. This is a safe and tranquil spot to stay in a rather delightful Plum Guide apartments.
Some of you may prefer to lodge outside the city centre when it comes to where to stay in Dublin with kids. Ballsbridge is a secure and affluent district in south-eastern Dublin with that very goal in mind. Despite its suburban location, the central Baggot Street of Ballsbridge (yes, everything in Dublin sounds like a strange parallel universe) is alive with shops, restaurants and bars with live bands. Take your kids for a picnic on a fine summer afternoon in the Herbert Park, before strolling along the banks of the River Dodder.
When considering where to stay in Dublin with family, choose Kilmainham for something a little trendier. The kids will love looking around the Kilmainham Gaol museum, while the Phoenix Park is the green lung of Dublin, where you’ll find the Dublin Zoo. Admire the works on display in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which lies within a 17th-century hospital. Inspect the various monuments and public works of art in the Irish National War Memorial Gardens.
For something a little different, wander out into the south-eastern suburbs of Dublin and find yourself in Dalkey. This coastal resort is the picture of tranquillity and is often frequented by such celebrities as Van Morrison and some of the guys from U2. Don’t hold that against it, because Dalkey has so much to offer. Castle Street is the main road running through the heart of the district. See the 10th-century church and, not one, but two 14th-century Norman castles. Attend the Dalkey Lobster Festival in August for a blend of jazz and seafood. The fusion you never knew you needed.
International Financial Services Centre
Not the most child-friendly of names, but this is the only location we’re championing in the northern side of Dublin. It has some surprising highlights when it comes to where to stay in Dublin with kids. It’s relatively quiet and clean, with its modern, glassy skyscrapers overlooking a few parts of the Dublin Docklands. Walk through the impressive Triumphal Arch and see the Famine Memorial by the River Liffey. Explore the docklands by the Samuel Beckett Bridge and check out the large Luke Kelly Head Statue that pays tribute to its namesake Irish folk singer. A little west, you’ll stumble across the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum that traces the history of…well, Irish emigration. It’s based in an old converted warehouse and is considered a must-see. Who knows, maybe your kids will even learn a thing or two.