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6 Week Trip with Family; Need Recommendations Please

My family of 4 (kids are ages 4 & 6) will be able to spend 6 weeks in Ireland and UK next April/May. We are on a budget and hope to get some suggestions on what to see and do based on our location and interests. We will fly into Dublin and want to spend 3 weeks in Ireland. We then hope to see Wales and England (we have 3 weeks) - perhaps Scotland for a few nights before we return back to Dublin the catch our flight home.

We love the outdoors and historical sites. Castles are a must for my daughters as well as anything related to Robin Hood - we would enjoy seeing Sherwood Forest and Major Oak! In Ireland, I really want to see County Cork as that is where my ancestors are from. We want to travel by train but don't mind renting a car either for part of the time. We don't plan to go to London. While cities are okay - it is not a priority for a long length of time.

We are looking at VRBO for cottage rentals and are up for cheap B& B's and/or hostels. Anything you can suggest for accomodations, tips on traveling from Ireland to England (can we do a ferry to Wales?), and sites that focus on the outdoors is welcome. Thanks!

Posted by
11681 posts

The Stena Line ferries go from Dublin Port to Holyhead in Wales in 3 hours 15 minutes. That is much better than the overnight ferry I took years and years ago. The crossing of the Irish Sea was rough, so a larger, faster ship would be my choice now.

Travel in Wales by train is very easy, although I don't know how many castles you can reach that way. You may want to get some advice on which castles would best match your daughter's expectation of "castle". Welsh castles are solid and fortress-like, nothing at all like Sleeping Beauty's castle. We were just there last month and Wales is beautiful and welcoming. The three castles we visited were from the 11th century and are now in ruins. But we were out for a walk, not really castle-hopping to the good ones.

Posted by
164 posts

Hi Susan, I'm afraid I can't help too much with suggestions for things to do, but if you don't have your plane tickets yet, I'd suggest looking at open jaw tickets and compare the price to a RT in and out of Dublin. Even if the airfare itself is less, if you add in the cost of returning to Dublin from Scotland or wherever you end up, plus the logistics and time involved in traveling back to Dublin with the kids, you may find it easier and cheaper to fly out of a city closer to where you end your trip. Good luck and I hope you have a great trip!

Posted by
78 posts

We spent two weeks in Ireland in 2012 and will be returning in August to see more of the country. Ireland is beautiful and the people are wonderful. We would recommend Cooper’s Cottage in County Tipperary (http://www.vrbo.com/283169). We stayed in the owner’s larger house across the lane (Rathellen House) as we had a large family group, which included 4 children (ages 4 to 16). I think Cooper’s Cottage would be perfect for a small family. You would need a car while staying there. While there members of our family visited Kinsale, Waterford, Lismore, Muckross House, Adare, Dingle, Kilkenny, Cahir Castle, and the Rock of Cashel. The children particularly enjoyed Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. We even went to the Tipperary Races for “Youth Night” where they had lots of activities for the children. Eamonn and Stella Long, the owners, are wonderful and were very helpful both before and during our stay. The children had lots of room to run around and play with “Murphy” the resident dog as well. We found it to be a perfect base for visiting that part of the country. Our stay there was without a doubt a highlight our or trip to Ireland.

Posted by
16769 posts

With three weeks on each island, you'll have time for the majority of towns described in Rick's guidebooks for each country. He doesn't give any time to Sherwood Forest, but you might enjoy these related articles and links:

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2009/aug/30/sherwood-forest-travel-tips

http://www.schoolofartisanfood.org/

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012/oct/05/sherwood-forest-cabin-family-holiday

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/uk+familyholidays

Posted by
61 posts

Have extensively traveled in the UK in the last 10 years visiting family, and here are some of the ones that we loved.

  1. Northern Ireland - Belfast city. The museum and botanic garden at Queens. The botanic hotshouse that is there is the predecessor to the Kew Gardens in London (more on that later) and has a very nice park for a picnic (weather permitting)
  2. Northern Ireland - North Antrim coast road. Take a nice drive and be able to see Carrick-a-rede, the Causeway, and bushmills in a day.
  3. Northern Ireland - Ulster Folk and Transport Musuem - Belfast area. Just made another post on that subject, search for "Northern Ireland". There are two - one in the Belfast area, one in Omagh.
  4. Northern Ireland - Lisburn Linen Musuem - about 30 minutes south of Belfast, shows an original factory loom, and many many many samples of Irish linen and lace.
  5. Northern Ireland - Belfast - Samson and Goliath. Awesome to see, the dockyard cranes that helped build the Titanic. May be part of the Titantic Quarter stuff at this point, didn't see last trip.
  6. Northern Ireland - Belfast Castle - 19th century "folly" not an ancient one. Still a nice visit, and an awesome view of the Belfast bay.

Wales - Cardiff - Cardiff Bay, Roald Dahl Plass. Memorial to the well loved childrens author. When we visited a Doctor Who exhibition was in the same area, and we actually got to watch the filiming of the Doctor Who spin-off "Torchwood". Wow, John Barrowman really is that tall.

England - Bath. Everything. So much too see. Take the hop on hop off bus tour and get a feel for the place. Modern spa was fun. Go to the "Pump Room" in the old spa, and enjoy a hot stinky glass of water. :)

England - London. Where to begin.....
Victoria and Albert
The Tower of London (send ahead for the Ceremony of the Keys tickets - google that)
Docklands Museum and Canary Wharf shopping mall (American chain food - yay for ICED tea)
London Bridge (by tower)
Imperial War Museum
British Museum
British Library
Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (South of City, easy train ride).

Hope this gives you some starting points. Don't remember Sherwood all that well (I was 3 when I lived there) but if you are in that area, you may want to look into the history of Dalton China, as they were founded there and made some of the best china in the world.

Cheers and have a great time!

Glenn in Tucson

Posted by
1061 posts

I also vote for bunratty castle and folk park. the park can be an all day event espcecailly if your girls like to pet every animal, etc. you might NOT want to pop for the medieval dinner at the castle with small kids...