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what to see when traveling with 16 yr old teenage son

Our first time in Ireland, his first trip out of the country. I want him to have a great experience. We have one week to sight see in early July. What MUST SEE stops should we make in Ireland that will be unforgettable for this 16 year old teenage boy? Planning our itinerary now, really appreciate your advice and direction.

My 16 yr old son likes soccor, hiking, exploring ruins, and the great outdoors. He requested a train ride, too. Our thoughts for an 8 day itinerary are: Dublin airport to Galway by train. Rental car to see the cliffs, the burren, and clare (two days); keep car and drive to dingle and explore the Dingle peninsula (three days), then return car to Kerry airport and fly back to spend last 3 days in Dublin; we'll see a soccor game at Tallaght Stadium, and try to squeeze in Trinity College, St Stephens Green, the National Museum, and anything else you think we should see if we haven't made the schedule unrealistic already? then we fly out of Dublin to London, to the States. We so appreciate everyone's comments. We're learning a lot and would love any additional thoughts you have, thanks.

Posted by
1804 posts

What are his interests? It will help you get better answers. Just to throw some things out there, I'll assume he is an active/sporty type who probably prefers to spend his time outside. Depending on what your travel dates are, you may want to look into seeing if there are any GAA hurling or football matches you can get tickets for, or check with some of the local/county clubs to see if you can catch a game (you don't mention what cities and towns you are thinking about overnighting in). There is good surfing in Ireland (Donegal, Clare, Dingle, etc) and if he knows how to surf (or wants to learn how to surf - there are schools around the country) that might be fun (he'll need to rent a wetsuit, even in the summer the water is pretty cold). If you want to drop some bucks and stay in a castle overnight, Ashford Castle offers all sorts of outdoor activities like archery, fishing, horseback riding and even falconry lessons. Plenty of hiking opportunities - you could tackle Croagh Patrick. An overnight on the Aran Islands would be fun - you can fly or else catch the ferry over (although I will mention that the ferry from Rossaveal is far more reliable as the others can be cancelled if conditions are not ideal - even on sunny days, if the sea is too choppy, it will be cancelled). If you go to the main island (Inis Mor), he can hike up to Dun Aengus. You can also hire a pony & trap to catch a ride around Inis Mor. Another idea for a day trip by boat could be if you go to Skellig Michael. Ailwee Caves might be worth a quick stop if you head over towards the Burren in County Clare, as is Poulnabrone Dolmen also in the Burren.

In Dublin, people might recommend the Guinness Storehouse, but again, he can't drink at the end of the tour up in the Gravity Bar (he can enjoy a marginally ok view) and most of the museum is dedicated to Guinness advertisements - so don't expect to see the full brewing process - you'll hear about it, read about it, but won't see it - and if all he wants is a tee or hat with the logo, he can buy that at just about any gift shop in Ireland (including the airport).

He can get into pubs if you want to listen to some music in the afternoon, but some pubs will not let him in during the evening. In Dublin there are some museums and churches that might hold a bit of interest for a 16 year old boy. The National Museum has some fine examples of Irish bog bodies, and the crypt underneath St. Michan's Church has some mummified bodies laying around in open coffins. Kilmainham Gaol is also a great place to visit in Dublin.

If you make it up to Northern Ireland and hit the Antrim Coast, there is Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge which is seasonal. And of course, the Giant's Causeway and Dunluce Castle. In Belfast or Derry, you'll see some fantastic murals on the streets and you can do a Black Taxi tour in Belfast or there is the Museum of Free Derry if he wants to learn about The Troubles, Bloody Sunday and the Irish Hunger Strike.

Posted by
5689 posts

Agree, need to share a bit more about the boy's interests. Castles? Nature? The Titanic? Archeology? Music? Instagram? Ireland is a gorgeous country with a friendly populous. If you provide a bit more info can narrow down suggested sites.

Posted by
16866 posts

Rick's Ireland tour is our most "outdoorsy" itinerary, with little change of overdosing on churches or art musuems. That's done in 2 weeks, so you'd probably cut off the northern half, if that's not your main interest. Another view of priorities is under Ireland At a Glance. Our top must-see is the Dingle Peninsula (and not the more crowded Ring of Kerry).

Posted by
4 posts

My 16 yr old son likes soccor, hiking, exploring ruins, and the great outdoors. He requested a train ride, too. Our thoughts for an 8 day itinerary are: Dublin airport to Galway by train. Rental car to see the cliffs, the burren, and clare (two days); keep car and drive to dingle and explore the Dingle peninsula (three days), then return car to Kerry airport and fly back to spend last 3 days in Dublin; we'll see a soccor game at Tallaght Stadium, and try to squeeze in Trinity College, St Stephens Green, the National Museum, and anything else you think we should see if we haven't made the schedule unrealistic already? then we fly out of Dublin to London, to the States. We so appreciate everyone's comments. We're learning a lot and would love any additional thoughts you have, thanks.

Posted by
1994 posts

I would suggest checking out a day trip from Dublin to Newgrange, depending on what type of "ruins" he enjoys. The tombs there are fascinating, and the guides to a very good job of putting them in perspective. There is also good, small interpretive museum. It's also a good opportunity to get out and walk.

Posted by
237 posts

In Dublin I would recommend Christchurch - some sense of ruins on the outside and don't miss the crypt below. There are a lot of artifacts, costumes the "The Tudors" when we were there and you can even get a coffee or something to eat in the crypt. The Archeological Museum is really good and does a great job of laying out Irish with Vikings and enough weapons, mummies and artifacts to keep a teenage boy engaged for at least a while if the jewels and stuff does not.
I would not recommend the Dublin "castle" tour. It is largely dry history in the modern buildings and the 10 minute tour of the actual ancient castle walls probably won't balance the other stuff.

Newgrange and Knowth are amazing prehistory sites and easy to tour and should be on your radar. The castle at Trim is near there as well and is worth visiting. It was featured in Braveheart and the tour was lead by a local who used to play in it as a kid before it was restored enough to have tours.

If you're going to Cashel the Rock is an interesting ruin but is super touristy. A few minutes from there castle at Cahir is supposed to be remarkably complete and may be a better choice.

Hope that helps,
=Tod

Posted by
5689 posts

Now that we know what you son likes let me say; absolutely see the Book of Kells at Trinity College, visit Newgrange, visit Glendalough and if weather is good and he wants to explore, follow one of the hiking trails. Outside Dingle I think all of you would enjoy seeing the Gap of Dunloe, hike it or take a trap, (traditional horse cart), the Killareny National Park is stunning and all of you might enjoy seeing the Muckross House. It's great you're seeing a soccer match at Tallaght. Might explore the web a bit more to see if you could find a local team in any of the areas you are visiting and enjoy a match with the locals. http://www.soccer-ireland.com/football-team-counties.htm On a visit to London years ago I wanted to watch a local rugby match and via the magic of the internet hooked up with a member of the Hampstead Rugby club. They not only loved us asking to see a match in the Heath, invited us to the pub afterwards.

So, if one of the clubs is near an area you'll be visiting why not try to see a match?

Have a great trip!