Holidays and shortbreaks away needn’t break the bank. Here are some ideas for things and activities to do that are free of charge*.
These are great activities for you and for families to enjoy without costing anything. Pack a picnic, bring your bike and leave the wallets at home. Great locations right throughout Ireland. Pitch up your tent, caravan or motorhome and get out and enjoy Ireland. Camping Ireland sites are located throughout the Island of Ireland. All offering top quality sites in great locations.
Visit a visitor attraction for free of charge
You may remember last year, the OPW were offering free entry to their many sites throughout the country. This year this has now changed and they have reverted to ‘Free Wednesday’. On the first Wednesday of each month, many OPW Heritage Sites offer Free Admission to independent/individual visitors and families. Tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis and online booking will not be available. For more information on the sites included in this offer click here.
The National Museum of Ireland continues to offer free entry to their museums. The museums have a strong emphasis on national and some international archaeology, Irish history, Irish art, culture, and natural history. It has three branches in Dublin and one in County Mayo. The Natural History Museum in Merrion Street is closed for works. Also in Dublin you can visit Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle and the James Joyce Musuem in Sandycove for free.
Other visitor attractions throughout the country that are free of charge include:-
- Museum of Style Icons, Newbridge, Co. Kildare
- National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Co. Mayo
- Crawford Galley, Cork city
- National Design & Craft Gallery, Kilkenny
- Botanic Gardens Dublin & Belfast
Take a walk in Ireland’s National Parks
Did you know there are 6 National Parks in Ireland, all free to visit? The first park established in Ireland was Killarney National Park located in County Kerry in 1932. Since then a further five National Parks have been opened – Glenveagh National Park, Donegal, Wicklow Mountains National Park, Connemara National Park, the Burren, Co. Clare and the newest Ballycroy in County Mayo. The parks are located in all parts of
the country for you to explore and enjoy. Where ever you stay in Ireland there isn’t a national park too far away from you. For more information on the National Parks click here for more information
Walking & climbing trails
There are many great walking routes throughout Ireland. You can climb the highest mountain Carrauntoohill in Kerry or the Galtee Mountains from either the Tipperary or Limerick side. The rocky slopes of Croagh Patrick in Mayo is well worth the climb to see the spectacular views of Clew Bay and the Mayo coastline. Visit the highest accessible marine cliffs in Ireland – Slieve League (Sliabh Liag). Enjoy terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay as you make your way towards the top of Sliabh Liag. The cliff face rises 600m above the Atlantic. There are a number of caravan & camping parks that are located within forest which have great walking & cycling trails
Take a trip to one of Ireland’s fabulous beaches
If the weather is good, nothing beats a day at the beach. However, beaches can be enjoyed even on a wet day. Nothing beats playing games on the beach in shorts or wellingtons! One thing we are truly blessed within Ireland is hundreds of miles of fabulous beaches. You might even find some all to yourself, your own private beach. Pack a picnic, load up the buckets and spades and hit the beach. From Rossnowlagh in Donegal to Barleycove, in Cork right around to Morriscastle in Wexford to Cranfield in Down there are hundreds of great beaches to explore in Ireland. For information on our favourites click here to our Favourite Beaches
Many of the caravan & camping sites in Ireland are located with easy access to beaches. Some sites have direct access onto a beach whilst others are just a short drive away. Site owners can often let you into information on secret gems of beaches, off the beaten track and not well known. To find a caravan & Camping site that has access to a beach or only a short drive away click here Beach Caravan & Camping Sites
Take a scenic Irish driving route
The Wild Atlantic Way might be the most pop
ular driving route in Ireland. It is 2,500km in length but there are many routes within this that you can tour and visit the many sites in that area. For more information on suggested routes within the Wild Atlantic Way check out our series of blogs on the various routes – Touring the Wild Atlantic Way Also, you can search for top caravan & camping parks that are located on the Wild Atlantic Way
The Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland is a spectacular driving route. The route stretches from Belfast to Derry/Londonderry and includes the legendary Giant’s Causeway. For more information on this route check out our blog – Northern Ireland and for details on Caravan & Camping Parks in Northern Ireland click here
Ireland’s scenic routes aren’t just along the coastline. Many inland routes are offering breath-taking scenery taking in mountain paths. A trip up The Vee in County Tipperary is spectacular. It is famous for its breathtaking views across the Golden Vale rising to 610metres above sea level. If you are visiting Kerry a trip through the Gap of Dunloe and to Moll’s Gap is a must.
Take a cycle on one of Ireland’s Greenways
Ireland’s Greenways and trails are a great way to see some of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of the country while enjoying the great outdoors.Ireland’s Greenways and trails are a great way to see some of the most beautiful and unspoilt parts of the country while enjoying the great outdoors.A Greenway is a predominantly traffic free path, designated for use by pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised users such as wheelchair users, families with buggies etc.Greenways are designed specifically to meet the needs of cyclists in terms of gradient and surface and are wide enough to accommodate shared usage. Greenways are ideal for cyclists, and in particular cyclists with limited experience and children.
There are many Greenways and cycle routes in Ireland. Here are our favourites
Great Southern Trail
Grand Canal Way
Royal Canal Way
Great Eastern Greenway
Old Rail Trail Mullingar to Athlone
Great Western Greenway
For more information on these routes and other cycle routes click here
Walk in Dinosaurs footsteps in Valentia Island
Visit the Tetrapod Trackway on Valentia Island in County Kerry to see footprints that are older than dinosaurs! Valentia Island lies at the end of the Iveragh Peninsula, more familiar to many as the location of the Ring of Kerry. On the island you will find one of only 4 sets of prehistoric footprints in the world! The footprints give an invaluable view of the transition of life from water onto land. You can also visit the slate quarry. Access to Valentia Island is by bridge from Ballinskelligs (free!) or from March to October by ferry from Cahersiveen. A visit to Valentia Island can be part of your tour of the Ring of Kerry or you can make it a stopover staying on the Island. For information on caravan & camping in Kerry, including staying on Valentia Island visit our website Camping Ireland/Kerry
Visit one of the many forest parks with activities onsite
Access to these parks is free of charge however there may be a small parking charge. Within these parks, there are several activities for which there is a charge. However, you can enjoy the park, the walking trails, café, etc. free of charge. There are a number of caravan & camping parks that are located within a forest park which have great walking & cycling trails
- Castlecomer Discovery Park, Kilkenny – With over 80 acres of woodland and lakeside to explore this is the perfect place to experience nature, get fit and enjoy the great outdoors. Why not take a hike and bring a picnic? Get a complementary map at the reception desk before you start.
- Farren Wood, Cork – Farran Forest is an area of approximately 44 hectares situated on the banks of the Lee reservoir in County Cork. The panoramic views, diversity of flora and fauna combine to make an area of great natural beauty and a ready amenity for all visitors, including a wildlife enclosure and a large duck pond. It has ample car parking, toilets, and a playground.
- Lough Key Forest & Activity Park, Roscommon – This is one of Ireland’s most extensive and picturesque forest parks. Enjoy the scenic nature walks, beautiful bog garden, enchanting wishing chair, magical underground tunnels, ice house and epic views from the observation tower. Lough Key also has its own caravan & camping park so why not make a weekend and book in.
- Colin Glen Forest Park, Antrim–Put on your walking boots and choose from four colour-coded routes, from a gentle stroll to a more challenging hike. These routes are also wheelchair and pram accessible. The kids will surely love the free of charge Gruffalo Trail.Colin Glen is home to premium sporting facilities catering for people of all ages and playing abilities including Ireland’s first Toptracer Driving Range to Belfast’s first indoor dome. There is a charge for these activities.
Visit the spots where Game of Thrones was filmed
You can easily tour the main filming spots of Game of Thrones and are free of charge. Northern Ireland is to more Seven Kingdoms locations than anywhere else in the world, Northern Ireland IS Game of Thrones Territory. This driving route takes in many of the best spots including Castle Ward, The Dark Hedges, Tollymore Forrest Park and the Mourne Mountains. Check out Game of Thrones Territory here
Stay on a site that has plenty of free things to entertain everyone!
Many caravan & camping parks have a host of activities on site for everyone to enjoy. Also, many sites are located within attractions that are already free to visit.
- Camac Valley Caravan & Camping Park, Dublin is located within the 300 acre Corkage Park Demesne where you will find miles of walks, fishing lakes and animal farm.
- Curraghchase Caravan & Camp Site, Limerick is situated within Curraghchase Forest Park where you can explore for free the grounds of the 774 acre De Vere Estate including the beautiful Arboretum and Lake, the ruins of the family mansion and loads of walks and trails throughout the grounds.
- Loughcrew Megalithic Centre, Meath – a short hike will take you to the highest point in Meath and you will be able to explore Loughcrew’s Ancient Passage Tombs.
- Lough Key Forest & Activity Park, Roscommon offers camping pitches for tents, campers and caravans. The site is located within the famous forest park which is free to explore.
- Nore Valley Park, Kilkenny is situated within an open farm and visitors staying on site have access to the farm and children can even help to feed the animals.
- Parson’s Green, Tipperary offers free access to their garden & river walks, pet farm, farm museum, indoor and outdoor playground and games room.
- Westport House Caravan & Camping Park, Mayo is located within the grounds of Westport House you are free to roam around the estate and the Great Western Greenway actually passes through the estate. You can also get 25% discount off the onsite activities.
- Clare Glen Caravan Park, Armagh is located within a 55 acre country retreat. Here you will find magical wildlife with many forest walks and trails leading to the Cusher River.
- Kilbroney Caravan Park, Down is set within the 97 acre Kilboney Park and you will have access to football pitch, tennis court, play parks and excellent walking and mountain bike trails
Caravan & Camping in Ireland
I hope these help you to really enjoy your holiday in Ireland. There is no better way to see the country with all your own home comforts. Click Camping Ireland to find information on all the great caravan & camping sites throughout Ireland before you travel. It is always wise to book ahead so you won’t be disappointed or have a wasted journey. Download the Camping Ireland App which you can use to browse and search for approved sites with ease while you are travelling around. For more information on the app click here
There are over 100 quality approved caravan & camping parks throughout Ireland. Sites offer top class facilities with many onsite amenities. There is a variety of sites around Ireland. Maybe you are looking for a quiet site where you can pitch up and use the site as a base for travelling around. Maybe you want a site where there is a playground for your kids or even sites where there are a host of onsite activities for all the family to enjoy. Whatever you want Camping Ireland has something for everyone.
Don’t forget to order your Camping Key Europe Card which offers great discounts and savings at campsites, visitor attractions and many more outlets. The card is accepted in over 2,800 sites in Ireland and Europe. It also includes free third-party insurance. You can order the card here
For information on these sites, the facilities they offer and other information log onto our website Camping Ireland Enjoy the independence and flexibility that camping in Ireland can offer in quality approved sites. We look forward to welcoming you to outdoor living.