With the weather finally picking up, we all find ourselves in a mad dash to round up the kids and get outside to soak up what little sun we get.
Why not take them to a park that hosts some kid-friendly events and activities. From miniature railways to petting zoos, our local parks are playing a stormer this summer.
I’ve found some gorgeous parks in and around the Dublin area that are easy to get to and well worth the trip. I’ve even picked out the perfect outfit for you, including a stylish mum-friendly handbag and a cute pair of Crocs (you heard me!).
If you’re in the south Dublin area, the vast grounds of Marlay Park are sure to keep your little ones interested. It’s open until 10pm June to August, so you can catch a late evening stroll there. I remember the Miniature Railway from my own childhood – and it still runs on its little track on Saturday afternoons from 2.30pm to 5.00pm between May and September.
Every weekend there’s a craft and farmer’s market to browse, and don’t miss the Walled Garden which was restored in the past few years. Grab a coffee as you walk through the little café and then wander through the 4.5 acres of neat gardens and the water foundation. Keep walking into the kitchen garden part, through neat rows of fruit trees and planted veg. I usually find myself following my nose to the heady smell of lavender.
If your kids love animals, try align your visit with the weekends when travelling petting zoo Wooly Ward’s Farm camps in Marlay. They promise a goat and a llama – sure what more could they want!
The gorgeous and historical grounds of Ardgillan Castle make the perfect backdrop for memorable family picnics. It’s amazing playground will keep the kids busy for hours. This family-friendly spot even caters for children’s birthday parties. Prepare to hear some pestering.
If they’re a little older, bring them to Activity Nation and choose from archery, the climbing wall or sea kayaking. They even have open-air theatre! Book ahead for The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes on July 3rd, or The Jungle Book on August 9th.
The National Stud
As one of the country’s top attractions, The Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens deserves its huge visitor numbers. It ticks the boxes for the kids who love horses and the parents who appreciate a beautiful garden rich with symbolism (the design of the Japanese Gardens is influenced by Buddhism philosophy).
The guided tour of the stud is surprisingly entertaining (plenty of ‘stallion’ jokes for the adults!). You’ll learn what it is about Kentucky and Kildare that produces such famous thoroughbreds, and the story of founder Colonel William Hall Walker. The Colonel was obsessed with astrology, and drew up astrological charts whenever a foal was born. If he didn’t like the stars, regardless of bloodline, the foal would be sold.
Look out for the sculpture dedicated to the Colonel and the royal connections of the Stud: it’s a hollow sphere of zodiac signs, constellations and a foal.
If you’re lucky, you might get tickets to the outdoor show The Mikado running from June 23rd-25th.
St. Anne’s Park
If you find yourself on the north side of Dublin city, check out the gorgeous St. Anne’s Park. It’s a haven for sports fans with golf, tennis and pitch and put facilities as well as some gorgeous wildlife and historical monuments. On Saturdays, there us a Farmers’ Market in the Courtyard in the Red Stables from 9am to 5pm.
Tour the park in style with this Express Family Train running every weekend from 11am to 4pm (weather permitting). Choo-choo!
The perfect outfit for mums on the run
Bet you never thought you’d hear the words “sexi” and “Crocs” in the one sentence, eh? Well, believe it or not ladies, these bad boys aren’t just for comfort. These Crocs Sexi Flip Flops are comfy, stylish and perfect for strolling around a park in.
Wear with these cute and summer-inspired zip detail skinny jeans with this pink South boxy top which is a steal at €8. I love these floral rim sunglasses from Lipsy, but I’m also a realist when it comes to Irish weather, so I’d pack this Love Label Printed Festival Mac just in case of any showers.
Make sure you bring a bag big enough for all those ‘mum essentials’ like hand wipes and extra soothers. This Miss Selfridge Slouch Shopper is the perfect size.