Earlier this month we visited Tipperary for the first time thanks to Tipperary Tourism on behalf on www.mykidstime.com. It’s not somewhere I’d ever think of holidaying with a young family but I have to put it on the map as a family-friendly destination for a staycation in Ireland because we had an absolute blast.There’s something for all ages from playgrounds, to secure outdoor swimming pools and watersports on it’s famous Lough Derg, all within a short driving distance of each other.
Our stay in Tipperary was action packed for the minute we arrived, here is what we got up to and what we would highly recommend:
Lough Derg Aqua Splash in Dromineer
We got to explore and conquer Irelands very own version of Wipe Out. The eight-year-old was living her best life right out in the lake buckled up in a little persons life jacket. No, bother to her all, she had everyone in awe or hiding with their hands to their face as she jumped from the slide and backed flipped from a height onto the bouncing pillows.
It’s Ireland’s largest floating playground and it’s suitable for kids 6+ and adults of all ages. There is a great variety of different shapes, sizes and functions, including ladders, a trampoline, ramps, jumps, ladders and so much more. It’s a must-see.
Also on site, you can paddleboard, cycle the lakes in a pedal boat suitable for up to 4 people or take your chances on a banana boat. Prices for all activities at Aqua Splash start at €10.
Ballina Outdoor Heated Swimming Pool
My kids are water babies, water is where they really come to life and this outdoor swimming pool in the lashing of rain was most probably the highlight for my eldest three children, aged 3, 4 and 8. Whereas I and the two-year-old are cold-blooded creatures and couldn’t think of a worse way to spend a rainy afternoon. We had goosebumps after a half hour so we bailed and watched from under an umbrella on the sidelines in our wellies. It was an experience and had it have been sunny my thoughts would have been so much different. My kids and partner had the time of their lives and it’s the most talked about activity since our visit almost two weeks ago.
Daily Rates at Ballina Riverside Pool are €2.50 for children and €5 per adult, a bargain if you ask me. They do however charge spectators €1.50. It opens daily from 2pm-6pm.
Cruising Lough Derg on The Spirit of Killaloe
Unless you count a booze cruise in Ayia Napa in your early twenties sans kids I’ve never been on a cruise, nor have my kids. What an educational, stunning and relaxing experience it was. I had the fear before stepping aboard the boat that I’d be chasing my kids like 90 but the overall feeling was very enjoyable. The captain and crew were very bubbly and warm and they even invited the all the kids on board to become sailors. Each child got to drive the cruise for a short minute, literally making their day. It was so lovely.
The Spirit of Killaloe is a luxury purpose built 50 seater passenger boat with onboard bar facilities and an upper viewing deck. On board we cruised the River Shannon, it’s spectacular scenery and learned a thing or two about the beautiful heritage town that Killaloe is.
Castlelough Playground in Tipperary
Tipperary County Council opened this state of the art secure playground on the shores of Lough Derg Lakelands back in 2015 and it still looks like it only opened yesterday.
The playground includes a five-tower senior unit suitable for children age 6-12 years with 18 individual play elements to test balance, motor skills, climbing and hand-eye coordination. The toddler area is suitable for children aged 2-6 years with numerous individual play areas also testing various skills.
If you visit the playground to the right of the lake you will see a small opening in the forest – go seek it. Here you will find fairy treasures, doors and the best climbing tree’s Tipperary has to offer. We found it by complete chance as one of our kids made a run for it.
Tipperary has it all, we explored, we experienced, we stayed and we ate (I highly recommend Goosers in Ballina). It’s amongst Ireland’s most picturesque attractions and makes a stunning family holiday or even a couples retreat, we will most definitely return!
Disclaimer: We visited Tipperary on behalf of the Tipperary Tourism for www.MyKidsTime.com. All our expenses were covered but all opinions are my own – and that of my little but large family.
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