Thinking of going on a family city break to Dublin with kids?
The Irish capital is an amazing city to visit as a family, and there are a host of kid-friendly things to do in Dublin, whether you are going with toddlers, tweens, or teens.
This guide will take you through everything you need to know about visiting Dublin with kids, including when to go, where to stay, and of course, what to do with kids in Dublin, Ireland.
There are ideas perfect for little kids and one or two ideas of things to do with older kids that maybe aren’t suitable for those travelling with babies or toddlers.
Let’s look at all that Dublin has to offer families and start planning your trip today!
Is Dublin family-friendly?
Dublin is a very family-friendly city to visit. Pavements in many of the tourist areas are wide and flat, meaning those with young toddlers or buggies are catered for.
That said, the Temple Bar area of the city does have cobbled streets, so families with buggies might want to avoid that area.
Some families often wonder is Dublin safe to visit with kids, and the answer is yes. Dublin was ranked number 3 on the Global Peace Index in 2023 and is very safe.
So long as visitors exercise the same precautions as they would in any other major city in the world, it is safe to visit Dublin as a family.
When is the Best Time to Visit Dublin?
Dublin can be visited at any time of the year. There is no ‘shutdown’ season to the city, and hotels, pubs, restaurants, and all the attractions remain open throughout the year.
Summer is the peak time in the city with many tourists making the trip to Ireland and Western Europe during the summer months. As a result, some attractions can get crowded, and tickets can sell out fast. Accommodation costs can also be more expensive.
That said, although winter can be a cheaper time to visit Dublin and Ireland as a whole, visitors should be aware of the cooler temperatures and the shorter days. Sunrise can be as late as 8am and sunset can be as early as 4pm.
And if you are wondering does Ireland get snow, the answer is yes, although Dublin sees the least of it for the most part.
Dublin City Break in March
Aside from the many activities in Dublin for kids, March is a great time to visit Dublin if you can time your visit to coincide with St Patrick’s Day on March 17th.
Accommodation and flight costs will be expensive, but the city comes alive with celebrations for the festival of Ireland’s patron saint.
Dublin holds a St Patrick’s Day festival leading up to and including the big day itself, culminating with the St Patrick’s Day Parade through the city centre. It is a spectacle to see and kids, especially the younger ones will be left in awe.
Dublin City Break in July
As already mentioned, the summer is a busy time in Dublin and many of the main tourist attractions in Dublin for kids will be open but potentially busy.
But don’t let that put you off visiting the city during July or even August. July and August is usually when Dublin experiences the best weather of the year and with days that start as early as 5am and don’t get dark until after 9pm, you can get lots of sightseeing done during these months.
How to get to Dublin
Dublin has an international airport into which fly direct flights from the US, Canada, Africa, the Middle East and across Europe.
Budget airline Ryanair flies to and from Dublin from many destinations across Europe. Flights from the UK take between 30 and 90 minutes.
Dublin is also served by two ports, Dublin Port and Dun Laoghaire into which ferries from the United Kingdom arrive, ideal for those coming from the UK and looking to bring their own car.
Top 10 things to do in Dublin with kids
If you are planning to visit Dublin with kids, you are probably wondering what to do with them while you are in the city. Here is a list of 10 things to do with kids in the Irish capital.
One of the best family things to do in Dublin is to head to the Phoenix Park. One of the largest walled parks in Europe, the Phoenix Park has many things to offer families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
As well as Dublin Zoo (mentioned below), there is the People’s Gardens to wander, the US Embassy and Irish Presidents residence buildings to see, an old army fort to visit (certain Sundays of the month) and lots of wide open spaces.
And if you are lucky, you might even see the deer who roam the park freely. They are best seen during early morning or late evening in the woods near the Forty Acres or Papal Cross.
One of the best family attractions in Dublin is Dublin Zoo.
Located in the Phoenix Park, near the Ashtown Gate entrance, is an amazing place to take kids, especially younger kids.
With animals and birds that include elephants, lions, snow leopards, penguins and more, kids will be thrilled to spot their favourite animals among the grass or on the African Savannah Plains.
There are regular feeding times to delight kids, large indoors play areas and plenty of kiosks and restaurants to find drinks and snacks.
One of the more unique places to visit in Dublin with kids is Dublinia.
Located across the road from Christ Church Cathedral, Dublinia gives visitors a chance to peer into Viking and Medieval Dublin through a range of interactive displays and exhibitions that includes character actors.
There are lots of buttons to press, wheels to spin, clothes to dress up in and a large model of Medieval Dublin.
And if little legs aren’t too tired, you can climb to the top of St Michael’s Tower to enjoy incredible views across the city’s rooftops (if the day isn’t grey or foggy).
It is a fascinating place to learn about Dublin’s varied past and there is plenty to keep kids engaged.
By far one of the best things to do in Dublin with kids is to take a tour of the Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship, located on Custom House Quay.
This replica famine ship was built and moored on the river Liffey and invites visitors to the city to jump on board for a guided tour in which the knowledgeable guide will bring you through a journey of discovery, learning about the Famine (a hugely important time in Ireland’s history) and introduce you to some of the people who travelled on the ship.
Just be warned, there are mannequins below deck, so if your kids don’t like them you might want to skip this tour. But for those who don’t mind them, it’s a great tour to take in the city.
Another thing you might want to consider putting on your itinerary and that has been voted one of the top ten things to do in Dublin with kids is Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum, also located on Custom House Quay.
Dedicated to telling the story of the Irish who have emigrated and the effect they have had globally, this amazing museum has exhibitions and displays across 20 galleries.
Visitors are given an EPIC passport to stamp in each room, a great idea for keeping kids engaged.
With its location on Custom House Quay, it is very easy to combine a visit to EPIC with the Jeanie Johnston ship (just book your tickets for the ship ahead of time).
St Stephen’s Green
When it comes to attractions in Dublin for kids that let them run free, St Stephne’s Green is one of the best.
This Georgian Park is situated at the top of Grafton Street (one of the pedestrianised shopping streets) and has a large playground, lake with ducks to see and lots of open spaces for kids to play.
And for the mums and dads, there is a historical trail around the park with informational boards sharing the role the park and surrounding buildings played during the Easter Rising of 1916, an important date in Ireland’s history and their independence from Britain.
The Little Museum of Dublin
Another one of the top places to go in Dublin with kids is the Little Museum of Dublin, across the road from St Stephen’s Green.
This local history museum is in a Georgian townhouse and chronicles the history of the city in the 20th century through exhibitions and displays of artefacts donated by the people of the city.
Exhibitions include the Easter Rising, JFK’s visit to Dublin and more. Visitors can join a guided tour and also peruse the museum before or after their tour.
Viking Splash Tour
If you are looking for family activities in Dublin that include a huge amount of fun, then book yourself onto the Viking Splash Tour.
Starting from St Stephen’s Green, visitors board an amphibious vehicle and set off around the streets of Dublin, learning about it and its history while wearing Viking hats and scaring innocent bystanders, which kids love.
Then you enter the Grand Canal, seeing U2’s recording studio and the Bord Gas theatre before making your way back to the Green.
If you are looking for fun things to do with kids in Dublin, you cannot get much more fun than scaring people from the Viking ‘ship’ as you get a guided tour around the city.
Natural History Museum
When your outdoor days out in Dublin with kids get cancelled due to bad weather, then one of the best places to go are some of the museums around the city. Aside from the Little Museum of Dublin, the Natural History Museum on Merrion Square is a great place to go.
As one of the great free things to do in Dublin with kids, the Natural History Museum houses specimens from Ireland and around the world including the antlers of the now extinct Giant Deer and a basking shark.
Kids will love seeing the animal specimens and learning more about the fauna of Ireland.
And finally, if you are looking for some Dublin tourist attractions for kids that are older than 10 years of age, then a visit to Kilmainham Gaol is an option.
This former prison housed political prisoners who fought for Ireland’s independence, and it has also featured in some hit movies including Paddington 2.
The gaol can only be visited by guided tours and the tour guide lead groups through the maze, sharing their extensive knowledge of the history of the prison and its former inmates while visitors can get an appreciation of what it must have been like to be locked up inside.
There is also a museum with displays and exhibitions which visitors can view after their tour.
Be aware that tickets for this attraction sell out quickly and availability is released 28 days in advance. Also, because of the nature of the building, and the stories and places visited within, this site is note suitable for young kids.
Where to stay in Dublin with kids
Apart from what to do in Dublin with kids, next on the agenda is where to stay. Dublin has a range of accommodation options to suits budgets of all kinds. Ideally you should pick accommodation that is centrally located and not in the suburbs.
Budget: Generator Dublin
While this is a no-frills accommodation choice, it is well-suited to those on a budget. This hostel has rooms that can accommodate up to 8 people as well as family rooms for up to 4 people.
It is in the Smithfield area of the city, close to the Jameson Distillery and the Luas Red line if you don’t want to walk the 20 minutes to O’Connell Bridge.
Mid-range: The Harding Hotel
Located beside Christ Church Cathedral, a great mid-range hotel that is very centrally located is the Harding Hotel in Fishamble Street. The hotel is a short 13-minute walk to O’Connell Bridge and is very close to Christ Church Cathedral, Dublinia and Dublin Castle.
The hotel has single, double, and triple rooms which are tastefully decorated. One of the popular pubs in Dublin, Darkey Kelly’s is beside the hotel.
Luxury: The Grafton Hotel
If you want to splash out, then the Grafton Hotel is a great option. Located beside St Stephen’s Green shopping centre and across the road from the popular Hairy Lemon pub, this modern hotel is centrally located and a short walk down Grafton Street to O’Connell Bridge.
The Grafton has double rooms as well as suites and family rooms that sleep up to 6 people, meaning there is no need to pay for interconnecting rooms.
Where to eat in Dublin with kids
There is a huge range options for places to eat in Dublin with kids catering to all tastebuds. Here are a few options.
TGI Fridays: a diner-style venue serving chicken nuggets, burgers and more, as well as delicious ribs and wings, kids will love the diner-style and tasty food.
Captain Americas: a great venue for a family meal, they serve everything from tasty chicken wings to burgers, and pasta, everyone is catered for here.
The Woollen Mills: a family-friendly venue with colouring pages for the kids, families can eat here and choose dishes such as fish and chips, sandwiches, and steaks, it’s a great place to go that isn’t diner-style.
Murphys Ice Cream: don’t get dessert at your restaurant. Instead, head to Murphy’s Ice Cream and get a cup (or cone) with a range of flavours that include Dingle Sea Salt and Irish brown Bread (so much tastier than it sounds).
Getting around Dublin with kids
Dublin is an easy city to navigate as a family and has good public transport links to almost every corner of the city, county, and surrounding areas.
The city centre is walkable, even with kids, and the main streets and shopping areas have wide pavements meaning even those with strollers are accommodated for.
If you want to know about getting around Dublin, here are the options:
- Walk. If you are staying in the city centre and exploring there, then most things are within walking distance.
- Taxis. Uber does exist but be aware you will be met by a licensed taxi who must work to the meter.
- Buses. Dublin Bus and Transport for Ireland operate public buses in the city.
- Luas. This is Dublin’s tram system and connects parts of the suburbs to the city centre via two lines.
- DART. This is the coast train that runs from Howth on the northside to Bray on the southside.
Visitors to Dublin who are going to use public transport should carry coins or get a Visitor Leap card which acts in the same manner as the London Oyster card.
Day Trips for Families from Dublin
There are many places people can visit from Dublin for a day if they want to get out of the city.
There are lots of day trips from Dublin to places such as the Cliffs of Moher or Blarney Castle, but these are long days, sometimes up to 13 hours long, and perhaps are not ideal for those travelling with young kids.
If you want to get out of the city, here are some ideas for places that are under 2 hours from Dublin and can be reached by public transport or by tour:
The monastic site in County Wicklow is a popular day trip destination from Dublin and there are tours which depart from Dublin. Choose a half day tour and not one that goes somewhere else.
A Day trip to Belfast
Easily reached by train direct from Dublin in about 2 hours, Belfast is a great city to visit for a day.
The Brú na Bóinne Valley Monument
Less than an hours’ drive from Dublin are the Neolithic Passage Tombs of Newgrange and Knowth, part of the Boyne Valley area which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Younger kids might be a bit bored on the guided tour and if you are going, book your tour from Dublin in advance.
Is Dublin worth visiting as a family?
Dublin is an amazing city to visit with kids. With lots of accommodation options, restaurants, and great things to do in Dublin with kids, families are well catered for in the Irish capital.
It is always worth visiting, whether you are planning a city break, or visiting Dublin at the start of a longer trip around Ireland.
Whether you are looking for the best things to do with kids in Dublin, ideas for where to stay or even day trip ideas from the city, you should now be well informed to start planning your visit to Dublin as a family.