AB­SO­LUTELY OUT­DOORS

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - FAMILY FUN -

ZIPPING ALONG

÷ There is fun to be had up in the trees and down on the wa­ter at Castle­comer Dis­cov­ery Park near Kilkenny city. Set in 80sq km of wood­land, there is a zip wire and a tree-top walk for young and old; they also have pedal boats on the lake. dis­cov­ery­park.ie

÷ It’s all go in the out­doors at West­port House, with a pi­rat­i­cal theme to the ad­ven­ture park, a log flume ride, swing­ing ship, bouncy cas­tle and play­ground. Rain won’t in­ter­rupt play, as there’s also an in­door soft-play area and a tour of the dun­geons. west­port­house.ie

PEREN­NIAL FAVOURITE

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WEST’S AWAKE

Clara Lara Fun Park in Co Wick­low was the stuff of dreams dur­ing your child­hood and not much has changed. Ex­cept that it’s now even bet­ter. Rafts, a huge wa­ter slide, sta­ble ca­noes, row boats and, if you must, crazy golf. clar­alara.ie

BEAT AROUND THE BUSH

÷ On the first Satur­days in July and Au­gust at Kill­rud­dery House and Gar­dens near Bray, Co Wick­low, check out the Fire­fox Bushcraft Fam­ily Ad­ven­ture days. Fire-light­ing, shel­ter-build­ing, wood­craft and an­i­mal track­ing will bring out their in­ner Bear Grylls. €20pp, book­ing re­quired. kill­rud­dery.com

DONE­GAL DE­TEC­TIVES

÷ At Glen­veagh Cas­tle, Done­gal, on July 20 and 27, there is a na­ture trial for ju­nior de­tec­tives, with a map chal­lenge and dif­fer­ent hands-on, back-to-na­ture ac­tiv­i­ties. Make a day of it and bring a pic­nic. Free of charge, but book­ing re­quired. glen­veagh­na­tion­al­park.ie

DAMP ON THE DODGEMS

÷ Hid­den Val­ley Hol­i­day Park at Wick­low’s ‘Meet­ing of the Waters’ has cab­ins and glamp­ing, but you can also use day-visit tick­ets for kayak­ing, pad­dle-boats or, best of all, bumper-boat­ing. ire­land­hol­i­day­park.com

ON THE WA­TER

÷ See the cap­i­tal from a new per­spec­tive from a Dublin Bay Cruises boat. Go from Dun Laoghaire to Howth, take a quick spin around Ire­land’s Eye or Dalkey Island, or even take a boat trip to town. dublin­bay

cruises.com

MAKE A SPLASH

÷ Up, down, back­wards, for­wards, at speeds of up to 60kmh, the new Viking Voy­age flume ride at Tayto Park, Co Meath, is a ma­jor draw for kids this sum­mer. tay­topark.ie

VIKING VISIT

÷ Take the Viking long­boat from Athlone Cas­tle to Clon­mac­noise, where the ma­raud­ers first ar­rived in Ire­land. The boats leave sev­eral times a day and the trip takes about 90 min­utes each way. Chil­dren’s tick­ets from €6. viking­tour­sire­land.ie

LOVE ALL

÷ Parks Ten­nis is now an es­tab­lished part of the Irish sum­mer. Low-cost ten­nis lessons with­out the need to be part of a club or the right set. At 150 lo­ca­tions around the coun­try, with 20 hours of lessons in Dublin for only €45. Book­ing re­quired. park­sten­nis.com

RAIN­BOW RUN

÷ To­day in Bray, Co Wick­low, adults and chil­dren five-plus can join the an­nual colour run, a 5km that sees you doused in paint and wa­ter along the route. Tick­ets are €25 for adults, €20 for kids, €70 for fam­ily tick­ets. the­colour­rush.ie

BIRR-ILLIANT

÷ The Tree­house Ad­ven­ture Area at Birr Cas­tle, Co Of­faly, is a mag­i­cal place. The tree­house is from a fairy­tale, with the added bonus of sand­pits, a bouncy pil­low and a hob­bit hut. bir­rcas­tle.com

HAPPY AT HOOK

÷ The cliff walk to Hook Light­house is prob­a­bly best en­joyed by chil­dren over seven, but all ages will love the art classes held with Rose Finn. Sum­mer work­shops run daily — drop in and doo­dle on shells and drift­wood and stuff of the sea. hookher­itage.ie

A-MAZE-ING

÷ Near Naas is the Kil­dare Maze Ac­tiv­ity Park, where there are two mazes — a clas­sic 2km hedge and a wooden va­ri­ety for younger kids — as well as a zip wire, ad­ven­ture trail and crazy golf. Un­der-twos are free; fam­ily tick­ets from €25. thek­il­dare­maze.com

WONKA LAND

÷ The choco­late-fac­tory ex­pe­ri­ence is more one of tast­ing the wares (for free) than get­ting close up with the pro­duc­tion line, but who’s com­plain­ing? You won’t get away with­out spend­ing, though, as the shop and cafe are too tempt­ing. If it stops rain­ing, nearby St Finian’s Bay is a must for a bounce in the waves. skellingschoco­late.com

HANG WITH THE MONKS

÷ On Sun­days at noon, from now through to the end of Septem­ber, you can take a child-friendly tour through Christchurch, dress­ing up like a monk and learn­ing how they lived in days gone by. €5 ad­mis­sion. Don­agh­more Famine Work­house in Co Laois. Find out how peo­ple lived and died dur­ing the Famine and see the agri­cul­tural ex­hibit. south­laois­tourism.com

West­port House

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