Tag Archives: Dublin

In Dublin Fair City


Molly Malone

Five years ago I took my four month old baby to Dublin to visit my father. At that time the most child friendly aspect of the whole trip had been the flight. Air South West were a a great company who bent over backwards to accommodate families and young children – perhaps it was their desire to be nice which finished them off – they have since closed down and we had little choice but to use Ryan Air. There are other options such as Air Lingus and Flybe but cost, flight times and being fully booked ruled them out. Cheap, and definitely not cheerful Ryan Air got us and our hand luggage there and back in one piece and didn’t break the bank.

Dublin at the time was not overly welcoming of a new mum travelling with an infant. There were no Parent and Child spaces at the shopping centre we visited and no nursing room in any store. So I was rather intrigued as to how I would find Dublin now, arriving with my three children and a lot more parenting confidence.

Dublin excelled! We arrived early on Saturday morning and deposited our baggage at my fathers house where we were staying. Then we headed on into the city to explore the Leprechaun Museum. Unfortunate weather is par for the course and didn’t dampen our spirits as sights of a real life bird man, (a male version of the bird lady in Mary Poppins), a horse and cart and a host of street performers delighted and excited them.


Feed the birds, tuppence a bag, tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag!

Halloween happens to be an ideal time to visit Ireland – They are mad for it! A combination of their pagan past combined with American links and a lack of the UK’s bonfire night means they really put the effort into Halloween and they do it really well. Ghosts, ghouls and vampires were out in abundance and spotting games were made easy. Considering everywhere is walk-able in Dublin this is great for keeping them going.


The friendliness towards the children was clear and natural everywhere we went, whether or not they were intended for families. On Sunday night we ate at Dillinger’s in Ranelagh. They make no pretences that it is a family restaurant because it isn’t, they don’t have high chairs or a children’s menu. But that’s not to say families aren’t welcome – they literally bent over backwards, forwards and sideways (mainly clearing up after us) to make us and our three young children welcome.

Despite no children’s menu they rustled up impressive cocktails for the boys and split an adult meal three ways. They are possibly the first restaurant I’ve ever been to that actually managed to split the meal onto three plates for us in the kitchen, rather than the usual experience of the meal served on one plate and a couple of smaller plates chucked at us to sort out ourselves. This little detail may seem minor but when hunger frays tempers and you’re paying for a nice meal out it is quite infuriating to have to start sorting all the kids food out on a cramped table before you can try your own meal and deters from the meaningful experience of eating out at a nice restaurant. The waiter engaged with the kids and admired Patrick’s fox jumper and there was no awkwardness about the noise or mess that comes with the kids no matter how well behaved they are.


Specially made cocktails for the kids in Dillnger’s

And this fun and welcoming attitude wasn’t limited to Dillenger’s, we had the same welcome at every café and pub we went to. Breakfast was enjoyed with amazing mango smoothies they knocked up for the boys in a little café. And in the pub we nipped into for a porter, a tee-shirt was provided after Alfie slipped off the bench and was drenched by his orange juice, which had thoughtfully been served in a plastic pint glass. The Barman could not have been more helpful and kind in relieving Alfie’s embarrassment and the beers and home brewed porters at the aptly named Porterhouse went down helpfully too.


Alfie was delighted with his tee shirt from The Porterhouse – worth pouring his drink all over himself for!

We did of course go to the Dublinia Museum, which documents the Viking and Medieval history of Dublin. Patrick’s highlight of the entire weekend was experienced here where they have a model of a Viking man on the toilet, complete with sound effects! This interactive museum also allows kids a variety of hands on fun playing medieval games, trying on chain-male amour and learning about archaeology. Here is Alfie throwing a ball at a man in the stocks (fear not – the Viking on the loo is further down).


The Museum is next door to the Cathedral which you can pay to visit also.

So, to sum up what Dublin has going for it for a family with young kids…

  • Cheap and quick flights (about 45 mins from Bristol)

  • Everywhere is easy walking

  • Fantastic restaurants, even the “non-family” ones welcoming

  • Great attractions for all the family

  • A rich culture and heritage which is difficult to rival in the UK

  • Great beer! A lot of which is brewed in the Cities various micro-breweries

We highly recommend a visit to this wonderful city, but do remember to take some wet weather gear!

Here are some more pictures to whet your appetite for Dublin:


Incredible selection of Ireland’s finest beverages at The Porterhouse.


The Viking on the toilet was a popular feature of the Dublinia Museum – there were sound effects too!



The Cathedral in Dublin, next door to the Dublinia Museum


Street entertainment on Grafton Street


Mango Juice – interesting drinks were provided for the kids almost everywhere we went.


Our drinks were pretty interesting too 🙂 by the way, that’s a genuine axe wound on his face, a friend dropped it on him!

The National Leprechaun Museum – Dublin


Obviously the first thing you do before visiting a city with kids is to google “things to do with kids in…”. That is exactly what I did and was duly informed by the results that the National Leprechaun Museum was a great thing to do with kids in Dublin.

So I was somewhat surprised on arrival to the museum with my three utterly soaked children in tow – it rains a lot in Dublin so when borrowing a pushchair make sure you borrow the rain cover for it too – to be greeted by a fellow, possibly half leprechaun, telling us that it was quite gruesome and scary and really an attraction for adults. He was very friendly, helpful and well meaning but this was not good news for us! Having bigged it up so much to the children we were not going to be able to get out of this easily and so we pressed ahead, though not quite on our own time frame.

You have to go around on a set tour. They start every 20 mins and last about 45 minutes. It was a strangely busy day we had picked and so we were informed we’d have to return in an hour for our tour… This gave us time to find a café, get some cake and wonder if we were making a massive parenting mistake attempting this “adult” museum with tired and wet children. Our nerves were exaggerated further as we discovered the quirky and brightly coloured café we had chosen, around the corner from the museum was subtly covered in soft porn. The back of my menu had a (rather lovely) picture of a naked man at a window and Orla’s menu had a naked lady with fine breasts staring at her – hmmm! The cake and coffee were good though and the colours were rejuvenating.

Anyway, the hour’s gap gave us a chance to nip into a shopping centre and buy Orla some new, dry, leggings and some snack to ply her with during the tour – worked a treat, parenting win!

So – tentatively we returned to the museum with significantly lower expectations and squeezed into the first room where the tour began. Well, the first thing that made this great was the fact that unlike the chap on the desk who was possibly half leprechaun, the young guy giving us the tour was most definitely of leprechaun decent! Full sized but nimble, sprightly, cheerful and fun he really knew his stuff and was engaging and interesting.

After the first room we are guided through a series of enchanting and interactive experiences, a tunnel that makes you a giant, then a giant’s house that make you feel as small as a leprechaun, a rainbow and an enchanted forest. Our semi-leprechaun guide delighted us with stories of fairies and giants and encouraged us to make wishes in the magic well.

Perhaps he was toning things down for a tour with lots of kids on it but I didn’t hear anything that our, fairly sheltered, children would have been scared by and they were so enthralled by the clever scenery and lighting effects that they were quiet enough for us all to listen to the stories. “Museum” is perhaps the misleading part of the whole thing, there are no stuffed leprechauns or tiny fairy costumes behind glass. In fact what you get is an interactive theatrical experience of Ireland’s mythology which appeals to adults and children alike. Moving through at a reasonable speed, the children don’t have a chance to get bored and the adults are able to listen and learn. There’s no trying to read interpretation boards whilst chasing little ones around display cabinets, you just watch, listen and absorb – definitely the way forward in my book!

So, if you’re in Dublin then give it ago and if you’ve got kids don’t be put off by the chap on the door – they’ll love it!

The museum is open everyday 10.00 – 18.30 and they often have special evening performances for adults.

Website: http://www.leprechaunmuseum.ie

Full ticket prices and directions are on their website –

Adults = 12 euro

Children 3-11 = 8 euro

Family (2A + 2C) = 34 euro

ImageBoys in the Giant’s House

ImageIn the enchanted forest for story telling

ImageA pot of gold – obviously essential for a leprechaun museum!

ImageThe wishing well

Making new friends


An ambition for our travelling experience is to meet new people and make new friends all around the world. People from other places and generations, with different cultures and lifestyles to our own. People who have experienced different things to us and know about different stuff to us. Meeting new people and making new friends was one of our favourite things about having WWOOF volunteers on our farm and we are somewhat isolated from “new people” at the moment.

Yippee – our adventure will be starting early in this respect! We are heading to Dublin in half term to see my Father for a few days and to have a little “test run” of travelling with the kids, as lightly as possible in both mind and matter. It just so happens that one of my favourite family travel bloggers is over in the Emerald Isle at the moment and we will hopefully get the chance to meet up. Their kids are a similar age to ours and they have been travelling since May 2012, which puts them in the “mega” camp in my head. You can read about their epic adventures on their blog Travel with Bender.

I told the team about meeting new people who have been travelling for ages over tea last night and suggested we think about some questions to ask them about their experiences. They were as excited as me. Alfie thought of a question he would like to ask their children, “was it a little scary when they first set off on their travels?” I said I thought that was a great question! I’d like to ask the parents the same.