Most people associate Ireland with romance, and beer drinking or both. Of course, that assumption might be hard to disperse based on the large number of castles and pubs the country has.However, as we discovered on our recent trip to the country, the country has much more to offer, especially for families.Ireland ‘s natural beauty, its welcoming people, and folkloric culture make it a family friendly destination to explore even if you can only stop there for a few days like we did on the way to your next European destination. So , if you are planning a visit to the Emerald Isle here are our top family-friendly attractions to visit.
Kissing the Blarney Stone
For centuries, those wished to be blessed with superior storytelling abilities or unnatural eloquence shave come to Blarney Castle outside of Cork. It is said that the powers of the stone were a gift to the man who built the castle from the goddess Clíodhna after he asked for her assistance in winning a lawsuit. She told him to kiss the first stone he saw on his way out the next morning. The builder won his case and then incorporated the stone into the castle’s wall presumably so that it would be accessible if he ever needed its’ persuasive powers again.
Based on this story, the castle draws visitors from all over the world, that hope to obtain similar gifts for themselves.
However, it’s no easy feat to get close to the stone. Castle guests have to lean over backward to reach the source of this legendary power. After climbing to the very top level of the castle.
If they have any energy left, travelers can check out the lovely gardens that surround the building, including the Poison Garden or discover the real story behind the fire embers in the witches kitchen.
Blarney Castle is easily reached by bus from Cork. Admission is currently €13 (11.52 USD) for adults and €5 ($4.43 USD) for children.
Autism Travel Tips
Prepare your kid to the fact there are over 100 narrow steps to climb with no place to rest in between and not much wiggle way to turn back if they decide not to go up.
Moreover, to kiss the stone, each person needs to be held in a very awkward position by the feet and pushed into a narrow nook that might be frightening for a child with autism.
Travelers on a budget can save money by wandering around Dublin on their own or take the complimentary tours that are given daily by several companies including the Hostel Culture. These guided trips around the city; between the hours of 11 am and 2:30 pm and last for about 2 ½ hours.provide visitors with a wealth of information, but they only cost as much as you would like to tip your guide. Since it rained on the day we visited, we chose to take the hop on hop off bus to shuttle us around town and show us its highlights.
For older kids the -Kilmainham Goal with its small museum and political exhibit, in particular, the personal letters of prisoners to their families that they wrote before their execution is a good way to introduce your teens to the Easter Revolution and its roots.For families with younger kids, Dublinia’s life-size displays are a good way to introduce children to Irish medieval and Viking history.
Autism Travel Tips
To get around faster and avoid waiting in long queues buy a city pass ahead of time.
Some places give discounts for disability and kids with autism in without waiting in the traditional lines.
Climbing the Giant’s Causeway
Like many other spots in Ireland, this breathtaking one, has its personal legend.According to the myth, these basalt formations were once a bridge created by a giant named Finn MacCool so that he could reach to his Scottish neighbor and rival, Benandonner. However, his adversary crossed the bridge first and turned out to be bigger than him. Finn’s wife, fearing her husband’s safety covered her sleeping spouse with a blanket and told the intruder this was her son. The Scottish giant assumed he was out-matched, panicked and ran back to his lair leaving the-the dis-shoveled bridge aka the causeway behind.
Although the true story maybe less prosaic, the Giant’s Causeway remains one of the iconic sights of Ireland, and well worth a stop if you are visiting the country. There is no admission charge for visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it costs around $13 per person to see the visitor center.
Autism Travel Tips
All kids will love climbing on the multi-leveled Causeway, but parents need to supervise their children at all times since the stones are uneven and slippery.
Closed toe shoes with anti-skid soles and long pants are a must for this type of terrain.
Crossing the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
Despite its’ fragile appearance, the structure is safe and makes an excellent side trip on the way back to Dublin after visiting the Giant’s Causeway.Raised over 100 feet above sea- level, the rope bridge originally constructed by local fishermen to help them fish seasonal salmon is now a major (segments of the TV series Game of Thrones were filmed here) tourist attraction connecting the mainland to a small island with superb views of neighboring Scotland.
Visitors should be aware that there is a nominal fee to cross the famous bridge and that the site closes on particularly windy days so they should check the weather forecast before planning a stop there.
Autism Travel Tips
Though the crossing the bridge is fun, it isn’t recommended for those afraid of heights or those with poor motor coordination.
Like some of the prior attractions mentioned here too closed toe shoes with nonskid soles are ab advantage.