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The 12 things you MUST bring when camping with kids

3 months ago

We've all thought about it but how many have actually had the courage to do it?

Camping with kids. 

It usually invokes a colourful response whenever someone talks about it, especially if someone is actually suggesting you try it.

But, is it that bad?

Well, in my limited experience, every time we camped it was never as bad as we thought it would be. The kids are really relaxed with the extra freedom that it brings and having everyone snuggled up together at night can be very comforting for small children. 

Read Next: Things to do in Ireland

Also, if you camp in a tent on the campsite instead of hiring a static mobile home you could save €2,000 for a standard 14 night stay in a popular site in France. That’s a lot of money saved just by sleeping in a tent.

However, if you are not prepared it can be pretty terrible. We were caught in a thunderstorm with the wrong equipment and had to put the kids in the car while the parents packed up all the gear, now soaking wet, in the rain.

So what are the essentials? Here we list what we think are the most needed things if you are planning on going to a campsite for your holidays. You may think some are unnecessary but having them will make the whole adventure that much more enjoyable. 

1. Tent

"Are you serious? Of course, we need a tent". Yes, but the type of tent you bring can mean the difference between a good nights sleep or having to put your kids in the car during a thunderstorm.

Of course, if you and your kids are Bear Grylls addicts then tents are for city folk. Sleep under the stars and experience the true beauty of the great outdoors.

2. Tent

Yes, another one.

As a general rule, I think you need at least two tents either side of a gazebo. The gazebo can be used as your sitting room/kitchen. You can get the kids changed here and send them to bed in their own tent. Or rather one tent is for everyone to sleep together, the other one is used for storage.

Nice try, though!

3. Gazebo

As above, and in poor weather, the central area can be used to change out of any wet gear and to leave them hanging to dry thereby avoiding any water in the sleeping tents. 

4. Table

Try and find one that folds down flat - can be used preparing dinner, eating dinner, having drinks after dinner. Pretty much essential if you are spending more than one-night camping.

5. Chairs

Have you ever tried only lying down or standing up for more than 2 hours? Well, it's pretty uncomfortable. A chair is an essential. You could try and get a table and chair combination, or else pick up some foldable camping chairs. They are not the most comfortable when you try them out in the shop but believe me, at 10 pm when the kids are asleep and you sit down for a cold beer in front of the fire it feels like a King's Throne.

6. Cutlery and Delph

The plastic variety is perfect. Some cups, plates, knives and forks that can be washed quickly and used for every meal.

7. Lights & Candles

It does get dark at night and usually before the kids get to bed. You will need some lanterns, some torches and some candles (preferably lemon scented to keep the midgies away).  

8. Batteries

You have prepared well, young camping Jedi. The first night your lights were such a lifesaver. What are you going to do on the second night when the batteries run out?

9. Sleeping Bags

Depending on which country you are camping and at what time of year, you will need sleeping bags to suit. It's is always preferable for the kids being too hot instead of too cold. They sleep when they are hot.

10. Mattresses

You can pick up very decent self-inflatable mattresses for about €100 per double. Yes, they are expensive. However, they are very easy to transport and inflate and your kids will be very comfortable sleeping on them. They can also be used at home for sleepovers.

11. Undersheet

Never, ever, ever forget an undersheet for your tent. Although your tent may be waterproof, water always finds a way to get it. If the bottom of your tent gets damp/wet, the water will eventually seep through to your mattresses. An undersheet gives an extra layer of protection to ensure a dry sleep in any conditions.

12. Bottle Opener / Corkscrew

The kids are tucked up in bed. The table is set for a late evening romantic snack. You settle down in your comfortable camping Throne. Then your better half asks for the corkscrew to open the vino.

D'oh!

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Some of the best Christmas events, shows and activities in Ireland

3 months ago

Christmas is fast approaching and there's a whole host of family-friendly festive events happening right cross the country.

If you want to visit Santa in Ireland, you really have to think about it and plan ahead.

To help you out, we're publishing a selection of our favourites so you can get an early start this year.

Dublin

Santa Experience @ Croke Park

The Santa Experience goes Polar at Croke Park.

Visit Santa and Stitch the Snowman in Croke Park’s Polar Palace this Christmas. The popular Santa Experience returns to Croke Park from 25th November, and this year Santa is bringing along his good friend ‘Stitch the Snowman’. Stitch comes from a long line of GAA sporting legends and has a puck out so good that he can send a sliothar flying to the North Pole in just one swing!

When: Santa will be visiting Croke Park every Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 25th November and Wednesday 20th - Saturday 23rd December.

Price: Adult: €10 Child: €16 (includes free admission to GAA Musuem & a gift from Santa)

Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo is one of the country's most popular tourists attractions every year and it'll be celebrating the end of another busy year with its annual Santa’s Grotto.

Bring your family along to an exciting new Santa experience at Dublin Zoo. Each 1-hour session includes festive activities with a private meet and greet with Santa for a select number of visitors. Each child will receive a gift and a souvenir key ring.

Pre-booking online only from September 2017, via the Dublin Zoo website www.dublinzoo.ie.

When: Santa will be visiting Dublin Zoo every weekend starting in November with additional visits on 22nd, 23rd & 24th December.

Price: €25 for non-annual pass holders and €15 for annual pass holders.

Airfield Estate & Farm

Airfield Estate will be running their popular Christmas experience from 1st to 23rd December this year.

The fun family package includes face painting, letter writing with Santa’s Elves, 30-minute group experience with Santa in Airfield House with story time and gifts, decorating a delicious treat in the Elves’ Kitchen, warm up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine, make a festive decoration and take a magical trip on the Santa train. Tickets go on sale at the end of August.

When: December 1st - 23rd

Price: €21 per child and €11 per adult and tickets go on sale at the end of August.

Butlers Chocolate Experience

Butlers Chocolate Experience have Christmas all wrapped up this December, with 4 weekends of festive fun planned. Jingle all the way through the interactive Chocolate Museum and view the elves hard at work in the factory. (Weekdays only)

Journey through the magic of a real-life chocolate factory and learn the history of chocolate through a short film and lots of interactive digital touch screens. Have fun filling in the worksheets as you make your way through the museum, picking up nuggets of chocolatey facts along the way.

Then for the hands on part; step into the shoes of a Christmas elf in the demonstration room and create your very own chocolate Santa to take home as a treasured souvenir.
Afterwards, every child gets the opportunity to meet Santa Claus in a Winter Wonderland and will receive a chocolate gift to take home and a chance to take some treasured pictures to look back on in years to come.

Whether introducing a child to Santa for the first time or honouring a family tradition, a visit to Butlers Chocolate Experience is the perfect way to start the festive season.

When: 2nd,3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd December

Price: Child €15.00 - Adult €13.50

Santa's Cove | Liffey Valley

Santa’s Cove is coming to Liffey Valley!

The experience will be over 4,000 square feet and the website for Ireland's ultimate Christmas event. Families will have to traverse through 'Yuletide Valley' to earn their place on Santa's sleigh where the children will take the reins and treat their parents to a trip in the sky... YES, we did say in the sky!

You'll make magic reindeer food in the 'Stable Rooms' and Christmas decorations in the 'Toy Room'. Mrs. Claus will be on hand to serve hot chocolate and treats to everyone, before the children take a seat on the world's first 'Naughty Or Nice Machine'.

The machine comes to life when the candy cane lever is pulled and the antler helmet placed just above the child's head. The machine will magically read the child's thoughts to a symphony of bells, whistles and noises. A 'Nice' result means the machine will reward you with candy, redemption tickets PLUS a special 'Nice Certificate' which you can give to Santa when you meet him on your private family visit.

When: 19th November - 24th December

Price: Infants (0-11 months): FREE; Children (1yr +): €25.00 (includes gift and photo); Adults: €12.50

Leinster

Tayto Park

A little bit of the North Pole will be coming to Tayto Park and Santa is hoping to see you there. Jump on the train and visit Santa’s Grotto, enjoy Christmas themed arts/crafts and face painting, Christmas storytelling and access to Tayto Park.

Entry to the Eagles Nest Adventure Zone is included in the ticket with unlimited access to The Leap Frogs, Climbing Wall, Steam Train, Honey Pot Bears, Ferris Wheel, Grand Carousel, Rocking Tug, Shot Tower & Jumpers.

If you have older children you can also purchase a wristband for unlimited access to some of the more adventurous rides.

When: December

Price: Children under 3 - €14 | Children over 3 - €28 | Adults - €14

Ladyrath Lane

What started as a renovation project to host a wedding on a family farm near Navan, has turned into another fantastic addition to the family activity market.

They run pre-booked events including camps, Halloween, summer days out and are also available for weddings.

They also run a Christmas Experience. Visit Santa, Mrs Claus and the Elves at Ladyrath Lane from 15th December to the 23rd.

First, meet the fairies in the enchanted forest and get some magic fairy dust to leave at your fireplace on Christmas Eve to help the raindeers fly. Next, visit Mission Control and let your kids see how Santa’s journey on Christmas Eve is managed.

The Toy Workshop is filled with presents made by the elves and you can help them wrap the presents and put them in Santa’s Sack.

Mrs Claus will treat you to a Christmas story and help her make the Christmas pudding before a special visit to Santa in his grotto

When: 15th December to the 23rd.

Price: €15 per child, €7 adult; includes hot chocolate, treats and festive punch.

Wells House

Santa arrives at Wells House & Gardens on the 26th of November with Mrs Claus and the Elves and will be starting visits from the 2nd of December.

Meet Mrs Claus as she tries to organise Santa’s mischievous group of elves in their workshop and then decorate a keepsake bauble to bring home to your Christmas tree before checking if Santa’s list has your name on it before he leaves on his travels on December 24th!

Then in the magical setting of the Great Hall of Wells House and Gardens visit Santa who is looking forward to meeting all the boys and girls in the run up to Christmas!

Wells House and Gardens do not charge for accompanying adults to visit Santa so you have the opportunity to make this visit a special Christmas memory for all generations of your family. Finish your visit with a delicious hot chocolate for the children served in Mrs Stone's Restaurant.

When: December 2-23rd

Price: The price is 18 Euro per child plus a 1 Euro booking fee. During Santa visits to Wells House and Gardens, there is no entry fee to the grounds.

Christmas Experience @ Clonfert Pet Farm

Clonfert Pet Farm is located only minutes from Maynooth, Kilcock or Clane, specialising in birthday parties, school tours and family days out with lots of fun to be had. Join them for a day of Christmas Magic, visiting Santas Workshop, Cowshed theatre and of course Santa and Mrs Clause.

When: 2nd/3rd/9th/16th/17th December

Price: Child: €15 | Adult: €5

Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park

Lullymore Heritage & Discovery Park is a day visitor attraction located on a mineral island in the Bog of Allen between the villages of Rathangan and Allenwood in North West Kildare.

Christmas starts in Lullymore starts on the 25th November and run until 23rd December.

It’s a traditional Christmas experience with visitors staying about 2 hours on average enjoying an indoor winter wonderland, fun interaction with Santa’s elves and then visit to Santa with a quality gift. There's also a train trip, traditional crib scene in a thatched cottage, a pet farm and woodland walks.

When: December

Price: Children €20, Adults: €8

Birr Castle, Gardens and Science Centre

At Birr Castle, Gardens and Science Centre you will be greeted and entertained by the Castle elves, before taking a trip to the enchanting Birr Castle where you will meet Mrs Claus in the drawing room by the enormous roaring fire for a magical festive story.

The visit continues to the elegant dining room where you will meet the man himself, Santa Claus!

Each booked child will receive a gift from Santa age appropriate as well as a sweet treat and hot chocolate, the experience will last 45 minutes.

Pre-booked adult and children tickets also include general admission to the Treehouse adventure playground and gardens.

When: 9 dates this year kicking off on December 1st up to Saturday 23rd December.

Price: €18 per child and €8 per adult,

Christmas Island

A unique Santa Experience takes place on Christmas Island - down at Hidden Valley Holiday Park in Wicklow.

The experience will include an exciting journey on The North Pole Express train and a trip to Christmas Island where you’ll meet the Elves for singing, dancing and Christmas activities.

You will then depart Christmas Island on Santa’s giant sleigh boat headed to see the big man himself in Santa’s Grotto.

It’s the only Santa experience in Ireland with both a train and boat!

Lots of extras included like mini golf, playgrounds, colouring competition, best "Christmas" dressed family, thousands of twinkling lights, Christmas cinema room and more. All the kids receive a present from Santa, sweet treat, Christmas medal and plush reindeer wrist toy. Food and drink onsite and overnight accommodation is available.

When: 18th November - 23rd December

Price: Adults: €14.50 Children: €18.50, Infants: €7.50

Stonebrook Pet Farm

Come and enjoy the live Nativity Scene in the magical setting of Stonebrook Pet Farm. Meet Mrs. Claus and all the Elves, as well as some of your favourite Pet Farm animals. Free tractor/trailer ride to Santa's village. The best Santa Experience ever!!

When: December 3rd/9th/10th/16th/17th/21st/22nd/ & 23rd

Price: TBC

Magical Christmas Experience at Kia Ora Mini Farm

A festive visit to Kia Ora Mini Farm is full of sparkle and will include live Stable of Bethlehem, Magical Illuminated Light Show, Feed the reindeer & other animals, Visit Santa's bedroom, kitchen, workshop.

When: Nov 25, 2017 1:00:00 PM - Dec 23, 2017 6:00:00 PM

Price: Adult: €8.00 Child: €18.00

Ulster

The Playcentre

Go and meet Santa and his real-life reindeer in a great family fun day out. The whole expereince is two and a half hours long.

When: December 3rd

Price: Child: €25

Todds Leap

Todd Leap is one of the best outdoor activity centres in Northern Ireland with a fantastic mix of fun-filled adventures.

Winter Wonderland, their Christmas event runs from the 1st - 23rd of December. Travel through the magical tunnel, tour the elves workshop, help the elves in Santa’s Post Office, post your letter to Santa, visit Mrs Claus in her cabin and then meet Santa in his Grotto.

Plus an Off Road Sleigh Ride, Animal Village, Santa’s Reindeer, Christmas Treats in Mrs Clause Cabin, Present from Santa, Arts & Crafts, Complimentary Tea & Coffee for Parents in Arts & Crafts Room.

They will also be running two special nights this year for Children with Autism & Social Educational needs on the 13th & 14th December.

When: Winter Wonderland runs between 01/12/2017 and 23/12/2017

Price: £13 per child, £10 per Adult. Under 1's are free and do not require a ticket

Castle Espie Wetlands Centre

Castle Espie Wetland Centre is a place to get up close to Ireland's largest collection of native and exotic waterbirds, bats and migrant birds whilst taking in stunning estuary views

It combines spectacular sustainable design with a memorable day out for the whole family. Beyond its award-winning eco-friendly visitor centre packed with attractions lies a magical mix of restored lagoons, woodland walks, grassland, salt marshes and reed beds already populated with Ireland’s largest collection of water-birds. Other wildlife includes otters, bats and dragonflies and young visitors can enjoy indoor and outdoor play areas

They are preparing a magical time this Christmas with a Santa visit in their enchanted gardens.

Walk through their Winter Wonderland with your very own personal elf, in search for the golden snowflakes, and only then will you be able to unlock the door to Santa’s Grotto.

The golden snowflakes provide the children with a special password or code that they use that the grotto door before Santa will let them in. Either before or after your Santa visit you can enjoy crafts, storytelling, toasting marshmallow and help Mrs Claus find her decorations.

When: Dates will be 9,10th,16th,17th and 21st and 22nd December and tickets go on sale 1st September.

Price: Adults: £10 (member £3), Children: £16

Santa’s Cottage

The official residence of Santa in Ireland, as awarded by the "Greenland-Denmark World Congress of Santas, will be open from 19th November until Christmas Eve.

The cottage itself is a traditional Irish cottage that dates back to the 19th Century.

Guests will also be invited into the comfort of Santa’s Underground Cottage and see Mr Claus himself arrive down through the chimney.

Spectacular Christmas lights, Santa’s Igloo, a Nativity Crib and the Elves workshop ensures each child has a magical experience.

When: 19th November - 24 December

Price: £14 per adult / £19 per child

The Ark Open Farm

Santa will arrive at The Ark Open Farm on Saturday 2nd December at 11 A.M. Visitors will be greeted by our very own jolly Santa after descending down the great big chimney n the farmyard. His real Reindeer family of Rudolf, Dancer, Prancer, Sven and baby Crystal will be waiting for visitors to hand feed them. Then off to Santa's great big Ark, all decorated and cosy to receive all his guests where boys and girls can sit with Santa on his comfy settee and receive a present.

Connacht

Brigit’s Garden

Santa's Christmas Magic at Brigit's Garden is a wonderful family show with Santa and Elfie, his musical elf. There's lots of music, fun and Christmas magic!

This year Elfie and Santa will be joined again by Mrs Claus to make a full Santa experience with the professional show as the delightful highlight of the day. The visit lasts around 2 ½ hours, with Mrs. Claus and other activities for the first 1½ hours, followed by Santa's Christmas Magic Show with Elfie and Santa.

Each family is given a special candle from Santa given to each family to light on Christmas Eve. Under 3s are free if they sit on an adult lap for the Show.

When: December 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 20, 21 & 22.

Price: This is a great value Santa experience for only €12.95 child/adult. Under 3s are free if they sit on an adult lap for the Show

Westport House

The guided Winter Wonderland experience will begin with a visit to the amazing LIVE crib situated on the front lawn of Westport House. The Live Crib is in aid of two Westport Churches – Holy Trinity and St. Mary’s Church – who are urgently fundraising for restorative works and any donation will be appreciated.

After visiting the crib, you will make your way inside, into the front hall of Westport House and be greeted by Santa’s Little Helper who will lead your family – along with a small group of other families – through the guided experience.

You will start the journey with story-time by the fireplace of the gorgeous Drawing Room with a very warm welcome from Mrs Claus who will tell the magical Christmas Story of ‘Stumpa’.

Your next stop will include festive face-painting to really get you in the Christmas spirit, followed by learning all about the Ginger Bread Man – while decorating your own – in the Long Gallery.

To truly emphasise the real spirit of Christmas, be sure to make a wish at the Christmas Wishing Tree, where children can write down their wishes and hang them on a branch of their choosing.

Next, it’s time for the main event! Kids will be wowed with a very special visit to Santa in his magical grotto where he’ll have a chat with all the children, give gifts and take photos to remember this very special occasion. Please note that the group size will include no more that 12-15 children. After meeting Santa, you’ll see the elves hard at work in the Elves Workshop and have the opportunity to make your own yuletide log to take home for the Christmas table!

The Train Driver will pick you up from the back door and you’ll hop on board the Westport Train to enjoy magnificent winter time views around the House before you depart.

When: November 25th - December 23rd

Price: Adults: €12 (aged 16 years and up), Children: €26.50 (aged 2 years and up) Infants: €15, Babies under 1 go FREE for their first Christmas with a gift included!

Munster

Santa @ Tearaways Per Farm & Activity Centre

Visit Santa at Tearaways Pet Farm & Activity Centre on 16th & 17th December. Places are available to book. They operate a booking system so NO queues to deal with!

Go and enjoy unlimited playtime in their festive surroundings & they call you when Santa is ready to see you.

When: December 16th & 17th

Price: €15 per child includes playtime, visit to Santa & a selection box.

Ailwee Caves

Santa Claus has been taking up his annual residence at Aillwee Cave in Ballyvaughan especially to meet children and their families since The Millennium.

There is face painting, a puppet show and lots of carnival entertainment to be enjoyed.

Santa Elves are waiting with their lists of the boys and girls visiting every day. They will guide everyone along the cave passageways singing Christmas Carols all the way. Santa Claus with his helper will meet and chat with each child and, of course, have a present for everyone. Mrs Claus is there to greet the grown ups with a glass of Hot Punch and a Mince Pie.

Sensory Day in Santa’s Workshop @ Aillwee Cave

During this year’s workshop, for the first time, Santa and his elves are hosting a day for children with autism and other sensory challenges. This will not only be for the children but also their friends and families to enjoy at Aillwee Cave.

On Thursday, December 21st, Santa will attempt to slow down the pace around the workshop. This way children with sensory challenges and autism can join in the fun and festivities. We hope to create a safe and happy environment to enjoy with their friends and families.

Santa will of course still be visited in his workshop, deep in the cave by everyone as always. In hopes to create a relaxing space for the children, softer lighting and music will be played alongside an area with bean bags and bubbles. The carnival rides will also be set at a slower and quieter pace. This day also includes a trip to the Birds of Prey Centre located on site. If there are any further questions or concerns, they can be answered individually over the phone.

When: Weekends from 24th November.

Prices: Adults €16.00, Children €34.00, Babies (up to 1-year-old) €7.00, €2.50 Booking fee applies

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty castle is a beautiful, historic medieval castle that is built on an old Viking camp. The folk park is a reconstruction of a village in Ireland 100 years ago – you can walk around the cottages representing how people lived & businesses that they ran.

At Christmas, the village is turned into a magical Christmas experience with storytelling, a visit to Mrs Claus in her kitchen, puppet show, Bunratty Polar Express Train ride and lots of Christmas characters. Try and avoid Scrooge though or he’ll ruin your Christmas cheer.

When: 25th November to December 23rd, 2017 at various times

Price: Child: €27.00, Adults: €14.00, Baby under 12 months: €7.00

Fota Island Resort

Fota Island Resort in Cork hosts probably the biggest Santa Experience in Ireland, whether measured in terms of visitors, acres or the amount of snow used. Each year is a different theme. We’ve had ‘Believe’, ‘Wish’ and ‘Discover’. Magical memories are created as the Elf Train weaves its way through different scenes.

The Farm, Grenagh

The fun starts as soon as you arrive at The Farm in Greenagh (15 mins from either Mallow or Cork), with jolly Christmas elves bringing visitors to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus

The trip through the Christmas Wonderland takes about 45mins and includes a train ride to the north pole, a visit to Santa’s Office, help Mrs Claus in the kitchen, visit the live crib and of course a special visit to Santa’s Log Cabin.

When: December

Price: €10 per adult and €16 per child Under 2's are Free

Atlantic AirVenture

If your child is fascinated by the world of flight, then visit Captain Santa at the Flightdeck this Christmas at Atlantic AirVenture in Shannon, Co Clare.

Take a seasonal flight simulator experience, then see the museums, jet aircraft, engines, cockpits and lots more! Flight simulator options are ideal for ages 7 upwards and they often have teenagers willing to meet the Captain too! Bring along their letter for Santa, and dress for the occasion! They supply flight suits for the children and airline pilot jackets for parents. and Mrs Claus will take your family photo with your camera or phone.

For those who want to experience what it is like to fly a passenger airliner, take your seat behind the controls of the most popular one in the world, the Boeing 737-800 NG. Experience the sights sounds and sensations of flight during an Approach and Landing into the snow-covered Lapland International Airport, this is an experience they will remember for years to come!

When: Weekends in December

Prices:

Flying Santa Visit: €35 (Min Age 7) Visit Captain Claus at the FlightDeck + Gift + Fly to Santa’s Airport Flight Simulation. Booking is by phone only.

B737 Landing and Santa Visit: €55 (Min Age 7) Visit Captain Claus at the FlightDeck + Gift + B737 flight simulator 10-mile Approach and Landing Lapland International.

Waterford Winterval

Waterford becomes Ireland's Christmas capital with the start of Winterval, which runs from Friday 17th November to Saturday 23rd December 2017. Throughout Winterval, the Viking Triangle and the retail heart of the city come alive with Christmas markets, Santa’s Kingdom, Winterval illuminates light show, a new bigger ice rink at Winterval on Ice and so much more for young and old alike.

When: Santa's KIngdom | Nov: 17-19, 23-26, 30 | Dec: 1-24

Price: €16.50 per child accompanied by up to two adults. €5.00 for each additional adult

Waterford & Suir Valley Railway

The Waterford & Suir Valley Railway's train ride takes festive passengers on a journey along the banks of the River Suir. At the station, Santa will be waiting in his Railway Cottage (with gifts galore, naturally).Advance booking is essential. Call 051 384 058 or log on to www.wsvrailway.ie for information.

When: December 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 21, 22 & 23

Price: Children: €15, Adults: €6 for adults.

Activate Waterford

There is plenty included in our Christmas package, it includes: A visit with Santa at his Winter Wonderland, A Gift from Santa himself, Story Telling & Chocolate Milk with Mrs Claus at her Cafe, A Magical Gift Voucher (Redeemable during January & February only), Plus while you wait to see Santa there is plenty to do, such as games lead by Santa's Elves and various other activity stations. The experience lasts between 30 - 40 mins.

When: November 30th-December 23rd

Price: Adults: 2 go FREE. Children: Monday - Thursday €18.50 per child, Friday-Sunday: €21 per child.

The Cork North Pole Outpost Experience

Santa has already arrived at Cuskinny Court and has opened the doors of The Cork North Pole Outpost Experience to boys and girls who would like to enrol as an E.I.T (Elf in Training) and see Santa Claus in the lead up to Christmas. This totally immersive theatrical experience lasts 75-90 minutes and includes lots of surprise for children and adults!

When: Nov 26, 2017 12:00:00 PM - Dec 23, 2017 8:00:00 PM

Price: Child: €22 over 23 months | Toddlers: €10 (12 – 23 months, babies free) | Adults: €14.

Steam Trains IrelandThe Santa Special Train operates on three routes on Saturday and Sunday in December; Dublin-Maynooth, Belfast-Whitehead and Portadown-Lisburn. A return journey of festive fun with a visit from Santa on the train with presents for all the children.

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Things to do this weekend around Ireland | November 17th - 19th 2017

3 months ago

A selection of things to do this weekend around Ireland.

Autism Awareness Day - Tayto Park

To support and raise awareness for Autism Ireland, Tayto Park will be creating an autism-friendly environment in the park on November 18th with the intention of allowing parents of children with autism and their children to enjoy our facilities.

Christmas Market, Galway

There is no getting away from it now, the Christmas season has started and will dominate events for the next two months. This week sees the return of the popular market in Eyre Square, with a 32m observation wheel and lots of Christmas gift ideas. Santa will be there too!

Universal Children’s Day

This Saturday afternoon, the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) will be co-hosting an exciting free family-friendly event in Dublin with the National Children’s Choir to celebrate Universal Children’s Day. 

There will be lots of fun and exciting activities including face painting, drummers, DJ and the National Children's Choir.

Seussical The Musical

Seussical is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza. Join The Cat in the Hat as he takes you on a journey into the fantastical, bombastical and songtastical world of Dr Seuss.

CS Lewis Festival

From 19th – 22nd November, EastSide Arts and Connswater Community Greenway will present the 3rd C.S. Lewis Festival. 

Events over the weekend include Narnia Storytelling on Saturday 18 November 10 am – 2 pm in Sydenham Methodist Church and Discovering Animal-Land: Crafty Drop-In & Treasure Hunt. 

Children aged 3-11 are invited to a themed treasure hunt around C.S. Lewis Square with the opportunity to create their own fantastical creature in a facilitated crafty workshop.

Dublin at Christmas Procession

This year a procession of light that will illuminate the entire city with one magical Christmas event on Sunday from 17:30. 

Starting at the Stephen’s Green end of Grafton St and the Capel Street end of Mary St, performers LUXe will lead both processions through the streets of Dublin before joining together in a beautiful celebration on O’Connell Street, where the Lord Mayor of Dublin will switch on the lights of the 40ft Christmas tree.

Waterford Winterval 2017

This year's festival starts on Saturday when Santa arrives at John Roberts Square at 4pm.

Visit the Winterval Christmas Market in Cathedral Square for the unique and wonderful Winterval Illuminate Christmas light show every 30 minutes over weekend evenings and every night in the last week before Christmas.

There is also a FREE toddler's play area suitable for under 5s on Saturdays & Sundays at the House of Waterford Crystal.

Ballymaloe Craft Shop

A visit to the Ballymaloe Craft Fair takes all the stress out of starting your Christmas shopping combining a beautiful location with a huge variety of crafts and design.

The Ballymaloe Craft Fair will take place on Saturday and Sunday on the grounds of Ballymaloe House from 10 am to 6 pm both days. Entry is €3 and children under 16 are FREE.

Enjoy a day out with family and friends and browse 100+ craft, design and food stalls for unique and special Christmas gifts or something for yourself, whilst your children are entertained.

Tipperary Town Christmas Lights Switch On

The fun starts at 4.00 p.m on Saturday with MC DJ Mossie Richardson, Kiddies Funfair Rides and Games, Music by Galbally NS Band and Carol singers from St. Josephs Girls School Tipperary Town and Circle of Friends Choir and Tipperary Vintage Rally Club Members to distribute goodies to the Children

Santa Claus to arrive at 5.15 p.m. by Polar Express provided by Tipperary Vintage Rally accompanied by Pride of Tipperary Michelle McLaughlin and will officially turn on the Christmas Lights.

Science in Action Open Day

The Open Day in GMIT on Sunday will feature an exciting blend of fantastic interactive shows from a Reptile Village to The Bubble Show; industry demonstrations where you can try out the exciting ‘Dream Flyer'; hands-on workshops such as Madlabs, Building Robots; presentations, free-giveaways and opportunities for all.

It's a great day out for all ages and you're sure to find something of interest. All events are free of charge and there will be free parking at the event.

Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo

A magical night-time spectacular event, featuring giant colourful lanterns and illuminated animal sculptures inspired by wildlife, is now open at Dublin Zoo.

It promises to get you into a festive mood with Chinese performers and craft market with foods and warm drinks.

National Archaeology Museum

On Saturday afternoon, the Museum of Archaeology in Dublin hosts Ancient Animal Bones.

Join Animal Osteologist, Dr Ruth Carden, for a special Science Week workshop and see some animal bones from Viking Dublin and find out about animal bones and teeth along with the scientific techniques and experiments that archaeologists use to tell us about animals in the past and how people interacted with them. 

Russborough House

The is a fun event for young off-road cyclists on Sunday 19th November with a youth off-road cycling race event on the grounds of Russborough House. Registration is at 9 am with €5 entry. Everyone is welcome with spaces for U6 to over 60.

IFI French Film Festival

The 2017 IFI French Film Festival runs for twelve days this year, from November 15th to 26th. Ireland’s largest French cultural event, now in its 18th year, includes 19 Irish premières, and will welcome Oscar-nominated writer-director-actress Agnès Jaoui, writer-director Léa Mysius, and this year’s winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, Robin Campillo and is supported by RTÉ Supporting the Arts

Winter is on the way as temperature set to drop this weekend

3 months ago

Enjoy the last of the mild weather this week as a spell of wintry weather is on the way.

Although most of the country has been enjoying an unseasonably warm mid-term, Met Eireann warns of some unsettled weather expected for the weekend.

Colder conditions will develop overnight on Friday and there will be heavy showers mostly in western and northern areas.

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Saturday will be a typical Irish day with the forecaster suggesting it will be a 'cold, breezy and showery day with sunny spells in all areas'.

However, the occasional heavy rain will be wintry in places, with hail showers and some thundery downpours, especially near Atlantic coasts.

Saturday night will turn very cold with widespread frost and heavy wintry showers continuing in the west.

Sunday will be a drier and brighter day with good sunshine, after some morning showers clear away. Again, it will be cold, with frost for a time on Sunday night.

Early indications suggest that Monday will be a cold, windy and wet day.

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