Ireland – Tips and Recommendations
- Did you know that 33 million Americans have Irish heritage? The United States and Ireland have always had close ties. And, now more than ever, Ireland is encouraging Irish Americans to visit and find their ancestors in Ireland.
- Ireland is one of the most family-friendly destinations on the planet. Not only is it one of the safest countries in the world, but its small towns and villages are also perfect for family strolls. Even Dublin, Ireland’s largest city, has a central core area that can be walked in 30 minutes. Of course, visiting a fellow English speaking country also makes travel so much simpler.
- Ireland is a perfect base for exploring more of Europe. Flights from Ireland to places like England, France, Spain, and Italy can often be found for as little as 25 dollars!
- Not sure how to book some of the activities, tours, and excursions? Try Get Your Guide.
Do you have Irish heritage? Finding your ancestors in Ireland can be a great way to connect with your family history. Wander the cobblestone paths your great grandparents laid and experience that famous Irish hospitality. Open your children’s eyes to the wonders of the past! Engage them in history and travel with a once in a lifetime adventure.
There is no better time than now to explore your Irish heritage. The number of families wanting to trace their roots to Ireland and Northern Ireland has surged in popularity over the past decades. The Irish and British governments are keen to help in finding ancestors in Ireland and have set up extensive databases to help in tracing roots from all over Ireland.
Are you looking to start tracing your roots in Ireland? Here is everything you need to know about finding ancestors in Ireland and visiting the Emerald Island with children.
Finding Ancestors in Ireland Ahead of Time
The government of the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom have created incredible resources to help you find your ancestors in Ireland and Northern Ireland. If you have Irish heritage, you can start tracing your roots in Ireland at Irish Genealogy, the National Archives of Ireland, Ask About Ireland, Dublin City Databases, and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.
Online tools are perfect for exploring your Irish heritage before you arrive and finding your ancestors throughout Ireland.
The Path to Tracing Your Roots in Ireland
Wherever you end up finding ancestors in Ireland, it is well worth exploring the entirety of the island. From Dublin to Donegal, there is something for the whole family here.
Explore your Irish heritage and take in the sights as you circle this gorgeous island. Stroll through the iconic landmarks of metropolitan Dublin. Kiss the Blarney Stone. Find out Ireland never left the hearts of those who left the island.
Staying in Dublin with Children
Most flights arrive in Dublin and it’s a good starting point. Spots like Imaginosity and the Dublin Zoo are fun for the whole family. If you are lucky enough to get some of that rare Irish sun, Dun Laoghaire Pier for swimming, sailing, or just strolling around with an ice cream cone.
At Dublin City Library and Archive, you can check civil registration indexes to help you in finding ancestors in Ireland. At the General Register Office, you can get copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates or just verify names, dates, and locations.
Castleknock Hotel is a perfect family-friendly hotel in Dublin. It’s in the middle of the famous Phoenix Park right beside Dublin zoo. In a quiet area just 15-minutes from the heart of Dublin city center, this hotel has everything an active family could ask for. With a golf course, outdoor BBQ space, a massive pool, and sauna for the parents along with a children’s pool and playground for the kids, no one will be bored here.
Visiting Cork with Children
The next stop on your family trip to Ireland is Cork. It is about a three-hour drive from Dublin. There are also buses and trains that will take you. The best option just depends on which is more comfortable for you and your children.
On your way from Cork, you may want to make time for a stop in Kilkenny or Waterford. For older kids, Kilkenny Castle is a perfect pitstop. You can tour the beautifully restored castle and play ball outside in the lush gardens. Families with younger children will love Nore Valley Park in Kilkenny, where they can play with animals or even camp overnight. If you want to cool down after a long summer road trip, Splashworld in Waterford is a must!
After a crazy few days of tracing your roots around Ireland, bring the family for the ultimate escape. The Fota Island Resort on Fota Island in County Cork is a dream destination for everyone. Go for a self-catering option to create a home away from home (with up to four bedrooms) or stay in the five-star hotel. Explore the Fota Wildlife Park then steal some me-time at the spa while the little ones explore the kid-friendly playground.
Tip- Cork has a handy online guide with everything you will need for finding ancestors throughout Ireland and in Cork.
If your Irish heritage didn’t give you the gift of gab, you can get it while you are tracing roots across Ireland. Just outside of Cork, you can kiss the world famous Blarney Stone! It is an unforgettable experience for kids and parents alike.
Traveling the Wild Atlantic Way as a Family
Cork to Galway is about a 2.5-hour drive and it will take you into the heart of the west coast of Ireland, also known as the Wild Atlantic Way. While it is a bit of a detour, you absolutely can’t miss the jaw-droppingly beautiful Cliffs of Moher.
Once you get into the city, the Galway City Tourist Train is a fun and kid-friendly way to see the best of the city. You can hop on and off anytime you like. The Galmont is an ideal option for staying in the heart of Galway. There are family rooms with microwaves, cots, and everything else that a family could need. Best of all, you can walk to the best sites of Galway.
Did you know that you can actually see the Northern Lights from Ireland? The best viewing spot is the Donegal Headlands. The ideal viewing time is from 9pm to 1am from November to February. It might be too cold and too late for little ones, but it’s well worth the wait for older ones.
Tracing your roots in Ireland to Donegal? Be sure to check out the extensive Donegal Ancestry site.
Taking the Family to Northern Ireland
Last, but certainly not least, is the Causeway Coastal Route. From Giant’s Causeway to the stunning sites of Game of Thrones, this beautiful coast of Northern Ireland is unmissable.
Tip- As you are tracing your roots around Ireland, keep in mind that Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, not the Republic of Ireland. If you have Irish heritage that crosses the border, looking into resources that are specialized to Northern Ireland genealogy.