Dublin Castle Courtyard
Dublin Castle Courtyard
Dublin has old world charm with a modern vibe. The city truly is the heart of the Republic of Ireland. We started our visit in Dublin with a stay at the Fitzwilliam Hotel ideally located at Saint Stephen’s Green, a beautiful city park, in the heart of the city.  The Fitzwilliam has a modern flare and features the Citron Restaurant and a Bar – Coffee Shop.

The Fitzwilliam is a five star hotel, and offers all the amenities including an Irish breakfast right across the street from a park with a playground for the kids to run and play.  For families the Fitzwilliam hotel offers two packages: the deluxe, $229 Euros/night, which includes two adults two children with a king size 4 poster bed and a pullout sofa and a view of Saint Stephen’s Green or the quiet country garden.  The Family luxury package, $299 Euros/night, includes all in the deluxe plan plus family dinner at the Inn on the Green. (Reserve your own private family booth) and full Irish breakfast for everyone.


The Irish Breakfast, eggs, sausage, bacon, mushroom, tomatoes and black and white pudding and toast it is delicious and very filling.  You can also order other hot menu items, pancakes, French toast, eggs benedict, etc. off the menu or choose the breakfast bar which 

Dublin colorful doors
Dublin Colorful Doors

include yogurt, fruit, cereal, breads and sweets rolls and juice.

Other Family Friendly Accommodations

The Merrion Hotel is kid friendly and provides kid in-room amenities and will arrange exciting daytime activities. It is located in the city in the heart of Georgian Dublin. The Merrion Hotel is very close to Merrion Square and its playground.

As a family-friendly luxury hotel, The Merrion offers a babysitting service, cots, extra beds and a special junior room service menu. They have a swimming pool and even provide mini- bathrobes. 
Babes to teens will enjoy the Merrion. Rates $330- 500 Euros per night.

For those more budget conscious the Harding Hotel, $150 Euros/night, https://www.hardinghotel.ie/, on Copper Alley, Fishamble Street is well located in walking distance to many attractions in the heart of the city. Rooms are spacious and the staff is friendly and very helpful.

Dublin Attractions

Dublin hop on hop off bus
Dublin Hop On Hop Off Bus
The Dublin Hop on Hop Off Bus is a great way to get around in the city and see all the sites.  Tickets are valid for 48 hours.


This family fun, friendly tour passes Dublin’s top visitor attractions including the Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin Zoo, Trinity College Book of Kells and many more. They offer special kids commentary that provides educational but fun descriptions which is appropriate for 4-12 year olds.

Special Schedule and Details

Red Route: 10 to 20 minutes
Blue Route: 30 to 60 minutes (July & August: 20 to 30 minutes)

Last Tours: 
Red Route
 March & October: 5:00 pm
May, June & September: 7:00 pm
July & August: 7:30 pm
November through February: 4:40 pm
 Blue Route
 September through June: 3:30 pm
July & August: 4:30 pm

There are no tours scheduled on the following dates:

___   March 17

___   October 27

___   December 22-26

With nearly 30 stops on the tour’s two routes, you will pass all of the significant and exciting areas in the capital. Starting on Dublin’s main street – O’Connell Street – the tour visits the main shopping areas, the entertainment areas, visitor attractions, national museums & galleries and passes from modern city living to old Dublin. Enjoy the convenience of hopping on and off as often as you like with a frequent (8-30 minutes) service.

Tour Stops

___   1. 14 Upper O’Connell Street

___   1a. Dublin Visitor Centre, Lower O’Connell Street

___   2. Trinity College

___   3. Nassau Street

___   4. Leinster Street

___   5. Merrion Square, Oscar Wilde Statue

___   6. Merrion Square, National Museum of Ireland-Natural History

___   7. St. Stephens Green

___   8. Suffolk Street

___   9. Dame Street

___   10. Dame Street – Dublin Castle (this stop for Free Walking Tours at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm)

___   11. Christ Church Cathedral, Dublinia

___   12. Patrick Street, St. Patrick’s Cathedral

___   13. High Street

___   14. St. James Gate, Guinness Storehouse

___   15. Royal Hospital Kilmainham, IMMA

___   16. Kilmainham Gaol

___   17. Heuston Station

___   18. Parkgate Street

___   19. Phoenix Park, Dublin Zoo

___   20. Collins Barracks

___   21. Church Street, St. Michan’s Crypt

___   21a. Smithfield, Old Jameson Distillery

___   22. Bachelor’s Walk, Leprechaun Museum

___   23. Parnell Square

___   23a. Glasnevin Cemetery, Botanic Gardens

24a. Croke Park Stadium Tour

Kilmainham gaol
Kilmainham Gaol Outside
Kilmainham Gaol (stop 16)


The tour guide on the Dublin Hop On Hop Off Bus recommended going to the Kilmainham Gaol first, early in the day, due to the limited number of tickets sold per day and potential for long lines. The tour of the Gaol (jail) is very interesting and tells you a lot about the Irish Famine and most of all about the Irish fight to be independent from England. Visit the interactive center to hear about prisoner experience at Kilmainham Gaol and go on guided tour to see the cells and work yard and learn more about the Gaol.  Kilmainham Gaol is sure to please and educate kids and parents alike.

The tour begins in the assembly room that was also used as a chapel. The guides tells a story about the 1916 rebel Joseph Plunkett who was condemned to death and was married to Grace at the prison right before his execution.  You might here the song about Grace (see lyrics below) played at local pubs featuring traditional Irish music throughout Ireland.

Lyrics to Grace

Kilmainham Gaol Hallway
KIlmainham Gaol Hallway
As we gather in the chapel here in old Kilmainham Jail 
I think about these past few weeks, oh will they say we’ve failed 
From our schooldays they have told us we must yearn for liberty 
Yet all I want in this dark place is to have you here with me. 



Oh Grace just hold me in your arms ad let this moment linger 
They’ll take me out at dawn and I will die 
With all my love I place this wedding ring upon your finger 
There won’t be time to share our love for we must say goodbye. 

Now I know it’s hard for you my love to ever understand 
The love I bear for these brave men, my love for this dear land 
But when the Padhraic called me to his side down in the GPO 
I had to leave my own sick bed, to him I had to go


Now as dawn is breaking, my heart is breaking too, 
On this May morn as I walk out my thoughts well be of you 
And I’ll write some words upon the wall so everyone will know 
I love so much that I could see his blood upon the rose.


Dublin zoo lion
Dublin Zoo Lion
Dublin Zoo (stop 19)

The Dublin zoon is located in Phoenix Park and is the home of the lion you see at the start of MGM movies.  The zoo has over 400 species of wild animals featuring elephants, penguins, African savannah animals and wolves. The Family Farm and Meer cat’s sections are family favorites. At the zoo in the Kaziranga Forest Trail you might be able to catch a glimpse of a group of Asian elephants including elephant bull Upali, the matriarch Bernhardine, her sister Yasmin, their daughters Asha and Anak and the calves Kavi, Ashoka and Samiya.

Penguin feeding time is at 2:30 pm daily and really brings the whole community to life.  Wolf feed usually takes place Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the morning. The African savannah includes giraffe, zebra, ostrich, and scimitar-horned Oryx. The zoo offers daily talks about the animals throughout the summer. There are restaurants, snack bars and a zoo shop. 2015 price is 16,80 adults, 12,00 children over age 3, kids under 3 free (Euros).

Be sure to check out Phoenix Park too, it has 1752 acres with a fallow deer herd.  It offers plenty of room for the young ones to run about and play. The visitor’s center and Ashtown Castle offer an entertaining exhibition on the history and wildlife of the Phoenix Park and includes historical information about the park from 3,500 B.C. to the present day.

Dublin Castle tower
Dublin Castle Tower
The Dublin Castle(stop 9)

Free walking tours are available at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. The Castle is mainly the State Apartments since most of original castle burnt down in 1884. The Chapel Tower is the only remaining section of the original castle. The complex is made up of beautiful Georgian buildings included in the tour are the throne room, portrait gallery, Wedgewood room and the St. Patrick’s Grand Hall.  The guided tour of the castle provides information on Ireland’s history and struggles with the Vikings, Normans and English.

The castle originally had 4 towers and was surrounded by the Puddle River that is now underground. Meiler Fitzhenry first founded the Dublin Castle as a major defensive workon the orders of King John of Englandin 1204,sometime after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169. Until 1922 it was the seat of British rule on Ireland, now is used for ceremonial purposes.

dublin Castel Gate Statue of Lady Justice
Lady Justice Statue on top of Dublin Castle Gate

Be sure to look for the Lady Justice Statue over the Gate, the Irish’s favorite saying about it when the British ruled Ireland was, The Statue of Justice, mark well her station, her face to the castle and her arse to the nation!

Take a break after visiting the Dublin Castle at the Oak Pub across the street. It is traditional Irish pub with wood paneled walls and stylish mirrors, and mosaics. They have friendly bar tenders, food and snacks and of course Guinness and many other beers on tap.

Christ Church (Stop 11)

Christ Church is located in the medieval city of Dublin; it is over 1,000 years old with building beginning in 1030. It was originally a Catholic Church under King James II of England but became protestant when King Henry the VIII broke with the Catholic Church and founded the Church of England. It is the burial place of Stongbow, Dermot MacMurrough, who was the King of Leinster during the twelfth century and is most remembered as the man who invited the 

Christ Church Dublin
Christ Church
English into Ireland. The Crypt is open to visit and they offer a video presentation about he churches history.  We stayed for Evesong prayers and songs by the choir. The Christ Church Choir was the first to sing Handel’s Messiah in 1742.

Ireland is known for its seafood and the Cliff  Townhouse Restaurant, 22 St Stephens Green, is one of the best. This easygoing restaurant has excellent service and a wide variety of Dublin classics includingGalway oysters, native lobster, dressed Yawl Bay crab, wild sea trout,  and posh fish and chips.



There are hundreds of pubs in Dublin both in the St. Stephen’s Green area and the Temple Bar area. They offer a perfect an opportunity to introduce your kids to traditional Irish music. It is a wonderful experience for kids and parents.  The rule of thumb is that kids should not be in the Pub, unless you are eating, no later than 9PM in the winter and 10PM in the summer. Many pubs offer two music sets, one early at 5-7pm and one later in the evening.

If you want to experience an authentic Dublin bar, submerge yourself in ´Neill´s, Dublin pub culture at its finest. O”Neill’s has existed as a licen

Trinity college
Trinity College Home of the Book of Kells
Book of Kells (Trinity College Stop 2)

The book of Kells consists of 339 vellum leaves or folios with four gospels, Matthew, Mark Luke and John plus the genealogy of Jesus Christ.  The gospels are copied by hand and highly decorated in ornamental manuscript. It has many evangelical symbols and depictions of the apostles beautifully drawn in color. The Book of Kells is believed to have been written at the Abbey of Kells by the Celts starting in 563.  The Abbey was plunder and the book stolen and resold many times over the centuries until 1661 when Charles II presented to Trinity college where is remains.

Also, included when you visit the Book of Kells is the Old Library at Trinity college which features the Long Room which is 65 meters in length  encircled at the top with a band of gold lettering commemorating the benefactors of the library in the 17th and 18th centuries.  The Old Library holds 200,000 books and important artifacts such as the1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, which was read outside the General Post Office on 24 April 1916 by Patrick Pearse at the start of the Easter Rising.  And a harp  that is probably the oldest of its kind in Ireland dates from the 15th century. It is made of oak and willow with 29 brass strings. It is the model for the emblem of Ireland..  The dark wood paneling and tall book stacks of the Old Library  make you feel that you have stepped back in time on maybe into a Harry Potter Movie

Jeanie Johnston Tall ship
Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship
Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship ( Stop 22 Bachelor’s Walk, Leprechaun Museum)

The Jeanie Johnston is docked at Custom House Quay along the Lifey River.

On the ship you will experience what millions of people who immigrated to the New World did as they fled across the Atlantic from the Famine between 1845-55. As the famine gripped Ireland, the Jeannie Johnston made 16 successful crossings of the Atlantic Ocean, taking 2,500 emigrants from Ireland to North America and bringing back timber bound for Europe. The ship is an authentic replica.


Viking Tour in Lifey river
Viking Tour on Lifey River
Viking Splash Tour

Is a fun one hour and fifteen minutes tour of Dublin on land and in the water. An amphibious vehicle takes you from land to water and back again, offering sites not available on other Dublin tours

The major sights of the tour include: Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Viking Dublin, Medieval Dublin, Georgian Dublin, Government buildings, and the Dublin Docklands.

Viking Splash Tours operates in all kinds of weather even rain!  Be sure to dress for Irish weather (sandals and raincoats?).  Rain ponchos are provided on tour during inclement weather. The tour operator includes Viking hats.


→ Adult €22 (€20 if you book online!)

→ Child (Aged 2*-12) €12

→ Children (UNDER 2) our tour is not suitable for children under the age of 2

→ Teenager (13-17) €16

 â†’ Student/OAP €20 (€18 if you book online!)

→ Family (2 Adults + 3 Children) €70


Dublinia, a profit heritage center, is a place to meet the Vikings face to face, try on Viking clothes, and see what is feels like on a Viking ship.  You can learn about life in Medieval Dublin. See Strongbow’s warfare tactics and  weapons, learn about crime and punishment, death and disease and even toothache remedies of 700 years ago. You can even learn to play medieval games. Be an archeologist, piece together the history of Dublin with artifacts including skeletal remains of a Viking warrior and a medieval woman, both found in Dublin.

Dublinia opening times:

10.00am to 6.30pm (Last entry 5.30pm) March to September.

10.00am to 5.30pm (Last entry 4.30pm) October to February.

Recommended length of visit is 90 minutes.

Adult: €8.50

Student/Senior: €7.50

Child: €5.50

Family: €24.00 (2 Adults & 2 Children)

Hotels in Dublin

Greta Jenkins

Greta Jenkins is an author, mom, nurse and a community volunteer. She is the author of various articles about home and family life and has been featured in various parenting magazines and newspapers.
Greta Jenkins
https://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2015/07/dub-castle.jpghttps://imgsub.familiesonlinemagazine.com/uploads/2015/07/dub-castle-150x150.jpgGreta JenkinsAre we there Yet?Dublin has old world charm with a modern vibe. The city truly is the heart of the Republic of Ireland. We started our visit in Dublin with a stay at the Fitzwilliam Hotel ideally located at Saint Stephen's Green, a beautiful city park, in the heart of the...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids