Well mates, we did 1 whirle wind week in Ireland with our now 1 yr old, and it was a fantastic trip! If you are looking for a vacation destination that is easy to take baby/toddler along Ireland is definitely a top pick. Lots of space (except on the roads) to breath and let little one explore. We only made it along the south from Dublin to Kerry and back to Dublin because we were actually there for hubby’s work. But, I imagine our experiences and tips could apply to the majority of Ireland. Don’t quote me, though!
So, you are here to read what do to make it the most enjoyable trip. You have probably read my packing list. I have an ammendment to that list for Ireland and big stressor as well.
AN UMBRELLA STROLLER ISNT GOOD ENOUGH! That’s right, as much as I love my baby jogger vue light, it’s not what I took to Ireland. There were too many occasions when sidewalks weren’t available or they were total crap, even Dublin! You will see everyone else using a full size stroller because the bigger wheels are absolutely necessary. So what stroller do I suggest? We took our Babyjogger City Mini GT and it was perfect. It is small, but durable and has great wheels. It folds with one hand for TSA, the plane and the small trunk of the rental car. More on the rental car after I stress…
BRING YOUR OWN BABY FOOD/SNACKS AND DIAPERS! Ireland has a very poor selection of products compared to US and other places in Europe. A waiter that wasn’t for our table actually made a point to come up to me and ask about our Puffs (Gerber’s life saving product for us) because they have nothing like it and always sees them on American mom blogs. I let her try them, she was in awe, and we had a long conversation about baby products in Ireland. If you are looking to open a store in Ireland a Gerber products store would be a huge success. I brought a ton of puffs, crunches and yogurt drops with us and we used every last one. I also brought some purées which was awesome when he was hungry off the typical dining schedule of Ireland. The diaper and wipes selection was also terrible, maybe the majority cloths? None the less, bring enough and use the empty space for souvenirs.
The rental car situation.
We drive manual/standard/stick whatever you want to call it at home. We are very used to it. If you are not used to driving manual, I don’t recommend doing so in Ireland. You will be driving on the opposite side of the road and car. This means Right is wide and left is tight. Just keep reminding yourself of that. The roads are extremely narrow. I mean extremely. The one way we live on is wider than the majority of two ways. If you aren’t used to a manual, you will have an even harder time getting around. Also, in our opinions the Irish are not patient people. They were not kind to driving slow or sharing the road on a super narrow two way. Just trust me, if your daily driver isn’t manual, pay the premium for the automatic. Driving was the only unenjoyable part of our trip because it was pretty stressful.
That said, I do recommend renting your own car if you are leaving Dublin. It’s not so bad you shouldn’t drive, I just want to give a warning. Some of the best areas of Ireland can only be seen if you have your own transport. We stopped many times to see things we never planned, they just pop up everywhere there. Same recommendation on bringing your own car seat. The cars are typically smaller, pack accordingly. We upgraded to a Passat, so we had no issues getting two big cases, stroller and backpacks in the trunk. It was probably as big as we would go there as the parking spots and roads are narrow.
Self-cater or Hotel
We had better experiences in hotels this trip simply because the way of life in the cottage we rented was so different from ours that it required more work than we prefer for a vacation. Our cottage was heated by coal stove, hot water and electric. They all had to be manually controlled and the hot water heaters and electric ones never really heated up. So we had to really feed the coal fire. That meant hubby going outside at 2 am to get more coal. That’s not fun in October with a 1 yr old. If it were spring or summer this issue wouldn’t have occurred. The hot water heater was fairly easy to manage, but silly me didn’t think about needing to turn it on for the laundry as well. Just keep these things in mind when looking for a self-cater option.
The hotels didn’t have any of these issues, and we’re very accommodating and friendly especially when it comes to baby necessities.
All of the places we stayed provided a travel cot. We had no problem getting a high chair at restaurants. We brought our portable one just in case, but the stroller fit in every place we went so we used the tray on it half the time.
Trip highlights with baby
There were a few places that really had our little man excited, and that we also really enjoyed.
The Irish National Heritage Site
just outside of Wexford in Co Wexford. Very cool to learn about the history of Ireland in the great Irish outdoors and Bash really liked looking at everything. The price was fair and if you’re hungry while visiting they have a cafe.
Blarney Castle and Gardens
My husband carried Bash to the top of the castle with us. I would not recommend this if you have a squirmer or aren’t very strong. I never would have done it, and I was a nervous wreck the entire time up. The stairs are spiral, narrow, slippery (it was misting while we were there) and extremely steep! Bash loved it though, and in the end I am glad he got to go up because he was all giggle and excitement. Hanging your baby upside down to kiss the stone is frowned upon we discovered 😜. Jk we didn’t try!
Killarney, Co Kerry
The entire town was great, obviously the national park and castle are the draw, but we had fun going into all of the great shops. Our hotel here was the best of the trip, The International. Lots to see and do, very friendly locals.
This was a last minute driving decision, and turned out to be one of the best places we visited. The trek to the falls is not easy. You will want to lock the front stroller wheel/s and keep a good hold. We back it down when we are feeling uneasy. Prevents baby from getting away from you. Definitely worth the effort, though.
Dublin and Trinity College
Aside from getting bored at the old library seeing The Book of Kels, Bash loved Dublin. Maybe it is because we live an urban life so it felt more like home, but there is just so much to keep him entertained. We toured the Trinity campus, let him out to explore, then had many choices for dinner in that area. The best dining experience we had the entire trip was dinner at Farm on the patio. Bash stayed in his stroller and people watched, while we enjoyed a few courses completely undisturbed. The food was fantastic, the best we had in Ireland. They had a very nice family bathroom with a changing station, as well.
All the ruins along the way.
We stopped and saw many ruins and castles along the way. Too many to list, but getting out of the car was a relief for us and Bash.
All the pubs are kid friendly until the night. You don’t have to feel strange about it because there will likely be other kids there as well. In the evening they can be very loud though, so we opted for restaurants or take away (carry out) for dinner. We very much enjoyed the Langton’s pub in Kilkenny for lunch. Spacious and there were quite a few children other children dining.
That’s really about it:) Go enjoy the Emerald Isle with your little!
Have questions or want to add something I left out? Leave a Comment!