It's been a fantastic month but also a very busy month, I touch on this a little in my last post The Complete Guide to Fathers Day 2018. We have not long got back from a visit to Ireland where I was doing some shows but I also took my family with me and I think in total we had about 48hrs in Ireland to have fun. So I thought it would be great to mention a few things that we got to do and some things that you really shouldn't miss.
Now before we kick off we can't do this without that little Wonder kids touch so I will also include a couple of great activities to get you in the Irish mood. I have also included all the related posts at the bottom of this article.
We'll kick this off in Dublin, which is a brilliant city with so much you can do this is by far not a complete list of activities. We started our trip at Butlers Chocolate and a tour of the famous Irish chocolate factory. This was a big hit with our daughter. They have two time slots for the tour, due to ferry travel times we had to take the afternoon tour which I'll be honest for me was a little disappointing. The factory was cleaning down and packing away for the day which meant we didn't get to see any chocolates being made. We did get lots of tasty samples and we saw some trays of ready made chocolates. The biggest highlight of this tour is having a go at decorating your chocolates. I have included some pics of our attempts below. Can you guess which one is mine?
Next on our list was Grafton Street, this was only because our daughter had heard it on an Ed Sheeran song. It's like the main high street in Dublin with street performers up and down the street. Some great shops and places to eat here, at the top of the street is St Stephens Green Shopping Centre which was great and some good entertainment too. However just off of Grafton Street is Wicklow Street were you can find Murphy's Ice Cream. Their ice cream is all handmade in Dingle and is delicious. I highly recommend the Brown Bread Flavour and the Sea Salt flavour, in fact just try all of them.
We have one more daytime activity that we were able to try and then we'll move onto nightlife in Dublin. We just about had time to visit Dublin Zoo. You know if you've been to one zoo you've been to them all. They have the same animals that most big zoo's have access too but it's always interesting and Dublin Zoo is a very nice zoo. We managed to get to see some talks and feeding sessions too. It's a lovely option to have available to keep the kids happy. Now what was really surprising about the zoo is that it's located in Phoenix Park. I had heard of this park before we left, apparently there are wild deer that you can see. Now this park is beautiful and it has hundreds of free parking spaces available too. This is incredible for a massive park in a city, you can park your car for FREE! (wake up London) We didn't really have time to explore Phoenix Park and it's something we would go back to when we return.
Nightlife time, now Dublin is legendary for it's nightlife and I think if you are jut a group of adults than you are spoilt for choice for places to go. However we are looking at a family break in Dublin. What can you do with the kids in Dublin in the evening? I would love to hear from anyone that has any great ideas as we would love to go back at some point. Here is what we did, we visited Temple Bar which is just great and very lively, we popped into the actual Temple Bar, really just so my daughter could experience the live music. We stayed for one set of music with a great Irish band playing. There are no shortage of places to visit around here and loads of live music too. It's not all that child friendly which is why we left after one set and boy does it get busy. We were packed in like sardines and you can't really move at all. I have a feeling that it's like this most nights.
The night in Dublin we enjoyed the most was when we booked to go and see the Celtic Nights show in the Arlington Hotel. This show is a three course traditional Irish meal whilst you watch live music and Irish dancers. It runs 7 days a week and we loved it. My daughter is 8yrs old, she loved the food and the dancers. She wasn't too keen on the music but she has time to come round to it. I don't want to spoil the show but the food was great and the show is very energetic (wait for the brooms to come out) and I thought the whole thing was brilliant and good value for money. Below is a quick list of things to do and check out in Dublin, we are going to have some Irish fun next and then move onto Cork and what we found there.
Top Tips in Dublin
Butlers Chocolate Factory Tour
Baggot Court Town House Hotel
Murphy's Ice Cream
Celtic Nights Show Arlington Hotel
St Patricks Joke Teller
Do you remember these from primary school, normally to tell the future, who you would marry or what job you would have etc. This one tells St Patricks day jokes. just click on the pic for the free download. Cut it out, fold it up and play.
Wear it Green Game
This is a super fun and fast game. You will need loads of green clothes, it doesn't matter what, it could be gloves socks, t-shirts, dresses. Anything and everything green you have. You can always raid charity shops for green clothes on the cheap too. Set up two piles or two wash bins filled with the same number of green clothing. I think 5-7 items in each bin is perfect. Now if you have two players they need to run up to the bins and put on one item of clothing and then race back to the beginning. The first person to go back and fourth and wear all items from the bin is the winner.
Instead of just running they could hop on one leg or leap like a frog, belly crawl, forward roll etc.
Relay race - set up two teams of three or more people and play the game as above, when the first player returns they tag the next player to hop or leap up to the bin and put on a piece of clothing. Now for this you want at least two items of clothing per player.
How about using this music whilst everyone is racing?
Irish Soda Bread
The kids kitchen brings you another great recipe idea here, make sure you check out the Kids Kitchen recipes for some great affordable fun in the kitchen, click on the pic opposite.
Any bread is great to make with kids so why not get in the kitchen and make this super tasty soda bread which to me is more of a cake consistancy rather than a normal bread texture.
Here is what you will need to make this tasty bread
4 cups of flour
1/3 cup of sugar + 1/2 tablespoon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup of butter milk
1/4 cup of melted butter for brushing on top
1/2 cup of raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and softened butter. Mix in the buttermilk and egg until dough starts to form, then fold in raisins. If dough is still crumbly, add a splash of buttermilk until it comes together.
Knead dough on a floured surface. Form into a round loaf.
Brush the top of the loaf with 1/4 cup of melted butter then sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of sugar on top.
Cut an X into the top of the loaf using a sharp knife.
Bake for 1 hour. Test to see if it is done by inserting a toothpick into the center and checking to see that it comes out clean. If the loaf is too thick, the center might take longer to bake. Simply place some foil over the top of the loaf and continue baking until done.
We only spent a few hours in Cork really, we stayed in the Clayton Hotel which is a lovely 4 star hotel geared towards the corporate market. We got a special offer to stay here and then upon arrival our room got upgraded to a suite. Nothing like the luck of the Irish. It was a beautiful room to stay in. We went and had a good walk around the centre of cork and we visited the famous English Market, this is a lovely market, we did spend a few euro's and there are plenty of places to eat here too. I think really if you are staying nearby self catering or you are staying with friends then. this would be a great place to shop for some really good Irish ingredients to cook with. The real reason for us visiting Cork was that it is near to Blarney Castle.
Blarney Castle was superb and I would really recommend a visit there, you can go and kiss the Blarney Stone and walk around the grounds. The grounds are amazing with waterfalls, fairy gardens, a witch, neolithic stone circles, great views and even a poison garden! Something we didn't realise was how many other attractions are near Blarney Castle. I would recommend staying somewhere really close to Blarney Castle and visiting some of the other attractions near by. We saw some great restaurants, another chocolate factory and loads more right on the doorstep to the Blarney Castle. Here are some pics of us around the grounds of Blarney Castle.
Thanks for reading, please do share this post with your friend son social media too. I have included below some related posts that you may also be interest in. You can you the search bar at the top of the page to find out loads more great fun for kids in the Wonder Kids blog.