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Republic of Ireland: The Best Family Attractions

  • Dublin Zoo in the Phoenix Park (Dublin): Kids love this sympathetically designed zoo, with its wild creatures, animal-petting corners, and train ride. The surrounding park has room to run, picnic, and explore.

  • Irish National Heritage Park (County Wexford): Nearly 9,000 years of Irish history come alive here in ways that will fascinate visitors of all ages. The whole family will be captivated by the story of ancient Ireland, from its first inhabitants to its Norman conquerors.

  • Fota Island Wildlife Park (County Cork): In this wildlife park, rare and endangered animals roam freely. You'll see everything from giraffes and zebras to kangaroos, flamingos, penguins, and monkeys wandering the grassland. Add in a small amusement park for toddlers, a tour train, picnic tables, and a gift shop and you have the makings of a wonderful family outing.

  • Muckross House & Gardens (Killarney, County Kerry): This huge Victorian mansion with its exquisite gardens is also home to skilled artisans at work. Nearby are a series of reconstructed traditional farms, with animals and docents, providing a gateway to rural Ireland as it was for centuries.

  • Fungie the Dolphin Tours (Dingle, County Kerry): Every day, fishing boats ferry visitors out into the nearby waters to see Fungie, the friendliest dolphin you're ever likely to meet. Fungie swims right up to the boat, and the boatmen stay out long enough for ample sightings. You can also arrange an early-morning dolphin swim.

  • Bunratty Castle and Folk Park (County Clare): Kids are enthralled by this well-restored medieval castle and re-created 19th-century village. It's complete with a school and loaded with active craftspeople.

  • Marble Arch Caves (Marlbank, County Fermanagh): Adventurous families are guided by boat through well-lit underground waterways to explore caves and view amazing stone formations.

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