Ciara McDonnell rounds up the best events and activities for children and families this Easter.
Tralee hosts a full programme of family-friendly activities over the Easter break, thanks to the Tír Na nÓg Festival and Easter In Tralee celebrations. On Saturday April 20, the Easter Fancy Dress Family Fun Run is leaving from the town park at 1pm.
It’s a riotously fun opportunity to exercise, with music and face-painting and lots of prizes for the best-dressed family. Tickets are €5 per child, adults go free, and all proceeds go to Down Syndrome Ireland.
Register for events on Eventbrite, searching ‘Easter Fancy Dress Fun Run’, and check out the full complement of activities on the Easter In Tralee Facebook page, facebook.com/EasterInTralee
Croke Park is throwing open its doors to their GAA Easter Extravaganza for the weekend.
Your mini county stars will love the guided tour of the hallowed stadium before putting all their newly-mined knowledge to the test with a sport-themed egg hunt.
Egg in hand, you’ll have some time to explore the fantastic onsite museum, where you’ll all get a chance to see the original Sam Maguire and Liam MacCarthy Cups and put your skills to the test at the Interactive Games Zone.
Tours run daily from Thursday April 18 to Monday April 22, and cost €9 per adult and €11 per child. See crokepark.ie.
Would-be chefs and chocoholics will be in heaven at the Butlers Chocolate Experience this Easter, where they are hosting a Mad Hatter themed experience for the holidays.
Families will have a chance to learn all about where chocolate comes from and how it is made. You will dress like a real-life chocolatier and watch the Butlers Chocolate Movie before heading over the interactive museum and then onto the factory, to try your hand at chocolate making.
Like all good Easter events, the day ends with a Butlers egg hunt.
Tickets to the Butlers Chocolate Experience cost €13.50 per person and a family ticket costs €50. www.butlerschocolates.com.
The National Stud is a hive of activity for the Easter holidays this year.
It’s the perfect time of year to meet the newborn additions to the stud, which are worth the visit alone, frankly, but there’s a lot more on too.
Until April 22, there’ll be daily face-painting and magic shows and pony rides, as well as an onsite egg hunt.
The stud is well equipped for a family day with a fairy trail and brilliant playground, as well as a fantastic restaurant.
Family tickets cost just €29.50 for two adults and up to four children.
Smallies will be enthralled by a trip to Cork Opera House on Easter Monday for Humpty Dumpty’s Big Egg-Venture where the age-old tale of Humpty Dumpty is given the all-singing, all-dancing treatment that the Opera House does so well.
Expect to sing and solve puzzles as this highly energetic performance takes in all of our favourite nursery rhymes including The Three Little Pigs, Little Bo Peep and Old Mac Donald as they follow Humpty’s big mission to scale the biggest wall in the Kingdom.
Tickets cost €12 each, and the performance takes place on Monday 22nd April at 11am. www.corkoperahouse.ie.
Glór Theatre in Ennis is playing homage to all things dance this Easter with four glorious performances from the students and company members of BreakThrough Dance Company.
Dance Fusion will take you on a journey through dance, song and drama all inspired by the most popular movies from the history of cinema.
Sit back and enjoy a wonderful evening’s entertainment suitable for all the family to enjoy and a really accessible way of introducing children to the medium and power of dance.
Tickets cost €15 each. glor.ie.
Triskel Arts Centre is screening The Goonies from 21st-24th April, giving parents an ideal space to show their children what real cinema is all about.
Indoctrinate them in the gospel of Stephen Spielberg at the gorgeous Triskel treat them to a burger in the city afterwards – you’ll be the best parent ever.
Tickets €6.50 for the 1pm matinee and €9.50 for the 6.15pm showing. triskelartscentre.ie.
Egg & Spoon is taking to the stage at Source in Thurles on April 26, offering a much-needed day out at the end of the Easter break.
Aimed at the under-fives, this supercharged romp aims to introduce children to the wonders of nature.
Through song, dance and games, this extremely gentle and inclusive show is a wonderful first step into the magical world of theatre, and at 40 minutes in length, is a perfect running time for toddlers on the move.
Tickets cost €7, and show starts at 11am. www.thesourceartscentre.ie.
Kerry County Museum presents a fantastic amount of year-round family workshops.
They have some great upcoming ones, including a Fossil Clinic on April 20, where you can bring along your own fossil, and learn all about fossils that local geologist Gosia picked up on Kerry Beaches.
Throughout the Easter holidays, the museum is hosting its very own teddy bear trail through the museum, which makes it very easy to encourage stropping smallies through exhibitions that their older siblings are enthralled with. kerrymuseum.ie
Leahys Open Farm in Middleton offers a full-service Easter day out, including the crucial egg hunt.
As well as egg and spoon races for the parents (ignore as you see fit), a constantly replenished supply of Easter eggs is dropped across the farm throughout Easter weekend, which can be found with the help of the map that each child receives on entry.
There’ll be egg-throwing competitions and all sorts of shenanigans, not forgetting the farm itself, which is worth visiting all year round. Tickets cost €10.50 each. leahysopenfarm.ie.
Get back to nature in the fabulous surrounds of Fota House Arboretum and Gardens this Easter.
For the holiday weekend, the Arboretum will be the setting for Dorothy’s Trail, named after Dorothy Bell, the former owner of the estate.
Armed with some clues and a map, walk in her footsteps and enjoy the gorgeous gardens in a way you might not have before, and once armed with your precious egg, spread a blanket and enjoy a holiday picnic.
Tickets cost €8 per child. fotahouse.com.
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For families who like the outdoors, Castlecomer Discovery Park in Kilkenny is one of the best days out in the country at any time of year.
There are ziplines, high ropes, boats, and scavenger hunts but during Easter, there’s even more.
The Easter trail explores some of the 80 acres of woodland for seasonally-themed clues you must find in order to get your egg at the end.
The Easter trail costs €10 per family. See www.discoverypark.ie.
The Aviva Soccer Sisters Easter Festival is offering free summer camps across the country for girls between the ages of 6 and 14 from April 15 to 26.
Each girl who attends a Come And Try camp will get a limited edition Aviva Soccer Sisters Jersey, and an official FAI Aviva Soccer Sisters completion certificate and be in with a chance to win a place at the Aviva Soccer Sisters Dream Camp, which will take place at Aviva Stadium on May 29.