From fire-breathing dragons and famous children’s authors to dads cooking scallops and kids baking space cupcakes– it’s all on offer this July as the country gears up for some fab family fun.
The craic kicks off early in the month with Funny-Fest, a festival of comedy for children at Dublin’s cultural centre which offers all sorts of events, aimed at everyone from two to 12.
From July 5th, through to August 24th, The Ark in the capital’s Temple Bar, is a real comedy house, with everything from family stand-up to a nonsense poetry event and workshops on stand-up comedy, comedy animation and slapstick. Visit www.theark.ie
This is also the month when bookworms from tots to teens get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet their favourite writers at the 2014 West Cork Literary Festival Children’s Festival in Bantry (July 6th to 12th).
From Monday July 7th to Friday 11th there’s something for all young book-lovers including workshops with award-winning poet Gabriel Rosenstock and story-telling with Niall de Búrca, voted Ireland’s best children’s entertainer.
There are opportunities galore to meet favourite authors such as Mari Hedderwick, creator of the award-winning Katie Morag series of books, award-winning children’s writer Oisín McGann, Judi Curtin, the best-selling author of the Alice and Megan series and the smash-hit Eva series “Eva and the Hidden Diary”. For more information or bookings, visit www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie Telephone: 027 52788/9 LoCall: 1850 788 789.
If you feel it’s beyond time for dad to don his apron, check out the Valentia Island King Scallop Festival, which runs on the Kerry island on July 12th and 13th.
This is the fifth year of this colourful local festival, which has grown into a hugely popular family and community event on the waterfront in Knightstown.
There’ll be live music, scallop shell painting and bouncy castles throughout the weekend, not to mention the annual Children's Duathlon (swim & run).
On Sunday evening, the festival features a 'Scallop Cook-Off,' when local men grab their frying pans to see who gets to be crowned Mr King Scallop 2014.
Next on the agenda is the hugely colourful 36-year-old Galway International Arts festival which kicks off for the best part of two weeks on July 14th featuring a huge array of colourful events.
Long established as Ireland's leading arts festival, last year it clocked up more than 165,000 attendances at 190 performances, exhibitions and talks which took place in 29 venues.
One of its hallmarks is the series of amazing street spectacles which are free. You can bet the kids will be utterly mesmerised by the smoke, flames and dragons in Dragonus (July 19th and 20th) and by the grand-scale spectacular Hallali, which runs on July 16th and 17th. For more information telephone 091 509700, email email@example.com or visit www.facebook.com/galwayarts www.galwayartsfestival.ie
Later in the month, from July 28th to August 3rd, the renowned sprOg takes place a week before the Waterford Spraoi festival. This is the 15th year of the festival, which is based around the Garter Lane Arts Centre, and promises a packed programme of shows, workshops, films and exhibitions. This year the event comes with a significant science-y twist, featuring lots of emissions, eruptions and explosions.
There’s a pop-up planetarium, space cupcakes and racing rockets. Needless to say, the advice is to pre-book to avoid disappointment – telephone 051 855038, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com, www.twitter.com or www.garterlane.ie .
Rainy days are not uncommon in this country in July, so why not pencil in a trip to the Aillwee Cave & The Birds Of Prey Centre at Ballyvaughan, Co Clare? (065 7077036, email email@example.com or visit www.aillweecave.ie).
You can explore the caves, hike through caverns and over bridged chasms and see unusual rock formations and a cascading waterfall in stunning natural surrounds which were formed by prehistoric Ice Age melt waters slowly carving paths through this limestone mountain.
And when you’ve done all of that, there’s the Burren Birds of Prey Centre, located at the foot of Aillwee Cave. It features the country’s largest display of falcons, harris hawks, owls, American kestrels and white tailed sea eagles.
If you’ve a few hours free on Saturday July 26th, the Kilmacanogue Horse Show in Enniskerry Co Wicklow is an excellent place to spend a lazy summer afternoon with the family.
Children's pony classes, a family dog show (with entries taken on the day) a children's art competition, treasure hunt, face-painting, and pony rides are just some of the attractions for the little ‘uns, while for adults with an interest in all things equine, showing classes attract entries from near and far with classes for mares and foals, Irish Draught Horses, hunters, Connemara and Welsh Ponies and miniature horses, carriage-driving, working hunter and a sheep show.
There are competitions galore - you can even bring your Scarecrow and enter the Best Scarecrow competition! It costs €5 for adults to enter the show, which runs from 9.30am to 5pm, but children are free. For more information visit www.kilmacanoguehorseshow.com or phone 01 2862820
You may also enjoy our previous feature Top 10 tips for a happy family holiday, brought to you by GloHealth.
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