Summer camps to make your teen a happy camper

Worried about how to keep a teenager occupied now that summer jobs are a thing of the past Arlene Harris found some of the better camps to keep them busy this summer holidays

It may feel as though we have just taken down the Christmas decorations but in fact the school year is over for tens of thousands of teenagers all over the country. And while they will undoubtedly be revelling in the idea of having three whole months to lie-in and chill-out, their parents are likely to be a little less enthusiastic as the prospect of keeping them entertained until September is more than a little daunting.

But while we can do little to encourage them to cut the grass and keep their rooms tidy, we can help with some ideas — and have compiled a selection of summer camps which should go some way to alleviating the stereotypical teenage boredom.

For teenagers or older children, a residential camp is often just the ticket as it gives them, what is often, their first taste of independence while either learning a new skill or meeting new friends — or even better, both. We look at both day and stayover camps:


Technology is where it’s at nowadays and many children are savvier than their parents when it comes to navigating a computer screen. So if your youngster has a ‘techie’ brain and is interested in a career in IT; or even if he simply likes playing computer games, then Whizzkids summer camps are the place to go.

Designed for children of all abilities aged between 8 and 17 years, Whizzkids has programmes all over the country including UCD, DCU, UL, IT Tralee, CIT, LIT Clonmel. NUIG and NUI Maynooth — so there is bound to be a camp close enough for your screen-loving child to take part. The only residential course is at UL though.

Day campers should bring headphones and a packed lunch with drinks. All other equipment will be provided. For the week-long residential camp, clothes, swim and sports gear need to be brought — teens are also allowed to bring their own laptops or tablets.

Whizzkids have half-day specialist camps, full-day mixed activity camps and residential camps, priced at €95/€149/€450 respectively.


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Spending time in the Gaeltacht is a rite of passage for Irish teenagers — céilí’s, the daily lessons and the variety of sporting activities are all part and parcel of the two or three-week course.

Located in various venues around the country, most camps offer Irish classes followed by an afternoon of activities including swimming, orienteering, ball games and outdoor adventures. Then after some food and time to relax, the highlight of each day is the evening stomp about the local hall in which friendships are made and a few steps might even be learned.

As most camps are residential, children will be required to bring enough clothes to last the duration of their trip, swimming and sports gear, a musical instrument if applicable and any medication that he/she is taking. The price of these camps will vary but for a three-week residential stay, most start at around €800 including transport and all meals.


With adventure camps in Westport, Tipperary, Kildare and Dublin teenagers will be kept on their toes at one of the residential Horizon camps. Activities include water sports, outdoor pursuits, quad biking, horse riding and a range of sports. There is also the option of mixing sport with learning French or Spanish in the mornings and mingling with European students during afternoon and evening entertainment which will not only enhance the opportunity for perfecting language skills, but will also broaden your teenagers’ horizons in every sense of the word.

The prices of these camps vary depending on location but for a two week residential stay, most start at €800 including all meals.


Maths can be incorporated into so many aspects of everyday life. At the Connemara Maths Academy, tutors will help your teens to get to grips with maths challenges through ‘promoting critical thinking, problem solving and educated risk taking’. At the residential camps at Kylemore Abbey, Glenstal Abbey in Limerick and Killary Adventure Centre in Connemara, participating teens will learn about the likes of virtual reality, film production, music technology, GoPro and 3D Modelling to gain a greater understand of maths.

Suitable for 13-17 year olds, the week-long camps cost from €600 for bed and board.

And for teens who aren’t adventurous enough to stay away from home, there are plenty of options for day camps:


For children with a sense of adventure and plenty of adrenalin, the Blackwater Outdoor Activity Centre could be just the ticket for their summer camp experience.Based in north Cork, activities include; river kayaking and tubing, archery, zorbing, zip-line, dune buggies, laser clay pigeon shooting, wilderness camping, wilderness survival skills and/or combinations of these activities. Its offers residential camps in July and August for 10-14 year olds and day packages for €35 for all teens.

The ability to swim and moderate levels of fitness is desirable but not essential.

www.blackwateroutdooractivities.comor call 086 783 7015


With Adventurers camp for teens running every week of July and August, this waterside activity programme in Dunmore East, Co Waterford, is perfect for any child who likes getting wet. Activities include windsurfing, kayaking, water trampoline, sailing, abseiling, power boat trips and caving. Suitable for children from13 - 17 years of age, this action-packed camp makes the most of our coastline . Campers should bring a packed lunch with drinks, a spare pair of footwear and swimming trunks. All other equipment is provided on site This camp costs €250 and there are family and group discounts.

www.dunmoreadventure.comor call 051 383 783


Only a parent of teenagers will understand the reality of trying to satisfy their voracious appetites. But chances are if they could cook for themselves, it would make life a lot easier.

Brennan’s Cook Shop and School in Oliver Plunkett Street, Cork, offers week-long cookery courses for children and teenagers throughout the summer. With qualified tutors on hand to teach youngsters a variety of recipes and skills, they are likely to finish up with both a better understanding of how to whip up a meal and a new-found passion for cooking. Of course, this is still no guarantee that they will take over from you in the kitchen — but it’s a start. Courses cost from €115.

www.cookshop.ieor call 021 427 8283


Getting their heads stuck into the books is not many teenagers idea of fun, but sometimes the summer break is the perfect time for students to get ahead with subjects they may have found difficult during the school year. These camps are also sought by teens who are hoping for mega points!

Kilmartin Education Services offer week-long courses and grinds in a variety of Leaving Cert and Junior Cert subjects in Limerick and Ennis while Bruce College in Cork also offers August preparation courses in a range of subjects for fifth years entering Leaving Cert.

Visit www.kes.ieand for more information

READ MORE: Summer camps to make your teen a happy camper




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