It’s just one week until the kids break for mid-term. Áilín Quinlan has the lowdown on some of the best activities around the country to keep them entertained.
Cork people have a tendency to take Trabolgan for granted. Perhaps it’s because it’s right on our doorstep.
But trust us, it’s worth a visit.
Catering for all ages, Trabolgan’s pool with wave machine, enormous slide and large (and very safe) baby pool, ticks all the boxes from toddlers to teens.
This year, to mark the Village’s 30th anniversary, Peppa, George, Ben and Holly are on site for meet-and-greets (the restaurant is usually a guaranteed spot at dinner time) and residents’ shows. Fireman Sam remains too. It’s like One Direction for toddlers.
Over at the outdoor adventure area the go-karting is a must for tweens and teens, along with a climbing wall and trampolines for older kids, while an indoor jungle gym caters for the smallies. There are brand new playgrounds and gaming areas too.
Family day pass, €45 (outdoor activity area extra); Trabolgan’s Hallow’een package costs from €353 for three nights for a family of five; www.trabolgan.com
Billed as Ireland’s “scariest attraction,” this demonic display promises to prey on your worst nightmares and is a must-see for horror fans
However, organisers warn this spine-tingling stumble through Cork’s most gruesome neighbourhood might not be suitable for the under-13s, so younger people may need to be supervised by an adult.
All Nightmare Realm events change yearly with new characters and scenes ranging from the ghoulish and grotesque to the truly extreme. Located at Navigation House, Albert Quay, Cork, it’s open from 6pm from Sunday, October 25-November 1.
Online tickets €15 for adults, €13 for students (must show valid ID). You pay €1 extra to buy at the box office. Phone 021 2339043 or visit www.thenightmarerealm.ie
Away with the fairies.. and old bones in an urn
Staying on the supernatural theme, Rineen Woods, just a few miles from the picturesque West Cork village of Union Hall, is just the place to visit at Hallowee’n — the forest has become renowned for the beautifully-crafted fairy houses tucked into some of the trees by the water’s edge.
While you’re on the road there, so to speak, why not stop off at the Drombeg Stone Circle with its megalithic “kitchen” or fulacht fiadh — all perched on a ledge overlooking a dazzling panorama of land and sea a few miles outside Rosscarbery.
Titillate the imagination with the spine-tingling tale of how an urn found buried in the centre of the circle contained the cremated remains… of a teenager.
Hallowee’n Camp at Fota
There’s plenty of spooky fun at the multi-award-winning Fota Wildlife Park, Co Cork.
This park is home to nearly 30 mammal and 50 bird species from all over the world, but this mid-term break will see the arrival of more unusual inhabitants thanks to the park’s popular annual Halloween Camp which takes in everything from spooky Arts & Crafts to fancy dress and story-telling.
The camp costs €25 per child per day or €68 for three days and runs from 11am-4pm. For bookings contact 021-4812678 or visit www.fotawildife.ie
Horror at Ghoulsley Manor
The nightmare creatures of Halloween — witches, vampires and even the occasional talking pumpkin — have taken over the family adventure centre, Cuskinny Court, in Cobh, Co Cork.
A magic spell has transformed the Georgian house into “Ghoulsley Manor” from 23 October-November 1, from 2pm to 8pm daily.
The magical world of Ghoulsley Manor will delight children aged from four to 14 as well as mums, dads, grandparents and guardians who can enjoy an hour-long exploration of the ghastly manor, from its dungeons where Dr Frankenfurter commands you to get the energy flowing through his monster, to Wanda the Witch’s parlour, the creepy coffin and Vladmir, the vegetarian vampire — not to mention the Pumpkin Theatre.
Cost: €13 per head (adults or children) (€52 for family of four).
Booking essential. See www.ghoulsleysmanor.com
Hallowe’en fun in Cork and Limerick
Families in Cork and Limerick can look forward to a Halloween treat, with the return of the spooktacular ‘Happy Halloween’ experience in Jetland Shopping Centre in Limerick, and in Dunnes Stores, Patrick Street, Cork.
Local Limerick company Magic Hammer Events are behind the interactive Halloween experience which offers some spine-chilling fun for all the family from Friday, October 23-Sunday, November 1.
Kids get to meet witch Hattie O’ Goodspell, the Good Witch of Munster, and her friends the spooky skeletons, including old “Lazy Bones”, the bonkers bats, and a host of friendly ghosts and ghouls all happily enjoying their annual Halloween party.
Everyone is encouraged to dress-up in their favourite Halloween costumes before entering Witch Hattie’s house to meet the friendly trainee witch, who guides them on their journey through spectacular spooky sights, en-route to a special rendezvous with Hattie who provides a tour of her magical and spooky lair including her famous witches’ hat & broom collection.
Visitors even get to see where she makes all of her magic potions.
Entrance costs €5 per child and adults are free of charge. For more check out Happy Halloween, Cork and Limerick on Facebook.
Tayto Theme Park
Sprawling across some 55 acres of former Meath farmland near Ashbourne, the park offers more than 100 attractions for all ages, including Ireland’s first rollercoaster, The Cú Chulainn Coaster.
And, from Saturday, October 24 Tayto Park opens its doors to a real Hallowe’en fright fest… in the dark. For the first time visitors are invited to ride the Cú Chulainn Coaster in the dead of night.
Racing along at over 100km per hour and dropping over 32m in an instant, this stomach-churning drop zone is scary enough in daylight — the sheer terror of riding it in the pitch dark cannot be imagined.
From 6pm- 9pm (on October 27-Friday, October 30 ) visitors can experience a night ride on the Cú Chulainn Coaster, the Air Race and the Rotator — and watch a ghoulish 5D Halloween movie in the 5D cinema and experience the gruesome House of Horrors.
During the October mid-term break the park is open from 10am- 5pm, from Saturday October 24- Sunday, November 1st
Tickets and family admission: €14 for all visitors, children under 3 are free, third-level students/OAPs/special needs adult or child are €12, Special needs carer go free. Phone 01 8351999 or visit www.taytopark.ie
Hallowee’n in the Capital
A special Halloween Workshop takes place at Dublin Zoo on October 28 from 10am-2.30pm.
Children are encouraged to arrive in fancy dress at the interactive workshop, which is aimed at ages 6-12 and focuses on the animals traditionally connected to Halloween — €20 for annual passholders, €25 for non-passholders
To book go to www.dublinzoo.ie On Saturday October 31, there’s a creepy arts and crafts session, along with spine-chilling keeper talks and spooky painting – plus a session of monster music takes place from 10am to 5.30pm at the zoo.
Normal admission rates to the zoo apply. Those who want to splash out this mid-term break, may want to take the Highway to Hell at the Gibson Hotel.
It’s jumping on the Halloween bandwagon with a themed playroom packed with Halloween games, movies and treats for the kids, while mum and dad sit back and enjoy a Halloween-inspired cocktail!
A family room for two adults and two children including breakfast will set you back €130 per room. This offer is valid from October 25-November 1.
For more information visit www.thegibsonhotel.ie
Live like royalty
And finally, Halloween horror is the order of the day at Bunratty Castle and Folk Park on bank holiday Monday October 26 from 12pm to 6pm. Expect haunted houses and sppok trains. www.shannonheritage.com
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