Visiting Ireland with teens is a fantastic idea, whether you have older teens or younger children. If it’s their first time in Europe, the lack of a language barrier makes it easy to find new friends. The distinctive Irish culture, lush green national parks, fascinating historic sites, and traditional Irish music will make any family trip to the Emerald Isle a truly unique experience.
Whether you’re planning a weeks-long road trip for the whole family or a short city break, this guide covers all the top attractions and destinations ideal for young people. It’s split by area so you can find Ireland teen travel inspiration for the parts of the country you’re visiting!
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Best Places to Explore in Ireland with Teens
East Coast of Ireland With Teens
The East Coast is home to the capital of Ireland and its many attractions as well as a beautiful national park. It’s a great place to visit if you don’t have a lot of time to spend in Ireland with teens.
1. Dublin Attractions
You can’t visit Ireland with teens without visiting Dublin. As the capital city, it’s one of the most famous and storied parts of the country. Its city center straddles the River Liffey with rows of bridges and pockets of historic neighborhoods.
Teenagers will love listening to live music in pubs. They don’t have to be 18 years old (the drinking age in Ireland). Many licensed pubs (including the famous Temple Bar pub) will admit accompanied children until 9 pm.
Grafton Street in Dublin is teeming with buskers all day, every day. These street performers really put on a show so it’s great fun to walk up and down the road.
Don’t sidestep the Guinness Storehouse with the assumption it’s for drinking-age adults only. Touring through the brewing process and history is fun for the whole family. Be sure to grab a photo in front of the famous St James’s Gate.
Do you have Irish ancestry? Visiting the EPIC: The Irish Immigration Museum is a must. You can learn about global Irish history and can even trace ancestors using their archives.
Visiting the Trinity College Library and seeing the Book of Kells, one of the oldest books in the world, and the phenomenal Long Room (which looks like a library from Harry Potter) is also a fun experience.
Check out the darker side of Dublin by taking your teens on a ghost tour. Teenagers 14+ can join this spooky ghost bus tour to graveyards, haunted museums, and Victorian theaters led by a costumed tour guide.
Take a walking tour through Kilmainham Gaol, a former Georgian jail turned visitors center.
2. Wicklow Mountains National Park
Just an hour’s drive south of Dublin is one of Ireland’s six national parks – the Wicklow Mountains. It’s famous for dense forests, hiking and cycling paths, and beautiful lakes like the magical Glendalough.
You can visit the Wicklow Mountains to enjoy Ireland’s natural beauty as a day trip from Dublin or an easy side trip. Although Glendalough is a nature reserve so no boats or canoes are permitted, you can paddleboard or kayak on the Avonbeg and Avonmore rivers instead.
The 5.9-mile Glendalough Loop is one of the best hiking trails in Ireland with teens. You can find it in Wicklow Mountains National Park. It’s a moderately challenging long walk and offers incredible views of this spectacular landscape.
Blessington Greenway is a gorgeous 3.5-mile cycling route around the Blessington Lakes if you’re short on time or would prefer to hire bikes.
3. Stay at Kilkea Castle Hotel
One of the best things to do in Ireland is to stay in a real castle overnight. But most are $$$ and cater to honeymooning couples rather than families with teens. Kilkea Castle Hotel & Golf Resort is a surprisingly affordable 12th-century estate with turrets and arrow slit windows.
Kilkea Castle’s hotel rooms average around $200 per night and is only an hour’s drive south of Dublin. It’s the perfect place to stop on a road trip from the capital to the south of Ireland. Check off your dream of staying in an Irish castle!
West Coast of Ireland With Teens
Ireland’s West Coast is famous for the Wild Atlantic Way. This coastal route stretches 1,553 miles from the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal through County Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, and County Kerry in the south. Visit during the summer months so you have access to the ferries heading to nearby islands.
4. Cliffs of Moher
One of the best places to visit in Ireland with teens and older children is the Cliffs of Moher. This rocky coastline stretches for nine miles along the Atlantic Ocean. There are incredible views of the Aran Islands and the 702 ft tall cliffs at their highest point.
Check out the Cliffs of Moher Experience if your kids will find the geology and science behind the cliffs interesting. Hike the eight-mile Cliffs of Moher Walk from Doolin to Hag’s Head (and take the bus back) if they love adventure.
Your teens may know Galway City best for Ed Sheeran’s hit song ‘Galway Girl’ which in recent years has caused this already lively city to boom with visitors.
Its Latin Quarter is crammed with centuries-old pubs with colorful facades (including O’Connell’s Bar, The Salt House, and The Quays which appear in the ‘Galway Girl’ music video). Like in Dublin, teenagers under 18 years old can enter many pubs until 9 pm.
Jewelry shops line Quay Street, which is where you can buy Galway’s famous Claddaugh rings if you want to treat your teenagers. Claddaugh jewelry has the symbol of a heart for love, a crown for loyalty, and two hands for friendship.
Teens may also be interested in visiting Galway Cathedral, a new church only built in 1965 with a mosaic of JFK.
6. Connemara National Park
While Connemara National Park is one of the smaller Irish national parks, there is one very good reason to visit. Many Irish teenagers and children attend a sleepaway outdoor activity center (similar to American summer camps) during their summer holidays from school and so can your kids!
Delphi Adventure Centre Resort is based in Connemara National Park where kids aged ten to 17 can attend five or seven-day camps. Teens can take part in a huge range of group activities like rock climbing and zip-lining as well as water activities like rock climbing and swimming. They also offer family adventure breaks so parents can get involved too.
If you’d rather explore the park independently, you can! Hike up Diamond Hill for views of the Twelve Bens (the highest peaks in Connemara) and visit Kylemore Abbey. This Gothic mansion is still home to an order of nuns after 100 years and they have the most beautiful gardens on the banks of Pollacapall Lough.
7. Skellig Islands
One of only two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Republic of Ireland, the Skellig Islands off the coast of County Kerry are the best experience you can have in Ireland if your teens are Star Wars fans. The largest of the two Skellig Islands, Skellig Michael, was one of the main filming locations in The Last Jedi!
They’re also important for being the location of one of the first early Christian monasteries, as well as being a thriving puffin nesting site. Visit via ferry between April and July to spot the cute birds with multicolored beaks.
8. Ring of Kerry Scenic Drive
County Kerry has two incredible scenic drives perfect for exploring Ireland with teens! One is the Ring of Kerry, a 110-mile coastal loop around the Iveragh Peninsula. It includes Killarney National Park and follows the protected waterways of Kenmare Bay.
Some highlights that your teens might enjoy visiting on this great trip around the Ring of Kerry are Sneem, Waterville, and Kenmare. Kenmare Stone Circle, in particular, is pretty cool as it’s one of the largest stone circles in the area, measuring 56 x 49 ft and dating back to the Bronze Age.
You could also veer slightly south of the Ring of Kerry route to visit the lush Bonane Valley. Here, you can check out Bonane Heritage Park which is a private preserve and one of the most important archeological sites in the country with a lot of old forts and stone circles.
9. Dingle Peninsula Scenic Drive
The other scenic route in Ireland is Slea Head Drive, a 24-mile scenic drive around the tip of the Dingle Peninsula. But you have to drive to the bottom of the Dingle Peninsula to reach this beautiful route, so you might as well explore other highlights along the way!
Stop by the port town of Dingle for fish and chips, the 16th-century ruined Minard Castle (totally free!), and spectacular Inch Beach that juts 5 km out of the coastline. At the tip of the peninsula, you can visit the Tóchar Maothaithe beehive huts where early Christian monks used to live.
All of these attractions are just a short walk from the scenic route, so you can visit them all.
10. Killarney National Park
The first and arguably the best national park in Ireland, Killarney in the Roughty River Valley is home to lakes, castles, waterfalls, and hiking trails. Driving (or hiking) along the Gap of Dunloe, a high narrow pass in the hills, offers the most incredible views of wild Killarney National Park.
Visit Muckross House and Muckross Abbey, two old buildings with ties to Queen Victoria. Kayak across Lough Leane or Muckross Lake and check out the ruined structures of Innisfallen Abbey and Ross Castle. Your teens will love hiking to Torc Waterfall or Derrycunnihy Falls and hiking along the banks of the lakes.
South of Ireland With Teens
County Cork is Ireland’s largest county, but Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Limerick have a lot of attractions to offer teenagers too. It’s a good place to visit with castles and museums open year-round with lively cities and picturesque towns.
11. Rock of Cashel
No family road trip around Ireland is complete without visiting the Rock of Cashel, one of Ireland’s most important sites that you may not have heard about! It is a rocky limestone outcrop in County Tipperary with a cluster of medieval churches and other religious sites at the top.
It’s supposedly the site where St. Patrick, Ireland’s famous patron saint, converted the King of Munster to Christianity in the 5th century. Must-visit buildings include Hore Abbey, the Round Tower, Cashel Folk Village, Cormac’s Chapel, and the cemetery.
Kinsale is a small, colorful port town that marks the southernmost point of the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route. As well as being a picturesque seaside town, your teens will enjoy visiting two of the town’s best attractions: James Fort and Charles Fort.
Both forts were built in the 17th century on the River Bandon to protect the region. If your teens enjoy the beauty of Kinsale and you have extra time, head over to Cobh for more vivid streets.
13. Blarney Castle
Drive through the stunning Blackwater Valley en route to Blarney Castle in County Cork. While this 15th-century ruined castle might not look like much from the outside, it has a famous legend.
Everyone who kisses the Blarney Stone receives the ‘gift of the gab’ as Irish people would say. This magical stone is supposed to make you more eloquent when you kiss it!
One of the best things about taking part in this ritual is that you have to lean back and hold on to two metal poles to reach the specific stone. Almost impossible with young kids, but a funny and unique way to spend an afternoon in Ireland with teens.
14. Jerpoint Park
County Kilkenny is home to Jerpoint Park, home of an important Irish heritage site. A local guide can take you and your teens around the Lost Town of Newtown Jerpoint, a 12th-century medieval town, which includes seeing the tomb effigy of St. Nicholas. It was once made up of a courthouse, a mill, a tannery, a brewery, and almost 30 houses.
This land is now a family-owned farm where you can watch sheepdog demonstrations. The Church of St. Nicholas was restored in 2012 after centuries of neglect so it’s an impressive site.
Northern Ireland With Teens
Northern Ireland boasts some of the most spectacular coastal landscapes on the whole island. If traveling to Ireland with teens is becoming pricey, swapping Dublin for Belfast is a great way to cut down costs.
15. Giant’s Causeway
Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Giant’s Causeway cannot be missed on any road trip of Ireland with teens. This area of the Causeway coastline consists of basalt columns in interlocking geometric shapes. It seems impossible that it was created by nature. You can walk over the columns and take incredible photos!
The myth is that two feuding giants, one in Ireland and the other in Scotland, built a causeway so they could fight. This patch of coastline is what remains of the bridge. It is free to visit although there is a visitors center where you can learn more about the science and magic behind this beautiful landform.
16. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
First built in the 18th century by salmon fisherman, the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge connects mainland Northern Ireland with a small island. It’s a 66 ft-long rope bridge suspended almost 100 ft above the rocky cliffs and sea below.
While smaller kids might not get a kick out of the dizzying heights and precarious wooden panels, your teens will! There are long lines during the summer months so book your tickets ahead.
17. Titanic Belfast
Belfast is Northern Ireland’s capital city famous for its murals and political past as well as being the birthplace of the Titanic. Yes, the fateful ship was built in the docks of Belfast. In 2012, 100 years after its tragic first voyage, the Titanic Belfast Experience opened in the spot where it was built.
This experience walks you through the history of Belfast in 1912, the people who made and designed the ship, and absolutely anything else to know about it. The state-of-the-art attraction includes a fun ride, scale models, and even artifacts found on the ship like deck chairs and violins. There’s nowhere better to learn more about the ship and your teens will love it!
Check Out These Incredible Things To Do in Ireland With Teens
Most of the things to do in Ireland with teens will appeal to the whole family. Young adults are usually seeking the coolest attractions or the most adrenaline-inducing activities. Ireland offers a ton of different experiences.
Younger teens (and tweens) will love Ireland’s medieval castles and interactive museums like Dublin Castle and EPIC. Whereas older teens might love the pubs of Galway and the cliffs of the Wild Atlantic Way. Hopefully, this list has given you a lot of places and experiences to add to your next family holiday trip to the Emerald Isle!