The Island of Ireland, the Emerald Isle, The Land of Saints and Scholars, however you choose to refer to the wee Island we call home, it’s a land of stunning landscapes, breath-taking views, and extremely kind locals who are known for their warm hospitality and great craic! This summer, due to Covid travel restrictions, more and more people are choosing to staycation and explore the true beauty that’s right on their doorstep! Recognised as one of the most beautiful countries on earth, here at Dale Farm, we have pulled together our 13 top picks of places to explore this summer!
1. Shannon Heritage across ROI
Shannon Heritage was one of the first companies in Ireland to develop and run heritage attractions and evening entertainment. The company has been in the tourism business since 1963, and has been a market leader since that time. Over 300 people are employed by Shannon Heritage in the peak tourist season, so they’re really helping to support the local economy and it means you get the best local knowledge! With 8 tourist attractions located on the West and East Coast of Ireland, you’ll be spoilt for choice this summer! Top off your visit to Bunratty Castle, King John's or Craggaunowen attractions, you can get your hands on some Dale Farm ice creams and lollies, to cool off and help you chill out after a day of adventuring!
Located in Co. Galway, Connemara National Park offers panoramic views of the Atlantic ocean, islands, and mountains in all directions. Plan your day trip and make sure you check out it’s jagged edge peak which provides views of Kylemore Abbey and the Twelve Bens mountain range! Visit the exhibition on Connemara’s landscape, audiovisual show and Connemara ponies! Once hungry tummies call, enjoy a packed lunch or BBQ at the picnic area while the kids enjoy the children’s playground. Throughout August, the park is running additional activities such as guided Nature Walks, Farm Walks and Fun with Nature for Kids runs every Tuesday and Thursday. Don’t forget to visit the tea room for a sweet treat before you depart on the long journey home!
The Visitor Centre is open daily from March - October and the Park grounds are open all year round. Admission is free. However, don’t forget to bring appropriate rainwear and your wellies, the good old Irish weather can’t be relied upon!
Way back in the 18th and 19th centuries, millions of people from Ulster crossed the Atlantic to embark on a new life in a New World. The Ulster American Folk Park recreates that extraordinary journey by treating you to an unforgettable experience with the chance to wander through rural Ulster and explore authentic shops and buildings.Your favourite tales from years gone by are ready to be told at each and every stop. It really is a crowd pleaser that will awaken the senses of all the family! A fun yet educational trip, memories are ready to be made at the Ulster American Folk Park. During museum hours, their Loaf café serves a variety of light snacks and refreshments, including our range of delicious Dale Farm ice cream & lollies! So don’t forget to stop off and pick up a treat before continuing your expedition around the park.
Lough Key Forest & Activity Park is Coillte's most popular visitor attraction, offering a variety of activities in addition to stunning views, abundant animals, historic structures, and many islands!
You’ll need much more than a day to explore everything that Lough Key has to offer on its 350-acre estate, which has everything from 19th-century parkland with majestic trees, follies, bridges, and canals to many walks and paths through native woodlands, Bog Garden, and Coillte forests. Why not make a weekend out of it and stay in the Caravan and Camping Park for a few nights, giving you more time to explore!
A must-visit for the kids is the outdoor Adventure Play Kingdom, a safe and exciting play area with towers, slides, climbing frames, roundabouts, swings, puzzles, and other unique play equipment that will keep them entertained for hours! Just what you need so you can get five minutes of peace and quiet. Keep them cool with a Dale Farm treat, our range is stocked at Lough Key and we guarantee there is a Dale Farm ice cream or lolly to suit everyone's tastes!
Within a stone’s throw of the big smoke, the Velvet Strand, located in Portmarnock, is a five mile stretch of sandy beach, which reaches all the way to Baldoyle and adjoins Malahide Beach. Take in breathtaking views of the Dublin Mountains and Howth Harbour. Of course there are toilets on site, dogs are allowed on a lead. Lifeguards and refreshments are available in July & August. Take a dander to the end of the beach and stop off at SPAR Portmarnock to pick up a Dale Farm ice lolly to top off your beach day!
If you’re planning a day full of family fun or looking for activities to keep the kids entertained, visit Pickie Fun Park in Bangor, County Down. The kids can play in the Adventure Playground, cool down in the Splash Pads, or even take a train ride on the Pickie Puffer across the colourful scenery of a narrow-gauge railway. Get the whole family involved by hopping on a huge Pickie Swan and taking it for a paddle around the shallow lagoon waters or raise the stakes and aim for a whole in one with a game of Pickie Golf!
Stay for a delicious lunch in the Pickie Café or enjoy an ice cream or refreshing drink from the Candy Shack. Pickie Fun Park is at the gateway to the Marine Gardens, a delightful stretch of coast for leisurely walks, panoramic views of Bangor Bay and the hills of Antrim beyond. Have lots of family fun at Pickie then relax with a delicious ice cream while enjoying views over Belfast Lough.
Co. Kerry boasts some of the Island’s most magnificent scenery. Nestled in the breathtaking backdrop of Killarney National Park, Muckross House sits on the shores of Muckross Lake, one of Kilarney’s three lakes. The majestic Victorian mansion is one of Ireland's most important stately homes and its finely furnished chambers depict the lifestyles of the landed aristocracy. Are you upstairs or downstairs!? Experience the servants' working conditions downstairs in the basement, we promise this is an insightful experience and definitely one not to be missed! Once you have toured the house and gardens, call into the cafe and pick up a Dale Farm ice cream or fill your cool bag with lollies before you embark on exploring the traditional farms across the 70-acre estate which are an accurate outdoor representation of rural life in the 1930s and 1940s!
Just a stone's throw from Belfast City, Lady Dixon Park spans over 128 acres, featuring rolling meadows, wooded walkways and glorious gardens. Famous for its worldwide camellia trials, a walled garden, and a Japanese-style garden with water elements for calm contemplation, the park has it all for those seeking peace and quiet in beautiful surroundings. Not forgetting the kids, there is a large adventure playground with BBQ & picnic areas so you can spend the day soaking up the sunshine this summer while keeping the kids entertained! Treat them to one of our Cool Crew of Dale Farm ice creams & lollies at the Stables Coffee Shop which also offers tea, coffee and freshly baked/cooked hot and cold dishes. Why not venture further afield and take a cycle along the towpath into Belfast or explore the surrounding Lagan Valley Regional Park.
Oceanworld Aquarium is Ireland's largest aquarium, located in Dingle, Co. Kerry. The Aquarium is home to majestic Sand Tiger Sharks, Gentoo Penguins, Asian Short-Clawed Otters, and a diverse array of fish. Learn about the ocean's treasures while exploring this lovely underwater environment. After exploring what the aquarium has to offer, why not pick up a Dale Farm ice cream for your journey home?
Kilkenny Castle is one of Ireland's few castles with a continuous history of occupation. Founded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the Castle has been renovated, extended, and changed throughout the course of its 800 years to flex to changing circumstances and uses.
Kilkenny Castle, which is open all year round, is essentially a Victorian reworking of a thirteenth-century defensive castle. Hundreds of thousands of people visit this stately country estate each year to see it and walk around its 50-acres of rolling grass with mature trees and abundant wildlife. delight your senses and take a walk around the formal terraced rose garden or wander around the man-made lake. This is a great day out with the all important tearoom, playground and several orienteering trails for you and the family to enjoy
Are you an animal lover!? If so, this 55 acre site is the place to be! Perched high above Belfast, the zoo is home to more than 120 species, the majority of which are facing increasing danger in their natural habitats. The team at Belfast Zoo carry out important conservation work, both in Northern Ireland and across the world. The animals in the zoo are part of global and collaborative breeding programmes, which help to ensure the survival of many species under threat! It’s a steep climb to the TreeTops Cafe so we’re sure you’ll be in the mood to enjoy a refreshing Dale Farm ice cream!
Historic houses, woodland parks, and stunning beaches are just a few of the destinations that are operated by the National Trust in Northern Ireland. The locations under the Trust’s care are world-famous and world-class, from the eye-catching wonder of the Giant's Causeway to the beautiful gardens of Mount Stewart and Castleward. A day out with National Trust NI offers everything you need for action-packed activities, including children's play parks, cosy cafes, and chill campsites. Discover the finest things to see and do in Northern Ireland as you travel along the coast and through the countryside. Don’t leave before checking out their cafes which offer a range of Dale Farm ice cream goodies, the perfect way to end your day!
Perfect for rainy summer days (classic Irish weather eh!?) or cooling off out of the sunshine, Airtastic Entertainment Centres in Bangor, Belfast, Craigavon, Newtownabbey, and Cork provide hours of entertainment for both children and adults! At Airtastic Entertainment Centres, you and the whole family can compete in a variety of activities such as inflatable bouncing, trampolining, Ninja, Ten Pin Bowling, Mini Golf, amusements, and dining...phew! we need to catch our breath! Have the best of both worlds when it comes to inflatables and trampolines - why not give it a try this summer!