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6 totally free (and fun) days out around the country - from dinosaurs to the Gruffalo

Keep your January budget in check with a free family day out.

There's no such thing as a Gruffalo - or is there?
There's no such thing as a Gruffalo - or is there?

WITH THE PROSPECT of payday feeling like it’s a lifetime away following weeks of festive celebrations, January is the perfect time to explore the free events and days out on offer around the country. 

Some say that the best things in life are free, and that’s certainly true in this case.

From a walking trail with a difference to getting up close to exotic animals (kind of), here are six of the best purse-friendly days out around the country for the entire family…

BELFAST

Colin Glen Forest Park and Gruffalo Trail: If you find yourself up north, take a trip to Colin Glen Forest Park to explore the Gruffalo Trail, based on, of course, the popular children’s book. The little ones will get to meet their favourite Gruffalo characters, while a guided tour is also available upon booking. 

Suits: all ages. When: Monday-Sunday. Where: Lisburn, Belfast. Costs: free. Find more information here.

DUBLIN

Natural History at the National Museum of Ireland: Explore how dinosaurs took flight, have a look at Ireland’s mammals, sea life and predators and get up close with an elephant at the Natural History exhibits. (Note: The Jurassic Skies exhibition is running at the Museum of Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks.)

Suits: all ages. When: Monday-Sunday. Where: Merrion St, Dublin 2. Costs: free. Find more information here.

Chester Beatty Library: Delve into a world filled with rare books and treasures from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia at the Chester Beatty Library. There are multiple tours and events on throughout the month, so be sure to check and see what’s on before you visit. 

Suits: 3 years +. When: Tuesday-Sunday. Where: Dublin Castle, Dublin 2. Costs: free. Find more information here.

WICKLOW

National Botanic Gardens at Kilmacurragh: Blow off the cobwebs by taking a stroll around 52 acres of gardens with rare shrubs, trees and floral displays at the National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh, before enjoying a cup of coffee and slice of cake at Acton Cafe (sadly that part will cost you!).

Suits: all ages. When: Monday-Sunday. Where: Kilmacurragh, Kilbride. Costs: free. Findmore information here.

GALWAY

Galway City Museum: Wander across three floors at the Galway City Museum as you learn all about the county’s history, including prehistoric and medieval periods, The Great War and Galway GAA. There are multiple workshops on throughout the month, so don’t forget to have a look at what’s happening before you go.

Suits: all ages. When: Tuesday-Saturday. Where: Spanish Arch, Galway City. Costs: free. Find more information here. 

MONAGHAN

Monaghan County Museum: With a collection of over 50,000 objects, hours will pass by at Monaghan County Museum without visitors even noticing. Each object tells the story of the county from the end of the last Ice Age to the present day, with tours and workshops available for booking. 

Suits: all ages. When: Monday-Saturday. Where: 1-2 Hill Street. Costs: free. Find more information here.

We’re giving away an overnight stay with dinner at the luxurious Lyrath Estate in Kilkenny. Want to win? Enter here – and don’t forget to subscribe to our Family Newsletter below!

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