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parents panel

Parents Panel: What's your go-to spot for a cheap family day out?

Here’s where our panel members head to for family fun on a budget.

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AS PART OF’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

Keeping the kids entertained in summer can be a full-time job, and if you’re on a budget things get even trickier. We asked our panel to share their favourite spots around Ireland for a family day out on the cheap.

What’s your go-to spot for a cheap family day out?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

Silver Strand in Wicklow is worth the tenner
All of my go-to places are free of charge – though sometimes we’ll pay the €10 charge for Silver Strand beach in Wicklow. It’s worth it because they don’t allow any alcohol or unsavoury shenanigans on the beach. Being the competitive frugal freak that I am, we don’t ever spend money on outings if we can avoid it!

- Susannah O’Brien (Wicklow)

Portmarnock Beach is only down the road
In north Dublin, there’s no shortage of parks or beaches. We love Portmarnock Beach or Malahide Castle. During the summer I try to visit as many family festivals as possible, we went to Flavours of Fingal, Leya Spectacular and are going to the Rose Festival in St Anne’s Park in Raheny this coming weekend.

- Marta Lisiecka (Dublin)

27082044431_80491e1711_z Giuseppe Milo / Flickr Giuseppe Milo / Flickr / Flickr

We have a family and friends pass for the zoo
We’re big fans of Dublin Zoo. We got a family pass this year for €180 so have been able to go whenever it suits and bring friends. Once-off the zoo can be quite expensive but once you’ve been a couple times on the pass it pays for itself. It’s so nice to be able to bring friends with us and not have it cost anyone a fortune.

- Kait Quinn (Dublin)

The Slieve Blooms – outdoors and totally free
Anywhere free, outdoors and with a bit of an adventure element is perfect for us. In Laois, a walk up Glenbarrow in the Slieve Blooms is magical, or a visit to Emo Court is a nice wander. If we had to pay, Birr Castle would be the spot.

- Alan Dooley (Limerick)

We cross the border into Co Down
We live near the border so I love heading to Northern Ireland. Newcastle in County Down is a lovely old style seaside town with beautiful views, a boating lake, old style amusement arcades and ice creams to die – which is worth the drive alone.

- Denise Cumiskey (Louth)

Corkagh Park has ponds, cafes and even a fairy wood
In south Dublin we are surrounded by really good parks. Corkagh Park in Clondalkin has loads to occupy the kids, from ponds to cafes, a fairy wood, a pet farm, a playground and loads of space to run around. Plus there’s no charge.

- Ross Boxshall (Dublin)

image1 In the park with the Boxshall clan. Ross Boxshall Ross Boxshall

Dublin Zoo is worth the two-hour round trip
Although we live about an hour away from Dublin Zoo, it’s still well worth the trip. It’s great to have the family pass so we can just decide if to head off on a whim, especially if it’s the wrong side of payday. All the play-parks scattered around the zoo are super.

- Olly Keegan (Louth)

You can’t beat Bray Head for a walk
If the weather is right, climbing Bray Head or the Sugarloaf is always a great day out. Sometimes we just get in the car and head out and play it by ear – or we’ll head to the cinema and get dinner afterwards.

- Ken Hyland (Dublin)

Help! Am I being unreasonable? We’re looking for parenting dilemmas from our readers for our Am I Being A Bad Parent? feature. Drop us a line with your reader dilemma on

Plus, we’re giving away a case of Spanish wine to one lucky Family Magazine reader. Enter here!

More Parents Panel: What one pregnancy purchase was definitely worth the money?

More Parents Panel: What’s your one packing essential for a holiday with the kids?

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