School's out: 14 things you can do to fill up the next two weeks
Eggsistential crisis at the thought of entertaining the kids over Easter? Our reporter recommends a list of family outings so you won't be caught on the hop
It's only two days into the Easter holidays, and you may have found yourself tearing your hair out trying to keep the kids busy. With two weeks to fill and the weather picking up, here are our top picks for families eager to try something different.
1. Theatre at Barnstorm Children's Theatre, Kilkenny
One of only a handful of dedicated children's theatres in Ireland, Barnstorm hosts the delightful Monday's Child through April. Suitable for all ages, this acclaimed UK production tells the heart-warming story of a friendship between a young girl and an old lady.
Through April, Barnstorm Children's Theatre, Church Lane, Kilkenny. Family tickets €20. barnstorm.ie
2. The Chocolate Garden of Ireland Chocolate Workshops
Go behind the scenes to discover where your Easter egg comes from. Kids will learn about cocoa growing, different varieties of chocolate and will have the opportunity to decorate their own creations - which they can take home as a delicious keepsake. They will also learn how ice-cream is made. According to the site, it's "suitable for all ages - from 6 to 96."
Until Friday April 21, Chocolate Garden of Ireland, Tullow, Co Carlow. €12.50. chocolategarden.ie
3. Easter at Seal Rescue Ireland
Family fun-days will take place Easter Saturday and Sunday, with egg hunts, a release of seals into the sea and opportunities for kids to have their pictures taken with Selkie the seal. There will also be screenings of marine movies Monday to Wednesday, including Song of the Sea and Finding Nemo.
Until Sunday April 16, Seal Rescue Ireland, Courtown, Co Wexford, 11am-5pm. €5. sealrescueireland.org
4. Superhero Science at Lismore Heritage Centre
It's science Jim, but not as we know it, as the experts lead kids through a series of experiments and workshops with a super-heroic theme.
Today, Lismore Heritage Centre, Lismore, Co Waterford, 11 am-1pm. €10. discoverlismore.com
5. The Big Dig at Dublinia
Don a hardhat and discover how archaeologists have uncovered the secrets of Dublin's medieval heritage by literally digging down into the past. Children will learn about archaeological excavation and uncover some buried nuggets of their own. For kids aged seven plus.
From tomorrow until April 19. Dublinia, Christchurch, Dublin, 10am-5.30pm. Adult: €9.50, Child: €6. dublinia.ie
6. Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt for Barnardos
A "choctastic" Easter weekend is promised as kids and parents participate in an egg hunt in historic Merrion Square. There's a complimentary chocolate egg for all participants and an Easter Bunny Village with activities, games, magic shows and food stalls.
There are two hunts, from 10am-12.30pm and from 2pm-4.30 pm. Friday, April 14, Saturday April 15, Merrion Square Dublin. Family ticket €20. easter.cadbury.ie
7. Easter at Lifetime Lab Cork
This interactive kids' laboratory and workshop is located on the site of a former waterworks just outside the city. On Good Friday it will hold an Easter event, with falconry displays, bouncy castle, and robotics showcases.
Friday April 14, Lifetime Lab, Old Cork Waterworks, Lee Road, 10am-4pm. €5. lifetimelab.ie
8. Snow White and the Seven Short Dwarfs
Galway's Town Hall Theatre opens its doors for a unique retelling of some of our most beloved fairytales, featuring the zany players of the WhistleBlast Quartet. With a cameo from meteorologist Evelyn Cusack - she'll be explaining how the three piggies lost their house in a storm - and the music of Mozart. Saturday, April 15, Town Hall Theatre, Galway, 3pm. Family tickets €26. tht.ie
9. Mad Hatter's Easter Party, Limerick
Illusionist Steve Spade will be on hand as the gates of St John's Castle Limerick are thrown back for an Easter Sunday celebration.
Sunday April 16, St John's Castle, Limerick, 12pm-4pm. shannonheritage.com
10. Easter Fun at Leahy's Open Farm, Cork
The Easter Bunny arrives at the popular East Cork pet farm, where children can help track down his missing eggs. Plus, there's an egg throwing competition in aid of the Make a Wish Foundation.
Saturday April 15-Monday April 17, Leahy's Pet Farm, Dungourney, Co Cork. €9 (children under two free). leahysopenfarm.ie
11. Easter at Greenan Maze
This picturesque Co Wicklow farm, incorporating a Celtic "solstice" maze, hosts egg hunts from midday to 5pm Easter Sunday and Monday. Participants will have to negotiate the maze, solving clues as they go. Uncovering the hidden golden eggs leads to an Easter prize.
Sunday April 16, Monday April 17, Gretna Maze, Rathdrum, Co Wicklow. €9. greenanmaze.com
12. The Magical Adventures of James and Matilda, Cork Opera House
An "Easter" Panto from Wolfe Stage School sees friends James and Matilda seeking to overcome the villainous Trunchbull. With stellar production values and eye-popping costumes, the panto is on course to be a sellout.
Sunday April 16-Wednesday April 19, Cork Opera House. €21. corkoperahouse.ie
13. A Cracking Easter at Westport House
Pinkie the Easter Bunny will be in attendance for an egg hunt in the spectacular shadow of Croagh Patrick. Afterwards kids can enjoy Pirate Adventure Park, which features water slides, go karts and soft play.
Sunday April 16, Westport House, Co Mayo 11am-5pm. Adults €21, kids €16.50 (for Westport House and Pirate Adventure Park). westporthouse.ie
14. Surfdock Easter Camp
A splishy-splashy introduction to watersports at Dublin's Grand Canal Dock. Qualified instructors will provide lessons in windsurfing, kayaking, stand up paddle-boarding and dinghy sailing and wake-boarding. For children aged eight and above.
Tuesday April 18-Friday April 21, Surfdock Watersports, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 4, 10am-1.30 pm. €105. surfdock.ie