Stuck for ways to keep the children entertained this summer? Tanya sweeney rounds up the best camps, with activities for all
To paraphrase that great philosopher George Gershwin, summertime should mean the livin' is easy. Not so for hassled and harried parents attempting to juggle full-time work with kids freshly emancipated from school routines. Dealing with the bored, the restless and the plain jaded; in the words of another great philosopher of our era, 'ain't nobody got time for that'.
With this in mind, day camps across the land are offering up any activity you can think of. And, despite the economic climate, demand for places on camps as diverse as soccer, art, technology and tennis are running at an all-time high. If you're looking for ideas on how to stave off boredom, help your child develop new skills and keep everyone happy in general, look no further.
Leinster Rugby Summer Camp across Leinster
Reckon you might have the next BOD under your feet? Choose from 19 venues across the province (from Kildare and Laois to Carlow and Dublin) and send your budding prop/ hooker/fly-half to the Leinster Rugby summer camp, where (s)he will learn the ropes.
Open to boys and girls aged six to 12, the camps are run by fully accredited IRFU coaches. Better still, each happy camper will receive an official Canterbury of New Zealand Leinster pack, which includes a T-shirt, ball, boot bag and water bottle.
Weekly camps, that start every Monday until August 19th, cost from €89 per child (€80 for additional siblings). Places are still available at all locations. See leinsterrugby.ie or call 01-223 5111 for information.
Pine Forest Art Camps Glencullen, Co Dublin
Tucked away in the Dublin Mountains, Glencullen provides picturesque inspiration for any youngster wanting to brush up on their creativity. Split into three groups – junior (five-12), senior (13-16) and portfolio (16-19) – the Pine Forest Art camps run for two weeks at a time, and provide private buses from various pickup points in South Dublin.
The courses (€260 for juniors, €290 for seniors and €570 for portfolio prep) run every two weeks (last start date is July 29).
See pineforestartcentre.com or call 01-294 1220 for further details.
Gaiety School of Acting Essex Street West, Temple Bar, D2
As the training ground for Olivia Wilde, Aidan Turner and Colin Farrell, demand for the GSA summer camp is high. As of now, there are places left on most camp courses (certain Musical Theatre and Make A Movie courses for kids have already sold out).
Acting skills aside, children will develop confidence and communication skills; perfect for any child who finds the cut and thrust of the school year overwhelming. Weekly camps (€200) are open to kids aged seven to 18 and run from 10am-4pm in their Temple Bar studio (last start date is July 29). See gaietyschool.com or call 01-679 9277.
GAA Kellogg's Cul Camps countrywide
At hundreds of GAA clubs, Kellogg's is running its perennially popular Cul Camps for young GAA enthusiasts. Open to kids aged six-13, it promises an action-packed week covering all aspects of GAA sports. Attendance is on the up across the country from last year.
See kelloggsculcamps.gaa.ie to check availability in your county. The camps, which run 10am-2.30pm Monday to Friday all summer (the last start date is August 19) are approximately €55, or €45 for a second child.
Whizzkids Summer Camp countrywide
Much as the name suggests, Whizzkids summer camps offer activities from web design and film to video-game programming and video editing for children aged eight to 15 in more than 100 third-level college locations across Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Galway, Maynooth and Tralee.
They start with the basics, then progress students depending on their ability. There are places available on all courses, and dates vary according to location. Week-long camps run from 9.30am-1.30pm or 3.30pm daily, and cost €80 for half-day attendance (€149 for full-day attendees). See whizzkids.ie or call 061 339178 for the lowdown.
Once upon a time, Billie Barry had the monopoly on stage-struck kids. Now, they can be found at dozens of Starcamp locations nationwide.
With programmes based on current movies and TV shows, campers get to reenact dance moves and acting scenes they already know and love. The camp provides focus on hip-hop, social games and audition technique, thanks to a team of drama teachers, choreographers and coaches.
Camps (€90 per child) are open to children aged four to 12 and dates vary according to location (most camps run into mid-August). More information can be found at starcamp.ie or on 021 437 7900.
Parks Tennis countrywide
This has been a bumper summer for tennis, due in part to fellow Celt Andy Murray's momentous Wimbledon win. If you've got a suitably inspired tennis enthusiast on your hands, make haste to any one of Parks Tennis' many coaching camps.
Children aged six to 17 can pick up some skills for the court; an emphasis is also placed on wellbeing and nutrition. Prices, start times and hours vary according to tennis club, but can cost around €40 for a month's coaching (one hour a day). See parkstennis.com or call 01-833 8711.
Artzone various locations in Dublin, Meath & Kildare
Run by NCAD teachers, the Artzone summer camps provide a dizzying array of activities. General summer art camps help novices to kick-start their creativity, while dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts can choose from fashion, film, animation or comic-book illustration.
For older teens serious about getting into art college, portfolio preparation courses are also on offer. Camps are held for kids aged five to 17 at various locations in Dublin, Meath and Kildare, and start from €109 per week (last start date is August 26).
More info can be found at artzone.ie/ camps/summer or 01-499 0614.
Lough Allen Adventure Camp Ballinaglera, Co Leitrim
If your child has bags of energy to spare and an adventurous streak, this could well be the camp that fits the bill. Archery, windsurfing, kayaking, shelter construction, survival skills and raft building are just a few of the activities on offer for kids.
Weeklong camps – which start at 10.30am in the Lough Allen adventure centre based at Cleighran Beag – are priced at €135 per week. See loughallenadventure.com or call 071 964 3292.
Surfing Camp at the Donegal Adventure Centre, Bayview Avenue, Bundoran, Co Donegal
Bundoran has long been a surfing hotspot – well, as hot as it gets in the northwest – and the Donegal Adventure Centre offers popular daily camps for kids, teens and families (ages five to 17). There are also residential options, so kids can enjoy a week immersed in the surf with friends.
It's not all fun and frolics in the sea, either; archery, climbing and skateboarding are also on the menu.
Places are available on daily and weekly camps throughout August, but booking in advance is essential. Camps (non-residential) cost from €50 for three days (tots' camp) to €60 for five days (teen camp).
Residential rates are €300-€450 for children aged 11-17. Call 07198 42418 or see donegaladventurecentre.net for information.
Apple House Camps Dublin
The folk at Apple House have thought of everything, offering up week-long camps with different themes to suit every interest, from MasterChef Week and Water Week to Animal Week and Circus Week. For the most part, the week-long camps are designed to boost kids' interest in healthy eating and good lifestyle habits.
The weeks are also comprised of various day trips, including educational visits to the Abbey Theatre, making African drums and even enjoying a traditional trad session with Chieftains star Paddy Moloney.
On August 11, campers attending Water Week will get to experience a day in the life of a lifeguard and visit Dun Laoghaire boat station, while ending the week with a water fight.
August 19 sees the start of Sports Week, which includes a visit to trampolining hotspot Jumpzone and the Monkstown picnic pitches for football games.
On August 26, the childcare specialists will then run a Getting Ready For School week, which should be music to the ears of apprehensive parents and pre-schoolers alike.
Think spelling bees, maths competitions and brushing up on that all-important Safe Cross Code.
Camps run Monday to Friday until August 30 from 9am-2pm, and cost €95 per week for kids aged four to 13.
See facebook.com/applehousechildcare or call 01-283 3429.