Monday 26 September 2016

Ireland's top 30 family hotels

Have kids, will travel!

Jillian Bolger

Published 07/02/2016 | 02:30

20. Castlemartyr Resort
20. Castlemartyr Resort
Rathmullan House, Donegal
Mount Falcon
13. Ballyvolane House
1. Amber Springs Hotel
8. Mount Juliet
11. Druid's Glen
17. Killarney Park Hotel
The magnificent Parknasilla Resort overlooking the serene waters of Kenmare Bay on Kerry’s Wild Atlantic Way
The Clubhouse at Fota Island Hotel
21. Delphi Adventure Resort
Parknasilla Resort & Spa
24. Newpark Hotel

Young and old are well-catered for in our pick of Ireland's top family hotels. Here they are, in no particular order...

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1. Amber Springs Hotel, Wexford

Gorey's a favourite holiday destination but you won't need to venture far from your hotel if you book into Amber Springs. Few hotels can rival their investment in kids. We're talking mini-golf, a pet farm, football, a ride-on train and go-karting alongside a playground and indoor pool, all on the hotel's extensive grounds. There's an excellent kids' club, indoor playzone and teens' games room with Xboxes and air hockey. Family rooms can sleep five and foodies will be impressed with the beef which comes direct from the owners' farm.

Where: Wexford Road, Gorey, Co Wexford.

Details: 1800 501 901; amberspringshotel.ie

Price: Two nights' B&B in a family room from €290; dinner for four €70.

2. Fota Island Resort, Cork

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Close to Cork city and minutes from the wonderful Fota Wild Life Park, Fota Island Resort is a private island designed to please all. Spacious and contemporary, the five-star hotel offers interconnecting bedrooms and stylish self-catering lodges (which offer access to all the hotel's facilities.) There's great walking trails, a lovely pool with kids' pool, good dining options and a well organised kids' club.

Where: Fota Island, Cork.

Details: (021) 488-3700; fotaisland.ie

Price: B&B from €210. Lodges from €220 per night based on a three-night stay.

Read more: Fota Opportunity: A five-star weekend in East Cork

3. Castleknock Hotel, Dublin

City centre hotels aren't known for their spaciousness which is why Castleknock Hotel is a smart choice for a family jaunt to the capital. Ten minutes from Dublin Zoo, and with the glorious Phoenix Park between you and the urban streets, it showcases the best parts of the Fair City. Alongside generously proportioned rooms there's a leisure centre with a swimming pool and kids' pool, a spa, golf course and playground on site.

Where: Porterstown Road, Castleknock, Dublin 15.

Details: (01) 640-6300; castleknockhotel.com

Price: Two nights' B&B, one adults' dinner, a family pass for four to Dublin Zoo, €468.

4. Mount Falcon, Co. Mayo

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Book a lodge at magnificent Mount Falcon and you get the convenience of a self-catering holiday with the option of a great breakfast in the hotel each morning (extra cost). The Gothic pile is a beautiful place to dine and the atmospheric pool looks out onto the surrounding woodlands. With great walks on the estate, a fun woodland playground, ducks, wild rabbits and bike hire it offers a relaxed and fun country estate experience.

Where: Foxford Road, Ballina, Co Mayo.

Details: (096) 74472; mountfalcon.com

Price: Five nights in a three-bedroom self-catering Lakeside Lodge sleeping six, €800.

NB: Book the best hotel deals in Ireland with Independent Hotels.

5. Castle Oaks House Hotel, Limerick

Fifteen minutes from Limerick City you'll find the roomy Castle Oaks House Hotel, with its choice of two-bedroom family suites in the hotel and self-catering lodges on the large grounds. With a playground, heated pool, seasonal kids' club, tennis courts and lovely riverside walks (kids will love the fairy woods in the gardens), it's a good spot for a relaxing break.

Where: Castleconnell, Co Limerick.

Details: (061) 377 666, castleoaks.ie

Price: Two nights' self-catering, sleeping six, from €395.

6. Clarion Hotel, Sligo

Taking glamping to a whole new level the folk at Sligo's Clarion can set up tents indoors for your littlest family members! They must be booked in advance but will be pitched in your family room ready to get sleepy heads off to bed (one- and two-bedroom suites are available, with kitchenettes). Crazy golf, a lovely playroom, games room and story time with hot chocolate are some of the draws at this beautiful country property, just a short walk from Sligo town.

Where: Clarion Road, Sligo.

Details: (071) 911 9001; clarionhotelsligo.com

Price: One night's B&B, €119. Tents €15 per night.

7. Clifden Station House, Galway

Sometimes you want to experience the wild countryside without the lack of amenities. That's what makes Clifden Station House so appealing, a lively hotel in Clifden's old railway station surrounded by the town and Connemara's beguiling scenery. With cosy family rooms, self-catering apartments, a pool, kids' entertainment and activities it's a popular family spot. Kids share with parents for free and there's a special kids' tea in holiday season.

Where: Galway Road, Clifden, Galway.

Details: (095) 216 99; clifdenstationhouse.com

Price: Three nights' B&B over mid-term, €370.

8. Mount Juliet, Co. Kilkenny

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A hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant, swanky spa and famous golf course mightn't sound family-friendly but Mount Juliet excels in looking after its younger guests too. From its Baby Concierge (everything from blenders to sterilisers and food warmers are available) to its Little Rascals Club and teen offerings (think tennis, pony club, fitness sessions and putting competitions) there's an exhaustive amount on offer. Add in the playground, pool, family nature trail and luxurious lodges and you're set for a terrific stay.

Where: Thomastown, Co Kilkenny.

Details: (056) 777 3000; mountjuliet.ie

Price: Two nights' B&B in a Rose Garden Lodge (two adults and two children under 16), from €658, with kids' lunch and dinner at Juniors Club.

9. Diamond Coast Hotel, Sligo

You'll be shocked at the size of the family rooms at Sligo's Diamond Coast Hotel. Some accommodate families of six, with full-size beds and still leave room for a cot and your luggage! Tucked off the beaten track, in the pretty village of Enniscrone, you're right by a beautiful, safe Blue Flag beach and surf school, Aqua Park and pitch and putt. The kids' club, pool room and play area for tennis, basketball and football mean lots of on-site activities and all for a terrific price.

Where: Bartragh, Enniscrone, Co Sligo.

Details: (096) 26000; diamondcoast.ie

Price: Two nights' B&B and one dinner from €249.

10. Dingle Skellig Hotel, Co. Kerry

On the shores of Dingle Bay, a stroll from town, the Dingle Skellig works hard to deliver quality family holidays. With a crèche that takes children from four months, a well-run kids' club and teen den (complete with games consoles) and large pool, all age groups are well looked after. The Fungi Kids' Club offers activities like baking, drumming lessons, puppet shows, talent nights and trips outdoors to explore Dingle. That allows mum and dad time to relax in the spa, head out on a grown-up activity, like kayaking, or linger over a late breakfast (and breakfast here is worth lingering over.)

Where: Dingle, Co Kerry.

Details: (066) 915 0200,

dingleskellig.com

Price: February mid-term deal of two nights B&B with one dinner, €470.

11. Druid's Glen Resort, Co. Wicklow

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A short hop from Dublin, Druid's Glen has worked hard to create a comfortable, roomy, family-friendly retreat in Wicklow. From activity packs on check-in to a lovely outdoor playground, playroom, DVDs, resort bikes and a pool there's plenty to do on the estate for all ages. Kids' High Tea is available on school holidays and includes supervised activities afterwards (Children must be over four to partake.) With Glendalough, Powerscourt, Glenroe Pet Farm and beautiful beaches close by you'll never run out of day trip options.

Where: Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow.

Details: (01) 287-0847, druidsglenresort.com

Price: Mid-term offer of two-nights' B&B and one adults' dinner from €390.

12. The Ferrycarrig, Wexford

With sweeping views of the River Slaney, The Ferrycarrig's waterside setting promotes immediate relaxation. Minutes from Wexford town and a short walk to the Irish National Heritage Park, the hotel has a playground, pool, hot tub, leisure centre and barbecue on site. The Crazy Clubbers Club runs through school holidays with a varied programme, including mini Olympics and Giggles the clown. Supervised evening activities allow grown-ups linger over dinner while the kids are happily entertained.

Where: Ferrycarrig, Wexford.

Details: (053) 912 0999; ferrycarrighotel.ie

Price: B&B, €130 per night.

13. Ballyvolane House, Co. Cork

The arrival of kids needn't spell the end of grown-up country house breaks. Justin and Jenny Green's Ballyvolane House offers the perfect balance of luxurious accommodation, country life, great food and fun. With a tree house, vast grounds and woods to explore Justin takes the kids on a tractor and trailer ride after breakfast each day to feed the pigs and chickens and collect eggs. Homemade cookies and a story book await each child on arrival and kids' high tea is served in the kitchen so parents can enjoy a grown-up dinner later in the beautiful dining room.

Where: Castlelyons, North Fermoy, Co Cork.

Details: (025) 36349; ballyvolanehouse.ie

Price: Three nights' B&B, dinner for adults on two nights, €445 pps.

14. Hodson Bay Hotel, Co. Westmeath

The views at Hodson Bay Hotel will take your breath away, even while swimming in the indoor pool. With a choice of family rooms and suites there's a fun kids' camp, tots' playroom with supervised sessions in holiday season and a teen den with pool and foosball tables. Bay Sports, Ireland's largest inflatable waterpark, is minutes away and there's a great choice of restaurants on site.

Where: Athlone, Co Westmeath.

Details: (090) 644 2000; hodsonbayhotel.com

Price: Two nights' B&B and one adults' dinner, €278.

15. Hotel Westport, Co. Mayo

With extensive leisure facilities and just a short walk from town (and from Westport House's Pirate Adventure Park), Hotel Westport is a comfortable and affordable option for a trip to Mayo. Welcoming and relaxed, families will love the crazy golf, swimming and splash pool, supervised Panda Club, table tennis, pool table and playground. Options like an affordable family packed lunch take the hassle out of day trips too.

Where: Newport Road, Westport, Co Mayo.

Details: (098) 25122; hotelwestport.ie

Price: Mid-term offer of two nights' B&B, one adults' dinner, €299.

16. Parknasilla Resort & Spa

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With a choice of self-catering lodges alongside family rooms in the main hotel Parknasilla, on the Ring of Kerry, offers many stylish options for families. Self-catering guests have access to the hotel's five-star facilities, including the lovely pool. The vast estate uses its grounds very cleverly - a treasure hunt and mapped out fairy trail are two highlights and there's a playground, archery, fun golf, motorised kayaking and a guided shoreline walk especially suited to families. Thoughtful extras like swimming nappies, welcome packs, special treats, a games room and pool toys make everyone feel special at this indulgent hideaway.

Where: Sneem, Co Kerry.

Details: (064) 667 5600; parknasillaresort.com

Price: €525 for five nights in a two-bedroom Courtyard self-catering lodge including €20 spa credit per adult, €15 golf credit and €20 food credit.

17. Killarney Park Hotel, Co. Kerry

One of the few hotels listed here that doesn't have a dedicated play area, the luxurious Killarney Park is wildly popular with families whose kids are a little older. Family bedrooms are extra large, there's a superb pool and the town centre location means you can park up (or arrive by train) and everything's on your doorstep. You're right on the edge of Killarney National Park with the lakes, Muckross House and Ross Castle for exploring. Special Easter activities are laid on for children.

Where: Killarney, Co Kerry.

Details: (064) 663 5555; killarneyparkhotel.ie

Price: Two nights' B&B with one dinner, €610. Available Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

18 Knightsbrook Hotel, Co. Meath

A 30-minute drive from Tayto Park, Knightsbrook Hotel makes a good choice for an outing to Meath. With good sized bedrooms, a well-stocked nursery, kids' club (€5 per session), modern games room, special children's pool and family picnic bags for outings, it's clear families are very welcome here.

Where: Dublin Road, Trim, Co Meath.

Details: (046) 9482 100; Knightsbrook.com

Price: Tayto Park Family Package of one night's B&B and family admission to Tayto Park, €184.

19. Lyrath Estate, Kilkenny

Mums and dads love Lyrath Estate's five-star offerings, from the great restaurants to the spa, golf to luxurious accommodation, but kids will be equally impressed. Set in 170 acres of parkland the Tree House Fun Club keeps little folk busy with games, crafts and evening activities like magic shows and movie nights. Off-site facilities on the estate include Zorbing and Bubble Soccer, there's even a 'Build-a-Bear' outlet. Bedtime milk and cookies top off what promise to be some very busy days.

Where: Dublin Road, Kilkenny.

Details: (056) 776 0088; lyrath.com

Price: Easter Midterm offer of two nights' B&B, one adults' dinner, €210 pps (children under-five stay free).

20. Castlemartyr Resort, Co. Cork

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Kids will go wild when they learn that resident dogs, Earl and Duchess, love to be taken out for walks around Castlemartyr's beautiful 220-acre estate in East Cork. The five-star bolt hole offers family bikes, mapped out coastal walks, picnics and pony and trap rides too. With mini bathrobes and slippers, arrival treats, DVDs and board games children are made to feel extra special. Add in a beautiful pool, kids' club, spa, golf and choice of restaurants and it's easy to see why this swanky spot appeals to all.

Where: Castlemartyr, Co Cork.

Details: (021) 421 9000, castlemartyrresort.ie

Price: Two nights' B&B, one dinner and a family pass to Fota Wildlife Park from €229 pps.

21. Delphi Adventure Resort, Co. Mayo

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The wilds of Connemara make an exhilarating destination for an outdoorsy family with Delphi Adventure Resort well placed to best exploit the terrain. From beaches, swimming and hiking to daring new activities, this four-star hideaway offers a memorable opportunity to bond over fun experiences. Older kids might like climbing, surfing, biking or abseiling while smallies will enjoy tunnelling, crab finishing and indoor climbing. An award-winning spa, kids' club, TV-free zone and choice of restaurants mean everyone is well-catered for.

Where: Leenane, Connemara, Co Galway.

Details: (095) 42208; delphiadventureresort.com

Price: Two-night Easter Family B&B packages from €149.50 pps including Easter activities and spa access. Adventure activities extra and need to be booked in advance.

22. Mulranny Park Hotel, Co. Mayo

Another Westport favourite, Mulranny Park's kids' club takes children from 3-12 and offers all kinds of fun like crab catching, seaweed safaris and kite-making. Take your bikes, (or hire them locally) and hit the wonderful Great Western Greenway which passes right by the hotel. Families stay in bright seaview apartments, and can enjoy all the perks of this smart hotel's facilities.

Where: Mulranny, Westport, Co Mayo.

Details: (098) 36000; mulrannyparkhotel.ie

Price: Mid-term deal of three nights' B&B and two dinners in a serviced apartment, €599. (B&B free for a third child).

23. Mount Wolseley, Carlow

Families are made feel very welcome at this smart Carlow property. Indoors there's a comfy family den, soft play room, two pools and teen chill-out zone; outdoors a colourful playground, tennis and basketball courts. Alongside the kids' club, teens can indulge in a file and polish at the Wolseley Spa while young golfers can take part in summer gold clinics for €5. Family rooms overlook the beautiful golf course and the children's menu has been thoughtfully put together.

Where: Tullow, Co Carlow.

Details: (059) 918 0100; mountwolseley.ie

Price: B&B from €153 a night.

24. Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny

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Once kids hear their hotel has llamas, pigs, emus and donkeys that need feeding they'll be sold on this welcoming Kilkenny getaway. Just a 10-minute stroll from town, this stylish property has a lovely pool, seasonal kids' club and games zone. A new fairy trail, treetop zip wire and go-karting track show that this well-established hotel is ever-improving its quality family offerings.

Where: Castlecomer Road, Kilkenny.

Details: (056) 776 0500; flynnhotels.com

Price: Mid-term two Nights' B&B, one adults' dinner and kids' high tea from €338.

25. Kelly's Resort & Spa, Co. Wexford

It's hard to find a family in Ireland that doesn't have a holiday memory made in Kelly's in Rosslare. One of Ireland's most beloved resorts it's family-run and family-friendly. The four-star resort sits on 5 miles of sandy beach and family highlights include complementary afternoon tea, kids' clubs, special kids' dinner with nightly entertainment, a playground, crazy golf and two wonderful pools. Great service, fine dining and a warm welcome make it popular with all ages. (Almost all family rooms are booked up for 2016 weekends but there is mid-week availability.)

Where: Rosslare, Co Wexford.

Details: (053) 913 2114; kellys.ie

Price: Five-day mid-week full board €595 pps, plus 10pc service. Children stay from €25 a day, depending on age.

26. Quality Hotel & Leisure Centre, Co. Cork

A rare hotel that recognises not all families have two children, family rooms at this West Cork favourite can accommodate up to four children with two adults. Six kilometres from beautiful Inchydoney Beach this affordable hotel offers a really impressive choice of activities for all ages, from a swimming pool, crèche and play centre with ball pool and slides to a games zone for older kids. A kids' camp runs on school holidays and there's a new playground outdoors which includes a bouncy castle in summer. Oh, and did we mention the three-screen cinema?

Where: Clogheen Road, Clonakilty, West Cork.

Details: (023) 88 36400, quality clonakiltyhotel.com

Price: Two nights' B&B and one dinner from €109 pps. Children's rates apply.

27. Ramada Plaza, Belfast

With W5 at Odyssey, Titanic Belfast, SS Nomadic, Belfast Zoo and The MAC, Belfast is an exciting city destination for the whole family. Close to all the attractions is the affordable Ramada Plaza, a well-appointed hotel with comfy interconnecting family rooms, a children's playroom, warm pool and good restaurant. Based within the Lagan Valley you'll find beautiful walks along on your doorstep. Hire hotel bikes and follow the leafy Lagan Towpath or head to the great playground close by.

Where: Milltown Road, Shaw's Bridge, Belfast.

Details: (028) 9092 3600, ramadaplazabelfast.com

Price: Two nights' B&B in a Family Room and dinner for four, £220.

28. Rathmullan House, Donegal

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A beautiful country house overlooking the shores of Lough Swilly, Rathmullan presents the best of both worlds to parents craving comforts and kids some beachside action. Apartment-style family accommodation can sleep two adults and four children, with your own living area. Excellent cooking, a playground, tennis courts and pet-friendly bedrooms sit happily with the laidback country charm of this welcoming and relaxing Blue Book property.

Where: Rathmullan, Co Donegal.

Details: (074) 915 8188; rathmullanhouse.com

Price: Two nights' B&B for families of up to six, €520.

Read more: Delicious Donegal: A short break to remember in Rathmullan House

29. Renvyle House Hotel, Co. Galway

Overlooking the wild Atlantic waves the remote and rambling old house of Renvyle is a historic hideaway full of Secret Seven appeal. Welcoming guests to this wildly beautiful part of Connemara since 1883 it's got everything you could need for a family break, from comfy accommodation to an outdoor pool (in summer months), family guided walks to evening entertainment and nets for rock pooling, to a kids' club, tennis courts to a playground, and extremely good food.

Where: Renvyle, Co Galway.

Details: (095) 46100; renvyle.com

Price: Three nights' B&B and two dinners, €649.

30. Treacy's West County Hotel, Co. Clare

Beds are a big deal on sleepovers and kids will love the funky bunks at Treacy's West County Hotel in Ennis (some rooms have a double on the bottom, accommodating families of five in one room.) Handy for exploring the Cliffs of Moher, Burren and Bunratty Folk Park this affordable hotel has a leisure centre with a dedicated children's pool and there's a kids' club on school holidays.

Where: Clare Road, Ennis, Co Clare.

Details: (065) 686 9600; treacyswestcounty.com

Price: €69 for two adults and up to three children sharing. Breakfast extra.

NB: Book the best hotel deals in Ireland with Independent Hotels.

NB: All prices and availability are subject to change.

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