How to get your children away from screens this Easter
Make the most of the mid-term break with Lucy Hatton's guide to the best days out for families young and old
Faced with two weeks of free time with the family, the well-earned break over Easter can seem a bit daunting. It can be tempting to settle in with the iPad for a movie night, but when one duvet day stretches into three, kids and adults will be looking for a breath of fresh air.
Make the most of the mid-term by unplugging and setting out with our guide on how to beat Easter cabin fever.
Crack the clues in a maze hunt
Greenan Maze in Wicklow is hosting its biggest ever egg hunt on Easter Sunday and Monday (11am-5pm), where children must solve clues and navigate their way to the maze's centre, collecting golden eggs along the way for the chance to claim a special prize. The Easter Bunny and the Cheeky Chicks will be helping in the hunt, and face painting is available from 12pm-5pm in the craft shop and tea rooms.
The maze is open all over the Easter break, with free treasure hunts and nature walks for kids each day, feeding the animals (2pm, dependent on weather) and a special nature walk for toddlers. Tickets for Easter Sunday and Monday are €10 per person with a €1 booking fee, also allowing entry to the farm, and are available onsite and from greenanmaze.com.
Look out for fairy folk
The Slieve Aughty Spring Festival in Galway is back for another year, running from March 24 to April 8. Look out for some fairies on the walk to the Enchanted Forest or follow the Easter bunny's paw prints to track down hidden treasures. Children can learn about wild rabbits and other animals in the forest along the woodland animal trail, or pay a visit to the petting zoo and meet some Easter bunnies.
There will be pony rides, cookery workshops and organic gardening demonstrations too, and older children may enjoy longer walks around the Coillte-owned forest beside the centre. Tickets €7.50 per person with complimentary tea, coffee and juice. For more information, see slieveaughtygalway.com.
Dash to an egg-and-spoon race
The Moher Hill Open Farm, Co Clare, and Leahy's Open Farm, Co Cork, play host to Easter Eggstravaganzas over the bank holiday weekend. Families can join in on egg-and-spoon races, egg throwing, face painting, egg hunts and bouncy castles. Tickets are available on location. For more information, call Moher Hill on 065 7081071 or visit moherfarm.com. Contact Leahy's Open Farm via their website leahysopenfarm.ie or phone 083 8488142.
Get up and running with a sports camp
If you haven't already booked a camp for the week, Let's Go offer four-day camps around the country, including locations in Dublin, Athlone, Cork and Galway. The camps are suitable for children aged five to 12, with activities split up into different age groups.
Children aged five to six can enjoy scavenger hunts, tennis, basketball, unihoc and a climbing wall, while seven to 12-year-olds will play hurling, badminton, soccer, Olympic handball and rugby. Placements are €100 per child with sibling discounts, and more information as well as specific camp locations can be found online at letsgo.ie or by calling 1890 538746.
Play with new spring lambs
Families can visit the woodland adventure playground at Huntington Castle, Co Carlow, to meet baby lambs, sheep and calves during the castle's Easter event, running from March 31 to April 2. There will also be an Easter treasure hunt, where children will be given a basket and tasked with finding as many golden nuggets as they can in order to win a chocolate surprise. See huntingtoncastle.com for details.
Go back in time to 1918
The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra, Co Down, welcomes guests for its annual Easter Celebrations from April 1-3. The museum will transport visitors back to 1918, where guests of all ages can have a go at traditional crafts, sample seasonal treats, sit in on a storytelling session and take part in street games. The event also marks the centenary of women's suffrage, so children can learn about how women achieved the right to vote and stand for public office for the very first time. Tickets are £11 (child £6) and can be booked onsite or online at nmni.com.
Head out for a day at the races
Easter Tuesday at Fairyhouse Racecourse is a family fun day, with special activities for kids including bouncy castles, face painting, balloon modelling and games. After the madness of the first two days, the atmosphere promises to be more relaxed, but there'll still be plenty of excitement, in particular the country's only Ladies Irish National - an all-female chase race in aid of the Marie Keating Foundation. Tickets from €15, kids go free. Contact 01 825671 or see fairyhouse.ie for details.
Put pen to paper at a writing workshop
Creative writing teacher Megan Wynne is offering one-day historical fiction writing workshops for kids in Malahide, Skerries and Blackrock. The workshop presents an opportunity for children aged eight to 13 who are interested in storytelling to have fun putting together an original story set in a particular historical period and will be guided by Megan as they create their own characters and plots. Bookings €45, for more see meganwynne.com.
Get hands-on with a falcon
The Victorian house and gardens at Well's House in Gorey, Co Wexford, offers plenty for families young and old to explore, but children will love the falconry workshop from the resident falconer on March 29. As well as getting to hold and feed them, guests will learn about the beautiful birds and watch them soar over the grounds in what is sure to make an unforgettable day out. Tickets €15, call 053 9186737 or visit wellshouse.ie.