SCHOOL'S out (almost!) and parents are wringing their hands at the prospect of nine long weeks ahead. It always seems there's too much time and too little to fill it.
This week we're going to look at two ways – summer camps and great day trips. Remember, pack for all weathers (light layers are great) and ask if you can bring a picnic. Most attractions have overpriced food and you'll end up eating chicken nuggets and chips for the summer.
Add in a towel to dry splashes, wet wipes, plenty of water and you're ready to go. Kids love helping to pack, so include them.
The summer camps we've chosen have multiple venues and all have places available for July and August, although limited in some cases. Your local community centre or library should have many more on offer in your area.
My favourite five day-trips are:
1 Book of Kells. Make like the Obama girls and see our top national treasure. A visit to the Long Room at Trinity costs €9 for adults, u-12s free. You can't book, but the queue is rarely longer than 10 minutes.
2 Croke Park: The museum is great and the 17- storey Skyline not for the fainthearted. The museum costs €6 (adults) €4 (children) and €25/€15 for the Skyline tour. There is a 1.2m height restriction. www.crokepark.ie/gaa-museum
3 Titanic Experience: Heading up to Belfast for the day is no bother on the M1. Visit this amazing place and you can have First Class afternoon tea on a Sunday (£23, adults £9.50 children). The tour is £14.01 (adults) and £6.89 (children) online and a visit to the Pumphouse is extra. www.titanicbelfast.com
4 Newgrange Farm: Slane, Co Meath. Includes hands-on petting and feeding of animals, a Sheep race (Sun) and a tractor/trailer ride (€2.50). Picnic area. Admission is €9 with family of four for €28. www.newgrangefarm.com. There are dozens of other farms worth exploring around the country too.
5 Straffan Butterfly farm: My kids adored this place when they were small. Live exhibition of caterpillar to butterfly and a dense rainforest where hundreds of them fly about you. €8, €5. www.straffanbutterflyfarm.com
Great websites to check out what's on are www.fundays.ie, www.rollercoaster.ie, www.thingstodo.ie and www.discoverireland.ie.