Discover 10 family winter weekends
While the last autumn leaves still cling to the trees, the winter is closing in around us, darker colder days lay ahead. But don’t despair, there’s still plenty to do with the family in Ireland. Here are 10 family winter weekends.
You needn’t stay at home all weekend huddled around the fire this winter. There’s plenty to do to entertain the kids. We’ve teamed up with Tassimo who invite their customers to ‘Discover a World of Variety’. With the winter well on its way here’s 10 family winter weekends to discover:
Ireland's School of Falconry, Cong, Mayo
Ashford Castle in Cong, Mayo is home to The Irish School of Falconry, the Ireland’s oldest established school of falconry. Take the family for an afternoon for a Hawk Walk where you can roam the grounds of Ashford Castle and get the chance to fly hawks and let them land on you gloved hand. No experience is necessary, it’s perfectly safe and an instructor will guide you through everything you need to know and explain everything about these beautiful creatures.
Waterford Winterval - Ireland's Christmas Festival
Waterford gets decked out for Ireland’s largest Christmas festival. With tonnes of Christmas themed events for all the family, many of them free, it promises to be just the ticket to get in the Christmas mood. Gather in town for the big arrival of Santa on his horse drawn sleigh, ride the Winterval Express Train, visit the Elves’ Workshop and Santa’s Grotto in the Mediaeval Museum, there’s so much to do. Waterford goes completely overboard for Christmas.
Winter Solstice at Newgrange
You can enter the lottery to be in the iconic Megalithic burial tomb at Newgrange to see the sun’s rays light up the inner chamber on the morning of the Winter Solstice on the 21st of December here, but it’s a long shot. However people from all walks of life gather at the ancient tomb to celebrate the sun’s lowest point in the sky and the beginning of the days drawing longer. However, the nearby, lesser-known tomb at Dowth also shares the celestial lightshow at the Winter Solstice and it is every bit as impressive. Sunrise or sunset at Knowth is also a wondrous experience and well worth the early rise and the cold of a predawn Irish morning. Bring a flask of coffee.
TradFest Temple Bar
The TradFest Temple Bar goes form strength to strength. The festival brings the best out of Temple Bar as it showcases the talents of some folk and traditional heavyweights. This year features performances from The Oysterband, The Stunning, Duke Special, Julie Fowls, Dougie MacClean and much, much more. When you’re out and about in the cold crisp winter air, there’s nothing better than coming home to the welcome of a comforting hot drink. The Tassimo Fidelia allows you to enjoy an impressive range of 40+ of your favourite hot drink brands including Costa Coffee, Kenco, and Carte Noire at just the touch of a button.
Santa's Workshop at Aillwee Cave
The Burren is a mystical place at any time of year, but when Santa comes and sets up his workshop in the Ailiwee Cave in Ballyvaughn it brings a whole lot more magic to the area. Travel through the desolate karst region on your way to the cave and find a warm, magical underground kingdom with Santa at the heart of it all.
Chase the Northern Lights at Malin Head
As Ireland’s most northerly point Malin Head is the place you’re most likely to see the aurora borealis on a winter’s night. Follow @Aurora_ireland on Twitter for updates on solar wind activity and the likelihood of Northern Lights show.
The Natural History Museum
Dublin’s Dead Zoo remains one of Ireland’s outstanding tourist attractions. Initially itself something of a relic, the museum has been beautifully renovated yet still retains its unique Victorian character. A stunning collection of stuffed animals, fossils, rocks and birds, it is a trip back in time and to another time and an enjoyable educational experience for young and old alike. Get the children to sketch the weird and wonderful for a laugh. Best of all it's free.
Even if you’re not the greatest fan of the Titanic film or you have only a passing interest in the maritime tragedy, Titanic Belfast is an impressively designed and curated exhibition and experience. Titanic Belfast's exhibition was designed by London based exhibition designers Event Communications and consists of nine interpretative and interactive galleries. You might think Belfast is milking its link to the famed cruise liner but the scale and depth of information and entertainment on offer at Titanic Belfast really is remarkable.
Magical Christmas Experience at Kia Ora Mini Farm
The Kia Ora Mini Farm turns into Santa’s holiday home over Christmas and is decked out in thousands of lights and decorations. Ride the fire engine and dig on the real diggers – fun for all the family, visit the live stable of Bethlehem and the illuminated crib. Milk the milking cow, play the Giant Buzz Off Game and get lost in the maze. Top it off with a glass of mulled wine and a slice of cake. Agricultural fun with a Christmas twist.
Portmagee Old Year Festival
For over a century and a half, the arrival of each New Year is celebrated in Portmagee with a unique custom called 'The Old Year'. The event centres around a street parade led by a piper with blazing turf torches and a local man dressed as the 'Old Year'. The old man becomes increasingly decrepit until, on the stroke of midnight a shot rings out and he disappears. A vibrant young man depicting the 'New Year' appears and takes over the parade – greeting all the locals as he passes. The identity of the 'New Year' is kept secret each year to add to the excitement. Portmagee is a beautiful fishing village form where, if the weather holds, you can take a boat out to the Skelligs.
Discover a world of variety with Tassimo. Tassimo is a market-leading hot beverage system that provides a variety of freshly prepared coffee shop style beverages at the touch of a button. Engineered by Bosch and finished in a glossy design, the Tassimo hot drinks system is a compact, elegant and stylish statement in any kitchen. Simple to use, simply insert the T DISC into the compartment and let Tassimo read the barcode which carefully adjusts the brewing time, pressure and water temperature to produce the perfect hot drink, every time! Enjoy an impressive range of 40+ of your favourite coffee, tea and hot chocolate brands to enjoy at home including Costa Coffee, Kenco, Carte Noire, Cadbury Hot Chocolate and Oreo. Visit www.tassimo.ie for more.