In this post we will focus on cheap days out that won’t break the bank. Unfortunately I have not been able to include places in the Munster area as I have not had the pleasure to visit there yet. Fingers crossed in 2022 that changes!
Prices included below are accurate at time of publication but may change. Please check the relevant websites for the most up-to date prices before travelling!
Lough Key Forest Park
Lough Key forest park is a firm favourite in Co. Roscommon. It’s no surprise, when it is a place of natural beauty, that it is so popular. There is plenty to keep everyone happy with activities such as Zipit, Boda Borg and the Lough Key Experience. If you are hoping to avoid paid for activities Lough Key has acres of woodland to explore and there’s even a Fairy bridge to see!
A picnic and €4 for parking is really all you need for a wonderful day out.
If you are a lover of hikes and looking for your next adventure then the Eagle Rock in north Co. Leitrim is a must for your list.
This is one of the toughest hikes my family has done. Our youngest is 6 years old and managed it (he’s basically a mountain goat) but it is a hard hike to do. You will need water and lots of it. I would recommend bringing a packed lunch so you can spend as much time as possible at the top admiring the view. If you can safely and easily bring a picnic blanket with you it would be worth the effort.
The view is spectacular and the sense of achievement is un-believable.
The Devil’s Chimney
The Devil’s Chimney in north Co. Leitrim is another amazing hike with a spectacular view. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in Ireland. The trail is steep with viewing points dotted along the way that act as rest stops. Again it would be best to bring a picnic but as the hike itself is reasonably short the picnic could be eaten back at the car if you didn’t want to bring it up the trail with you. Water for drinking to stay hydrated is absolutely necessary however.
If you want a cheap day out, that isn’t a hike but is stunningly beautiful and gloriously tranquil, then Glendalough in Co. Wicklow is worth a visit.
Parking is €5, and aside from a packed lunch, is the only expense of a day out in Glendalough.
Bring what you need to enjoy a day outside in nature – hiking boots/ book/ football/ picnic blanket or even a small radio if you wish.
There are walking trails for every level, from very relaxed stroll to adventurous hikes and everything in between.
Queen Maeve’s Grave
Another hike in Co. Sligo. Queen Maeve’s grave is the final resting place of the mythical Iron Age queen who ruled Connaught.
Knocknarea Mountain is a steep walk but it is suitable for most hikers. The hike itself takes about 40minutes to get to the top but with spectacular views you will be in no rush back down.
To make a full day of it you could also include a trip to one of Sligo’s lovely beaches. A whole days fun and fresh air for the price of fuel and a packed lunch. Now that’s a cheap day out!
Kylemore Abbey in Co. Galway is located in the heart of Connemara. Originally built by a wealthy man named Mitchell Henry in celebration of his beloved wife, Kylemore Abbey has been the home of an Order of Benedictine nuns for the last 100 years.
A family ticket is €38 and it is well worth the money. With Victorian walled gardens, pigs, a wonderful forest walk and access to the country home included in the price.
I would advise to bring a hat and something to keep flies off your face if you go while it is warm. The Victorian walled gardens and the pigs are particularly prone to the flies.
Belvedere House and Gardens
Belvedere House and Gardens in Co. Westmeath is possibly my favourite place we have visited since we started paying off our €40k debt and saving for a mortgage. At €18.40 for 2 adults and 2 children it is seriously good value for money.
The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and it is clear they enjoy their work. There is something for everyone at Belvedere House with a zipline, playground, folly, breath-taking gardens and the house itself.
Definitely a place you could spend the whole day and enjoy quality time together without spending a fortune.
Wild Ireland – Arctic Experience
While the Wild Ireland– Arctic Experience in Co. Donegal doesn’t necessarily fit the topic of cheap days out, it is in my opinion worth a mention.
It is more on the expensive side at €12 for an adult and €10 for a child. It is not every day you get to see a real life bear going about its business or be within 10 foot of a wolf. With cute squirrels and monkeys also to see there is something for everyone to see. The paths are wide and fairly flat making it an easy walk from one encloser to the next. There is no sense of urgency so you can see the animals at a leisurely pace and really enjoy the experience.
One thing to beware of is the gift shop. It is, like all gift shops, extremely expensive. That is just something small to keep in mind.
Castletown House in Co.Kildare is one place I wish I could recommend more. While it is stunningly beautiful and the staff are both knowledgeable and friendly, the facilities are lacking.
The toilet facilities are far below the expected standard. If you can overlook that aspect then you could share a family day out that everyone will enjoy.
The parkland is gorgeous and easily accessible to everyone.
At the time of publication Castletown House is closed for the winter. Therefore prices cannot be included.
The Japanese Gardens and National Stud
The Japanese Gardens and National Stud are again on the more expensive side for cheap days out. At €13 for an adult and €7.50 for a child (online only prices!)
However there is something for everyone with long relaxing walks, horses, beautiful manicured gardens and a playground.
Aside from the admission fee really all you need is comfortable walking shoes and a packed lunch.
Equipment I recommend for cheap days out
Most likely you will have these items lying around your home, or you will have something you can make do with. However if you do need some recommendations, the following are all items I have used and found the quality to be excellent. Please remember to budget for items you want and only spend what you can afford to spend.
- Gelert picnic rug
- Yeti 30oz tumbler great for taking hot or cold drinks with you. I had ice on the beach for hours in my yeti tumbler!
- Stanley adventurer cooler this is the one I have. On reflection if I was to buy one again I would buy the bigger size.
- Stanley flask fits our needs for now with only two adults using it.
- Ice packs – I use bog standard ice packs. I got ours in Asda.
At present I have not found a water bottle that I could recommend.
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