Office of Public Works



This summer the Office of Public Works invites you to visit its many amazing heritage sites around the country for free.

It’s wonderful guides are specially trained to ensure younger visitors have an engaging time at all of our sites.

Enjoy outdoor play facilities, picnic areas and child-friendly exhibitions.

Your young explorer might get to hold the key to the castle, inspect some gruesome weapons or fulfil a noble quest!

Making the past come alive has never been so much fun.

Playground facilities are available at many of the sites so you can let the little ones burn off excess energy in these safe but fun-filled spaces.

At Doneraile Court in Co. Cork, you can enjoy the playground, picnic area and many walks around the parklands.

Lucky visitors might just spot some of the red deer, fallow deer, sika deer and Kerry cattle that live on the estate.

Other Attractions 

There’s lots to enjoy at Portumna Castle which is teeming with curious and memorable stories, such as the story of the little dog, Fury, who once saved a girl’s life.

You can take a family photo in the stocks and run around in the willow maze in the seventeenth-century kitchen garden.

A giant chess set awaits at the tea room.

At Emo Court in Co. Laois, the house is currently closed but you can still stroll along the beautiful walks in the grounds where you will encounter natural play areas made from timber from the site.

Kilkenny Castle also boasts a playground on the grounds and, inside, the kids are sure to enjoy seeing the Victorian Nursery which provides a fascinating glimpse into 19th Century childhood.

Kilkenny Castle offers a range of fun activities designed for all members of the family with activity sheets which can be downloaded from the Kilkenny Castle website.

Providing a tranquil counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of modern life and a choice destination for budding horticulturalists, our award-winning parks are among the continent’s finest.

Beautiful Parks 

Many of our parks rival it for beauty, incorporating such enchanting features as ornamental lakes, rockwork, formal lawns and woodland trails – not to mention the beautiful plant collections, often including rare and delicate specimens.

There are miles of enchanting walks and cycle routes to explore in our world-class public parks and gardens, such as The John F Kennedy Arboretum in Co. Wexford.

At all of the OPW’s heritage sites they try our very best to make sure there is something for visitors of all ages, but it is working to make the heritage sites more autism-friendly.

Many of its guides have received training from AsIAm, Ireland’s National Autism Charity, and are in the process of developing Social Guides to help you prepare for your visit.

‘Social Guide’

This information can be found under the ‘Social Guide’ section of each heritage site’s webpage.

In it you’ll find step by step details of what to expect on-site along with photos.

If you’d like to visit a specific place, but have any concerns about accessibility for a buggy or young child or queries about the facilities on offer, please contact the site directly.

If you are preparing to welcome your little one into the world and need somewhere relaxing and calm, OPW has many suggestions.

Experience the calming effect of panoramic scenery at The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland at Kilmacurragh, Co. Wicklow.

At the ruins of Old Mellifont Abbey in Co. Louth you can enjoy a gentle stroll and the tranquil ruins of this once busy monastery.

Heywood Gardens in Co. Laois is the perfect haven away from a busy world to enjoy perfumed plants.

Some of OPWs heritage site have catering facilities on-site for take-away or, as restrictions ease, for outdoor dining, so check its website in advance for details here.

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