Wednesday, 31 July 2013

National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History is a great place for a visit, particularly on a rainy day.  It has galleries of animals from Ireland and overseas, also geological exhibits from a total collection of about 2 million scientific specimens.  

The ground floor is dedicated to Irish animals, featuring giant deer skeletons and a variety of mammals, birds and fish. The upper floors of the building were laid out in the 19th Century in a scientific arrangement showing animals by taxonomic group. 
The Museum's education team have planned and organised a variety of events, workshops, tours and learning spaces for everyone. You can go on your own or in a group, join a tour, book a workshop, get information for a project or attend a lecture.  And it's all free.
If you go it alone, you can get free activity sheets to follow, 'My Favourite Animal'  for young children and 'The Zoo in My Garden' for older children. There is also a summer activity trail called "Summer Sun" and an Autumn one which starts on 1st August called "Busy Bees".
You can also join family tours and hands-on workshops at weekends and during school holidays. Events change monthly.  There are loads planned over the summer (they are in my post on june-august events). 
Handling Family 1

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Outdoor Movies

With all this amazing weather, an outdoor movie does not seem like such a crazy idea anymore. There are a few to choose from in Dublin over the summer.
In Marlay Park, free outdoor movies will be screened on Sat 10th August and Sunday 11th August. The backdrop for the giant movie screen will be Marlay House and with any luck the sun will put in a guest appearance to make the open air setting even more impressive. Filmgoers can bring picnics and blankets.  Popcorn and other treats will be available for purchase throughout the event.   There will be 3 screenings a day with times to be announced shortly, so check back with DLR events for details at dlr COCO Market will be open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and 11am to 4pm on Sunday.
As part of its "Fair Weather Fun" programme, cinema in the open will be screened on the 1st and the 15th August in Dundrum Town Centre's Pembroke Square (weather dependent) at 4.30pm and 7pm.   

Free Junior Golf Lessons for ages 7-12 years at Nevada Bobs!

Free Junior Golf Lessons for ages 7-12 years at Nevada Bobs!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Ringsend Park

A park we had not heard of and visited this week, on the recommendation of a pal, was Ringsend Park.  It is located in the heart of Ringsend and Irishtown off Strand Street on 10.58 hectares, the park comprises of grassed based soccer and GAA pitches, synthetic pitches, kick-about areas and athletics track. It has two fab playgrounds in the south west corner or the park.  The "Junior Play Area" has swings, slides, multi purpose play units, picnic benches and seating and just beside it is the "Senior Play Area" which has two great climbing frames one with a great slide.
Aerial photo of Ringsend Park

Greenan Maze and Gardens

We went for a day trip with the cousins who over from the USA to Greenan Maze and Gardens near Rathdrum, Co Wicklow yesterday. It was a place I had been meaning to visit for ages and a good pal of mine went recently with a gang of people and she said it was great.

It was a fair old drive - about an hour. It was lashing buckets on the way but the sun same out when we got there and it turned out to be a fantastic afternoon. It was really worth it. All the kids thoroughly enjoyed it and were kept busy for about four hours.  The main hedge maze is well looked after and there is a viewing tower beside it so if anyone gets lost they can be guided out or towards the middle.  There is also a solstice maze - a sort of gravel path maze, which you can follow to get to the middle of the circle which is a collection of large stones.

There is a small playground, picnic areas, some toy tractors to drive, a lovely nature trail, animals, three museums exhibiting a traditional farmhouse, collections of glass bottles and farmyard equipment.  To top it off, there is a really lovely tea room with delicious freshly baked treats. 

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Big House Festival, 3rd-5th August

Big House Festival is a cultural festival of arts, music, film and entertainment in the Castletown House and Parklands happening over the August Bank Holiday (3-5th August). The Big House Festival seems to have something for everyone from ages 1yr-100yrs throughout its ballroom, farmyard, stables, woodlands and meadows.

There is a great programme family and childrenThe Ark Cultural Centre for Children will present the Ukulele Céilí workshop. Children will get the chance to dance; play and all join in together for one big hooli. 

Dancers will take to the meadows and recreate a fusion of childhood games and flocks of flying birds in a dance performance called Flock. 

The Irish Museum of Modern Art and the artist Rhona Byrne will be presenting ‘Garden Folly’. You are invited to play with and build forts, houses, fairy castles, monsters dens or whatever you heart desires.  

For smaller ones there is a sand-pit play area in the farmyard. 

If you’re in the mood for some visual treats then maybe Mark Linannes Wind Garden and Niamh Lunnys Washing Line might be of interest. 

Farm is a play that brings together the rural and urban (and there’s a tractor too!). 

There is also Opera in the Open, a message in a bottle on the lake from PillowTalks Catch of the Day or George Higgs Door of musical inventions. 

If you venture into the forest on your travels you will come across Tree Ladies,Clockwork Birds and electro-acoustic choral event Spindle – late in the evening. Laura Kreifman has made her curious bird creatures from recycled materials and they are hidden around the forest for you to encounter. While Áine Phillips has dressed the trees… literally and Eat My Noise will be there providing a soundtrack for your explorations with their audio displays.

While you are out there exploring the grounds and what’s on offer – keep an eye out for Theatre Lovetts Out and about with Pietr Kloon. 

And if its laughs you’re after then ponydance might be up your street - a dance act that is supposed by be a comedy delight.  

You can also make some artworks of your own or do the Children’s trail.

All in all, lots on.

Image courtesy of the artist.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Cabinteely Park

We went to Cabinteely Park today, which is a lovely park comprising 45 hectares. Fab playground there.  Within the courtyards of Cabinteely House, the Council has refurbished a former Grainstore that is now used for the promotion and development of Youth Arts in the County.  It runs regular art, music, dance and drumming lessons during the school year.  For the summer period the Grainstore is largely used by youth services providers and youth groups.  

There is also a nice cafe, which has a outdoor seating areas to the front and also at the back looking onto a Japanese style garden.  

Recently launched, every Sunday from 10-4pm there is a Co Co market outside the Grainstore Courtyard. Over the summer, Wooly Woods Farm will be at the market to entertain the kids  (13th/14th July, 17th August, 24th August/25th August). 

All in all, well worth a visit.   

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Farmleigh House and Gardens

So I have been soaking up the sun, fresh air and scenery of Westport with the munchkins for the last few days so have been blog free for a week or so. If you are heading Westport way, I would highly recommend doing at least a bit of Croke Patrick, bringing a bucket and spade to the Blue Flag beach at Old Head, going for a swim in Westport Leisure Centre ( - there is a nice playground by the Westport Leisure Centre too and one of the two cinemas is there as well.  There is another nice playground on the way to Westport Golf Club called the Bogfield Playground on Golf Course Road.  The waffles and pancakes in Maple Moose are also worth a gander.  Westport House is a must. Other ideas see So I am sitting at the computer now and I realise I have not put Farmleigh House and Gardens in Phoenix Park up yet.  It is a great place for a visit.  A walk around the gardens and a visit to the House and Boathouse restaurant will provide a great distraction for kids, particularly on a sunny day.  There is a regular Farmleigh Food Market to ooh and ahh at.  It has a nice summer programme planned for this year, which includes music on the bandstand, workshops for kids and a family day, so check it out.
 Sat 13th July
Children's Art Workshops 6-12yrs - The Invented Zoo, Farmleigh House (12-1pm, 1.30-2.30pm and 3-4pm)  Saturday 27th July
Children's Art Workshops - Birds of a Feather. 6-12yrs, Farmleigh House (12-1pm, 1.30-2.30pm and 3-4pm)   Sunday 28th July
A Year of Illustration 2013 Family Event, Farmleigh House 

Saturday 10th August 
Children's Art Workshops. 6-12yrs Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!, Famleigh House (12-1pm, 1.30-2.30pm and 3-4pm) 

Sunday 18th August
Dale Treadwell with Fluterbies and Busy Bees - Outdoors. 12noon-5pm

Saturday 24th August Children's Art Workshop for 6-12yrs . Dinosaur Zoo, Farmleigh House (12-1pm, 1.30-2.30pm and 3-4pm)

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Street Performance World Championship 12-14th July

Taking place over two weekends in July, the Laya Healthcare Street Performance World Championship will bring the world's best street performers to Dublin’s Merrion Square and Cork's St. Patrick's Street to compete for the world champion title. it will run in Dublin from 12th-14th July.

Friends of mine were there last year and they said that their kids really loved it and it was definitely something to post on Dublin Munchkins.  It is a free family festival which promises to be full to the brim with jaw-dropping jugglers, awe-inspiring acrobats and spine-tingling sword swallowers!  

It will be a busy weekend next weekend what with the IFI Family Festival and this Championship!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Dublin City Council: National Play Day 2013

‘National Playday’ is an annual event to promote play and encourage communities throughout the country to organise energetic and health-focused play activities in their own cities, neighbourhoods, streets, parks and open spaces. 

Dublin City Council celebrated ‘National Playday’ on Sunday 7th July in Merrion Square Park from 2-5pm in what they hoped would be a fun filled, messy, active and imaginative event!

It was another event we kept meaning to go to and at long last we made it this year.  There was a load of things for the kids to do. Lots of tennis rackets, lacross sticks (I think!), Frisbees, giant balls, rugby balls, giant connect four games, lego, toys etc lying around waiting to be played with.  Messy stuff too like painting, play doh. Organised activities as well like games, dancing, pass the parcel.  

As well as ‘National Playday’ local communities can take the initiative to host Playdays any day throughout the year by making time for play using simple ideas, materials and equipment to provide a variety of play opportunities for children and young people in their local area.  

Dublin City Council: National Play Day 2013

National Gallery of Ireland

The National Gallery of Ireland provides a wide range of programmes and events for families and young people, most of which are free. There is at least one event per week, and more during the school holidays.  Our lot have gone to a few events there and have come home with some amazing stuff that is still up on their walls!

They include Sunday Summer Workshops, new parent tours, drop in creative workspaces, tiny tot workshops, family programme, baby workshops, children's audio guide, children's activity sheets, summer family tours and family packs.  You can download a PDF version of the Gallery's Families and Children Brochure for June-December here

Drawing Day 2011

Monday, 1 July 2013

Stonebrook Pet Farm

We went to Stonebrook Farm, near Ballymore Eustace in Co Kildare today.  The girls had been there on a school trip and had loved it so had asked if we could go during the summer hols.  So off we set on a lovely sunny day and met up with some friends down there.  It is about a 40 minute drive from south Dublin depending on traffic. 

We all had a blast.  Jackie Ronaldson opened the pet farm in 2009 and she was a lovely hostess.  She brought us around to meet the pigs, alpacas, chickens, geese, deer, sheep, goats and then the kids got a chance to feed some of them and also hold pet hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and a tortoise.  

After that the kids had a great time in the open play area.  Really enjoyed it! 

IFI Family Festival

The Irish Film Institute based in temple Bar is Ireland's national cultural institution for film.   It provides audiences with access to independent, Irish and international cinema; it preserves and promotes Ireland's moving image heritage through the IFI Irish Film Archive and it provides opportunities for audiences of all ages and backgrounds to learn and critically engage with film.

It aims to provide kids and young people with access to cinema through its schools programme and innovative programmes aimed at family and youth. They have a monthly teen film club, a monthly family film (generally the last Sunday on the month at 11am) and the fantastic Family Festival which will be running four days of workshops and films for kids this summer from 11th-14th July. It looks fab, so check it out.

family fest vol