With the school holidays almost upon us and long-awaited staycations firmly in sight, Ballyhoura Country – situated at the crossroads of counties Limerick, Cork and Tipperary–will be a hive of activity with fun for all the family this summer. Whether you’re young or simply young-at-heart–perhaps you’re the outdoor or indoor type, the adventure-seeker or the quiet bird-watcher there’s something for everyone this summer amidst the Ballyhoura countryside’s undulating green pastures, woodlands, hills, adventures and surprises.
If the kids are very lucky, they just might come across some fairy magic in Ballyhoura. The younger ones can discover the magical experience of the Terra Nova Fairy Garden or Animal Magic & Falconry in Kilmallock. Another place they will also love the Lough Gur Native Tree and Fairy Trail.
Everyone can enjoy the family-friendly walks through the captivating countryside on the Ballyhoura Nature Trail, the Loop Walk at Clare Glens, the Keale River Walk and the Canon Sheehan Loop, while the leisurely Greenwood Mountain Bike Trail is the perfect introduction for all the family to mountain biking.
Animal-lovers of all ages have an array of interesting activities to choose from, such as Ballyhoura Horse Trekking with John Joe, ideal for all ages and levels. If a more sedate approach is preferred, birdwatching at Griston Bog might be the way to go, while the amazing life and work of the beloved honey bee can be explored at Croker’s Bee Farm in Ballyneety. Meanwhile, the wonderful work carried out by the local animal sanctuaries will warm the hearts of young and old alike. Griston Bog Birdwatching
Adventure-seeking families are no less likely to be excited by Ballyhoura this summer. Ballyhass Activity Centre in Mallow is chock-full of sporty pursuits for all ages, young and old – from the giant inflatables at the Aquapark to exploring the river and the local wildlife on a kayak, to experiencing Ireland’s first-ever High Nets course, on which you can climb, roll, bounce and play while suspended 10m in the air. If that’s a bit too high, venture underground instead, taking a guided tour of the ancient passageways of Mitchelstown Caves, one of the largest and most complex cave systems in Ireland. Meanwhile, families who’d prefer to channel their inner Robin Hood, can enjoy Limerick Field Archery Club on a Sunday.
Fun workshops can make for a great family bonding experience. Rockbarton Garden Centre hosts gardening workshops for kids (here you can also enjoy an outdoor farmers’ market), while Lough Gur Pottery’s fun pottery workshops for all the family will back open soon as restrictions continue to lift.
After a great day’s family activity, a cosy and fun place to stay is a must. For families with four-legged fur-babies, the 4* Ballyhoura Mountain Lodges are pet-friendly, as is the Charleville Park Hotel, which also hosts movie nights and a Kids’ Club. Deebert House Hotel is situated right beside some pretty nature trails. To escape right into nature, stay at Ballinwillin House Farm B&B to experience the deer roaming freely on the farm while Park South Accommodation is close to Doneraile Wildlife Park. Who knows where your dreams may take you if you stay at Ballyhoura Escape, where you’ll find lots of fairy doors leading to the Glenroe Fairy Trail and Village.