The family way

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One of many options to get your Munster Vales family activity trip off to a great start is to set up base at Villierstown Blackwater Eco hub. You can hire one of their dinky Eco pods which are kitted out with everything you need with lovely outdoor space, and good proximity to the all important shop and pub.

For Day 1, we suggest a trip to Lismore Castle Gardens where you can meander around the meadows, tree lined avenue and market garden. Open seven days a week, these are said to be the oldest cultivated gardens in Ireland, once owned by Sir Walter Raleigh and where Edmund Spenser reportedly came up with ‘The Faerie Queen’ over 400 years ago. The Castle offers really interesting virtual reality visits which get you even closer to its story.

Or you may want to take a gentle stroll along Lady Louisa’s Walk, which meanders alongside the river, through some stunning woodland with great views of the Castle. If you don’t want to go it alone, you can pick up a themed walking tour from the Heritage Centre.

If you’re lucky enough to be there on a Sunday, you can pick up some fresh food at the Farmer’s Market on the avenue leading to the Castle. If not, make this your excuse to eat out at Foley’s on the Mall which has a range of really delicious, fresh dishes.

If that hasn’t tired you out and you fancy looking at the views from a different perspective, we suggest a boat trip with Blackwater kayaking and canoeing which will definitely be a hit with the kids.

It’s off to the Copper Coast for Day 2 where you can pick up the stunning coastal drive from Dungarvan with plenty of stop off options and unforgettable views. We recommend a visit to the Copper Coast UNESO Global Geopark where you can book a tour to fill you in on the geological, archaeological and biodiverse importance of this area, or you can download audio trails to walk you through the must see areas.

A four minute walk and you’re straight onto Bunmahon beach to relax or get fired up on the waves with surf lessons or body board hire from Bunmahon Surf School. That sea air will definitely help you work up an appetite so head over to The Engine House for some great quality food and a fantastic outdoor space.

And, if you have energy left, a 15 minute trip will bring you to Annestown, one of the area’s best surfing beaches. It’s a great beach for families too so pack a picnic and take some time out. Just up the road, you can stop by Dunhill Castle, have a quick hike to the top to take in some great views.

For Day 3, head over to the beautiful town of Fermoy where you can take a 5km walk up Corrin Hill to catch the spectacular views of the valley and the Galtee Mountains. This is bound to build up a good appetite so, once you’re down, fuel up at the seriously impressive Hanna’s Café and spend the rest of the day exploring the Castle and woodlands of the peaceful little village of Ballyhooley.

For Nights 4 and 5, you can stay at the beautiful rural retreat of Charleville Park Hotel and Leisure Club, a cracking choice for families with a pool, kids’ movie night, kids’ club and even a dog friendly policy.

Take the activity down a level on Day 4 with some leisure time at Charleville Golf Course, a beautifully laid out course with great mountain views. Visitors can book in advance. We suggest eating at the hotel which has a great range from its Bistro and Restaurant menus.

We recommend spending Day 5 at Ballyhass Adventure Centre where you can decide whether to spend your time at the Aqua Park, the high wires and nets, the archery or even have a go at axe throwing.

We suggest bringing plenty of tasty snacks from the likes of Heinemann’s Bakery & Café!

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