Home Ireland with kids Visiting Ireland with a baby or toddler: all you need to know

Visiting Ireland with a baby or toddler: all you need to know

by Mama Loves Ireland

All you need to know for visiting Ireland with a baby or toddler. Baby friendly places in Ireland, best strollers for Ireland and Ireland travel tips for families with babies and toddlers.

Ireland is a lovely destination to visit as a young family and one I often recommend as a first family trip overseas.

Safe, English-speaking and compact in size Ireland is a country where families feel welcome: many families here are multiple children themselves and especially in bigger centres it is easy to find baby equipment and facilities.

I know this well.  My two children are born in Ireland, so I know very well what it means to be and travel around Ireland with a baby, a toddler and both!

As well as my own experience, I also have many friends who both raise their children here or have come to visit with little ones. 

This article is the collection of all my tried and tested tips for visiting Ireland with a baby or toddler.

Safe family travels! 

Arriving in Ireland with a baby or toddler

If you arrive in Ireland by plane and the first task they have upon landing is locating their stroller!

Unless you have a super compact stroller that can come with you on the plane, chances are that you have to regain your checked in precious vehicle on arrival and this can be stressful: will it be at the plane gate? At the oversize baggage belt? At the main baggage belt?

The answer to this might change depending on the airline so asking your airline crow upon descending the aircraft is usually the best option.

However, Dublin airport is equipped with a ‘buggy collection point’ just outside the aircraft and all the flights I have ever taken into Dublin have resulted in me being able to collect the stroller pretty much at the aircraft door (depending on the exact arrival dock, you may have to walk to the end of the boarding tunnel)

Documents and Visas for entering Ireland with a baby

After you regain your stroller, you are off to immigration and passport control checks.

Ireland is part of the European Union but outside the Treaty of Shengen. This means that all passengers, even EU citizens, will go though passport control upon entering the country and this includes babies!

The exact documents needed for you and you family to enter the country depends on your citizenship: the best place to find information is your local Irish embassy or consulate or the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Please note: if you are traveling alone with a child with a surname different from yours, you may have to produce proof of your relationship with them (usually the birth certificate stating you are the parent / legal guardian). I have only been asked occasionally (and I was ready) so please, do take this seriously as it does happen!

Getting from the airport to your accommodation with a baby

Depending on your ariprit of arrival you have several transport options. These are the most common:

Taxi: Car seats are not required in Ireland in taxis. Taxi drivers will let you board their car without a car seat although you are of course entitles to bring your own. If you don’t have a car seat, usually you take the taxi ride with your baby sitting on your lap.

I feel it is important to know that the drive from Dublin airport to the city for instance is motorway: please use your own judgement when deciding whether to bring/not bring a car seat from home.

Private car: if you get a private car, may it be a rental car or that of a friend picking you up, please be aware that you MUST use a car seat. Most rental companies offer an option to rent them wit the car however, I highly recommend you bring your own. This is the only way to make sure of the condition and safety of the seat and also that it is indeed the right size for your child.

Bus: several buses connect the airport to destinations around the country. Depending on the type of bus and how busy it is, you can fold the stroller and store it in the luggage compartment or you may be allowed to take it on board Usually airport buses have a compartment (either below or a luggage rack on board) while local buses have strollers/wheelchairs bay on board, one stroller per bus only.

Driving in Ireland with a baby or toddler

There are two main things to take into account when driving in Ireland wit children

The first is what I mentioned before: the fact that car seats are compulsory.

The second is that Ireland has some motorways but also very many country roads that are narrow and meandering, a potential nightmare if you have a child prone to motion sickness!

Any time you are driving in Ireland, I highly recommend you take your time, go slow and stop as many times as you need to give yourself and your child a rest from the zig-zagging and get some fresh air.

Staying in hotel in Ireland with a child: cots and extra beds

Hotels and B&Bs in Ireland are usually very accommodating with small kids and are happy to let you co-sleep with no charge for the baby or offer a cot or extra bed.

The best way to make sure is to read the specifics of the room you are booking before committing: I usually use the website booking.com as it has very clear policies on what is and is not allowed and what type of facilities the accommodation owner is able to offer.

Things become even easier if you are staying in an Ireland family hotels. these are hotels that make a special effort to welcome families and usually have bigger rooms, play ares and often additional children facilities like high chairs, cots and children menus in their on site restaurants.

Toddlers in Irish airport looking out to Aerlingus flight

Staying in an Irish castle with a baby or toddler

If you dream of staying in an Irish castle but worry a young child may not be welcome in such an elegant setting, worry no more!

While some Irish castle are not very suitable for kids, many are and even take pride in their family offering. Ashford Castle is maybe the most famous of all but Clontarf Castle in Dublin Waterford Castle and Lough see castle are also wonderful and perfect for even very young kids.

Ireland with baby: carrier, stroller or both?

I recommend both! A carrier will come in handy in Ireland for some outdoor pursuits and strolls on the beach (Ireland has many wonderful beaches) but the stroller will be invaluable for longer stretches.

Overall, Ireland is very stroller friendly and you can use either a light umbrella stroller or a bigger one.

While you may have to fold them in restaurants, most places are well equipped to have them and the bigger wheels are handy in the Irish countryside where small wheels tend to struggle.

Breastfeeding in Ireland

Breastfeeding is becoming more common in Ireland but the country has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world so you do not see many breastfeeding mothers around, despite the often very high number of babies.

This doesn’t mean you cannot breastfeed your child in a public place: you can and some bigger shopping malls even have breastfeeding rooms equipped with comfortable chairs and baby changing facilities.

The rooms can be very pleasant so I do recommend you seek them out in shopping centers but should one not be handy, you can easily breastfeed while at a restaurant or a cafe.

Eating our in Ireland with a baby or toddler

I find eating out in Ireland with kids pretty straightforward.

Many restaurants are equipped with high chairs and children’s menus are getting more and more common too. The choice of foods on kids’ menu is often limited (pasta with tomato sauce/bolognese, fish fingers, chicken nuggets, pizza) and I usually supplement it with small bits from my plate.

If you have our won food, please be advised that not everywhere is equipped or available to heat it up for you: always ask in advance.

Formula, baby food, diapers in Ireland

Formula, baby food, diapers and baby supplies are easy to find in shops around Ireland.

You can find all of this in big (sometimes also small) supermarkets and you have a decent selection of international brands such as Milupa and Cow and Gate (Danone), Huggies, Pampers etc.

Cheaper brands of decent quality can be found in supermarkets like Lidl or Aldi too which also have regular sales for baby stuff.

If you have a toddler, you will find many supermarkets have big shelves with snacks just for them and many are delicious rice cakes, raisins and crackers of all types as well as pushes of fruit and smoothies abound!

When visiting Ireland, I do recommend you bring some of your own supplies for the first day or so but you do not need to stock up: the selection here is very good.

Medications, pharmacies and emergencies

You can buy some over-the-counter medications (eye drops, ibuprofen, paracetamol etc) both in supermarkets and pharmacies.

Please be advised that only a limited amount of paracetamol can be bought in the same transaction: do not expect to be able to stock up in one go.

Pharmacies come in all shapes and sizes and some observe late-night opening and are open at the weekends.

However, the number of pharmacies open outside standard business hours is limited, especially outside of the bigger centers, so I recommend you have basic supplies such as a first aid kit on you at all times.

The Ireland emergency numbers are 112 and 999.

Sightseeing in Ireland with babies and toddler

Sightseeing in Ireland with a baby or toddler is surprisingly easy. You can visit almost everywhere with a baby in a carrier and many of the most famous attractions in Ireland can be visited at your own pace and with a stroller, making them perfect for toddlers.

Some useful information about some of Ireland’s main sites.

The cliffs of Moher with a baby or toddler: tail sea cliffs plunging into the ocean may not sound like the most suitable place to visit with a toddler but if you stay in the main viewing area, they are safe and fun for kids.

The cliffs themselves are protected by a tall barrier and there is a large space before it for strollers and for kids to walk as well as a nice and safe visitors center.

Since they are cliffs, there are parts that are unshakable for kids (although really some parts are unsuitable for adults too and marked as such!) so paying attention is paramount.

However, you do not have to skip the cliffs because you have a child; they are wonderful at all ages!

You can read here >>> our tips for visiting the Cliffs of Moher with kids

Blarney castle: Blarney castle is easy to visit with children and great fun for them. Kissing the stone is unsuitable for young kids and I would not recommend entering the castle as such with them however, the sounds are wonderful and very child friendly.

Be careful if visiting the poison gardens: this is a lovely area of the castle with medicinal plants and some must not be touched nor eaten, especially by a child. The garden is easy to spot, well marked and easily avoided should you have a curious toddler likely to go foraging!

Read here >>> Our guide to visiting Blarney Castle with kids

Ring of Kerry: the Ring of Kerry is a long drive along a scenic meandering coastal road.

The only thing to be aware of here is the length of the journey and the bent nature of the road: if your child suffers the car, this is a drive I do not recommend.

You may want to consider shorter drives in the area such as Dingle instead: the peninsula is wonderful but much smaller and easier to tackle with kids. The lovely Dingle town is also a good place to stop for a rest.

Dublin: Dublin is very easy with babies and toddlers.

The city is stroller friendly, many restaurants have high chairs and children’s menus and there are some play centers that are just for tiny kids. If you want to treat them to something special, Imaginosity children’s museum is wonderful!

If you prefer to go sightseeing, it is good to know that The National Gallery is overt child friendly and that there are breastfeeding and baby changing facilities on Grafton street (inside Brwoth Thomas) and on the top floor of St Stephen’s Green shopping center.

You can read here >>> our guide to enjoying Dublin with kids

Kylemore Abbey: famous Kylemore Abbey is a lovely place to visit also with a toddler.

The abbey is surrounded by wonderful green areas and easy walks and you can easily visit with a baby or a young explorer letting mean lead the way along the paths. For a nice play break, head to their play area!

Newgrange: It is possible to visit Newgrange with a young child. However, since Newgrange is a passage tomb, the darkness and the confined space can be challenging for a toddler and can upset them. personally, I prefer to book tickets separately and get the adults to take turns: strollers are welcome in the visitors center but cannot enter the actual burial chamber.

Kylemore Abbey Ireland

Special places to seek out when visiting Ireland with a toddler

One of the things I love the most about having a toddler in Ireland is that the country has a lot of attractions that may not make the list of many visitors but are wonderful for families. Farms, manor houses with playground, adventure playground, fairy walks – these are local family’s favorites and can be a great place to slow down and give your toddlers opportunities for interaction and actual play.

Some places we love are (the list is not exclusive):

All beautiful and equipped with gorgeous play areas.

What to pack for visiting Ireland with a baby or toddler

Ireland has different seasons and very changeable weather so what to pack depends very much on the time of year of your visit. Asa general rule, I recommend you bring:

  • Baby carrier
  • Stroller
  • Baby snowsuit for the winter (as well as warm clothes)
  • Short sleeve tops/long sleeve tops/ sweaters for layering in all season
  • Wetsuits (for pools and outdoor water play in summer)
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Wellington boots
  • Waterproof trousers for wet days and jumping in puddles (they will do a lot of it!)
  • First aid kit
  • Basic supplies for the flight and your first day: snacks, diapers, formula, baby wipes, diaper disposable bags etc.

I hope you found this introduction to traveling to Ireland with a baby or toddler useful. Safe travels!

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