When I was younger, my family used to go on vacation together every summer. We would go to amusement parks like Cedar Point, or down to Florida, or sometimes on a cruise. They were usually the types of vacations you could easily take with kids.
As my sister and I got older, our family vacations became more infrequent; I moved away from home and started traveling more on my own. And I found that I LOVED solo travel.
But, in the past couple of years, I've made it a point to start traveling with my family again, too. Multigenerational travel doesn't have to end once kids aren't little any more – in fact, I think traveling with my parents now that I'm older is far more fun than it was when I was a bratty middle-schooler!
When it comes to planning a multigenerational trip, though, I know that simply choosing a destination can be a daunting task. If you're traveling with older parents and/or younger kids, it can be difficult to decide on a trip that will appeal to everyone.
Which is why I'm here to declare that I think the best destination for multigenerational travel is Ireland.
Why you should plan a family trip to Ireland
Ireland is a bucket list destination for a lot of people – and especially for a lot of Americans, many of whom have Irish ancestry. My family, too, has Irish roots (mostly on my mom's side), so it's no surprise that my mom and sister have always wanted to visit.
When my mom, sister, and I decided we wanted to plan a trip together this year, Ireland immediately came to mind.
We ended up spending a week road tripping around Ireland, hitting up a perfect mix of castles, cute Irish towns, and rolling green landscapes. And after this trip, I can confidently say that Ireland is perfect for a multigenerational trip like this.
Here are some reasons to consider an Ireland family vacation of your own:
Ireland is easy
It's easy to get to, and fairly easy to get around once you're there. From the East Coast of the US, Ireland is only about a 6-hour overnight flight; not much longer than it would take you to fly from New York to Los Angeles.
Once you're IN Ireland, the country is relatively small; you can drive from one major spot to the next in just a couple of hours, making it a great road trip destination. (And road tripping is definitely how I would recommend exploring Ireland – more on this soon!)
Everyone speaks (usually intelligible) English
It also helps that you don't have to worry about a language barrier in Ireland. Yes, some Irish accents can be more difficult to understand than others, but for the most part you shouldn't have any problems communicating or finding your way around. Just note that signs on the highway are in both English and Irish Gaelic – so don't worry if you can't understand parts of them.
The B&B culture is perfect for family groups
While you CAN find chain-style hotels in larger Irish cities, what Ireland does best accommodation-wise is the bed and breakfast. There are hundreds of B&Bs all across Ireland, many of them tucked away in beautiful corners of the Irish countryside. These B&Bs often offer up larger family-sized rooms that are perfect for multigenerational tips, and you can't beat a freshly cooked Irish breakfast in the morning.
These B&Bs are fairly affordable, too – my mom, sister and I were booking triple rooms with breakfast at most of them, and paying on average less than $170 USD per night.
There's something for everyone
The top reason I think Ireland is great for multigen travel is that it really has something for everyone. Whether you're into castles or landscapes or traditional music, you can find it all in Ireland.
There are bigger cities like Dublin, Cork, and Galway to explore, and also plenty of adorably cute towns if that's more your speed. There are lots of outdoor spaces to enjoy if you're into hiking or scenery, but also an equal number of indoor activities for those who prefer to avoid the elements (of which there can be a lot in Ireland!).
Here's a sampling of some of the things my family did on our trip to Ireland:
- Visited the Cliffs of Moher
- Had high tea at Ashford Castle, along with a walk in the castle gardens
- Visited the Rock of Cashel
- Toured historic houses like Westport House and castles like Ross Castle
- Listened to traditional music in a pub and went shopping in Galway
- Took the tour at the Waterford crystal factory
- Went on a Titanic-related walking tour in Cobh
- Stayed overnight at Ballyseede Castle
All three of us (my sister, who's in her late 20s, me in my early 30s, and my mom in her mid-60s) enjoy things like castles and historic houses, while long drives put us all to sleep. We therefore focused more on tours than scenic drives, simply because they fit our travel style better.
For those who love scenic drives and the outdoors, you may want to consider these spots:
- Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head Drive
- Ring of Kerry and Killarney National Park
- Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough
- The Aran Islands
- Achill Island
- The Slieve League Cliffs
The Irish are so nice
People in Ireland are quite nice to tourists, which makes for a welcoming atmosphere that's ideal for when you're traveling with your family. The Irish are usually quick to say hello, help with directions, and are even quite courteous on the roads – even when you're driving slow around all the narrow curves.
All of these reasons mean that Ireland is a great place for a family vacation, and the perfect destination if you want to ease into multigenerational family travel.
Have you ever planned a multigenerational trip? Who's ready to plan a family trip to Ireland?
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