As we’re in the unique position of experiencing so many hotels when we meet the parents for the Irish Group Trips, and always find out how the guests got on during their stay, it’s about time we shared it with you.
Our favourite Group Trip destinations were very difficult to decide, because there have been so many that we will definitely be making return trips to for various reasons. So in order to choose the Top 6, the properties were judged on child-friendly facilities, comfort and safety for single parent families, and of course the experience our families had during their stay.
So without further ado, we’ll start the countdown to the No.1 Irish Group Trip Destination:
This gem has been a popular holiday destination for decades, and for very good reason. It’s stunning location on the coast of East Cork beside the beach and just a few minutes from Middleton Village, makes for a very comfortable and tranquil setting for a lovely self-catering stay.
We first stayed at Trabolgan in August of 2014, when six single parent families joined us for a long-weekend of fun and games. The lodges we stayed in each have 3 bedrooms, one double ensuite, one with a double and set of bunk beds, and the third with a single bed and a set of bunk beds. The shared open plan kitchen-dining area has loads of room for everyone to spread out, but as most of the time was spent out around the resort it was usually only evenings when everyone was in the lodge at the same time.
Evening entertainment was similar to that you’d get on a foreign holiday, with live music acts, resident DJ, competitions and games that included adults and children of all ages. There is the choice of eating in the family restaurant, a more casual meal in the pub or chipper, or a snack in the cafe with a hot cuppa, and as all of our families were on a half-board package they ate breakfast and dinner in the restaurant daily and everyone loved the food and friendly staff.
There is a large pool with slides, which was very popular, also an arcade and trampoline in the courtyard for the families who preferred to stay in the main part of the resort. Each family received vouchers for the various rides and activities available, such as go-karting, wall climbing, paddle boats and mini-carts, as these were pay-as-you-go, but there is also plenty of inclusive activities such as the pool, Sports Complex, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, Character Fun with TV stars such as Peppa Pig, Ben & Holly and Fireman Sam, and a Fitness Suite for the energizer bunnies.
As we always email the parents before the trips to introduce them to each other, we also allocate housemates depending on the ages of the children in order for them to make new friends easily. The parents who were sharing each house together were very organised and agreed to bring different things to share in the house so there was no doubling up on items. So one parent brought dish towels and dishwasher tablets, another brought toilet paper, and so on. It’s also a good idea to split a grocery shop before you arrive, as there is a small shop onsite but the selection is limited and a little more expensive than if you were to shop in town.
We returned to Trabolgan in August of 2015 with a much larger group of 12 families in four houses, and they had a blast as we knew they would, so we’re planning another trip back on August 19th, and there’s still room if you’d like to join us!
This is another hotel we made sure to visit again, as when we first stayed there over Easter 2014 it was such a great success. So in July 2015 we did just that and spent 3 leisurely nights with 8 families, and we’re looking forward to getting back here soon.
Not only is Kilkenny itself a fantastic city with so much in and around it the whole family can enjoy, but the Springhill Court Hotel is very child-friendly and they just make your stay so relaxing and enjoyable.
It’s located on the outskirts of the city, so unless you enjoy a good walk you’d need transport to get to the city centre. This didn’t make any difference to our families though, who spent their time in Kilkenny visiting the amazing Reptile Zoo, Kilkenny Castle and MacDonagh Junction to name just a few places.
While there is so much to do in Kilkenny, and plenty of must-see places to go, our time spent in the hotel itself was very relaxing as the Kids Club was so entertaining for the children. They cater for children of all ages and plan the activities and games around the age groups. The Kids Club mascot is Lenny the Lion, and he visits the children throughout the day, but always during breakfast to say hello, while in the evening the kids can enjoy supervised activities such as Giant Jenga, Arts & Crafts, Basketball, Giant Connect Four, and much more. The end of the evening is either quiet time with a movie and popcorn, or a Kiddie Disco with the resident DJ, so the children are well and truly entertained by the end of the day.
We found the staff very helpful and friendly throughout the hotel, very accommodating in the restaurant considering we were such a large group of adults and children, the swimming pool was popular with absolutely everyone, and there was plenty of room in the lobby area for the children to spread out and play while the parents had a chat.
A return trip here is definitely on the cards 🙂
This group trip back in August 2015 was talked about for months and months afterwards. We had no less than 19 families on this trip, which included 5 Dads, 2 grandparents and 22(!) gorgeous children aged from 3yrs all the way up to 15yrs old. The restaurant opened onto a large enclosed and partially covered patio area right beside where we were seated, so while we all ate dinner in the evenings the children could run in and out as they pleased. They all got along fantastically and the range in ages of both the boys and girls meant that none of the children or parents were without a friend.
The Kids Club was restricted to children aged 4yrs and up, so that was a little disappointing for the parents with younger kids who wanted some free time, but the group quickly rallied around and everyone took care of everyone, making for a very close knit group and a fantastic holiday for everyone.
The standard of the hotel, wonderful food, friendly and helpful staff, and the freedom the children had to relax and play in the lobby and patio areas meant that the other hotel guests were (mostly) undisturbed by all of the children, which meant the parents could relax completely and just enjoy the company.
Wexford town is just a short walk down the hill, and everyone made the most of the lovely town by wandering the pedestrian streets and running along the wide pier watching the boats bobbing along. Some families took advantage of being so close to the famous Curracloe Beach (of Saving Private Ryan fame) and came back to the hotel covered in sand and smiles before rejoining the group for the evening meal.
This really was a very memorable stay, our largest group ever, the most Dads on one trip, our only pair of Grandparents so far, and just lovely people it was a pleasure to meet. We’re heading back here in August for a few nights, and can’t wait for a repeat performance in the Sunny South East.
This 4* Hotel is somewhere we’ll return to again and again, not only because we love Galway, but also because their Kids Club is so well organised and they cater for children as young as 3yrs old up to 15yr old teens. There is a massive sports pitch just behind the hotel, so when the weather is nice the children are brought outside for games and sports, and are split according to their age groups. There really is nothing this hotel can do to improve on their Kids Club schedule, which made it very difficult for us to decide where on this list it should go!
The standard of the hotel rooms is very high, all of them spacious and comfortable, the only slightly negative feedback I had was the hotel was so spread out it was a long walk to reception for some families, but the hotel would have no problem allocating you closer to the entrance if asked. The restaurant is next to the bar, both are comfortable, and the bar in particular is very well laid out for parents so they can relax while still keeping the children in their sights. Another fabulous Leisure Centre means alot of time is spent swimming in the pool, and with two Kids Club sessions daily during the summer months the children are well entertained and kept very busy.
The first trip to The Connacht Hotel was our largest that year, with 12 families including one dad in July 2014. This was a particularly memorable trip for many reasons, it was a big group of families, everyone got along really well, and it was the first time we had a Dad join us. It was quite funny in the evenings as we all took over a large area in the bar and took turns dancing to the band with the children, with our neighbours trying to figure out what one man was doing with so many women and children!
We returned here that same year, in November for a Christmas Shopping trip with 5 families, again including one Dad, and they had a very festive time enjoying the Galway Christmas Market. Then we were back again for the Easter mid-term in 2015 with four families, and most recently to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day arriving March 16th.
This hotel has earned a special place in our hearts and we’ll be back here again and again.
We have only been to this hotel once, but we’ll definitely be making a return trip and hopefully will have details ready soon. We were blessed with fantastic weather for Easter 2015, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, because you can really make the most of the long white beach literally on the doorstep of the hotel.
This hotel is a lovely 3* standard, some rooms have balconies, most have lovely views, and they offer self-catering lodges onsite. This makes for a very affordable holiday and it’s one of the reasons we have listed it so high in the Top 6. The Kids Club and Leisure Centre are in a different building beside the hotel and lodges, meaning the children are contained when enjoying the scheduled Kids Club activities, and you can walk directly from a swim in the pool right onto the beach for sandcastles.
8 families were with us on this trip, and we enjoyed our meals overlooking the beautiful ocean from the restaurant, or sitting on the deck outside the bar listening to the waves crashing just a few metres away. Many of the parents said they felt like they could be in Portugal, the weather was that good, and they all relaxed so much.
The facilities were very child-friendly, with Slush Puppies available behind the bar and vast green areas for the children to run around, before jumping down the dunes to the beautiful beach. Tennis Courts and a playground meant there was loads for the children to choose from, and there was no need to leave the hotel. If you wanted a long walk you could walk from the hotel along the beach up to Youghal Town, it’s about 2 miles, just bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen!
We’re very much looking forward to a return trip here, and this time will include the self-catering option for families who’d be willing to share with others. Stay tuned!
Even with all the fantastic contenders for the top of the list, this was a no-brainer. A beautiful hotel on expansive grounds including a 90 acre woodland, we have never experienced anything quite like it anywhere else. 9 families including 2 dads and 13 children joined us here during the October mid-term in 2015, and every one of them had a blast.
The resort has two separate hotels, Breaffy House, which is the main building, and Breaffy Woods Hotel which is more family-friendly. This means that all families with children are allocated rooms in the perfect hotel, just a stone’s throw from everything on offer all over the resort. The Woods Hotel has wide corridors, large bedroom doors and spacious bedrooms, making checking in and out with children and luggage much easier. Large windows overlooking either a huge rugby pitch or the woods at the back of the hotel make for bright and airy bedrooms that are a pleasure to stay in.The hotel have a restaurant downstairs that serves breakfast and dinner, and we had one casual meal on the first night in the bar, which was fantastic. The bar area also has a stage along the dance floor, so from 7pm each evening the children were treated to live entertainment, games and disco fun while the parents could sit and have a bite to eat. This was a great laugh, from a magician who had them all enthralled to a Captain Jack teaching them new dances and songs.
There is also a Breakfast Train, which was very popular for parents, as it meant the children being collected from the room and brought by Kids Club Staff to have breakfast in the restaurant before the morning Kids Club session began. This gave some parents as long as four hours of free time, which was very well received. There was a dedicated Kids Club Apartment they used, and also a large Sports Arena for activities and games. Outside of the Kids Club hours, and to get some family bonding time in, some families hired bikes and went through the woodland trails, finding playgrounds in and around the property, following streams and enjoying some proper fresh air, so we’d suggest bringing your own bikes for any future trips.
The Leisure Centre boasts a 20m pool, with a designated leisure area for kids to splash around in. Parents can enjoy their free time during Kids Club hours by relaxing in the Sauna, Steam Room and Jacuzzi, or just head back to your big comfortable bed for a nap because the kids are well taken care of.
This hotel is very much run with families in mind, and it’s no surprise we’re heading back again this Summer, on July 18th. Join us!
So that’s our list, and we agonised over the top three so if you disagree with us or would like to include another property just let us know in the comments, we’d love your feedback!