When researching family staycation ideas, Monaghan might not immediately spring to mind, but a growing number of families have discovered that Monaghan offers a complete change of scenery and pace, as well as a surprising amount to see and do for all the family – much of which is outdoors. A day trip from Dublin or elsewhere is also an appealing prospect, though once you have had a taste of what Monaghan has to offer, it is sure to become your favourite alternative family staycation destination.
Here are five of our favourite ideas for family-friendly days out in Monaghan:
Lough Muckno Leisure Park
Castleblayney (1hr 20mins from Dublin) is a gem of a park with something for all ages. Here you will find some of Monaghan’s best buggy friendly walks, a fab adventure playpark (suitable for ages 2-12), picnic areas and coffee truck, as well as a wide range of kids activities including sailing, kayaking and tree-climbing, courtesy of Castleblayney Outdoor Adventure Centre.
Or why not bring your walking shoes or fishing gear and explore under your own steam?
One of the most popular parks in the country, according to Coillte, Rossmore Forest Park is unsurprisingly a big hit with families; a recent makeover has seen the addition of a giants’ trail, featuring towering sculptures made from reclaimed wood and designed by Game of Thrones’ set designer, Marc Kelly. As well as several walking trails there is a new playpark designed to blend in with the beautiful natural surroundings.
Refreshments are available via the on-site coffee dock and, on weekends, check out the local food truck offerings. Or why not pack a picnic? The Rossmore Forest Park app, a newly developed free visitor guide, will help you to get your bearings.
Gorgeous Glaslough (1 hour 40 minutes from Dublin) has it all – a charming village centre, which you can explore via a fascinating audio trail (takes approximately an hour to complete, free to download).
Bring your bike up to Monaghan and take in the breath-taking scenery on two wheels; the 4.2km stretch of the Ulster Canal Greenway in Monaghan Town is deemed ‘easy’ and takes in a variety of urban and rural landscapes, as well as heritage sites of interest.
Alternatively, rent an electric bike from Drumlin Trails in Emyvale and ‘unlock’ a number of secret trails devised by local history buff, Paddy McQuaid. Kids’ seats, trailers and safety gear can be hired, also.
After you’ve completed the 6km-long Glennan, Donagh and Glaslough trail (6km), you’ll have earned a treat from Pocono ice cream parlour in Glaslough.
As activities for older kids go, the brand-new visitor experience at Carrickmacross Workhouse is a must, offering a glimpse into a poignant period of Irish history through the eyes of a teenage girl.
Follow an educational and emotive visit with something completely different: grab some provisions in ‘Foodie Town’ Carrickmacross, and head off for a picnic beside the beautiful St Peter’s Tin Tabernacle in Laragh village. Enjoy a pretty streamside stroll afterwards and keep an eye out for roaming peacocks!
For more Monaghan family staycation inspiration, visit the dedicated ‘Family Fun’ page: