I’m a Dubliner born and bred… so I’d like to think I know the city pretty well, but as with almost everything, it’s a totally different experience with the kids in tow. When friends come back to visit now, we generally meet in parks and family-friendly restaurants, playgrounds and beaches… I generally avoid the city centre on a normal day if I’ve my two with me, never mind the old haunts, which are at the bottom of the list of suggestions, relegated by the evil twins (expensive) babysitters and unco-operative children!

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An evening cycle along Clontarf Promenade

As I mentioned, I’m mildly obsessed with getting fresh air, and making sure the kids get fresh air too, so we generally try and get out, and actually Dublin is a pretty cool place to get out and explore. Leave the city centre and you’ve mountains and coastline… it might not be Rio but… (sigh, it’s definitely NOT Rio) but actually there are tonnes of activities to do – sea swimming, hill, coast and cliff walking, mountain biking, sea kayaking, kite and windsurfing. I know the weather is a prohibiting factor, but only if you let it and let’s be honest, no one comes to Ireland for the weather. Besides, if you get a good day it’s all the better because it’s appreciated as such a bonus. Living here you just gotta get on with it, rain, hail, sunshine or snow. (But I will include blogs on ‘what to do when it’s raining’!) For now, I’m picturing sunshine.

I generally head out towards Howth, I grew up there although it’s massively different now to when I was small. It was, and still is a fishing village. It was much quieter, more of a sleepy village, but now it’s a very busy, bustling town and very much on the tourist radar- with good reason. It’s lovely. There are amazing walks (and swims) along the cliffs and beaches, I still find the views across Dublin bay very beautiful, everyday it looks different. From the car park at Howth Head you’ve views across the bay all the way down to Wicklow, and then if you walk around the corner you’re looking at the northern coast from Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island and the mountains of Morne in the North. Apparently you should also be able to see Wales “on a good day”, I never have and I’m beginning to think maybe someone might have been taking the mick! It’s especially lovely at night, when it’s dark and the city lights are twinkling. Howth also has tonnes of great restaurants now, that it definitely didn’t when I was a kid!

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The top of Deer Park, with Howth Harbour and Martello Tower.

Further along the North coast is Malahide and Portmarnock, Skerries and Donabate, all lovely places to go for a walk on a beach, have some great lunch afterwards. But Dublin is not just seaside it’s mountains as well. We’re not talking the Alps here, the Dublin Mountains are more like hills but again great for walking and cycling. I’m more of a sea person myself, but I’m going to try and get up those mountains this year and have a little look around again.

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A Walk on Dollymount Strand, Dublin

So let’s just say, this section will give the low down on great places to eat, fun things to do and places to visit that are all family friendly. All Dublin related blogs are found under the category ‘In Dublin’s Fair City’ http://blog.thestorkexchange.ie/category/dublin-with-kids/ and I’ll keep adding to it to keep it fresh.