Forget lions and tigers and bears, it’s shaping up to be year of the dinosaur, oh my!
With school breaks and summer holidays on the horizon, it’s time to start making plans to make some memories with all the family and one destination is stomping ahead of the rest as the place to visit.
The Gold Medal Awards have sifted through the best and the most friendly destinations in Ireland for families and there are few surprises on the winner’s list at the 2023 awards.
Taking the gold medal is longtime favourite, the Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny.
While it’s widely known as a wedding destination it’s the hotel’s family friendly offering that has proven to be a roaring favourite and it’s easy to see why.
As Kids Clubs go it’s hard to compete with having a dinosaur theme park on site.
‘Jurassic Newpark’ has resurrected a dozen of the life-sized prehistoric critters in robot form as part of its interactive experience that includes a ride on baby T-Rex.
It also plays host some more pet-able farm animals including Emus, Alpacas and Llamas that visitors can get up close and personal with during ‘feeding time at the farm.’
Mini adrenaline rush lovers can have a turn whizzing around the go-cart track and there’s also a fairy trail to explore in this prehistoric playground.
Nipping at the Newpark Hotel’s heels is the Amber Springs Spa Hotel and Spa resort in Wexford.
The hotel, located just over an hour outside Dublin offers all kinds of activities to keep them off screens and get the adrenaline pumping from archery to mini golf and even the Amber Express train.
If or rather when it rains there’s also plenty of indoor fun to be had at the state-of-the-art Playzone, then there’s the cinema, gamer zone and oasis chill out room with a pool table and air hockey games.
Most recently the hotel added a sensory zen room that caters to families and children on the spectrum with interactive displays, bold colours and textured walls.
Nabbing the bronze medal in the family friendly hotel category at this year’s Gold Medal Awards is the Sligo Park Hotel and Leisure Club which offers a host of seasonal; activities for families to enjoy.
Some of the other big winners on the night are as follows:
Supreme Winner Gold
The Europe Hotel, Killarney
Ireland’s Favourite Place To Stay
Castle Leslie Estate, Monaghan (Overall winner)
The Hardiman, Galway (Connaught winner)
Woodenbridge Hotel and Lodge, Wicklow (Leinster winner)
Adare Manor, Limerick (Munster winner)
Castle Leslie Estate, Monaghan (Ulster winner)
Ireland’s Five Star Hotel
The Merrion Hotel, Dublin (gold)
Hayfield Manor, Cork (silver)
The Dunloe Hotel and Gardens, Kerry (bronze)
Ireland’s Four Star Hotel
Horse and Jockey hotel, Tipperary (gold)
Harvey’s Point, Donegal (silver)
Armada Hotel, Clare (bronze)
Ireland’s Fine Dining Hotel Restaurant
Ballynahinch Castle and Estate, Galway (gold)
Tankardstown House, Meath (silver)
Kelly’s Resort, Wexford (bronze)
Country House and Guest House
The Station House Hotel, Meath (gold)
Ballyvolane House, Cork (silver)
Mount Falcon Estate, Mayo (bronze)
Ireland’s Grand Wedding Hotel
Mount Juliet Estate, Kilkenny (gold)
Armada Hotel, Clare (silver)
Sligo Park and Leisure Club, Sligo (bronze)