Guest Blog: Things do with children in Ballina! - Visit North Mayo

We’re delighted to welcome guest blogger, Gemma McLoughlin to the hot seat here at   

Are you already thinking – what am I going to do with the kids over the holidays? Are the days marked off on the calendar? Can you already hear the words  whispering in the not so distant future “Mammy, what are we doing today? Mammy where are we going today?”  and my favourite –  “Mammy I’m bored.” Well I’ve sat down with pen and paper and here’s my list of things to do with children in Ballina – and things I’ll be doing with Little Red Head and Mini Miss over the holidays.

Ballina Cinema – My two love the cinema and Mammy loves a good deal, so you can be sure that I will either head to the cinema on a Thursday when it’s online €5 deal or, at the weekend when the kids club is on. A perfect thing to do with children in Ballina, especially when it’s raining!  Visit

Ballina Library – There is a fabulous children’s section in Ballina Library and as long as you’re a member you can borrow books, DVDs etc  If you’re not a member that’s okay –  you can pop in for a read of some of the books in the comfy furnished sitting area. Visit

Swimming – We are very lucky in Ballina to have many swimming pools, a lot of our hotels boost family-friendly pools and our local pool is centrally located with ample parking and fun activities throughout the week.

Belleek Woods and Fairy Trail – This for us is a must pretty much everyday when the kids are off school.  Rain or sunshine the woods is lovely to walk, run or cycle through.  And not forgetting the fabulous enchanting fairy trail situated at the duck pond and the ducks will never say no to some oats and seeds. Visit:

Penney’s – Now I know this is not your norm on an activities list, but whether you’ve small children or teenagers Penney’s in Ballina is well worth a visit. For a small treat or a new top for the next teenage disco, Penney’s will be a hit. Once you’ve shopped till you drop, well if your kids are anything like my two then time allocated will depend on said children, but the promise of ice cream or a cuppa always gets an extra five minutes browsing. And of course we have a great shopping offering throughout Ballina, so why not make a day of it in town, even for a browse?

Go for a Babychino – One of my favourite things to do with children in Ballina! We all love a relaxed cuppa and Little Red Head and Mini miss love their babychinos with of course lots of marshmallows – Ballina is full of great coffee shops so you’ll be spoiled for choice. Check out the best coffee spots in North Mayo

Archery – A little different but a fun activity that all the family can join in on.  Moy Archery is situated right in the centre of Ballina with both an indoor and outdoor facility. Visit Moy Archery on Facebook.

The Jackie Clarke Collection – This is one of my children’s favourite places in the town to pop into have a run around the lovely gardens and then explore all the many artefacts in the collection.  If Little Red Head asks to go touring in Ballina this is where he means, he gets lost in all the was, it’s a lovely experience for a child to see that not everything is about Youtube and the like!  And the Mad Hatter’s Easter Egg Fun Day on Saturday March 31st during March Madness is a must! Visit

 SUP (Stand-Up Paddling)  – This isn’t something I’ve personally tried yet but I’ve heard rave reviews about it and will definitely be hitting the water sometime soon. The added bonus of this activity is its location right on the River Moy at the Quay with breath-taking 360˚ views of Ballina.  They can cater for young children so it’s an activity for all the family and looks like a great thing to do with children in Ballina. Visit Harbour SUP and Sail for more details.

Beauty treatment  –  My Mini Miss loves getting her nails painted and even better as a special treat, heading to the beauticians to get them filed and painted while mammy gets hers done too.  We try and make a little afternoon of it – we’ll get dressed up, of course picking out the matching handbag, and then go for a sneaky babychino after we’ve been beautified. We have many beauticians that cater for this activity in Ballina.

Festivals and events – Ballina is great for hosting different events throughout the times the children are off and there are always lots of things to do with children in Ballina. Keep an eye on the Mayo North Facebook Page, or for up-to-date information on what’s on in the town.

Playground – You’ll knock hours out of this activity and it’s free, sure what more could you ask for.  Ballina playground – known as Tom Ruane Park is situated within walking distance of the town centre; it has lots of fun things to do in it including football, basketball and tennis courts.  Why not bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy the sound of the River Moy while the kids burn off all that energy.

Thanks Gemma! 

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