Ireland loves kids. Everywhere you go you'll find locals to be enthusiastic and inquisitive about your beloved progeny. However, this admiration hasn't always translated into child services such as widespread and accessible baby-changing facilities, or high chairs in restaurants – especially in smaller towns and rural areas.
Although there are legal restrictions on children in pubs, restaurants technically should allow kids of all ages at all times. But in practice, many restaurants (especially in the higher bracket, but not exclusively so) would prefer if you left the kids at home, especially at busy times, when high chairs are suddenly unavailable: if you're booking ahead, be sure to specify if you need one.
When it comes to activities for the whole family, Ireland is much better placed than it was even a decade ago, as many providers recognise the important of catering to the whole family. Most activity centres offer kids' programs for all ages; many museums have kid-friendly exhibits and some even cater guided tours to suit younger ages.
Lonely Planet's Travel with Children has lots of useful information.
For further general information check out the following:
Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/family-holidays) Useful and extensive resource on travelling with children.
eumom (www.eumom.ie) For pregnant women and parents with young children.
BabyGoes2 (www.babygoes2.com) Travel site with family-friendly accommodation worldwide.
Ireland for Kids
Baby-changing facilities Only in larger cities, and then only in large shopping centres.
Babysitting agencies Only found in larger cities and in some of the more established, upmarket hotels; expect to pay between €12 and €20 per hour plus transport costs.
Car seats (around €50/£35 per week) Mandatory in rental cars for children aged nine months to four years.
Pubs Unaccompanied minors are not allowed in pubs; accompanied children can remain until 9pm (10pm May to September).
Transport Children under five travel free on all public transport.