Updated: Aug 16
Traveling with an autistic child can be slightly challenging. However, a few adjustments here and options there can turn your time away from home into a vacation for the record books! You probably know how I am always saying that travel is for everyone. Well, cities all around the world are making sure there are plenty of options for autistic families like yours.
Over in Ireland, the locals have been working hard to ensure all autistic members of the community, as well as travelers, feel welcome. We all know that quiet spaces and downtime is a necessity for autistic people. Businesses have taken those two things and gone a step further by ensuring all staff members are trained to understand what a person with autism might be experiencing at any given time.
The very first town in Ireland to be deemed, and certified, as autism friendly was Clonakilty. This town is located over in Cork. Ten other towns in Ireland have followed suit and are now certified as autism-friendly towns. Those towns include Tralee, Listowel, Mallow, Castelbar, Lucan, Skerries, New Ross, Wicklow Town, Greystones, Bray, and Clane.
This may be excellent news for autistic travelers looking to explore Ireland. However, a study completed by AsIAM, which is Ireland’s national autism advocacy organization, discovered that 88% of travelers would be more likely to visit an autism-friendly destination even if they didn’t have any autistic family members. This means these towns are garnering even more support from travelers who don’t even require autistic services.
Arriving at the Dublin Airport
As an autistic family, you will be so happy to know you can take advantage of autism-friendly services at the Dublin Airport. When I make all your travel arrangements, I will make sure I register you for the important flyer lanyard or wristband program. Anyone wearing one of the colorful wristbands or lanyards will instantly be recognized by staff members as a person who has either autism or sensory needs. The staff members will instantly provide you with any support you need, especially when larger crowds are beginning to form.
Benefits of Staying at an Autism-Friendly Hotel in Ireland
There are currently a few autism-friendly hotels in Ireland. Each one offers unique features that you will love for your autistic family. We can go into those details more when we chat. However, I thought I would share some of the main benefits of staying at an autism-friendly hotel in Ireland.
Maps marked with quiet areas of the hotel, as well as which areas are considered low-intensity and high-intensity
Ability to engage with staff members to ensure your visit is as amazing as it should be
Being informed of all the businesses and attractions nearby that are autism-friendly
Autism-friendly sensory tools and toys
Social stories are available on the hotel’s website for you to use prior to your arrival
A Few Autism Places to Consider Visiting While on Vacation in Ireland
Parkway Retail Park
Shopping for souvenirs is often a must while on vacation, but the entire experience can be overwhelming for a person with autism. Over in Ireland, Parkway Retail Park is an autism-friendly space. The staff members have been well trained, and signage is everywhere, so you never need to worry about not being about to find a quiet space when you need one the most. Plus, you can ask for a peaked caps to wear when you are there. These caps block all the light stimulation from the shining sun when you are venturing from store to store.
Aviva Sensory Hub
Watching different sporting events at stadiums can be really difficult for autistic families. All the loud noises and crowds can create a vibe that people with autism cannot tolerate. Thankfully, Aviva Stadium in Dublin has the perfect solution if your autistic child becomes overwhelmed.
The stadium installed a cubby system to lower the sensory levels of an autistic person. A staff member can make adjustments for each individual, so you won’t need to worry that your child is still being overstimulated or missing out on an important part of the game.
You can only stay in these cubbies for five to ten minutes at a time, but they are worth it for those moments when a quieter space is necessary.
High Rise Clip and Climb Adventure Centre
Autistic children are not always thrilled to try new things, especially when they are surrounded by people they do not know. Thankfully, High Rise Clip and Climb Adventure Centre has created an all-inclusive space I know your entire family will love!
This indoor climbing arena also has a soft play area for younger kids. The café is the perfect spot when your autistic child gets hungry or thirsty. The best part about this climbing attraction though is the fact it has sensory and quiet rooms you can use at any time.
Learning about the Titanic while vacationing in Ireland can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be overwhelming for people with autism. I will make sure I arrange for VIP wristbands in advance, so the staff knows you are an autistic family. I can also arrange a pre-visit sensory guide, as well as ear defenders and blackout tents if necessary.
Tayto Park is a thrilling amusement park in Ireland. As with any amusement park, autistic families will need to plan their visits in advance. Tayto Park does make this easy because they have social stories posted directly on their website. You can share them with your autistic child, so they know what to expect throughout your entire visit. Discounted tickets are available for the person with autism, as well as the person caring for them.
Wandering around a zoo while on vacation in Ireland can be a lot of fun, until your autistic child no longer wants to walk. There are plenty of places where you can stop to take breaks and recharge. The zoo also offers discounted admission, which can be helpful if you are unable to stay at the zoo for the length of time you thought you would.
As you can see, Ireland is definitely an autism-friendly destination you won’t want to miss! I would love to hear your thoughts on the different hotel benefits, as well as the attractions I have just shared with you, so let’s chat!
Are you ready to plan your next autism-friendly vacation in Ireland??
If you are ready to begin the planning process, I would love to invite you to schedule a planning session with me by clicking here. When you click on that link, you will be taken directly to my digital calendar. You can set up a time that works best for your schedule.