Advertisement* We spent this Easter in Ireland as a family. With three kids we are quite a big family and planning a journey with children takes a bit more thought than as a couple. I have been in love with this beautiful country for ages and lived there as an Erasmus student for a year. Since 2016 we’ve been back several times as a family of five. DEUTSCHE VERSION HIER
holiday home or B&B
As a student and as a young couple we often stayed in hostels or later in hotels and only sometimes rented a holiday home. A lot of people (mostly without small children) like staying in B&Bs and spend the day exploring Ireland. With our kids I like having a big house as they need room to play as the weather in Ireland can be somewhat unreliable. Plus I prefer having a washing machine. We are pretty boring holiday makers as with our summer holiday in Zoutelande we always stay in the same house every time since 2016.
How to travel Ireland?
Although there are trains and the Bus Eireann busses I’d suggest renting a car. Ireland is rather rural if you leave the few big cities like Dublin or Cork and the most beautiful sights are easier to reach by car unless you prefer guided tours. But to explore Ireland and experience the lesser known areas you definitely need your own car. If you aren’t from the UK or New Zealand/Australia please note that you drive on the left hand side in Ireland!
Traveling Ireland with kids
The first few times we went to Ireland we just rented any small car and off we went. With kids it gets a bit more difficult. There are strict laws concerning car seats for kids (in short, any child unter 1,50m or younger than 12 needs a car seat) and we take our kids‘ safety very seriously (yes, I am German). So the first time we went to Ireland with our three children in 2016 I saw the prices for seats of the car rental companies and was shocked. They only offered backless booster seats for our two elder kids (we brought the then baby’s own car seat) and it was on a first come, first served basis, which essentially meant, you could „reserve“ seats but it wasn’t sure you got one on arrival. So I did what everyone would do and googled „Dublin airport car seats“ and found The Stork Exchange Dublin.
The Stork Exchange Dublin
Oliva Mai is a Mum herself and noticed getting good car seats for her children when traveling was rather difficult. So she started The Stork Exchange Dublin and now offers kids equipment: car seats, buggies, high chairs and almost anything you might need when traveling to Ireland with children. For our Easter holidays in Ireland in 2016 I booked two car seats for our boys after reading all the great reviews about The Stork Exchange. We were met in the arrivals hall and the seats were properly installed for us. The seats were brand-new looking Britax high-back booster seats as booked. The kids found the seats very comfortable and we as their parents felt great knowing they were in safe seats during our whole trip.
Booking with The Stork Exchange
Booking the seats is very easy. You choose the correct seats on their The Stork Exchange website. If you are unsure just drop them a line and they are extremely nice and helpful. Upon arrival you either use your own mobile phone or one of the courtesy phones in both terminals and tell them where to meet you after you did the paperwork for your rental car. One of the Stork Exchange staff meets you at the car and installs the seats correctly and instructs you how to use the seat. Research found that often people make potentially dangerous mistakes when installing car seats. After the seats are installed and perfectly adjusted to your kids‘ height you are ready to go. When you return the car you give The Stork Exchange 20 minutes before your arrival a call and they meet you to pick up the seats. With some rental companies you can just leave the seats in the car as some now work with The Stork Exchange. So even if you rent seats with these companies you get seats from The Stork Exchange in perfect condition.
Our personal experience
We’ve now booked car seats for our children with The Stork Exchange four times and each time the experience was great. The seats every time looked like brand new. In other countries the experiences with rented car seats weren’t always positive. What surprised me the most though when renting with The Stork Exchange for the first time was that renting a safe seat in perfect condition with them was cheaper then getting a seat through the car rental company. After reading about them I had been prepared to pay more than for a backless booster cushion as we got good Britax high backrest seats and with The Stork Exchange we actually saved money and got good car seats. You can feel sure that they seat hasn’t been in an accident as The Stork Exchange exchanges seats immediately if you tell them you have been in an accident without any charges. If your child gets sick there’s no extra charge as these things happen. There is only a small cleaning charge if the seat is smeared with chocolate or something similar which is avoidable, a few crumbs are no problem.
This year we booked a smaller car and the nice The Stork Exchange staff played car seat tetris with us till we found the perfect seats for both the car and our children.
So I am honestly recommending renting seats for your kids at The Stork Exchange if you are traveling to Ireland with children. Keep in mind to book early in very busy seasons like Christmas.
And here are a few impressions from our wonderful holiday in Ireland! Ireland is wonderful for families.