Cork City’s Playful Culture Trail joins in celebrations of International Youth Day by inviting kids to discover, explore and play

This International Youth Day (12th August), Cork city’s museums, galleries and attractions are calling on families to introduce children to culture and heritage from an early age, as they come together to make these spaces more playful and youth friendly.

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Accessing culture from an early age is beneficial to youth as the culture they inherit is an important part of their developing identity. Participation in culture helps develop thinking skills, build self-esteem, and improves resilience as well as broadening horizons and encouraging curiosity. With these benefits in mind Cork City recently launched a ‘Playful Culture Trail’ featuring 30 child friendly places to explore the city’s culture, heritage, and green spaces through play. This new trail is part of an ongoing commitment by Cork City Council and other key stakeholders towards making Cork a more ‘Playful City’.


The Playful Culture Trail is illustrated on a colourful and child friendly map that can be picked up along with a unique tote bag, colouring pencils, a Pure Cork pencil, and a bookmark, from attractions and hotels in the city. Taking a youth centred approach where fun is front and centre each attraction on the trail offers a free activity pack for kids on arrival with numerous challenges to complete from scavenger hunts, to sketching tasks, crosswords, and investigation work. Along the Trail kids are encouraged to keep a beady eye out for ‘Blaithín’ – a cute and cuddly lizard who is the play trail mascot and will be playing hide and seek in lots of attractions.


Cork City’s Playful Culture Trail is calling on families to celebrate International Youth Day with an outing to check out the fun activities of the trail and enjoy the opportunity for kids to be kids in cultural spaces. Fun things to do include hopping on a bus into the city before exploring labyrinths at St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, designing costumes for superheroes at Crawford Art Gallery, finding out their Bog Age at the Cork Butter Museum, tracing tombstones at St Peter’s Church, making daisy chains at Nano Nagle Place, enjoying the playground at the Old Cork Waterworks, and lots more.

Commenting on Cork City Playful Culture Trail plans to mark International Youth Day, one of the key organisers Dr Danielle O’Donovan, Programme Manager at Nano Nagle Place, said that Cork City wants to lead the way in encouraging playful engagement in venues that may have traditionally been perceived as quiet spaces.  “Lots of us want to bring kids to museums, galleries and attractions, but often there isn’t anything designed for them to do. This summer in Cork we have turned that problem into a creative opportunity by designing playful and engaging activity packs for kids so that families feel welcome in our cultural spaces.  We are delighted to celebrate International Youth Day along the Playful Culture Trail. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on young people, taking away so many of the activities they love to do for nearly a year and a half. Considering this, our commitment to making kids VIPs at cultural venues throughout Cork City is even more important.”

Also commenting, Denise Cahill, coordinator of the Playful Cork City Project and Cork Healthy Cities, said “Providing opportunities for fun and giving children every opportunity to play is more important than ever.  It is wonderful to see that Cork City Council so actively supports the strong playful partnership in Cork City demonstrating a real commitment to making Cork a playful city. It has been brilliant to see kids all over the city carrying their ‘Let’s Play’ branded canvas bags exploring the trail and noticing how popular seeking out Bláithín our native lizard mascot has become. It is great to be marking International Youth Day in 2021 feeling proud of initiatives like the Playful Culture Trail that have come to fruition as well as plans that are yet to be launched.

The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Colm Kelleher says it’s incredibly uplifting to see families flock to the city’s museums, galleries, and attractions to experience the trail this summer.  “There has never been a better time to explore Cork city and to introduce our children to it’s wonderful culture and heritage.  I’m really proud that we are creating an open and welcome experience for families in our museums, galleries and historic sites, and look forward to discovering more of the trail with my own children”.

Ways to Celebrate International Youth Day along the Cork City Playful Culture Trail

  1. Scoot down the marina
  2. Explore with coke zero bikes
  3. Go otter spotting along the lee
  4. Have a picnic at Bell’s Field
  5. Find Bláithín the lizard
  6. Make a daisy chain at Nano Nagle Place
  7. Find out your ‘bog’ age at The Butter Museum
  8. Get locked up at Cork City Goal
  9. See underground at Triskel Christchurch
  10. Get in the stocks at Elizabeth Fort
  11. Find the medieval bowling ball at Cork Public Museum
  12. Fire your imagination at the city library
  13. Play chase or fly a kite in the lee fields
  14. Skim a stone across the Lee
  15. Float a paper boat on the lough
  16. Star gaze at Blackrock Castle Observatory
  17. Find the centre of the labyrinth at St Finbarre’s Cathedral
  18. Discover the playground at Old Cork Waterworks
  19. Pose like a sculpture at the Crawford Art Gallery
  20. Find the right time on one of the 4 clock faces of Shandon
  21. Play pooh sticks at the Glen River park
  22. Make a wish on the witches wishing steps at Blarney castle
  23. Run over the shaky bridge
  24. Balance on a silver ball at Fitzgerald’s Park
  25. Find the little boys on the rubble of St. Peter’s
  26. Find the shiny tree in Fitzgerald’s Park
  27. Do the UCC art trail at the Glucksman
  28. Find the Cork town walls at Bishop Lucey park
  29. Hunt for medals at the military museum, Collins Barracks
  30. Treat yourself to sweets in Lenihan’s, Shandon

Get ready by picking up your free canvas goodie bag or download the virtual map at, Get set by choosing where you want to visit, and go, go, go on International Youth Day and for the rest of the summer!

This project is part of an overall mission to make Cork a playful, child friendly, active city and was developed in collaboration with all the participating museums, galleries and attractions in Cork, in partnership with Playful Paradigm, Cork City Council, Cork Local Sports Partnership, Pure Cork, and Bus Eireann. Some venues are free and others offer family rates. For updates on the Cork City Play Trail and Cork as a Playful City follow @corkcitycouncilofficial on social media or search hashtags #LetsPlayCork #ActiveCorkCity