Ah, Tayto! An Irish treasure. Is there anything it can’t do right?
For the uninitiated, Tayto is a brand of crisps native to the island, known for its delicious flavours of prawn cocktail, salt and vinegar, smoky bacon, and the holy grail of flavours, cheese and onion.
While it may seem odd to be so infatuated with packets of crisps, Tayto is a household name in Ireland. Tayto Castle, an actual castle in Tandragee, County Armagh, is home to the first Tayto factory on the island.
And to show how much we Irish love Tayto, we have an entire theme park dedicated to the snack. Tayto Park is a 22-hectare site in County Meath, only a 30-minute drive from Dublin City.
We took the opportunity to visit the park and experience all it has to offer. We rode their rides, ate their food, and explored the more unique elements of the park. Here’s our review and five things we experienced at Tayto Park.
A note on entry
First off, entry to the park is €15.00, and once you’re inside, there are two ways to approach the attractions.
Firstly, you can pay per ride if you only want to try a few attractions. Tokens, priced at €1 each, get you onto each ride; however, some rides (especially the bigger ones like the Cú Chulainn Coaster) cost up to five tokens.
The other way to experience the park is to buy an unlimited wristband alongside your ticket (priced at €16). This is well worth the investment if you intend to try everything at the park. We recommend the unlimited wristband.
Now, on to five things we experienced at Tayto Park!
5. Rides, rides, rides
Once inside, you have free reign of all the attractions. The park is host to local fairground rides like carousels, twisters, and dynamite swings, but it includes less common attractions like a 5D cinema and an extreme climbing wall.
Feel like getting wet? Well, that’s what you’re sure to be if you ride the Viking Voyage (five tokens). The Viking-themed water rollercoaster dips and dives through a mountain and pumps around 1.7 million litres of water every day, so it’s hard to avoid a soaking.
The ride is fast-paced, action-packed (even rolling backwards at one point), and adrenaline-pumping. It’s well worth a ride, but be sure to wear a waterproof poncho if you don’t want to get wet. We got soaked on our first ride, but that didn’t stop us from riding it five more times.
The Sky Glider (five tokens) is another of the top things we experienced at Tayto Park. This 23-metre-tall ride involves hanging or zip-lining towards the ground with only a harness and your guts to join you.
The ride reaches speeds of 40km/h and is sure to take your breath away. It’s not for the faint of heart, as it rockets you along at the speed of a raptor. This one was nail-biting and intense throughout but well worth the nerves.
4. Screaming from the top of the Cú Chulainn Coaster
This is the ride you’ve been waiting for. It’s so good, in fact, that it gets its own number. The Cú Chulainn Coaster (five tokens) wears the medal for Europe’s largest wooden rollercoaster and wears it well, as this is one amazing ride.
The ride is a rocky, exhilarating adventure that starts with a steep 32-metre incline only to drop you down the other side and blast you along the track, twisting this way and that.
The coaster reaches speeds of 90km/h, so be sure to hold onto your seat (and your stomach). It’s the best and wildest ride in the entire park, and it’s well worth the admission fee alone.
3. Chowing down on po-Tayto-es
You’ll have surely worked up an appetite from all the exhilaration of the rides, and good thing the park offers a huge selection of foods so you can recharge yourself. For a quick bite, grab one of their twister potatoes, a delicious spiralled potato fried to crispiness. We highly recommend these.
Or if you’re looking for a sit-down meal, try the park’s pizza restaurant, Argentinian grill, or traditional lodge serving everything from steak sandwiches to bison lasagne. Be sure to grab a crepe or ice cream from “Scoops and Sprinkles” to gain back your energy.
And you can’t forget about Tayto crisps. That’s where this all came from. Claim your complimentary packet on your way out, and munch through all the flavours as you explore the park.
2. Exploring the zoo
As if the food and rides weren’t enough, the park is home to a zoo featuring leopards, ocelots, alpaca, vultures, and many other animals. Why not visit their “World of Raptors,” a live performance showcasing the zoo’s birds of prey? Note: It costs five tokens to watch.
After that, be sure to drop by the petting zoo, which is home to goats, sheep, and donkeys, for a closer look at native Irish animals. There’s no shortage of furry friends here, and we enjoyed strolling the grounds to give us a break from the excitement in the rest of the park.
1. Witnessing the birth of a crisp on the Tayto Factory tour
See behind the curtain at the Tayto Factory tour. The park is home to an actual working Tayto factory, allowing visitors to wander through the insides of the factory and see how the crisps are made.
You can watch potatoes go from cutting to frying and finally to seasoning all within an interactive trip through the hallways. This is one of those experiences you have to see for yourself. We were amazed at the machinery, each process, and each step that is required to get a bag of Tayto into our hands.
These may be the top five things we experienced at Tayto Park, but they offer only a glimpse of everything the park offers. There is surely enough there to keep you and your family entertained for a day out. We can’t wait to go back!
To experience it all, be sure to come along early and try the park yourself, but before you leave don’t forget to grab a photograph with Mr. Tayto himself, the Park and company’s mascot, who’s more than happy to take snaps with the guests.
Address: Tayto Park, Kilbrew, Ashbourne, Co. Meath, A84 EA02, Ireland