Families & Campers

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Parents & Families

Barretstown provides weekend breaks for families, in spring and autumn, where all day-to-day needs are met, so that they can concentrate on relaxing, having fun and spending time together.

The social environment of the Barretstown programme is hugely important for children and families. Being with other children and families enables them to gain perspective on their illness, to share courage and strength, to bond emotionally with others who understand how they feel.

Our Key to Success – Challenge by Choice

Barretstown’s unique programmes – using Therapeutic Recreation – are much more than holidays. They are based on four main building blocks, with the emphasis always, always on FUN – Challenge, Success, Reflection and Discovery. Find out more about Therapeutic Recreation.


Barretstown is available to all children and teenagers suffering from any of the following serious illnesses:

We accept the following illness groups from Ireland only
  • Neurology
  • Endocrinology
  • Rheumatology
  • Dermatology
  • Gastroenterology

Children, teenagers, siblings, and families get the chance to take part in Barretstown’s programme up to 3 times. The programme is open to children, from newborn infant to 17 for family camp and aged 7 to 17 for summer sessions from Ireland and all over Europe and is recognised by medical professionals as playing an important part in their recovery from serious illness.

A minimum of 120 children are welcomed at each Summer camp which runs for 8 days and the children get a chance to come on their own to these camps. We offer family weekend camps in Spring and Autumn which cater for a minimum of 22 families at a time and this is a time for the entire family to come to camp.

Barretstown works closely with hospitals throughout Europe as they nominate the children that can benefit from our unique programmes. If you have a query or wish to find out about your eligibility directly from Barretstown, please don’t hesitate to contact our Family Liaison Team.

Free of Charge

All our programmes are available free of charge, including flights from agreed locations. We rely on fundraising and volunteers to help us provide the Barretstown programme.

Your Child’s Safety and Well-being

…the children are never far from a trained, skilled and understanding friend.At Barretstown, the safety and emotional and physical well being of the children is our primary concern. We strive to ensure that they are protected, safe and comfortable at all times. Many measures and procedures have been put in place to ensure that this aim is achieved to the highest of standards.

With leading childcare practitioners as advisors, Barretstown has emerged as a leader in the area of childcare practice and as such plays an important role in advising other child focused organisations and in the shaping of childcare policy. With a ratio of at least one Cara to every two campers while on site, the children are never far from a trained, skilled and understanding friend.

Your Child’s Medical Needs

Children who come to Barretstown are diagnosed with various forms of cancer and other serious illnesses – that have a profound impact on their lives.

Our well-equipped medical centre is staffed by at least two paediatric doctors and four paediatric nurses. We attract some of the top paediatric medical professionals in the world, many of who return to Barretstown year after year. The team is supervised by the Nursing Director, and overseen by our Medical Director.

Upon arrival at Barretstown each child visits the medical centre and meets with a member of the medical team. Medication prescribed to the child is recorded on a prescription sheet and the medication is stored in the medical centre, to be dispensed by our nurses at the appropriate times (usually at mealtimes or bedtime).

Our medical centre is affiliated with Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Dublin, which is only 30 minutes away. We adhere to the medical policies and protocols set by the hospital. Our medical team observes the medical regime advised by the child’s doctor and at no time will the medical team deviate from this.



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