‘Time out from the busy routine’ is the top reason for a family holiday or short break. So say parents of children aged 16-years-old revealed as part of Ireland’s first Family Togetherness Index by Center Parcs Ireland.

Center Parcs Ireland, which will open the doors to its luxury forest resort in County Longford in 2019, developed the Family Togetherness Index in collaboration with Child Psychotherapist Dr Colman Noctor and found that time away from the daily slog significantly contributes to the closeness a family feels.

Commenting on the research findings, Dr Colman Noctor said: “The children and parents involved in this study referred to the busy nature of their schedules as a barrier to family time, so it is important to find windows of opportunity to moderate these schedules. Occasions such as family holidays allow for fun experiences to be shared between parent and child, thereby providing an opportunity for real quality time to be spent and increased closeness amongst the family unit to be enjoyed.”


The nationally representative study, which was carried out among parents of children aged 16 and under, found that 89% of families in Ireland took a family holiday or short break together over the past year.

While a week or more abroad was the most popular choice of getaway for 51% of Irish families, a short break staycation was the second most popular choice, with 49% of families choosing to holiday at home.

A week in Ireland was the third choice for family getaways for 25% of those polled.

According to the findings, Irish parents believe that children are 15% more likely to enjoy family holidays than they do themselves.

Despite this statistic, 78% of parents polled believe that taking a break together significantly contributes to the closeness a family feels. 


When it comes to the reasons for retreating with the family, the research shows that ‘time out from the busy routine’ is perceived as the number one benefit of a family break followed by ‘time to be together as a family’.

Dads are 20% more likely to consider relaxation a benefit of family holidays than mums, while mums are 13% more likely to see ‘a time to switch off from work and have fun’ as a benefit when compared with dads. 

Overall however, the study shows that the majority of Irish parents (53%) agree that a family break provides the greatest opportunity of the year to connect as a family.


The first Family Togetherness Index for Ireland reveals that there is a direct correlation between the level of family togetherness experiences and the happiness that family unit enjoys.

The study shows that families who don’t have a holiday together experience lower levels of family togetherness when compared with the national average.

According to the research findings, 20% of parents who haven’t holidayed in the past year name ‘work getting in the way’ as the cause for missing out. Irish dads are also three times more likely to name work as the reason for missing out on family holidays than mums.

When it comes to happiness on holiday, the Index shows that families are 31% happier with time spent together on holiday when compared with their happiness during an average week at home.

Commenting, Dr. Colman Noctor said: “The Family Togetherness Index demonstrates that family togetherness, holidays and the happiness a family feels are inextricably linked. In a busy world, leaving the distractions of your everyday surroundings and routine behind is necessary to allow space for family togetherness.”

Martin Dalby, CEO for Center Parcs commented: “Family is at the heart of everything we do at Center Parcs so we are delighted to introduce our forest resort to Ireland in 2019 and offer Irish families space and time to create special memories in the unique and beautiful surroundings of Longford Forest.”

Center Parcs Ireland will open in Longford Forest in summer 2019, offering a new, luxury destination for families to spend quality time together.

For more information, visit www.centerparcs.ie.