1. Fountainstown Beach at Low Tide
I usually park in the car park and walk to the furthest end of the beach by road with small man in the buggy. He's only just two years old so is still happy to be wheeled around, thankfully. The front strand is quite rocky so I find the far side of the beach to be much more child-friendly as there is a huge stretch of flat sand with shallow pools of water. Here they can have a really good run and splash around without going near the actual sea. Obviously fine weather is the optimum time for this but I am thinking about buying some neoprene waders so he can splash through water in all weather without a chance of getting soaked through.
2. Monkstown Wall and Playground
Another buggy walk, Monkstown Wall provides plenty to see from marine birds, wind turbines, speed boats, anglers, dog walkers, and my son is particularly fond of a pipe on the opposite side of the road that gushes out water coming from a stream. If you bring some food, there are plenty benches with a scenic view for some al fresco dining. For a run-around, there is a small playground opposite The Monkstown Inn on Glen Road. Although in excellent condition, it is not a great playground for very young children - there is no baby swing which is surprising - but it is well enclosed and there is a stream running alongside it (at the other side of the railings) which should interest a toddler.
3. Near the Ferry Terminal at Ringaskiddy
A popular loop walk starts from a small public car park by the ferry terminal entrance. It is not really suitable for a buggy as the path gets quite narrow and stony in places but is ideal for a sling or a toddler you can trust to walk safely alongside you. There are meandering paths through brambles with some open spaces but some of the path runs right next to the water. The view of Cork Harbour is spectacular. It is an unbelievable place for spotting rabbits - they are everywhere but watch out for the holes in the ground as some of them are quite large. A toddler running around excitedly could easily let their foot slip through. They wouldn't fall in or anything but I'd be worried about breaking or spraining an ankle. It is also a wonderful place for blackberry picking and if you are carrying your toddler on your back, you can do the picking and hand them berries over your shoulder while you walk around. Pure bliss.
There is a playground in Ringaskiddy village.
4. Camden, Crosshaven
The area around the fort is a lovely area for a walk, blackberry picking and watching huge cruise liners coming into Cobh. The views are unbelievable. I'm not a swimmer but gazing at the sea on a calm day makes me dream of leaping from a diving board in the sky and plunging into the shimmering, cool aquamarine expanse. It's lovely to see random people gather just to enjoy the scene in front of them. If you walk up beyond the car park, there is a football pitch that, if empty, is a great place to let your little one have a run around. There are great views from here also. And of course you can visit the fort but it currently only opens during the summer weekends.
There is a great playground in Crosshaven village.
5. Weaver's Point, Crosshaven
6. Carrigaline-Crosshaven Railway Walk
7. Carrigaline Library Not outdoors I know, but I had to mention it.
The library is located near Dunnes Stores and is a wonderful relaxed place to spend an hour. They have a nicely sized children's section with plenty of seating and a great selection of books. It may stir a bit of nostalgia in you when you see old favourites such as Stone Soup and The Goose Girl. They do story time on a Friday at 3pm and a children's book club on the first Wednesday of every month at 3.30pm. From there you can take a walk up to...
8. Carrigaline Park and Playground
The large duck pond is a banker when it comes to amusing toddlers. Nothing funnier than being circled by a volery of ducks, seagulls and crows as you share a snack on the bench. If you're into rat spotting, which always excites me, the banks of the pond are a good place to see some rodents scurrying around. Beyond the ducks and rats, you can walk along the Owenabue river, preferably not at low tide so you're not "looking at shit" as my other half would say. Down here you can pick blackberries at this time of year and walk back on the other side of the pond. The park is dotted with public gym equipment for adults and has a large playground divided in to two - for older and younger children. Of course my escapee gives about five minutes exploring the play things until he makes a run for the exit but in general it's a pretty good playground.
Hopefully I've given you a few places to explore. Enjoy!