Lots of people seem to have the blinkers on when it comes to children's entertainment. First they look for a clown. Then they consider a magician or a puppet show. Then they sit back and scratch their heads, out of inspiration. So here are some alternatives.
Arts and Crafts
There are several art teachers and others who will call to the house and help your children with painting, weaving, felt work, pottery, and so on. Children love working on crafts, and they have a unique momento of the party to bring home at the end.
I have seen a few advertisements for cookery parties. What a wonderful idea - and it will appeal to the boys every bit as much as it does to the girls.
My own daughter asked for me to tell stories at her birthday party instead of doing magic. So I donned my Victorian nightshirt and brushed up on my Grimm's Fairytales. Cork has a rich tradition in storytelling, with a few very good performers who are available for children's parties.
Boys in particular love the messyness of science parties. And they don't even notice when the educational bits are slipped in. It is something different, and very entertaining.
A Trip Out
Why not push the boat out and bring the party away from your house? Look beyond the obvious, and consider something a bit more imaginative than the big play worlds. How about a picnic at the fort in Kinsale? Let the kids run around and then sit down on the battlements overlooking the bay for the food. Or go to Fota Wildlife Park, or the old Cork prison. Great days out. That's a party the children will remember.