By Sonya Callan
It looks like we will be staying at home for our summer holidays again this year, so it’s time to get inventive and see what’s available to keep you busy in our lovely country during your break. Gone is the concept of two boring weeks on a cold beach and in its place is a country full of beautiful landscapes to be explored and activities new and old to try out. As well as numerous natural highlights such as The Burren and The Giants Causeway, there are now activity centres throughout the country offering all levels of exertion. From cycling lazily along the many greenways, to battling a fast-flowing river in a raft or maybe some scuba diving off the coast, there is something for everyone this summer.
Cycle and Explore
The past few years have seen significant investment in the greenway network throughout Ireland. These paths are predominantly traffic free and designated for use for pedestrians and cyclists, meandering through woodlands and towns, across spectacular bridges or by the sea, there is something for all interests.
If you’re not brave enough to head off alone or would just like some guidance on planning your route there are many companies who will provide everything for you such as West Ireland Cycling. They are just one of the many tour operators who will provide you with all the cycling equipment, maps and accommodation information you could ever need. The Discover Ireland website has a great section on the greenways throughout Ireland and has full details for each area.
“We’ve all spent many years exploring other countries, why not take this time to see what’s right on your doorstep, you might be surprised.“
As a nation surrounded by water and over 3000 rivers waiting to be explored it’s no surprise that there are large number of activities designed to make sure you get wet! Whether you are looking for a leisurely kayak trip with the seals in Dalkey or feeling a bit braver and willing to try some white water rafting in Kilkenny there are so many different options to choose from. Most people travel the wilds of Connemara on land but the coastline looks so different from the water so why not get out of the car and give it a go.
For those who want to enjoy the water at a more relaxed pace why not hire a cruiser from one of the many operators based along the River Shannon. The Shannon is approximately 360km long with many beauty spots along the way. The majority of mooring points are free so why not stop at some of the local eating spots along the Shannon for a bite to eat before you retire to your bunk after a long day cruising.
You never know when you might get stranded in the wild with nothing but a penknife so what better way to make sure you are able to survive than taking part in a bushcraft skills course. There are many operators throughout the country who love to train up their students on valuable life skills such as lighting fires, cutting tools workshops, how to build a shelter and most importantly wilderness cookery.
Coasteering and Scuba Diving
Coasteering is a combination of jumping, climbing, swimming, and exploring, a way to explore Ireland’s magnificent coast in an up-close and personal way. If you fancy the thrill of rock-hopping, scaling cliffs or attempting some epic leaps into the Irish Sea then this is the activity for you. The Outsider, Ireland Adventure Magazine have a great link to some of the best spots in Ireland for coasteering.
If you fancy getting under the water instead of looking at it there are many spots around the Irish coast where you can explore the marine life and forget about the rest of the world for a while. Whilst the seas are that bit more cloudy on the east coast of the country, there is lots still to see. The west coast has the clearest water and what better way to while away a few hours than floating around under the sea.
We’ve all spent many years exploring other countries, why not take this time to see what’s right on your doorstep, you might be surprised.