100 things to do in Ireland this summer
Our guide to the long lazy days ahead . . .
1 Calling all runaway brides
How do you feel about donning your wedding dress and bolting like a runaway bride, all in the name of charity? Bridal Race is a one furlong (200-metre) lunge along Galway’s Ballybrit Racecourse, taking place on Monday, July 29th, in aid of Special Olympics Ireland. Marriage certificates are not required to enter so even if you haven’t been up the aisle, you can don a frock and take part once you raise €175 – just don’t wear a strapless dress, specialolympics.ie/galwayraces
2 Ah go on, come home
Come Home For Your Tea Day is on in Kinsale on July 6th with street parties, open houses serving tea and Colm O’Regan talking about mammies. From noon to 6pm, kinsaleartsfestival.com
3 Box clever
Make a memento box on a furniture-
making weekend at Hill Picket Studio in Ballymurtagh, near Avoca, Co Wicklow. It costs €90 for one day and €160 for the weekend. July 20th and 21st,
hillpicketstudio.com, tel: 0402 30581
4 Forget eBay, get to Tipp
Clear out your closets and make a few bob at the car boot sale in Fethard, Co Tipperary. Run by the Mullins family and well-loved for 30 years, it’s on every Sunday and Bank Holiday. Stalls cost €10. There’s also a small museum of Irish artefacts, fethardcarbootsale.com
5 With this ring I thee wed
Brides - and bridegrooms-to-be can sign up for a weekend wedding ring-making course with Irish Design Shop founders, jewellery designers Laura Caffrey and Clare Grennan. The course costs €500 per couple. Stylist, Thread Magazine editor and bride-to-be Aisling Farinella describes the experience as being “very special”, irishdesignshop.com
6 Enjoy the short window when it’s ok to wear white trousers
7 Have a giggle on Inishbiggle
The world and his wife will be on Mayo’s Greenway this summer, so do yourself a favour and check out the county’s myriad other trails – just as beautiful and no one on them. The ultimate is Inishbiggle Island walk off Achill – see can you bump into all 19 inhabitants.
8 Twilight Irish-style
Go racing at twilight at Limerick racecourse on Thursday, July 25th. The meet starts at 5pm and as the light fades the mood turns country with music by Nathan Carter. A barbecue package costs €36 and includes admission and race card, €5 bet, a barbecue dinner with a glass of wine or pint of beer, limerickraces.ie
9 Jibe ho
Binoculars at the ready for the Clare Island Regatta taking place on Sunday 14th July. Watch the yawls tack their way around the course, see men rowing for their lives in the currach race, with traditional music and children’s sports against the a backdrop of Granualie’s Castle. omalleyferries.com
10 Goods from the garden
Shell peas in the open air. Then steam cook and let butter melt on top. Best thing you will eat all summer.
11 City to sea
Jump in the car midweek and head to Silver Strand, just outside Wicklow town, a fabulous cove away from it all but just 45 minutes from Dublin. Downside is that it’s very busy on sunny weekends, and there’s a charge per car.
12 Fire and glass
Get your kiln on and create some beautiful jewellery at Uccelli Studios, Tassagh, Co Armagh. Glass artist Paula Boyle will help you make vibrant fused glass rings, earrings, cufflinks and brooches. August 17th and 18th. £85 (€100) one day/ £150 (€177) for two. uccellijewellery.com
13 Be crabby
Drop a crabbing line over the bridge in Cahore, Co Wexford. Wait for hours for a bite. Then have toasted have sandwiches and a mineral in The Strand Bar, overlooking water. Perfect.
14 Dine on Dalkey Island
Hire a boat in Coliemore Harbour and putter out to Dalkey Island. Take a picnic, but be careful where you sit down – there are lots of goat droppings.
15 Stuck in a make-up rut?
Want to resuscitate your make-up skills? A one-day course at Eyrebrushed Makeup Studios in Kilkenny should update your look. Includes make-up demos and skincare tips, advice on overhauling your make-up bag and getting better use from your cosmetics. Sunday, August 18th, eyrebrushed.com
16 All that jazz
Make like Leonard DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan and kick your heels up 1920s-style at Gatsby Knights in La Stampa restaurant on Dawson Street, Dublin on July 6th. Dinner, cabaret, dancing and cocktails in teacups. Fancy dress essential, facebook.com/gatsby.knights
17 Scale new heights
The Reptile Village in Gowran, Co
Kilkenny is just a hop, skip and slither from the M9. Learn about the snakes, lizards, turtles, crocs, spiders and other creepy crawlies that live there and you can even hold some of the friendlier critters. Family tickets from €27, reptilevillage.net
18 Have sex somewhere adventurous
Remember that the neighbours can probably see into your conservatory
19 Chase the van
Use the ice cream van. What’s that melodic tinkling sound making its way closer and closer to your door? It’s the ice cream van! It’s on your road! You chase after it, pushing slower, feebler children out of the way as you run. “A 99 please!” you breathlessly wheeze to the bored-looking man in the terrifying, rusty, clown-themed ice-mobile. He shrugs and dispenses a 99. Yum!
20 Knit-wits gather
Experienced and novice knitters are welcome to join the free “gathering of knitters” at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life in Turlough Park, Co Mayo on Friday, July 19th, from 11am-3pm. The museum’s knitting circle regularly invites newcomers who can learn tips on knitting and crochet in this beautiful setting, museum.ie
21 Burren attractions
Stroll the new Cusack Way linear walk in Carron, Co Clare on July 22nd, followed by lunch in Cassidy’s, or see cows being milked and have a home-made ice cream sundae at Café Linnalla in New Quay after a walk along Flaggy Shore on July 15th at 5pm (€15), burrenecotourism.com
22 News blackout
Don’t listen to the news. Summertime requires good vibes. You want to hear DJs with mid-Atlantic accents introducing golden oldies. You do not want to hear over-remunerated bankers guffawing obnoxiously, followed by sad-voiced journalists commenting on the same. The state of the economy? Strife in war-torn states? That strange mushroom cloud in the distance? Not your problem.
23 Camp for creepy crawlies
Six- to 13-year-olds can search for frogs, learn to identify different butterfly species, go on creepy crawlie safaris and make nature crafts at the Bog of Allen nature summer camps in Co Kildare. This year’s camps run from July 29th to August 2nd, 10am-1pm each day and the cost is €50. See ipcc.ie or tel: 045-860133.
24 Crafty work
A mini-festival about making, Ideate brings craftmakers and designers to Kilkenny on July 5th and 6th to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kilkenny Design workshops. Check out nationalcraftgallery.ie/ideate for everything from a seminar on making things to a digital fabrication workshop, to social crocheting get-together.
25 Shave your legs
Yes, it’s oppressive, sexist, objectifying nonsense, but that fake tan ain’t going to go on smoothly unless your lose the hair. Summer is the only season to indulge those beauty myths.
26 Ham it up
Eat cold home-cooked ham in the garden. Nothing says “summer” like eating slice after slice while reclining in a deckchair. Everyone should do it. Even vegetarians should do it. After all, ham is basically a fruit (science editor’s note: “Ham is not a fruit”). Add salad if you must. I’m eating cold home-cooked ham right now (science editor’s note: “He is”).
27 Go to Louisburgh and . . .
Take the ferry from Roonagh Pier to Clare Island and walk to and from the lighthouse. Hire a bike and ride the length of the island. Swim off the beach. Go to Carrownisky Beach (off the road from Louisburgh to Killeen) and learn how to surf. At Roonagh Pier, walk left around the headland for about 150 meters and observe the seal colony there.Walk the Tochar Pádraig pilgrim way from the Westport to Leenane road (start at the Bohen Stone) to Croagh Patrick. The walk is beautiful and, at about seven kilometres, easily achievable, with Campbell’s pub at Clew Bay your final destination.
28 Serve food in small earthenware bowls. Hey presto – tapas
29 For the green-fingered
Head to Galway Garden Festival, Claregalway Castle on Saturday and Sunday, July 6th-7th. Guest speakers include Sylvie and Patrick Quibel of Le Jardin Plume Gardens and orchid expert Brendan Sayers, galwaygardenfestival.com
30 Check on your investments
Each of us is paying through the nose for the privilege of keeping island communities alive. Summer is a good time to check up on our investment. Do they offer us something unique and is it worth the price? Hell yeah!
31 Talk to tourists
They can seem off-putting as they creep along in their rental cars, and all they ever seem to want to know is where the best Guinness and trad session are to be found, but give them time and you might be surprised. After all, Chomsky, Spielberg and Springsteen have all been tourists here.
32 Go on a beer pilgrimage
The Camino de Santiago begins from James’s Gate, so too ought a craft beer pilgrimage. Find a designated driver and head to Trouble Brewing in Kildare, White Gypsy in Tipperary, Metal Man in Waterford, Dungarvan Brewing Company, Franciscan Wall, Cork, Eight Degrees Brewing, Mitchelstown, Mountain Man Brewery, Macroom, West Kerry Brewery – hic, hic, hic.
33 Sunshine - who needs it?
Waste the sunshine. Irish people are starved of sun. As a result “wasting the sunshine” is a grave crime and sacrilegious pleasure in these parts. Celebrate a sunny day by watching a 22-episode box-set from start to finish with the curtains drawn. The Sopranos, The Good Wife, Horrible Histories – it doesn’t matter. You’re a grown up now and you can do what you want … rickets notwithstanding.
34 Go camping on an island
Almost any will do, but the west is best – fish and cook what you catch; lie in the open at night, watch the stars and have your children tell stories aloud.
35 Dog gone days
Borrow a dog. Walking a dog on along the seafront feels like a summery thing to do. But you do not have a dog. Borrow one. Fido runs. Fido frolics. Fido is hungry and tired. Uh oh … Too much responsibility. Give back the dog. Phew.