100 things to do in Ireland this summer
Our guide to the long lazy days ahead . . .
36 Spot the lizard
This is the summer to finally make sure you see a lizard, an owl and a badger. For lizards, either stare long and hard at sun-warmed stone walls or roll around heather-covered hills until one appears. For owls and badgers, go out wandering at midnight.
37 Swim spots
The sun doesn’t need to be splitting the heavens to go swimming. Aim to find a new swimming location once a week for the holidays, with the help of Ireland’s growing outdoor swimming network, outdoorswimming.ie. Some of our favourites include Sands Cove and Squince Beach in West Cork, Rathmullan Strand in Donegal, Sneem and Derrynane in Kerry, The Pollock Holes in Kilkee, to name but a few. Every island has a beach to explore, of course, but Inis Meain’s Trá Leitreach holds a special place in our hearts.
38 Just kidding
Take the kids to visit the kids – the four-legged ones at St Tola organic farm in the Burren, where they can tour the farm, pet the goats, learn about cheesemaking and taste the produce. You can stock up at the newly-opened farm shop while you’re there. There is a €5 per person fee for the hour-long tour and the minimum donation is €50, so gather a few friends and cousins and make a group outing out of it. Farm tours, Monday to Friday, must be booked in advance, st-tola.ie, tel: 065-6836633.
39 Get your skates on
Dublin’s women’s roller derby is looking for new members or “fresh meat” as they so charmingly put it. You must be over 18, female and not of a delicate disposition, but no experience necessary to join their 14-week beginners’ courses,
40 Read ‘Ulysses’
Just stop talking about it. Just do it.
41 Stock up
If you’re going to live on ready meals for a week, make sure they are very good ready meals. We like the generous portions and special offers at Butler’s Pantry: two for €10 suppers and two for the price of one meals from the freezer. butlerspantry.ie
42 Bend it in the Burren
Meditation, yoga, Burren excursions and healthy vegetarian food are all part of the experience with registered teacher Kanta Barrios who is running a course from Friday, August 9th to Thursday, August 15th at Burren Yoga. Six days with shared accommodation costs €690, kantabarriosyoga.com
43 Take a hotel break
Two adults and two children can stay for two nights at the D Hotel in Drogheda for €296. The deal includes breakfast, entry to Funtasia Waterpark in Drogheda and Tayto Park in Ashbourne. The beaches at Bettystown and Termonfeckin are close by, thedhotel.com
44 Run out of ice-cream?
Make your own instant ices by blitzing frozen berries, or frozen bananas, in a food processor with enough whipping cream to bring them together into a creamy consistency.
45 Punk life drawing cabaret
Offering “anti-art classes” with an anarchic touch, Dr Sketchys is all about life drawing, but probably not as you remember it from school. Each event is themed around an art movement such as Roy Lichtenstein’s prints, or movies such as Metropolis and Blade Runner, with costumed models posing while punters get their pads out. Already in 100 cities on five continents, drsketchysdublin.com
46 Cultural martial arts
Get in touch with your inner ninja at the Bujinkan Dojo in Harold’s Cross. Old-style Japanese martial arts featuring unarmed combat, self-defence and the use of traditional samurai weaponry. Eight-week beginners’ courses (€70) running every three months, happobiken.com
47 Get airborne – with a twist
Learn how to fly using circus equipment such as the trapeze, hoops, ropes and silks with Dublin performance art troupe Paperdolls. A range of daytime, weekend and evening classes begin in July. Eight-week courses and drop-in classes from €20 per two-hour session,
48 Stay in a castle, lighthouse or former stable In one of the lovely – and great value – Irish Landmark Trust properties irishlandmark.com
49 Worth a detour
Visit the cafe at the end of the world.Carmel Somers’s Good Things Café in Durrus, on the Sheep’s Head peninsula seashore, is open for lunch every day from today until August 26th (and for dinner Thursday to Mondays). There’s a shop and cookery school too, thegoodthingscafe.com
50 Set your pulse pounding
Set up in 2006, Taiseiyo Taiko is Ireland’s only Japanese drumming ensemble, offering classes in music, movement and spirituality. It’s an energetic and loud art form. Classes and workshops are available for players of all ages and ability levels at taikoireland.com
51 Outdoors skills
If hiking, hill walking and forest treks are your thing, then The Living Wilderness Bushcraft School offers introductory courses. Learn the five core elements of wildness survival – fire, water, shelter, food, and craft. Friday to Sunday courses cost from €195 per person, bushcraft.ie
52 Cycling Malin Head
Looking for an immersive way to get out into the Irish countryside? Cycle Inishowen offers a variety of tours to Malin Head, including guided day tours as well as three-, five- and seven-night guided holidays. Prices from €60 per person for day tours including bike hire, lunch and a guide, cycleinishowen.com
53 Cavan kayak run
The Cavan kayak run is an annual multisport event comprising kayaking, cycling and running, taking place on August 10th. The organisers also put on a range of activities for spectators to make it a family day out, cavankayakarun.com
54 Live the life of Reilly
Cavan town is hosting The Life of Reilly Festival as part of the county’s Gathering from August 19th-25th. Expect art activities ranging from home-grown theatre to contemporary exhibitions, cavanarts.ie
55 Learn to cook
Paul Flynn of the Tannery restaurant and cooking school in Dungarvan, Waterford, holds regular weekend and day-long cooking courses. An Italian Feast evening is planned for Friday, July 26th, €40 per person, tannery.ie
56 Beards of summer
Have beard, will travel? If you’re quick about it you can help break the current world record for the largest number of bearded men in one place. The Town of A Thousand Beards event aims to gather that many bearded blokes together in Ballymoe, Co Galway at noon today. And don’t worry ladies there are prizes for the best homemade beards. (Phew.) facebook.com/TheTownOf1000Beards
57 Random kindness
The second Random Acts of Kindness Festival takes place in the town on July 19th-21st.
58 Join Slow Food Ireland
Find out what your local group is up to – activities vary but might include foraging walks, food quizzes and farm visits. Today the Dublin group is visiting the new Urban Farm at 26 Kings Inns Street, in a former chocolate factory.
Tours of the rooftop farm and indoor aquaponic/hydroponic studio run Wednesdays and Saturdays , cost €5 and must be booked in advance, urbanfarm.ie
59 Camp kids
Put the kids to work at a cookery camp run by Johann Doorley (wife of food writer Tom) in Brennan’s in Cork. Book at
60 Make your Marker
On a sunny day, jump in the lift to the rooftop garden at the Marker hotel – queue, what queue – order passion fuit mojita (€13.50) and you could be anywhere (anywhere smart, that is). Gorgeous. themarkerhoteldublin.com
61 Get loaded
Hollow out a crusty loaf, fill the space with layers of roasted peppers, mozzarella, tuna or ham, tomatoes, basil (anything you fancy, really ), drizzle over some olive oil and baslamic, pop the lid back on, stick it in the fridge with a heavy weight on top (a couple of tins of beans will do) and a couple of hours later, et voila, pan bagnat.
62 Gaelforce in Gweedore
Practice your cúpla focail on a parent and child course in the Donegal gaeltacht of Gweedore from July 20th to 27th. For the kids, €100 each, the set up is a camp with activities as Gaeilge. Adults, €200 each, do class work in the mornings and participate in walks and tours in the afternoons. In the evenings the kids and parents come together to have fun at ceilís and quiz nights, piarsaigh.ie
63 Lock hard
Sample life in tenement Dublin at number 14 Henrietta Street, a former mansion townhouse built in 1748 that in 1913 was home to 17 families, a total of 100 people living in squalor. Living the Lockout is a exhibition that includes a performance where actors illustrate the hardships endured during the lockout and how Big Jim Larkin gave them a voice. From July 4th until August 31st dublintenementexperience.com
64 Going on a picnic . . .
. . . empty a little from the top of your water and soft drink bottles of choice, freeze them, and bring with you, for cold drinks on the go. A few lemon or lime slices added before you freeze is always good.
65 Devil’s Footprints
Off the Great Western Greenway, the cycle path from Westport to Achill, finds you on the Currane back road, where the Devil’s Footprints, an archaeological anomaly featuring cloven hoof marks of varying sizes, seared into slabs of rock, are said to be the marks of fleeing devils who, when banished by St Patrick from Crough Patrick, jumped across the bay to escape.
66 Fun on the farm
In Enniskerry, pay Waterfall Farm a visit where you can see pygmy goats and Lleyn sheep, hens, a light Sussex rooster, and angora rabbits. Human kids can hold the new-born pygmy goats under the watchful eye of farmer Michael Keegan. Buy fresh eggs, herbs from the garden, or even half a lamb, waterfallfarm.ie
67 Roll down a hill
68 On the fly
Discover the rich bounty of our rivers and lakes with a fly-fishing lesson. Using rods and flys, the purest form of fishing, according to Balbriggan-based instructor Garrett Ruigrok, children from eight upwards can learn how to fish for rainbow trout. A two-hour lesson plus fishing time and all the tea you can drink is €70 for one adult and one junior, courtloughoutdoors.ie
69 Take a trip by cable car
Ireland’s only functioning cable car links the west Cork town of Ballaghboy on the south west tip of the Beara Peninsula with Dursey Island. The island is only 6.5km long and 1.5km wide but strong tides make crossing by boat hazardous. Dursey is a mecca for bird, whale and dolphin watching and makes a great day out. The 10-minute trip costs €8 for a return ticket and €4 for children, bearatourism.com