100 things to do in Ireland this summer
Our guide to the long lazy days ahead . . .
70 Cliffs of Moher from below
You’ve peered down over the Cliffs of Moher but have you seen them from below? Take one of the (weather-dependent) ferries out from Doolin pier in Co Clare for staggeringly impressive close-up views of the mighty cliffs, seastacks gannets, puffins and guillemots,
71 Big House festival
Castletown House and gardens in Co Kildare is the venue for a new festival this August Bank Holiday weekend. The Big House Festival will have site-specific performances, opera on the lawn, artisan food stalls, pop-up events, installations, a ukele céilí for children, theatre, films and many other events, bighouse.ie
72 Omey goodness
Omey Island is one of Connemara’s most unusual and picturesque walking areas and at low tide it’s accessible on foot across the sands, despite being almost hidden from the mainland. The island is home to lots of wildlife and interesting monastic ruins but is particularly worth visiting on July 28th when the beach will host the annual Omey Races, an ancient tradition re-established in 2001. Last year, 5,000 people attended, earning it the nickname, “the other Galway races”, omeyraces.com
73 Visit King John’s new Castle
Reopened yesterday after a €6 million refurbishment project, King John’s Castle is situated in the heart of medieval Limerick City overlooking the river Shannon. A three-hour guided tour of the 13th-century castle costs €9 for adults, €5.25 for children, €6.25 for senior citizens and €20.60 for a family, including two children, shannonheritage.com
74 Ballinamore free fringe
Expect more than 200 acts performing music, comedy, theatre and street performance at the Ballinamore Free Fringe Festival in Co Leitrim from August 22nd to 25th, ballinamorefreefringe.com
75 Join the circus
Learn circus skills at The Ark in Dublin’s Temple Bar from July 4th to August 31st. Find out about trapeze artists, the ringmaster, circus horses and their trainers and see what it feels like to walk in clown shoes. A 90-minute visit costs €9 per person, over two years, or €30 for a family of four. Reduced price tickets are available on Tuesdays for €7.50, ark.ie
76 Cork capers
Walk the Seven Heads Peninsula around Clonakilty and get dinner en route. Fish for sea bass off the rocks alongside Courtmacsherry Woods, forage for wild sorrel and fruits along the fushia-lined hedgerows around Butlerstown, and pop into Lettercollum’s Kitchen Project (lettercollum.ie) in Clonakilty to top up the pantry on the way home, sevenheadspeninsula.ie
77 Pure camping
What do you call green glamping? Gramping? Find out when you book a bell tent on the Loop Head Peninsula on Kevin and Trea Heapes’s Pure Camping site near Querrin. There’s a geodesic dome for rainy spells, and a yoga studio in a converted cowshed. Bring some pizza ingredients to cook in the campsite clay wood-fired pizza oven. And it’s in The Irish Times top pick of holiday spots, purecamping.ie
78 Wander in the wild
Check out Ireland’s first official wilderness, the Nephin Beg Mountain Range in Mayo, which has just been added to 13 other EU official wilderness regions listed on Pan Parks Foundation’s website (panparks.org). And while you are there, go in search of the its rare and wild Old Irish Goats, which local Mulranny Environmental Group are lobbying to protect , cbiocentre.com
79 Graffiti jam
Some of the world’s leading street/graffiti artists will be scribbling all over Derry city centre on July 6th -7th . OK, not everywhere, but on a 250ft-long themed cityscape.
80 Flea hunting in Sligo
The monthly Sligo Flea takes place in The Model, the stunning home for contemporary art in the west, and is about local craft as much as vintage and bric-a-brac. twitter.com/sligoflea
81 See seaweed
Treat yourself to Prannie Rhatigan’s Irish Seaweed Kitchen book and then get foraging and feasting. From sea spaghetti, soups and scones, the coastline is a larder just waiting to be picked, prannie.com
Go wild on Tory Island with Far and Wild, which is organising a weekend of coasteering, sea kayaking , climbing and wild camping on this magical island off the coast of Donegal, farandwild.co.uk
83 Love clouds
Join the Irish Cloud Appreciation Society (ticas.ie). It costs nothing. Just find a dry, comfy spot, look up and take in nature’s ever-changing gallery.
84 Reclaim Iveagh Gardens
Now that Taste of Dublin has packed up its tents and florins, visitors can reclaim this lovely picnic spot. No flowers for kids to run over, just acres of lovely quiet grass for lounging, frisbee and even impromptu musical performances, if you feel the urge.
85 Take a technology holiday
Get one ziplock bag. Place all mobile and internet-enabled devises inside. Seal and label with a “Step away from the web” sticker. Take off your shoes and feel the grass under your feet. Talk to your friends and family while looking at their faces. Don’t worry if it all feels a bit weird at first.
86 Keep it country
Australorp, Barnevelder, Brahma, Cochim, Dorking, Faverolles, Marams, Plymoth Rock, Sussex and Wyandotte. Not places, but poultry. See all kinds of hens, geese and ducks at the Tinahely Show on August Bank Holiday Monday (August 5th) in Co Wicklow, along with cattle, ponies and dogs and the best of local baking in the cake tent, tinahelyshow.ie
87 Irish ice cream race
Who will be first to taste each Irish farmhouse ice cream on site, in a single day? Starting with Baldwin’s in Waterford, on to Happy Days in Cork, then Daly’s Valentia Island, Murphy’s in Dingle, Linnalla in the Burren, Maud’s in Carrickfergus, Glastry’s in Down, Burke’s in Navan, Rossmore in Laois – there are endless new ones to try.
88 Not so silent
Bring a picnic and listen to jazz/blues music in The Silent Valley in Co Down on July 14th, discovernorthernireland.com
89 Go bats
Learn about bats, those leathery creatures of the night, and why they’re a national treasure through Bat Conservation Ireland’s Waterways Survey. With 15 free courses across Ireland, the BCI experts take teams out along the canals to scout for bats – you even get to use something called a bat detector, batconservationireland.org
90 Two blocks of HB + sharp knife + two packs wafers = delish ice creams for 10
91 Reach for the stars
Astronomy Ireland’s annual Star-B-Q on August 31st keeps our stargazers in business. As the name suggests, outdoor eating and sky-watching are on the program for this most unique of fundraisers, hosted by Roundwood, Co Wicklow, the country’s highest village, astronomy.ie/sbq/
92 Elementary Powerscourt
“They were the footprints of a gigantic hound.” Bring along a picnic and your best detective skills and enjoy a spot of open-air theatre at Powercourt Gardens on Sunday, June 30th where Chapterhouse Theatre Company will stage its adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles. Adults €18, OAP €16.50, child €10. Family (2 adults & 2 children €52 ), powerscourt.ie/events
93 Sow for the future
Sow the seeds of summer 2014. July is the perfect time to sow many biennials/ shortlived perennials including foxgloves (Digitalis sp.), sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) so that next year the garden will be filled with bee-friendly, beautiful flowers. See Westport-based suppliers seedaholic.com or Mr Middleton’s Thompson & Morgan range, mrmiddleton.com
94 Leisurely Laois
Sip an ice-cold Pimm’s while sitting on the sunny terrace of Castle Durrow in Co Laois before taking an amble through its four-acre restored walled gardens, home to a double herbaceous border, a maze and a fully productive potager. Or go for a walk on the wild(er) side, take a peaceful stroll by the grassy banks of the River Erkina which runs beside the estate, castledurrow.com
95 Get into the ring
As charity fundraising activities go, white-collar boxing takes more guts than most. A six-week training course leads up to fight night on September 13th, with proceeds going to Cork University Hospital. Training for the Champions for Children three-round boxing event starts in July, e-mail email@example.com
96 Make homemade lemonade
Mix one cup of sugar with one cup of water in a saucepan until dissolved. Juice six lemons. Add the juice to the sugar water, then add three to four cups of cold water. Bottle and chill.
97 Trace your family tree
Explore Irish history and genealogy at 21 free lunchtime lectures in the National Library of Ireland. Learn about the Irish roots of Jackie Kennedy, dating family photographs, crowdsourcing your family tree and more. No booking required. Runs from July 2nd to August 29th, nli.ie
98 But why?
If your kids are always asking you why, then take them to the Curiosity Carnival at Smock Alley, in Dublin’s Temple Bar, from July 25th to 28th, as part of Dublin’s first Festival of Curiosity. They’ll be able to take part in hands-on science and electronics workshops and play with interactive installations. Plus treasure hunts, street performances, films, Lego building, curious stories with Dara ÓBriain and more, festivalofcuriosity.ie
99 One in a million
A million children can’t be wrong. That’s how many have visited Fort Lucan in Dublin 22 since it opened in 1993. The adventure playground for the two- to 12-year-olds has four towers to scale, 40 slides, sky walks, aerial runways, go karting and raging river slides. A family pass costs €26 with discounts for groups. Parents get a free coffee to keep them going. It’s open seven days, fortlucan.com
100 Use your loaf
Think you make the best brown bread? Then enter it in a competition for the best loaf at the Moynalty Steam Threshing and Food Festival in Moynalty, Co Meath on August 11th, moynaltysteamthreshing.ie