Sights for bored eyes
Skyline, Croke Park, Dublin
If your unfulfilled ambition was to reach dizzy heights in Croke Park, fear not, for you can now reach greater elevation in the stands above. The Skyline tour takes participants 44m upwards to the roof of the stadium, on a great 0.6 km panoramic walk offering superb views across Dublin. One section takes you you directly above the pitch, but vertigo sufferers needn’t worry – this is avoidable. After a memorable and breezy experience, explore the lives of GAA greats, past and present, in the well laid-out stadium museum. skylinecrokepark.ie; adults €25, children €15, concession €20, family €65.
Awesome Walls, Dublin
A retail park just off the M50 isn’t exactly where you’d expect to find one of Ireland’s most adrelenin-rich visitor attractions, but Awesome Walls is the place to go for a buzz. Awesome in the sense that it’s enormous size makes it one of the largest indoor climbing centres in Europe, it has facilities for both roped and unroped ascents. Don’t think this is only for those who habitually eat nails for breakfast, though. Climbing is a captivating sport that can be enjoyed at all levels of accomplishment, and children are almost guaranteed to love it. awesomewalls.ie; adults €10, concession €9, junior €8.
Located in a weirdly attractive building, amid industrial surroundings in the old Belfast docklands, Titanic Belfast comes alive only when you’re inside. Then the exhibits draw you in by using special effects, reconstructions and interactive features. It avoids the pitfall of Titanic fatigue by recounting the history of the great ship, from construction to catastrophic demise, through the lives of those involved. The tour ends poignantly with the aftermath of the sinking and the rediscovery of the wreckage. titanicbelfast.com; adults £13.50, children £6.75, concession £9.50, family £34.
Doolin/Hag’s Head coastal walk, Co Clare
Closed in 2001 by foot and mouth disease, southern Ireland’s finest coastal path is set to reopen in May. Offering 12km of ocean-front scenery starting from Hag’s Head, your steps will flow sublimely into each other as above it all you traverse great clifftops that amplify the sound of the restless waters below.
Once past the busy Cliffs of Moher, welcome solitude returns above the great eminence of Aill Na Searrach, from where an insanely colourful mix of ocean and Burren is your backdrop as you descend into Doolin. The walk takes about three hours to complete. Park in Doolin and then get a friend or a taxi to drop you off to the walk start point at Hag’s Head. Refreshments are available enroute at the Cliffs of Moher.
Athlone Castle, Co Westmeath
Athlone town has much to offer. To complement its location on the River Shannon, Athlone Castle has had a major facelift, transforming it into a state-of-the-art, multisensory experience. Eight exhibitions follow a chronological and thematic sequence, telling the story of Athlone’s turbulent past and providing hands-on fun that will appeal to children and adults alike. athlone.ie/athlone-castle; adults €8, OAP/students €6, children €4, family €20.