Seven new ways to enjoy the Irish outdoors
Fat biking, yoga walking, harbour splashing. Here are seven new outdoor Irish activities
Harbour Splash, now in Dún Laoghaire.
Every week, there seems to be a new activity to try in Ireland at present, each one offering a different way of exploring our environmnet. Whether it’s walking through the Wicklow Mountains with alpacas, whizzing along the coastline on electric bikes or curling up in front of a bonfire watching the sunset over the wild Atlantic, there is so much happening right on our doorsteps.
Here we round up six new activities on offer in Ireland right now.
1. Walking with Alpacas
Irish company K2 Alpacas are offering you the chance to walk with your very own Alpaca across the Wicklow Mountains.Naturally friendly and curious creatures, alpacas are a proven de-stressor for those who come into contact with them. In fact, they are often used for therapeutic therapy in care homes, hospitals and hospices.
Alpaca walks start at €25 and must be booked in advance. k2alpacas.ie/en_GB
2. Harbour Splash
An inflatable waterpark has just opened in Coal Harbour in Dún Laoghaire. This obstacle course over water has an abundance of fun-filled obstacles to run, hop and jump along over the course of the hour-long sessions. Features include trampolines, climbing frames, slides and monkey bars. Those taking part should be prepared to get wet!
Hour-long sessions cost €18 for under 18s and €22 for adults. The minimum age is eight. https://www.facebook.com/harboursplash/
3. Electric Bike Tours
Booking into a bike tour around a city might seem like an unusual choice but we cannot recommend it enough. Dublin-based electric bike provider Greenaer has just launched three bike tours – Phoenix Park, Killiney and Howth. The tours are suitable for all levels of fitness thanks to the aid of the battery pack, and include an enthusiastic guide who will take you to spots you never knew existed while filling you in on the history the area. Guests are even welcome to stop for a dip in the sea followed by a 99 if the weather plays ball.
Tours start at €65 per person, although they are offering discounts at present. detours.ie/
4. Blueway Activity Zone, Enniskillen
Waterways Ireland has launched its latest initiative in a bid to encourage more activity on Ireland’s fantastic lakes, rivers and canals. The newly opened water activity zone on Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh will appeal to buzz-seeking families looking to make the most of the fantastic weather. Activities on offer include stand up paddle boarding, Canadian canoeing and kayaking.
Those looking to go slightly further afield can rent one of the “wee red boats” from Erne Boat Hire to explore Ireland’s only island town. Also on offer are the Erne Water Taxis and the heritage boat. The latter is the perfect option for those looking to learn more about the monastic and heritage sites around Enniskillen including Devenish Island.
5. Yoga Walks Ireland
Yoga Walks Ireland will take you on a soulful journey out into nature, far away from the stresses of everyday life. This two-hour walk is not like any other. The focus is very much on mindfulness and relaxation and you will stop every 10-15 minutes to do yoga poses among the long grass and trees.
Highlights of this unique walk include a local artist’s gallery in a yurt and an energy reading by guide Caroline. The walks which cost just €12 take place the foothills of the Galty Mountains on the Tipperary, Cork and Limerick borders in the heart of the Munster Vales.
6. Big Style Atlantic Lodge
This newly opened chilled-out guest house is one of the hottest places to stay on the west coast right now. Located only 500 metres from some of Europe’s finest kitesurfing and surfing spots in Co Mayo, it is the perfect destination for adventure lovers looking to get away from it all.
In addition to comfy beds, top-notch breakfasts and an incredible location, the lodge also offers free bike and surfboard hire for every guest, in-house kitesurfing, surfing and Stand up Paddle boarding schools, music sessions around the fire pit, movie screenings and bring your own food BBQ nights.
Beds start at €25 per night in a mixed six-bed dorm.
7. Fat Biking
These gnarly-looking bikes, with the giant wheels and robust looking frames aren’t nearly as daunting as they seem. In fact, they are one of the best ways to head off road in Ireland and explore on two wheels.
Based in Wicklow, Fatbike Adventures offers you the chance to test your mettle on a fat bike while soaking up the incredible scenery of Ireland’s Ancient East. Bogs, beaches, forests, mountains . . . there really are few places these bikes can’t go.
Choose from day trips from Dublin or weekend-long break that also take in axe-throwing and bushcraft before laying your head down to rest in a Tipi tent.
Heather Snelgar is editor of outsider.ie