Seven ways to spend a sunny summer’s evening
There really is no excuse not to get out on a mild summer evening for a micro-adventure
Sailing clubs around the country have signed up to the Try Sailing initiative
We all get so bogged down in the nine to five of our working lives that we often neglect the five to nine, ie the 16 glorious hours between the end of one work day and the start of the next. It is a time that is wasted by so many of us.
But in summer there really is no excuse not to get out on a mild summer evening for a micro-adventure. After all, we have 17 hours of daylight in mid-summer and an abundance of outdoor activities on our doorsteps. From sea swims, to hikes, trail runs and outdoorsy events, there is so much you can do after work.
Here are some of our favourite outdoor activities for a summer evening.
With more than 3,000km of glorious coastline, and an abundance of rivers and lakes, you are never too far from a body of water in Ireland. And there is no better way to leave a stressful day behind than by taking a cool, refreshing dip. Open Water Swimmer is a fantastic resource for wild-swimming enthusiasts, as it details the best outdoor swimming spots across Ireland.
One of the best things about our capital city is its proximity to nature. The Dublin Mountains are less than 30 minutes by car from the centre of the city. Starting from the car park at either Ticknock or Kilmashogue, there are over 10km of marked trails on offer. A steep but rewarding ascent will take you to Fairy Castle where you will be treated to breathtaking views of the city and Dublin Bay.
The trails are all well marked and suitable for all levels of fitness. Other great walks on Dublin’s doorstep include the Howth cliff walk, the Great South Wall walk and the Bray to Greystones cliff walk.
In addition to great hiking, the Dublin Mountains offer some great mountain biking too. Kicking off from the carpark at Ticknock, you will have to conquer a short, lung-busting climb before the real fun begins. Sweeping singletrack will take you across the mountain offering amazing views of the city below before treating you to some adrenaline-fuelled descents. Those who don’t own a mountain bike can rent from bBiking.ie, which is located in the car park at Ticknock. Rental costs €30.
Other trail centres around the country include Derroura in Co Galway, Ballyhoura in Co Limerick, and Rostrevor in Co Down – all of which offer on-site bike hire and fully marked trails.
There is an abundance of options when it comes to getting your kayaking fix around Ireland. In Dublin, you can choose to spend your evening exploring the Liffey with City Kayaking, Howth with Shearwater Kayaking or Dalkey Island with kayaking.ie.
Kayaking enthusiasts should also be sure to put a kayaking adventure with Jim Kennedy from Atlantic Sea Kayaking on their bucket list. Operating out of Skibereen in west Cork, his evening and moonlight paddles are very popular. And for good reason. Kennedy’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the area and its wildlife, along with his bubbly enthusiasm, make for a great couple of hours on the water. Kennedy also offers kayak trips in Cork Harbour from March to October.
Corrib Canoe courses in Galway, North Clare Kayaking, Pure Adventure, Go with the Flow on the River Barrow and Inish Adventures in Donegal also offer kayaking sessions.
Try Sailing is an Irish Sailing initiative to get more people out on the water. Whether you’ve never sailed before or are keen to return to the sport after a brief hiatus, Try Sailing will help you to decide what kind of boat you want to sail and the best way to get started. And it won’t cost you the earth. Sailing clubs around the country have signed up to the initiative.
Another very cost-effective way to get out on the water is with the Sailing in Dublin Club. Located in Dún Laoghaire, it offers you the opportunity to sail on a regular basis without needing to invest in a boat. The club provides a fleet of dinghies (one and two-person boats) and three yachts (max seven persons) for sailing activities and competitions at a very low membership fee. It even offers a try-before-you-buy option for €30, which entitles you to two sailing sessions before committing to a yearly membership. (www.sailingindublin.ie/Home)
Stand-up paddle boarding
A relatively new phenomenon, Stand-up paddle boarding is taking Ireland by storm. Those who have tried it will know that it is the perfect way to unwind after a long day in the office. It can be as relaxing or as taxing as you like, as you glide along the surface of the water.
Stand-up paddle boarding is offered by a number of watersports providers across the country. In Dublin, Surfdock (http://www.surfdock.ie/) offers stand-up paddle board rental for just €12 an hour in the centre of the city at Grand Canal Dock. Above Board (http://www.aboveboard.ie) also offers board rental from Dún Laoghaire Harbour for €15 an hour.
The Howth Aquathon Series is perfect for those who want to scratch their competitive itch after work. The event involves a swim and run in the picturesque village of Howth, just 25 minutes from the city centre by Dart.
The event offers two different route options – a 500m swim and 3.6 km run or a 1,000m swim and 7.5 km run – making it the ideal event for all levels of experience. The event is a very friendly affair in a relaxed atmosphere and is a great way to kick start the week. The Howth Aquathon Series will take place on May 21st, June 11th and July 9th at 7.30pm for the long race, and 8pm for the short course. http://howthaquathon.com
Heather Snelgar edits outsider.ie, Ireland’s outdoor and adventure website; see outsider.ie