Ten outdoor adventures for teenagers in Ireland
Zip-lining, rafting and indoor skydiving are among the attractions available
Coasteering involves jumping off cliffs into the Atlantic, whizzing down natural water slides and swimming from spot to spot.
With the longer days and signs of spring finally here (some of the time anyway), it’s a good time to take advantage of a large range of activities that have sprung up around the country, offering excitement and interaction with nature for teenagers.
From muddy obstacle courses to white-water rafting and zip-lining, here are 10 adventurous activities that might spark the interest of teenagers – and perhaps their parents too.
1: Canoeing on the Barrow
Go With the Flow’s thrills-and-spills tour takes you down the glorious river Barrow, Co Carlow, in a Canadian canoe. Starting with the flat water of the harbour in Clashganny, just outsider Borris village in Co Carlow, the fun really begins when you hit the white water of the river’s weirs. These three-hour trips are suitable for all ages.
Prices: from €35 for adults, from €25 for under-16s.
More information: Go With the Flow
2: Zip-lining and high ropes
Nothing quite compares to the thrill of navigating an aerial obstacle course or whizzing down a piece of wire high above everyone below. With three locations around Ireland – Lough Key in Co Roscommon, Tibradden in Dublin and Farran Park in Co Cork – Zipit is a great day out. Climb high into the treetops, swing into cargo nets and ride a BMX across an aerial bridge before taking to one of the many zip lines on offer.
Prices: age seven-eight years – €15; age nine-11 – €23; age 12-14 – €25; age 15-17 – €30; age 18+ – €30.
More information: Zipit
3: White-water rafting
This adrenaline-fuelled trip down the river Liffey is almost guaranteed to be a hit. Starting just 20 minutes from Dublin city centre, you will bounce over four fast-flowing weirs as you make your way to the end point at Strawberry Beds. The trip takes 2½ hours and will show you a perspective of the Liffey that few get to experience.
Prices: €59 per person or €329 per raft (seven people)
More information: Rafting.ie
4: Sea stack climbing
Iain Miller of Unique Ascent will guide you safely to the pinpoint tops of some of Ireland’s most breath-taking sea stacks off the coast of Donegal. Few views can compare. Despite their looming height, this activity is suitable for complete beginners, although you will need a head for heights.
Prices: Bristi and Gweedore sea stacks cost €50 per person. If you want to take on Cnoc na Mara it is €125, but it is a full day out.
More information: Unique Ascent
Coasteering is about as much fun as you can have. Jumping off cliffs into the water, whizzing down natural water slides and swimming from spot to spot through the crashing Atlantic is guaranteed to release your inner child. And it’s a great way to explore our impressive coastline too. Bobby from Coasteering NI offers a great trip, departing from Ballintoy harbour, Co Antrim, or we highly recommend the coasteering offered on Clare Island, Co Mayo, through Clare Island Adventures.
Price: £45 (Coasteering NI); discounts are available for bigger groups; €45 (Clare Island Adventures).
6: Wakeboarding in Dublin city centre
Involving skill, adrenaline and loads of fun, Wakedock is an urban adventure hub in the heart of Dublin’s docklands, offering a range of water-based activities, the most exciting of which is its wakeboard park. The activity is suitable for total beginners and children aged from eight and up
Price: €25 off-peak, €30 peak.
More information: Wakedock
7: Teen building camps
The Teen Building Camps at Delphi Resort, Connemara, are full of fun and action-packed adventures. The aim of the camps is to encourage teens to identify their strengths and weaknesses, unlock hidden talents and improve their interpersonal skills, all the while having a blast. With residential and non-residential options, the camps offer water and land activities, and one overnight expedition for those on staying over. Another option at Delphi is for parents and teens to stay at the smart new Wild Atlantic Way hostel and sign up to a few of the activities on offer at the resort.
Price: five-day residential camp costs €529 and includes accommodation, food and all activities.
More info: Delphi Resort
8: Turf challenge
As featured on Ireland’s Fittest Family, this is an obstacle course like no other. Run by Killary Adventure Company in the stunning environs of Killary harbour, this natural and man-made course will see you crawling, climbing and scrambling over a range of mucky obstacles through the bog, before you jump into the Atlantic ocean for the final stretch. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Prices: €32 for children, €47 per adult.
More information: Killary Adventure Company
9: Indoor skydiving
Ireland’s only indoor skydiving centre recently opened in in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. And it’s probably the most fun you are ever going to have. As you step out on to the blasting air, you have to struggle to keep control of your limbs. The instructor will then guide you high above the ground giving you the sensation that you are flying. It is a lot harder than it looks, but also a lot more fun than you can imagine.
More information: We are Vertigo
10: Mountain biking
Mountain biking is a great activity for all the family. Offering an adrenaline hit with buckets of fresh air and exercise, your teenagers will love it. Ballyhoura, Co Limerick, is the largest mountain bike trail network in Ireland. Offering a whopping 98km of trails, you could spend an entire weekend here and exploring the routes. Other super trail centres around Ireland include Ticknock in Dublin, Ballinastoe in Co Wicklow, Rostrevor in Co Down, Davagh in Co Tyrone and Derroura in Co Galway. They all offer extensive trail networks with bike rental on site.
Prices vary from place to place but expect to pay about €35 for bike rental.
Heather Snelgar and Róisín Finlay edit Outsider, Ireland’s outdoor and adventure magazine – Outsider.ie