Puffin and dolphins
June and July are Puffin Time at the Cliffs of Moher, when thousands of the brightly beaked wonders hang out on high. See them from the sea with a Doolin Ferry cruise, where the hour-long trip takes in O’Brien’s Tower, An Branán Mór, and the sea cave that you may (or may not) recognise from Harry Potter; although the cliffs themselves still get me all Princess Bride. Dolphins and basking sharks are mentioned too – though not promised. Adults €25, concessions available; doolinferry.com. Departing Doolin Pier, you can also head for the Aran Islands, where a Glamping Pod will set you back in the region of €170 for up to four people. Pods are booking fast, but there’s plenty of availability at the adjacent campsite, with pitches for €15 a night adults, and €10 for children; irelandglamping.ie
Exploring somewhere beautiful on horseback is heaven. You’re high up enough to get great views, and horses are – well – horses… At Sheen Falls Lodge in Kenmare, Co Kerry, you’ve got the whole package: amazing scenery, quiet ponies, feistier steeds, and expert guides. From leafy riverside trails to forest mountain paths, and a 300 acre estate, it’s hoofing gorgeous. Dismount and head to the Stables (where else?). The hotel’s new brasserie and bar, housed in a former stable block, serves an all-day menu. Featuring modern classics, steaks and seafood in a very relaxed atmosphere, you’re in for unbridled deliciousness. B&B in a classic room from €510 for two; horse riding for adults €45, children €30 per hour; sheenfallslodge.ie
On the banks of the Moy, Mayo’s Ice House takes its name from the actual ice house that once stood here in a pre-freezer era. These days it’s full of chill-out spots, including a thermal suite and a terrace with hot tubs. Making the most of its location, its Perfect Catch Package includes two nights B&B in a river view room, dinner on one evening, and a day-long boat excursion, including a sea-trout fishing lesson (or simply sea-trout fishing, if you already know what you’re at), plus a barbecue on Bartra Island if the weather plays ball. From €370pps; icehousehotel.ie.
Get a taste of #VanLife without the lifelong commitment to chemical toilets with Seaweed & Saltwater, where souped-up and bedded-down Mercedes Sprinters offer luxe camper-van experiences to those who want to know what all the fuss is about. With indoor and outdoor showers, two double beds, induction hob, microwave, cooler box and firepit, you wonder how they fit it all in.
From €200 a day, with pick-up and drop-off in Dublin. You can also buy a gift set including a cashmere beanie and hot water bottle, and all manner of other luxury goodies for that Van Instagram moment, from €115; seaweedandsaltwater.com.