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Incredible menu of exciting activities in spectacular natural settings

Kate Ryan outlines the great outdoor activities on offer in Munster and Leinster

MUNSTER

Clare

Everyone wants to hit the surf in Lahinch, great for every level of surfer from novice to pro, bodyboarders, kayakers, and SUP-ers too.

Loop Head Lighthouse is the pinnacle of Love Loop Head tourism collective. From deep-sea fishing trips, links golf, and walking trails to renting an e-bike to tour the peninsula stopping along the way for great sips and nibbles.

The Burren Food Trail is a great way to experience a taste of this protected region from honey to smoked fish. Go on a Hawk Walk at Aillwee Bird of Prey centre for a rare opportunity to interact with these incredible predators. Check out the onsite farmshop selling locally made cheese and fudge.

Limerick

Life is better on two wheels in Limerick!

The Ballyhoura mountain bike trails are great as a solo activity, families, or groups.

The newly opened Limerick Greenway is a 40km trailway built along the former Limerick to Tralee railway line. Do it in one go or tackle sections in your own time.

Ditch pedal power and opt for a Retroventure instead. Specialising in the rental of retro motorbikes, including side cars, self-guide or have a guided tour of Limerick’s countryside.

Tipperary

If you love cheese, visit Cashel Farmhouse Cheese Visitor Experience to learn how the Grubb family have made cheese for over three decades. You’ll be wanting some honey with your cheese, so head over to Galtee Honey Farm who offer one-day workshops on bee keeping for anyone curious about the secret life of bees.

Reopening from 5th June, kids can go wild on the giant inflatable obstacle course at Aquasplash on Lough Derg while parents take a breather on a paddle boat or try your hand at Stand Up Paddleboarding. Round off your day with a visit to Ireland’s premier showcase at Mitchelstown. Keep an eye for news of special subterranean events.

Kerry

Famed for hill walking, golfing and the incredible Skellig and Blasket Islands. Surf is almost always up at Castlegregory, Brandon Beach and Dingle; and if you need one simple solution to keeping the kids entertained, adventure centres at Killorglin, Killarney, Kenmare, Tralee, and Dingle have you covered.

Tralee Bay Wetlands Eco Activity Park offers an outdoor climbing wall, e-bikes, and pedal boats, and a self-guided eco tour of the wetland park, (download the audio tour from the website). Experience an enthralling bioluminescence light show on a night-time kayak in Kenmare Bay. The next day book in for a taste of Kenmare with a twist on a Hike & Bite food tour.

Fungi may have departed Dingle, but there’s plenty of marine wildlife to experience on a Dingle Sea Safari - puffins, whales, dolphins, and seals. Pair it with a visit to Ireland’s largest aquarium, Dingle Oceanworld.

Cork

See the Rebel City from a different perspective. Take to the River Lee in a kayak, explore the city at low tide and see why Cork was once known as The Venice of the North.

Book in for a private flying lesson near Cork Airport or fly through Farran forest on a zipline adventure. Careen down a hill in a giant inflatable zorbing ball at Funmanway near Dunmanway where GAA heads can follow the new Sam Maguire Trail.

Feeling tense? Maybe a bit of Axe Throwing at Ballyhass Lakes is just the ticket for you!

If the sea is calling, Cork’s 2000kms of coastline spoils you for choice. Sailing schools from Baltimore to Oysterhaven to Kinsale, and come summer, Dragon Boat race crews look for volunteers. Sail out to the eight West Cork islands, each with their own personalities: storytelling, wild camping, and cookery schools leaving their mark.

Marvel at the Teardrop of Ireland, Fastnet Lighthouse, or glide out from Courtmacsherry Bay around the Seven Heads for some of the best whale watching in Ireland.

Waterford

The Waterford and Suir Valley Railway is a 10km narrow gauge heritage railway that runs along the banks of the River Suir. The 46km Waterford Greenway provides safe walking and cycling routes along the famed Copper Coast.

Take the car and drive the scenic route stopping off at The Sea Gardener for a guided seaweed foraging tour. If you’ve ever wanted to have a go at creating sand art, workshops take place on Kilmurrin Beach.

LEINSTER

Offaly

The annual Hot Air Balloon Challenge at Birr Castle is back this year and, after marvelling at balloons, kids can run amok at Birr Castle treehouse and science centre. For pure adrenalin junkies, a 10,000ft sky dive awaits — tandem or solo.

Westmeath

If you haven’t already heard, Fleadh Cheoil returns to Westmeath, 31st July to 7th August. While enjoying the festivities, take a tour of Athlone Castle and jump on a Viking Boat Tour. For something different, take a sunset cruise with friends on Ireland’s only Hot Tub Boat!

Kilkenny

Learn about the roots of Kilkenny hurling and get in a bit of craic agus ceol too at the unique family run Malzards Irish Hurling Experience.

Take to the River Barrow, sometimes described as the Carrauntoohil of rivers: dramatic, beautiful, and accessible to all levels of experience from complete beginner to Whitewater adrenaline junkie. Try a complete emersion in the wild nature trails of one-to-3-day duration with Go With The Flow.

Meath

Laytown Races is the only race event in Ireland held on a beach. It has a 150-year history, and the next meet is 8th September. Cruise the ancient Boyne River for a tour that includes an artisan food experience — delicious!

Meath is packed with fun things for kids. Funtasia, Bettystown, and Tayto Park — heaven for excited little ones. Or get them back to nature with a visit to Newgrange Farm where kids can pet the animals, milk a cow, and hold a chicken.Louth

Sea Louth is a scenic seafood trail that combines Louth’s 70km coastline with the finest seafood the county has to offer. Pick up a route map of all 14 scenic viewpoints and your Sea Louth passport from tourist information centre.

Wanna drive things real fast then shoot things out of the sky? Quad biking and clay pigeon shooting sounds like your thing. Louth has you covered!

Longford

EZXploring mixes geocaching, adventure trails and education for a highly interactive experience for kids and adults to learn everything there is to know about Longford – and it’s completely free, which might help if you’ve booked into Centre Parcs…

Laois

The Slieve Bloom Mountains host a walking festival this year from 29th April – 2nd May, or speed round the mountain bike trails any time of year. If sea swimming doesn’t appeal, maybe a dip in the 35m heated outdoor swimming pool at Ballinakill would, or explore the Grand Canal on a narrowboat for a secret view of Laois.

Carlow

Head to the Blackstairs Mountains and learn about myths and lore on a Celtic Tree Trail, book a foraging tour, or go star gazing. Put your hands to work and join soap making or chocolate workshops in the beautiful Carlow countryside.

Wexford

Visit Hook Head Lighthouse, don a snorkel and explore Solomon’s Hole. A choice of five wreck sites off the peninsula for diving or sign up for Tri the Hook triathlon in August!

Take things down a notch and explore Wexford Lavender Farm in summer, (perfect for the ‘Gram), and give children an experience they’ll never forget at Seal Rescue Ireland feeding seal pups.

If you like your adrenalin rush to extend to your food, check out Smokin’ Soul who run workshops in smoke and fire cookery.

Kildare

Feel the need for speed? Mondello Park Racing offers various driving “thrills” to set you right. Kildare is home to three incredible tracks for world class horseracing or tee off for a round of golf in any of Kildare’s twelve golf courses.

Wicklow

Think of Wicklow, think of Glendalough. As evenings lengthen, join a night hike around this area of natural beauty. Explore the Garden of Ireland by traditional horse caravan, or on a donkey walking holiday. Ramp the gears with Coasteering at Bray, an exhilarating mix of rock climbing, sea swimming, caving and cliff jumping.

Dublin

Only in our capital could you find activities as diverse as dry slope skiing in Killernan, roller discoing in Walkinstown, white water rafting in Palmerstown and kitesurfing on Dollymount Strand!

Try your hand at Wingsurfing in the Docklands or rent a tandem bicycle with your bestie and explore the Phoenix Park. And while you’re flitting from place to place, look out for the Talking Statues QR code on twelve of Dublin’s most famous statues, from James Joyce to Molly Malone to hear the stories behind them.