Enjoying the Irish Outdoors During Your Vacation
Your Ireland vacation doesn’t have to always be about enjoying a rousing match of football (or soccer) while chugging down a few pints of beer after a hefty serving of potatoes – it is such an Irish cliché. Take advantage of your vacation to explore the marvellous outdoors and get loads of exciting adventures. And you don’t have to worry about staying in shape during your Irish vacation too!
The gentle and clear waters, the peace and quiet, and the warm welcome of fellow sailors will let you experience a truly magical moment while boating in Ireland. The atmosphere is so calm you can hear every sound clearly, whether it is the bark of a dog, or the whirring of a kingfisher beneath the surface of the water. Ireland is rich in possibilities of boating, whether private hires or a guided tour.
Inland or Coast?
At the centre of Ireland is the River Shannon, which provides a variety of boating trips to choose from; if the heart of Ireland interests you, then you should choose from these boating trips between Limerick and the north midlands. You can hire cruisers from Carrick on Shannon, Portumna, and Banagher. The western seaboard of Ireland between Cork and Donegal offers a variety of sailing opportunities. Sailing clubs are situated in the main towns in spectacular locations. Spending a week in West Cork while sailing between the ports is probably the best choice you can have. Beyond the Irish border, the waterway of Shannon-Erne has developed an area of untamed and wild beauty, which will take your breath away. The regeneration of the canals of Ireland is a recent success.
The best boating trips
River Barrow, County Laois
One of The Three Sisters, this river is the most prominent and longest. It is Ireland’s second largest river. Get a canal boat of steel in County Kildare at Rathangan for a trip of seventy miles along the Barrow, which is the country’s oldest navigation. After going through the Chaucerian landscape, you will drop anchor as Graig, which is the short name of Graiguenamanagh.
Along this coast are the ports of Kinsale, Bantry, Baltimore, and Glandore that provide lovely stays for the night.
Carrick-on-Shannon is a lovely boating town, which is among the best places from where to hire a boat. You can sail at a leisurely pace to the Lough Ree, or if you cannot get enough of it, then farther down to the Lower Shannon.
Fermanagh is home to four hundred and thirty miles of canals, lakes, and rivers. The Upper and Lower regions of Lough Erne have islands that are topped with towers or castles, which are absolutely ideal places for exploration.
This canal of ninety miles with its rebuilt bridges and locks is a perfect choice for people who have narrow boats. The canal became completely navigable between Richmond Harbour and Dublin in 2010. Town paths follow all the distance to Shannon from Liffey.
Private Hire or Guided Tour?
If this is your first boating experience, then you might prefer taking some courses with the International Sailing Schools Associations. That will help you make your choice. However, if you want to truly be on holiday and prefer someone else to do the work for you, then book a guided cruise for half a day or a full day.
Where to find information from
If you want to learn about boating before you land on Irish soil, then here are a few websites for you to check out: www.sailing.ie; www.discoverireland.ie/lakelands; www.iwai.ie; www.sailingschools.org; www.waterwaysireland.org. For Emerald Star Cruisers, visit www.emeraldstar.ie. For Canal ways Ireland, visit www.canalways.ie. For Riversdale Barge Holidays, visit www.riversdalebargeholidays.com. For Royal Canal Cruisers, visit www.royalcanalcruisers.com.
Hiking and Walking
If you are lucky enough to get a chance to hike on the right day, the Irish hilltop is truly a spectacular sight. The country has thirty three walking tracks, which are very well-marked; so, you do not have to be afraid of getting lost. If hiking a hill does not appeal to your senses, then you can always opt for a stroll through a lakeside, or a forest park. The International Appalachian Trial has an extension, which has been added recently, and it stretches along County Donegal’s splendid cliffs in Slieve League.
Top Regions for Hiking
Reeks of Kerry
The biggest mountains of Ireland are in Munster, which is in the country’s south-west region. They are the MacGillicuddy’s Reeks in Kerry, which are three thousand, four hundred and fourteen feet high. The mountain climb is only meant for serious walkers who are up for the challenge. It is also a great hike for gongoozlers, people who are fond of gazing at the summit.
The beautiful scenery of the Atlantic frames the many walking routes along the west coast of Ireland. Donegal, Sligo, and Connemara are noted for the charm of their summits with spectacular views.
The Ulster Way is a circular path covering a distance of six hundred and twenty five miles, and in 2009 it was re-launched. Northern Ireland’s most amazing upland areas, including the spectacular Mountains of Mourne, are some of the regions that the path crosses.
Top Paths for Walking
Unique flowers, ancient ruins, and looped walks are threaded along the lunar-like scenery of this place. Covering a distance of twenty one miles, the Burren Way is a five-hour walk, filled with pleasure; it is truly unforgettable.
The peace and quiet of this region will make you realize why it has been named so. You can take a bus from Newcastle to arrive at Silent Valley where you can enjoy an undemanding walk of two hours.
The circular path of Spink Walk will take you on a bridge made of wood, through woodland covered with conifers, and then along the Upper Lake, which has fantastic views. The walk takes three hours.
With a striking view from the top, Slievenamon is a conical mass with wooded lower slopes. It is an easy walk up to the top, where one of two pre-historic cairns is located that is said to contain a door into the underworld of the Celtic.
The Barrow Way
There are innumerable historic sights covering the peaceful landscape of the midlands across which the Barrow Fiver flows for a distance of seventy miles. It is a fantastic treat for lovers of wildlife.
In the unpredictable Irish weather, it is quite easy to get lost in a sudden cloud of mist. So, be sure to check the forecast, and inform your hotel about your plans before you leave. It is good to layer up with fleeces and waterproof gear; the sun will come out if you are patient enough. Although the hills are equipped with good sign-posting, it is always better to take along your own map, just in case you get lost. The regional tourism offices provide walking guides free of cost, but the Ordinance Survey Discovery maps, which you can get for 8 euros from news agents, is a good investment. Wear comfortable boots and then take along some chocolate or fruits as well as a bottle of hydrating or warm beverage.