Summer Holidays Ireland, whats on
School Holidays are here, what is there to do in Ireland, what activities, what festivals, what adventure can you join in with this summer. Here are 101 things you might want to try.
Recommended Accommodation Dublin City Centre:
1 Calling all runaway brides
How do you feel about donning your wedding dress and bolting like a runaway bride, all in the name of charity? Bridal Race is a one furlong (200-metre) lunge along Galway’s Ballybrit Racecourse, taking place on Monday, July 29th, in aid of Special Olympics Ireland. Marriage certificates are not required to enter so even if you haven’t been up the aisle, you can don a frock and take part once you raise €175 – just don’t wear a strapless dress.
2 Ah go on, come home
Come Home For Your Tea Day is on in Kinsale on July 6th with street parties, open houses serving tea and Colm O’Regan talking about mammies. From noon to 6pm, kinsaleartsfestival.com
3 Box clever
Make a memento box on a furniture-making weekend at Hill Picket Studio in Ballymurtagh, near Avoca, Co Wicklow. It costs €90 for one day and €160 for the weekend. July 20th and 21st,
hillpicketstudio.com, tel: 0402 30581
4 Forget eBay, get to Tipp
Clear out your closets and make a few bob at the car boot sale in Fethard, Co Tipperary. Run by the Mullins family and well-loved for 30 years, it’s on every Sunday and Bank Holiday. Stalls cost €10. There’s also a small museum of Irish artefacts, fethardcarbootsale.com
5 With this ring I thee wed
Brides – and bridegrooms-to-be can sign up for a weekend wedding ring-making course with Irish Design Shop founders, jewellery designers Laura Caffrey and Clare Grennan. The course costs €500 per couple. Stylist, Thread Magazine editor and bride-to-be Aisling Farinella describes the experience as being “very special”, irishdesignshop.com
6 Enjoy a Staycation in Dublin’s Fair City from €69
7 Have a giggle on Inishbiggle
The world and his wife will be on Mayo’s Greenway this summer, so do yourself a favour and check out the county’s myriad other trails – just as beautiful and no one on them. The ultimate is Inishbiggle Island walk off Achill – see can you bump into all 19 inhabitants.
8 Twilight Irish-style
Go racing at twilight at Limerick racecourse on Thursday, July 25th. The meet starts at 5pm and as the light fades the mood turns country with music by Nathan Carter. A barbecue package costs €36 and includes admission and race card, €5 bet, a barbecue dinner with a glass of wine or pint of beer, limerickraces.ie
9 Jibe ho
Binoculars at the ready for the Clare Island Regatta taking place on Sunday 14th July. Watch the yawls tack their way around the course, see men rowing for their lives in the currach race, with traditional music and children’s sports against the a backdrop of Granualie’s Castle. omalleyferries.com
10 Goods from the garden
Shell peas in the open air. Then steam cook and let butter melt on top. Best thing you will eat all summer. Unless you visit The Bad Ass Temple Bar where mouth-watering meals are crafted from local fresh produce…
11 City to sea
Jump in the car midweek and head to Silver Strand, just outside Wicklow town, a fabulous cove away from it all but just 45 minutes from Dublin. Downside is that it’s very busy on sunny weekends, and there’s a charge per car.
12 Fire and glass
Get your kiln on and create some beautiful jewellery at Uccelli Studios, Tassagh, Co Armagh. Glass artist Paula Boyle will help you make vibrant fused glass rings, earrings, cufflinks and brooches. August 17th and 18th. £85 (€100) one day/ £150 (€177) for two. uccellijewellery.com
13 Be crabby
Drop a crabbing line over the bridge in Cahore, Co Wexford. Wait for hours for a bite. Then have toasted ham sandwiches and a mineral in The Strand Bar, overlooking water. Perfect.
14 Dine on Dalkey Island
Hire a boat in Coliemore Harbour and putter out to Dalkey Island. Take a picnic, but be careful where you sit down – there are lots of goats.
15 Stuck in a make-up rut?
Want to resuscitate your make-up skills? A one-day course at Eyrebrushed Makeup Studios in Kilkenny should update your look. Includes make-up demos and skincare tips, advice on overhauling your make-up bag and getting better use from your cosmetics. Sunday, August 18th, eyrebrushed.com
16 All that jazz
Make like Leonard DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan and kick your heels up 1920s-style at Gatsby Knights in La Stampa restaurant on Dawson Street, Dublin on July 6th. Dinner, cabaret, dancing and cocktails in teacups. Fancy dress essential, facebook.com/gatsby.knights
17 Scale new heights
The Reptile Village in Gowran, Co
Kilkenny is just a hop, skip and slither from the M9. Learn about the snakes, lizards, turtles, crocs, spiders and other creepy crawlies that live there and you can even hold some of the friendlier critters. Family tickets from €27, reptilevillage.net also Hen Party or Stag Party in Kilkenny contact Ireland’s number 1 party provider, stagandhenweekends.ie
18 Stay in Dublin’s Number 1 boutique Guesthouse, The Anchor House Dublin, enjoy romantic walks along Custom House Quay, a shopping spree in Grafton Street and return to the comfort of the Anchor House Dublin.
19 Chase the van
Use the ice cream van. What’s that melodic tinkling sound making its way closer and closer to your door? It’s the ice cream van! It’s on your road! You chase after it, pushing slower, feebler children out of the way as you run. “A 99 please!” you breathlessly wheeze to the bored-looking man in the terrifying, rusty, clown-themed ice-mobile. He shrugs and dispenses a 99. Yum!
20 Knit-wits gather
Experienced and novice knitters are welcome to join the free “gathering of knitters” at the National Museum of Ireland – Country Life in Turlough Park, Co Mayo on Friday, July 19th, from 11am-3pm. The museum’s knitting circle regularly invites newcomers who can learn tips on knitting and crochet in this beautiful setting, museum.ie
21 Burren attractions
Stroll the new Cusack Way linear walk in Carron, Co Clare on July 22nd, followed by lunch in Cassidy’s, or see cows being milked and have a home-made ice cream sundae at Café Linnalla in New Quay after a walk along Flaggy Shore on July 15th at 5pm (€15), burrenecotourism.com
22 News blackout
Don’t listen to the news. Summertime requires good vibes. You want to hear DJs with mid-Atlantic accents introducing golden oldies. You do not want to hear over-remunerated bankers guffawing obnoxiously, followed by sad-voiced journalists commenting on the same. The state of the economy? Strife in war-torn states? That strange mushroom cloud in the distance? Not your problem.
23 Camp for creepy crawlies
Six- to 13-year-olds can search for frogs, learn to identify different butterfly species, go on creepy crawlie safaris and make nature crafts at the Bog of Allen nature summer camps in Co Kildare. This year’s camps run from July 29th to August 2nd, 10am-1pm each day and the cost is €50. See ipcc.ie or tel: 045-860133.
24 Crafty work
A mini-festival about making, Ideate brings craftmakers and designers to Kilkenny on July 5th and 6th to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kilkenny Design workshops. Check out nationalcraftgallery.ie/ideate for everything from a seminar on making things to a digital fabrication workshop, to social crocheting get-together.
25 Shave your legs
Yes, it’s oppressive, sexist, objectifying nonsense, but that fake tan ain’t going to go on smoothly unless your lose the hair. Summer is the only season to indulge those beauty myths. Have a beauty make over at you Hen Party event…stagandhenweekends.ie
26 Ham it up
Eat cold home-cooked ham in the garden. Nothing says “summer” like eating slice after slice while reclining in a deckchair. Everyone should do it, coupled with fresh garden vegetables.
27 Go to Louisburgh and . . .
Take the ferry from Roonagh Pier to Clare Island and walk to and from the lighthouse. Hire a bike and ride the length of the island. Swim off the beach. Go to Carrownisky Beach (off the road from Louisburgh to Killeen) and learn how to surf. At Roonagh Pier, walk left around the headland for about 150 meters and observe the seal colony there.Walk the Tochar Pádraig pilgrim way from the Westport to Leenane road (start at the Bohen Stone) to Croagh Patrick. The walk is beautiful and, at about seven kilometres, easily achievable, with Campbell’s pub at Clew Bay your final destination.
28 Serve food in small earthenware bowls. Hey presto – tapas…can’t be bothered…let the Bad Ass Temple Bar take the hassle out your cooking this summer…
29 For the green-fingered
Head to Galway Garden Festival, Claregalway Castle on Saturday and Sunday, July 6th-7th. Guest speakers include Sylvie and Patrick Quibel of Le Jardin Plume Gardens and orchid expert Brendan Sayers, galwaygardenfestival.com
30 Check on your investments
Each of us is paying through the nose for the privilege of keeping island communities alive. Summer is a good time to check up on our investment. Do they offer us something unique and is it worth the price? Hell yeah!
31 Talk to tourists
They can seem off-putting as they creep along in their rental cars, and all they ever seem to want to know is where the best Guinness and trad session are to be found, but give them time and you might be surprised. After all, Chomsky, Spielberg and Springsteen have all been tourists here…want a great pint of Guinness and a truly Irish session…Ned Keenan’s Traditional Irish Pub Dublin…
32 Go on a beer pilgrimage
The Camino de Santiago begins from James’s Gate, so too ought a craft beer pilgrimage. Find a designated driver and head to Trouble Brewing in Kildare, White Gypsy in Tipperary, Metal Man in Waterford, Dungarvan Brewing Company, Franciscan Wall, Cork, Eight Degrees Brewing, Mitchelstown, Mountain Man Brewery, Macroom, West Kerry Brewery – hic, hic, hic.
33 Sunshine – who needs it?
Waste the sunshine. Irish people are starved of sun. As a result “wasting the sunshine” is a grave crime and sacrilegious pleasure in these parts. Celebrate a sunny day by watching a 22-episode box-set from start to finish with the curtains drawn. The Sopranos, The Good Wife, Horrible Histories – it doesn’t matter. You’re a grown up now and you can do what you want.
34 Go camping on an island
Almost any will do, but the west is best – fish and cook what you catch; lie in the open at night, watch the stars and have your children tell stories aloud.
35 Dog gone days
Borrow a dog. Walking a dog along the seafront feels like a summery thing to do. But you do not have a dog. Borrow one. Fido runs. Fido frolics. Fido is hungry and tired. Uh oh…Too much responsibility. Give back the dog. Phew.
36 Spot the lizard
This is the summer to finally make sure you see a lizard, an owl and a badger. For lizards, either stare long and hard at sun-warmed stone walls or roll around heather-covered hills until one appears. For owls and badgers, go out wandering at midnight.
37 Swim spots
The sun doesn’t need to be splitting the heavens to go swimming. Aim to find a new swimming location once a week for the holidays, with the help of Ireland’s growing outdoor swimming network, outdoorswimming.ie. Some of our favourites include Sands Cove and Squince Beach in West Cork, Rathmullan Strand in Donegal, Sneem and Derrynane in Kerry, The Pollock Holes in Kilkee, to name but a few. Every island has a beach to explore, of course, but Inis Meain’s Trá Leitreach holds a special place in our hearts.
38 Just kidding
Take the kids to visit the kids – the four-legged ones at St Tola organic farm in the Burren, where they can tour the farm, pet the goats, learn about cheesemaking and taste the produce. You can stock up at the newly-opened farm shop while you’re there. There is a €5 per person fee for the hour-long tour and the minimum donation is €50, so gather a few friends and cousins and make a group outing out of it. Farm tours, Monday to Friday, must be booked in advance, st-tola.ie, tel: 065-6836633.
39 Get your skates on
Dublin’s women’s roller derby is looking for new members or “fresh meat” as they so charmingly put it. You must be over 18, female and not of a delicate disposition, but no experience necessary to join their 14-week beginners’ courses,
40 Read ‘Ulysses’ in the comfort of My Place Hotel Dublin…comfortable living at affordable prices
Just stop talking about it. Just do it.
41 Stock up
If you’re going to live on ready meals for a week, make sure they are very good ready meals. We like the generous portions and special offers at Butler’s Pantry: two for €10 suppers and two for the price of one meals from the freezer. butlerspantry.ie
42 Bend it in the Burren
Meditation, yoga, Burren excursions and healthy vegetarian food are all part of the experience with registered teacher Kanta Barrios who is running a course from Friday, August 9th to Thursday, August 15th at Burren Yoga. Six days with shared accommodation costs €690, kantabarriosyoga.com
43 Take a hotel break
Two adults and two children can stay for two nights at the Townhouse Hotel Dublin for as little as €180 including FREE Irish Breakfast and discount vouchers for most major atrractions.
44 Run out of ice-cream?
Make your own instant ices by blitzing frozen berries, or frozen bananas, in a food processor with enough whipping cream to bring them together into a creamy consistency.
45 Punk life drawing cabaret
Offering “anti-art classes” with an anarchic touch, Dr Sketchys is all about life drawing, but probably not as you remember it from school. Each event is themed around an art movement such as Roy Lichtenstein’s prints, or movies such as Metropolis and Blade Runner, with costumed models posing while punters get their pads out. Already in 100 cities on five continents, drsketchysdublin.com
46 Cultural martial arts
Get in touch with your inner ninja at the Bujinkan Dojo in Harold’s Cross. Old-style Japanese martial arts featuring unarmed combat, self-defence and the use of traditional samurai weaponry. Eight-week beginners’ courses (€70) running every three months, happobiken.com
47 Get airborne – with a twist
Learn how to fly using circus equipment such as the trapeze, hoops, ropes and silks with Dublin performance art troupe Paperdolls. A range of daytime, weekend and evening classes begin in July. Eight-week courses and drop-in classes from €20 per two-hour session,
48 Stay in a castle, lighthouse or former stable in one of the lovely – and great value – Irish Landmark Trust properties irishlandmark.com
49 Worth a detour
Visit the cafe at the end of the world. Carmel Somers’s Good Things Café in Durrus, on the Sheep’s Head peninsula seashore, is open for lunch every day from today until August 26th (and for dinner Thursday to Mondays). There’s a shop and cookery school too, thegoodthingscafe.com
50 Set your pulse pounding
Set up in 2006, Taiseiyo Taiko is Ireland’s only Japanese drumming ensemble, offering classes in music, movement and spirituality. It’s an energetic and loud art form. Classes and workshops are available for players of all ages and ability levels at taikoireland.com…also see link between Japan and Townhouse Hotel Dublin…
51 Outdoors skills
If hiking, hill walking and forest treks are your thing, then The Living Wilderness Bushcraft School offers introductory courses. Learn the five core elements of wildness survival – fire, water, shelter, food, and craft. Friday to Sunday courses cost from €195 per person, bushcraft.ie
52 Cycling Malin Head
Looking for an immersive way to get out into the Irish countryside? Cycle Inishowen offers a variety of tours to Malin Head, including guided day tours as well as three-, five- and seven-night guided holidays. Prices from €60 per person for day tours including bike hire, lunch and a guide, cycleinishowen.com
53 Cavan kayak run
The Cavan kayak run is an annual multisport event comprising kayaking, cycling and running, taking place on August 10th. The organisers also put on a range of activities for spectators to make it a family day out, cavankayakarun.com
54 Live the life of Reilly
Cavan town is hosting The Life of Reilly Festival as part of the county’s Gathering from August 19th-25th. Expect art activities ranging from home-grown theatre to contemporary exhibitions, cavanarts.ie
55 Learn to cook
Paul Flynn of the Tannery restaurant and cooking school in Dungarvan, Waterford, holds regular weekend and day-long cooking courses. An Italian Feast evening is planned for Friday, July 26th, €40 per person, tannery.ie
56 Beards of summer
Have beard, will travel? If you’re quick about it you can help break the current world record for the largest number of bearded men in one place. The Town of A Thousand Beards event aims to gather that many bearded blokes together in Ballymoe, Co Galway at noon today. And don’t worry ladies there are prizes for the best homemade beards. (Phew.) facebook.com/TheTownOf1000Beards
57 Random kindness
The second Random Acts of Kindness Festival takes place in the town on July 19th-21st.
58 Join Slow Food Ireland
Find out what your local group is up to – activities vary but might include foraging walks, food quizzes and farm visits. Today the Dublin group is visiting the new Urban Farm at 26 Kings Inns Street, in a former chocolate factory.
Tours of the rooftop farm and indoor aquaponic/hydroponic studio run Wednesdays and Saturdays , cost €5 and must be booked in advance, urbanfarm.ie
59 Camp kids
Put the kids to work at a cookery camp run by Johann Doorley (wife of food writer Tom) in Brennan’s in Cork. Book at cookshop.ie/shop/160-kids
60 Make your Marker
On a sunny day, jump in the lift to the rooftop garden at the Marker hotel – queue, what queue – order passion fuit mojita (€13.50) and you could be anywhere (anywhere smart, that is). Gorgeous. themarkerhoteldublin.com
61 Get loaded
Hollow out a crusty loaf, fill the space with layers of roasted peppers, mozzarella, tuna or ham, tomatoes, basil (anything you fancy, really ), drizzle over some olive oil and baslamic, pop the lid back on, stick it in the fridge with a heavy weight on top (a couple of tins of beans will do) and a couple of hours later, et voila, pan bagnat.
62 Gaelforce in Gweedore
Practice your cúpla focail on a parent and child course in the Donegal gaeltacht of Gweedore from July 20th to 27th. For the kids, €100 each, the set-up is a camp with activities as Gaeilge. Adults, €200 each, do class work in the mornings and participate in walks and tours in the afternoons. In the evenings the kids and parents come together to have fun at ceilís and quiz nights, piarsaigh.ie
63 Lock hard
Sample life in tenement Dublin at number 14 Henrietta Street, a former mansion townhouse built in 1748 that in 1913 was home to 17 families, a total of 100 people living in squalor. Living the Lockout is a exhibition that includes a performance where actors illustrate the hardships endured during the lockout and how Big Jim Larkin gave them a voice. From July 4th until August 31st dublintenementexperience.com
64 Going on a picnic . . .
. . . empty a little from the top of your water and soft drink bottles of choice, freeze them, and bring with you, for cold drinks on the go. A few lemon or lime slices added before you freeze is always good.
65 Devil’s Footprints
Off the Great Western Greenway, the cycle path from Westport to Achill, finds you on the Currane back road, where the Devil’s Footprints, an archaeological anomaly featuring cloven hoof marks of varying sizes, seared into slabs of rock, are said to be the marks of fleeing devils who, when banished by St Patrick from Crough Patrick, jumped across the bay to escape.
66 Fun on the farm
In Enniskerry, pay Waterfall Farm a visit where you can see pygmy goats and Lleyn sheep, hens, a light Sussex rooster, and angora rabbits. Human kids can hold the new-born pygmy goats under the watchful eye of farmer Michael Keegan. Buy fresh eggs, herbs from the garden, or even half a lamb, waterfallfarm.ie
67 Roll down a hill…or enjoy a pint in Ned Keenan’s Traditional Irish Pub…
68 On the fly
Discover the rich bounty of our rivers and lakes with a fly-fishing lesson. Using rods and flys, the purest form of fishing, according to Balbriggan-based instructor Garrett Ruigrok, children from eight upwards can learn how to fish for rainbow trout. A two-hour lesson plus fishing time and all the tea you can drink is €70 for one adult and one junior, courtloughoutdoors.ie
69 Take a trip by cable car
Ireland’s only functioning cable car links the west Cork town of Ballaghboy on the south west tip of the Beara Peninsula with Dursey Island. The island is only 6.5km long and 1.5km wide but strong tides make crossing by boat hazardous. Dursey is a mecca for bird, whale and dolphin watching and makes a great day out. The 10-minute trip costs €8 for a return ticket and €4 for children, bearatourism.com
70 Cliffs of Moher from below
You’ve peered down over the Cliffs of Moher but have you seen them from below? Take one of the (weather-dependent) ferries out from Doolin pier in Co Clare for staggeringly impressive close-up views of the mighty cliffs, seastacks gannets, puffins and guillemots…Wild Rover Tours…
71 Big House festival
Castletown House and gardens in Co Kildare is the venue for a new festival this August Bank Holiday weekend. The Big House Festival will have site-specific performances, opera on the lawn, artisan food stalls, pop-up events, installations, a ukele céilí for children, theatre, films and many other events, bighouse.ie
72 Omey goodness
Omey Island is one of Connemara’s most unusual and picturesque walking areas and at low tide it’s accessible on foot across the sands, despite being almost hidden from the mainland. The island is home to lots of wildlife and interesting monastic ruins but is particularly worth visiting on July 28th when the beach will host the annual Omey Races, an ancient tradition re-established in 2001. Last year, 5,000 people attended, earning it the nickname, “the other Galway races”, omeyraces.com
73 Visit King John’s new Castle
Reopened yesterday after a €6 million refurbishment project, King John’s Castle is situated in the heart of medieval Limerick City overlooking the river Shannon. A three-hour guided tour of the 13th-century castle costs €9 for adults, €5.25 for children, €6.25 for senior citizens and €20.60 for a family, including two children, shannonheritage.com
74 Ballinamore free fringe
Expect more than 200 acts performing music, comedy, theatre and street performance at the Ballinamore Free Fringe Festival in Co Leitrim from August 22nd to 25th, ballinamorefreefringe.com
75 Join the circus
Learn circus skills at The Ark in Dublin’s Temple Bar from July 4th to August 31st. Find out about trapeze artists, the ringmaster, circus horses and their trainers and see what it feels like to walk in clown shoes. A 90-minute visit costs €9 per person, over two years, or €30 for a family of four. Reduced price tickets are available on Tuesdays for €7.50, ark.ie
76 Cork capers
Walk the Seven Heads Peninsula around Clonakilty and get dinner en route. Fish for sea bass off the rocks alongside Courtmacsherry Woods, forage for wild sorrel and fruits along the fushia-lined hedgerows around Butlerstown, and pop into Lettercollum’s Kitchen Project (lettercollum.ie) in Clonakilty to top up the pantry on the way home, sevenheadspeninsula.ie
77 Pure camping
What do you call green glamping? Gramping? Find out when you book a bell tent on the Loop Head Peninsula on Kevin and Trea Heapes’s Pure Camping site near Querrin. There’s a geodesic dome for rainy spells, and a yoga studio in a converted cowshed. Bring some pizza ingredients to cook in the campsite clay wood-fired pizza oven. And it’s in The Irish Times top pick of holiday spots, purecamping.ie
78 Wander in the wild
Check out Ireland’s first official wilderness, the Nephin Beg Mountain Range in Mayo, which has just been added to 13 other EU official wilderness regions listed on Pan Parks Foundation’s website (panparks.org). And while you are there, go in search of the its rare and wild Old Irish Goats, which local Mulranny Environmental Group are lobbying to protect , cbiocentre.com
79 Graffiti jam
Some of the world’s leading street/graffiti artists will be scribbling all over Derry city centre on July 6th -7th . OK, not everywhere, but on a 250ft-long themed cityscape.
80 Flea hunting in Sligo
The monthly Sligo Flea takes place in The Model, the stunning home for contemporary art in the west, and is about local craft as much as vintage and bric-a-brac. twitter.com/sligoflea
81 See seaweed
Treat yourself to Prannie Rhatigan’s Irish Seaweed Kitchen book and then get foraging and feasting. From sea spaghetti, soups and scones, the coastline is a larder just waiting to be picked, prannie.com
Go wild on Tory Island with Far and Wild, which is organising a weekend of coasteering, sea kayaking , climbing and wild camping on this magical island off the coast of Donegal, farandwild.co.uk
83 Love clouds
Join the Irish Cloud Appreciation Society (ticas.ie). It costs nothing. Just find a dry, comfy spot, look up and take in nature’s ever-changing gallery.
84 Reclaim Iveagh Gardens
Now that Taste of Dublin has packed up its tents and florins, visitors can reclaim this lovely picnic spot. No flowers for kids to run over, just acres of lovely quiet grass for lounging, frisbee and even impromptu musical performances, if you feel the urge.
85 Take a technology holiday
Get one ziplock bag. Place all mobile and internet-enabled devises inside. Seal and label with a “Step away from the web” sticker. Take off your shoes and feel the grass under your feet. Talk to your friends and family while looking at their faces. Don’t worry if it all feels a bit weird at first.
86 Keep it country
Australorp, Barnevelder, Brahma, Cochim, Dorking, Faverolles, Marams, Plymoth Rock, Sussex and Wyandotte. Not places, but poultry. See all kinds of hens, geese and ducks at the Tinahely Show on August Bank Holiday Monday (August 5th) in Co Wicklow, along with cattle, ponies and dogs and the best of local baking in the cake tent, tinahelyshow.ie
87 Irish ice cream race
Who will be first to taste each Irish farmhouse ice cream on site, in a single day? Starting with Baldwin’s in Waterford, on to Happy Days in Cork, then Daly’s Valentia Island, Murphy’s in Dingle, Linnalla in the Burren, Maud’s in Carrickfergus, Glastry’s in Down, Burke’s in Navan, Rossmore in Laois – there are endless new ones to try.
88 Not so silent
Bring a picnic and listen to jazz/blues music in The Silent Valley in Co Down on July 14th, discovernorthernireland.com
89 Go bats
Learn about bats, those leathery creatures of the night, and why they’re a national treasure through Bat Conservation Ireland’s Waterways Survey. With 15 free courses across Ireland, the BCI experts take teams out along the canals to scout for bats – you even get to use something called a bat detector, batconservationireland.org
90 Two blocks of HB + sharp knife + two packs wafers = delish ice creams for 10
91 Reach for the stars
Astronomy Ireland’s annual Star-B-Q on August 31st keeps our stargazers in business. As the name suggests, outdoor eating and sky-watching are on the program for this most unique of fundraisers, hosted by Roundwood, Co Wicklow, the country’s highest village, astronomy.ie/sbq/
92 Elementary Powerscourt
“They were the footprints of a gigantic hound.” Bring along a picnic and your best detective skills and enjoy a spot of open-air theatre at Powercourt Gardens on Sunday, June 30th where Chapterhouse Theatre Company will stage its adaptation of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles. Adults €18, OAP €16.50, child €10. Family (2 adults & 2 children €52 ), powerscourt.ie/events
93 Sow for the future
Sow the seeds of summer 2014. July is the perfect time to sow many biennials/ shortlived perennials including foxgloves (Digitalis sp.), sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) so that next year the garden will be filled with bee-friendly, beautiful flowers. See Westport-based suppliers seedaholic.com or Mr Middleton’s Thompson & Morgan range, mrmiddleton.com
94 Leisurely Laois
Sip an ice-cold Pimm’s while sitting on the sunny terrace of Castle Durrow in Co Laois before taking an amble through its four-acre restored walled gardens, home to a double herbaceous border, a maze and a fully productive potager. Or go for a walk on the wild(er) side, take a peaceful stroll by the grassy banks of the River Erkina which runs beside the estate, castledurrow.com
95 Get into the ring
As charity fundraising activities go, white-collar boxing takes more guts than most. A six-week training course leads up to fight night on September 13th, with proceeds going to Cork University Hospital. Training for the Champions for Children three-round boxing event starts in July, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
96 Make homemade lemonade
Mix one cup of sugar with one cup of water in a saucepan until dissolved. Juice six lemons. Add the juice to the sugar water, then add three to four cups of cold water. Bottle and chill.
97 Trace your family tree
Explore Irish history and genealogy at 21 free lunchtime lectures in the National Library of Ireland. Learn about the Irish roots of Jackie Kennedy, dating family photographs, crowdsourcing your family tree and more. No booking required. Runs from July 2nd to August 29th, nli.ie
98 But why?
If your kids are always asking you why, then take them to the Curiosity Carnival at Smock Alley, in Dublin’s Temple Bar, from July 25th to 28th, as part of Dublin’s first Festival of Curiosity. They’ll be able to take part in hands-on science and electronics workshops and play with interactive installations. Plus treasure hunts, street performances, films, Lego building, curious stories with Dara ÓBriain and more, festivalofcuriosity.ie
99 One in a million
A million children can’t be wrong. That’s how many have visited Fort Lucan in Dublin 22 since it opened in 1993. The adventure playground for the two- to 12-year-olds has four towers to scale, 40 slides, sky walks, aerial runways, go karting and raging river slides. A family pass costs €26 with discounts for groups. Parents get a free coffee to keep them going. It’s open seven days, fortlucan.com
100 Use your loaf
Think you make the best brown bread? Then enter it in a competition for the best loaf at the Moynalty Steam Threshing and Food Festival in Moynalty, Co Meath on August 11th, moynaltysteamthreshing.ie
101 Gathering 2013
Enjoy family and friends as you all Gather together for a unique event big or small, let 2013 be remembered for the good things not the bad.