Summer is my favourite time to be at home in Ireland. The days are long and there’s plenty of sunshine to get out and explore! Here is a list of my top 10 favourite things to do during an Irish summer! Although the weather can vary during the months of May, June, July & August, we usually see great long spells of sun - but here’s a TOP TIP anyway; if you really want to be there while the sun’s out, plan your trip for June. June is great for what we call ‘Leaving Cert Weather’. The Leaving Cert is kind of like the SAT’s here. They are exams that all secondary students sit before going off to college. They take place from the 1st Wednesday until the end of June. In the grand tradition of Murphy’s law, when students have to study, sit inside and do exams - the weather is always spectacular. Haha! So that’ll probably be your best bet for finding the perfect weather for all of your Summer activities!
#1 Take a Walk or Cycle on the Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way is a route that takes you from the very tip of North Donegal to Kinsale in South Cork. Almost the entire length of the route (which is over 1500 miles) is coastal. Choose a section of the route (or challenge yourself and take it all), use it to see stunning beaches cliffs and cute wee coastal towns! The sunshine will be great for taking in the views and of course, you can always take a dip in the sea when the sun gets too hot!
#2 Enjoy some Irish Music & Dance at the Fleadh Cheoil
The All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil takes place in Ennis, Co.Clare from the 13th-21st of August. It is a huge Irish Music competition! Musicians from all over the country compete to be the festival champion. The festival is full of Irish culture, music & merriment. Last year, over 400,000 people attended the Fleadh! You’ll love the dancing, music, food, drinks, laughs and more! It really is a must see!
#3 Climb Croagh Patrick
On the last Sunday of July (which will be July 30th this year) thousands of pilgrims flock to Mayo to climb Croagh Patrick (pronounced ‘Crow Patrick’)! This day is also referred to as ‘Reek Sunday’ as the mountain is often called the Reek by locals. The patron Saint of Ireland, St. Patrick himself is said to have fasted for 40 days and 40 nights on top of the mountain! Now, visitors can attend mass in the church on top of the mountain on that day! However, you can always pick a different day to climb if you’d prefer the area to be a little quieter. Climbing the mountain is very difficult as it is very steep and covered in loose rocks & stones, however the payoff is well worth it. Provided the weather is clear, visitors can enjoy views out over Clew Bay and its 365 islands - one for every day of the week!
#4 Jump Off Blackrock Pier in Galway
Located in Salthill, Galway, Blackrock pier is a favourite for many in the west of Ireland. The area is great for swimming and features high diving boards or steps into the water. There are lifeguards on duty during the summer months and many people flock to the area for the chance to take the plunge! But make sure you take note of warning signs and lifeguards - the tide must be in for diving so please don’t jump unless the tide requirements are met! However, if you catch the right day, you can happily stay there all day swimming, diving and simply enjoying the sun.
#5 Take a Stroll in Phoenix Park, Dublin
Phoenix Park is Europe’s largest enclosed park! It really is worth a long walk. There is plenty of wildlife to see such as wild deer, foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits and more! Take a picnic along and enjoy the sun! If you have no luck with the wild animals, head over to Dublin Zoo which is located in the park! The zoo is great fun and all the animals are well looked after by their loving keepers. See the lions, tigers, zebras, elephants, giraffes, wolves, penguins and more!
#6 Take in The Cliffs of Moher
What kind of list would this be if I didn’t mention the Cliffs of Moher?! The cliffs are stunning all year round but on a clear day in Summer, nothing can beat that awesome view. The breathtaking view stretches as far out into the Atlantic as imaginable and visitors can also peer down at the the splashing waves and rocks over 700ft below! The cliffs stretch for about 5 miles along the coast and are easily one of Ireland’s best known landmarks! Visitors can also enjoy the museum built into the hillside on top of the cliffs as well as a cup of tea with a view! I can’t recommend it highly enough!
#7 Match Day at Croke Park
Croke Park is probably the most famous stadium in Ireland. Every year in August and September, Croke Park hosts the quarters, semis and finals of the All-Ireland Gaelic Football and Hurling Finals! This is definitely my favourite time of the year. I literally cannot describe the atmosphere in the stadium! Over 82,000 fans screaming their lungs out and all the shared highs and lows of the game! As a Mayo woman, the All-Ireland Gaelic Football Final is always a tense time in the county, full of excitement and worry. It’s an incredible experience to have so I highly recommend finding some tickets and heading to one of the games!
#8 Enjoy a Music Festival
Ireland hosts some of the greatest music festivals in the world! Our most popular Music festival is ‘Electric Picnic’. In previous years, performers included ‘Florence & The Machine’, ‘Duran Duran’, ‘Blondie’, ‘Blur’, ‘Sam Smith’, ‘Outkast’ and many, many more! The festival takes place over a weekend and visitors can camp, enjoy great food as well as other stages that include comedy etc. It’s a huge event. But fear not, if that music isn’t your thing, we’ve a festival for that. ‘Longitude’ covers hip hop. ‘Indiependence’ covers indie music, ‘Body & Soul’ is a soul & arts festival. ‘Life Festival’ covers techno music and ‘Rockathon’ covers rock music! Of course, there’s always ‘Sea Sessions’ that has a bit of everything as well as being located on a beach so you can enjoy your music and surfing! There’s really a lot to take in so put on your wellies, grab a tent and get dancing!
#9 The Redbull Soap Box Races
This is guaranteed to be a lot of fun! People spend all year creating the most outrageous soapbox cars to race down St.Patrick’s Hill in Cork. Huge crowds gather to watch them whiz by and it’s a lot of fun! Laughs guaranteed! Visitors can expect to enjoy great food, a great atmosphere and a great show! Definitely worth a visit!
#10 A Pint in Templebar
Sure, I couldn’t finish this list without mentioning Templebar. During the summer months, Templebar is hopping with fantastic live Irish music and events. There’s nothing better than enjoying an ice cold pint in Dublin City Centre on a hot day! Highly recommend! This experience will stick with you, even if it’s just the one. Hearing the laughs, feeling the sun, listening to music, a great Irish pint of Guinness - it really is the best feeling!
I hope this has inspired you for your trip to Ireland. Most of these events are annual so fear not, they’ll be here the summer you decide to visit! Let us know in the comments below what your favourite thing to do in summer is? What would you like to do best?
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