6 unmissable outdoor activities you need to try this month
Brought to you by DiscoverIreland.
Level up your summer with these one-of-a-kind experiences in Ireland's Hidden Heartlands.
When it comes to relaxed, outdoor adventures, Ireland's Hidden Heartlands is an absolute haven. Whether you're a biker, hiker or boater, or just want to get outside, this region is bursting at the seams with one-of-a-kind experiences.
So, with summer just around the corner, it's time to start planning your next adventure. Here are six unmissable activities to add to your itinerary in the coming months.
Play Lord of the Manor with a meander through Portumna Castle and Gardens. For the history buffs among us, this 17th-century semi-fortified house on the shore of Lough Derg has so much to offer. Take a self-guided tour, and reawaken the castle's rich history.
Explore the sprawling grounds, which include formal gardens and a walled kitchen garden. Afterwards, you'll have worked up an appetite, so head on over to the restored horse stables where the CaToCa Fine Food tea rooms are located.
Immerse yourself in Galway's great outdoors by exploring the region by bike. Cycling is the ideal way to tour the region for a number of reasons. You'll get up close and personal with your surroundings, and you'll also cover a huge distance while you're at it.
Cycle through Portumna Forest Park and its many trails, and swing by Portumna Town as well. On this bike ride, you'll plunge into the serene surroundings and come face-to-face with the region's rich heritage.
No bike? No problem. Pop into Dick's Bike Hire in Portumna, and the staff will kit you out with all you need to saddle up and get going.
Ireland's Hidden Heartlands are home to Europe's largest karting centre, and if you want to try something new, it deserves a spot on your itinerary. Grab the gang, and chose from the centre's wide range of activities. From a 500m beginner's track, to a 1500m advanced track and a 2200m rally track, you'll find an activity to suit your group's level.
Once on the tarmac, you can go wheel to wheel and get all revved up in the Thunderkarts, reaching up to 85km/h. When you see your lap times, you'll buzz with exhilaration, euphoria and enthusiasm to go again.
Revel in the region's stunning waterways by renting a kayak, canoe, paddleboard or lake boat at the Derg Isle Adventure Centre. Navigate the Shannon and River Graney and explore Lough Derg. You can book instructor-led tours and activities or go it alone and head off on one of the safe and pre-defined routes. You can even have double the fun and go out in a canoe made for two – a great way to explore Lough Derg with a friend.
As well as activities on the water, Lough Derg is home to plenty of picnic spots and wildlife watching opportunities for the nature-lovers among us. Keep your eyes peeled for deer roaming the nearby forests or white-tailed eagles flying overhead.
Exploring Lough Derg by boat is a quintessential summer experience. Don't worry if you don't have your own yacht yet; Lough Derg Boat Tours offers private and scheduled boat tours from Dromineer, lasting from one hour to a full day.
On a boat tour, you'll hear all about the history and mystery surrounding Lough Derg while admiring its spectacular scenic setting. Exploring by boat is terrific fun, and it affords access and vantage points enjoyed by a few. It is also a wonderful experience for animal lovers, as the waterways brim with wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers, whooper and mute swans, one of Ireland's largest resident bird species.
Once you've had your fill of activities on Lough Derg, get your feet on solid ground and make a beeline for Brookfield Farm. Between the farm animals, native trees and birdlife, there is so much to discover and explore at Brookfield Farm. They also produce raw honey, and you can learn all about the process – and sample some for yourself – on a guided tour.
Walking through the colourful wildflower meadows and organic grasslands, you'll learn about the local wildlife and sustainable farming practices and peek at the hives. Pop by the gift shop on your way out and stock up on sweet nectar and handcrafted beeswax candles.
Brought to you by DiscoverIreland.
Book a break this summer
Ireland's Hidden Heartlands appeals to those looking for slow, relaxed adventures with its rich and varied outdoor life.
Whether hiking, biking, boating, or boarding, there are many fun ways to relax and unwind in Ireland's Hidden Heartlands and enjoy this stunning region.
So, what are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to book a break this summer and embrace the great outdoors in Ireland's Hidden Heartlands.
The Leave No Trace principles help us make as little an impact as possible on the incredible Irish landscape as we explore the outdoors this summer and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place, leave no trace.
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