6 unmissable events and activities to check out this Bank Holiday weekend
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Celebrate the autumn season in Ireland's Ancient East.
Fancy escaping for a refreshing few days before the clocks go back and the nights draw in? Embrace the great outdoors and the crisp autumn weather with an activity-filled getaway. From hiking to hauntings, Pùca celebrations to pints, here are some brilliant things to do in Ireland's Ancient East.
Halloween happenings: Púca Festival, Co. Meath
The Púca Festival celebrates Ireland as the original birthplace of Halloween with creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky events across Trim and Athboy in Co. Meath.
This mischievous weekend is jam-packed with events from music to mythology, fire displays and feasting. You can hang out with comedy greats like Neil Delamere or David O’Doherty, have the craic on a haunted walk, and head to the harvest food market when you get hungry. For more Halloween happenings, take a look at the Púca Festival website.
On yer bike: Royal Canal Greenway
Fancy a cycle challenge? Why not try to complete the longest Greenway in Ireland? The Royal Canal Greenway stretches 144km along the historic Royal Canal and takes travellers through Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford.
En route, you'll pass 90 pretty bridges, 33 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts, plus plenty of historical landmarks like the Lock-Keepers Cottage and The Famine Way. The surrounding landscape is radiant this time of year as the foliage turns from green to shimmering gold, and there's plenty of wildlife to spot, too, including wintering birds.
Take to the trails: The Columban Way, Co. Carlow
Fancy a long, scenic walk but can't make it to the Camino? No problem. Head to Carlow and hike The Columban Way instead. Along this 45km cultural and heritage trail, some 1,500 years in the making, you'll follow in the footsteps of St Columbanus, a 6th-century monk born at the foot of Mount Leinster.
The signposted trail starts at the Nine Stones, at the foot of Mount Leinster, where you have unrivalled views of the rich and colourful Carlow countryside. The trail then winds to Myshall village, Bagnelstown, Leighlinbridge, Carlow and the Kildare border.
The Columban Way forms part of the 'Via Columbani'. So, if you keep walking, you'll cross eight European countries and finish in Bobbio, Italy. Don't forget your passport.
Fancy a few scoops? Smithwick's Experience, Co. Kilkenny
Did you know Smithwick's is the most consumed ale in Ireland? Established in Kilkenny in 1710, Smithwick's Brewery is older than the Guinness Brewery - Arthur didn't sign that lease until 1759. If you want to learn about the 300-year history of the brewery and its brews, book tickets for the Smithwick's Experience Tour (running Thursday to Monday).
The engaging and fully-guided tour takes place in a cool and atmospheric 18th-century brewery, and you'll get to sample the different ales brewed there. Sláinte!
Fantastic Festivals: Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Wexford Fringe Festival and more
There are plenty of fun festivals across Ireland's Ancient East this autumn, including the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, Savour Kilkenny Food Festival, Wexford Festival Opera, and the Wexford Fringe Festival.
The Guinness Cork Jazz Festival - Ireland's biggest jazz event - takes place over the October Bank Holiday weekend, and this year's line-up is exceptional, with some of the biggest names in jazz gracing the stage.
Meanwhile, Wexford Fringe Festival and Wexford Opera Festival both run from Friday 21 October to Sunday 6 November, featuring a huge variety of artists, performers, drama groups, singers and musicians.
Or if tasty bites are more your thing, Savour Kilkenny Food Festival takes places from Friday 28 to Monday 31 October, running a jam-packed calendar of events like cooking demonstrations, tastings, workshops and talks. It's the perfect event for any foodies looking to try something new.
Stay and play: Concra Wood & Country Club, Co. Monaghan
Take to the greens on a golf break this autumn at the Concra Wood Golf & Country Club in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan.
Two of Ireland's golfing greats (Christie O'Connor Snr and Christie O'Connor Jnr) designed and built this 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course in the early 2000s, and today, it is one of Ireland's best tests of golf.
Concra Wood is incredibly picturesque with its stunning scenery and water features, most notably the fabulous Lough Muckno, which comes into play on more than one occasion.
Round over? Celebrate your victory with a delicious lunch at the View Restaurant and Bar. As you unwind and chow down, you can admire the panoramic views of the course and the tranquil waters of Lough Muckno. This 19th hole is one of the most scenic in Ireland.
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Now is the perfect time to book a break and celebrate the best of autumn across Ireland's Ancient East.
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 autumn and beyond. Keep outdoor areas safe, clean and free from waste/hazards, and help protect the natural environment. Love this place; leave no trace.
Brought to you by DiscoverIreland