It’s that time of year again when your family and friends living away are making plans to come home to Ireland over the next few weeks for Christmas.
No doubt you’ll spend time watching Home Alone at some stage but you want to make the most of your family and friends while they’re home. So why not make it count?
Have you Googled, “The Best Outdoor Thing to Do In Ireland?”
Sometimes, it takes just as long to think of something to do as it does to do the thing, so we wanted to save you time. And if your loved ones are home for Christmas chances are they're not home for that long so you want to make sure they have the best time possible.
If you Google, Best Outdoor thing to do in Ireland, this is what you’ll see:
So we want to help answer that question for you. Now, if truth be told, it’s tough to narrow this list so we decided to rank in order of starting in the south of the country, heading up the west coast and back to the east coast for your last stop.
Killarney National Park:
We start down in Co. Kerry. Did you know Killarney National Park was the first national park in Ireland? In 1932, Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish Free State. It covers a staggering 10,000 hectares. For comparison, Dublin City covers about 11,500 hectares.
Killarney National Park is like stepping into a storybook, where every corner is bursting with enchantment and natural splendour. Wander through ancient oak forests, alongside serene lakes. The park is not just a feast for your eyes; it's a treasure trove of history and culture. You'll stumble upon the majestic Muckross House, a 19th-century Victorian mansion, and the hauntingly beautiful ruins of Ross Castle. Whether you're exploring the park on foot, by bike, or even in a traditional jaunting horse and cart, there's a sense of magic in the air that's hard to resist. The trails lead you through some of the most picturesque landscapes in Ireland, from the serene shores of the Lakes of Killarney to the rugged peaks of the McGillycuddy Reeks. And after a day of adventure, the charming town of Killarney, with its lively pubs, friendly locals and a Portwest – The Outdoor Shop store on New Street, its the perfect place to relax and reflect on the day's discoveries.
Cliffs of Moher.
The Cliffs of Moher are an absolute must-see, and trust us, they're every bit as breathtaking as the photos you’ve seen. Now, depending on where you are in the country, you might spend time driving here and sometimes the drive is half the fun.
You’ll be standing on the edge of these towering cliffs, rising a staggering 214m above the wild Atlantic Ocean. The view is simply surreal, stretching over 14 kms along the coast. As you gaze out, you'll feel the powerful sea breeze and you might even spot some puffins or dolphins if you're lucky. What's truly magical about the Cliffs is the way they change with the weather. On a clear day, you can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, and when the mist rolls in, there's this mystical, almost otherworldly atmosphere. Plus, there's more than just the view.
The visitor center is top-notch, offering fascinating insights into the cliffs' geology and wildlife. It's the kind of place that's not just a visual treat but also touches something deeper, making you feel connected to the raw beauty of home.
Wild Atlantic Way:
The Wild Atlantic Way is an epic route along Ireland's rugged west coast, and it's an absolute must if you’re craving adventure mixed with breathtaking beauty. This treasure trove of experiences stretches over 2,500 km. You could drive along cliff-top roads with panoramic ocean views, stopping at hidden beaches where the only footprints might be yours, and discovering quaint fishing villages like Achill or Newport, where the seafood is as fresh as the salty sea breeze.
Whether you're surfing the waves in Donegal, watching the sunset at the edge of the world in Kerry, or simply enjoying a quiet moment watching the wild Atlantic, this journey is more than a trip. It's a chance to experience Ireland's wild side, where each day ends with a heart full of memories and a longing to see what's just around the next bend. The Wild Atlantic Way is not just a route; it's the road trip of your lifetime.
We could write an entire book about The Wiild Atlantic Way. There’s something about looking out onto the Atlantic Ocean. You realise how powerful it is. And this leads us nicely to……
Surfing on the west coast of Ireland is an exhilarating and unique experience that's hard to match. It's a paradise for surfers and bodyboaders with spots like Bundoran, Mullaghmore, Carrowniskey and Lahinch offering world-class breaks that cater to every skill level, from beginners to pros. But what truly sets Irish surfing apart is the breathtaking scenery – think dramatic cliffs, ancient castles, and rolling green hills.
Now, if you are going to get into the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll need at least a 3mm / 2mm wetsuit. This means that the material, usually neoprene is 3mm thick in places like your torso and 2mm around your arms and legs.
And with all water sports activities, watch out for rip currents and only enter the water when it is safe to do so. Next on our list is……
Connemara National Park:
Connemara National Park in Ireland is a true gem, a place where the wild beauty of nature truly shines. Imagine rolling green hills, rugged mountains, and expanses of bogs and heaths, all set against a backdrop of the stunning Atlantic coastline. This park is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers, with trails winding through some of the most scenic landscapes you can imagine.
The Diamond Hill trail in Connemara National Park, Ireland, offers a looped walking route of approximately 7kms in length. This includes the ascent to the summit and the return journey. The trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, making it accessible for a wide range of walkers, although some sections can be steep and challenging. The hike typically takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete, depending on your pace and how often you stop to enjoy the stunning views of the Connemara landscape.
Whether you're strolling around the Kylemore Abbey, taking in the serenity of the surrounding lakes, or just sitting back and soaking in the pristine natural beauty, Connemara National Park offers an escape into a world where nature's wonders are on full display. It's not just a visit; it's an experience that will leave you refreshed and awestruck. And now, for our final destination on your list we’ll head over to the east coast of Ireland.
The Wicklow Way is like a journey through the heart of Ireland's natural beauty, a trail that promises adventure, serenity, and some truly unforgettable views. Stretching over 130 kms, this trail winds through the Wicklow Mountains, offering a diverse tapestry of landscapes - from lush forests and tranquil streams to rugged moorlands and rolling hills. As you walk, you'll encounter charming villages where you can grab a hearty Irish meal or a pint, adding a touch of local flavor to your adventure. The highlights? Glendalough, with its ancient monastic ruins and serene lakes, is a sight to behold, while the views from Lugnaquilla, Wicklow's highest peak at 925m, are simply out of this world.
Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just someone who loves to soak in natural beauty, The Wicklow Way is more than a trail; it's a chance to disconnect from the hustle and bustle and connect with your family and friends while they're home.
Until midnight Monday, you can save 20% on all Portwest leisure wear like fleeces and jackets.
USE CODE "PWLEISUREWEAR20" AT CHECKOUT
You can shop online at theoutdoorshop.ie or in one of our stores in Westport, Killarney and Galway City.