Looking to holiday differently this year? We are all thinking up new ways to travel in 2020 – with much consideration being given, among other things, to sustainability, safety, wellness and value – so here we take a look at some exciting new Irish holiday options with big active extras.
Arts and crafts escape
Artform art holidays, in conjunction with the Strand Inn in beautiful Dunmore East will be offering breaks to small groups (with comprehensive social distancing in place) in July and August with some top-class art teachers, such as Bridget Flannery and Tony Robinson.
Participants will enjoy open-air as well as studio-based courses covering a wide variety of styles and media, while catering to varying levels of experience. Courses, from €250, run over two to five days.
Walking the Burren
Family-run Sheedy's Hotel & Restaurant in Lisdoonvarna will be offering their Walking Break stays when they re-open on July 30. Set in the magnificent Burren region, walks promise to provide attendees with wide open spaces, green roads and incredible coastal views.
The Walking Break is a two night package with accommodation in a Classic Room, freshly brewed tea and homemade scones upon arrival, a half-day walk with local expert and experienced guide Shane Connolly, packed lunch for the walk, dinner on one evening and a freshly cooked breakfast each morning. The rate is €250 per person sharing a twin or double room.
Culture in the city
To celebrate its re-opening Conrad Dublin is offering some great bespoke experiences including a Literary Tour where guests will get to experience the James Joyce Dublin Walking Tour, taking in important and sometimes quirky sights and locations from the literary master's astonishing oputpput.
The tour also includes a private Jameson Masters Whiskey tasting on return to the hotel on the Conrad Terrace. From €190 for two to include James Joyce Walking Tour and private Jameson Masters Whiskey Tasting.
Hosting one- and two-day courses, and a five-day Master Class, Dunbrody Cookery School at the classically Georgian Dunbrody House is a versatile destinations for accomplished cooks looking to improve and specialise, as well as noodling novices wishing to get a handle on the fundamentals.
Chef-instructors Kevin Dundon and Julien Clemot will lead guests through both fun-filled and food-filled days where demonstration and hands-on tuition fuse seamlessly, meaning that attendees will learn practically and hopefully be able to easily reproduce dishes at home. Plus, there's always plenty of tasting too so don't forget to bring your appetite. A one day course is €175, with accommodation priced separately. Maximum class size is ten.
A small island, it is not surprising that Ireland has a league of options when it comes to sea kayaking. Around ten kilometres from the marvellous Cliffs of Moher, in Co Clare, North Clare Sea Kayaking offers one of the best experiences. There are a number of options on offer – from splashing about in the wildlife rich Ballyvaughan Bay, to following guided tours out to the abandoned Mutton Island.
And then there's the sunset paddle (availabloe until July 31) that begins around an hour before darkness falls and offers a chance to experience the unique scenic beauty of the Aran Islands through the prism, if you're lucky enough, of a setting sun. Luckier still are those who, at certain times of the year, get to experience the magic of the ocean's glowing bio-luminescence as the sun sets – a truly magical experience.
Half-day tours from €45; a plethora of accommodation options, from good value hostels like Aille River Hostel & Camping, to more luxurious hotels such as the acclaimed Gregans Castle Hotel, are available to book separately.
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