Take the reins and feel the adrenalin rush through your veins on a horseback ride at Castle Leslie Equestrian Centre in County Monaghan in Ireland’s Ancient East. This Victorian gem is also home to 1,000 acres of lush countryside, dotted with woodlands and glittering lakes. Or how about some beach horse riding? Try trotting down one of County Donegal’s pristine beaches with Donegal Equestrian Centre. Or saddle up with Go Trekking in County Mayo, with a little bit of cantering along the deserted sands of the Mayo coastline.
We are an island, so we tend to do a lot of good things around the water… Kayak over the inky waters of Lough Hyne with Atlantic Sea Kayaking in West Cork: this night-time tour on Europe’s only inland salt water lake is home to thousands of bioluminescent plankton, which glow beneath the waters – an amazing sight that sets the lake alight. Prefer something a little less immersive? A cruise along the Fermanagh Lakelands lets you island-hop from a 12th century church on Lower Lough Erne’s White Island to a crumbling monastery on Devenish Island. Of course, if you prefer to jump right in, the glorious Antrim coast allows you to discover wreck-diving as part of the adventure.
Go beneath the earth and discover a wonderful subterranean world of hidden caves framed by stalagmites and stalactites. Take a guided boat ride through the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark spanning counties Fermanagh and Cavan, and you’ll find yourself in the midst of 650 million years of history, where limestone tunnels give way to cascades of creamy calcite-coated walls and shimmering underworld rivers. It’s truly an experience of a lifetime!
Commuters, history buffs and view-seekers can find a railway journey to suit their needs on the island of Ireland. And even short hops can be memorable ones. Soak up the majestic beauty of the Causeway Coastal Route on the Derry~Londonderry to Coleraine route – once described as “one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world” by Michael Palin. Dublin’s transit suburban rail (DART) hugs the horse-shoe shaped coastline from north to south of the county and offers vast panoramas of Dublin Bay, and the Cork city to Cobh town train journey serves up lovely views of the Belvelly channel and across the Atlantic Ocean.
Hop on board the cable car to Cork’s Dursey Island, and this steel capsule will haul you 250m across the Atlantic Ocean below, not to mention stunning views of the Beara Peninsula. Don’t be surprised to find hay sticking out of your seat – this contraption is used for islanders, visitors and even dogs and sheep, to save islanders the hazardous trip across the sound. And when you arrive, be sure to check out the ruins of a church, which are said to have been founded by monks from Skellig Michael, a Napoleonic-era old signal tower, and a castle built by O’Sullivan Beara; the last great chieftain of West Cork and the south Kerry area.