Written by Isabel Clift
Calling all daredevils! Want to duck and dive your way around Ireland’s most beautiful scenery, and work off a few pints of Guinness in the process? Then follow our steps for ten adrenaline-pumping things to do in Ireland – from Lord of the Rings-style clifftop quests to shipwreck dives…
1. Cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge
On Northern Ireland’s stunning Antrim coastline, the swinging rope bridge is the only way to get on and off beautiful Carrick. More info here.
2. Scale the Giant’s Causeway
Hop, scramble and jump your way across the stacked polygonal columns that make up the famed Giant’s Causeway on the Antrim coast – but keep your wits about you, the climb turns out to be a real work-out.
Created by volcanic eruption 60 million years ago (or was it giant Finn McCool, as the legend has it?), the Causeway is Northern Ireland’s most breath-taking – and breath-making – sight.
3. Shipwreck dives
Divers can visit sunken U-boats, Spanish Armada wrecks and even Viking vessels on the Irish sea floor. Easiest to dive to is UC-42 off Roaches Point, Co. Cork, a First World War wreck with mines and (some say) human bones still visible.
Find out more about shipwreck diving in Ireland here.
4. Cliff-top climbs
Ireland’s craggy, rugged coastline makes for a wild journey for thrill-seeking hikers – those sheer drops! Those high winds and crashing waves! Strap your toughest walkers’ boots on and make for Malin Head or the Cliffs of Moher for Lord of the Rings-style cliff-top quests.
Surf is excellent in the south, west and north of Ireland, as massive waves from the Atlantic pick up speed and crash against the ragged coastline. Donegal is an especially sweet spot for surfers, with great breaks to the north at Inishowen and Fanad Head.
Get more surfing in Ireland info here.
Ireland’s like a block of Swiss cheese, riddled as it is with great big caves. Two of the best to explore are Doolin Cave (Co. Clare), home to the largest free-hanging stalactite in the world and Dunmore Cave (Kilkenny), which is still scattered with artefacts from a 10th-century Viking massacre.
Feel wind in your hair and surf-spray well, all over with a wake-me-up wakeboarding session on one of Ireland’s lakes or rivers. Professional wakeboarders’ centres are run from the Craigavon Lakes in County Armagh, Lough Muckno in County Monaghan and Farran Forest Park, Parknasilla in the Ring of Kerry.
8. Be king of the castle
Nothing makes you feel more on top of the world than surveying your kingdom – ahem, we mean the countryside – from the turret of a castle. Ireland is chock full of these ancient temples to machismo: strut your stuff at Rock of Cashel in Munster or the massive Cahir Castle in south Tipperary.
See a full list of castles in Ireland here.
9. Sea kayaking and canoeing
Canoeists with nerves of steel are well-served with winter slalom and white water racing on the Liffey, the Lagan, the Barrow and the Nore. You can also go sea kayaking along the Atlantic coast in Galway, Clare and Cork.
Get more info on sea kayaking in Ireland here.
10. Mountain biking
Plenty of steep inclines, wind-on-your-cheeks descents and sheep to dodge along Ireland’s beautiful mountain biking trails: try the Derroura, Ballyhoura or Ballinastoe trails to test your biking mettle.
Click here for more info on mountain biking in Ireland.
Looking for more fun stuff to do in Ireland? See here:
- 10 Unusual Places to Drink Guinness in Ireland
- The Best Festivals in Ireland
- 14 Places to Fall in Love with Ireland