Ireland from the water
Pounding ocean waves, fresh waters and adventures along tranquil lakes – the island of Ireland isn’t short on water-based fun!
Game of Thrones® fans can immerse themselves in the epic saga with a bracing swim around Ballintoy Harbour – otherwise known as the Iron Islands. Warm up afterwards with a bowl of Strangford mussels at The Fullerton Arms.
There are fantastic kayaking adventures all over the island of Ireland, but if you fancy exploring the open ocean around County Mayo’s Achill Island, then try a guided kayaking adventure with Achill Surf. The route takes you from Golden Strand to Silver Strand across the aquamarine waters of Keem Strand, and it’s a gorgeous way to see the coastline of this cinematic island.
Ready to hit the waves? Surfers should head straight to Bundoran in County Donegal – a waterside haven known fondly as Ireland’s surf capital. Wild swimming is very popular in Ireland through the summer, so why not take the plunge somewhere memorable, such as the stunning glacial fjord of Carlingford Lough in County Louth. Be sure to refuel and soak up the history of medieval Carlingford town afterwards, where cosy pubs and historic trails await.
Explore Northern Ireland
Over 100 years ago, engineers created The Gobbins in County Antrim – a dramatic cliff-face path that brings you over inlets, around headlands and through tubular bridges. And who could resist the allure of the mystical Giant’s Causeway? This spectacular formation of hexagonal basalt columns is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for good reason.
For a taste of wild island life, hop on the ferry to Rathlin Island and enjoy a guided walking tour. Fancy spotting some gorgeous puffins? Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre is home to Northern Ireland’s largest colony of seabirds.
A very different experience awaits in County Fermanagh, where the land and waterscapes are tranquil rather than wild. But the county does have a wild moment or two, as you’ll discover at the Marble Arch Caves, a subterranean warren of waterfalls, rivers and chambers.
Those who love walking will find much to enjoy at Castlewellan Forest Park in County Down, which offers lakeside walks, cycling trails and outstanding views of the Mourne Mountains. Hikers should head to the Sperrin Mountains, Northern Ireland’s longest mountain range with a great selection of walking trails for all experience levels. Prefer to sit back and take it all in? The Sperrins has been featured by National Geographic as one of the world's 101 scenic drives not to miss, thanks to its winding roads and striking views. So either way, you're in for a treat!
The Galway International Arts Festival rolls into town in July, turning the “City of Tribes” into a festival mecca for two weeks. With 200-plus shows in more than 25 locations, Galway becomes one massive party with music events, theatre, talks, performances and outdoor extravaganzas in store.
There’s a totally different – but no less fun – vibe over in Northern Ireland’s Walled City, where the Foyle Maritime Festival welcomes ashore sailors who are taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Expect spectacular firework displays, water activities, delicious food and live performances.
And finally, if you love traditional music, then hotfoot it up to Belfast where the Belfast TradFest sees world-class musicians bring the city to life for seven days of concerts, sessions, céilís (dances) and music masterclasses.
July travel tips
Weather on the island of Ireland in July is mostly sunny with some clouds and lovely long evenings. The temperature ranges from 10° to 17°, with a good amount of warm sunshine throughout the day.
Be aware that temperatures can be much higher if a summer heat wave makes an appearance! So as usual, it’s best to pack for all weather, from shorts and t-shirts to raincoats and warmer layers.
Whatever the weather, it’s the perfect month to embark on an epic road trip or get close to nature with a fabulous glamping experience. Who could resist falling asleep under a twinkling night sky in a cosy bubble dome?
For more tips and advice, check out our Ireland travel checklist. After that, all that's left to do is to book the summer trip of your dreams...