Go to a festival
Mad about music? Fanatical about food? Crazy for culture? Ireland has a plethora of festivals livening up the streets year round – but when the sun comes out, we take full advantage! From the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival (Sligo) and the Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival (Donegal), to eccentric Dalriada (Antrim) and the Ballymaloe Litfest of Food and Wine (Cork), we simply love to celebrate just about anything. Don’t believe us? Check out Puck Fair, where we crown a goat king of a village (seriously)!
Take a road trip
The beauty of any trip to Ireland is the sheer variety packed into this tiny green dot in the Atlantic! Perhaps the best way to see as much as possible is by renting a car and going your own way: take in the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge on the Causeway Coastal Route; fall in love with 5,000 years of history among the castles and characters of Ireland’s Ancient East; or explore all 2,500km of the world’s longest defined coastal touring route on the Wild Atlantic Way. Trust us: the welcoming smiles of the locals make every village feel like you’re coming home.
Across the island, caravan parks and glamping hubs are hugely popular. As well as being convenient, they offer a happy middle ground between having a roof over your head and pitching a canvas on sticks. There’s nothing quite like waking up on a mountainside with little but a sleeping bag and a zip between you and the open air! For those less enamoured by being at one with nature, check out the Bubble Domes at Finn Lough in County Fermanagh: all the beauty, with none of the bugs!
Embrace the surf
Without a doubt, the waves of the west coast put the “wild” in Wild Atlantic Way! The special stretch reaching from Donegal Town down through Sligo and to County Mayo beyond, is known as the Surf Coast – and it’s the stuff of dreams for those addicted to the froth and foam of a day spent on the water. Further away, the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare; East Strand, Portrush, County Antrim; or Brittas Bay in County Wicklow are all thrill-filled spots for brave adventurers. Check out one of the many surf schools for the best local tips.
From saintly Boa and Devenish to rugged Rathlin and the movie star Skelligs, Ireland’s islands are like nowhere else on earth – and summertime creates the perfect conditions for hopping in a boat and bobbing across the waves to visit. Walk along trails hewn by long-departed Blasket Islanders, check out modern island life amidst the dry-stone walls of the lively Aran Islands, or take a trip in Ireland’s only cable car across the water to Dursey Island off the coast of County Cork.
Go horseracing on the beach
Popular in many locations across the island, racing on the flat, golden strands along our coast has been a fun family tradition for generations. Carrowniskey in County Mayo has seen a resurgence in interest after 28 years without a race, so expect something truly special; while the Laytown Races in County Meath are perhaps the most famous and beloved, having hosted pounding hooves and high-spirited visitors since 1868!