1. Try sea swimming at the Forty Foot, Dublin
Looking for a must-do Dublin experience? It's got to be the joys of a bracing swim and the local camaraderie of the Forty Foot swimming spot in Dublin. This historic bathing area used to be men-only, but in the 1970s a group of feminists protested the exclusion of women and children, and the rules were relaxed. Picture yourself floating in the salty waters enjoying stunning views of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Dublin Bay.
2. Soak up the atmosphere at a music gig
Nothing beats the electric energy of live music, especially in a unique setting. Slane Castle in County Meath has been home to the Conynghams since the 1700s but it’s also played host to some of the most legendary music acts in the world. Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Queen, The Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy, U2 and Metallica have all performed on these historic castle grounds. And each summer, more big names are added to the list. Love a music festival? Enjoy tunes by the ocean at Sea Sessions in County Donegal, or head to Ireland's Ancient East in County Laois for the Electric Picnic music and arts festival.
3. Relax and unwind in a seaweed bath
Marine cure therapy is one of Ireland’s most famous indigenous therapies and it's a real treat for the senses and the skin. Voya is responsible for bringing Irish seaweed to international attention with a cosmetics line and spa based in Strandhill, County Sligo. Built by the Walton family in place of the original Strandhill bath houses, this day spa attracts thousands of visitors every year. There are seaweed baths all over the island, including the Connemara Seaweed Baths in County Galway and the SOAK Seaweed Baths in Newcastle, County Down. So no matter where you go, you can experience this unique form of relaxation.
4. Visit a working sheep farm
If you’ve never had the chance to see a sheepdog at work, then you’re missing out! Animal enthusiasts will appreciate the natural beauty of the healthy, happy herds of sheep and culture seekers will get a thrill from seeing shepherds do what they do best. Check out Atlantic Sheepdogs in County Sligo, Irish Working Sheepdogs in County Kildare, and Glenshane Country Farm in County Tyrone.
5. Experience Halloween in Ireland
Trace Halloween right back to its origins and you’ll find yourself in the mists of pagan Ireland over 2,000 years ago — a time when the ancient festival of Samhain was celebrated in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East to mark the beginning of winter. The Púca Halloween Festival is a folklore-infused celebration of Ireland as the original birthplace of Halloween, filled to the brim with dazzling spectacles, music, harvest food and more. In Northern Ireland, Derry Halloween is a must-see. For over 35 years, this event has captured the imaginations of visitors to the famous Walled City, with several events celebrating the city’s unbridled creativity.
6. Attend a GAA match
It’s not just about the players on the field, it’s about the palpable passion of the people next to you in the stands and the county colours waving madly in the air – there's nothing like the community feel of an action-packed GAA match! The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) governs hurling, Gaelic football and Gaelic handball, and is celebrated as one of the great amateur sporting associations in the world. Championship games take place across the island and tickets are available from the GAA for most events, with discounts for young supporters and senior citizens. You can also get tickets to see the ladies in action at the camogie championships over at the LGFA or the Camogie Association.
7. Climb to the top of Croagh Patrick
In County Mayo, you'll find one of the most revered sites of St Patrick: the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick. This is where Patrick chose to complete his Lenten pilgrimage of 40 days and nights. Pilgrims and walkers alike take on the scree-covered slopes of this mountain – sometimes barefoot! To get to the top of the mountain, it's a climb of about two hours, but once there you'll be rewarded with incredible views over the heather-covered landscapes and the sparkling waters of Clew Bay.