Jillian Bolger explores the great outdoors for adventures that will cater to the adrenaline junkies in us.
1.Horse trekking in Connemara
Whether you dream of saddling up in the wild West or taking your own steed on a little holiday, atmospheric Renvyle House is the perfect setting for an equestrian adventure. The family-owned four-star country house hotel on the Atlantic’s edge offers a Bring Your Own Horse Escape, while Connemara Equestrian Escapes can also hire out horses. With 150 acres to explore, you’re guaranteed striking terrain for treks along the Wild Atlantic Way,
Omey Island and around the Renvyle Peninsula. Factor in excellent food, a warm welcome and choice of leisure facilities on the grounds, including canoeing on a private lake, and you have an adventure getaway you’ll never forget.
BOOK IT Two nights bed and breakfast; two dinners; stable, feed and bedding for your horse, including all mucking out and feeding; and three escorted rides, from €375pps. Connemara Ponies can be hired for €60 per day, renvyle.com.
2. Kayaking in Waterford
From the mighty Blackwater to the scenic coastline, Waterford offers up thrilling kayaking opportunities, from rivers to the ocean. If you fancy a dash of adrenaline with a whole lot of luxury, how about basing yourselves in The Cliff House Hotel, a boutique cliff-top hideaway with a Michelin-star restaurant and dreamy spa? Work up an appetite for Martijn Kajuiter’s sublime cooking with a three- or six-hour kayaking session on the Blackwater, enjoying the wildlife, scenery and impressive houses along the banks. By night, sign up for a moonlight paddle in Ardmore Bay. We’re not talking rolled-up trouser legs, we mean kayaking by the light of the moon experiencing the sheer tranquility and phosphorescence in the water. The ultimate romantic adventure.
BOOK IT One night bed and breakfast for two in a deluxe sea view room, from €395-€520. Moonlight Paddle, €45; Blackwater Kayaking,
from €50, thecliffhousehotel.com.
3. Mountain biking in Ballyhoura
If you’ve never experienced the thrill of speeding down a mountain on two wheels, you don’t know what you’re missing. You don’t need to be a hipster millennial to enjoy mountain biking, nor do you need to be trussed up in Lycra. The best spot for everyone, from novices to pros, is beautiful Ballyhoura, a mountainous region between Cork and Limerick with the largest network of trails in the country. From a moderate 6km loop to a demanding 51km, you can burn as many calories as you wish, on your own bike or a hired one. Finish the day in swanky Longueville House, a legendary country house just 30 minutes away, famed for its luxurious interior, field-to-fork ethics and exquisite cooking.
BOOK IT Two nights bed and breakfast, a seven-course tasting menu and afternoon tea for two, €476pps, longuevillehouse.ie. Bike hire from €35 at trailriders.ie. See also visitballyhoura.com.
This article originally appeared in the June issue of IMAGE magazine, on shelves nationwide now.