5 Things to Do in Ireland

5 Things to Do in Ireland
Outdoor enthusiasts will be in heaven upon arriving in Ireland. There is no shortage of outdoor activities to keep you entertained as you travel from one end of the country to the other. Spend the day hiking through bog fields and heather. Relax over a pint of Guinness and a home-cooked meal in a local pub. Thankfully, most of Ireland remains untouched by development and offers dramatic coastline, national parks and rugged wilderness.

Surf the West Coast of Ireland

Surfing may not be the first thing you associate with Ireland, but the West Coast of Ireland offers some of the best surf breaks in Europe. Although the water can be chilly, the combination of dramatic coastline and uncrowded beaches make this a wonderful place to surf. Most of the action can be found in County Sligo, Mayo and Donegal. In Donegal, head to Rossnowlag, Bundoran and Dungloe. The surf is typically "up" in Strandhill and Easky in County Silgo and Achill Island in County Mayo. In all of these locations, you will find surf schools offering lessons and equipment rental. The best times for surfing are September (when the water is the warmest) and October. More information can be found online at www.surfingireland.com.

Bike in Connemara

The magical and relatively unknown area of Connemara--west of Galway--is a great biking destination. With a pub and a bed and breakfast located around every corner, it's very easy to meander from one place to another. The terrain is relatively flat, and your route will take you through the colorful villages of Clifden and Roundstone. You'll go past historic monuments such as Kylemore Abbey and around the famous Killary Harbor.

Fish the River Shannon

With over 7,000 miles of riverbank and 3,000 miles of coastline, fishing is a popular pastime in Ireland. This small country has some of the most lightly fished fresh waters in Europe. Choose from coarse fishing, sea fishing, pike fishing, trout fly fishing and sea trout fishing. The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland and offers some of the country's best fishing.

Hike in County Kerry

Rolling green hills, rocky mountains, national parks and miles of coastline makes County Kerry a hiker's paradise. Killarney National Park--located in Killarney--offers leisurely strolls through woodland or more challenging mountain ascents such as Torrc Mountain. The trail will take you past a waterfall and then continue up to the summit where you will have sweeping views over Killarney. Another option is to hike the Old Kenmare Road from Killarney to Kenmare. If you are looking for something more difficult then consider climbing Mount Carrantuohil (Ireland's highest peak) or Mount Brandon.

If time is no object, then hike The Kerry Way. It's the longest long distance path in Ireland, and it incorporates some of Ireland's most dramatic scenery. This route takes about ten days; it starts and ends in Killarney . More information can be found online at www.walkireland.ie.

Golfing in County Kerry

Ireland offers some of the best golf courses in the world. Out of an estimated 150 top-quality links courses in the world, 39 of them are situated in Ireland. Not surprisingly, these courses are located in some of the most scenic parts of the country where golfers can enjoy unparalleled views across craggy mountains and beautiful coastline. The challenging natural terrain and unpredictable weather adds to the excitement. Famous courses include Ballybunion in County Kerry where President Bill Clinton chose to play golf during his 1999 trip to Ireland. The views from the Old Head Golf Links in Kinsale and Killarney Golf and Fishing Club are perhaps the best in the country. More information can be found online at the Golfing Union of Ireland at www.gui.ie.

Article Written By Alexandra Pallut

Alexandra Pallut is a travel, health and fitness writer based in Steamboat Springs, Colo. She has been writing her way around the world since 2008 and currently works with Ruba.com. Pallut graduated with a degree in English literature and French language from Lancaster University in Great Britain.

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