Weird and Random Summer Activities on The Cheap
Summer is almost upon us, schools are out soon, exams are starting. The sun is shining (for what could be the first time in two years!) and everyone is ready to take a little time off to relax.
By Ruth Kelly
As much as we all look forward to summer, it can be long, and it is easy to run out of things to do. Here are some ideas to get you off the couch and away from the TV.
Have a car picnic – We all know how it goes, you start out really optimistic with plans of having a scenic picnic overlooking a stream or in a pretty forest somewhere. But by the time you are ready to eat there’s a sudden monsoon that doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop any time soon. Car picnics are a good way to deal with the constantly changing Irish weather – they’re cheap, quick and easy and you can blast the stereo the whole way without any complaints (or at least not too many).
Go to a food festival – Who doesn’t love to spend an entire day eating? And not only eating, but eating various types of cuisine? If the smell of barbeque isn’t enough to get you excited then the atmosphere will. Food festivals are loads of fun and they are usually jam-packed with all types of people – families, teenagers, grand-parents, people trying to get away from their families, the works.
A good example is the Westport Food Festival in June. There are some free activites and some you have to pay for. They include Foody Tours, Bike Buffet, Kids’ Pizza-Making, and Mushroom Foraging. Other events over the weekend include live demonstrations from a host of top chefs, bakers and mixologists as well as the exciting Sunday night event called Secret Supper. We have no choice but to stuff our faces.
Take a bike ride – Even for the least athletic person, this is a fun way to spend the day. A suggestion could be going somewhere wildly scenic that’s still on the cheap.
Dún Aonghasa is an ancient fort located on top of a cliff on Inis Mór. A good way to spend the day is to get the ferry from Galway to the island and rent a bicycle.
The trip to Dún Aonghasa itself is full of hills. Going uphill is a struggle, but you forget all of that when you’re flying back down. If that isn’t enough, when you finally get to the top of the cliff the view is breathtakingly beautiful. And it won’t savage your wallet.
Check out this YouTube clip of people enjoying a bike tour around the island.
Spend the day at the beach – This one might seem obvious but some people can go a whole year without having set foot on a beach in Ireland. And this is even when the beach is just a five-minute drive from their house! The beaches are usually plagued with people on the two nice days that we get a year but it doesn’t have to be 25o for you to have a nice time on the beach. As long as you’re with people you have fun with and you can bear the icy waters, you can’t really go wrong.
But if you are not happy to just hang around on a beach, there’s things to see once you get there. Take for example, the Duncannon Sand Sculpting Festival. It has been held in Wexford for 25 years. It is a family event where both amateur and professional sculptures appear from out of the sand and into life. As well as fantastic sand sculptures, the festival also provides food, music and a firework display over the bay.
Visit some free museums – If you’re looking for something to do on a rainy day and you’ve already seen every new film in the cinema, then perhaps a trip to the museum is on order. There are many different types of museums that you can gain access to for free and it is a very interesting, educational way to spend a few hours.
The National Museum of Ireland recently opened a new exhibit called “Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising.” This exhibit follows the events of the Easter Rising.
But there are also some weird ones: Like the Cork Butter Museum. Yes, you read that right. And there’s more weird ones out there… all you have to do is google and google and google.
Go to a festival – Ireland is rich in culture and festivals are the perfect demonstration of this. There are countless types of festivals all over the country. Events like these are full of music, food, art and random activities. They are lively and a great place to hang out or meet people. For example, the Galway International Arts Festival has been taking place in Galway for over 35 years and is Ireland’s largest annual arts festival. Artists from around the world come to perform during the 13 day festival.
Watch the street performers – Many of the big cities in Ireland are known for the street performers that entertain the crowds in the city centre. Most people take these performers for granted and walk right past without even glancing in their direction, but, if you’re looking for something to do, perhaps stay and watch for a while. After all, we all probably walked past Ed Sheeran a couple of times when he was busking on Shop Street in Galway. Yep the guy busked in Galway before he was a “thing.” (Fast forward to 2:23 to see him at it with his guitar.)
Don’t miss your chance, there are still potential “things” going on in Shop Street.
Visit the geographic and historic sites – Ireland is full of beautifully scenic and fascinatingly interesting sites but Irish people haven’t visited the majority of these sites. We fly all across the world but we don’t have enough time to visit the sites just down the road. Millions of people come to Ireland every year to visit to see these wonders so there must be something interesting about them, right?
Get out there people, and if it is raining, don’t forget your thermos hotdogs!
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