Lest you think a visit to Dublin is all about gentle strolls past Georgian buildings or quiet pints in relaxed pubs, we’ve been looking at the range of activities out there for those who would like to get off the beaten track, up the mountains, under the waves, or even airborne on their visit to Dublin.
If you cannot decide on just one adrenaline-pumping experience, visit a high-octane centre such as the Adventure Activity Centre in Courtlough, 35 minutes drive from Dublin city centre off exit 5 on the M1. With a high ropes course, aerial trekking obstacles, climbing walls, zip lines, abseiling, and archery on the menu, you can also try off-road buggies, paintball, clay-pigeon and target shooting. Sample a little of almost everything with the 4-hour Adrenaline Package.
In Dublin, you can scale rocks of the natural and indoor varieties. Gravity Climbing Centre near Dublin city centre has an excellent bouldering wall and offers a range of indoor rock climbing to suit all levels of experience. Beginners’ rock climbing sessions are available.
For outdoor rock climbing, go to the disused quarry in Dalkey, around 13 km south of Dublin city centre. Considered one of Ireland’s best sites for rock climbing, the quarry offers 300 climbing routes, as listed by the Irish Mountaineering Club.
With its coastal setting, it’s hardly surprising that Dublin has a thriving water sports culture. Even in the 1800s, when the 40th Infantry Soldiers gave their name to a famous sea-swimming spot in Dun Laoghaire (the 40 Foot), Dubliners had a great affinity with the sea. With its ideal combination of wind and waves, Dublin Bay makes the perfect location for windsurfing. If you’re a novice you can get the hang of it on calm water before you take the plunge. You can also try kitesurfing, surfing, sea swimming, kayaking, and diving. The diving season runs from early April to mid October.
If you’d like to see what Dublin looks like from above, have a go at paragliding in the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains. Of the most popular training sites for prospective paragliders in Ireland, two are easily accessed from Dublin. Black Hill is east of the Blessington Reservoir near Lacken village, County Wicklow, and Lough Bray is also in Wicklow, at the top of the Glencree Valley.
Take to two wheels on the new 8km network of single-track trails and forest roads specifically for mountain bikes in in Ticknock Forest near Sandyford, Dublin. Ticknock Mountain Bike Trail is a way-marked circular route that takes you through wonderful forests and heathland with stunning views over Dublin City and Bay and the Wicklow Mountains beyond.
If speed is your stimulant of choice, try karting at Ireland’s largest indoor karting arena. Kylemore Karting in the Dublin suburb of Santry offers three indoor 360m tracks with flyovers, underpasses, hills and banked corners.
Guest post by: Aoife O’Carroll