Outsider Magazine http://outsider.ie Ireland's adventure magazine Mon, 21 May 2018 16:26:03 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.6 134518034 5 Great Places to Get Your Stand up Paddle Boarding Fix in Dublin http://outsider.ie/ireland/paddle-boarding/ http://outsider.ie/ireland/paddle-boarding/#respond Mon, 21 May 2018 14:12:27 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14333 Stand up paddle boarding is great for balance, strength and simply for getting out and rinsing your thoughts. So grab your board and get to the closest spot!  You don’t actually have to get far out of the big smoke to experience quality stand up paddle boarding. In fact, Dublin is a great place to […]

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Stand up paddle boarding is great for balance, strength and simply for getting out and rinsing your thoughts. So grab your board and get to the closest spot! 

You don’t actually have to get far out of the big smoke to experience quality stand up paddle boarding. In fact, Dublin is a great place to get out on the water and we’ve listed our five best local options for some SUP adventuring. Most of the time the only thing you need to bring with you (if you don’t have your own gear) is a towel and the expectation of getting wet!

PS. If you’re looking to get out and watch some cracking SUP:ing in action before getting out yourself, Battle For The Bay is an annual watersports festival coming up on Dollymount Beach in Clontarf on Saturday 26 May and Sunday 27 May. 

1. Grand Canal Dock

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Only a short stroll from Dublin’s city centre is Surfdock, right in the middle of Grand Canal Dock in Ringsend. This is a good place to start off your SUP:ing adventures, as the waters are flat, you’ll be close to land and there are plenty of instructed classes available.

They also provide wave classes, if you want to prepare for livelier seas. And if you’re looking for some fusion, Surfdock offers SUP yoga as well – where you carry out a full yoga class on your board, on the water.

A bonus is the nice selection of cafés and restaurants around the Docklands – perfect for soaking up some rays after getting your wetsuit off on a sunny day.

More info: Surfdock

2. Dun Laoghaire

This is not only a great spot for water sports (read: all types of water sports) but also for SUP:ing. Only a short train ride away from the heart of Dublin, you can get off at Dun Laoghaire and you’ll enter the water sports mecca of Co Dublin. With beautiful coastal scenery, this is the perfect place for getting into or just enjoying SUP:ing no matter your former experience.

Big Style has a SUP school in the Dun Laoghaire harbour, where they’ll provide you with the right support – whether you’re an experienced water dweller or an exploring landlubber. They’re located at the slipway to the Coal Harbour, which is also a good spot to paddle in wind sheltered waters.

Above Board is another superb SUP class- and rental provider and their office is located on the West Pier. They do excursions as well, which will take you on tours along the likes of The Grand- and the Royal Canal.

If you’re already an amateur pro, there is also the option of just renting a board and go out to explore the coastline yourself.

More info: Big Style, Above Board

Stand Up Paddle Boarding: 10 of the Best Spots to SUP in Ireland

3. Dollymount Beach

Pure Magic are experts in water sports, and with SUP:ing no exception. They are located on the shores of Bull Island, on the Dollymount Beach, along the Clontarf and Howth coastline. This is a great place for learning, doing and watching skilled SUP:ers. Pure Magic offers classes on three different levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

It could be a good idea to take a wave class ahead of putting your board down in these waters, if so far you’ve only been familiarised with flat waters.

Don’t miss out on Battle For The Bay 26-17 May, for some high-quality SUP competing – on both pro- and beginner’s level!

More info: Pure Magic

4. Bray

On the border of Co Dublin and Co Wicklow’s seafront is Bray Adventures, a great place for exploring the surroundings from the sea-side of things. For the newer paddle boarder, Bray Harbour is a calm and sheltered place for learning, and for the more experienced supper, you can leave the harbour and head for the strand.

A big bonus is knowing that there is a big chance of spotting different types of wildlife, like seabirds, seals and even the occasional dolphin.

More info: Bray Adventures 

5. Skerries

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This place is well-known for all of its water sports: sailing to kitesurfing to stand up paddleboarding. Just head north of Dublin, following the coastline, and you’ll find your way to Outdoor Dublin – right on the pier of Skerries. They are an approved SUP school surrounded by beaches, and with a pier that’s facing the west, which makes for beautiful sunset paddles.

They provide different level classes, equipment and tours.

More info: Outdoor Dublin

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By Elsa Anderling

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Watch: Sam Bennett’s Mid-Race Wheelie in the Giro d’Italia http://outsider.ie/latest/sam-bennett-wheelie-giro-ditalia/ http://outsider.ie/latest/sam-bennett-wheelie-giro-ditalia/#respond Mon, 21 May 2018 09:51:25 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14350 Carrick-on-Suir native Sam Bennett is having an incredible Giro d’Italia. With two stage wins already under his belt, he is really the one to watch. He decided to have a bit of fun on yesterday’s stage! The Bora-Hangrohe’s Irish sprinter Sam Bennett is a real crowd pleaser! Between his entertaining tweets and his race shenanigans, […]

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Carrick-on-Suir native Sam Bennett is having an incredible Giro d’Italia. With two stage wins already under his belt, he is really the one to watch. He decided to have a bit of fun on yesterday’s stage!

The Bora-Hangrohe’s Irish sprinter Sam Bennett is a real crowd pleaser! Between his entertaining tweets and his race shenanigans, we are big fans! Yesterday’s stunt was our favourite yet when he proceeded to wheelie up Monte Zoncolan even though he was at the very back of the race!

Watch the video here:

On Thursday, Sam powered to victory on Stage 12 of the Giro to claim his second stage win. On Friday 11 May he won his first stage, breaking our long, long Giro drought. The last time an Irishman won one was in 1987.

The 27-year old hasn’t come completely out of the blue, however, Sam has won 22 other pro races in his career.

Keep doing what you are doing Sam! All of Ireland is behind you!

Take a look at the links below:

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Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro: Everything You Need to Know http://outsider.ie/travel/mount-kilimanjaro/ http://outsider.ie/travel/mount-kilimanjaro/#respond Mon, 21 May 2018 08:38:07 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14334 Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one of those bucket list adventures that many of us intrepid souls daydream about. If you are thinking about doing it, have a read of this handy guide first. Mount Kilimanjaro or Kili as it’s more affectionately known is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth. […]

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Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is one of those bucket list adventures that many of us intrepid souls daydream about. If you are thinking about doing it, have a read of this handy guide first.

Mount Kilimanjaro or Kili as it’s more affectionately known is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain on earth. This towering snow-cap stands at 5,895 m and is located inside the Kilimanjaro National Park of Tanzania. Itineraries range from one to two weeks, made up of five to 14 hours of hiking a day. If you are considering ticking this peak off of your bucket list, have a read of this first.

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
Image: Tom Cleary

Kilimanjaro Routes

There are seven established routes up Mount Kilimanjaro. When choosing a route, there are a few options to weigh up. This includes distances, trekking costs, success rates and best possible summit prospects.

The Marangu Route: One of the most popular routes as it is thought to be the easiest. It can be hiked in five days which makes it the cheapest option. There is also A-frame huts along this route that you can stay in. But beware it also has one of the lowest summit success rates of all the routes up the mountain.

15 of the Best Running & Hiking Events in Ireland 

The Machame Route: is another popular option and it has a higher success rate. The only issue on this route to be wary of is that the area just before the Shira ridge and the Barranco Wall are both physically demanding. As the route with the highest success rate, you’ll also encounter heavy traffic.

The Umbwe Route: is one of the shortest routes to the Southern Glaciers and the Western Breach. It is probably one of the most scenic, non-technical routes on Kilimanjaro. Plus there are caves along it to explore!

The Shira Route: If you have the cash and the weather conditions are right, you can drive by four-wheel drive to within a half hour walk of Shira Hut at 4000m.

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
Image: Tom Cleary

The Lemosho Route: One of the quieter routes up Kilimanjaro,  however, it does eventually combine with the busier Machame route. It is also inaccessible during the wet season.

The Rongai Route: Another quiet route up the mountain. However, it takes a while to get to the starting point of the route and it eventually connects with the busier Marangu route.

The Northern Circuit: This is where the northern side of Kilimanjaro connects with the western side.

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro
Image Tom Cleary

The best time to go

Doing a climb like this is going to consume your life for at least a year, so make sure you pick the right time to go. The wettest months on Kilimanjaro are March, April and May. November and December have the shortest rain seasons. January and February are the warmest months and June and July are the coolest months.

How to get there

Fly into Kilimanjaro international airport. Most guiding companies start there climbs from Moshi or Arusha town, which is about 45 km from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

6 Things to Know Before Climbing Aconcagua

Advice for the mountain

  • Go slow and allow your body to acclimatize.
  • Hydrate! You need to be drinking at least 3 – 4 litres of liquid a day.
  • Walk high and sleep low.
  • Pack as light as possible and prepared for rain.
  • Wear the correct clothing (the average temp at basecamp is 27°C to 32°C. At the summit, nighttime temperatures can be as low as -26°C).
  • Bring hiking poles.
  • Be aware and do your homework on signs and symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
  • Take preventative medication for Malaria.
  • Most importantly, enjoy the adventure!

Irish Providers

Earth’s Edge, Pat Falvey, Focus Ireland

Take a look at the links below:

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How Does Exercise Affect Your Sex Life? http://outsider.ie/lifestyle/exercise-sex-life/ http://outsider.ie/lifestyle/exercise-sex-life/#respond Fri, 18 May 2018 13:22:31 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14273 Exercising has got a tonne of benefits: it increases energy levels, reduces the risk of chronic diseases and is used as a treatment for mental health challenges. But what does exercising actually do for your sex life? You’ve likely heard that there is a lot to gain by exercising. For one, studies have shown that […]

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Exercising has got a tonne of benefits: it increases energy levels, reduces the risk of chronic diseases and is used as a treatment for mental health challenges. But what does exercising actually do for your sex life?

You’ve likely heard that there is a lot to gain by exercising. For one, studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. But how about your sex life, how can that be affected by exercise?

We talked to Teresa Bergin, clinical sex- and psychotherapist, to get some clarity in how staying active can affect your experiences in the bedroom. Teresa is working as a clinical practitioner and has two private practices in Dublin, where she’s counselling individuals and couples daily.

According to her, staying active brings with it a range of benefits for your love life. One of the main benefits for men is the effect it has on the cardiovascular system.

Erectile dysfunction is a common issue for men over the age of 40. By exercising regularly, you help to keep your cardiovascular system (your heart and arteries) in check, which makes it significantly less likely to develop erectile difficulties. “The benefits of exercise for men are really important in that regard,” Teresa said.

How Does Exercising Affect Your Sex Life

For women, there are benefits to staying fit as well. Studies have shown that women taking anti-depressants (that can impair sexual arousal) can increase their genital arousal by working out regularly. This has to do with the fact that exercise works as a natural anti-depressant, without the inconvenient side-effects.

And for the ones who aren’t experiencing any issues with the arousal part, things might just get even better after a workout session:

“If you get an increased blood flow to the vulva region, you’re going to experience better orgasms. That’s also related to pelvic floor health, so the stronger your pelvic floor is, the better your sexual satisfaction will be.”

Weights vs Cardio for Weight Loss – Which is More Effective?

Exercising seems to be able to boost your sex life in various ways, regardless of your gender: “I would recommend exercise to all my clients. In fact, I would recommend it to everyone.”

“Training reduces anxiety and depression, which makes us feel better in ourselves. If you’re stress- and anxiety free, you’ll be more relaxed, in a better mood and therefore more open to having sex,” Teresa explained. “There’s a really positive knock-on effect from exercise.”

How Does Exercising Affect Your Sex Life

But according to Teresa, it’s not as simple as saying that ‘if you exercise, your sex life will get better’. “Sexuality is a complex issue, there are lots and lots of other variables,” she said, continuing: “It will have a benefit, but it’s not a magic bullet”.

Teresa also mentioned that the increase in your endorphin release, that you get from working out, will work its magic with the natural anti-depressant features that it holds – which are simply making you feel happier. She then circled back to what seems to be a keystone in the ‘exercise for a better sex life theory’, namely: feeling better, and more confident, about yourself:

“It’s a complicated relationship. If you exercise, you tend to feel better about your body, and that more positive body image would make it more likely that you’d want to be sexual.”

Is There a Risk of Over-Doing it?

On the downside, it seems that too much of the good stuff can cause a backlash:

“For people who exercise too strenuously, or overtrain, then the effect will be going in the opposite direction. If they’re too fatigued, then that is going to have a negative impact on energy and sexual desire,” Teresa said.

According to various studies, excessive training is also believed to impact men’s testosterone levels by making them drop, which could lead to poor muscle development, sleeping disorders and low libido.

Still Tired After 8 Hours of Sleep? This Might be Why

It might have the same effect on women as well, as training heavily can make your periods stop (among other things): “That’s mainly due to a drop in body rate, but there is a possibility that it has an effect on the sex-hormone oestrogen as well. So it could have a negative effect on your sex life in that regard,” Teresa explained.

“Essentially, if you’re over-training, and you’re very tired and all your time, energy and focus is going into that, it’s obviously going to reduce the energy you have for sex.”

It seems like the magic word here, ladies and gentlemen, is balance.

Like this? You should check these out:

By Elsa Anderling

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Sailors Rejoice as Irish Sailing Announce Plans for a Performance HQ http://outsider.ie/latest/irish-sailing-hq/ http://outsider.ie/latest/irish-sailing-hq/#respond Fri, 18 May 2018 08:41:12 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14316 In a huge step forward for sailing in Ireland, Irish Sailing has announced its plans for a new Performance Headquarters that will be based in Dun Laoghaire. The ambitious project will be funded entirely by the Irish Sailing Foundation and will be located on the grounds of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, Dun Laoghaire. The […]

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In a huge step forward for sailing in Ireland, Irish Sailing has announced its plans for a new Performance Headquarters that will be based in Dun Laoghaire.

The ambitious project will be funded entirely by the Irish Sailing Foundation and will be located on the grounds of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, Dun Laoghaire. The HQ will house the senior Irish sailing teams and aims to improve both training and educational opportunities for them.

It will be entirely mobile and will consist of three converted shipping containers which have space for briefings and athlete education, a gym, gear storage and a boat maintenance area. The athlete briefing room can then be shipped directly to international competitions such as the Olympics in Tokyo 2020 and provide a base for Irish athletes overseas. Outside there will be a boat park and a pontoon for launching the boats.

Irish Sailing HQ

President of Irish Sailing Jack Roy, says, “when philanthropic generosity is combined with a passion for Irish sporting success on the world stage we see results – in this instance a Performance HQ that will ensure a bright future for Irish Sailing.”

James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing Performance Director added, “lead by Rory Fitzpatrick our Head Coach, the impact of the new Irish Sailing Performance HQ cannot be underestimated. We will finally have a place we can call ‘home’.  The performance environment created will allow for consistent coaching, a base for equipment and our own direct access to the water which all adds up to give our athletes the best opportunities to reach their maximum potential”.

Subject to planning requirements, it is hoped that work will be completed by end of summer 2018.

Love adventure? Check out our other articles below:

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Claire McCluskey & Nick Russell: The Rookies Who Sailed the Atlantic http://outsider.ie/challenges/claire-mccluskey-sailed-atlantic/ http://outsider.ie/challenges/claire-mccluskey-sailed-atlantic/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 15:34:38 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14285 Think you are too late to the game to take up sailing? Think again! Claire McCluskey took up the sport in her late 20s and has now sailed across the Atlantic and back again. We’ve all had some mad notions while knee deep in pints in the local pub. Most of us wake up the […]

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Think you are too late to the game to take up sailing? Think again! Claire McCluskey took up the sport in her late 20s and has now sailed across the Atlantic and back again.

We’ve all had some mad notions while knee deep in pints in the local pub. Most of us wake up the next day, nursing the hangover either chuckling or cringing at the mad announcement of a grand adventure that we made to the entire room. Claire and her partner Nick Russell are not quite the same as the rest of us though, as in they follow through on the plans they concoct in bars. “It was, for the most part, a bit of a random one,” says Claire, “I had decided to move to New York for a year for work, but Nick wasn’t in a position to make the move with me. The prospect of spending time apart was a bit sad, so over a pint one evening I promised him that he could choose the next adventure”.

Nick chose sailing. So instead of doing something like buying a house, they bought a boat. In 2014, they purchased a 56’ wooden sailing ketch called Rogue Trader. In 2016, they set sail from Crosshaven, Co Cork to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. From there, they continued across the Atlantic Ocean to St Lucia in the Carribean, eventually making their way all the way back to Ireland via the Azores. A nine-month adventure that altered their lives forevermore.

Claire McCluskey and Nick Russell
Rogue Trader at anchor in Ireland

Hailing from the landlocked county of Monaghan, Claire McCluskey (29) was not exactly raised with the skills of the sea. “With the exception of a spin on the Irish Sea ferry, a Venetian gondola and the odd kayak, I had actually never been on a boat until 2013,” she says. When they came up with the idea to sail across the Atlantic, Claire checked herself into a few courses. She completed the Day Skipper certificate and a shore-based Yachtmaster navigation course with the INSS in Dun Laoghaire.

“I have a weirdly fond memory of sitting in the engine bay sitting in a puddle of diesel and working out from sketchy instructions how to bleed an engine, for the first time in my life.”

Not the kind of people to let a minor detail like a lack of sailing experience stop them, off they went into the sunset to begin their grand adventure. “Within a couple of hours of leaving Ireland, it was pitch black and two of our crew were hit hard with seasickness. Unfortunately, Nick, the skipper, was one of them. It was all up to me (with limited sailing experience but knowledge of the boat) and three guys we met online (experienced sailors but who weren’t familiar with Rogue Trader) to take charge. To top it off, our new instrument panel had failed almost immediately upon departure and so the header tank ran out of fuel, incurring an airlock in the engine.

7 Ways to Get into Sailing (Without Having to Buy a Boat)

“To this day, I have no idea how I got through that first leg. I have a weirdly fond memory of sitting in the engine bay (accessed through a tiny cupboard which the others couldn’t fit through) sitting in a puddle of diesel (which I caused from over-filling the header tank by accident) and working out from sketchy instructions how to bleed an engine for the first time in my life. All the while my entire surroundings were shuddering violently back and forth as we ploughed through the waves. I think I found something funny in the absurdity of the situation that carried me through and I eventually figured out how to get the engine running again. It was a miracle that I managed to avoid sea-sickness, or maybe it was staved off by pure fear or stubbornness.”

Claire McCluskey and Nick Russell
Claire, Nick and David, stocking the boat with fresh supplies in Antigua before heading off for the homeward journey

Claire’s description of life on the boat will make you want to quit your job and set sail. “Since I was little, I had always hoped to go on a big adventure one day, which made the idea of sailing so appealing to me in the first place. In reality, it was a lot of hard work, with no privacy or creature comforts and it was occasionally terrifying. But there’s something about the sense of adventure that makes up for all those hard things. Even by the time we reached Gran Canaria (only the beginning of the journey really), we had already gone further than we had ever gone or even believed we could go. And that sense of accomplishment was addictive. I found it very empowering.”

A Day out on Dinghies with the Sailing in Dublin Club

“The day-to-day life on board was also where we found the real affirmative moments. We decided to stop for a day due to low winds. Instead, we jumped in for a swim in the bright blue sea. It was about 4km deep and actually my first time ever swimming out of my depth in salt water! We caught fish and made fresh sushi that day, and we sat out under the stars as one of our crew serenaded us softly on the guitar. It can be insanely idyllic at sea when the weather is nice. When the skies are clear, the stars stick out sharp as if on pins, overflowing the horizon in all directions – it can be very distracting!

Claire McCluskey and Nick Russell
Sunset in the middle of the Atlantic

“And I personally loved the phosphorescence that comes from light-emitting plankton in the water on dark nights. As the bow disturbs the water, it lights up and sparkles and it feels like the boat is flying along by magic. Occasionally we could spot dolphins swimming alongside in the midst of it all, their bodies lighting up as they torpedoed back and forth underneath us. And one still night, en route from Antigua to the Azores, we made pizzas and watched ‘The Never-Ending Story’ out in the cockpit with a big, full moon above. It was a delightfully surreal experience, especially with all the synth in the soundtrack!

“But the sentiment of our crew member Brian still holds true, the best thing about long distance sailing is arriving at your destination. As we arrived into Crosshaven, after our hardest leg yet, the joy was tremendous. It was a super-high! Everything was so beautiful and all our families were there to welcome us back home after nine months. It was all very emotional.”

Claire McCluskey and Nick Russell
Living at anchor and exploring paradise in the Grenadines

The difficulty of committing to a trip like this is giving up the safety net of normal life and heading off into the unknown. An adventure on this scale changes you. “For me, personally, it has opened up my eyes to what’s possible. This whole experience has made me feel more capable and more confident in myself. By the time we were headed for home, I was well able to skipper the boat, which was a huge leap for me in such a short space of time. And I’ve learned a lot about my own resilience. There were some really challenging moments and I surprised myself often in ways that I’m both proud and not so proud of! However, I definitely think it’s made both of us more ambitious. We laugh about it, but these days when we have a mad idea it can be a bit scary because there’s the possibility now that we might really go for it! It’s certainly raised the stakes with our pub chat.”

10 Things Everyone Should Know Before Their First Sailing Lesson

Claire has some advice for anyone yearning for an adventure and looking to take up sailing. “I will pass on a piece of advice that someone told us when we first set out to do this, ‘Just do it. Once you have a boat, get your safety kit and go!’ This pearl of wisdom came from a couple who spent a few years circumnavigating the world. Their friends had similar plans but were waiting until the boat was ‘ready’ and timing was ‘right’ and they never got round to it. The timing will always be awkward and the boat will never be perfect, but as long as it’s seaworthy and you have your safety kit, you’ll make it work.

Claire McCluskey and Nick Russell
Group photo at the finish line of ARC 2016

“Another point to mention, you don’t necessarily need to go the whole hog like we did and buy a boat to have an Atlantic adventure. There is a huge scene in boat hitchhiking and Gran Canaria was a hot spot for people looking to catch a boat in the days leading up to the ARC. That’s how we found half our crew! I’ve met many people who have put themselves out there and found a place on an ocean crossing – some with zero experience – so it is achievable. There is also a wealth of opportunity online, with websites like crewseekers.net and oceancrewlink.com, which we fondly refer to as Boat Tindr. It goes without saying, approach with caution and spend some time with your prospective boat before you leave the shore. But trust your gut and take a chance!”

“I never imagined I’d become a sailor and I’m not even that sporty, so if I can do it, I truly believe anyone could.”

If you are reading this and getting butterflies in your stomach then perhaps it’s time you found a new hobby! Claire says sailing is one of the most exciting activities she ever got into. “You can come at it from so many angles. It can be really energetic and thrilling, like an endurance sport, or it can be super relaxing and calming, and a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon. Best of all, if you have the right kit, it can take you almost anywhere in the world! As a form of travel, it’s better for the environment and it gets you face to face (really right up in there, sometimes too close) with nature.

“Most of all, I have found that sailing develops a strong sense of self-reliance that stands to you in all other areas of life. At sea, if something goes wrong, you have to be able to fully rely on yourself and figure your way out of a tricky situation. It’s a bit scary at first but with practice, it helps you to realise how best to hold yourself in a crisis and to be more aware of the potential in your surroundings. I never imagined I’d become a sailor and I’m not even that sporty, so if I can do it, I truly believe anyone could.”

If you are tempted to take up sailing, check out our tips for getting into the sport here and have a look at the Try Sailing website for everything a newbie needs to know to get started.

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New Royal Canal Greenway to Connect Dublin and Longford http://outsider.ie/latest/slow-adventure-attraction/ http://outsider.ie/latest/slow-adventure-attraction/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 11:20:59 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14243 A new off-road cycling and walking track, connecting Dublin and Longford by the Royal Canal, is set to launch next year.  The new “slow adventure” tourist attraction will connect Dublin’s Spencer Dock with Richmond Harbour in Co Longford, and pass through counties Kildare, Meath and Westmeath while doing so. In conjunction with several other local […]

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A new off-road cycling and walking track, connecting Dublin and Longford by the Royal Canal, is set to launch next year. 

The new “slow adventure” tourist attraction will connect Dublin’s Spencer Dock with Richmond Harbour in Co Longford, and pass through counties Kildare, Meath and Westmeath while doing so.

New Slow Adventure Attraction
Image: Waterways Ireland

In conjunction with several other local authorities, the cross-border organisation Waterways Ireland has been upgrading already existing parts of the route along the canal and the works are expected to be finished by the end of the year.

The Royal Canal Greenway is said to become the longest Greenway destination in Ireland once it’s finished, beating the 42 km-long Great Western Greenway in Co Mayo.

According to the official plans, the tourism investment will be delivered in two parts. The first one will focus on the launch of a 22 km paddling trail in Co Westmeath, from McNead’s Bridge in Coralstown to Coolnahay townland.

Killarney Walking Festival to Take Place this June

Along with a cycling and walking route by the canal, this part will be marketed under the name The Royal Canal Blueway and is set to launch in June. An “activity hub” is also planned in Mullingar Harbour, an investment that aims to increase “participation in outdoor sport and physical activity” at the site.

The second phase of the canal project is planned to launch in March next year, and consists of the unveiling of the 144 km walking and cycling greenway route – which will be the longest greenway destination in the country.

Like this? You should check these out:

By Elsa Anderling

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5 of the Most Amazing Eco-Friendly Campsites in Ireland http://outsider.ie/ireland/eco-friendly-campsites-ireland/ http://outsider.ie/ireland/eco-friendly-campsites-ireland/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 11:00:23 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14254 Summer is upon us – hooray! So what better way to make the most of the mild weather and long evenings than by heading off on a good old-fashioned camping trip. However, camping trips are no longer what they used to be. Forget the hardships of days gone by and embrace these eco-friendly campsites that […]

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Summer is upon us – hooray! So what better way to make the most of the mild weather and long evenings than by heading off on a good old-fashioned camping trip. However, camping trips are no longer what they used to be. Forget the hardships of days gone by and embrace these eco-friendly campsites that offer so much more than a patch of grass. With eco-showers, yoga sessions and stunning vistas, these are the very best eco-friendly campsites in Ireland.

 Eco-Friendly Campsites in Ireland:

1. Pure Camping, Co Clare

best eco friendly campsites in Ireland pure camping co clare

Bring your own campervan or tent, use a pre-pitched one, book into a bell tent furnished with bed/stove, or head into the woods for some wild camping at this eco retreat in Querrin near Kilkee. A beautiful shingle beach which is perfect for morning dips is just 15 minutes away. There’s also a communal dome for escaping bad weather, a rustic sauna for relaxing, a pizza oven and yoga sessions most weekends. Solar showers, rainwater harvesting and discounts for cyclists add to the eco-friendly vibe.

Tent pitches start at €12 per adult per night and €6 per child. Furnished glamping accommodation starts at €60 per night.

More Info

2. Clifden Eco Beach Camping & Caravanning Park, Co Galway

Best eco friendly campsites in Ireland Clifden Eco Beach Camping & Caravanning Park8

Also known as Actons, Ireland’s first climate neutral eco campsite has an Eco Tourism Ireland Gold Award. Located 10 minutes from Clifden, between the Atlantic and the Twelve Bens, it is an outdoor-lover’s paradise.

Bring your own caravan or campervan, or pitch your own or a hired tent amidst the machair grass sand dunes. single-use water bottles and disposable barbeques are banned. You won’t find any games rooms here to entertain the kids. Instead it’s all about mucking around on the secluded white-sand beach, fishing or cooking on a beach campfire.

There is a free shuttle bus that runs between the campsite and Clifden.

Tent, campervan or caravan pitches for two start at €19. Renting a three-man tent costs €36 while caravan rental is €59 per night.

More Info

The most lust-worthy glamping spots in Ireland

3. Blackstairs Eco Trails Shepherd’s Huts, Co Carlow

Best eco friendly campsites in Ireland Blackstairs Eco Trails Shepherd’s Huts2

This is an ideal option for those looking to get away from it all but who still want to enjoy their creature comforts. Home to two shepherd’s huts beside within close proximity to the River Barrow and the Blackstairs mountains it is the perfect place to kick back and relax after a hike or a paddle.

The huts themselves have double beds, heating and electricity. Cooking facilities, showers, chill-out space and a natural history library are provided in a converted barn.

An organic breakfast will be provided, with home-produced bread, fruit and eggs. The operation boasts an Eco Tourism Ireland Gold Award.

Huts start at €70 per night per night B&B.

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4. Crann Og Eco Farm, Co Galway

Best eco friendly campsites in Ireland

At the heart of an organic working farm, this destination near Drummin Gort is all about reconnecting with nature. Ponies, lambs, puppies, ducks and hens provide the entertainment. Pitch your own tent or choose from a yurt, two bell tents or an A-frame hut made from wooden pallets.

Most of the cooking happens in the native American-style Hogan building which has a roof opening to allow for campfires regardless of the weather. Eco credentials include compost toilets and solar-assisted showers. The farm has an Eco Tourism Ireland Gold Award.

Tent pitches cost €10 per night. Glamping accommodation starts at €75 per night for two people.

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5. Pink Apple Orchard, Co Leitrim

Best eco friendly campsites in Ireland Pink Apple Orchard2016 - May blossomgarden,fernando,lough Allen kayak 037

Set amongst the trees of an apple farm on Lough Allen, 20 minutes from Drumshanbo, this place is a haven for those who want a good old dose of nature coupled with home comforts.

Home to yurts, tepees and a gypsy wagon, you can fall into a comfy bed after a long day outdoors.

The site sleeps 21 and is ideal for families and couples. Eco credentials include compost toilets and an organic garden.

Glamping accommodation starts at €155 for a tepee for two nights that sleeps two adults and one child.

More Info

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5 of the Best Places to Experience Ireland’s Geology http://outsider.ie/ireland/irelands-geology/ http://outsider.ie/ireland/irelands-geology/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 10:16:14 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14231 Words by: Robbie Galvin Have you ever wondered why the landscape of Ireland looks like it does or whether Ireland was always so wet and green? The island of Ireland has a history (or more accurately “geology”) that actually goes back hundreds of millions of years and tells a story of many different Irelands. As […]

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Words by: Robbie Galvin

Have you ever wondered why the landscape of Ireland looks like it does or whether Ireland was always so wet and green? The island of Ireland has a history (or more accurately “geology”) that actually goes back hundreds of millions of years and tells a story of many different Irelands.

As a tiny part of a travelling continental plate, Ireland has been host to many different environments and climates. Our wet and mild little north Atlantic island has seen everything from volcanoes and tropical seas to dry arid deserts and deep dark oceans – Ireland was once even in two separate pieces.

You can see evidence of this story all over the country if you know where to look. Two of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions are geological after all (the Cliffs of Moher and the Giants Causeway). But here is a list of five particularly interesting sites that you may not have heard of from the Irish geologist Robbie Galvin.

 1. The Valentia Trackway, Co Kerry

Places to Experience Ireland’s Geology

The Valentia Trackway, near Dohilla on Valentia Island in Co Kerry, is one of only four places in the entire world which may have the oldest footprints of any land creature ever. The small impressions were discovered in an exposed part of the islands slate rock in 1993. They are believed to be the footprints of an early amphibious creature, known as a Tetrapod. This creature, which was around 1m long, would have walked out of the sea when this area was part of a coastal swamp located next to the equator.

The rocks on which these fossilised footprints are located date back to the Devonian Era of earth’s history. This means they were made at least 380 million years ago. To put this in perspective, the creature responsible for these footprints was living here 150 million years before the first dinosaur even evolved.

Though hard to find initially, access to the trackway is completely free and relatively straightforward. Before going, check the weather and the tides. It’s best to go at low, and do not visit on a day with stormy weather or heavy swell.

More info: Valentia Island

2. Doolin Pier, Co Clare

Places to Experience Ireland’s Geology

If you take a closer look at the limestone rocks surrounding the pier outside Doolin village in Co Clare, you will notice that they are incredibly rich in small fossils. The limestone here is around 330 million years old. It was formed in a time known as the Carboniferous era when Ireland was located south of the equator. During this era, much of Ireland was covered in a warm shallow tropical sea full of strange, prehistoric life – some of whose remains ended up fossilised in the rock itself.

Most of the fossils here are the stems and heads of Crinoids, a small marine filter feeder with a plant like stem. However, you can sometimes find more exotic fossils like the fossilised shark tooth found here in 2017 by Clare geologist Eamon Doyle. The shark that this tooth belonged to was likely to have been only around 70cm long but would have been the apex predator in its environment.

The best place to go looking for fossils is just beside the car park opposite the pier. Be mindful not to break off any fossils from the rock itself and only take home already broken pieces. The best time to look is after big storms when sections of the rock sometimes break off and new layers are exposed. Be careful of the tides when fossil hunting and never go out during heavy swells or stormy weather.

For more info: Burren GeoPark

3. Mullaghmór Hill, Burren National Park, Co Clare

Places to Experience Ireland’s Geology

Dramatic upwardly twisting layers of limestone make this hill stand out against the otherwise flat landscape of the Burren. This sudden change in altitude is the result of a series of massive earthquakes which happened 300 million years ago. These earthquakes came from the collision of two ancient continents in central Europe. They also formed the Pyrenees Mountains in Spain/France at the same time as Mullaghmór hill was uplifted.

The barren nature of the hill and the surrounding landscape is the result of erosion caused by the massive sheets of ice that covered the landscape during the last Ice Age around 12,000 years ago. Further evidence of this time can be in the “Mushroom Stone” glacial “erratics”, boulders that were dumped by the melting glacier.

Mullaghmór hill, and the surrounding Burren National Park is also regarded as one of the finest Karstic landscapes in the world. Rainwater has dissolved the limestone bedrock here and created a complex system of caves underneath the surface and a “limestone pavement” on it. This interaction means that water moves above and below the surface in tremendously complicated ways and has also made the region a great place for spelunking.

For more info: Burren National Park

4. Inistrahul, Co Donegal

Places to Experience Ireland’s Geology

The Island of Inistrahull off the north-west coast of Ireland is by far the oldest piece of Ireland in existence. The rocks that make up this island are an incredible metamorphic rock known as Inishtrahull Gneiss. This is a kind of granite that has been proven to be over 1.7 billion years old.

It is difficult to imagine what the world was like when the rocks of Inishtrahull were formed as the geological record from this long ago is poor. The rocks of Inishtrahull are over 1 billion years older than the rest of Ireland. They were formed under immense heat and pressure beneath the earth’s surface at the same time as some of the outer Scottish islands and parts of Scandinavia. The Island of Inistrahul was actually once part of what is currently Greenland.

You can see the distinctive mottled coloured Gneiss rock throughout this now uninhabited island along with a wide variety of bird and sea life. The area is a designated SPA and SPC. Access to the Island is possible in summer by boat.

For more info: What’s on Donegal

5. Stage Cove, Bunmahon, Co Waterford

Places to Experience Ireland’s Geology

The bright green and blue flow of colour that stains the rocks here are actually deposits of minerals formed from the interaction of water and the copper-bearing minerals inside the cliffs here on the coast of Co Waterford.

The volcanic rocks that make up the cliffs here are the result of ancient volcanic eruptions that took place when this part of Ireland was once situated in a similar setting to where Indonesia is now. This Copper was mined extensively during the 19th century and the cliffs here are pockmarked with horizontal mineshafts known as adits.

The most spectacular mineral staining can be seen further inside some of the horizontal mine shafts along the cliff line here however extreme caution is to be advised and it is illegal to actually enter the shafts themselves. Luckily there are plenty of opportunities to see the results of the areas volcanic past along the coastline here without going inside an actual mineshaft.

For more info: The Copper Coast Geopark  (You can also take a 3D tour of what the more inaccessible areas of the mining complex look like here.)

If you would like to learn more about geology in general, take a look at the website of the geological survey of Ireland which has lots of great information to get you started.

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8 of the Best Walks in Wexford http://outsider.ie/ireland/walks-wexford/ http://outsider.ie/ireland/walks-wexford/#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 09:12:48 +0000 http://outsider.ie/?p=14141 Wexford is home to much more than the best strawberries in the country, it is also a land of stunning beaches, woods and walkways. If you are heading down to the sunny south-east, whether you’re staying north by the streams of Bunclody or all the way south to the stunning Hook, here are a few […]

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Wexford is home to much more than the best strawberries in the country, it is also a land of stunning beaches, woods and walkways. If you are heading down to the sunny south-east, whether you’re staying north by the streams of Bunclody or all the way south to the stunning Hook, here are a few walks worth seeking out and ambling along.

South Wexford

1. Raven Point Wood

Wexford Walks
Image: Failte Ireland

Distance: 6.8km (4.3 miles)
Walking time: 1hr 30min
Waymarking: Blue

Park up at the Raven Wood car park and explore the beautiful woodland walkway before emerging out onto the stunning white sandy beach. The fields to the west are the North Slob lands, home to many important species of birds. If you are doing this walk during the winter months, you might spot all the geese from the North Slob flying out to roost on sandbanks in Wexford Harbour. The beautiful blue flag beach at Curracloe is definitely the highlight of this beach walk.

More info: Wexford Walking Trails

2. Ballyteige Burrow, Kilmore Quay

Wexford Waliks
Image: Fáilte Ireland

Furlongs Road Loop:

Distance: 4.5km (2.8 miles)
Walking time: 1hr
Waymarking: Purple

The Burrow is well known for its incredible sand dune systems. There are three main walking routes to choose from; along the beach, through the dunes, or on the path. Keep your eyes peeled for the many passing seabirds and your ears peeled for the song of the skylark. The flora and fauna in this area are second to none so tread softly. As you walk, climb to the top of one of the higher dunes for a spectacular view of the whole area out across the Saltee Islands, Hook Lighthouse, Forth Mountain and Ballyteige Castle.

More info: Wexford Walking Trails

3. Tintern

Wexford Walks
Image: Brian Morrison/ Failte Ireland

Gardener’s Trail:

Distance: .9km (.6 miles)
Walking time: 20min
Waymarking: Blue

Demesne Trail:

Distance: 2.4km (1.5 miles)
Walking time: 40min
Waymarking: Red

Bannow Bay Trail:

Distance: 7.2 km (4.5 miles)
Walking time: 1-1.5hr
Waymarking: Green

Foxboro Trail:

Distance: 3.5 km (2.2 miles)
Walking time: 1hr
Waymarking: Purple

There are four incredible walks in Tintern, all of varying distances and difficulties. Gardener’s Trail starts at Tintern Abbey and explores the architecture and the mixed woodland. This trail is suitable for buggies and wheelchair users. The Tintern Demesne Trail is one for nature lovers. You’ll discover fine beech, oak, and chestnut trees and hopefully spot some kingfishers, egrets, buzzards, red squirrels, stoats and seven types of bat.

Bannow Bay Trail is for the history buffs. It takes in the old estate village of Saltmills, an old IRA memorial, a rare double lime kiln and a grounded dredger. Finally there is Foxboro Trail for the fit. This woodland trail along the Tintern river includes some great climbs.

More info: Wexford Walking Trails

Things to do in Wexford: The Complete Guide for Adventures in Wexford

4. Forth Mountain

Forth Mountain Trail:

Distance: 10km (6.2 miles)
Walking time: 2hr
Waymarking: Red

Just outside of Wexford town is the 235m Forth Mountain. It is the only mountain in Ireland made up of 500-600 million-year-old rock. It played an integral part in the 1798 Rebellion. Make sure to stop on Skeator Rock to take some pictures. From that look out, you’ll get panoramic views of the Wexford coastline include Rosslare, Our Lady’s Island, Saltee Islands, Hook Head lighthouse and across into Dunmore East and the Waterford estuary.

More info: Wexford Walking Trails

North Wexford

5. Croghan Mountain

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Croghan Trail:

Distance: 8km (5 miles)
Walking time:  2hr 20min
Waymarking:  Blue

Forde’s Farmhouse:

Distance: 4.3km (2.7 miles)
Walking time: 1hr
Waymarking: Green

Bann River:

Distance: 5.25km (3.3 miles)
Walking time: 1hr 15min
Waymarking: Red

Raheenleagh is a place steeped in Irish history dating back to the prehistoric times. Now owned by Coillte, in partnership with the Electricity Supply Board, seven wind turbines now sit on its peak. Take a stroll along these sustainable giants and gaze out at the magnificent sea and land views. If you are lucky, you will be able to see Mount Snowdon in Wales across the Irish Sea.

More info: Wexford Walking Trails

6. Bunclody – Coolmelagh

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Prospect Loop:

Distance: 5.4km (3.4 miles)
Walking time: 1hr 30min
Waymarking: Blue

Gibbet Hill:

Distance: 10km (6.25 miles)
Walking time: 2hr
Waymarking: Orange

Coolmelagh:

Distance: 13.3km (8.3 miles)
Walking time: 3hr 30min
Waymarking: Red

There are three looped walks to choose from on the Gibbet. These forest road loops all take in the peak of Gibbet Hill where the best views are on offer. At the summit, you will see windmills and a Marian Year cross where the gibbet once stood. Keep an eye out for the local wildlife, such as Irish hare, fox, badger, Peregrine falcon and hen harrier raven. Enjoy views of the three counties, Wexford, Carlow and Wicklow

More info: Wexford Walking Trails

EuroVelo Wexford: Exploring the Road Less Travelled by Bike

7. Tara Hill

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Blue Trail:

Distance: 5.4km (3.4 miles)
Walking time: 1hr 15min
Waymarking: Blue

Red Trail:

Distance: 5km (3.1 miles)
Walking Time:  1hr
Waymarking: Red

There are two trails on offer on Tara Hill. The Red Slí an tSuaimhnais trail and the more demanding Blue Slí na n-Óg trail. On the latter, you will be greeted by views of Tara Hill and many a historical landmark like the remains of a famine village, Soldier’s Hollow, Table Rock and a cairn.

More info: Wexford Walking Trail

8. Bunclody – Kilbrannish

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Windmill Loop:

Distance: 3km (1.9 miles)
Walking time: 1hr
Waymarking: Green

Kilbrannish Loop:

Distance: 5km (3.1 miles)
Walking time: 1hr 45min
Waymarking: Purple

Kilbrannish has two waymarked looped walks up in the Blackstairs Mountain Range. These trails have beautiful views of the Clody Valley, the South Leinster way and Mount Leinster just across the way. There are a great few climbs in it and on a warm day it is a truly idyllic spot to be.

More info: Wexford Walking Trail

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