Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year, well it was before Covid hit. But don’t feel discouraged if large gatherings seem to be becoming more unlikely. Instead, turn your attention to all of the amazing things happening outdoors.

We’ve rounded up 15 of the best outdoor events this Christmas ranging from hikes to swims and runs. Enjoy!

1. Two Rock Guided Hike & Sauna Trips

Dates available upon request

Two Rock Outdoor is offering a really fun and unique day out with a group of friends or family. You will be picked up from anywhere in the Wicklow area and transported into the hills where you will enjoy a guided hike tailored to your group’s ability (it can be as gentle or as taxing as you like). This will then be followed by a dip in the icy Avonbeg River with a sauna on site to warm you back up. These guided hikes are private and need a minimum of four people to run, so start rounding up your pals. The price per person is €50.

Find out more: Two Rock Outdoor

2. Full Moon Walk, Dublin

18 December 2021

Kicking off at 6pm from Brady’s pub in Shankill, this event offers you the opportunity to see the beautiful landscape of the Dublin Mountains under the light of the moon. The walk will follow the Dublin Mountain Trail towards Rathmichael and Carrickgollogan Hill where you’ll be treated to stunning views across the Dublin/Wicklow coastline. The walk will take 2-3 hours and is suitable for anyone with a base level of fitness.

Find out more: Hilltop Treks

3. Dip and Sip, Dublin

19 December 2021

One of the biggest trends to emerge from the pandemic is sea swimming. And with good reason as it delivers a giant hit of endorphins and the excuse to treat yourself to a coffee and a pastry afterwards. While many have found their swimming gang, some are still trying to find a group of like-minded souls to join. Dip and Sip is an initiative set up by Ripple Effect Ireland to do just that. On 19 December they will host their Christmas meet-up which will involve mulled wine, mince pies and a dip in the sea. It’s a great way to meet people who share your love of the cold water.

Find out more: Ripple Effect Ireland Instagram

4. The GOAL Mile, Nationwide

Various dates in December 2021

goal mile christmas events

The GOAL Mile is held throughout December in villages, towns and cities across Ireland and virtually across the world. The event sees tens of thousands of people run or walk a mile to raise funds for the charity. It has become an annual tradition for many as it was previously held on Christmas Day. Now it is held on various dates in December across the country and is organised by a large network of individuals and community organisers.

Find out more: The GOAL Mile

5. The Winter Solstice Swim, Nationwide

23 December 2021

Winter Solstice
Image: Kimson Doan

While this isn’t an official event, it’s a good excuse to round up a few friends or family members and head for your local swimming spot at sunrise. You will find groups congregating up and down the country as they celebrate the shortest day of the year. It’s particularly special on a clear day as you will be treated to a spectacular sunrise.

6. The Christmas Day Swim, Nationwide

25 December 2021

Christmas Swims in Ireland
Image: Conor McCabe Photography

The Christmas Day Swim is an obligatory activity for many families across the country. If you haven’t tried it, we highly recommend it. Certain spots across the country will attract thousands of people eager to throw themselves into the frigid waters of the Wild Atlantic or Irish Sea. The Forty Foot in Dublin is arguably one of the most popular spots for the Christmas Day swim with people queuing to get in the water. However, there are similar swims taking place across the country.

Other popular spots include: Bundoran, Co Donegal; Bray, Co Wicklow; Carlingford, Co Louth; Clontarf, Co Dublin; Derrynane and Fenit, Co Kerry; Salthill, Co Galway; Guillamene, Co Waterford; Rosses Point, Co Sligo; Myrtleville, Co Cork; Greystones, Co Wicklow; Skerries, Co Dublin; Rosslare, Co Wexford.

Find out more: Outsider.ie

7. Fields of Athenry 10km, Galway

26 December 2021

Image: Peter Mooney

The Fields of Athenry 10km is always a fun-filled Christmas event on the running calendar. Hosted on St Stephen’s Day, it’s a great way to get out and clear the head after Christmas. The event always attracts a good crowd with a mix of competitive runners and those just looking to complete the course. Entries close on the 23 December. Everyone who enters will receive a woolly hat.

Find out more: Run Ireland

8. Djouce Remembrance Race, Wicklow

27 December 2021

Organised by the Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA), this is a good one for those with a good base level of fitness. The 8km course will be far from flat and you’ll be expected to take on a few challenging sections. IMRA events are always well organised and attract a very friendly bunch of competitors, so it’s guaranteed to be a great morning in the hills.

Find out more: Irish Mountain Running Association

9. Fat Turkey Run, Dublin

27 December 2021

Runners and joggers, fast and slow, are welcome at the annual Fat Turkey Run in Sutton. The route is a challenging one though and will bring you all the way from Sutton Rugby Club right up to the Summit Shop on Howth Head. Thankfully it’s all downhill on the way back. The event was set up to raise funds for Sutton Rugby Club and the IRFU Charitable Trust which provides support for injured rugby players. You can enter up until 10.30am on the day of the race.

Find out more: Run Ireland

10. The Croghan Chase, Wexford

27 December 2021

Taking place in Coolgreany, Co Wexford, the Croghan Chase offers both 4km and 8km route options. The event is chip timed and there are bespoke finishers medals and post-race refreshments on offer. This event will suit all levels of runners from those looking to really push themselves to those who are hoping to run/walk around the shorter course option.

Find out more: Just Runs Events

11. Revive Renew End of Year Hike

31 December 2021

This group has been running since 2019 and welcomes walkers with very little hiking experience. The aim of the group is to give you confidence in the hills while connecting you with new people with similar interests. The hike will start in Crone Woods at 9.15am and will take 1.5-2 hours. It costs €17.50 and includes the guided hike, breakfast and lunch.

Find out more: Revive Renew

12. Welcome the New Year at Sunrise, Nationwide

1 January 2022

With New Year’s Eve parties looking set to be more sedate affairs than previous years it’s a good opportunity to take advantage of your clear head on New Year’s Day. Nothing will set the tone quite as well for the year ahead than watching the sunrise from the top of a mountain or hill. The sun is scheduled to rise at 08.40 on New Year’s day in Dublin which gives you plenty of time to stroll to the top of Ticknock or the Lead Mines. Both will offer a spectacular view right across Dublin Bay.

One thing to note is that you will be walking in low light so be sure to choose a route that is well marked and that you are familiar with. Bring appropriate kit with you – plenty of warm clothes, a fully charged mobile phone, a head torch and of course a thermos of tea and some snacks!

13. Running Workshop with Catherina McKiernan, Dublin

1 January 2022

If becoming a better runner is on your list of resolutions for 2022 then this is the perfect way to kick start your year. Olympic runner Catherina McKiernan is hosting a workshop to help you to improve your running technique and mindset.

The day will kick off with a video analysis with individual recommendations. This will be followed by training drills, a Q&A session and an easy and relaxed run with McKiernan. The day focuses on the principles of Chi running where runners are taught to combine the Tai Chi principles of focus and flow with the power and energy of running. It’s thought that this approach to running reduces stress on the body which in turn leads to fewer injuries.

Find out more: Eventbrite

14. The Fuller Walk Challenge, Dublin

1 January 2022

Kicking off in Clontarf this is the perfect Christmas event for Dublin-based folks looking to challenge themselves on New Year’s Day. Participants can choose to walk a distance of 26.2km (Clontarf-Howth-Malahide) or 16km (Clontarf-Sutton-Malahide). Both walks will start at 8.30am and will have feed stations along the way.

This new charity event was set up to celebrate Rory Fuller who passed away 10 years ago from melanoma at the age of 30. The team behind the walk are hoping to raise €100,000 for youth mental health charity, A Lust for Life, and Bumbleance which provides safe and comfortable transportation for Ireland’s youngest patients as they travel between their homes and hospitals, hospices, treatment centres, and respite centres nationwide.

Find out more: Email challengemedublin@gmail.com

15. Ferrycarrig 5 Mile, Wexford

3 January 2022

This five-mile road running race is renowned for its friendly atmosphere and welcomes runners of all abilities. The course is a looped route starting and finishing in Wexford Football Club. The event is chip timed and is offering cash prizes to the winners. Refreshments will be served afterwards. Early bird entries cost €17.50 up until midnight on 25 December, the price will then increase to €20. Entries on the day will cost €25.

Find out more: Pop Up Races

By Killian Andersen

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