The summer holidays are in full swing now, and we’re here to give you tips on how to make the most of the remaining weeks.
August wouldn’t be August without the Dublin Horse Show (details below). This month also offers the chance to handle tarantulas, witness the coronation of a wild mountain goat, see hand-to-hand combat, surf the waves in West Cork and even visit Hollywood without ever leaving the country!
The final month of the long school holidays kicks straight into high gear on the August Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday with the Lughnasa Festival at Craggaunowen in Quin, Co Clare. This colourful two-day event showcases Irish history from the Bronze Age to Medieval times, featuring battle scenes, weapon displays and ancient court scenes as well as cooking demonstrations.
Visitors can also experience the life of an ordinary Celtic family in a Crannóg (a ring-fort surrounded by water) and witness a battle between the Romans and the Celts re-enacted by the living history group Claíomh. Keep an eye out for that eye-catching Irish chariot, carefully reconstructed from ancient carvings and manuscript references. For more information, see: http://www.shannonheritage.com/Events/AnnualEvents/LughnasaFestival
On the other side of the country thousands of well-dressed guests will be flocking to the RDS in Dublin’s Ballsbridge for the annual Dublin Horse Show which runs from Wednesday August 6th to Sunday, August 10th .
You don’t have to be horse-mad to enjoy yourself – there’s lots of non-equine activities on hand.
Take the hugely popular Blossom Hill Ladies’ Day on Thursday, August 7th. There’s also a Best Dressed Man competition for men who take serious pride in their appearance!
Kids are kept occupied by the popular Kids’ Zone – there’s everything from pony rides to magic shows, crazy golf, table football and face painting.
For more Information: http://www.dublinhorseshow.com/
If you’re holidaying in the West Cork area it’s really worth taking a look at the Inchydoney Surf School which offers surf camps for ages 8 to 18 right through August; two hours a day over five days with everything included so all the kids have to do is turn up in togs and carrying a towel. The cost of this is €100 for the week.
Lessons are also available for adults on a sliding scale up to to €130 for a full week, while wetsuits and boards are available for rent to surfers. Visit www.inchydoneysurfschool.com/ for booking forms or phone 086 8695396. Rail enthusiasts may be interested in the renowned Lartigue Monorail in Listowel, Co Kerry. An original steam-powered monorail designed by Frenchman Charles Lartigue, this funky little train ran to and from Listowel to the seaside resort of Ballybunion between 1888 and 1924 carrying everything; passengers, livestock and freight. Visitors can enjoy a short journey on a full-scale diesel replica of the original and a visit to the Lartigue Museum where models, displays and memorabilia are on display. It’s open seven days a week 1pm to 4.30pm – for more information visit http://www.lartiguemonorail.com
If you’re in the Kilkenny area and looking for a touch of the exotic, pop into the Reptile Village Zoo in Gowran, the only one of its kind in the country. It boasts more than 100 different animals and more than 50 species from toads to pythons, rattlesnakes, cobras, lizards and caiman (dwarf) crocodiles. Open 10-6pm seven days a week, it offers hourly ‘animal encounter’ sessions, giving children the opportunity to touch snakes, lizards, tarantulas and scorpions. There are indoor and outdoor picnic areas and a soft play area for younger children and. It’s conveniently located just 10 minutes from Exit 7 on the M9 Dublin - Waterford road. For more, see www.reptilevillage.net
Still on the subject of wild animals, one of Ireland’s most unusual street festivals, Puck Fair, takes place in the Kerry village of Killorglin from August 10th to 12th.
The festival has some wonderfully eccentric elements – including the coronation of a wild mountain goat, deftly captured by one of the town’s skilled Goat Catchers.
The animal is crowned King by the Queen of Puck – traditionally a local schoolgirl – after a coronation parade through Killorglin.
Following the festival, which includes a horse fair, a cattle fair, a crafts fair and a fireworks display as well as street entertainers, puppet shows and lots more – a very relieved King is released back into the wild. For more information visit http://www.puckfair.ie
Meanwhile the Kilkenny Arts Festival is in full swing – for more than four decades, this event has attracted some of the world’s top artists,
This August’s offering (8th to 17th) is no exception with a packed programme of extraordinary performers, artists and events which offer something for everybody.
On top of a wonderful programme of music and cultural events, world premieres and international theatre, there are lots of family activities such as cartoon saloon workshops, workshops by the National Craft gallery and concerts. Visit www.kilkennyarts.ie/festival
If you’re anywhere in the vicinity of the East coast between August 13 - 17 August, how about a trip to Hollywood?
A picturesque community-run fair – based around rural life pre-1950s – takes place in Hollywood Village, Co Wicklow. And yes, the village has its own iconic white Hollywood sign in the mountains which tower above it! There is also a real-life movie dimension to the village – Hollywood, Co Wicklow was the location for a number of successful films, such as Braveheart, Michael Collins and King Arthur, to name but a few.
There’s no way you’ll have a problem filling those last hazy days of the summer holidays now - enjoy!
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