THE children will be off school for July and August and if previous summer weather is anything to go by, we won’t be guaranteed lazy, hazy days in the garden or family picnics on the beach.
So, with two months to fill, many parents will want to entertain their energetic brood without breaking the bank, or, indeed, breaking into a sweat as they watch daddy’s flower beds being trampled during impromptu soccer matches and mum’s freshly painted living room being transformed into a pirate ship.
To alleviate parental stress and childish boredom, we have compiled a list of action-packed summer camps around Munster that are sure to entertain, amuse, and tire out your little darlings over the summer holidays.
SCHULL AND FITBONES
This action-packed camp takes place in Schull and Ballydehob on the Mizen Peninsula. The natural environment is used as a playground for children to undertake adventure challenges.
They are required to follow trails, find check-points and complete various tasks, including rope walking, a blindfold trail, hunting for sweets amid ancient ruins, and sinking into a ‘jungle marsh’ before washing off in a stream.
Other activities include bike-hiking, kite-flying, tunnelling and a ferry trip to Long Island for a scavenger hunt and much-anticipated barbecue.
What to bring: The camp runs from 9.30am to 2pm daily and children should bring a small rucksack with lunch, water, sun cream, rain jacket, a torch, and, on certain days, a change of clothes. In the case of wet weather, many of the activities are held in tents or in the Ballydehob community centre.
Suitable for children aged 6-13, the week-long camp costs €120 or €30 per day. A sibling discount is available. Places are available from Jul 9 — 13, Aug 7 — 10, and Aug 13 -17.
For more information, visit www.fitbones.ie or call 086-2404709
ANYONE FOR TENNIS
Every summer, the world goes crazy for tennis and while few of us have access to courts regularly, our children can learn the basics with Parks Tennis Camps, which are located all over the country.
The two-week camp offers one-hour daily sessions, which will teach youngsters the basics or offer those with a little more knowledge of the game the opportunity to fine-tune their skills.
What to bring: Tennis rackets are provided, but personal ones can also be used. Sports gear, tennis shoes, and rain wear are essential.
The camps are suitable for children from 5 to 17 years and times vary according to clubs, so to find out about the venue nearest to you, visit www.parkstennis.com
FOTA WILDLIFE CAMP
Most children love animals and would relish spending days watching, learning about, and being around wildlife.
The Fota Island summer camp, in Carrigtwohill, offers the chance to do just that. All activities are focused on nature awareness and conservation, and the aim of the camp is to engender a respect for the natural world in children of all ages by using a play approach to learning.
What to bring: The camp runs from 11am to 4pm, daily, and children should bring a packed lunch with drinks, suitable outdoor clothing, sun cream and rain gear.
Suitable for children from 5-12 years, the week-long camp costs €95 per child (with a 10% discount for three or more children attending together) and runs on July 9, July 16 and August 13.
For more information, visit www.fotawildlife.ie or call 021-4812678
LET’S GO ACTIVITY CAMPS
For children with a lot of energy, the Let’s Go camps are the ideal way to let off steam.
The action-packed sports camps offer a range of traditional sports, as well as a selection of games including Wrecking Ball, Zorbee Ball Roll, Wobbly Ladder, KMX Karting and Eliminator.
Located in venues all around the country, these camps include both outdoor and indoor activities and no two days are the same.
Separated into age groups, Let’s Go offers two programmes — one for 5- to 6-year-olds, which offers an introduction into the fast pace of the summer camp, and the other for 7- to 13-year-olds.
What to bring: The camp runs from 9.30am to 3.30pm, daily, and children should bring a packed lunch, water and sports wear.
The weekly price is €90 for the first child, €80 for a second sibling, and €70 for a third.
With venues all around the country, it is advisable to check out the website, www.letsgo.ie, or call 021-4877111 to find out about the camp nearest to you.
Learning to swim is an essential life skill. But it is possible for children to prefect their technique and life-saving skills while having fun in the water.
Swimming camps offer the chance for your child to improve their stroke and expel some of their pent-up summer energy.
Ennis leisure complex is just one of the venues offering summer camps this year. Starting on July 2 and running until the end of August, these weekly sessions offer swimming lessons, life-saving skills, aqua aerobics and inflatable time in the pool.
And, once your child has dried off, they can enjoy arts and crafts, outdoor games and a party on the last day.
What to bring: The swim camp starts at 10am and runs until 1pm daily. Children should bring swimming gear, lunch and a drink.
For more information, call 065-6821604 or visit www.clarecoco.ie
KILLARNEY NATIONAL PARK EDUCATION CENTRE
Killarney National Park Education Centre will be running three environmental summer camps at Knockreer.
Children will experience nature up close and learn about the plants and animals of Killarney National Park.
They will study animals and plants using mammal traps, nets, and other equipment, and explore the ecology of the park through a variety of games and fun activities, such as ecology orienteering, scavenger hunts, pond dipping and by following the tracks and signs of wildlife.
What to bring: Children should bring a change of clothes, Wellingtons or old shoes, walking boots, waterproof jacket and fleece, sun hat, packed lunch and drinks.
The cost of each camp is €105, with reductions available if there is more than one child from the same family. Camps run from July 3 to 6 and July 17 to 20, and from July 31 to August 3.
For more information, call 064-663 5960 or visit www.killarneynationalpark.ie
Soccer is big on the agenda this summer and many would-be players will want to fine tune their ball skills over the school holidays. The FAI soccer schools offer the chance to do just that with coaching, matches, and expert advice on hand for all budding soccer stars.
Activities include warm-up, fundamental skills training, mini-leagues and tournaments.
Suitable for boys and girls aged between 6 and 14 years, each camp runs for five days from 10.30am to 3pm.
Taking place in venues all over Ireland, the first camp begins on Monday, Jul 2 and the final week starts on Monday, Aug 20.
Designed to cater for players of all ages and ability, the FAI summer schools cost from €59 to €99, depending on the type of camp, and all players will receive an FAI sports kit and bag.
What to bring: Children should take a healthy, packed lunch, with water, and football boots — kit will be provided upon registration.
For more information, visit www.summersoccerschools.ie or call 1890 653 653
JUNIOR RANGER CAMPS
Killarney National Park Education Centre will also be running two Junior Ranger Camps at the Arthur Vincent House (the national park’s hostel), which are suitable for 10- to 14-year-olds.
Both camps are residential and will run from 3pm, on the first day, until noon on the last day, with two over-nights in the Arthur Vincent Hostel.
The activities will include badger watching, bat walks, night hikes, astronomy, and studying animals and plants by using mammal traps, nets and other equipment, and exploring the ecology of the national park through games and fun activities, such as ecology orienteering.
What to bring: Sleeping bag or duvet and bed sheet, pillow, at least one change of clothes, Wellingtons or old shoes, walking boots, waterproofs, warm jumper or fleece, sun hat, insect repellent, torch, musical instrument if you play one, lunch box and drink bottle, and binoculars and camera if you have them.
The Junior Ranger Camps will run from Wednesday, Jul 11 to Friday, Jul 13 and from Wednesday, Aug 8 to Friday, Aug 10.
The cost of the camp is €115, which will include two nights’ accommodation and food while on the camp.
There are reductions available on bookings for more than one child from the same family.
For more information, call 064-663 5960 or visit www.killarneynationalpark.ie
Monkey Maze, in Glanmire, just outside Cork city, is Europe’s largest indoor activity centre for children under 12.
The main feature is a giant 500m² adventure play area, which includes ball pools, five dare-devil slides and a separate dedicated area for under-fives.
Other attractions include two large ball courts for football or basketball and a cannon target area.
For three weeks during the summer, activity camps will take place including art and crafts, basketball, treasure hunts, drama, dodge ball and discos.
Suitable for children from 5 to 11 years, the camp runs from 10am until 2pm and costs €75 per child.
What to bring: Children should wear comfortable clothes and trainers and bring a packed lunch and drinks every day, except Friday, when lunch will be provided and an end-of-camp party will take place.
For more information, visit www.monkeymaze.ie or call 021-4820674
An Irish childhood wouldn’t be complete without GAA activities, and for those children who want extra time on the pitch, Cul Camps offer week-long sessions all over the country with a mixture of games and activities.
From hurling and camogie to football, the emphasis is on having fun while honing skills and developing a deeper love and understanding of our national games. The week-long camps will culminate in a blitz on the last day that allows children to put what they have learnt into action.
Suitable for boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 13, the camps run from 10am to 2pm, daily, in venues in every county in Ireland.
The week-long camp costs €55 and includes a sports kit and bag. Discounts are available for siblings and anyone enrolling for a second week.
What to bring: Cul campers should bring a packed lunch and plenty to drink, hurley and helmet, playing gear (tracksuit, shorts, runners and or boots), rain jackets and change of gear, sunscreen, hat and towel.
For more information, visit www.gaa.ie
BLACKWATER OUTDOOR ACTIVITY CENTRE
For children with a sense of adventure and plenty of adrenalin, the Blackwater Outdoor Activity Centre could be just the ticket for their summer camp experience.
Based in north Cork, primary activities include: river kayaking, river tubing, archery, zorbing, zip-line/aerial adventure, dune buggies, laser clay-pigeon shooting, team building, wilderness camping, wilderness survival skills and/or combinations of these activities.
All activities are based at the picturesque Blackwater Castle Estate in Castletownroche, Co Cork, and utilise the natural resources of the estate, including the river, forestry, walkways, castle and its facilities.
Suitable for children from 8 to 16, this camp runs from Jul 9 to 13 and Jul 16 to 20, and Aug 13 to 17, from 10am to 4pm daily. It costs €150 per child (or €30 per day) and €125 for any subsequent children booked at the same time.
What to bring: Change of clothes, rain wear, towel and wash bag, swimming trunks, shoes to wear in water, sunscreen and insect repellent, packed lunch and drinks.
Wet suits, helmets, buoyancy aids and safety equipment are provided.
For more information, visit www.blackwateroutdooractivities.com or call 086-7837015
DUNMORE EAST ADVENTURE CENTRE
With camps running every week of July and August, this waterside activity programme in Dunmore East, Co Waterford, is perfect for any child who likes getting wet.
Activities include windsurfing, kayaking, water trampoline (kids can jump 20 ft into the water), sailing, abseiling, power boat trips and rock climbing for the older children, and pedal boats, aqua Olympics, orienteering and arts and crafts for 5-7 year olds. Suitable for children from 5 to 17 years of age, this action-packed camp makes the most of our coastline, even during the rain as it’s water-based, so the children can’t get any wetter, and if the weather is stubbornly bad there are indoor activities to keep lively youngsters amused.
What to bring: Campers should bring a packed lunch with drinks, a spare pair of footwear and swimming trunks. All other equipment is provided on-site. This camp costs from €210 and there are family and group discounts.
For more information, visit www.dunmoreadventure.com or call 051-383783.