Derval O'Rourke: My favourite Irish walks and ideal picnic locations

— the heady flavours of Moroccan chicken skewers are just gorgeous
Derval O'Rourke: My favourite Irish walks and ideal picnic locations

Moroccan spiced chicken skewers with mint yoghurt and feta dip.  Picture: Miki Barlok

It is the summer of walks, picnics and staycations around Ireland. Whether the sun is splitting the stones or the drizzle is coming down there are great options for getting out and about.

Here are some of my favourite long walks to enjoy plus some of my favourite places to refuel along the way.  I think a lot of us tend to underestimate how beautiful Ireland is, especially when the sun is shining so why not use this weekend as a chance to revisit an old favourite or explore somewhere new. Get your walking shoes on, you won’t regret it.

This week’s recipe is super easy to prepare and pack a punch in both the taste and nutrition department. These Moroccan chicken skewers just scream summertime with their bright, zingy and spicy flavours.  Heading for a long walk is a nice way to exercise and to explore somewhere new. It’s a cheap and cheerful way to spend a day together with family or friends. It’s a great opportunity for a study break and a chance to blow away any cobwebs.

Irish is a great resource when it comes to planning days like this so go check them out. They have lots of hints and tips for enjoyable walking plus lots of ideas for places to go.

Cork — my top picks:

1. Garrettstown beach I love the sea air and find it’s great for clearing your head after a busy week.  This walk is one I would consider suitable for everyone and there are stunning views along the way. If you are feeling particularly brave or energized then book in for a lesson at GTown surf school.

After your walk, it’s well worth taking a wander through Ballinspittle. I recently did this and grabbed a gorgeous pastry with coffee from Diva bakery then I stopped by the Leafling Mercantile which is a lower waste, higher welfare refill shop.

2. Ballycotton cliff walk This is such a beautiful walk and while perhaps a little more challenging than Garretstown it’s well worth the extra effort. It’s not a looped walk though so be careful how far you venture as it can be a long walk back. The walk features some stunning scenery with the ocean on one side and meadows on the other.  I love to stop into Ballymaloe House Café for some well-deserved coffee and cake afterwards.

3. Crosshaven One of my favourite walks is from Carrigaline to Crosshaven. It is 10km in total and when you reach Crosshaven you can pop into Rivers End cafe for a lovely lunch. I’m biased because it is my local walk but I promise you it is well worth the effort.

For something a little further afield I would recommend:

1. The Wicklow Mountains National Park, particularly Lough Tay. This lake nestled in the heart of the Wicklow mountains is also known as Guinness lake.  Along with Glendalough, the Guinness Lake is one of the most photographed spots in Wicklow.

Get your comfy shoes on and get out and about exploring the Wicklow Mountains, you won’t regret it.

2. Phoenix Park There is so much to see and do once you arrive, from Áras an Uachtaráin to Dublin Zoo.  At the start of my running career, I used to run hills in Phoenix Park every Sunday morning.

It’s a wonderful place to get a few miles in or have a walk. There are lots of places for tea and coffee too including the Phoenix Park Tea Rooms and the Phoenix Café.

Pop up to Phoenix Park this weekend and you can visit Bloom, Ireland’s largest gardening, horticulture food and family festival, which celebrates its 11th anniversary this year.

Fitness Tip: Aim to get your 10,000 steps each day in as many new locations as possible. This is great for keeping active, getting fresh air and exploring our beautiful country.

Wellness Tip: When planning day trips, be sure to factor food into your plans. If there isn’t somewhere nice to stop along the way for something healthy & nutritious, be sure to pack snacks such as fruit (bananas are super for keeping you feeling full, nuts or sandwiches.

Moroccan chicken skewers

recipe by:Derval O'Rourke

With zingy, spicy flavours, these skewers are great for sharing, or as a light lunch with some homemade salads

Moroccan chicken skewers



Preparation Time

10 mins

Cooking Time

15 mins

Total Time

25 mins




  • 4 medium chicken breasts

  • olive oil

  • 3 tsp smoked paprika

  • 2 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp dried coriander

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp white pepper

  • 2 tsp dried garlic powder

  • 200g natural yoghurt

  • 100g feta cheese / Greek style salad cheese

  • handful fresh mint


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Slice the chicken length-ways into 4/5 thin strips per breast. Coat in a little olive oil.

  2. Mix dry spices and seasoning together. Lightly coat the oiled chicken in the spice mix making sure to get a nice even covering. 

  3. Place on a lightly oiled tray and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.

  4. Put the yoghurt, feta and mint in a food processor and blitz until smooth.

  5. Serve the skewers dipped in the dressing.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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