Travel Your Own County on Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder

Wexford Irish National Heritage Park



County Travel

I’ve picked out a gem from each county for you to explore this weekend – do check out the Discover Ireland website ideas and many counties have tourism websites so there may be somewhere you don’t know in your own county or some place that you’ve put off seeing or just haven’t got around to visiting because it was beside you all the time?




Dublin – Go for a walk on Burrow Beach or Dollymount Strand look out for kite surfers or paddle boarders. For the best chowder in Ireland tram chowder in Howth Market – Pure Magic Water Sports organises kitesurfing lessons on Dollymount Beach and Burrow Beach and stand up paddle boarding in Howth.

Wicklow – Go skiing in Kilternan if lessons are not for you, the slope is open weekday nights and weekends for skiing & boarding practice sessions. We are always looking for new members to join our vibrant club and instructor panel. Members & season ticket holders ski or board for free throughout the season and can avail of cheaper lessons and discounts with many Irish travel operators, Snowsports stores and brands.

A SeasonTicket membership includes is great value at only €380 or a Family Pass for €760. This Ticket is membership, unlimited skiing during opening hours and half price classes.

4 Lessons, including all your equipment hire, costs €160 for adults/€110 for students.

And keep an eye on some special events, coming up in the Club over the season too!

The Garden of Ireland has some of the most breathtaking walks to find new ones – follow Wicklow Way guided walks

Louth – Go backwards on the magic road near Carlingford. Less than a 15 minute drive from Carlingford you’ll find a place known locally as Magic Hill. There is a section of road that goes downhill and if you stop the car at the bottom and release the brake, the car will roll backwards up the hill! It needs to be seen to be believed.– Everyone knows this is where the last Leprechauns in Ireland reside – Kevin Woods has a leprechaun park but you can go hunting yourself in the beautiful Sleive Foy
Meath – Trim Castle, Ireland’s largest Anglo-Norman castle is a must-visit in the historically rich Boyne Valley in Trim, County Meath. It was constructed over a thirty year period by Hugh de Lacy and his son Walter as the home of the Lordship of Meath.

Trim Castle is a stunning Norman castle on the south bank of the River Boyne. This magnificent site experienced a renaissance in 2000 when it was opened to the public after being excavated and restored. The movie Braveheart with Mel Gibson was filmed at Trim Castle in 1995.

Access to the keep is by guided tour only for safety reasons. Visitors can learn more from interpretation panels and enjoy the impressive grounds of the castle. Grounds open from 9-30 to 4-30 free entry to grounds
Wexford – Irish national heritage park well worth a visit open and €30 for two adults and 3 children– the top of forth mountain has special views and new trail walks – my dad is from this region and I was brought here as a child see
Laois – Rock of Dunamase is a beautiful site to climb and have a picnic – Abbeyleix Manor hotel has a food truck – abbeyleix board walk 8km loops offers two walks
Kilkenny – Owned by Nicholas moss pottery kilfane waterfall is meant to be gorgeous….
Carlow – Bahana Forest trail in St Mullins looped forest walk that goes along the Barrow River to see birds otters and squirrels and it end s in St Mullins and there’s a nice cafe
Kildare – Pollardstown Fen and walk through marshland- Kildare farm foods picnic area and see the animals and it’s free
Offaly – lough boora park – hire bikes €5 adult €3 kids – slieve bloom walking trails, ridge of cappard good for walking with panoramic views three circular trails to choose from –
Longford – Keenagh Royal Canal Greenway good for biking or walking – similar to the greenway Mullingar and Athlone – the old rail line is lovely for cycling
West Meath – Moydrum forest park – great for wildlife and a looped walk – Portlick on the shores of Lough Ree – recommendations from Mike Viking Tours Ireland – check them out when restrictions lift


Clare – Loop head close to Spanish Point off the beaten path hidden gem – loophead walking tours

Walking Tour Package: Two walking tours including overnight stays B&B and 2 evening meals at Stella Maris Hotel Kilkee. Kilkee Heritage walk on Friday evening and one of our longer walks on Saturday with a packed lunch

Martin Haugh

Cork – Mallow Castle lovely walk along the river Blackwater –  Doneraile park lovely short loop walks and a café open
Kerry – Try climb Carruntouhill I advise getting help with Kerry climbing who are great – don’t be put off by the size of the mountain –it is best to be safe get good maps and wear the right clothing  and make sure that your phone is charged in case you run into trouble

Tipperary – Suir Blueway only launched last year – walk or cycle it’s 21 km from clonmel to carrick-on-Suir
Limerick – Ballyhoura mountains offer stunning walks and trails and trail riders offer adventurous  biking Go horse riding with Johnjoe at


Waterford – Lismore town and they great market on Sunday beautiful – picnic in the gardens the vault takeaway café and they have started a brunch box


Galway – Horse riding moycullen overlooking Lough Corrib – 1 hour countryside treks 30 per child 35 per adult.

Kids pony camps during school holidays. Private and group lessons for adults and children courses they run throughout the year,

Please contact Sandra on 0872043944 for more information.

there are fabulous stables in Galway on beaches and all over the county so check out

Leitrim – Glencar Waterfall is a gem that eveyone should see in the country

As part of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands it is well looking up all the lovely lakes and trail that are to offer in Leitrim

Mayo – Croagh Patrick bucket list – do it now and tick if off your bucket list – Go to the Ceide Fields in Ballycastle – Ireland’s first farmers settled here and prehistoric remains are Neolithic archeological site

Roscommon – The Castlerea Trail Time: 1 hour 30 mins

The Castlerea Trail is one of the shorter loop walks on the Suck Valley Way and a good way to start your hiking break with a great mix of history and scenery. Walk through the expansive Castlerea Demesne Parklands and you’ll wind up at Clonalis House, home of the High Kings of Ireland. The majestic house has been restored and tours are available in the summer months.

This part of the Suck Valley Way brings walkers through a forest path, rich in greenery, taking you to the opposite end of Castlerea. Along the way, watch out for the resting place of ‘Cindy the Elephant’ who visited with a circus and strolled to one of the local pubs, a story worth telling. At just over 6km, The Castlerea Trail takes 90 minutes and it is described as moderately difficult.

Sligo – walk up to knocknarea mountain where Queen Maeve is buried and look down at the oyster farm and Coney Island you can walk over to Coney Island at low tide – sligo oyster farm tours are outdoor and still running so contact the lovely Aisling Kelly Hunter


Cavan – Dun na Ri Forest Park in Cavan Dun a Ri Forest Park forms part of what was formerly the Cabra Estate which was owned by the Pratt family. Legend stretches back to the time of Cuchullain the Gaelic warrior who rested in these woods while fighting the armies of Queen Maeve of Connaught.

Donegal – Murder Hole Beach near the Downings The official name of the beach, Boyeeghter Strand, not good for swimming but lovely for views – glenveigh national park



Monaghan– follow the Patrick Kavanagh trail – start out from Patrick Kavanagh’s Grave at the village of Inniskeen – read some poetry and get in the mood.




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