Bats, headless horsemen and underwater Polo this summer around Ireland

Test your biceps, triceps and the rest of your physique at the Cavan Kayakarun Endurance Event this August in Cootehill. You can participate individually or as part of a team.

 

And if you fancy some wriggley, squiggely, moving, swimming creatures of the fishy, mollusc or similar genetic kind then look no further than Loop head (okay next stop is Newfoundland) and the Rocky Shore Exploration event which lets you explore your squishy side during early August at low tide among the bountiful seaweed laden rock pools of the Clare coast

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Combining sports of the physical and social kind is the Kilkee Beach Tag Festival this August where you can play tag on the horse shoe shaped beach all day and around the many pubs and cafes around town later, all in the best possible taste of course. Fun for all in this west Clare town

 

And if that’s too tame for you check out the Hell of the West Triathlon in Kilkee, Co Clare at the end of June while inland towards the end of June you can sample the craic at the ancient Spancilhill only a stone’s throw from Dromoland castle.

 

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Not quite of the Jaws proportions but definitely there are sharks in them there waters off the south west coast and Baltimore, Co Cork in particular and you may even catch one at the Baltimore Deep Sea Angling Festival in late August. Need to be suitably attired and equipped for this one though it is open to all

 

Not quite escape from Alcatraz but the Escape from Cork‘s Spike Island Endurance Event mid August does take quite a bit of stamina and determination with a choice of a sprint of difficult and really difficult. Mine’s a pint with binoculars

 

Now this sounds like my kind of maritime festival, indoors, dry and warm at The Fastnet Maritime and Folk Fest in Ballydehob, Co Cork with sea songs, shanties, dance and craft displays. Okay so maybe I could be tempted outside with the busking and outdoor music in the pubs but no sign of an oar, rod, snorkel or wheel in sight

 

Celebrating the arrival of thousands to Youghal each year, the inhabitants of the town welcome some more slippery visitors to the Cork shores with frying pans, grills and ovens. The O’Mackerel family, that is. Admission is free, safety cannot be guaranteed but all in a good cause. Finger licking good

 

For the first time, the International Federation for Disabled Sailing World Championships takes place off the Irish coast this year with over a hundred disabled participants from nearly 20 countries expected at the end of August in Kinsale, Co. Cork

 

Just need to check that the road bowls have all been collected and it’s ready steady go for the Dunmanway 10K Road Race this June in the heart of West Cork or stick your oar in over at the Cobh People’s Regatta with a festival of yachting, rowing and much more this August in Cobh, Co. Cork

 

Times are tough so with the inevitable cutbacks, the World Mini Games featuring  football 5 a-side, 7s rugby, 6s cricket, 9 hole golf, one legged races and more (okay I made the last one up) for adults of every ability takes place around Cork city this August

 

Another triathlon event takes place in Skibbereen, Co Cork this August of a sprint nature where you can swim, cycle and run for charity. Suitable for Traithlon beginners.

 

The CH Marine 2013 Glandore Classic sees all manner of boatie stuff at the end of July in Glandore, Co. Cork while the Sovereign’s Cup Sailing Regatta with hundreds of sailors and dozens of boats drop anchor in Kinsale at the end of Jun A -har

 

The century old (well almost) ‘Vibes & Scribes’ Lee Swim in the heart of the real capital takes place n July 6th while over in Baltimore, Co Cork the Lough Hyne Challenge, a triathlon event takes pace mid July with proceeds of the event gong to charity

 

And if you survive all of that, relax in style at one of Fota, The Imperial, Hayfield Manor or the River Lee hotel.

 

Roadrunners (meep meep) mix with vintage cars at the Moville Vintage Car Rally for a show and run at Moville, Co. Donegal this July while you can stay off dry land at the Culdaff Water Sports Fun Weekend in aid of the R.N.L.I with lots of fun events for all the family including the mandatory duck race this July in Donegal

 

To the sound of the Homes of Donegal,  strap on your walking boots, grab your walking stick and take part in Hill Walking in the Donegal  Highlands in the hands of experienced guides who will also fill in the blanks about the local flora and fauna as well as local song and tales throughout July and August in  Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal

 

At the annual Donegal International Rally this June from the 21st to the 23rd, you can see a collection of some of the country’s best drivers and cars compete in this 3 day rally event starting at Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

 

Now you may have heard of triathlons but Inishowen, Co Donegal goes one better with a Quadrathon  mid August for those at the top of their game and ready for the challenge of  4 Marathons in 4 Days! Who said this was fun?

Surf n turf meets rock n roll at the Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival in Bundoran, Co Donegal this June with the chance to ride the waves at dawn and dance till dusk or is that the other way around

 

Depending on your fitness level, you can witness some amazing scenery and take part in the Gaelforce North Endurance Event in Gweedore, Co Donegal this June as you cycle or run through Glenveagh National Park, Coillte tracks and Mount Errigal this June

 

Afterwards you can check in at the beautiful Solis Lough Eske hotel 

 

Of course, summer in Ireland would not be the same without the fever pitch surrounding the GAA football and hurling championships taking place the length and breadth of the county and culminating in the provincial finals in Croke Park in Dublin in September

 

Ahead of then, the Celtic Cup 2013 International Lacrosse Tourname with men’s teams from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France, take place in Dublin mid August

 

The BMW J24 is a world championships sailing event featuring  five-person sailing keelboats and takes place this August from Howth, Co. Dublin

 

Featuring athletes from the top nations in the world, the European Athletics Team Championships takes place at Santry stadium this June in Dublin

 Later you can check in at one of Dubin’s finest 5 star luxury hotels, including

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Testing their mettle at the Australian rules footie AFL European Championship in Dublin this August will be teams from northern Europe competing for gold and glory.

Jolly hockeysticks meets wet , wet, wet this June at the Dublin Underwater Hockey Invitational Tournament where players from across Europe swim to the bottom of the pool to try to get a lead puck on the pool floor. Have to read that one again

 

Later you can check in at one of Dubin’s finest luxury hotels, including

 

Take a fresh angle on the Portumna Coarse Angling Match over two days at the end of June with plenty of prize money to fish for at this Galway event.

 

Do your bit for charity at the Connemara’s WaterSports for CARI at this hardy annual event in Renvyle, Co. Galway this August or swim your way across Galway Bay from Aughinish in Co. Clare, to Salthill, Galway at the end of July and you can even ride your bicycle also (not on the same day) in aid of a good cause this August as part of the Great Spin Out West cycling event for charity around scenic Oughterard, Co. Galway while the Simon Women’s Mini Marathon kicks off on June 23rd in Galway city

 

The traditional Galway Hookers feature in the mid August Cruinniu na mBad Festival out of Kinvara with a bit-een of  sean nos singing and dancing thrown in after the races for good measure.

 

And when you’re ready to be fed and watered in style, check out one of Galway’s 5 star luxury hotels including

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Featuring those beautiful Connemara ponies, the Cashel Pony Show takes place on August 4th this year.

 

Watch the most beautiful scenery in the west spin past as you put your pedal to the test this August at the aptly named Roundstone Tour de Bog cycle near Roundstone, Co. Galway

 

No stranger to beautiful scenery is Killarney which plays able host to the Gleneagle Run marathon – 10K with half and full with races to suit all levels on July 29th centred around this lively Kerry town.

 

Sisters are doing it for themselves at this July’s 2 Sisters Golf Tournament in Kenmare, Co Kerry while in August for the hardier souls, the  Hardman Triathlon with Iron and Olympic distance triathlons takes place along the ring of Kerry. Not to be out done, Sneem also hosts a triathlon event at the end of June.

 

As Fungi watches from the distance through binoculars at the people Kerry, look no further than Dingle, Co Kerry and the long running annual Dingle Races this August

 

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Let someone else do the walking or running at the July Racing Festival in Killarney’s from July 15th to 18th and again at the end of August.

 

Definitely not for the faint hearted but for a worthwhile cause is the Climb 4 Concern to the top of Ireland’s highest peak at Carrauntoohil in Kerry this July.

 

You can continue to fizz with athletic excitement throughout the first two weeks of July with the Kerry Activity Experience and take part in a cycle around the ring of Kerry, walks, golf, even triathlons. And every Wednesday over the summer months you can take a walk and boat trip from Dundag Boathouse, Killarney. Or you could just check in at one of the fine luxury hotels Kerry has to offer and watch it in style from your room. Local 5 star hotels include The G, The Meyrick, Park House, Rosleague or Galway Bay Hotel.

 

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Leixlip, Co Kildare hosts the All Ireland Tag Rugby Finals at the end of June and from July 20th to 21st, the Darley Irish Oaks Weekend takes place at the Curragh with fun and frolics for all. At the end of July, you can spend a leisurely day bog walking saving the turf, eating ham sandwiches like your mother used to make, drinking gallons of tea and rekindling old memories near Rathangan, Co. Kildare

 

Fore! The Irish Open 2013 takes place at Carton House on June 27th while sporty Kildare sees the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival take place a few days later.

 

Over in Kilkenny, the Graignamanagh/Tinnahinch Regatta & Rowing Festival kicks off on the first weekend in August with events centred around the river and a the end of June, Kilkenny city hosts the Marble City Sevens Rugby challenge attracting Irish and overseas talent to test their mettle on the pitch at the end of June.

 

Of course, no mention of sport in Kilkenny could be made without the ‘h’ word which you can experience almost all year round at the Kilkenny Way and its promised ultimate hurling experience in the city

 

The picturesque town of Stradbally hosts its 12th Annual Laois Walks Festival this July from the 1st to the 3rd and features walks along country roads, woods, bogs and canals.

 

Leitrim is under water with the Sub-Aqua Club having a day of watersport fun on August 31st with the Great Jamestown to Drumsna Swim and Finn. Grab your speedos, some flippers and heat up at the barbeque afterwards. Just remember to take the flippers off first

 

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Twilight racing is on form at Limerick Racecourse this June and July with the gee gees all set to thrill in the dark alongside their two footed friends with live music and entertainment even if you don’t notch up a few winners. No horseplay mind

 

Staying with the horsey theme, the Limerick town of Killmallock sees the Headless Horseman Adventure Race this July – sounds intriguing so grab your running shoes, bicycle and kayak and head to historic Lough Gur and let your heart rule your head on this one

 

Limerick hosts the Beast of Ballyhoura adventure race over 36 hours across the Cork, Limerick & Tipperary this August bank holiday weekend.

 

Combining food and sport is the Pig ‘n’ Porter Tag Rugby Festival this July at the world’s largest tag rugby festival with hundreds of mixed teams huffing and puffing all day and later getting jiggy with it all evening in weatherproof style under canvas in Limerick

 

At the end of July the People of Clondra, Co Longford host a Canoe Polo Festival and later on this summer, the Royal Canal Amenity Group Boat Rally docks in with entertainment to keep the landlubbers happy

 

For the nautically challenged, Longford’s Lord of the Dring endurance sprint distance triathlon with a swim in the Dring Lake, a cycle on a and 5k run will test your fitness at the end of July just after you‘ve taken part in yet another triathlon, this time at the Lanesboro ‘Two Provinces’ Sprint event in Longford mid July.

 

The World Youth Fly Fishing Championship for teenagers takes place at the end of July while Carlingford, Co Louth hosts the Lough Maritime Festival a little earlier in the month when you can witness a tall ship sail into the Lough and an emigration re-enactment at Greenore.

 

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside and on Jun 23rd you can check out the rafts at the Blackrock Raft Race Day but Louth is not short of land based activities this summer with the Carlingford Lough Endurance Challenge early July , the Michael Fearon / Kevin Marron 5K Road early August and the All Ireland Poc Fada Championships  on August 3rd at Ravensdale this summer.

 

A marathon of a different sort takes place at the Cooley Thriller XC Mountain Bike Marathon at the end of August at Carlingford, Co. Louth

 

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Moving north by north west, Achill, Co Mayo hosts the Give It A Go Weekend mid June while the Elverys Sport Achill Half Marathon takes place early July and the Féile Siúlóidí Acla walking festival early August which will allow you to enjoy the beauty of Achill and get some healthy exercise at the same time. For the fitter amongst you Achill hosts some more serious athletics towards the end of August with a multi marathon event

 

Off the Mayo coast you can cast your rod and take your chances during the Westport Sea Angling Festival in June over a few days from land and sea basing yourself around Westport, Co Mayo or enjoy a fun day of currach racing and other sea sports this Bastille day off Clare Island, Co. Mayo

 

Walk your little pink socks off at the Castlebar International Four Days Walking Festival this July and if your fitness level stretches further, much further, you can take part in the Race2Glory adventure race over bog and road this July in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo. And if that doesn’t finish you off, check out the Gaelforce West multi-sport adventure races in Westport, Co. Mayo. Phew

 

A little more sedentary is the Western Ocean Walking Weekend which takes place over the August bank holiday weekend and at a slower pace.

 

And when you’re ready to soak your feet in style, check out the luxury offers from Ashford Castle, The Ice House or Lisloughey Lodge.

 

The Bellewstown Horse Racing Festival has a long history and takes place in the Co Meath venue from August 21st to 22nd. While racing of a different kind takes place at the ALMC Motor Club Stages Rally outside Dunboyne on July 7th

 

Set around the beautiful Lough Key, shed your civvies, don your togs and swim either the short or long way around the Castle Island in Roscommon this June

 

The Tanagh Outdoor Centre in Monaghan offers land and water based activities this June while the World Youth Fly Fishing Championship also features near Emyvale at the end of July

 

The Sligo Stages Rally sees over a hundred crews racing over a hundred kilometres this July in and around Sligo Town

 

An inland sailing championship? Indeed. Over the August bank holiday weekend the Mirror Worlds Sailing Championship takes place around Dromineer, Co Tipperary and features dinghy sailors from all over Ireland and as far flung as China. Bring your own pump

 

Tipperary’s love affair with hurling spills over at the Sarsfield’s International Hurling Festival during the month of July as international teams compete for cup glory at this historic Co. Tipperary venue

 

A walk with a difference takes place in Tipperary at the end of July as the St. Declan’s Way Pilgrimage Walk sets off from Cashel, Co. Tipperary. Bring a compass

 

The annual swim across Dungarvan Bay takes place mid August with the RNLI Helvick Swim in aid of the RNLI. Over in Dunmore East the ramblers take to the Waterford seashores mid June for a Rambling Festival. And if you missed that one, you can always aim for the WLRfm Waterford Viking Marathon at the end of June.

 

The Camphire International Horse Trials take place this July in Waterford or you can sample four days of seaside horse racing at Waterford’s Tramore August Racing Festival mid August with the annual Ladies and family day.

 

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What better way to catch the sights of Waterford than on yer bike at the Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford taking place around Dungarvan at the end of August

 

Between events, you can wine and dine in style at 4 star Waterford Castle.

 

The magnificent Irish Draught horse makes an appearance at the Irish Draught Horse National Show this July in Moate, Co. Westmeath while other horses for courses feature at the Midlands Connemara Pony Breeders Show at the end of July in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath. At a slightly faster pace, the Fore Motorcycle Racing Club zooms its way around Athlone mid July.

 

Another triathlon event takes place mid August at the Tri the Hook event at Fethard On Sea, Co. Wexford.

 

And if you have a kite to fly then Wexford’s Hooked Kitefest which takes place mid August may be the event for you though you may have to be content to watch the pros compete for honours.

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The Wicklow Regatta Festival takes place over this August bank holiday weekend while the following week sees the Gravity Enduro Irish Mountain Bike Championships and World Series burst into Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow at top speed.

 

July in Wicklow sees the Greystones Rugby 7s Festival while mid August it’s the turn of the Ireland’s International Ladies Polo Tournament.

 

The Wicklow Adventure Race at Glenmalure promises cycling adventures aplenty up and down hill, through dry and wet terrain. Plenty to get down and dirty with at the end of July regardless of the weather.

 

One event that promises to reach higher levels than most others throughout Ireland this summer is the Balto Balloon Fest which is a three day festival of Hot Air Ballooning just in time for the summer solstice at Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow

 

And if your head is still up in the air then the Bat Walk at Powerscourt this August at Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow is the thing for you. Capes optional

 Whew!