Discovering Outdoor Spaces on our doorstep
#The Great Escape 2021. There is nothing like a day spent outside to clear our heads…
As kids, we spent more time outdoors than inside (no matter the weather) and as we explored forests and beaches and parks, there really was a simple appreciation for what was to be found in The Great Outdoors.
As our days have become busier and more stressful, we want to take this time to remind you about how great you can feel after a day (or a few days) outside in nature.
Before we talk about some of the great Outdoor spaces and adventures we have found on Irelands east Coast, we want to talk briefly about the benefits of spending time outdoors.
Improves mood Researchers have found that nature simply makes us happy. Anxiety, depression and anger are notably decreased after spending time outdoors.
Lowers blood pressure & reduces stress Spending time walking outside and simply looking at trees as you stroll along, lowers blood pressure and reduces the stress-related hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Improves focus Studies show that both adults and children who have difficulties focusing are better able to concentrate after being in nature. Nature allows our brains to take a break and can reduce symptoms of ADHD.
Helps us heal quicker Researchers discovered that patients who spent time outdoors during their recovery from illness and surgery required fewer painkillers, had fewer complications and experienced shorter hospital stays.
Supports graceful aging (we like this one!) — According to a study in the Journal of Aging and Health, adults over 70 who spent time outdoors experienced fewer sleep difficulties and complained less about aches and pains.
So, here are some great Outdoor Places and Spaces that we have found along the East Coast:
Newgrange Farm, Slane Co. Meath is a family owned and run working farm and educational facility, where adults and children can try the “hands on” experience of bottle feeding, feeding, holding, petting, and seeing all the usual farm animals. The farm also displays of vintage farm machinery, farm animals, crops, wool, herb garden, a rural life museum and a blacksmiths forge. Plenty to keep everyone entertained!
Bru na Boinne, Donor, Co Meath (Article Header Image) Older than the Egyptian pyramids, Bru na Boinne serves as the largest Neolithic archeological complex in Europe, designated as a World Heritage Site. This 5,000-year-old site includes mounds, chamber tombs, standing stones, and henges, encompassing about 800 hectares (2,000 acres). The site’s star attractions are three passage graves built with an impressive knowledge of science and astronomy and containing significant collections of megalithic art. Wow! One for the list for sure…
The Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens, Kildare provide comfort to the soul, achieving exactly the objective that was set out when the gardens were created between 1906 and 1910. Devised by Colonel William Hall Walker, a wealthy Scotsman from a famous brewing family, the gardens were laid out by Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. Their aim was, through trees, plants, flowers, lawns, rocks and water, to symbolise the ‘Life of Man’. That legacy is now admired by the 120,000 visitors who soak up the peace of the gardens every year. This is not to be missed!
Killruddery House & Gardens, Wicklow is a true celebration of the Great Outdoors in an authentic, bio-diverse space. People who visit Kilruddery enjoy it as their own back garden. The estate produce chemical-free vegetables, fruit, cut-flowers and free-range meats for our Farm Shop and all our ‘garden-to-plate’ menus in the Grain Store Cafe and Tea Room. Killruddery House & Gardens is situated 20kms south of Dublin, just beyond Bray in Co. Wicklow.
Tipi Adventures Ireland, Rathdrum Co Wicklow is inspired by love for the outdoors. Camping with family and close friends allows everyone an opportunity to wind down and enjoy each others’ company with the simpler things in life. With a selection of tree tents, camping hammocks and of course tipis, they facilitate private gatherings, schools, clubs and corporate groups with the exclusive use of the site and equipment. ALl only 50 minutes from Dublin!
Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 1
This area is teeming with great adventures this summer, From Kayaking, Surfing (yes!) and museums with a difference…and with plenty of open spaces and great cafes and restaurants (and coffee shops), this area is a great choice for a day out.
Surfdock is a man made structure that provides the perfect playground for the Surfdock Watersports Centre. Surfdock also offers SUP lessons and board rental. It also has shower facilities on site. WakeDock is also to be found at Grand Canal Dock and is Ireland’s first cable wakeboard park!
The Jeanie Johnston tells the story of the thousands of Irish people who fled the Famine and embarked on a treacherous voyage in the hope of a better life in North America. Step on board and you will be transported back in time. This is a terrific experience for the whole family.
EPIC Irish Emigration Museum, located in Dublin’s Docklands and is not actually outdoors, but we felt that it must be mentioned here. The museum covers the history of the Irish diaspora and emigration to other countries. It was voted as “Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction” at the 2019 and 2020 World Travel Awards and there are so many reasons why it deserves these accolades. If you only do one thing when visiting Dublin this summer, this is it!
Finally, one of our favourite spaces to embrace the outdoors in Dublin is Merrion Square. Immaculately maintained by the OPW, it is a haven of tranquility right in the heart of the centre. During the pandemic, the OPW drew large 2 metre hearts on the grass so that friends and families could enjoy the space whilst social distancing and keeping safe.
No matter where you go this summer, there is always a great outdoor space, beach, park or adventure trail close by.
So, get out, explore, enjoy and make sure to take any rubbish home with you please 🙂