Adventure Activities: Live Bravely

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Too much time spent in work breeds restlessness and a longing for a real challenge in life, a bit like Luke Skywalker during his long years as a farmhand; fear not, there are activities that will fulfil that need. Whether it is shooting whales (with your camera!), climbing a mountain or a gruelling hiking trip – you’ll find adventure here.

The Great Outdoors

An adventure need not involve swordfights or explosions; a hike in the nearest mountainous area is sufficiently out of the ordinary for most people. The gently rolling hills of Ireland’s mountainous regions may not look much in comparison with the haughty peaks you witnessed on your skiing holiday to the Alps, but believe me, it’s tough going! The goal is to witness firsthand the beautiful scenes that are to be had from Ireland’s mountain-tops, and the sense of achievement when that goal is attained would warm the most jaded of hearts.

Adventure sports are increasingly popular these days, more and more people have the financial resources to take part in what were previously largely exclusive activities. For those who find hiking a bit too laid back, and who prefer their inclines more vertical, there is always the option of rock climbing. Students new to the sport, and with an aversion to being buffeted by a breeze while dangling on a rope, can start off on an indoor synthetic rock-face.

Riding the waves

The rivers and oceans are very popular arenas for sports with a hint of danger. Kayaking was first practised by the Inuit peoples of the Artic and is primarily different from canoeing in that the paddler sits with his/her legs stretched out in front. Introductory courses, organised by the Irish Canoe Union in Co Dublin, involve one evening class a week and include one full-day river trip. Sailing classes are available for people of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Spectacular coastline and lively seas surround Ireland, perfect conditions for the keen amateur sailor.

Northern Ireland and the Republic have some of the best coastlines for surfing in Europe. Admittedly for most of the year, the climate does not exactly cause the sprightly melodies of the Beach Boys to spring to mind. Real surfing however, is not about getting a suntan and using an irritating Californian slang; it’s about the thrill of riding a wave, some rather monstrous examples of which are regular visitors to our coastline.

Diving Adventure

There is a touch of 007 escapism to the two final examples of water-based adventure sports, scuba diving and powerboating. PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) courses are the internationally excepted standard, and lessons are available for every skill level; beginners usually find their frog feet in a swimming pool. There is more to diving than stalking fish; classes are provided that teach the student to navigate underwater, explore wrecks, dive at night, and much more. Powerboat lessons may be not everyone’s idea of tasteful good fun, but what do they know! A memorable adventure, with a touch of audacious extravagance for good measure.

Facing other kinds of fears

Other activities do not even require you to leave the dining table. Enrolling in a toastmasters class will help you to master the art of public speaking in a fun atmosphere, surely a worthwhile activity considering the palm-wetting experience that is giving a speech as well received as Ebola.

All these activities offer an excellent opportunity for office team-building exercises. The bond forged between co-workers while hurtling terrified down white water rapids is stronger than any made over a few drinks in the local. Previously untapped leadership skills may be uncovered in the quiet girl from accounts, as she chivvies and rallies her co-workers on a tough two-day hike.

So, partake in an adventure activity, leave the mundane world behind for a day or two, and learn something about yourself. It’s a new year and a new you!


Gemma is a nomadic writer, filmmaker, & journalist.
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