Technically speaking there’s still another month left in the summer, even if the weather has other ideas. Still, with the kids off school and many parents taking a break from work, it’s time to take a few trips – for free.
Pay a visit to one of Ireland’s many Office of Public Works (OPW) managed sites for free on the first Wednesday of each month. Just make sure that you arrive early to avoid missing out on the first-come first-served admission. The list of fantastic heritage sites includes the Charles Fort in Kinsale, Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin city, Kilkenny Castle, Newgrange, the Rock of Cashel and many more besides.
One of our greatest natural resources are our national parks, maintained for the benefit of everyone. No matter what province you’re in there are plenty of walkways and trails to take a pleasant stroll or enjoy a brisk cycle. Ireland has six national parks: Glenveagh in Co Donegal, the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Kerry’s Killarney National Park, The Burren in Co Clare, Connemara, and Ballycroy National Park in Mayo.
Welcome to Westeros
Game of Thrones fan? Then why not take a drive through scenic Northern Ireland, stopping off at filming locations used in the hit television series, like Tollymore Forest Park in Down (the Haunted Forest), Antrim’s Dark Hedges (the Kingsroad) or Downhill Strand in Derry (Dragonstone).
Visit Chester Beatty
Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library is a great way to spend an hour or three, with hundreds of entrancing pieces from Egyptian Books of the Dead and Biblical papyri to Chinese artwork and Byzantine manuscripts. Best of all, admission to this fantastic museum is absolutely free.
Tucked away in the heart of Co Carlow, Altamount Gardens is a beautifully secluded spot set over 40 acres, with a twisting and turning walking trail that is sure to delight kids and adults alike. There’s also a large car park, toilets and picnic tables for the hungry. Admission fee only applies for groups.
Located in County Cork, the village of Liscarroll is home to a donkey sanctuary, which has taken in more than 4,000 of the gentle creatures since it first opened. The sanctuary relies solely on donations and generosity to survive, and has free parking and admission.