A Health Focused Vacation in Ireland: a New Year’s resolution that’s easy to keep!
It’s that time of year again… the Christmas decorations are stored away for another twelve months, our thoughts are firmly focused on the year ahead and we’re full of good intentions and stern promises. As the weeks pass by it’s easy to let the resolutions slide so it’s vital to strike while the iron is hot and plan some positive ways to make 2017 a year to remember. I’m not talking about taking out a gym membership or going on a tortuous fad diet, I’m talking about crossing a few things off your bucket list, visiting new places, learning new skills, meeting new people and, as a happy side effect, improving your health and fitness!
Ireland is the perfect holiday destination for those who love the outdoors – impressive coastal paths and hill walks, windswept sandy beaches and forested parkland are popular with the health conscious traveller. Increasingly, visitors to Ireland, along with the Irish themselves, are taking it up a notch; combining the beauty of the outdoors, high intensity exercise, healthy eating and a touch of luxury – tailor-made wellbeing vacations in Ireland can benefit your health, help you to understand some of Ireland’s age old health secrets and are, unsurprisingly, one of the most popular travel trends.
There are a variety of sport camps and health classes to choose from, depending on your interests and capabilities including the 5 kilometre Parkrun, which takes place every Saturday morning in public parks throughout the country (the Parkrun is free but you need to register online before the event). For something a bit more exclusive, Pure Results Boot Camp, described as ‘Ireland’s premier health and fitness retreat’, may be of interest. Run by television presenter turned health guru, Kathryn Thomas, the 7 day camps which are based in the spectacular Parknasilla Resort & Spa, Kerry and Temple Lodge & Spa, Westmeath, include boxercise, yoga and wellbeing education sessions. At the end of the hard work out, you can enjoy the wonderful spa facilities and luxury accommodation of these high end resorts. This is an ideal way to see the Irish countryside, get fit and enjoy a bit of pampering and is perfect for lone travellers, couples or groups who are up for a bit of fun.
Credit Aloha Surf School, Fanore, Co. Clare
You can’t go to Ireland without dipping your toes in the wild Atlantic Ocean so why not take it a step further and learn how to surf? The West of Ireland has some of the best surfing conditions in the world and there are many established independent surf schools all along the rugged coast. The Aloha Surf School in Fanore, Co. Clare is a perfect place to learn and offers private lessons for individuals and families or, alternatively, you can join a group of other like-minded beginners to grasp the basics and make some new friends. The scenic Fanore and Aloha Surf School are located just over an hour away from Galway City and 20 minutes from the popular town of Lisdoonvarna (home to the famous Matchmaking Festival), making it a perfect stop off point along the Wild Atlantic Way.
If boot camps and surfing aren’t your cup of tea there are alternative activities that can be just as beneficial for your health. The Cliffs of Moher Retreat in Liscannor, Co. Clare offers yoga retreats and accommodation in a dry facility with panoramic ocean views. An experienced team of teachers and guest instructors lead weekend and week-long courses which include mindfulness, meditation and hiking. This truly spectacular setting alone is enough to rid yourself of the stresses of daily life and blow away the cobwebs – after a weekend yoga retreat you will feel like a whole new person. Again, perfect for the lone traveller, couples or groups and a great way to experience the Irish landscape.
In addition to your activity holiday, or indeed for the less able bodied travellers who wish to have a health focused experience, why not consider a cookery class? Ireland has some of the best cookery schools in Europe, with Ballymaloe Cookery School in Co. Cork being one of the most renowned. Depending on your particular taste and ambition, there is a suitable option for you and there is the added bonus of learning a skill that can you can continue to benefit from, long after you return home. A cookery class with a particular focus on health are those offered by the Soul Food Company, run by Maggie Lynch at The Irish Institute of Nutrition & Health ‘Taste Health Kitchen’. Held in Loughlinstown, in Dublin are a range of practical, one day courses designed for those wanting ‘understanding, inspiration and useful advice to enhance their own and family’s eating habits and health’. The classes include lunch and dinner and are a fantastic way to experience healthy Irish cuisine in the country’s capital and another must for a 2017 vacation in Ireland.
After all that fun, exercise and delicious food, you’ll want to bring a piece of your experience home with you when you leave. To continue looking after yourself Irish-style why not snap up a few jars of Green Angel Body Smoothers (Patchouli, Tea Tree & Orange is my favourite). Green Angel is an Irish company that uses ingredients such as Irish seaweed in their products which are truly luxurious and make great gifts for friends and family back home!
The first few months of the New Year is the perfect time to plan your vacation. Let 2017 be the year that you take some time to look after yourself and put your health first… The experienced staff in Ireland Luxury Travel can help you organise a life changing, tailor made vacation designed to meet your specific needs. Get in touch – we can make it happen!
Erica McCarthy, Mulitmedia Executive