Thursday 19 January 2017

Pól Ó Conghaile: Feel the rain and enjoy the summer holidays anyway

Bank holiday bonanza

Published 26/07/2015 | 02:30

Beast of Ballyhoura
Beast of Ballyhoura
Clew Bay

The August bank holiday is almost upon us, yet it's hard to shake the feeling that much of our precious summer holidays have been washed away by rain.

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Summer showers can really wreck heads.

School's out, the days are long and sunscreen is stocked on the hall table, yet there you are dashing for the car in raincoats. But there's no point moaning. As foreign visitors know, nobody holidays in Ireland for sunshine. They do it for landscape, hospitality, food, adventure and craic.

Whatever the weather, there's no shortage of those next weekend. In Cork, Films at Fitzy's (corkfilmfest.org) sees movies like Amélie and Good Vibrations under the stars in Fitzgerald Park. The Beast of Ballyhoura adventure race (see below) dashes across the south, while the Indiependence Music Festival (indiependencefestival.com) sees Basement Jaxx, the Dandy Warhols and Kodaline hit Mitchelstown.

The Galway Races need little introduction; Spraoi (spraoi.com) is set to rock the streets of Waterford; and, as you read, lovely Marys from all over the world are congregating in Donegal for the Mary from Dungloe festival (no, really; maryfromdungloe.com).

If the rain returns, remember that many of Ireland's museums and galleries are free (and come with a roof), and half the fun of adventures like surfing, coasteering and mountain biking is that you get wet or muddy anyway. Rain or shine, it's the last bank holiday weekend of the summer, so make the most of it!

Who cares about the weather if you're getting wet anyway?

The Clew Bay raft-building championships (pictured above) take place next Sunday on Clare Island, with teams of four to six building rafts to race around a 300-metre course in Clew Bay. Clare Island Adventures (clareislandadventures.ie) will provide gear and materials. All you need to do is show up in a swimsuit with a can-do attitude. Entry is €60 per team (you can do it in fancy dress, too). If you fancy staying over, €99pp will buy you B&B at the Go Explore Hostel and return ferry tickets.

Splash

There'll be splashing of a different sort in Ballyhoura next weekend, as 50 teams from all over Europe compete in the 2015 Adventure Racing European Series Final.

The aptly titled Beast of Ballyhoura (beastofballyhoura.com) comes in at a whopping 72 hours, with participants kayaking, mountain biking, swimming and trekking their way across a course in an ordeal so gruelling, some are said to hallucinate about monsters along the way. Spectating is rather less testing, thankfully - see visitballyhoura.com for special offers.

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