So you booked holiday for this week – just in time for the weather to break. Never mind: there’s still plenty to do and see in Ireland
If you were stuck at home during the recent heatwave, you were likely cursing the people who were spending their holidays in Kerry or Mayo in the tropical sunshine.
But if your own staycation is booked for this week when the weather is forecast to be fairly miserable, don’t despair. Here are some ideas for how to save your staycation, even when the rain won’t stop…
Who needs the paradise seas of west Cork when you can splash around in a swimming pool?
After all, the rain outside won’t matter when you’re zooming down a flume. Leisureland (leisureland.ie) in Salthill is great, with a 65m water slide and an inflatable obstacle course.
Do check ahead of time, though, a lot of the larger waterparks and pools are still closed due to Covid restrictions.
There’s nothing like a bathroom that’s not yours – especially if there’s a bath tub involved. Treat yourself to a fancy bath soak, or get creative with your own seaweed bath from Voya (voya.ie).
Light an aromatherapy candle, pop on a face mask and throw some classical music on in the background, and you’ll soon forget how miserable it is outside.
If that sounds like too much effort, go to an actual spa and treat yourself to a day package – try Kilronan Castle (kilronancastle.ie) in Leitrim or Cliff House Hotel (cliffhousehotel.ie) in Waterford.
We’ve all got that pile of books sitting on the bedside locker. And despite our best intentions (and numerous lockdowns), that pile is unlikely to shrink that easily. So lean into the gloom, light the fire and spend a day curled up with the books you’ve been meaning to read for months, without any distractions in your way.
You know those recipes that you dream of making, but can’t justify the hours it would take? Now is the time. Dig out a cook book and pick out the fanciest recipe you’ve always wanted to try. Besides, a gloomy day is always cheered up by something slow cooked and decadent. Otherwise, give a meal kit a bash – the dumpling home meal kits by Kwanghi Chan are fantastic, and feed up to four people (bowls.ie).
Don’t skip that sea swim just because it’s raining. You’re going to get wet anyway, so why not get drizzled on first? Bring along a thermos of tea (or a hip flask of brandy) for afterwards, as well as a big fluffy towel and warm clothes. Of course, it goes without saying that you should only swim when it’s safe to do so – check out the guidelines from Water Safety Ireland beforehand (watersafety.ie).
We all know about the big museums in Dublin, but there are some fantastic smaller ones all around the country that you may not have visited. The Mayo outpost of the National Museum of Ireland, Country Life, is just outside Castlebar (museum.ie), and is a brilliant spot, split between a Victorian gothic mansion and a modernist building overlooking the lake.
Let’s face it, we’re built for the rain in Ireland. So there are any number of places designed to keep the kids entertained when it’s lashing outside. If you’re around Dublin, the Jump Zone (jumpzone.ie) trampoline parks are great fun, with locations in Liffey Valley, Sandyford and Santry. Or try the indoor rock climbing walls in Dublin and Cork from Awesome Walls (awesomewalls.ie).
Obviously, this is easier if you’re fully vaccinated. But if you are, there’s no better place to while away a few hours than next to a smouldering fireplace in a cosy little pub. In Wicklow, the Roundwood Inn (roundwood.ie) fits the bill nicely, with a giant fireplace, comfy seats and a menu of drizzly day classics like pheasant stew and baskets of chicken and chips.
If you (or the kids) feel like a rainy staycation is basically prison, then get some perspective at one of Ireland’s gaols. In Dublin, Kilmainham Gaol (kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie) is a must-visit, as is Belfast’s Crumlin Road Gaol (crumlinroadgaol.com). In Cork, Spike Island (spikeislandcork.ie) has the added bonus of a ferry ride thrown in.
At the risk of sounding like your mammy, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. So get kitted out in your best wellies and waterproofs, and head out for a walk even if it’s grim outside. We all know how the Irish weather can change at the drop of a hat. Your walk might just coincide with the sun re-emerging from the clouds. Well, we can dream.