Ballyhoura Country Has You ‘Feeling Good’ This Summer!
Nina Simone famously sang about ‘Feeling Good’, and nowhere is there a region in rural Ireland more suited to tap that sense this summer than Ballyhoura Country. From feelings of creativity to nostalgia to adventure to relaxation and much more, this hidden gem - located at the crossroads of Munster, on the borders of Limerick, Cork & Tipperary – offers myriad opportunities to take yourself and your family off beyond the well-worn tourist tracks. Your only difficulty may be choosing where to start!
With its reputation as an outdoor destination, Ballyhoura Country undoubtedly whets the appetite of those who are feeling adventurous this summer. Its freshly-resurfaced Green and Brown mountain bike trails form part of the region’s 98km network of trails: Ballyhoura’s Mountain Bike Trails are the largest in Ireland, traversing through lush forests, and over hills and mountains. Go hire a bike from Ballyhoura Trailriders: no matter your level, get out cycling and exploring!
If your thrill-seeking, adventuring streak is even more extreme, you can undertake exciting quests and learn new skills at Ballyhass Mallow, with Aquapark, Axe Throwing, Archery, Ziplining and Wakeboarding on the menu. Also on the water is the Lough Gur Kayaking Experience through July and August, while on ‘terra firma’, Ballyhoura Horse Trekking with John Joe is back!
Walkers – adventurers for sure, albeit at a slower pace – have so much to enjoy this season; Ballyhoura’s brand new Trails Guide App is already proving incredibly popular with walkers since its recent launch, while the highlight of the year will undoubtedly be the 26th Ballyhoura Walking Festival from 7th-9th October, so be sure and save the date!
Many will prefer to enjoy Ballyhoura at a more leisurely pace; this summer, those who want to feel relaxed during their stay have lots of choice. Its breath-taking landscape alone brings a sense of calm, and is a key to many of the amenities to help visitors relax and unwind.
You can take some time out at the Yoga & Art Morning Retreat on Sunday 17th July in the Castle Wood – it includes meditation and a yoga walk through the woods followed by an art class in the mountains. Meanwhile, the region’s Mindful Farmer, Patrick Mulcahy, is hosting a one-day retreat on Saturday 23rd July in Balliwillin House and Farm, the luxury 18th century country house on the edge of Mitchelstown, where you can join him on a journey to nourish your soul and nurture your body.
The Office of Public Works has carried out extensive works on Anne’s Grove Gardens, a 190-acre historic estate near Castletownroche, and are thrilled to offer tours of its gardens this season too.
For those with a creative bent, this season’s activities in Ballyhoura Country will provide the perfect backdrop for inspiration, for young and old. Kilmallock Library and Music Generation Limerick have joined forces to host an exciting – and free – Creative Songwriting Camp from Tues 26th – Thurs 28th July, suitable for 9-12 year olds. Maybe the next Dermot Kennedy or Hozier will start their creative journey at Ballyhoura!
Also in Kilmallock, Friar’s Gate Theatre holds a week-long kids’ Performing Arts Summer Camp from Mon 18th – Fri 22nd July, while the same location hosts a Kids’ Summer Day Time Movies on 14th
July and 16th August. Meanwhile, Mallow hosts its Arts Festival from 20th-24th
July – with a wide range of cultural and creative events to enjoy.
If you’re feeling nostalgic for the past, Ballyhoura Country’s rich cultural history spans centuries and this summer offers some wonderful insights into the region’s past. Doneraile Park and Gardens are running a series of very special guided tours on selected dates throughout the 2022 season, with exclusive access to the 17th century private Pleasure Gardens, Parterre, and Walled Gardens.
Historic Family Homes Tours are back open for tours from the 18th July; these include Castlegarde Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Ireland, dating back to c.1190, as well as Lismacue House and Grenane House - both in Co Tipperary.
National Heritage Week will shortly be launching its schedule, but one event already confirmed for it – and which is attracting lots of interest – is the Doomed Inheritance History Conference, which commences on 12th August. The conference marks 100 years since the burning of Mitchelstown Castle, the biggest house ever burned down in Ireland. The launch of the conference will see the unveiling of the Mitchelstown Castle Coats of Arms, the launch of the book, “Doomed Inheritance”, by conference organiser and local historian Bill Power, as well as the opening of a photographic exhibition of views of Mitchelstown Castle, some of which have never previously been seen by the public. You can download the Conference Schedule HERE.
When you feel curious, you can find lots of things to do – and this is definitely the case in Ballyhoura Country during this summer season. Griston Bog is a wildlife bog walk and an outdoor classroom rich in biodiversity, while the garden experiences of Coolwater Garden and Cahernorry Church and Gardens are both well worth a visit.
After a long day’s exploration of the region, you may be feeling the need to be entertained. Charleville Park Hotel’s live music schedule is back, featuring some of Ireland’s top-tier performers: Johnny McEvoy, Mike Denver and Declan Nerney are among the headline acts.
There is something for everyone to enjoy in Ballyhoura Country, where will your feelings take you this summer?