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May Bank Holiday Adventures 2014

Posted on April 30, 2014 @ 4:37 PM in Adventure

You have reached the OutdoorNI.com My Bank Holiday blog for 2014 but don't worry there's still plenty of adventure activities happening this year too!  Check out our latest blog May Bank Holiday Adventure for loads of events happening in 2015.

Make the most of your three day weekend and spend some quality time in the outdoors with the family or have a laugh with your friends this May Bank Holiday Weekend.

Activity providers across Northern Ireland have special events happening this weekend and here are just some of what is on offer over the May Bank Holiday.

May Bank Holiday Family Adventures

There are plenty of options when it comes to family activities happening in Northern Ireland this weekend, here are just a few of our favourites:


Mayday Extravaganza, Share Discovery Village, Lisnaskea, 3rd to 5th May

From rock climbing to canoeing and banana boating to windsurfing to name only a few, experience the thrills of the outdoors with your family in a variety of land and water activities.  Alternatively you can also Cruise Upper Lough Erne on 4th May.  Hop aboard the Inishcruiser and weave through the intricate network of Upper Lough Erne’s many islands.  You'll pass the ruins of the original Plantation Castle at Crom as well as the impressive 18th Century Castle which you may recognise from the recent BBC series ‘Blandings’ filmed in the grounds.

Bank Holiday Kids Camp, Long Line Surf School, Benone Beach, 3rd to 5th May

Surfs up this weekend during the May Bank Holiday Kid’s Camp! Children will be taught how to surf in a safe and fun environment surrounded by kids of their own age. This is an experience the children will remember forever.

Family Fun Day, The JungleNI, Moneymore, 4th & 5th May

The Jungle NI’s infamous Family Fun Day returns with a fantastically adventurous bang on May bank holiday weekend! With activities from only £3 including archery, segways and body zorbs, or 6 activities for £15 you can have loads of fun and enjoy some quality time with the family.

Strangford Sea Safari, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Strangford Lough, 4th May

See the Angus Rocks Lighthouse, surface whirlpools and some of the many seals at Cloughy Rocks Nature Reserve on this high speed boat ride. You might even get to see a pod of porpoises or even a basking shark!

There are so many great events happening across Northern Ireland that we couldn’t fit them all in so make sure you check out the kids & family events section for even more action packed fun!

May Bank Holiday Fun with Friends

From thrill seekers wanting to get their adrenaline pumping to friends looking for a fun day out together or those keen to learn a new sport Northern Ireland is the place to be this May Bank Holiday!

Check out the events section for a full list of adventures, here are just a few of our favourites to provide inspiration:

Sailing Courses, Craigavon Watersports Centre, Craigavon, 4th May

Set sail this weekend. Whether you are a complete beginner or have sailed before this course offers a sheltered harbour to learn in or a larger outer lake to improve and practice. There's no better feeling then gliding along the water with the wind in your sails!

Introduction to Sea Kayaking, Simply Sea Kayak, 3rd & 4th May

Try something completely new with this safe, fun and informative session. You’ll learn all the basics of paddling in the stunning setting of the North Coast.

Try Mountain Biking, Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan, 3rd May

Have a go at the fantastic mountain biking trails in Castlewellan.  You'll recieve 3 hours of instruction and mountain bike hire so you can try out this muddy marvellous activity and see why so many people in Northern Ireland have become addicted to mountain biking.  Whether you are looking for an introduction to a lifelong passion or just want a fun session with friends this event will not disappoint.

Discover the Elements, Four Elements Adventure, Omagh, 3rd - 4th May

Dive right in to some adventurous activities during this action packed weekend course. Discover the water with some canoeing, get to grips with the earth in climbing/abseiling and hillwalking. Lots of fun and in the safe hands of the enthusiastic instructors.

Game of Thrones Archery Experience, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Castle Ward, 4th May

Have a go at archery in the very place where the BAFTA award winning TV show was filmed! Stand in the recreated Game of Thrones Archery film set tipi and dress in a Game of Thrones costume to look the part before taking aim.

Have a great May Bank Holiday Weekend!

Jayne Woodrow
Jayne Woodrow  Marketing Officer & Active Clubs Coordinator for Walking

Jayne joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in March 2014. She oversees the marketing and communication on WalkNI, OutdoorNI and Walking in Your Community Project. Most recently she has been working with Parkrun Ireland & UK to introduce the 'Walk @ parkrun' initiative.

Inspired by the Giro? Then check out CycleNI’s Favourite Cycle Routes

Posted on April 29, 2014 @ 2:45 PM in Cycling

With the Giro d’Italia coming to Northern Ireland next week the whole country is turning pink and getting out on their bikes. If the Giro has inspired you to get out cycling, CycleNI.com has picked out a few of their favourite routes to suit a range of abilities, both on and off road.

Co. Antrim

  • Lagan Towpath & Barnett Demesne Mountain Bike Trail – Cycle from Shaw’s Bridge along the green and blue trails of the new mountain bike trails, finishing off with a short cycle along the Lagan Towpath (total amount of cycling is around 5 miles) to the Lough Keepers Cottage for a well earned coffee and one of their gigantic tray bakes!
  • Giant's Causeway to Benone (22miles) - For a stunning road cycle along the North Coast, follow National Cycle Network Route 93 between the Giants Causeway in the east and Benone in the west, passing through the resort towns of Portrush, Portstewart and Castlerock.

Co. Armagh

  • Newry Canal Towpath – This very popular, traffic free towpath runs from Portadown to Newry, is 20 miles in length and follows the Western bank of the Newry Canal. Sections of the towpath can be cycled if you don’t want to cycle the full 20 miles.
  • Newry to Slieve Gullion Courtyard – This 10 mile route starts on road in Newry and connects with the Newry Canal Cycle Trail. Once outside Newry it follows minor country roads passing by historic places, archaeological monuments and stunning scenery within the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Once at Slieve Gullion be sure to call into the Grounded Coffee Shop in the courtyard to taste one of their many delights.

Co. Derry ~ Londonderry

  • Beech Hill – Enjoy up to 3 miles of cycling in the historic grounds of Beech Hill Country House Hotel exploring the connections the site has with World War II. Finish off the day with a visit to the Ardmore Restaurant located within the grounds of the hotel.
  • Downhill to Magilligan Point – A 13 mile road route offering some of the best kept secret views on the North Coast. On National Cycle Network 93 from Downhill Estate via Bishop's Road and onto the Martello Tower at Magilligan Point and the mouth of Lough Foyle.

Co. Down

  • Comber Greenway - The Comber Greenway is a 7 mile traffic free section of the National Cycle Network which follows the old Belfast - Comber Railway line and is very popular with walkers and cyclists.
  • Castle Ward Boundary Trail – The Castle Ward Boundary Trail is just over 8 miles in length and follows the boundary of the estate. It combines multi use trials with some swooping singletrack to get the fun going. After your bike ride relax with a cup of coffee or refuel with a bite to eat in the stableyard tea-room.

Co. Fermanagh

  • Crom Estate – Saddle up for this 3.5 mile trail at Crom Estate and discover one of Ireland's most important Nature Conservation areas passing through ancient oak woodland with views of Upper Lough Erne. Don’t miss the Crom Tea House, where it was once customary for the family of the estate to take refreshments.
  • Kingfisher Trail - The Kingfisher Trail has been named after the kingfisher, a bird long associated with the lakes, fishing and the tranquillity of the rural setting. This is a beautiful rural area of quiet country roads well suited to cycling as there is very little traffic. This 230 mile trail was the first mapped and signed long distance cycle route in Ireland and is still regarded as one of the most enjoyable.

Co. Tyrone

  • Blessingbourne Mountain Bike Trails and Pump Track - Located on a private estate in the picturesque Clogher Valley, this unique trail centre caters for mountain bikers of all ages and abilities with a range of wide flowing blue trails, perfect for families and more technical red trails suitable for more experienced riders.
  • Davagh Forest Mountain Bike Trail - The Davagh Forest Trails are located in the stunning Sperrin Mountains and offer exciting cross-country mountain bike trails with a number of hair raising rock features thrown in for good measure. With the choice of gentler green & blue circular trails, Davagh Forest should suit all abilities.

For even more routes and also to see what events are happening around the Giro coming to Northern Ireland please visit CycleNI.com

Latest comment posted by malachy rafferty on May 10, 2014 @ 4:30 AM

great info as always, we have a strong ladies cycling for leisure team whom i train and they are keen to get out more and visit the trails - gentle ones that is - always look forward to a great ... Read more >

Beverley Magowan
Beverley Magowan  Senior Marketing Officer

Beverley used to be a keen horse rider but since joining a local cycle club in 2013 she has developed a passion for 2 wheels instead of 4 hoofs! Meaning she can often be found on a bike exploring the roads across the country!

SSEC2014 Small Country ...Big Gear

Posted on April 29, 2014 @ 11:51 AM in Mountainbiking

The 2014 Single Speed European Championships were billed as 'Wonderfully Weird and a little bit Wacky'. So when over 260 European mountain bikers descended upon the Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails clad in everything from Scandinavian Viking Dress to Leprechauns and Clowns we knew the weekend was going to live up to it's ever growing reputation! 

Of course, SSEC2014 was always going to be 'more about the party than the prizes' and so true to form the weekend showcased the best of European Single Speeding's fun-loving ethos!  

Even the people of Castlewellan got into the action, taking the traditional 'Bike Mix Up' to a whole new level - great effort!

And then there was the now famous bike throwing competition... there's goes our trusty steed from SSEC2013. Hats off to David Mitchell who won a Surly Krampus with his colossal effort! 

Of course, there was a whole chunk of riding thrown in for good measure with first place scooped up by Italy's Umberto Corti. Congratulations Umberto!! 

Needless to say, Castlewellan was buzzing throughout the weekend with the pubs full of mountain bikers from no less than nineteen different countries across the world. Represent!

The Cafes were busy too ...here's the scene outside Coffee Dock in Castlewellan on the Saturday morning!!!

So as we wrap up this year's Single Speed European Championships all that's left to say is a huge thank you to Down District Council for funding this iconic event on the Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails. Thank you to our co-organisers and incredible volunteer team from the Northern Ireland Mountain Biking Alliance and THANK YOU to everyone who took part in SSEC2014 for making it an unforgettable weekend! 

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Sicily for SSEC2015! 

Latest comment posted by Chris Millar on April 29, 2014 @ 8:51 PM

Legendary work guys, just magic! Certainly one of the best MTB events on the calendar, and a real coup for N.I. to host this amazing event. The reception from the locals was warm and welcoming for ... Read more >

Chris Armstrong
Chris Armstrong  Mountain Bike Officer

Chris looks after all things mountain biking in Northern Ireland ...it's a tough job but someone's gotta do it!

Northern Ireland Trail Centres: Video Shorts

Posted on April 14, 2014 @ 3:17 PM in Mountainbiking

It's hard to believe but Northern Ireland's National MTB Trail Centres in Rostrevor, Castlewellan and Davagh Forest (pictured below) are now almost a year old! To celebrate MountainBikeNI.com has teamed up with local videographer Andy Yoong, Honcho Media, to produce a series of short edits from each trail centre - hope you enjoy!

Davagh Forest Trails

Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails
On the shores of Carlingford Lough, Rostrevor offers some of the most challenging mountain biking in all of Ireland where efforts are rewarded with incredible coastal views and lightning quick singletrack descents. When you add not just one but two purpose-built downhill trails to the mix, there’s no denying it… Rostrevor is a mountain biker’s haven. Check out #KodakCorner

Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails
The Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails consist of a range of green, blue and red grade (including black options) singletrack routes just minutes from the lively village of Castlewellan. As well as delivering their fair share of adrenaline, these trails offer unparalleled ‘mountainscape’ views of the Mourne Mountains. The Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails are also hosting the unique Single Speed European Championships on 25th - 27th April 2014. Check out #CastleWheelin.

Davagh Forest Trails
Davagh Forest is tucked away in the untouched rural landscape of the Sperrin Mountains and offers exhilarating XC trails that’ll tick everyone’s boxes. There is a family-friendly green trail and an easy going blue trail with some sections of more technical singletrack. There is a pump track and short skills course located at the trailhead however if you’re after a fast trail that’ll keep you on your toes then the Red Trail at Davagh Forest will be sure to hit the spot. Check out #DavaghRocks.

Fancy checking out these trail centres for yourself? Here's some info on the Latest Ferry Offers from mainland GB! Trust us, they're worth the trip! 

Chris Armstrong
Chris Armstrong  Mountain Bike Officer

Chris looks after all things mountain biking in Northern Ireland ...it's a tough job but someone's gotta do it!

Easter Family Adventures in Northern Ireland 2014

Posted on April 10, 2014 @ 7:08 PM in Adventure

If you’re struggling to think of something to keep the kids and teens amused over the Easter break that doesn’t involve a T.V. then don’t worry we’ve got a fantastic list of great outdoor family events that are sure to inspire. Join in on the fun or leave the kids to it at one of the many adventure camps taking place over the easter school holidays.   

Easter Family Friendly Adventures

Make the most of your time off together with the kids, here are just a few of the many things for families to do outdoors this easter:

Family Tri-Adventure Package, Life Adventure Centre, Castlewellan, Co. Down, 19th-26th April

Create your own adventure with 2 hours of mountain biking and 2 hours of canoe hire as well as an orienteering challenge all on the brilliant Castlewellan trails.  Why not make a day of it, pack a picnic and see who can find their way in the famous hedge maze?!

Come and Try Sailing Session, Donaghadee Sailing Club, Co. Down, 19th April

Set sail and try the exciting sport of dinghy sailing with experienced Instructors. This taster session is an ideal way for families to have their first experience of sailing on the seas.  All equipment including wetsuits and buoyancy aids will be provided so all you have to do is turn up and have fun!

Easter Family Madness, Carrowmena Activity Centre, Limavady, Co. Derry~Londonderry, 18th, 21st & 25th April

Enjoy a half or full day of activities for all the family.  Race to the top of the climbing wall, zoom along the zipline, practice your aim at archery or have a splash canoeing. If you’re having too much fun to leave then take advantage of their special glamping offer and spend the night in the great outdoors with a bit of added comfort!

Giant’s Causeway Sea Tour, Portrush, Co. Antrim, 18th, 19th, 20th & 21st April

Hop aboard the sea tour for an exciting tour with a twist!  You’ll take in the fabulous sights from the sea including the Giant’s Causeway, the Skerries, the stunning white rocks beach and historic Dunluce Castle whilst hearing some fun facts along the way.  Watch out for the seals before whizzing round the harbour on your return. 

Easter Surfing Lesson, Alive Surf School, Portrush, Co. Antrim, 21st April

Take a trip to the beach and learn to surf the waves of the North Coast together.  Equipment and tuition are included as well as a free easter egg for everyone! Mention OutdoorNI when booking to get £5 off.

Eggstreme Egg Hunt and Bunny Cruise, Share Discovery Village, Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh, 20th & 21st April

Hunt for the easter bunnies on a fun orienteering egg hunt to win your very own easter egg before cruising on the Lough Erne with plenty of fun games and activities to keep the kids amused. 

Easter Eggstravanganza, Jungle NI, Moneymore, Co. Derry~Londonderry, 21st & 22nd April

There’s plenty for everyone at the easter themed family fun day at the Jungle.  Climbing wall, archery, llama trekking, boat rides and of course an all important easter egg hunt!

Easter Adventure Camps for Kids

If you don’t want to cramp their style, drop the kids off and leave them in the safe hands of instructors who will make sure they have a fantastic time with kids their own age during these great kids camps:

Kids Easter Adventure Camp, Clearsky Adventure Centre, Castle Ward, Co. Down, 23rd – 25th April

There’ll be no need to worry about who’s going to look after the kids with activities galore in the fabulous setting of Castle Ward including pier jumping, climbing, canoeing, archery and mountain biking to name a few.  With a free bus service running from Newcastle, Downpatrick and Strangford there will be need to call on the taxi of mum and dad!  Suitable for ages 8-15.

Kids Surf Camp, Long Line Surf School, Benone Beach, Co. Derry~Londonderry, 19th-27th April 

Sure to be an experience the children will remember forever, they’ll get to have 2 hours of fun on the beach everyday whilst learning about the sport, lifestyle, culture, history and safety aspects of surfing. 

Kids Easter Adventure Camp, Mobile Team Adventure, Ardnavally Scout Centre, Belfast, 22nd - 24th April

With rafted canoeing, rock climbing, archery, orienteering, abseiling, team building games and survival skills, there won’t be a cry of ‘I’m bored!’ in sight on this adventure camp. Suitable for ages 5-14 years (split into two age groups) nobody has to miss out on the fun. 

Easter Activity Club, Bryson Lagan Sports, Belfast, 21st-25th April

Drop your kids off on the way to work for five fun filled days of activities in the heart of the city.  Enthusiastic and experienced instructors will ensure they have an exciting week of activities including canoeing, kayaking, orienteering, archery and water roller zorbs.

Check out OutdoorNI.com for even more family days out this Easter.

Latest comment posted by BECKY on August 15, 2018 @ 1:04 PM

i am mercy jesae from California, i have been surfing from Hiv Disease for past 2years now, the experiences was really bad, i was passing through a lot of hard times.. some of my symptoms where ... Read more >

Sarah Nelson
Sarah Nelson  Marketing Officer

Sarah joined the marketing team of Outdoor Recreation NI in 2011. A firm believer in giving anything a go at least once (unless it involves jumping out of a plane at 6,000ft!) she is always looking for new adventures in the outdoors and can often be found wandering the Mournes or Glens of Antrim attempting not to get lost!

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