Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Make it a summer of movement

Summer of 2020 may be looking a little bit different than you had planned a few months ago. Staycation is the new buzz word and I think it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to enjoy even more time with family and friends.

One advantage is not having to rush through airport security, arrive two hours before your flight, then all the additional travel time it takes just to get to your destination.

With a staycation you can travel from the top of Donegal to the bottom of Cork in around seven hours and see all the beauty this island has to offer, plus you can stop off and stretch your legs anytime you want.


So for the majority of us who are going to choose to stay at home this summer, what can we do?

Well this beautiful country we live in, both North and South, is set up to be explored on land and water.

Why not make this an adventure summer and get you, your family and friends outdoors and enjoy what is right on our doorsteps?

I have written many times about the advantages of being outdoors, add to that the added sense of wellbeing you get from being near water and you have a winning combination.
Let’s look at a few options you have this summer.

Hire a boat
Let’s start with a water based activities. Hiring a boat for the week and heading down the Shannon was one of the best holidays I had with my family, which was over ten years ago.
There was eight of us and some extra family and friends joined us for day trips during the week.

Firstly, the experience of just cruising down the river on a boat taking in all the sights was breathtaking at times. Watching my dad trying to get to grips with the over-steer was priceless.

Stopping off at the little towns and villages along the way, which I never would have heard off, was another plus.


Walking through these towns, stopping off to do some other activities like horse riding or even just fishing off the side of the boat was a week well spent.

Climb a mountain
We are blessed to have some amazing hikes all around Ireland. The Mourne mountains and in particular Slieve Donard is a one of my favourites hikes. A wee pint of Guinness at the bottom is always a must.

Another special climb I enjoy is Mount Errigal. It was the first mountain myself and my son Josh climbed when he was nine-years-old. Once you get past the bog at the bottom it is nothing but spectacular views the whole way to the top.

Cuilcagh boardwalk or Fermanagh’s ‘stairway to haven’ as it is better known, is more of a gentle climb but still a challenge. On a clear day when you reach the top, looking back on the boardwalk and the surrounding area is something we are blessed to have right on our doorstep. This year I aim to head further down the country to explore the mountain ranges on offer.

Go surfing
As you can tell I’m a fan of the water. If it’s a water-based activity I’m in. I’ve spent many summers and still do, in Rossnowlagh.

I love getting into the water in the evening when all the cars have left the beach, but sometimes they forget to take their rubbish! Please wherever you go this summer – leave no trace.

Paddling out back past the waves and just sitting on your board waiting for the next set of waves is something I believe we should all experience. The peace and quiet of the ocean, looking out to sea or turning back to look at the land is something which I will never get tired of doing. Add to that the thrill of catching a wave, then we have a winner. You can hire a wetsuit and surf board for as little as 20 euros, it’s best money you’ll ever spend.

Summer Camps
When we are taking about Rossnowlagh it would be remiss of me not to mention our CORE Kids Summer Camps. We have launched our first phase of Summer Camps for July and they are nearly all booked out. You can find more details at

The aim of our camps is to deliver positive experiences of physical activity and wellbeing. We let the kids explore different games and movements and most importantly it’s all based around fun.

Sending the kids to any Summer Camp is a great way for them to socialise, be physically active, improve their mental health and it gives mum and dad time to relax.

So much more
I could write two or three articles about everything a staycation has to offer us. I didn’t even mention all the forest parks, walking tours, horse riding, mountain biking, cycling routes, hundreds of other beaches, water sports, and exploring our culture and history.

My advice is to look forward to spending a bit more time at home, and explore all the options you have to plan your ultimate family and friends adventure.

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