There are a myriad of courses in Ireland, from archery classes to learning how to play the harp. Adventure Centres, where you can do everything from hill-walking to raft-building, are increasingly popular and we have listed them throughout the book. For cookery courses – an increasingly popular pastime – check out www.visitireland.com.
Rockfield Ecological Estate (043-76025; Rathowen; tour €10, mains €20-25; by appointment) gives you an inspiring insight into sustainable living as well as traditional Irish culture and crafts. In addition to two-hour tours of the working farm, you can dine on nutritious homemade food utilising organic produce from the rambling gardens (while sitting on a chair fashioned from fallen tree branches); or take part in full-day courses (€100 per person including lunch) such as spinning, weaving, basket making, wood carving and stone sculpting.
Teach English abroad with an i-to-i TEFL Course
If you’ve ever thought about living and working abroad, then why not teach English as a foreign language (TEFL)? It could be the key to funding your travels and experiencing new cultures in a totally new way. You don’t need teaching experience or even the ability to speak the local language – although you might learn it while you’re out there.
Fáilte Ireland publishes a list of recognised schools for teaching English as a foreign language. Most – but certainly not all – English-language schools are in and around Dublin.
There are a number of courses in the Irish language and culture, particularly in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) areas; see www.gaelsaoire.ie or contact Fáilte Ireland for information.
Intercelt (www.intercelt.com) Resource for Irish language-based holidays.
Jampa Ling Buddhist Centre (952 3448; www.jampaling.org ; Owendoon House, Bawnboy; dm/s/d incl meals €32/39/68) offers meditation courses.
In July and August, Dingle Music School (086-319 0438; Dykegate Lane, Kerry) offers beginners’ workshops in bodhrán (from €12; noon Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11am on Saturday) and tin whistle (€25, 11am Monday). Bodhráns are supplied.
Harp workshops are conducted as part of the O’Carolan International Harp Festival & Summer School.