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10 things to do with friends in Ireland
Visit the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin and see beautiful flowers in bloom.
Hiking along scenic cliff walks, exploring nature, mountain biking or enjoying a relaxing picnic; there’s a lot you can do with a small group of friends in Ireland. With discovery parks, amenity areas and scenic treks and trails, you won’t be stuck for ideas to get out and about locally.

Here are some of the best things to do next time you’re looking to spend time outdoors with a small group of pals.

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1Explore the National Botanic Gardens

The National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin in Dublin are famous for their beautifully restored glasshouses and a collection of more than 15,000 plant species from all over the world. 

Enjoy a stroll through the herbaceous borders and don’t miss the walled and rose garden. There’s also a fascinating alpine yard, rock gardens and arboretum, and the much-loved grassy banks beside the pond.

If you're left parched from your exploring of the grounds, be sure to stop by The Garden Tearoom which is conveniently located in the same building as the Visitor Centre. Indulge yourselves with scrumptious desserts and a delicious coffee before browsing the gift shop. 

A sculpture under a tree at the National Botanic Gardens in County Dublin.
Explore the natural wonders on display at the National Botanic Gardens.
2Picnic at the Phoenix Park

Grab your group of friends and picnic basket and head to Dublin's Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed urban park in Europe. Open to the public all year round, the park is so large, you’ll soon find a quiet spot. 

Lay out a rug and tuck into your picnic as the herd of fallow deer pass by in the lush green grasslands of the park. Hire a bike from Phoenix Park Bikes and cycle to the grounds of Farmleigh House or one of the many hidden spots in the park.

Three people cycling in Phoenix Park.
Saddle up in Phoenix Park.
3Hike along the Howth Cliff Walk

With four loops starting at the DART station, there are lots of routes you can explore with friends. The walk along Howth Head’s cliffs is spectacular, it's one of the best-loved coastal trails in Dublin. Walk along the harbour before climbing away from Howth village around the Nose of Howth and onto the clifftops.  

Take in the stunning views of Lambay Island and Ireland’s Eye, and catch the heady scent of coconut from the bright yellow gorse. The Baily Lighthouse – the last of Ireland’s lighthouses to become automated - comes into view before you ascend towards the car park at ‘The Summit’ and return to the village of Howth. 

Cap off your trek of the cliffs with a hearty group meal at O'Connells. Located across from the stunning pier, it's guaranteed to serve up incredible dishes, everything from fresh seafood chowder and succulent wings, to juicy sirloin steaks and the classic fish and chips.

Flowers along the cliffs at Howth Head with sunset views in the background
See the stunning scenery from Howth Head.
4Go mountain biking at Ticknock

Rent a bike at or bring your own and take on the Ticknock trail loop with your friends in the Dublin Mountains. The views over the city and bay are worth the effort and the one hour trail is a good place to start. 

No need to be world-class cyclists here as riders can choose between longer and shorter routes. With many spectacular photo stops, you’ll see Dublin from a whole new vantage point.

Four people cycling the trail in the Ticknock Mountains in County Dublin.
Tackle the Ticknock trail loop.
5Experience Lough Boora Discovery Park

Every path in Lough Boora Discovery Park in Offaly leads to discovery, from countless species of birds to outdoor sculptures in homage to Ireland’s boglands. Whether you choose to bike or hike, you can really kick back with friends in this fantastic discovery park with its five lakes and 2000 hectares.

Don't forget to grab a table at The Organic Kitchen which looks out on the stunning waterway. Savour the taste of their flavourful sandwiches while you and your friends enjoy sites of the ducks and swans that glide on Lough Boora. 

Three people wandering through the Lough Boora Discovery Park in Offaly.
Meander through the Lough Boora Discovery Park.
6Enjoy a nature walk at Dún na Sí Amenity and Heritage Park

The Dún na Sí Amenity and Heritage Park in Westmeath is a great destination for a pleasant stroll with friends. With scenic walking trails amongst native Irish woodland, the park combines nature, biodiversity, arts, and education.

The turlough or small lake area has a specially constructed hide so you can observe wildlife without disturbing their habitat. 

After your explorations, replenish your energy levels at Lillymay's Cafe and Bistro on Church Street. Whether you're looking for hot dishes like an Irish breakfast and chicken curry, or simply a scone and a coffee, Lillymay's has got you and your friends sorted.  

7View ancient monuments at the Cavan Burren Park

Explore the unique geological and archaeological features of the Cavan Burren in its glorious natural landscape. 

You and your friends can discover this unusual terrain that has evolved from its formation in a tropical sea south of the equator, through the various ice ages, to the parkland it is today. Birdsong, nature, stunning views, a visitor centre, and five marked trails await.

Two people walking through Cavan Burren Park, County Cavan
Take a quiet walk through Cavan Burren Park.
8Visit the Portumna Forest Park and take a Forest Friendly Walking Trail

Catch up with your friends in Portumna Forest Park on the Forest Friendly Walking Trail. Wander along the broad timber boardwalk that winds gently through trees to a viewing platform close to the shore. 

Take a moment to marvel at the shimmering waters of Lough Derg and its islands towards Terryglass. 

9Take the Claggan Mountain Trail

One of Ireland’s unexplored gems, Wild Nephin National Park in Mayo is perfect for peaceful walks. 

The Claggan Mountain Trail is particularly stunning with a walkway across the bog and panoramic views east of the national park, south towards Claggan Mountain and across the inlet to Achill Island

Your friends can easily spend the whole day here exploring the 11,000 hectares of open mountain terrain in this exquisite bogland.

Retire inside to the Visitor Centre for a quick bite in Ginger and Wild. Admire the beautiful art work on display in its gallery while enjoying a hot beverage and sweet treat. 

Take a relaxing walk through the Wild Nephin National Park.
Take a relaxing walk through the Wild Nephin National Park.
10Head out in all weathers on the Benbulben Forest Walk

Suitable for all sorts of Irish weather, the hard-surfaced Benbulben Forest Walk in Sligo is ideal for people of all abilities. Head out with your friends and enjoy this secluded forest trail with astonishing views of iconic Belbulben. 

Keep going to experience captivating scenes of Donegal Bay, Sliabh Liag, Mullaghmore and Classiebawn Castle.

After taking in the gorgeous surrounding landscape, travel the short distance to Henry's Bar and Restaurant for lunch or dinner. Pick from their wide range of yummy dishes, such as their toasties and tempura prawns. 

Benbulben Forest Walk in County Offaly.
Enjoy the quiet forest trail in Benbulben.
Find fun activities on home soil

You don’t need to board a plane to enjoy incredible trips with friends. Pop over to our Things to Do page and find more inspiration for fun group activities while discovering new places in Ireland.

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