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The National Botanic GardensCo. Dublin
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10 things to do with friends in Ireland while social distancing
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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.

1Explore the National Botanic Gardens

The 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.

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. 

Spread out on 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 and cycle to the grounds of Farmleigh House or one of the many hidden spots in the park.

3Hike along the Howth Cliff Walk
See the stunning scenery from Howth Head.

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. 

With four loops starting at the DART station, there are lots of routes you can explore with friends.

4Go mountain biking at Ticknock

Rent a bike 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.

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.

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. 

7View ancient monuments at the Cavan Burren
Take a quiet walk through 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.

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 Ballycroy 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 11000 hectares of open mountain terrain in this exquisite bogland.

10Head out in all weather 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.

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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