January can be a daunting time of the year for everyone. Christmas is over, and so is the excess of food, drink and all things fun that comes with it. New Year’s day has come and gone, and you’re still struggling with those New Year resolutions you have regrettably signed yourself up to.
Whether it ’s a Dry January, Veganuary or just a promise to be a healthier version of yourself, you feel as if you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
Worry not, New Year resolutions aren’t a punishment and it’s actually ok to have fun while taking them on. That’s why we have compiled this useful list of the best things to do in Ireland to take the pain out of January and leave you feeling fresh and detoxed in no time. You never know, you might actually enjoy yourself.
10. Go for a Cold- Water Swim
Dive straight into the deep end of the New Year by swimming in the cold Irish waters. Experts say that cold-water immersion can boost both your immune system and metabolism and can also help combat stress, anxiety and depression.
Get out there and enjoy the fantastic scenery of Ireland’s coastline, you won’t regret it. If you’re in Dublin take a trip to the 40 foot at Sandycove, the Vico Baths in Killiney, Howth Cliffs if you’re more experienced or Skerries or Portmarnock Beach. The Blackrock Tower at Salthill, Galway is also a great social place to go for a dip if you’re out west.
Make your swim a little more exciting and check out ‘Bosca Beatha’ on facebook to learn more about Ireland’s mobile sauna which aims to combine the heat of the sauna and the cold of the water to create a truly unique experience. They are located on the front of the Glenmalure Lodge along the Avonbeg river for January.
9. Host a Games Night
A catch up with friends in Ireland more often than not involves pints and the next day inevitable hangover, so this is one especially for those of you undertaking a dry January. Avoid the hangover and save money by hosting a games night in the comfort of your own home. Invite your mates over, decide on a game whether its monopoly or poker and the craic will be ninety in no time. You won’t even notice you’re not drinking.
Even if you do find yourself going for unavoidable after work drinks, try and choose a venue that offers more than just alcohol. Lots of pubs in Dublin, such as P.Mac’s and Blackbird have plenty of board games or check out Token in Smithfield where you can busy yourself with the arcade games, so your empty hands are kept busy.
8. Start a New Hobby
Forget about the gym and try something new this January. The New Year is the perfect excuse to try something you’ve always been curious about. This is perfect when combined with a dry alcohol-free January as you’ll have loads of extra time and money on your hands, so what better way to spend it.
You may already know exactly what you want to try but if not, here are some interesting suggestions you might like to find out about; indoor rock climbing at Awesome Walls Dublin or Gravity Climbing Centre, acro-yoga or aerial-cirque lessons with Dublin Circus Centre, or knitting with the NUI Galway Knitting and Crochet Group and many other groups around the country. You’ll be so busy, January will be over before you know it and you’ll have a whole new hobby you can enjoy all year. New Year resolutions don’t have to be just for January.
7. Go for a Hike
We’ve all been told to ‘take a hike’ at some point in our lives but maybe its time we actually listened. Embrace the hangover free weekends this month and immerse yourself in the outdoors, the benefits of which are endless.
Walks can be chosen to suit all levels of fitness and preferences whether you’re in the mood for an easy Sunday stroll or a vigorous hike.
For a stunning seaside clifftop walk a little on the easier side, give the Bray to Greystones Coastal trail a go and take the dart back to Bray to give yourself a break. For something a little more challenging, check out the Glendalough Valley Spink walk where a steep climb will be rewarded with spectacular views of the lake.
Last but by no means least, those more experienced walkers among us can tackle the summit of one of the many incredible Mountains dotted across the Irish landscape such as Lugnaquilla, Croke Patrick and the biggest of them all, Carrantoohill.
6. Give Veganuary a go
We’re continually hearing about the benefits of a vegan diet to our health and to the environment and January is the perfect opportunity to give it a test run. Giving up all animal products is challenging for many and involves changing a considerable part of your life but those who’ve been eating vegan for years tell us its worth it and can actually be very rewarding and most importantly, very tasty!
Eating vegan doesn’t mean boring in Ireland with all of the fantastic vegan restaurants and cafés. Check out Sova Vegan Butcher, Blazing Salads and Happy Food in Dublin, Sweet Beat Café in Sligo and the Bean Tree and Light House Café in Galway for delicious vegan options that will leave you wondering why you were worried about this whole thing in the first place. Take a look at happycow.net for many more options.
Don’t forget you can always just go veggie and cut out meat from your diet if being vegan just seems too much. Every little helps!
5. Go to an alcohol-free club
If your idea of a good weekend involves hitting the dancefloor into the early hours of the morning, you don’t have to sacrifice this just because of Dry January.
There are plenty of great alcohol- free clubs in Ireland you can try for a night out that lacks in alcohol, but certainly not in craic. Funky Seomra is Ireland’s leading light when it comes to alcohol & drug-free nightclubs with locations in Dublin, Galway and Cork.
Funky Seomra hosts what has been described as a mini Electric Picnic in their three locations, take a look at their facebook page for more information. Other alcohol-free hangouts in Dublin are Clockwork Door and Accents Lounge.
4. Go to the Cinema
Grab a friend, some of your favourite snacks and sit back and enjoy a movie in the comfort of those big red cinema chairs. There’s nothing better. If money is tight this January, re-create a cinema at home and browse Netflix’s latest offerings.
There are loads of incredible movies to choose from in the cinema in the next few weeks. Mary Poppins Returns featuring Emily Blunt is the remake of the Disney classic Mary Poppins. If you enjoyed the boxing movie Creed, you’ll enjoy it’s sequel, Creed II even more. Also check out Oscar nominated movies; A Star is Born, Mary Queen of Scots and Bohemian Rhapsody if you haven’t already got the chance.
3. Go to a Gig
Have a great time with friends and make memories you can be certain you’ll remember forever by enjoying some great music, comedy or theatre. Take the opportunity to make the most of the talent on offer this January around Ireland.
Highlights of the entertainment line-up this month include; a theatre production of the Great Gatsby in the Gate Theatre up until the 20th of January, Ben Howard in the 3Arena on the 25th of January, Christy Moore in Vicar St. on the 8th, 9th, 14th and 15th of January and for a night full of laughter check out Foil, Arms and Hog live in Vicar St. on the 19th of January.
2. Embrace the mocktail
Staying nice and dry this January is all about finding something else in your life to replace your favourite alcoholic drink. A good drink, however, doesn’t have to be alcoholic, we promise! From alcohol-free beers and wines, a simple old fizzy drink and a delicious range of mocktails there are plenty of drinks you can sip on while also staying social.
Some of the best mocktails on offer in Dublin are the Sinh To Bo from Saba full of delicious avocado goodness, the Exchequers mouth-watering Virgin Popper and Fade Street Socials Virgin Mojito if you feel like treating yourself. You deserve more than a plain old glass of water after all.
1. Go on a Retreat
There is no better way to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle of daily life and detox from your busy lifestyle than going on a retreat. Whether its work, alcohol, social media or an unhealthy diet you’re trying to escape from there are numerous different types of retreat options available to you in Ireland. We all need some ‘me time’ every now and again.
The stunning Cliffs of Moher Retreat Centre in Co. Clare have three different retreats available in January offering yoga, delicious food, luxury accommodation and meditation in one of the most beautiful corners of Ireland.
Dunderry House in Navan, Co. Meath offer digital detox retreats and also have three retreats available in January. Take a look at their website for further information.