Our favourite sunny day picnic spots:

If there’s one thing our dad taught us, it’s to never leave for the road without a picnic in the car. Our dad P is the King of picnics and there’s very little you won’t find in his picnic basket. When we were kids he would wrap us up warm and prepare us for winter hails or autumnal gales  as we trekked up mountains or explored forests, ran on beaches or strolled lakeside. He could lure us anywhere in any weather once there was a promise of a picnic. Nothing will warm your soul faster than a big flask of hot chocolate after a long countryside walk.

 It’s always important to take the time to eat, and whether you’re on the road travelling or ascending after a strenuous climb there’s nothing more satisfying than griddle bread ripped asunder and wedges of organic Mossfield in thick wedges eaten off the knife with little drizzles of our moms apricot and sultana chutney dripping down your fingers!. A sacred little moment where your phone is off and you’re totally immersed in your environment, exactly where you should be!.

 Hot tea in a flask washing down a little something sweet after and you’re right as rain, refuelled and ready for the next leg.

Here is a list of our favourite spots for picnics. We are so lucky with where we live in Limerick that sea and lake are never too far, and we absolutely take advantage of it.

1: Castle Lough Woods,

Between Nenagh and Portroe . This quite woods is just on Lough Derg, it seems vast but the walk is perfect even when just trying to soak up the last light. We’ve been going here since we were kids where we ran wildly around with our dogs jumping over fallen trees, watching young signets take to the water, running through the bloom of bluebells and hiding behind the old castle walls from our parents. This forest is so alive and exciting. There’s many spots and picnic benches with views over the lake!

2: Millennium Cross

2km walk on  a high open pathway with views of Tipperary, Limerick, Clare and Galway, this place is heaven. Its steep enough to get your heart going as you earn your way to the highest point with the clearest views. The best time for us is early morning, as the fog lifts and the lake is exposed. Nothing beats breakfast at the top, and don’t worry, it’s downhill home!

3: The Pollock Holes

These famous natural  rock pools on the edge of Kilkee burst to life in the summer months. Head for low tide when the pools are full and the rocks are clear. Swim in one of the three Pollock holes and bath on the hot rocks until the tide starts to turn. A legendary woman called Mrs Meehan used to make the finest buns in all of Kilkee, and you’d never dare to visit the Pollock Holes without a bag of them as a reward for your brave swim.

 4: The Flaggy Shore

Located in the Burren this peaceful coastal stretch is the perfect spot to stretch your legs if you’ve been driving around the many spots the Burren has to offer. The walk is perfectly paved, and clear for views of the roaring sea and of the peaceful lake behind it. There’s a reason Seamus Heaney wrote about this place, he describes it far better than I ever could.

5: Portumna Woods:

With an abbey on the site dating back to the 15th century and the castle dating to the 17th its no wonder so many people choose these vast grounds for running, cycling and orienteering. On the endless paths you’ll find wild deer roaming peacefully and as you look up you’ll see every local bird of Lough Derg enjoying the views. Hours could be spent here with the dogs roaming around in awe. Go in autumn when the leaves are super crunchy.